ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 30

ACIM Text Reading for April 30

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

II. The Conditions of Learning

If you are blessed and do not know it, you need to learn it must be so. The knowledge is not taught, but its conditions must be acquired for it is they that have been thrown away. You can learn to bless, and cannot give what you have not. If, then, you offer blessing, it must have come first to yourself. And you must also have accepted it as yours, for how else could you give it away? That is why miracles offer you the testimony that you are blessed. If what you offer is complete forgiveness you must have let guilt go, accepting the Atonement for yourself and learning you are guiltless. How could you learn what has been done for you, unknown to you, unless you do what you would have to do if it had been done for you?

Indirect proof of truth is needed in a world made of denial and without direction. You will perceive the need for this if you realize that to deny is the decision not to know. The logic of the world must therefore lead to nothing, for its goal is nothing. If you decide to have and give and be nothing except a dream, you must direct your thoughts unto oblivion. And if you have and give and are everything, and all this has been denied, your thought system is closed off and wholly separated from the truth. This is an insane world, and do not underestimate the extent of its insanity. There is no area of your perception that it has not touched, and your dream is sacred to you. That is why God placed the Holy Spirit in you, where you placed the dream.

Seeing is always outward. Were your thoughts wholly of you, the thought system you made would be forever dark. The thoughts the mind of God’s Son projects or extends have all the power that he gives to them. The thoughts he shares with God are beyond his belief, but those he made are his beliefs. And it is these, and not the truth, that he has chosen to defend and love. They will not be taken from him. But they can be given up by him, for the Source of their undoing is in him. There is nothing in the world to teach him that the logic of the world is totally insane and leads to nothing. Yet in him who made this insane logic there is One Who knows it leads to nothing, for He knows everything.

Any direction that would lead you where the Holy Spirit leads you not, goes nowhere. Anything you deny that He knows to be true you have denied yourself, and He must therefore teach you not to deny it. Undoing is indirect, as doing is. You were created only to create, neither to see nor do. These are but indirect expressions of the will to live, which has been blocked by the capricious and unholy whim of death and murder that your Father does not share with you. You have set yourself the task of sharing what cannot be shared. And while you think it possible to learn to do this, you will not believe all that is possible to learn to do.

The Holy Spirit, therefore, must begin His teaching by showing you what you can never learn. His message is not indirect, but He must introduce the simple truth into a thought system which has become so twisted and so complex you cannot see that it means nothing. He merely looks at its foundation and dismisses it. But you who cannot undo what you have made cannot see through it. It deceives you, because you chose to deceive yourself. Those who choose to be deceived will merely attack direct approaches, because they seem to encroach upon deception and strike at it.

 

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 30

Lesson 120

For morning and evening review:

(109) I rest in God.

I rest in God today, and let Him work in me and
through me, while I rest in Him in quiet and in
perfect certainty.

(110) I am as God created me.

I am God’s Son. Today I lay aside all sick illusions of
myself, and let my Father tell me Who I really am.

On the hour:

I rest in God.

On the half hour:

I am as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #65: Please describe “mind,” the nature of “mind,” and the experience of “mind”.

A: There is no simple or easily understood definition for mind in the Course, because its meaning depends on the context in which it is used. Also, its true nature is abstract and it exists outside of time and space in all of its meanings, so we will not be fully satisfied with any explanation of it. For we will be attempting to understand mind with a limited (and illusory) part of it — the split mind. And time and space are, in fact, miscreations of the split mind itself, rather than dimensions in which it operates.

It may be helpful to point out first that the Course’s use of mind is different from the meaning given to mind in almost all other systems of thought, such as Eastern religions, for which mind is only the false ego self, caught in illusions; and various scientific disciplines, such as psychology and neurology, which take a reductionistic view of mind, reducing it to an epiphenomenon, or manifestation, of the physical/chemical/electrical activities of the brain. Even Freud, whose powerful insights into the mind are integrated into the Course’s exposition of the ego, accepted its organic origins without question.

The most extensive discussion in the Course of the term is found in the first section of the Clarification of Terms, “Mind-Spirit” (C.1). There mind is initially defined as “the activating agent of spirit, supplying its creative energy…Spirit is the Thought of God which He created like Himself” (C.1.1:1,3). But since we cannot conceive of the nature of spirit or God, and creation has nothing to do with form, the definition sheds little light on the meaning of the term. Usually, when the Course refers to mind at this level — our true reality as spirit — the term is capitalized and it refers to either God or Christ, His perfect and wholly unified Son (C.1.1:2). There is little more to be said about mind at this level. Its experience is only of perfect oneness, with no awareness of differences or distinctions of any kind, because they are not real.

More can be said, although still not easily understood, when we move to the level of the split or “individual mind” (C.1.2:3), which seemed to arise when the Son of God seemed to fall asleep and dream that he could be separate from his Father. This “part of the mind is entirely illusory and makes only illusions” (C.1.4:1). At this level, mind experiences “consciousness, the receptive mechanism” (C.1.7:3,4), which necessarily implies a separation between perceiver and perceived, part of the illusion. It is only at this level that choice seems to exist, for there can be no choice in our reality as spirit, where, again, no differences or distinctions exist. It is within this illusory split mind that everything we believe is solid and external and real is experienced. The Course distinguishes between two parts of this mind, or two ways of thinking within this mind: Wrong-mindedness represents the choice to listen to the voice of the ego, or false self. Right- mindedness represents the choice to listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, the reflection of our true Self or Mind (C.1.5:1,2).

Although the Course attempts to make us aware that our true reality is Mind, its teaching is addressed only to the split mind. The Course’s purpose is to train our split mind to remember that it contains a choice (C.1.7:1), for it has accepted the ego as its only reality and has forgotten that the ego is only a choice. So the Course helps us to recognize the consequences of a choice for the ego — sin, guilt, fear, pain, loss, and death — and reminds us that there is a different choice — the Holy Spirit — that opens the door to a completely different kind of experience, based on forgiveness — peace, joy and love. Over time, the Course will lead our split minds back to the initial decision point where we made a seemingly irreversible choice for the ego. And now we can make a different choice, removing us from time and space as we become aware of the real world, the totally forgiven world. From here, it is only one final step, “taken” by God Himself, which returns us to the wholeness of spirit and the oneness of Mind that we never in reality left (C.1.5:2,3,4).

this is practical course

 

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 29

ACIM Text Reading for April 29

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

I. Introduction

Yes, you are blessed indeed. Yet in this world you do not know it. But you have the means for learning it and seeing it quite clearly. The Holy Spirit uses logic as easily and as well as does the ego, except that His conclusions are not insane. They take a direction exactly opposite, pointing as clearly to Heaven as the ego points to darkness and to death. We have followed much of the ego’s logic, and have seen its logical conclusions. And having seen them, we have realized that they cannot be seen except in illusions, for there alone their seeming clearness seems to be clearly seen. Let us now turn away from them, and follow the simple logic by which the Holy Spirit teaches the simple conclusions that speak for truth, and only truth.

**

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 29

Lesson 119

For morning and evening review:

(107) Truth will correct all errors in my mind.

I am mistaken when I think I can be hurt in any
way. I am God’s Son, whose Self rests safely in
the Mind of God.

(108) To give and to receive are one in truth.

I will forgive all things today, that I may learn how
to accept the truth in me, and come to recognize my
sinlessness
.

On the hour:

Truth will correct all errors in my mind.

On the half hour:

To give and to receive are one in truth.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #228: In A Course in Miracles, Jesus says that: 1) We are all part of a single formless being which has been created by another formless being; 2) Time concepts are illusory. Isn’t before a time concept? How is it possible for a being to create another being and not come before it?

A: It is helpful to realize that whenever Jesus in the Course attempts to convey anything about creation and our true reality in God, he must use words and concepts that will have to fail in the end to do anything more than suggest a state that we cannot comprehend. For it is not possible to describe what is beyond description, and what is unlimited and infinite can not be defined in finite terms. Jesus must use the language of perception to talk about what is beyond perception, beyond time and space.

But the Course also has a purpose in attempting to explain the unexplainable. And that is to provide a correction for the mistaken concepts and beliefs of the ego thought system. Grounded in a perceptual duality, these concepts and beliefs assert, albeit now unconsciously, that we have separated from God, usurped His power to create, and in fact are the creator and source of all existence (T.11.in.1:6,7,8; 2).

And so the correction Jesus offers also uses dualistic words, such as Father and Son, which imply both spatial and temporal dimensions to the relationship. But these words are used only to undo our belief that we can be the cause of ourselves, returning to God the role of Source of all being. That Jesus does not mean these explanations literally becomes apparent when we read passages which attempt to provide insight into the true nature of God and reality, a reality beyond time and space, in which there are not two separate beings called God and Christ.

So, for example, Jesus observes, while still using the dualistic language of the ego thought system, that “God…makes no distinctions in what is Himself and what is still Himself. What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him (W.pI.132.12:3,4). And time-based concepts, such as before and after, or first and last, simply do not apply to God in the usual sense. God “does nothing last, because He created first and for always. It must be understood that the word ‘first’ as applied to Him is not a time concept. He is first in the sense that He is the First in the Holy Trinity Itself. He is the Prime Creator, because He created His co-creators. Because He did, time applies neither to Him nor to what He created. (T.7.I.7:3,4,5,6,7; italics added).

If you are not satisfied with what must be a dissatisfying account for what can not be understood by us, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. In attempting to describe the nature and condition of true creation, Jesus concludes, “To no one here is this describable. Nor is there any way to learn what this condition means. Not till you go past learning to the Given…is it understood” (T.24.VII.6:8,9,10). And so, we simply can accept with humility that we do not understand. But the good news is that, despite our belief that we need to understand, we don’t have to understand in order to find our way back home (T.18.IV.7:5,6,7).We can practice our lessons of forgiveness, confident that if we do our part, the rest will be ours when we are ready to accept it.

For additional discussion of the dualistic nature of the Course language in relationship to its non-dualistic metaphysics, see Question #85.

be of good cheer

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 28

ACIM Text Reading for April 28

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

XII. The Peace of Heaven

Forgetfulness and sleep and even death become the ego’s best advice for dealing with the perceived and harsh intrusion of guilt on peace. Yet no one sees himself in conflict and ravaged by a cruel war unless he believes that both opponents in the war are real. Believing this he must escape, for such a war would surely end his peace of mind, and so destroy him. Yet if he could but realize the war is between real and unreal powers, he could look upon himself and see his freedom. No one finds himself ravaged and torn in endless battles if he himself perceives them as wholly without meaning.

God would not have His Son embattled, and so His Son’s imagined “enemy” is totally unreal. You are but trying to escape a bitter war from which you have escaped. The war is gone. For you have heard the hymn of freedom rising unto Heaven. Gladness and joy belong to God for your release, because you made it not. Yet as you made not freedom, so you made not a war that could endanger freedom. Nothing destructive ever was or will be. The war, the guilt, the past are gone as one into the unreality from which they came.

When we are all united in Heaven, you will value nothing that you value here. For nothing that you value here do you value wholly, and so you do not value it at all. Value is where God placed it, and the value of what God esteems cannot be judged, for it has been established. It is wholly of value. It can merely be appreciated or not. To value it partially is not to know its value. In Heaven is everything God values, and nothing else. Heaven is perfectly unambiguous. Everything is clear and bright, and calls forth one response. There is no darkness and there is no contrast. There is no variation. There is no interruption. There is a sense of peace so deep that no dream in this world has ever brought even a dim imagining of what it is.

Nothing in this world can give this peace, for nothing in this world is wholly shared. Perfect perception can merely show you what is capable of being wholly shared. It can also show you the results of sharing, while you still remember the results of not sharing. The Holy Spirit points quietly to the contrast, knowing that you will finally let Him judge the difference for you, allowing Him to demonstrate which must be true. He has perfect faith in your final judgment, because He knows that He will make it for you. To doubt this would be to doubt that his mission will be fulfilled. How is this possible, when His mission is of God?

