ACIM Text Reading for April 3
Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego
VII. Waking to Redemption
It is impossible not to believe what you see, but it is equally impossible to see what you do not believe. Perceptions are built up on the basis of experience, and experience leads to beliefs. It is not until beliefs are fixed that perceptions stabilize. In effect, then, what you believe you do see. That is what I meant when I said, “Blessed are ye who have not seen and still believe,” for those who believe in the resurrection will see it. The resurrection is the complete triumph of Christ over the ego, not by attack but by transcendence. For Christ does rise above the ego and all its works, and ascends to the Father and His Kingdom.
Would you join in the resurrection or the crucifixion? Would you condemn your brothers or free them? Would you transcend your prison and ascend to the Father? These questions are all the same, and are answered together. There has been much confusion about what perception means, because the word is used both for awareness and for the interpretation of awareness. Yet you cannot be aware without interpretation, for what you perceive is your interpretation.
This course is perfectly clear. If you do not see it clearly, it is because you are interpreting against it, and therefore do not believe it. And since belief determines perception, you do not perceive what it means and therefore do not accept it. Yet different experiences lead to different beliefs and experience does teach. I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny. Learning of Christ is easy, for to perceive with Him involves no strain at all. His perceptions are your natural awareness, and it is only the distortions you introduce that tire you. Let the Christ in you interpret for you, and do not try to limit what you see by narrow little beliefs that are unworthy of God’s Son. For until Christ comes into His Own, the Son of God will see himself as Fatherless.
I am your resurrection and your life. You live in me because you live in God. And everyone lives in you, as you live in everyone. Can you, then, perceive unworthiness in a brother and not perceive it in yourself? And can you perceive it in yourself and not perceive it in God? Believe in the resurrection because it has been accomplished, and it has been accomplished in you. This is as true now as it will ever be, for the resurrection is the Will of God, which knows no time and no exceptions. But make no exceptions yourself, or you will not perceive what has been accomplished for you. For we ascend unto the Father together, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, for such is the nature of God’s Son as His Father created him.
Do not underestimate the power of the devotion of God’s Son, nor the power the god he worships has over him. For he places himself at the altar of his god, whether it be the god he made or the God Who created him. That is why his slavery is as complete as his freedom, for he will obey only the god he accepts. The god of crucifixion demands that he crucify, and his worshippers obey. In his name they crucify themselves, believing that the power of the Son of God is born of sacrifice and pain. The God of resurrection demands nothing, for He does not will to take away. He does not require obedience, for obedience implies submission. He would only have you learn your will and follow it, not in the spirit of sacrifice and submission, but in the gladness of freedom.
Resurrection must compel your allegiance gladly, because it is the symbol of joy. Its whole compelling power lies in the fact that it represents what you want to be. The freedom to leave behind everything that hurts you and humbles you and frightens you cannot be thrust upon you, but it can be offered you through the grace of God. And you can accept it by His grace, for God is gracious to His Son, accepting him without question as His Own. Who, then, is your own? The Father has given you all that is His, and He Himself is yours with them. Guard them in their resurrection, for otherwise you will not awake in God, safely surrounded by what is yours forever.
You will not find peace until you have removed the nails from the hands of God’s Son, and taken the last thorn from his forehead. The Love of God surrounds His Son whom the god of crucifixion condemns. Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you. For the undoing of the crucifixion of God’s Son is the work of the redemption, in which everyone has a part of equal value. God does not judge His guiltless Son. Having given Himself to him, how could it be otherwise?
You have nailed yourself to a cross, and placed a crown of thorns upon your own head. Yet you cannot crucify God’s Son, for the Will of God cannot die. His Son has been redeemed from his own crucifixion, and you cannot assign to death whom God has given eternal life. The dream of crucifixion still lies heavy on your eyes, but what you see in dreams is not reality. While you perceive the Son of God as crucified, you are asleep. And as long as you believe that you can crucify him, you are only having nightmares. You who are beginning to wake are still aware of dreams, and have not yet forgotten them. The forgetting of dreams and the awareness of Christ come with the awakening of others to share your redemption.
