ACIM Text Reading for April 6
Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego
VIII. The Condition of Reality
The world as you perceive it cannot have been created by the Father, for the world is not as you see it. God created only the eternal, and everything you see is perishable. Therefore, there must be another world that you do not see. The Bible speaks of a new Heaven and a new earth, yet this cannot be literally true, for the eternal are not re-created. To perceive anew is merely to perceive again, implying that before, or in the interval between, you were not perceiving at all. What, then, is the world that awaits your perception when you see it?
Every loving thought that the Son of God ever had is eternal. The loving thoughts his mind perceives in this world are the world’s only reality. They are still perceptions, because he still believes that he is separate. Yet they are eternal because they are loving. And being loving they are like the Father, and therefore cannot die. The real world can actually be perceived. All that is necessary is a willingness to perceive nothing else. For if you perceive both good and evil, you are accepting both the false and the true and making no distinction between them.
The ego may see some good, but never only good. That is why its perceptions are so variable. It does not reject goodness entirely, for that you could not accept. But it always adds something that is not real to the real, thus confusing illusion and reality. For perceptions cannot be partly true. If you believe in truth and illusion, you cannot tell which is true. To establish your personal autonomy you tried to create unlike your Father, believing that what you made is capable of being unlike Him. Yet everything true is like Him. Perceiving only the real world will lead you to the real Heaven, because it will make you capable of understanding it.
The perception of goodness is not knowledge, but the denial of the opposite of goodness enables you to recognize a condition in which opposites do not exist. And this is the condition of knowledge. Without this awareness you have not met its conditions, and until you do you will not know it is yours already. You have made many ideas that you have placed between yourself and your Creator, and these beliefs are the world as you perceive it. Truth is not absent here, but it is obscure. You do not know the difference between what you have made and what you have created. To believe that you can perceive the real world is to believe that you can know yourself. You can know God because it is His Will to be known. The real world is all that the Holy Spirit has saved for you out of what you have made, and to perceive only this is salvation, because it is the recognition that reality is only what is true.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 6
Salvation comes from my one Self.
Although you are one Self, you experience yourself as two; as both good and evil, loving and hating, mind and body. This sense of being split into opposites induces feelings of acute and constant conflict, and leads to frantic attempts to reconcile the contradictory aspects of this self-perception. You have sought many such solutions, and none of them has worked. The opposites you see in you will never be compatible. But one exists.
The fact that truth and illusion cannot be reconciled, no matter how you try, what means you use and where you see the problem, must be accepted if you would be saved. Until you have accepted this, you will attempt an endless list of goals you cannot reach; a senseless series of expenditures of time and effort, hopefulness and doubt, each one as futile as the one before, and failing as the next one surely will.
Problems that have no meaning cannot be resolved within the framework they are set. Two selves in conflict could not be resolved, and good and evil have no meeting place. The self you made can never be your Self, nor can your Self be split in two, and still be what It is and must forever be. 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.
Spirit makes use of mind as means to find its Self expression. And the mind which serves the spirit is at peace and filled with joy. Its power comes from spirit, and it is fulfilling happily its function here. Yet mind can also see itself divorced from spirit, and perceive itself within a body it confuses with itself. Without its function then it has no peace, and happiness is alien to its thoughts.
Yet mind apart from spirit cannot think. It has denied its Source of strength, and sees itself as helpless, limited and weak. Dissociated from its function now, it thinks it is alone and separate, attacked by armies massed against itself and hiding in the body’s frail support. Now must it reconcile unlike with like, for this is what it thinks that it is for.
Waste no more time on this. Who can resolve the senseless conflicts which a dream presents? What could the resolution mean in truth? What purpose could it serve? What is it for? Salvation cannot make illusions real, nor solve a problem that does not exist. Perhaps you hope it can. Yet would you have God’s plan for the release of His dear Son bring pain to him, and fail to set him free?
Your Self retains Its Thoughts, and they remain within your mind and in the Mind of God. The Holy Spirit holds salvation in your mind, and offers it the way to peace. Salvation is a thought you share with God, because His Voice accepted it for you and answered in your name that it was done. Thus is salvation kept among the Thoughts your Self holds dear and cherishes for you.
We will attempt today to find this thought, whose presence in your mind is guaranteed by Him Who speaks to you from your one Self. Our hourly five-minute practicing will be a search for Him within your mind. Salvation comes from this one Self through Him Who is the Bridge between your mind and It. Wait patiently, and let Him speak to you about your Self, and what your mind can do, restored to It and free to serve Its Will.
Begin with saying this:
Salvation comes from my one Self. Its Thoughts are mine to use.
Then seek Its Thoughts, and claim them as your own. These are your own real thoughts you have denied, and let your mind go wandering in a world of dreams, to find illusions in their place. Here are your thoughts, the only ones you have. Salvation is among them; find it there.