You whose mind is darkened by doubt and guilt, remember this: God gave the Holy Spirit to you, and gave Him the mission to remove all doubt and every trace of guilt that His dear Son has laid upon himself. It is impossible that this mission fail. Nothing can prevent what God would have accomplished from accomplishment. Whatever your reactions to the Holy Spirit’s Voice may be, whatever voice you choose to listen to, whatever strange thoughts may occur to you, God’s Will is done. You will find the peace in which He has established you, because He does not change His Mind. He is invariable as the peace in which you dwell, and of which the Holy Spirit reminds you.

You will not remember change and shift in Heaven. You have need of contrast only here. Contrast and differences are necessary teaching aids, for by them you learn what to avoid and what to seek. When you have learned this, you will find the answer that makes the need for any differences disappear. Truth comes of its own will unto its own. When you have learned that you belong to truth, it will flow lightly over you without a difference of any kind. For you will need no contrast to help you realize that this is what you want, and only this. Fear not the Holy Spirit will fail in what your Father has given Him to do. The Will of God can fail in nothing.

Have faith in only this one thing, and it will be sufficient: God wills you be in Heaven, and nothing can keep you from it, or it from you. Your wildest misperceptions, your weird imaginings, your blackest nightmares all mean nothing. They will not prevail against the peace God wills for you. The Holy Spirit will restore your sanity because insanity is not the Will of God. If that suffices Him, it is enough for you. You will not keep what God would have removed, because it breaks communication with you with whom He would communicate. His Voice will be heard.

The communication link that God Himself placed within you, joining your mind with His, cannot be broken. You may believe you want it broken, and this belief does interfere with the deep peace in which the sweet and constant communication God would share with you is known. Yet His channels of reaching out cannot be wholly closed and separated from Him. Peace will be yours because His peace still flows to you from Him Whose Will is peace. You have it now. The Holy Spirit will teach you how to use it, and by extending it, to learn that it is in you. God willed you Heaven, and will always will you nothing else. The Holy Spirit knows only of His Will. There is no chance that Heaven will not be yours, for God is sure, and what He wills is as sure as He is.

You will learn salvation because you will learn how to save. It will not be possible to exempt yourself from what the Holy Spirit wants to teach you. Salvation is as sure as God. His certainty suffices. Learn that even the darkest nightmare that disturbs the mind of God’s sleeping Son holds no power over him. He will learn the lesson of awaking. God watches over him and light surrounds him.

Can God’s Son lose himself in dreams, when God has placed within him the glad Call to waken and be glad? He cannot separate himself from what is in him. His sleep will not withstand the Call to wake. The mission of redemption will be fulfilled as surely as the creation will remain unchanged throughout eternity. You do not have to know that Heaven is yours to make it so. It is so. Yet to know it, the Will of God must be accepted as your will.

The Holy Spirit will undo for you everything you have learned that teaches that what is not true must be reconciled with truth. This is the reconciliation the ego would substitute for your reconciliation to sanity and to peace. The Holy Spirit has a very different kind of reconciliation in His Mind for you, and one He will effect as surely as the ego will not effect what it attempts. Failure is of the ego, not of God. From Him you cannot wander, and there is no possibility that the plan the Holy Spirit offers to everyone, for the salvation of everyone, will not be perfectly accomplished. You will be released, and you will not remember anything you made that was not created for you and by you in return. For how can you remember what was never true, or not remember what has always been? It is this reconciliation with truth, and only truth, in which the peace of Heaven lies.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 28

Lesson 118

For morning and evening review:

(105) God’s peace and joy are mine.

Today I will accept God’s peace and joy, in glad
exchange for all the substitutes that I have made
for happiness and peace.

(106) Let me be still and listen to the truth.

Let my own feeble voice be still, and let me hear the
mighty Voice for Truth Itself assure me that I am
God’s perfect Son.

On the hour:

God’s peace and joy are mine.

On the half hour:

Let me be still and listen to the truth.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #58: Recently while having a fight with my wife I turned to the Course for help by reading the passage about seeing only an expression of love or a call for love. Later I was able to reach out to her in a loving way. I find that I don’t consider her small outbursts and annoying irritations “big” enough to qualify as calls for love. It seems best not to take them seriously, though I resent that they take away the feeling of success in practicing the Course that I had when I applied the Course to the fight. Is it better to shrug off these small irritations or should I see them as calls for love also?

A: The Course does in fact say that everything is either an expression of love or a call for love (see T.14.X.7). Therefore, when someone is having an outburst of any kind, large or small, it is always a call for love and the Course asks us to respond with love. If our response is anything less than love it is of the ego, and we are in the same insane situation as the other person: we too are calling for love. It is very important in our practice of the Course to be vigilant for anyunderlying feeling or reaction in our experiences and our relationships. Even when we seem to be shrugging things off or waiting for an outburst to blow over, there is probably some annoyance, irritation or judgment going on. As the Course so clearly states; “The degree of the emotion you experience does not matter. You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury” (W.pI.21.2:4,5). This puts all of our interactions in the same category: there is no distinction between “big” or “small,” neither in the call for help nor in our reaction to it. The Course tells us that a choice to turn away from the light of the Holy Spirit in our minds, to throw our peace away by denying our unity with God, precedes that situation or interaction that seems to cause our reaction. The guilt and pain of that choice is the source of what appears as anger, annoyance, or irritation. Then a situation or an interaction with another person occurs, which we use to project our guilt onto, in the form of a reaction, or as the Course tells us “an interpretation”: “Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts. Regardless, too, of the intensity of the anger that is aroused. It may be merely slight irritation, perhaps too mild to be even clearly recognized. Or it may also take the form of intense rage, accompanied by thoughts of violence, fantasied or apparently acted out. It does not matter. All of these reactions are the same. They obscure the truth, and this can never be a matter of degree. Either truth is apparent, or it is not. It cannot be partially recognized. Who is unaware of truth must look upon illusions” (M.17.4). The truth that is obscured can be understood on two levels: 1) we have made a choice, as explained above, that is causing us pain, anger, or annoyance, and now we blame a person or situation; 2) neither the choice nor the guilt we feel about it can have any effect on the Father’s love for us, nor our love for the Father; in other words, nothing has happened. It is clear that there are no degrees or distinctions in any of this; we are expressing love or calling for love, we are at peace or not at peace, we are with the truth or with illusion, seeing with the ego or with the Holy Spirit.

Our practice of the Course, therefore, is always optimum, whether we apply its teachings to something seemingly insignificant or to something we may judge as life threatening; nothing is too small or too big. It also means that every situation is important to our learning, and nothing should be overlooked or left to blow over. The decision to see differently, to listen to the Holy Spirit’s interpretation, will bring us the same peace no matter what kind of a predicament we think we are in. It may also be helpful to remember: “… the Holy Spirit’s vision is merciful and His remedy is quick. Do not hide suffering from His sight, but bring it gladly to Him. Lay before His eternal sanity all your hurt, and let Him heal you. Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from His light, and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover. For He will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you and cleanse it of its littleness, restoring it to the magnitude of God” (T.13.III.7:2,3,4,5,6).

hostage or host

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 27

ACIM Text Reading for April 27

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

XI. Release from Guilt

You are accustomed to the notion that the mind can see the source of pain where it is not. The doubtful service of such displacement is to hide the real source of guilt, and keep from your awareness the full perception that it is insane. Displacement always is maintained by the illusion that the source of guilt, from which attention is diverted, must be true; and must be fearful, or you would not have displaced the guilt onto what you believed to be less fearful. You are therefore willing to look upon all kinds of “sources,” provided they are not the deeper source to which they bear no real relationship at all.

Insane ideas have no real relationships, for that is why they are insane. No real relationship can rest on guilt, or even hold one spot of it to mar its purity. For all relationships that guilt has touched are used but to avoid the person and the guilt. What strange relationships you have made for this strange purpose! And you forgot that real relationships are holy, and cannot be used by you at all. They are used only by the Holy Spirit, and it is that which makes them pure. If you pre-empt for your own ends what you should have given Him, He cannot use it for your release. No one who would unite in any way with anyone for his individual salvation will find it in that strange relationship. It is not shared, and so it is not real.

In any union with a brother in which you seek to lay your guilt upon him, or share it with him or perceive his own, you will feel guilty. Nor will you find satisfaction and peace with him, because your union with him is not real. You will see guilt in that relationship because you put it there. It is inevitable that those who suffer guilt will attempt to displace it, because they do believe in it. Yet though they suffer, they will not look within and let it go. They cannot know they love, and cannot understand what loving is. Their main concern is to perceive the source of guilt outside themselves, beyond their own control.

When you maintain that you are guilty but the source of your guilt lies in the past, you are not looking inward. The past is not in you. Your weird associations to it have no meaning in the present. Yet you let them stand between you and your brothers, with whom you find no real relationships at all. Can you expect to use your brothers as a means to “solve” the past, and still to see them as they really are? Salvation is not found by those who use their brothers to resolve problems that are not there. You wanted not salvation in the past. Would you impose your idle wishes on the present, and hope to find salvation now?

Determine, then, to be not as you were. Use no relationship to hold you to the past, but with each one each day be born again. A minute, even less, will be enough to free you from the past, and give your mind in peace over to the Atonement. When everyone is welcome to you as you would have yourself be welcome to your Father, you will see no guilt in you. For you will have accepted the Atonement, which shone within you all the while you dreamed of guilt, and would not look within and see it.

As long as you believe that guilt is justified in any way, in anyone, whatever he may do, you will not look within, where you would always find Atonement. The end of guilt will never come as long as you believe there is a reason for it. For you must learn that guilt is always totally insane, and has no reason. The Holy Spirit seeks not to dispel reality. If guilt were real, Atonement would not be. The purpose of Atonement is to dispel illusions, not to establish them as real and then forgive them.

The Holy Spirit does not keep illusions in your mind to frighten you, and show them to you fearfully to demonstrate what He has saved you from. What He has saved you from is gone. Give no reality to guilt, and see no reason for it. The Holy Spirit does what God would have Him do, and has always done so. He has seen separation, but knows of union. He teaches healing, but He also knows of creation. He would have you see and teach as He does, and through Him. Yet what He knows you do not know, though it is yours.

Now it is given you to heal and teach, to make what will be now. As yet it is not now. The Son of God believes that he is lost in guilt, alone in a dark world where pain is pressing everywhere upon him from without. When he has looked within and seen the radiance there, he will remember how much his Father loves him. And it will seem incredible that he ever thought his Father loved him not, and looked upon him as condemned. The moment that you realize guilt is insane, wholly unjustified and wholly without reason, you will not fear to look upon the Atonement and accept it wholly.

You who have been unmerciful to yourself do not remember your Father’s Love. And looking without mercy upon your brothers, you do not remember how much you love Him. Yet it is forever true. In shining peace within you is the perfect purity in which you were created. Fear not to look upon the lovely truth in you. Look through the cloud of guilt that dims your vision, and look past darkness to the holy place where you will see the light. The altar to your Father is as pure as He Who raised it to Himself. Nothing can keep from you what Christ would have you see. His Will is like His Father’s, and He offers mercy to every child of God, as He would have you do.

Release from guilt as you would be released. There is no other way to look within and see the light of love, shining as steadily and as surely as God Himself has always loved His Son. And as His Son loves Him. There is no fear in love, for love is guiltless. You who have always loved your Father can have no fear, for any reason, to look within and see your holiness. You cannot be as you believed you were. Your guilt is without reason because it is not in the Mind of God, where you are. And this is reason, which the Holy Spirit would restore to you. He would remove only illusions. All else He would have you see. And in Christ’s vision He would show you the perfect purity that is forever within God’s Son.