You will awaken to your own call, for the Call to awake is within you. If I live in you, you are awake. Yet you must see the works I do through you, or you will not perceive that I have done them unto you. Do not set limits on what you believe I can do through you, or you will not accept what I can do for you. Yet it is done already, and unless you give all that you have received you will not know that your Redeemer liveth, and that you have awakened with Him. Redemption is recognized only by sharing it.
God’s Son is saved. Bring only this awareness to the Sonship, and you will have a part in the redemption as valuable as mine. For your part must be like mine if you learn it of me. If you believe that yours is limited, you are limiting mine. There is no order of difficulty in miracles because all of God’s Sons are of equal value, and their equality is their oneness. The whole power of God is in every part of Him, and nothing contradictory to His Will is either great or small. What does not exist has no size and no measure. To God all things are possible. And to Christ it is given to be like the Father.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 3
Light and joy and peace abide in me.
You think you are the home of evil, darkness and sin. You think if anyone could see the truth about you he would be repelled, recoiling from you as if from a poisonous snake. You think if what is true about you were revealed to you, you would be struck with horror so intense that you would rush to death by your own hand, living on after seeing this being impossible.
These are beliefs so firmly fixed that it is difficult to help you see that they are based on nothing. That you have made mistakes is obvious. That you have sought salvation in strange ways; have been deceived, deceiving and afraid of foolish fantasies and savage dreams; and have bowed down to idols made of dust,–all this is true by what you now believe.
Today we question this, not from the point of view of what you think, but from a very different reference point, from which such idle thoughts are meaningless. These thoughts are not according to God’s Will. These weird beliefs He does not share with you. This is enough to prove that they are wrong, but you do not perceive that this is so.
Why would you not be overjoyed to be assured that all the evil that you think you did was never done, that all your sins are nothing, that you are as pure and holy as you were created, and that light and joy and peace abide in you? Your image of yourself cannot withstand the Will of God. You think that this is death, but it is life. You think you are destroyed, but you are saved.
The self you made is not the Son of God. Therefore, this self does not exist at all. And anything it seems to do and think means nothing. It is neither bad nor good. It is unreal, and nothing more than that. It does not battle with the Son of God. It does not hurt him, nor attack his peace. It has not changed creation, nor reduced eternal sinlessness to sin, and love to hate. What power can this self you made possess, when it would contradict the Will of God?
Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. Over and over this must be repeated, until it is accepted. It is true. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. Nothing can touch it, or change what God created as eternal. The self you made, evil and full of sin, is meaningless. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God, and light and joy and peace abide in you.
Salvation requires the acceptance of but one thought;–you are as God created you, not what you made of yourself. Whatever evil you may think you did, you are as God created you. Whatever mistakes you made, the truth about you is unchanged. Creation is eternal and unalterable. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. You are and will forever be exactly as you were created. Light and joy and peace abide in you because God put them there.
In our longer exercise periods today, which would be most profitable if done for the first five minutes of every waking hour, begin by stating the truth about your creation:
Light and joy and peace abide in me.
My sinlessness is guaranteed by God.
Then put away your foolish self-images, and spend the rest of the practice period in trying to experience what God has given you, in place of what you have decreed for yourself.
You are what God created or what you made. One Self is true; the other is not there. Try to experience the unity of your one Self. Try to appreciate Its Holiness and the love from which It was created. Try not to interfere with the Self which God created as you, by hiding Its majesty behind the tiny idols of evil and sinfulness you have made to replace It. Let It come into Its Own. Here you are; This is You. And light and joy and peace abide in you because this is so.
You may not be willing or even able to use the first five minutes of each hour for these exercises. Try, however, to do so when you can. At least remember to repeat these thoughts each hour:
Light and joy and peace abide in me.
My sinlessness is guaranteed by God.
Then try to devote at least a minute or so to closing your eyes and realizing that this is a statement of the truth about you.
If a situation arises that seems to be disturbing, quickly dispel the illusion of fear by repeating these thoughts again. Should you be tempted to become angry with someone, tell him silently:
Light and joy and peace abide in you.
Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God.
