ACIM Text Reading for April 7
Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego
IX. The Problem and the Answer
This is a very simple course. Perhaps you do not feel you need a course which, in the end, teaches that only reality is true. But do you believe it? When you perceive the real world, you will recognize that you did not believe it. Yet the swiftness with which your new and only real perception will be translated into knowledge will leave you but an instant to realize that this alone is true. And then everything you made will be forgotten; the good and the bad, the false and the true. For as Heaven and earth become one, even the real world will vanish from your sight. The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into Heaven. The reinterpretation of the world is the transfer of all perception to knowledge.
The Bible tells you to become as little children. Little children recognize that they do not understand what they perceive, and so they ask what it means. Do not make the mistake of believing that you understand what you perceive, for its meaning is lost to you. Yet the Holy Spirit has saved its meaning for you, and if you will let Him interpret it, He will restore to you what you have thrown away. Yet while you think you know its meaning, you will see no need to ask it of Him.
You do not know the meaning of anything you perceive. Not one thought you hold is wholly true. The recognition of this is your firm beginning. Instruction in perception is your great need, for you understand nothing. Recognize this but do not accept it, for understanding is your inheritance. Perceptions are learned, and you are not without a Teacher. Yet your willingness to learn of Him depends on your willingness to question everything you learned of yourself, for you who learned amiss should not be your own teacher.
No one can withhold truth except from himself. Yet God will not refuse you the Answer He gave. Ask, then, for what is yours, and do not defend yourself against truth. You made the problem God has answered. Ask yourself, therefore, but one simple question:
- “Do I want the problem or do I want the answer?”
Decide for the answer and you will have it, for you will see it as it is, and it is yours already.
You may complain that this course is not sufficiently specific for you to understand and use. Yet perhaps you have not done what it specifically advocates. This is not a course in the play of ideas, but in their practical application. Nothing could be more specific than to be told that if you ask you will receive. The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific. His answer is both many and one, as long as you believe that the One is many. You may be afraid of His specificity, for fear of what you think it will demand of you. Yet only by asking will you learn that nothing of God demands anything of you. God gives; He does not take. When you refuse to ask, it is because you believe that asking is taking rather than sharing.
The Holy Spirit will give you only what is yours, and will take nothing in return. For what is yours is everything, and you share it with God. That is its reality. Would the Holy Spirit, Who wills only to restore, be capable of misinterpreting the question you must ask to learn His answer? You have heard the answer, but you have misunderstood the question. You believe that to ask for guidance of the Holy Spirit is to ask for deprivation.
Little child of God, you do not understand your Father. You believe in a world that takes, because you believe that you can get by taking. And by that perception you have lost sight of the real world. You are afraid of the world as you see it, but the real world is still yours for the asking. Do not deny it to yourself, for it can only free you. Nothing of God will enslave His Son whom He created free and whose freedom is protected by His Being. Blessed are you who are willing to ask the truth of God without fear, for only thus can you learn that His answer is the release from fear.
Beautiful child of God, you are asking only for what I promised you. Do you believe I would deceive you? The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. Believe that the truth is in me, for I know that it is in you. God’s Sons have nothing they do not share. Ask for truth of any Son of God, and you have asked it of me. Not one of us but has the answer in him, to give to anyone who asks it of him.
Ask anything of God’s Son and His Father will answer you, for Christ is not deceived in His Father and His Father is not deceived in Him. Do not, then, be deceived in your brother, and see only his loving thoughts as his reality, for by denying that his mind is split you will heal yours. Accept him as his Father accepts him and heal him unto Christ, for Christ is his healing and yours. Christ is the Son of God Who is in no way separate from His Father, Whose every thought is as loving as the Thought of His Father by which He was created. Be not deceived in God’s Son, for thereby you must be deceived in yourself. And being deceived in yourself you are deceived in your Father, in Whom no deceit is possible.
In the real world there is no sickness, for there is no separation and no division. Only loving thoughts are recognized, and because no one is without your help, the Help of God goes with you everywhere. As you become willing to accept this Help by asking for it, you will give it because you want It. Nothing will be beyond your healing power, because nothing will be denied your simple request. What problems will not disappear in the presence of God’s Answer? Ask, then, to learn of the reality of your brother, because this is what you will perceive in him, and you will see your beauty reflected in his.
Do not accept your brother’s variable perception of himself for his split mind is yours, and you will not accept your healing without his. For you share the real world as you share Heaven, and his healing is yours. To love yourself is to heal yourself, and you cannot perceive part of you as sick and achieve your goal. Brother, we heal together as we live together and love together. Be not deceived in God’s Son, for he is one with himself and one with his Father. Love him who is beloved of his Father, and you will learn of the Father’s Love for you.