You cannot enter into real relationships with any of God’s Sons unless you love them all and equally. Love is not special. If you single out part of the Sonship for your love, you are imposing guilt on all your relationships and making them unreal. You can love only as God loves. Seek not to love unlike Him, for there is no love apart from His. Until you recognize that this is true, you will have no idea what love is like. No one who condemns a brother can see himself as guiltless and in the peace of God. If he is guiltless and in peace and sees it not, he is delusional, and has not looked upon himself. To him I say:

“Behold the Son of God, and look upon his purity and be still.
In quiet look upon his holiness, and offer thanks unto his Father
that no guilt has ever touched him.”

No illusion that you have ever held against him has touched his innocence in any way. His shining purity, wholly untouched by guilt and wholly loving, is bright within you. Let us look upon him together and love him. For in love of him is your guiltlessness. But look upon yourself, and gladness and appreciation for what you see will banish guilt forever. I thank You, Father, for the purity of Your most holy Son, whom You have created guiltless forever.

Like you, my faith and my belief are centered on what I treasure. The difference is that I love only what God loves with me, and because of this I treasure you beyond the value that you set on yourself, even unto the worth that God has placed upon you. I love all that He created, and all my faith and my belief I offer unto it. My faith in you is as strong as all the love I give my Father. My trust in you is without limit, and without the fear that you will hear me not. I thank the Father for your loveliness, and for the many gifts that you will let me offer to the Kingdom in honor of its wholeness that is of God.

Praise be to you who make the Father one with His Own Son. Alone we are all lowly, but together we shine with brightness so intense that none of us alone can even think of it. Before the glorious radiance of the Kingdom guilt melts away, and transformed into kindness will never more be what it was. Every reaction you experience will be so purified that it is fitting as a hymn of praise unto your Father. See only praise of Him in what He has created, for He will never cease His praise of you. United in this praise we stand before the gates of Heaven where we will surely enter in our sinlessness. God loves you. Could I, then, lack faith in you and love Him perfectly?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 27

Lesson 117

For morning and evening review:

(103) God, being Love, is also happiness.

Let me remember love is happiness, and nothing else
brings joy. And so I choose to entertain no substitutes
for love.

(104) I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

Love is my heritage, and with it joy. These are the
gifts my Father gave to me. I would accept all that is
mine in truth.

On the hour:

God, being Love, is also happiness.

On the half hour:

I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #78: I recently watched a movie based on a true story of a prisoner in Alcatraz who was put in solitary confinement for over a three year period. In this time, he was in total darkness, had no contact with people, with the exception of ½ hour per year, at Christmas, and lived in the most horrendous conditions imaginable. Consequently, he went insane (based of course on what would be considered insanity in the world of illusions). I am having a great deal of trouble with how a person in his situation would apply the Course, with absolutely no contact with people or the outside world. How could he join with his brother? How could he practice forgiveness, or experience miracles? If it were Jesus stuck in there, what would he do? This type of scenario obviously brings up a great deal of fear for me, and I’ve been pondering this for days. I guess I am trying to figure out, that in even in this most horrific a situation, can one still find the peace of God?

A: Since the Course teaches that everything occurs in the mind, there is no need for contact with people in order to practice forgiveness: “…there is no world outside….(T.12.III.6:7). All of our relationships (thoughts) remain within, so we are able to practice forgiveness with those who are seemingly alive, as well as those who are seemingly dead: “Like you, your brother thinks he is a dream….Think…of him as a mind in which illusions still persist, but as a mind which brother is to you. He is not brother made by what he dreams, nor is his body, ‘hero’ of the dream, your brother….Your mind and his are joined in brotherhood (T.28.IV.3:1,2,3,4,5,6).

In the section, “Shadows of the Past” (T.17.III), Jesus explains how we always see people in terms of the past, whether it be things we believe others have done to us or other people, or it be the needs we believed we had, which were not met. In essence, it explains that we don’t ever really have a relationship with anyone in the present, since these “shadows” are always with us, until they are forgiven. This simply reiterates the teaching that you do not need a physical body present in order to join or forgive.

Regarding maintaining one’s peace in such an extreme condition as you suggest, while it does seem formidable, it is nonetheless possible in principle. Otherwise, you are saying that the peace of God is limited to certain people, places, or situations. It would be very difficult to be a serious student of A Course in Miracles, practicing your lessons of forgiveness, all the while holding in the back of your mind the nagging doubt: “What if God abandons me now?” (Of course the ego would like nothing more than this, but that’s another topic!)

Throughout history there have been many people who have maintained their peace in the cruelest of circumstances. Many such stories have come out of the concentration camps, like those involving the Ten Boom sisters, Victor Frankl, etc. From the point of view of the Course, all these people had right-minded experiences, wherein someone elses interests where not seen as separate from their own. This is difficult enough to do on a day-to-day basis here and now, let alone in such extreme circumstances. But it has, and can be done.


Q #79: The relationship I have with my 5 siblings is, for the most part, one of special hate. Our conflicts have been escalating around the care of my mom and the dispersal of her property. I find it easiest simply to disassociate myself from the family and the conflict. This does not give me peace but it does minimize the anxiety. I do know that this is my classroom but I feel like avoiding my family to the point of not attending my mom’s funeral when the time comes. My question is: can I work on forgiveness with my siblings while I am choosing to avoid them?

A: You are wise to recognize that avoiding your siblings does not give you peace or eliminate your anxiety, but only minimizes it. The ego is very clever at offering us ways that seem to reduce the guilt and conflict and fear, through denial or avoidance, so that we never address the problem, thereby assuring that the conflict remains and never is resolved. “Minimizing fear, but not its undoing, is the ego’s constant effort, and is indeed a skill at which it is very ingenious” (T.11.V.9:2).

So it may be becoming apparent to you already that there is no way you can really avoid the conflict, whether or not you are actually in contact or in the physical presence of your siblings. That is because all relationships exist only in the mind and, believe it or not, the real conflict has nothing to do with your siblings. But it has everything to do with what they symbolize for you, because the real conflict also is only within your own mind. And so any changes in your relationships will have to begin first within your mind.

Alluding to this process, Jesus observes, “Everyone makes an ego or a self for himself, which is subject to enormous variation because of its instability. He also makes an ego for everyone else he perceives, which is equally variable. Their interaction is a process that alters both, because they were not made by or with the Unalterable. It is important to realize that this alteration can and does occur as readily when the interaction takes place in the mind as when it involves physical proximity. Thinking about another ego is as effective in changing relative perception as is physical interaction. There could be no better example that the ego is only an idea and not a fact” (T.4.II:2; italics added).

So, yes, you can work on your forgiveness lessons with your siblings without being in contact or around them physically, provided you are not also determined to avoid looking within your own mind at the conflict they represent to you, projected out into the world. Your siblings are providing you with the opportunity to get in touch with the guilt that is buried deep within your own mind that you have not wanted to look at, but have preferred to see outside yourself in others, in this case, your siblings. So once you recognize where the real problem lies, your siblings move from the foreground to the background in the forgiveness process.

What then is the next step in the process? Jesus tells us that “there is a very simple way to find the door to true forgiveness, and perceive it open wide in welcome. When you feel that you are tempted to accuse someone of sin in any form, do not allow your mind to dwell on what you think he did, for that is self-deception. Ask instead, ‘Would I accuse myself of doing this?’” (W.pII.134.9).

To uncover the self-accusation, you simply need to identify, at the level of content rather than the specific form of what your siblings may be doing, what you are accusing them of. It will most likely be some aspect of putting their own self-interests above everyone else’s, wanting to control or manipulate the situation to make sure that their own needs are met, with no real concern for anyone else. And so you need then to be honest with yourself in acknowledging that you at times operate in exactly the same way, even if you may not be in this particular situation involving your mother.

It is then that self-accusation that you will want to bring to Jesus or the Holy Spirit to heal, for Their perception of you will be different from your own. Theirs is a nonjudgmental acceptance that always perceives fear and a call for love in place of attack and sin. When you can share Their perception of yourself, you will release the guilt in your own mind, simultaneously releasing your siblings from the chain of guilt you’ve been binding them with. Now this release is not likely to be total and complete, once and for all, in a single attempt, for our own fear is too great to accept total release for ourselves. When we let the guilt back in, we will need once again to project it. And siblings with whom we have a long history of grievances make easy targets. And so the forgiveness process with your siblings will be a process that will most likely take time. But at least now you know where the real problem lies.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 26

ACIM Text Reading for April 26

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

X. The Cloud of Guilt

Guilt remains the only thing that hides the Father, for guilt is the attack upon His Son. The guilty always condemn, and having done so they will still condemn, linking the future to the past as is the ego’s law. Fidelity to this law lets no light in, for it demands fidelity to darkness and forbids awakening. The ego’s laws are strict, and breaches are severely punished. Therefore give no obedience to its laws, for they are laws of punishment. And those who follow them believe that they are guilty, and so they must condemn. Between the future and the past the laws of God must intervene, if you would free yourself. Atonement stands between them, like a lamp shining so brightly that the chain of darkness in which you bound yourself will disappear.

Release from guilt is the ego’s whole undoing. Make no one fearful, for his guilt is yours, and by obeying the ego’s harsh commandments you bring its condemnation on yourself, and you will not escape the punishment it offers those who obey it. The ego rewards fidelity to it with pain, for faith in it is pain. And faith can be rewarded only in terms of the belief in which the faith was placed. Faith makes the power of belief, and where it is invested determines its reward. For faith is always given what is treasured, and what is treasured is returned to you.

The world can give you only what you gave it, for being nothing but your own projection, it has no meaning apart from what you found in it and placed your faith in. Be faithful unto darkness and you will not see, because your faith will be rewarded as you gave it. You will accept your treasure, and if you place your faith in the past, the future will be like it. Whatever you hold dear you think is yours. The power of your valuing will make it so.

Atonement brings a re-evaluation of everything you cherish, for it is the means by which the Holy Spirit can separate the false and the true, which you have accepted into your mind without distinction. Therefore you cannot value one without the other, and guilt has become as true for you as innocence. You do not believe the Son of God is guiltless because you see the past, and see him not. When you condemn a brother you are saying, “I who was guilty choose to remain so.” You have denied his freedom, and by so doing you have denied the witness unto yours. You could as easily have freed him from the past, and lifted from his mind the cloud of guilt that binds him to it. And in his freedom would have been your own.

Lay not his guilt upon him, for his guilt lies in his secret thought that he has done this unto you. Would you, then, teach him he is right in his delusion? The idea that the guiltless Son of God can attack himself and make himself guilty is insane. In any form, in anyone, believe this not. For sin and condemnation are the same, and the belief in one is faith in the other, calling for punishment instead of love. Nothing can justify insanity, and to call for punishment upon yourself must be insane.

See no one, then, as guilty, and you will affirm the truth of guiltlessness unto yourself. In every condemnation that you offer the Son of God lies the conviction of your own guilt. If you would have the Holy Spirit make you free of it, accept His offer of Atonement for all your brothers. For so you learn that it is true for you. Remember always that it is impossible to condemn the Son of God in part. Those whom you see as guilty become the witnesses to guilt in you, and you will see it there, for it is there until it is undone. Guilt is always in your mind, which has condemned itself. Project it not, for while you do, it cannot be undone. With everyone whom you release from guilt great is the joy in Heaven, where the witnesses to your fatherhood rejoice.

Guilt makes you blind, for while you see one spot of guilt within you, you will not see the light. And by projecting it the world seems dark, and shrouded in your guilt. You throw a dark veil over it, and cannot see it because you cannot look within. You are afraid of what you would see there, but it is not there. The thing you fear is gone. If you would look within you would see only the Atonement, shining in quiet and in peace upon the altar to your Father.