If you succeed, the thoughts that come to you will tell you you are saved, and that your mind has found the function that it sought to lose. Your Self will welcome it and give it peace. Restored in strength, it will again flow out from spirit to the spirit in all things created by the Spirit as Itself. Your mind will bless all things. Confusion done, you are restored, for you have found your Self.
Your Self knows that you cannot fail today. Perhaps your mind remains uncertain yet a little while. Be not dismayed by this. The joy your Self experiences It will save for you, and it will yet be yours in full awareness. Every time you spend five minutes of the hour seeking Him Who joins your mind and Self, you offer Him another treasure to be kept for you.
Each time today you tell your frantic mind salvation comes from your one Self, you lay another treasure in your growing store. And all of it is given everyone who asks for it, and will accept the gift. Think, then, how much is given unto you to give this day, that it be given you!
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #697: I read your answers about the sex drive and special relationships. Although I understand the metaphysics of A Course in Miracles, I sometimes find the sex impulse is overwhelming and therefore I might in those vulnerable moments go to the extent of soliciting call girls despite my being married with kids. I try not to make things a big deal and that’s how I have repeatedly committed the same mistake over again. I know what is right from wrong and in those dark moments I ask the Holy Spirit for help but I guess that I choose not to listen and do what I will. How do I wean myself out of this when I enjoy what I do — the rush of adrenaline and the secret guilt The girls I treat with respect and dignity — an oxymoron — while they are being used as objects of pleasure in the last analysis. How do I apply the Course to this practical problem?
A: The world makes distinctions between socially acceptable and socially unacceptable forms of using others, classifying the latter as wrong, sinful or even criminal. And it allows us to think that guilt is only associated with some forms of using others, but not other forms. The Course’s purpose is to help us see that allego-based decisions to meet our needs at the expense of others cause us pain and reinforce our guilt. If we could really get the connection between the thought of separation implicit in self-interest and the pain that follows, we would soon learn to choose against the ego. But we still believe that some of our ego choices bring us more pleasure than pain.
The ego wants us to think of our actions and behavior in such moralistic terms as right or wrong, good or bad, with guilt always accompanying our wrong, bad actions. Jesus is encouraging us instead to think of our thoughts and decisions as either helpful or hurtful, wise or foolish, with unnecessary pain rather than guilt as the consequence of foolish, hurtful choices (see Question #637 for an in-depth discussion of the Course’s focus on thought rather than behavior).
So rather than thinking that you know what is right and what is wrong in the situation you describe, and that you keep doing the wrong thing, it would be more helpful to consider that you are simply making the more foolish, hurtful decision. But not just when you choose to solicit call girls, but whenever you decide to put your own needs above others, whether it be your family or anyone else. Now of course some actions run the risk of having greater negative consequences in the world’s terms than others, which nicely plays into the ego’s insistence that there is a hierarchy among illusions (T.23.II.2:3; T.26.VII.6:5). But all guilt is the same and it does not come from what we do with our bodies but only from what we think with our minds.
So seeking sexual satisfaction outside your marriage is not the cause of the guilt in your mind but an effect. And its purpose, which you keep hidden from yourself, is to distract you from recognizing where the real problem lies — the choice to see yourself as separate from love. Yet this is the decision that leads all of us to believe that we need to seek for satisfaction outside ourselves, in stolen moments of pleasure which the ego seduces us into seeing as more pleasurable simply because they are stolen. And that foolish reasoning lies at the foundation of the ego’s thought system, predicated as it is on the belief that the scraps of “love” we could steal from God are better that the complete and total Love He offers us freely (T.1.V.3:3).
You mention trying not to make your infidelities into a big deal, but the problem is, in your own mind, they already are. And the goal is not to be able to continue to engage in hurtful activities without making a big deal of them, but rather to come to a recognition that they are not really the problem and that to continue to feel guilty about the external actions guarantees that you’ll never address the underlying, inner problem and see it differently. It is true that, as egos, we are all selfish and concerned about meeting our own needs at everyone else’s expense. This is simply the nature of the ego thought system. But despite the selfishness that is at its roots, what Jesus is asking us to recognize is that it’s not a sin, it’s not evil. It may be foolish and hurtful and unkind, both to ourselves and to others in our life. But it is not a sin. It is our belief that it is sin rather than merely a mistake that keeps us caught in the repetition of any self-destructive pattern. Without the guilt we impose on our decisions, but rather with a thoughtful, nonjudgmental examination of what we’ve been choosing, seeing it only as error and not as sin, we will find it easier to make the choice for a different Teacher within our mind (T.19.III.1,2,3). And the most helpful and kind behavior will naturally follow.