You can do much for the world’s salvation today. You can do much today to bring you closer to the part in salvation that God has assigned to you. And you can do much today to bring the conviction to your mind that the idea for the day is true indeed.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1302: When I shut the doors, confine myself in a room, and immerse myself in reading A Course in Miracles , I feel such elation because everything it says rings true. I literally wish that when I open the doors, the illusory world would not exist anymore. This brings instantaneous fear and anxiety, of course. I sometimes picture the “cunning” ego asserting specialness, as if mocking me to say “see, God does not really love you; you’re stuck here.” I get so confused and sad, I just weep as I always have. It seems as if there is a constant battle raging inside me, and peace, even when it comes, is fleeting. It seems as if I have to remember to “choose once again” constantly and unrelentingly. When all is said and done, I truly want only God. I also honestly believe that God waits for me. But why the seeming distance and the muck that shields the light?
A: Yes, other students have these kinds of experiences — they are not uncommon at all. Patience and gentleness are essential in working through this process. If we could simply accept the peace of God without reservation the first time we open our minds to it, we would not need A Course in Miracles ; and, indeed, we probably would not even be here. It is perhaps far more helpful and realistic to assume that we don’t really want it — or, that we want it only our terms — because we are terrified of what it would mean to fully accept it. Deep down we realize that our identity as we know it would disappear, as would the world. We thus are highly conflicted — we both desperately want peace, yet are terrified of accepting it. We think it would be the most wonderful thing ever to awaken from this burdensome dream of suffering, yet we are not sure we want to let go of our identity as an self. This is the theme Jesus discusses in “The Fear of Redemption” (T.13.III) , and it is also the subject of Kenneth’s recent book, Ending Our Resistance to Love . However, Jesus reassures us of the gentleness of the journey on which he is leading us: we will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it (T.13.VII.9:1) ; and we will not be “abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality” (T.16.VI.8:1).
It certainly does seem as if a battle is being waged in our minds, but this is true only from the ego’s vantage point. (Note the section in the text called “Above the Battleground” (T.23.IV. ) The ego senses a mortal threat to its existence, and that threat is our mind’s power to decide against the ego and for the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness. To make this choice is the beginning of the end of the ego, which is why it devised its strategy to shield us from our identities as decision-making minds. Thus, for the ego there is definitely a life-and-death struggle, because both sides are real in its eyes. This is the tension we cannot help feeling when we identify with the ego. From Jesus vantage point, however, there is no battle, for he knows that the ego and everything it stands for is made up — you cannot do battle with something that does not exist, unless you’re Don Quixote! Asking our questions — what is the ego and where can it found? — Jesus answers: “Nothing and nowhere!” (C.2.6:7). Jesus thus guides us on our journey back into our minds where we can get in touch with our erroneous beliefs and then choose against them.
But because we think we are bodies living in a world and are no longer aware of our identity as minds with the power of choice, Jesus starts us off on that level and uses our experiences in the world to lead us back to the content in our minds, and eventually back to our identity as minds. He teaches us how to treat our reactions to the goings-on in our daily lives as reflections of the contents we have chosen to make real in our minds: “the outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1:5). That is why our interactions are important — they constitute the curriculum Jesus can use as our teacher. This is A Course in Miracles’ distinctive path.
If you retreat from the world out of fear, ultimately it is because you have given the world a power it does not really have, forgetting that it is a projection of your mind (part of the ego’s strategy) and that you therefore have given it the only meaning it has — a major principle in all of the Course’s teachings (in addition to the reference to Chapter 21 above, see also T.13.IX.3:1 and W.pI.2 ). Succumbing to the ego’s threats about the danger of remaining in your mind, you are overlooking the real strength that is still there. Depression is one of the consequences of taking the ego seriously. To choose the ego is to deny truth, separate yourself from the source of true peace and happiness, and have it appear that you are just a helpless victim of forces beyond your control. Jesus’ teaching objective, thus, is to lead us back within to the place where we make the choice to believe in his truth or to deny it. His method takes into consideration our unfortunate condition of not even realizing there is a “within” to which we can return. This, again, points to the value of our interactions in the world — we can now learn to focus on their purpose (content) while still acting responsibly in our roles (form): “Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has” (T.24.VI.1,2). This is where our hope lies, upheld by Jesus’ promise to be with us each step of the way, and by his guarantee that we cannot fail, for all that we are doing is denying our denial of truth (T.12.II.1:5) , and remembering what we chose to forget.