Do not be afraid to look within. The ego tells you all is black with guilt within you, and bids you not to look. Instead, it bids you look upon your brothers, and see the guilt in them. Yet this you cannot do without remaining blind. For those who see their brothers in the dark, and guilty in the dark in which they shroud them, are too afraid to look upon the light within. Within you is not what you believe is there, and what you put your faith in. Within you is the holy sign of perfect faith your Father has in you. He does not value you as you do. He knows Himself, and knows the truth in you. He knows there is no difference, for He knows not of differences. Can you see guilt where God knows there is perfect innocence? You can deny His knowledge, but you cannot change it. Look, then, upon the light He placed within you, and learn that what you feared was there has been replaced with love.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 26

Lesson 116

For morning and evening review:

(101) God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.

God’s Will is perfect happiness for me. And I can suffer
but from the belief there is another will apart from His.

(102) I share God’s Will for happiness for me.

I share my Father’s Will for me, His Son.
What He has given me is all I want.
What He has given me is all there is.

On the hour:

God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.

On the half hour:

I share God’s Will for happiness for me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #117: A Course in Miracles states that sickness is anger taken out on the body. What would cause a baby to become sick? For that matter, do animals have egos when they also become sick? Or is this all part of the dream which the ego has us waste our time trying to figure out?

A: A baby or an animal can become sick for the same reason that an adult human becomes sick. We think there should be a difference because we confuse the brain with the mind. Clearly, there are differences between the brain of a baby and the brain of an adult, or the brain of an animal and the brain of a human. But, despite what we all believe about the power and nature of the brain to control the body and behavior, Jesus tells us we are mistaken: “You…believe the body’s brain can think. If you but understood the nature of thought, you could but laugh at this insane idea. It is as if you thought you held the match that lights the sun and gives it all its warmth; or that you held the world within your hand, securely bound until you let it go. Yet this is no more foolish than to believe…the brain can think” (W.pI.92.2).

It is not the brain but the mind, outside of time and space, that makes all decisions that seem to affect the body. And since the seemingly separate minds that are dreaming all the figures in the dream are really nothing more than fragments of the one split mind that is the source of all mistaken thought (T.18.I.3,4,5), their structure and content (sin, guilt and fear) are all the same. So it is the mind, not the brain, that experiences guilt and anger and fear and looks for defenses against those thoughts and feelings. And the sickness of the mind — the thought of separation — is projected out onto the body, whether it be the body of an infant, an adult or an animal, so that it appears that something is happening to the body for which that individual is not responsible.

Now just as the decision for sickness is made in the mind, so too is the decision for healing, which then may be reflected in the disappearance of symptoms and recovery from illness in the body of the infant, the adult or the animal. For every fragmented split mind contains not only the ego but also the correction for the ego, which the Course calls the Holy Spirit.


Q #118: My questions are prompted by my seeming experience of “retaliation” from my ego, which inevitably follows times when I have sincerely tried to look at my ego and asked for correction. The specific forms this takes can be severe enough to shut me down physically, as well as mentally. Should we expect this to occur?

I know the Course talks about the ego vacillating “between suspiciousness and viciousness” shifting to viciousness if I try to seek relief from it, offering me then “the illusion of attack as a ‘solution'” (T.9.VIII.2:7,9,10). So if my ego offers me the “illusion of attack,” then I am off the hook. I’ve not really chosen the attack and I’m not responsible for it — my ego did it to me. But I don’t really believe this at all. I think the decision making part of my mind is choosing attack to protect my ego identification — my special, separate identity — and that things are going to get a whole lot worse if I continue to go against it. At these times there is no way that I can look at my ego and simply smile at it. I just have to back off. I will be grateful for your answers and comments.

A: Yes, you are right — the ego has no power to attack you except for the power you give it. Jesus clarifies this early in the text: “Only your allegiance to it gives the ego any power over you. I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly, and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed. We cannot safely let it go at that, however, or you will regard yourself as necessarily conflicted as long as you are here, or as long as you believe that you are here. The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself” (T.4.VI.1:2,3,4,5,6)

As the passage you cite indicates, self-attack is not uncommon when we seek relief from the ego. And that is a reflection of our fear of accepting the limitless love in which the self we believe we are has no meaning, as you suggest.

So your question really is, what do you do now, knowing that your fear is still so great. The part of ourselves that remains identified with the ego does not want us to take even a single step in the direction of forgiveness and healing if it can prevent it. And anything that increases rather than reduces our fear really serves the ego’s purpose. So Jesus counsels us that if our resistance is strong, we should not fight ourselves because we are just not ready (T.30.I.1:6,7). The most kind and loving thing we can do then is to be patient and gentle with ourselves — there is no urgency about the process of forgiveness. We may not yet be ready to bring the darkness of our ego to Jesus, but we can at least bring our fear to him, acknowledging that we need his help. And if Jesus is part of the problem, we can use the less threatening symbol of the Holy Spirit, or any other symbol of love to whom we relate that brings us comfort.

The important thing is to develop an awareness of the loving, nonjudgmental presence within your mind, with whom you can look at the darkness of your ego together. If you look by yourself, you will almost certainly frighten yourself. But if you look with love beside you, the seeming seriousness of what you are uncovering will gradually dissipate. And then you will be able to smile at it.

the mind that serves spirit

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 25

ACIM Text Reading for April 25

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

IX. From Perception to Knowledge

All healing is release from the past. That is why the Holy Spirit is the only Healer. He teaches that the past does not exist, a fact which belongs to the sphere of knowledge, and which therefore no one in the world can know. It would indeed be impossible to be in the world with this knowledge. For the mind that knows this unequivocally knows also it dwells in eternity, and utilizes no perception at all. It therefore does not consider where it is, because the concept “where” does not mean anything to it. It knows that it is everywhere, just as it has everything, and forever.

The very real difference between perception and knowledge becomes quite apparent if you consider this: There is nothing partial about knowledge. Every aspect is whole, and therefore no aspect is separate. You are an aspect of knowledge, being in the Mind of God, Who knows you. All knowledge must be yours, for in you is all knowledge. Perception, at its loftiest, is never complete. Even the perception of the Holy Spirit, as perfect as perception can be, is without meaning in Heaven. Perception can reach everywhere under His guidance, for the vision of Christ beholds everything in light. Yet no perception, however holy, will last forever.

Perfect perception, then, has many elements in common with knowledge, making transfer to it possible. Yet the last step must be taken by God, because the last step in your redemption, which seems to be in the future, was accomplished by God in your creation. The separation has not interrupted it. Creation cannot be interrupted. The separation is merely a faulty formulation of reality, with no effect at all. The miracle, without a function in Heaven, is needful here. Aspects of reality can still be seen, and they will replace aspects of unreality. Aspects of reality can be seen in everything and everywhere. Yet only God can gather them together, by crowning them as one with the final gift of eternity.

Apart from the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit has no function. He is not separate from either, being in the Mind of Both, and knowing that Mind is one. He is a Thought of God, and God has given Him to you because He has no thoughts He does not share. His message speaks of timelessness in time, and that is why Christ’s vision looks on everything with love. Yet even Christ’s vision is not His reality. The golden aspects of reality that spring to light under His loving gaze are partial glimpses of the Heaven that lies beyond them.

This is the miracle of creation; that it is one forever. Every miracle you offer to the Son of God is but the true perception of one aspect of the whole. Though every aspect is the whole, you cannot know this until you see that every aspect is the same, perceived in the same light and therefore one. Everyone seen without the past thus brings you nearer to the end of time by bringing healed and healing sight into the darkness, and enabling the world to see. For light must come into the darkened world to make Christ’s vision possible even here. Help Him to give His gift of light to all who think they wander in the darkness, and let Him gather them into His quiet sight that makes them one.

They are all the same; all beautiful and equal in their holiness. And He will offer them unto His Father as they were offered unto Him. There is one miracle, as there is one reality. And every miracle you do contains them all, as every aspect of reality you see blends quietly into the one Reality of God. The only miracle that ever was is God’s most holy Son, created in the one Reality that is his Father. Christ’s vision is His gift to you. His Being is His Father’s gift to Him.

Be you content with healing, for Christ’s gift you can bestow, and your Father’s gift you cannot lose. Offer Christ’s gift to everyone and everywhere, for miracles, offered the Son of God through the Holy Spirit, attune you to reality. The Holy Spirit knows your part in the redemption, and who are seeking you and where to find them. Knowledge is far beyond your individual concern. You who are part of it and all of it need only realize that it is of the Father, not of you. Your role in the redemption leads you to it by re-establishing its oneness in your mind.

When you have seen your brothers as yourself you will be released to knowledge, having learned to free yourself through him who knows of freedom. Unite with me under the holy banner of his teaching, and as we grow in strength the power of God’s Son will move in us, and we will leave no one untouched and no one left alone. And suddenly time will be over, and we will all unite in the eternity of God the Father. The holy light you saw outside yourself, in every miracle you offered to your brothers, will be returned to you. And knowing that the light is in you, your creations will be there with you, as you are in your Father.

As miracles in this world join you to your brothers, so do your creations establish your fatherhood in Heaven. You are the witness to the Fatherhood of God, and He has given you the power to create the witnesses to your fatherhood in Heaven. The miracle that God created is perfect, as are the miracles that you established in His Name. They need no healing, nor do you, when you accept them.

Yet in this world your perfection is unwitnessed. God knows it, but you do not, and so you do not share His witness to it. Nor do you witness unto Him, for reality is witnessed to as one. God waits your witness to His Son and to Himself. The miracles you do on earth are lifted up to Heaven and to Him. They witness to what you do not know, and as they reach the gates of Heaven, God will open them. For never would He leave His Own beloved Son outside them, and beyond Himself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 25

Lesson 115

For morning and evening review:

(99) Salvation is my only function here.

My function here is to forgive the world for all the errors
I have made. For thus am I released from them
with all the world.

(100) My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.

I am essential to the plan of God for the salvation of the world.
For He gave me His plan that I might save the world.

On the hour:

Salvation is my only function here.

On the half hour:

My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #673: No one has satisfactorily explained the need to sleep and dream. The phenomenon of night dreaming is common and it is the one aspect of our experience that can question the reality of our world. We know the sayings of the Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu about his dream of being the butterfly. Also, hallucinating is very rare and thought to be abnormal. Did the ego make a mistake? Or on the contrary, are sleeping dreams an intervention of the right mind to give us a hint about the unreality of our world? Or perhaps an expression of compromise between them?

A: Everything of the body — physical and psychological — is part of the ego’s plan and strategy to keep the separation from God real. A Course in Miracles does not explain the bodily phenomena of sleeping dreams and hallucinations; rather it points out their value in teaching us about the power our minds have to distort reality to suit our own purposes. This is the central point in “The Basis of the Dream” in Chapter 18 of the text (T.18.II), where Jesus describes some of the characteristics of our dreams; for example: “Dreams are chaotic because they are governed by your conflicting wishes, and therefore they have no concern with what is true. They are the best example you could have of how perception can be utilized to substitute illusions for truth. . . . They provide striking examples, both of the ego’s inability to tolerate reality, and of your willingness to change reality on its behalf. . . . Dreams show you that you have the power to make a world as you would have it be, and that because you want it you see it. And while you see it you do not doubt that it is real. Yet here is a world, clearly within your mind, that seems to be outside” (T.18.II.2:1,2,5; 5:1,2,3).

Since we all can relate to what Jesus is saying about our dreams, he can then use these examples to teach us about the dynamics going on in our minds all the time, but that we are not aware of. Thus while sleeping and dreaming are aspects of the ego’s miscreations, they can be used to help us let go of our belief in the ego thought system: “The Holy Spirit has another use for all the illusions you have made, and therefore He sees another purpose in them. To the Holy Spirit, the world is a place where you learn to forgive yourself what you think of as your sins” (W.pI.64.2:2,3).

The point that Jesus stresses is that there is no difference between our waking dreams and our sleeping dreams; they are different forms of the same dream of separation, and therefore they can be either right-minded expressions or wrong-minded expressions. “All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same” (T.18.II.5:12,13,14).

this is practical course

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 24

ACIM Text Reading for April 24

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

VIII. Attainment of the Real World

Sit quietly and look upon the world you see, and tell yourself: “The real world is not like this. It has no buildings and there are no streets where people walk alone and separate. There are no stores where people buy an endless list of things they do not need. It is not lit with artificial light, and night comes not upon it. There is no day that brightens and grows dim. There is no loss. Nothing is there but shines, and shines forever.”

The world you see must be denied, for sight of it is costing you a different kind of vision. You cannot see both worlds, for each of them involves a different kind of seeing, and depends on what you cherish. The sight of one is possible because you have denied the other. Both are not true, yet either one will seem as real to you as the amount to which you hold it dear. And yet their power is not the same, because their real attraction to you is unequal.

You do not really want the world you see, for it has disappointed you since time began. The homes you built have never sheltered you. The roads you made have led you nowhere, and no city that you built has withstood the crumbling assault of time. Nothing you made but has the mark of death upon it. Hold it not dear, for it is old and tired and ready to return to dust even as you made it. This aching world has not the power to touch the living world at all. You could not give it that, and so although you turn in sadness from it, you cannot find in it the road that leads away from it into another world.

Yet the real world has the power to touch you even here, because you love it. And what you call with love will come to you. Love always answers, being unable to deny a call for help, or not to hear the cries of pain that rise to it from every part of this strange world you made but do not want. All that you need to give this world away in glad exchange for what you did not make is willingness to learn the one you made is false.

You have been wrong about the world because you have misjudged yourself. From such a twisted reference point, what could you see? All seeing starts with the perceiver, who judges what is true and what is false. And what he judges false he does not see. You who would judge reality cannot see it, for whenever judgment enters reality has slipped away. The out of mind is out of sight, because what is denied is there but is not recognized. Christ is still there, although you know Him not. His Being does not depend upon your recognition. He lives within you in the quiet present, and waits for you to leave the past behind and enter into the world He holds out to you in love.

No one in this distracted world but has seen some glimpses of the other world about him. Yet while he still lays value on his own, he will deny the vision of the other, maintaining that he loves what he loves not, and following not the road that love points out. Love leads so gladly! As you follow Him, you will rejoice that you have found His company, and learned of Him the joyful journey home. You wait but for yourself. To give this sad world over and exchange your errors for the peace of God is but your will. And Christ will always offer you the Will of God, in recognition that you share it with Him.

It is God’s Will that nothing touch His Son except Himself, and nothing else comes nigh unto him. He is as safe from pain as God Himself, Who watches over him in everything. The world about him shines with love because God placed him in Himself where pain is not, and love surrounds him without end or flaw. Disturbance of his peace can never be. In perfect sanity he looks on love, for it is all about him and within him. He must deny the world of pain the instant he perceives the arms of love around him. And from this point of safety he looks quietly about him and recognizes that the world is one with him.

The peace of God passeth your understanding only in the past. Yet here it is, and you can understand it now. God loves His Son forever, and His Son returns His Father’s Love forever. The real world is the way that leads you to remembrance of the one thing that is wholly true and wholly yours. For all else you have lent yourself in time, and it will fade. But this one thing is always yours, being the gift of God unto His Son. Your one reality was given you, and by it God created you as one with Him.

You will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it. Your first exchange of what you made for what you want is the exchange of nightmares for the happy dreams of love. In these lie your true perceptions, for the Holy Spirit corrects the world of dreams, where all perception is. Knowledge needs no correction. Yet the dreams of love lead unto knowledge. In them you see nothing fearful, and because of this they are the welcome that you offer knowledge. Love waits on welcome, not on time, and the real world is but your welcome of what always was. Therefore the call of joy is in it, and your glad response is your awakening to what you have not lost.

Praise, then, the Father for the perfect sanity of His most holy Son. Your Father knoweth that you have need of nothing. In Heaven this is so, for what could you need in eternity? In your world you do need things. It is a world of scarcity in which you find yourself because you are lacking. Yet can you find yourself in such a world? Without the Holy Spirit the answer would be no. Yet because of Him the answer is a joyous yes! As mediator between the two worlds, He knows what you have need of and what will not hurt you. Ownership is a dangerous concept if it is left to you. The ego wants to have things for salvation, for possession is its law. Possession for its own sake is the ego’s fundamental creed, a basic cornerstone in the churches it builds to itself. And at its altar it demands you lay all of the things it bids you get, leaving you no joy in them.

Everything the ego tells you that you need will hurt you. For although the ego urges you again and again to get, it leaves you nothing, for what you get it will demand of you. And even from the very hands that grasped it, it will be wrenched and hurled into the dust. For where the ego sees salvation it sees separation, and so you lose whatever you have gotten in its name. Therefore ask not of yourself what you need, for you do not know, and your advice to yourself will hurt you. For what you think you need 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.

Only the Holy Spirit knows what you need. For He will give you all things that do not block the way to light. And what else could you need? In time, he gives you all the things that you need have, and will renew them as long as you have need of them. He will take nothing from you as long as you have any need of it. And yet He knows that everything you need is temporary, and will but last until you step aside from all your needs and realize that all of them have been fulfilled. Therefore He has no investment in the things that he supplies, except to make certain that you will not use them on behalf of lingering in time. He knows that you are not at home there, and He wills no delay to wait upon your joyous homecoming.

Leave, then, your needs to Him. He will supply them with no emphasis at all upon them. What comes to you of Him comes safely, for He will ensure it never can become a dark spot, hidden in your mind and kept to hurt you. Under His guidance you will travel light and journey lightly, for His sight is ever on the journey’s end, which is His goal. God’s Son is not a traveler through outer worlds. However holy his perception may become, no world outside himself holds his inheritance. Within himself he has no needs, for light needs nothing but to shine in peace, and from itself to let the rays extend in quiet to infinity.

Whenever you are tempted to undertake a useless journey that would lead away from light, remember what you really want, and say:

“The Holy Spirit leads me unto Christ,
And where else would I go?
What need have I but to awake in Him?”

Then follow Him in joy, with faith that He will lead you safely through all dangers to your peace of mind this world may set before you. Kneel not before the altars to sacrifice, and seek not what you will surely lose. Content yourself with what you will as surely keep, and be not restless, for you undertake a quiet journey to the peace of God, where He would have you be in quietness.

In me you have already overcome every temptation that would hold you back. We walk together on the way to quietness that is the gift of God. Hold me dear, for what except your brothers can you need? We will restore to you the peace of mind that we must find together. The Holy Spirit will teach you to awaken unto us and to yourself. This is the only real need to be fulfilled in time. Salvation from the world lies only here. My peace I give you. Take it of me in glad exchange for all the world has offered but to take away. And we will spread it like a veil of light across the world’s sad face, in which we hide our brothers from the world, and it from them.

We cannot sing redemption’s hymn alone. My task is not completed until I have lifted every voice with mine. And yet it is not mine, for as it is my gift to you, so was it the Father’s gift to me, given me through His Spirit. The sound of it will banish sorrow from the mind of God’s most holy Son, where it cannot abide. Healing in time is needed, for joy cannot establish its eternal reign where sorrow dwells. You dwell not here, but in eternity. You travel but in dreams, while safe at home. Give thanks to every part of you that you have taught how to remember you. Thus does the Son of God give thanks unto his Father for his purity.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 24

Lesson 114

For morning and evening review:

(97) I am spirit.

I am the Son of God. No body can contain my spirit,
nor impose on me a limitation God created not.

(98) I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.

What can my function be but to accept the Word of God,
Who has created me for what I am and will forever be?

On the hour:

I am spirit.

On the half hour:

I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1132: After reading the Course I have the impression that the ego is synonymous with satan. Is this so? How does Christ look at hell according to A Course in Miracles ? There seems to be little reference to it. Is it just the absence of salvation?

A: In traditional Christian teaching, Satan is believed to be an independent being whose guiles are capable of having an influence on others. The Course not only teaches that there is no Satan, or hell, but in reality there is no ego (see T.9.IV.5 ). Nothing exists outside the mind, and the belief that something or someone outside the mind can not only exist, but have an effect on it, is the hell of the mind’s making. You are correct that when the Course refers to hell or the devil it is referring to the mind’s choice to believe that separation is real. Jesus tells us in the text: “The mind can make the belief in separation very real and very fearful, and this belief is the ‘devil'” (T.3.VII.5:1),    and since the ego is the belief in separation, we may say that that ego is the devil. It is very important to remember, however, that the separation never happened (W.p.I.137.4:3), and so neither the devil nor hell exist. They are projections of the guilt that arises from the choice to believe that separation from God is possible. They seem real because they support the mind’s belief that that thought of separation is real and sinful, and deserves punishment from a vengeful God. Thus, hell and the devil are important parts of the ego thought system. Fear keeps them alive and well. In the instant that the mind decides for separation, all memory of God is obliterated from awareness, making Him “absent” in one’s experience. That is the theological definition of hell: the absence of God or salvation.

In the Course, the Christ refers to God’s Son who remains one with Him in Heaven. Just as the Father in Heaven does not know of separation because He is perfect Oneness, neither does the Christ see hell. Where God and His Son are one there is nothing else. This changeless reality of Heaven is the heart of the non-dualistic teaching of A Course in Miracles . Christ is real and “…where He is God must be, for Christ is part of Him” (T.9.I.14:7) . If hell is the absence of God, where God is there is no hell.

Forgiveness is the process by which the mind reestablishes awareness of its power to choose between Heaven and hell; the ego and the Holy Spirit. There is no other power but this; nothing else to choose. Learning this is one of the most important goals of the Course. It reflects the mind’s choice for truth and ultimately undoes belief in the ego, hell, and the “devil.”


Q #1133: I sense a perceptible irony and paradox in the Course’s objective of eliminating our separateness from our brothers, called the Son of God, in that with increasing study and reading, there is a perceptible change within me. However, as I observe the world, especially through the news media, I note more differences between us and more separateness by not being able to identify with the world. That is, my study is changing me towards goals which are not being equally developed in the world and we are slowly drifting apart in our concepts of ourselves. Is this the mistaken use of judgment? Or is this just increased opportunity to forgive the apparently increasing insanity?

A: There is a section in the text — “The Greater Joining,” in Chapter 28 — that may help you with your confusion about what seems to be happening in your experience. The mistake in your thinking is believing that you should feel closer to the world and its inhabitants as a result of practicing the Course. This could be an outcome for a while as you still identify yourself with your body. But Jesus’ goal for us in his Course is to lead us to recognize that we are not the ego — neither the thought system of separation nor its manifestations, bodies and the world. Rather we are mind that is caught in an illusory dream of separation, believing we are the figures in that dream. And the miracle, or forgiveness, is a process whereby over time we gradually identify more and more with the mind that is dreaming and less and less with the figures within the dream. This process progresses as we learn simply to release all the judgments we have been holding on to about all the figures in the dream, including the figure we have believed to be our own separate, individual self. And so you could say that the goal of the Course is to have us learn to use separation for healing, by learning to separate ourselves as mind from the ego and all its expressions.

However, this is not simply a process of intellectual denial of the world and all its insanity and suffering, for that would not be at all healing. And so we would want to ask ourselves if we are feeling some identification with and compassion towards other minds that are caught in the same painful web of ego illusion that we have been, recognizing that we all share the same underlying problem. And whenever we find ourselves in reaction to what seems to be happening with any of the figures in the dream, we have re-identified ourselves with the ego illusion and have once again made sin and guilt and pain real in our own mind, as everyone else is doing. And the solution is simply to recognize the choice we have made for the ego, not judge ourselves for making that choice, and then remember that another choice is always available, when we want it.

Although you may find it helpful to read the entire section, we’ll look at some excerpts from “The Greater Joining” that provide much of the foundation for what we have just described:

      “Accepting the Atonement for yourself means not to give support to someone’s dream of sickness and of death…. Unless you help him, you will suffer pain with him because that is your wish. And you become a figure in his dream of pain, as he in yours. So do you and your brother both become illusions, and without identity…. Refuse to be a part of fearful dreams whatever form they take, for you will lose identity in them. You find yourself by not accepting them as causing you, and giving you effects. You stand apart from them, but not apart from him who dreams them . Thus you separate the dreamer from the dream, and join in one, but let the other go. The dream is but illusion in the mind. And with the mind you would unite, but never with the dream. …. Like you, your brother thinks he is a dream. Share not in his illusion of himself, for your Identity depends on his reality. Think, rather, of him as a mind in which illusions still persist, but as a mind which brother is to you. He is not brother made by what he dreams, nor is his body, ‘hero’ of the dream, your brother. It is his reality that is your brother, as is yours to him . Your mind and his are joined in brotherhood…. Identity in dreams is meaningless because the dreamer and the dream are one. Who shares a dream must be the dream he shares, because by sharing is a cause produced…. You share confusion and you are confused, for in the gap no stable self exists. What is the same seems different, because what is the same appears to be unlike. His dreams are yours because you let them be. But if you took your own away would he be free of them, and of his own as well. Your dreams are witnesses to his, and his attest the truth of yours. Yet if you see there is no truth in yours, his dreams will go, and he will understand what made the dream. (T.28.IV.1:1,6,7,8; 2:2,3,4,5,6,7; 3:1,2,3,4,5,6; 5:4,5; 6:1,2,3,4,5,6, italics added ).

kingdom of god

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 23

ACIM Text Reading for April 23

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

VII. Finding the Present

To perceive truly is to be aware of all reality through the awareness of your own. But for this no illusions can rise to meet your sight, for reality leaves no room for any error. This means that you perceive a brother only as you see him now. His past has no reality in the present, so you cannot see it. Your past reactions to him are also not there, and if it is to them that you react, you see but an image of him that you made and cherish instead of him. In your questioning of illusions, ask yourself if it is really sane to perceive what was as now. If you remember the past as you look upon your brother, you will be unable to perceive the reality that is now.

You consider it “natural” to use your past experience as the reference point from which to judge the present. Yet this is unnatural because it is delusional. When you have learned to look on everyone with no reference at all to the past, either his or yours as you perceived it, you will be able to learn from what you see now. For the past can cast no shadow to darken the present, unless you are afraid of light. And only if you are would you choose to bring darkness with you, and by holding it in your mind, see it as a dark cloud that shrouds your brothers and conceals their reality from your sight.

This darkness is in you. The Christ as revealed to you now has no past, for He is changeless, and in His changelessness lies your release. For if He is as He was created, there is no guilt in Him. No cloud of guilt has risen to obscure Him, and He stands revealed in everyone you meet because you see Him through Himself. To be born again is to let the past go, and look without condemnation upon the present. The cloud that obscures God’s Son to you is the past, and if you would have it past and gone, you must not see it now. If you see it now in your illusions, it has not gone from you, although it is not there.

Time can release as well as imprison, depending on whose interpretation of it you use. Past, present and future are not continuous, unless you force continuity on them. You can perceive them as continuous, and make them so for you. But do not be deceived, and then believe that this is how it is. For to believe reality is what you would have it be according to your use for it is delusional. You would destroy time’s continuity by breaking it into past, present and future for your own purposes. You would anticipate the future on the basis of your past experience, and plan for it accordingly. Yet by doing so you are aligning past and future, and not allowing the miracle, which could intervene between them, to free you to be born again.

The miracle enables you to see your brother without his past, and so perceive him as born again. His errors are all past, and by perceiving him without them you are releasing him. And since his past is yours, you share in this release. Let no dark cloud out of your past obscure him from you, for truth lies only in the present, and you will find it if you seek it there. You have looked for it where it is not, and therefore have not found it. Learn, then, to seek it where it is, and it will dawn on eyes that see. Your past was made in anger, and if you use it to attack the present, you will not see the freedom that the present holds.

Judgment and condemnation are behind you, and unless you bring them with you, you will see that you are free of them. Look lovingly upon the present, for it holds the only things that are forever true. All healing lies within it because its continuity is real. It extends to all aspects of the Sonship at the same time, and thus enables them to reach each other. The present is before time was, and will be when time is no more. In it are all things that are eternal, and they are one. Their continuity is timeless and their communication is unbroken, for they are not separated by the past. Only the past can separate, and it is nowhere.

The present offers you your brothers in the light that would unite you with them, and free you from the past. Would you, then, hold the past against them? For if you do, you are choosing to remain in the darkness that is not there, and refusing to accept the light that is offered you. For the light of perfect vision is freely given as it is freely received, and can be accepted only without limit. In this one, still dimension of time that does not change, and where there is no sight of what you were, you look at Christ and call His witnesses to shine on you because you called them forth. And they will not deny the truth in you, because you looked for it in them and found it there.

Now is the time of salvation, for now is the release from time. Reach out to all your brothers, and touch them with the touch of Christ. In timeless union with them is your continuity, unbroken because it is wholly shared. God’s guiltless Son is only light. There is no darkness in him anywhere, for he is whole. Call all your brothers to witness to his wholeness, as I am calling you to join with me. Each voice has a part in the song of redemption, the hymn of gladness and thanksgiving for the light to the Creator of light. The holy light that shines forth from God’s Son is the witness that his light is of his Father.

Shine on your brothers in remembrance of your creator, for you will remember Him as you call forth the witnesses to His creation. Those whom you heal bear witness to your healing, for in their wholeness you will see your own. And as your hymns of praise and gladness rise to your Creator, He will return your thanks in His clear Answer to your call. For it can never be that His Son called upon Him and remained unanswered. His call to you is but your call to Him. And in Him you are answered by His peace.

Child of light, you know not that the light is in you. Yet you will find it through its witnesses, for having given light to them they will return it. Each one you see in light brings your light closer to your awareness. Love always leads to love. The sick, who ask for love, are grateful for it, and in their joy they shine with holy thanks. And this they offer you who gave them joy. They are your guides to joy, for having received it of you they would keep it. You have established them as guides to peace, for you have made it manifest in them. And seeing it, its beauty calls you home.

There is a light that this world cannot give. Yet you can give it, as it was given you. And as you give it, it shines forth to call you from the world and follow it. For this light will attract you as nothing in this world can do. And you will lay aside the world and find another. This other world is bright with love which you have given it. And here will everything remind you of your Father and His holy Son. Light is unlimited, and spreads across this world in quiet joy. All those you brought with you will shine on you, and you will shine on them in gratitude because they brought you here. Your light will join with theirs in power so compelling, that it will draw the others out of darkness as you look on them.

Awaking unto Christ is following the laws of love of your free will, and out of quiet recognition of the truth in them. The attraction of light must draw you willingly, and willingness is signified by giving. Those who accept love of you become your willing witnesses to the love you gave them, and it is they who hold it out to you. In sleep you are alone, and your awareness is narrowed to yourself. And that is why the nightmares come. You dream of isolation because your eyes are closed. You do not see your brothers, and in the darkness you cannot look upon the light you gave to them.

And yet the laws of love are not suspended because you sleep. And you have followed them through all your nightmares, and have been faithful in your giving, for you were not alone. Even in sleep has Christ protected you, ensuring the real world for you when you awake. In your name He has given for you, and given you the gifts He gave. God’s Son is still as loving as his Father. Continuous with his Father, he has no past apart from Him. So he has never ceased to be his Father’s witness and his own. Although he slept, Christ’s vision did not leave him. And so it is that he can call unto himself the witnesses that teach him that he never slept.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 23

Lesson 113
For morning and evening review:

(95) I am one Self, united with my Creator.

Serenity and perfect peace are mine, because I am one Self,
completely whole, at one with all creation and with God.

(96) Salvation comes from my one Self.

From my one Self, Whose knowledge still remains within my mind,
I see God’s perfect plan for my salvation perfectly fulfilled.

On the hour:

I am one Self, united with my Creator.

On the half hour:

Salvation comes from my one Self.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #200: I am in my first year with A Course in Miracles. I was sexually molested as a child. The severe shame I feel from this has made relationships difficult. With each new failure to keep or maintain a relationship, they seem to become progressively more difficult. I don’t mind being in the constant process of forgiving the perpetrators. But my life struggle seems to be in sustaining forgiveness of myself. Is there any way I can address this specifically in my renewed relationship with God?

A: It is your ego that has convinced you that the shame you feel now is the result of those traumatic and shameful abusive experiences of your childhood. That way, the problem remains in the past, never really capable of being undone. But you are not alone in thinking this way. This is the purpose of the world, to keep our focus away from the real problem in the mind, the original and only source of guilt and shame, and on events in our lives that have happened to us and cannot be reversed.

This is not to say that those childhood experiences were not horrific or that you don’t continue to be haunted by thoughts related to those experiences. But what the Course offers you now is another way in the present of looking at all of that so that it need not maintain the grip on your life and your mind that it has up until now.

The guilt buried deep in our mind over the thought that we would want to and could separate ourselves from love is the real source of all of our shame. And it is a shame so severe that we believe that we do not deserve to be loved, that a lifetime beginning with abuse by those who are responsible for us is a fitting punishment for our “crime” of assaulting love. We carry the belief that we are somehow fatally flawed and that is the real cause of our shame.

But we never go back and look at that source of shame in our mind, where with the gentle support of Jesus, God’s symbol of love in our mind, we might begin to question the validity of that original self-accusation. Instead, we shift our focus to the world of bodies and the shame associated with being helpless and abused by others over whom we have no power or control. And then this seems to be the shame that poisons our whole life, and all the relationships we embark upon in search of the love that is missing that we yearn for. But the good news of the Course is that the problem is not where we are seeing it, in the world of bodies, but rather in our minds, where the solution — forgiveness — is as well.

And so this is where your renewed relationship with God and His representative, Jesus, and his Course, offers hope. For as you are willing to uncover the deeper ontological guilt and shame that your lifetime of personal shame is pointing to, looking at it with Jesus’ love beside you, you will gradually allow yourself to recognize that there is nothing to be ashamed of. For with his love there with you, you will begin to recognize that you have not abandoned or betrayed love, and love has not abandoned or betrayed you.

For a discussion about forgiving the perpetrators, see also Q#174.


*

Q #174-a: How does A Course in Miracles deal with severe woundedness? For many years, I have struggled with the inequality of parents and children, focused on abuse I received on all levels, resulting in impoverished development even though I am very bright. I have two questions:

#174-b: How can I forgive evil? What happened to me is evil, sourced in escape of responsibility and outright violation — emotionally, spiritually, mentally, personally.

#174-c: What am I? What does it mean to be a spiritual creature (my body is light) while living in a world made of hate, conflict, and power?

A: The world is a desperate, cruel place, filled with the effects of evil thoughts. People can be unconscionably vicious and brutal to each other, abusing those over whom they have power, much as they have been abused by those who have had power over them. It is a vicious cycle from which no escape seems possible. Yet escape is possible, if we are willing to look beneath the surface of our ready judgments of good and evil and our facile distinctions between the guilty and the innocent.

Now there may be a way of understanding what motivated your parents to treat you as they did, but that does not mean there is any justification for it. Yet you also are recognizing that holding on to the judgment and the pain only keeps you trapped in mental anguish that paralyzes you and prevents you from experiencing the joy and peace that we are assured is our God-given inheritance (W.pI.104).

The Course recognizes that “frightened people can be vicious” (T.3.I.4:2). This awareness holds the key to releasing ourselves and everyone else from the grips of evil. It is fear that motivates all of us to act out our evil thoughts, and not inherent evil. No one in the world is immune from having thoughts of evil — that is the nature of the ego thought system that we all share. Some of us may have become better than others at curbing our overt behavior. But rage bordering on the murderous simmers within each of our minds until we learn how to uncover the guilt that fuels the rage and allow it to be healed in the light of the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness. The ego is complete and total darkness — there is no light within its tightly sealed boundaries — and we all grope for our way, stumbling without hope while we remain identified with its evil purposes.

We are all one in sharing the wrong-minded ego, although we may differ in how we give it expression in our lives. But until we acknowledge its presence within us, we will be caught in dysfunctional attempts to defend against the guilt and self-hatred that are the inevitable companions of our belief in the darkness within. We will seek to project that guilt outside ourselves and on to others. And so we will lash out, wanting to hold others responsible for the pain that comes from feeling separated from love. Some find socially appropriate but still ego-motivated ways to channel this overwhelming experience of pain and guilt. Others direct it out with little or no concern for its effects on others. And so these become the rapists, the murderers, the child abusers. And it becomes easy to see the sin and guilt within them, as a testament to our own “innocence.” Yet what drives them is no different from what drives all of us who have not uncovered these unconscious dynamics in order to begin to heal them. And so the first step in our own healing — after acknowledging our judgments against the murderer, the rapist, the abuser — is to recognize the common “humanity” that we all share — a desperate, pain-filled identity that places self-interest and self-preservation above everything else. We all do it, but our cover may just be better.

If we can begin to get in touch with the fact that our own pain is the same as everyone else’s pain, and it is only that pain which leads all of us to act in insane ways, we have opened the door to a more merciful and compassionate view of both ourselves and everyone else. For we will have begun to see that whatever cruelty any of us acts out is only a defense against the guilt and pain within — the same guilt and pain that we all experience.

This is not to say that our own experiences of abuse should be denied. But there is a step beyond acknowledging the pain that we have felt at others’ hands that we will take when we are ready to move beyond the pain. The problem in the present is not the events of the past themselves but the interpretation we are continuing to give them. And the Course provides us a different way of looking at those past events, helping us to understand what at a deeper level motivated the abusive actions, and how we share that same deeper motivation in our own life as we have been living it with the ego’s guidance. Only then can we recognize the choice we have in the present to be released from the pain of our own self-judgments.

We are all looking for a way out of our pain, but we blindly think and act in ways that continue to inflict pain upon ourselves — judgments and attacks against others that only reinforce the belief in separation that is the foundation of the ego thought system. When we begin to recognize the content of fear behind the ego’s cruelty — either someone else’s or own — the judgments we have been holding onto can begin to dissolve. We will have begun to shift from the self-interest of the ego to the shared interest of the Holy Spirit, Who recognizes that we are all joined in the same need for release from the guilt and pain of the ego thought system. That recognition of shared interests is a reflection of the love that we all yearn for and the Oneness that we all share as the holy and innocent Son of God, an Identity that transcends the shared ego and its manifestations, from which the illusion of evil has arisen.

forgiveness is still

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 22

ACIM Text Reading for April 22

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

VI. The Two Emotions

I have said you have but two emotions, love and fear. One is changeless but continually exchanged, being offered by the eternal to the eternal. In this exchange it is extended, for it increases as it is given. The other has many forms, for the content of individual illusions differs greatly. Yet they have one thing in common; they are all insane. They are made of sights that are not seen, and sounds that are not heard. They make up a private world that cannot be shared. For they are meaningful only to their maker, and so they have no meaning at all. In this world their maker moves alone, for only he perceives them.

Each one peoples his world with figures from his individual past, and it is because of this that private worlds do differ. Yet the figures that he sees were never real, for they are made up only of his reactions to his brothers, and do not include their reactions to him. Therefore, he does not see he made them, and that they are not whole. For these figures have no witnesses, being perceived in one separate mind only.

It is through these strange and shadowy figures that the insane relate to their insane world. For they see only those who remind them of these images, and it is to them that they relate. Thus do they communicate with those who are not there, and it is they who answer them. And no one hears their answer save him who called upon them, and he alone believes they answered him. Projection makes perception, and you cannot see beyond it. Again and again have you attacked your brother, because you saw in him a shadow figure in your private world. And thus it is you must attack yourself first, for what you attack is not in others. Its only reality is in your own mind, and by attacking others you are literally attacking what is not there.

The delusional can be very destructive, for they do not recognize they have condemned themselves. They do not wish to die, yet they will not let condemnation go. And so they separate into their private worlds, where everything is disordered, and where what is within appears to be without. Yet what is within they do not see, for the reality of their brothers they cannot recognize.

You have but two emotions, yet in your private world you react to each of them as though it were the other. For love cannot abide in a world apart, where when it comes it is not recognized. If you see your own hatred as your brother, you are not seeing him. Everyone draws nigh unto what he loves, and recoils from what he fears. And you react with fear to love, and draw away from it. Yet fear attracts you, and believing it is love, you call it to yourself. Your private world is filled with figures of fear you have invited into it, and all the love your brothers offer you, you do not see.

As you look with open eyes upon your world, it must occur to you that you have withdrawn into insanity. You see what is not there, and you hear what makes no sound. Your manifestations of emotions are the opposite of what the emotions are. You communicate with no one, and you are as isolated from reality as if you were alone in all the universe. In your madness you overlook reality completely, and you see only your own split mind everywhere you look. God calls you and you do not hear, for you are preoccupied with your own voice. And the vision of Christ is not in your sight, for you look upon yourself alone.

Little child, would you offer this to your Father? For if you offer it to yourself, you are offering it to Him. And He will not return it, for it is unworthy of you because it is unworthy of Him. Yet He would release you from it and set you free. His sane Answer tells you what you have offered yourself is not true, but His offering to you has never changed. You who know not what you do can learn what insanity is, and look beyond it. It is given you to learn how to deny insanity, and come forth from your private world in peace. You will see all that you denied in your brothers because you denied it in yourself. For you will love them, and by drawing nigh unto them you will draw them to yourself, perceiving them as witnesses to the reality you share with God. I am with them as I am with you, and we will draw them from their private worlds, for as we are united so would we unite with them. The Father welcomes all of us in gladness, and gladness is what we should offer Him. For every Son of God is given you to whom God gave Himself. And it is God Whom you must offer them, to recognize His gift to you.

Vision depends on light. You cannot see in darkness. Yet in darkness, in the private world of sleep, you see in dreams although your eyes are closed. And it is here that what you see you made. But let the darkness go and all you made you will no longer see, for sight of it depends upon denying vision. Yet from denying vision it does not follow you cannot see. But this is what denial does, for by it you accept insanity, believing you can make a private world and rule your own perception. Yet for this, light must be excluded. Dreams disappear when light has come and you can see.

Do not seek vision through your eyes, for you made your way of seeing that you might see in darkness, and in this you are deceived. Beyond this darkness, and yet still within you, is the vision of Christ, Who looks on all in light. Your “vision” comes from fear, as His from love. And He sees for you, as your witness to the real world. He is the Holy Spirit’s manifestation, looking always on the real world, and calling forth its witnesses and drawing them to you. He loves what He sees within you, and He would extend it. And He will not return unto the Father until He has extended your perception even unto Him. And there perception is no more, for He has returned you to the Father with him.

You have but two emotions, and one you made and one was given you. Each is a way of seeing, and different worlds arise from their different sights. See through the vision that is given you, for through Christ’s vision He beholds Himself. And seeing what He is, He knows His Father. Beyond your darkest dreams He sees God’s guiltless Son within you, shining in perfect radiance that is undimmed by your dreams. And this you will see as you look with Him, for His vision is His gift of love to you, given Him of the Father for you.

The Holy Spirit is the Light in which Christ stands revealed. And all who would behold Him can see Him, for they have asked for light. Nor will they see Him alone, for He is no more alone than they are. Because they saw the Son, they have risen in Him to the Father. And all this will they understand, because they looked within and saw beyond the darkness the Christ in them, and recognized Him. In the sanity of His vision they looked upon themselves with love, seeing themselves as the Holy Spirit sees them. And with this vision of the truth in them came all the beauty of the world to shine upon them.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 22

Lesson 112

For morning and evening review:

(93) Light and joy and peace abide in me.

I am the home of light and joy and peace.
I welcome them into the home I share with God,
because I am a part of Him.

(94) I am as God created me.

I will remain forever as I was,
created by the Changeless like Himself.
And I am one with Him, and He with me.

On the hour:

Light and joy and peace abide in me.

On the half hour:

I am as God created me.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #535: I have a question about something I read in “The Guiltless World” in Chapter 13 of A Course in Miracles, in section VI, “Finding the Present”. In paragraph 4 it says: “Past, present and future are not continuous….” Then it says: “You would destroy time’s continuity by breaking it into past, present and future….” This is confusing to me. First it says past, present and future are not continuous. Then it says that I would destroy time’s continuity. How can I destroy time’s continuity if it is not continuous? Or, am I misreading this paragraph?

A: The key is in understanding that the ego and the Holy Spirit perceive the purpose of illusory time exactly the opposite (T.13.IV.7:1,2) and so each focuses on different aspects of time: the ego on the past and future; the Holy Spirit on the present. The ego wants to keep us trapped in the illusion of time for that keeps the ego alive. And so it attempts to establish an artificial continuity or link between the illusory past and the illusory future through guilt and fear, which makes time real in our experience. The ego literally ignores the present except as a fleeting moment in time that links the past and the future, with the future a fearful and inevitable continuation of the sinful, guilty past, with no hope of escape (T.5.VI.2:1,2,3,4; T.13.I.8; T.13.IV.8).

The Holy Spirit, in contrast, seeks to help us move beyond the illusion of time and so uses the present, the only aspect of time that approximates eternity, to extend to the infinite (T.13.IV.7:3,4,5,6,7; T.13.VI.6). The past’s only value is that it can be undone through forgiveness, transforming it and purifying it so that it no longer conflicts with the present (T.17.III.5). For the Holy Spirit, the holy instant, the present moment, is one continuous instant without interruption or ending, which is the bridge between time and timelessness. If we do not experience its continuity, it is only because we have accepted the ego’s interpretation of time, which attempts to impose an artificial continuity between a sinful past that has never happened and a future of punishment and pain that is nothing more than a sick fantasy (W.pI.135.16).


Q #536: Many times A Course in Miracles tells us to let go of our judgments and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. It says that if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, all of our needs will be met. It also explains that “needs” means seeming needs that we perceive while we are still in illusion. It also says that we must awaken in peace. By this I understand it to mean that we cannot awaken from a dream of terror but first we must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us from our fearful dream to a “happy dream.” Then, we can awaken. Do I understand this correctly? How can we be sure we are not following the guidance of the ego’s judgments and mistaking them for the real Holy Spirit’s guidance?

A: Your understanding is basically correct, provided you do not mean that you expect all your seeming worldly needs to be met so long as you follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. For if you do, you will be setting yourself up for certain disappointment. There are a few passages in the Course where the language seems to suggest this kind of Providential provision for our needs (e.g., T.20.IV.8, but see also Question #293), but these are intended as comforting passages to reassure us that God loves us and does not want to punish or hurt us in any way, as the ego would have us believe. As we come to understand the level of mind at which the Course is written, it becomes apparent that Jesus is referring to the obstacles and perceived needs in the mind, not in the body, which after all is only a lifeless projection of the thoughts of scarcity and need in the mind.

As for your question about hearing the Holy Spirit, His guidance is always and only to forgive (T.25.VI.5:3,4,5,6; W.pI.99.9:6,7,8; W.pII.1.5:1). And that does not require us to do anything. Rather it asks us to undo our judgments of attack and condemnation. Anything specific that we might say or do following that release of judgment is simply the form that our own minds, joined with the Holy Spirit, then give to the experience of love and peace that flow through our minds when we are not restricting their extension by our desire for something else. So long as you accept that your role is simply to recognize your ego’s judgments and be willing to let them go, you need not concern yourself with anything else. You will be following the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Your concern about distinguishing between the ego’s and the Holy Spirit’s guidance has also been addressed in other Questions, including #43, #285, and #309.

teach not that i died in vain

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 20

ACIM Text Reading for April 21

Chapter 14 ~ The Guiltless World

V. The Function of Time

And now the reason why you are afraid of this course should be apparent. For this is a course on love, because it is about you. You have been told that your function in this world is healing, and your function in Heaven is creating. The ego teaches that your function on earth is destruction, and you have no function at all in Heaven. It would thus destroy you here and bury you here, leaving you no inheritance except the dust out of which it thinks you were made. As long as it is reasonably satisfied with you, as its reasoning goes, it offers you oblivion. When it becomes overtly savage, it offers you hell.

Yet neither oblivion nor hell is as unacceptable to you as Heaven. Your definition of Heaven is hell and oblivion, and the real Heaven is the greatest threat you think you could experience. For hell and oblivion are ideas that you made up, and you are bent on demonstrating their reality to establish yours. If their reality is questioned, you believe that yours is. For you believe that attack is your reality, and that your destruction is the final proof that you were right.

Under the circumstances, would it not be more desirable to have been wrong, even apart from the fact that you were wrong? While it could perhaps be argued that death suggests there was life, no one would claim that it proves there is life. Even the past life that death might indicate, could only have been futile if it must come to this, and needs this to prove that it was at all. You question Heaven, but you do not question this. Yet you could heal and be healed if you did question it. And even though you know not Heaven, might it not be more desirable than death? You have been as selective in your questioning as in your perception. An open mind is more honest than this.

The ego has a strange notion of time, and it is with this notion that your questioning might well begin. The ego invests heavily in the past, and in the end believes that the past is the only aspect of time that is meaningful. Remember that its emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future like the past, and thus avoiding the present. By the notion of paying for the past in the future, the past becomes the determiner of the future, making them continuous without an intervening present. For the ego regards the present only as a brief transition to the future, in which it brings the past to the future by interpreting the present in past terms.

“Now” has no meaning to the ego. The present merely reminds it of past hurts, and it reacts to the present as if it were the past. The ego cannot tolerate release from the past, and although the past is over, the ego tries to preserve its image by responding as if it were present. It dictates your reactions to those you meet in the present from a past reference point, obscuring their present reality. In effect, if you follow the ego’s dictates you will react to your brother as though he were someone else, and this will surely prevent you from recognizing him as he is. And you will receive messages from him out of your own past because, by making it real in the present, you are forbidding yourself to let it go. You thus deny yourself the message of release that every brother offers you now.

The shadowy figures from the past are precisely what you must escape. They are not real, and have no hold over you unless you bring them with you. They carry the spots of pain in your mind, directing you to attack in the present in retaliation for a past that is no more. And this decision is one of future pain. Unless you learn that past pain is an illusion, you are choosing a future of illusions and losing the many opportunities you could find for release in the present. The ego would preserve your nightmares, and prevent you from awakening and understanding they are past. Would you recognize a holy encounter if you are merely perceiving it as a meeting with your own past? For you would be meeting no one, and the sharing of salvation, which makes the encounter holy, would be excluded from your sight. The Holy Spirit teaches that you always meet yourself, and the encounter is holy because you are. The ego teaches that you always encounter your past, and because your dreams were not holy, the future cannot be, and the present is without meaning.

It is evident that the Holy Spirit’s perception of time is the exact opposite of the ego’s. The reason is equally clear, for they perceive the goal of time as diametrically opposed. The Holy Spirit interprets time’s purpose as rendering the need for time unnecessary. He regards the function of time as temporary, serving only His teaching function, which is temporary by definition. His emphasis is therefore on the only aspect of time that can extend to the infinite, for now is the closest approximation of eternity that this world offers. It is in the reality of “now,” without past or future, that the beginning of the appreciation of eternity lies. For only “now” is here, and only “now” presents the opportunities for the holy encounters in which salvation can be found.

The ego, on the other hand, regards the function of time as one of extending itself in place of eternity, for like the Holy Spirit, the ego interprets the goal of time as its own. The continuity of past and future, under its direction, is the only purpose the ego perceives in time, and it closes over the present so that no gap in its own continuity can occur. Its continuity, then, would keep you in time, while the Holy Spirit would release you from it. It is His interpretation of the means of salvation that you must learn to accept, if you would share His goal of salvation for you.

You, too, will interpret the function of time as you interpret yours. If you accept your function in the world of time as one of healing, you will emphasize only the aspect of time in which healing can occur. Healing cannot be accomplished in the past. It must be accomplished in the present to release the future. This interpretation ties the future to the present, and extends the present rather than the past. But if you interpret your function as destruction, you will lose sight of the present and hold on to the past to ensure a destructive future. And time will be as you interpret it, for of itself it is nothing.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 21

Lesson 111

REVIEW III
Introduction

Our next review begins today. We will review two recent lessons every day for ten successive days of practicing. We will observe a special format for these practice periods, that you are urged to follow just as closely as you can.

We understand, of course, that it may be impossible for you to undertake what is suggested here as optimal each day and every hour of the day. Learning will not be hampered when you miss a practice period because it is impossible at the appointed time. Nor is it necessary that you make excessive efforts to be sure that you catch up in terms of numbers. Rituals are not our aim, and would defeat our goal.

But learning will be hampered when you skip a practice period because you are unwilling to devote the time to it that you are asked to give. Do not deceive yourself in this. Unwillingness can be most carefully concealed behind a cloak of situations you cannot control. Learn to distinguish situations that are poorly suited to your practicing from those that you establish to uphold a camouflage for your unwillingness.

Those practice periods that you have lost because you did not want to do them, for whatever reason, should be done as soon as you have changed your mind about your goal. You are unwilling to cooperate in practicing salvation only if it interferes with goals you hold more dear. When you withdraw the value given them, allow your practice periods to be replacements for your litanies to them. They gave you nothing. But your practicing can offer everything to you. And so accept their offering and be at peace.

The format you should use for these reviews is this: Devote five minutes twice a day, or longer if you would prefer it, to considering the thoughts that are assigned. Read over the ideas and comments that are written down for each day’s exercise. And then begin to think about them, while letting your mind relate them to your needs, your seeming problems and all your concerns.

Place the ideas within your mind, and let it use them as it chooses. Give it faith that it will use them wisely, being helped in its decisions by the One Who gave the thoughts to you. What can you trust but what is in your mind? Have faith, in these reviews, the means the Holy Spirit uses will not fail. The wisdom of your mind will come to your assistance. Give direction at the outset; then lean back in quiet faith, and let the mind employ the thoughts you gave as they were given you for it to use.

You have been given them in perfect trust; in perfect confidence that you would use them well; in perfect faith that you would see their messages and use them for yourself. Offer them to your mind in that same trust and confidence and faith. It will not fail. It is the Holy Spirit’s chosen means for your salvation. Since it has His trust, His means must surely merit yours as well.

We emphasize the benefits to you if you devote the first five minutes of the day to your reviews, and also give the last five minutes of your waking day to them. If this cannot be done, at least try to divide them so you undertake one in the morning, and the other in the hour just before you go to sleep.

The exercises to be done throughout the day are equally important, and perhaps of even greater value. You have been inclined to practice only at appointed times, and then go on your way to other things, without applying what you learned to them. As a result, you have gained little reinforcement, and have not given your learning a fair chance to prove how great are its potential gifts to you. Here is another chance to use it well.

In these reviews, we stress the need to let your learning not lie idly by between your longer practice periods. Attempt to give your daily two ideas a brief but serious review each hour. Use one on the hour, and the other one a half an hour later. You need not give more than just a moment to each one. Repeat it, and allow your mind to rest a little time in silence and in peace. Then turn to other things, but try to keep the thought with you, and let it serve to help you keep your peace throughout the day as well.

If you are shaken, think of it again. These practice periods are planned to help you form the habit of applying what you learn each day to everything you do.  Do not repeat the thought and lay it down. Its usefulness is limitless to you. And it is meant to serve you in all ways, all times and places, and whenever you need help of any kind. Try, then, to take it with you in the business of the day and make it holy, worthy of God’s Son, acceptable to God and to your Self.

Each day’s review assignments will conclude with a restatement of the thought to use each hour, and the one to be applied on each half hour as well. Forget them not. This second chance with each of these ideas will bring such large advances that we come from these reviews with learning gains so great we will continue on more solid ground, with firmer footsteps and with stronger faith.

Do not forget how little you have learned.
Do not forget how much you can learn now.
Do not forget your Father’s need of you,
As you review these thoughts He gave to you.


Lesson 111

For morning and evening review:

(91) Miracles are seen in light.

I cannot see in darkness. Let the light of holiness and
truth light up my mind, and let me see the innocence
within.

(92) Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.

I see through strength, the gift of God to me.
My weakness is the dark His gift dispels, by giving
me His strength to take its place.

On the hour:

Miracles are seen in light.

On the half hour:

Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #68: What happens to the mind after the demise of the body? Does the mind go home and re-join, although it never left? What happens to the ego? Where can I find this answer in the Text?

A: The answer to your questions lies in understanding the Course’s teaching on life and death, contrasted with the ego’s version. It is very important to remember that the Course refers to death as the choice in the mind to believe the ego’s definition of who we are: sinful, fearful, guilty, separated individuals imprisoned in bodies. This belief is the ego’s way of dealing a death blow to our awareness of who we really are as God’s innocent Son, and this is what the Course calls “death.” When the Course speaks of “life” it is always referring to our life in Heaven with God. “There is no life outside of Heaven” (T.23.II.19:1).

With that in mind there are several passages in the Course that address death, the mind, the body and the ego that are helpful in understanding the points you bring up. 1)The Course tells us the mind is not in the body: “It (mind) cannot make a body, nor abide within a body” (W.pI.167.6:3); “A mind and body cannot both exist. Make no attempt to reconcile the two, for one denies the other can be real. If you are physical, your mind is gone from your self- concept, for it has no place in which it could be really part of you. If you are spirit, then the body must be meaningless to your reality” (W.p.I.96.3:4,5,6,7).

Therefore there cannot be any change to the condition of the mind due to the demise of the body, nothing happens to it and it does not go anywhere. This is difficult for us to understand because most of us identify with our bodies, but it is essential to understanding the Course’s teaching. You are correct in saying that in truth the mind never left its home in Heaven, where it abides in Oneness. Our illusory experience in this dream is the result of a thought in the sleeping mind of the Son, who believes the separation actually occurred. The mind does not return home when the body dies. The mind returns home when it makes a final choice to accept the Atonement and no longer identify with the ego thought system. It thus awakens to the truth that it never left Heaven, never separated from its Source.

The ego is also not in the body; it is the thought of separation in the mind which does not change with the death of the body: “The ego is the part of the mind that believes in division” (T.5.V.3:1). The ego is not in the body but does identify with the body. We too identify with the body when we choose the ego thought system, which is why we accept the body’s experience of death and believe in its significance. With the ego we see it as “…the central dream from which all illusions stem…It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. This is regarded as ‘the way of nature,’ not to be raised to question, but to be accepted as the ‘natural’ law of life” (M.27.1:1,4,5). Although the ego does not die with the demise of the body, because it is a thought in the mind, it is obsessed with death; fearing it, seeking it, using it to prove its reality and the reality of the body. It may be helpful to review “The Attraction of Death” (T.19.IV.C). Our experience in learning a new identity by questioning our beliefs of who we thinkwe are, freeing ourselves to accept the Holy Spirit’s message of who we reallyare, will enable us to see the death of the body differently and open our minds to a new perception and experience of the life the Course speaks of: “When your body and your ego and your dreams are gone, you will know that you will last forever. Perhaps you think this is accomplished through death, but nothing is accomplished through death, because death is nothing. Everything is accomplished through life, and life is of the mind and in the mind. The body neither lives nor dies, because it cannot contain you who are life” (T.6.V.A.1:1, 2, 3,4).

shine it away