If you perceive offense in a brother pluck the offense from your mind, for you are offended by Christ and are deceived in Him. Heal in Christ and be not offended by Him, for there is no offense in Him. If what you perceive offends you, you are offended in yourself and are condemning God’s Son whom God condemneth not. Let the Holy Spirit remove all offenses of God’s Son against himself and perceive no one but through His guidance, for He would save you from all condemnation. Accept His healing power and use it for all He sends you, for He wills to heal the Son of God, in whom He is not deceived.
Children perceive frightening ghosts and monsters and dragons, and they are terrified. Yet if they ask someone they trust for the meaning of what they perceive, and are willing to let their own interpretations go in favor of reality, their fear goes with them. When a child is helped to translate his “ghost” into a curtain, his “monster” into a shadow, and his “dragon” into a dream he is no longer afraid, and laughs happily at his own fear.
You, my child, are afraid of your brothers and of your Father and of yourself. But you are merely deceived in them. Ask what they are of the Teacher of Reality, and hearing His answer, you too will laugh at your fears and replace them with peace. For fear lies not in reality, but in the minds of children who do not understand reality. It is only their lack of understanding that frightens them, and when they learn to perceive truly they are not afraid. And because of this they will ask for truth again when they are frightened. It is not the reality of your brothers or your Father or yourself that frightens you. You do not know what they are, and so you perceive them as ghosts and monsters and dragons. Ask what their reality is from the One Who knows it, and He will tell you what they are. For you do not understand them, and because you are deceived by what you see you need reality to dispel your fears.
Would you not exchange your fears for truth, if the exchange is yours for the asking? For if God is not deceived in you, you can be deceived only in yourself. Yet you can learn the truth about yourself from the Holy Spirit, Who will teach you that, as part of God, deceit in you is impossible. When you perceive yourself without deceit, you will accept the real world in place of the false one you have made. And then your Father will lean down to you and take the last step for you, by raising you unto Himself.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 7
I am spirit.
Today’s idea identifies you with your one Self. It accepts no split identity, nor tries to weave opposing factors into unity. It simply states the truth. Practice this truth today as often as you can, for it will bring your mind from conflict to the quiet fields of peace. No chill of fear can enter, for your mind has been absolved from madness, letting go illusions of a split identity.
We state again the truth about your Self, the holy Son of God Who rests in you; whose mind has been restored to sanity. You are the spirit lovingly endowed with all your Father’s Love and peace and joy. You are the spirit which completes Himself, and shares His function as Creator. He is with you always, as you are with Him.
Today we try to bring reality still closer to your mind. Each time you practice, awareness is brought a little nearer at least; sometimes a thousand years or more are saved. The minutes which you give are multiplied over and over, for the miracle makes use of time, but is not ruled by it. Salvation is a miracle, the first and last; the first that is the last, for it is one.
You are the spirit in whose mind abides the miracle in which all time stands still; the miracle in which a minute spent in using these ideas becomes a time that has no limit and that has no end. Give, then, these minutes willingly, and count on Him Who promised to lay timelessness beside them. He will offer all His strength to every little effort that you make. Give Him the minutes which He needs today, to help you understand with Him you are the spirit that abides in Him, and that calls through His Voice to every living thing; offers His sight to everyone who asks; replaces error with the simple truth.
The Holy Spirit will be glad to take five minutes of each hour from your hands, and carry them around this aching world where pain and misery appear to rule. He will not overlook one open mind that will accept the healing gifts they bring, and He will lay them everywhere He knows they will be welcome. And they will increase in healing power each time someone accepts them as his thoughts, and uses them to heal.
Thus will each gift to Him be multiplied a thousandfold and tens of thousands more. And when it is returned to you, it will surpass in might the little gift you gave as much as does the radiance of the sun outshine the tiny gleam a firefly makes an uncertain moment and goes out. The steady brilliance of this light remains and leads you out of darkness, nor will you be able to forget the way again.
Begin these happy exercises with the words the Holy Spirit speaks to you, and let them echo round the world through Him:
Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and
healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world.
Expressed through you, the Holy Spirit will accept this gift that you received of Him, increase its power and give it back to you.
Offer each practice period today gladly to Him. And He will speak to you, reminding you that you are spirit, one with Him and God, your brothers and your Self. Listen for His assurance every time you speak the words He offers you today, and let Him tell your mind that they are true. Use them against temptation, and escape its sorry consequences if you yield to the belief that you are something else. The Holy Spirit gives you peace today. Receive His words, and offer them to Him.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1159: My question is about the relationship of the one Son, the one Christ, to the Holy Spirit. In some passages, A Course in Miracles seems to suggest that they are one and the same; yet, if there is a Holy Trinity in Heaven, does this refer to some concept of the Holy Spirit as having a role or function that is different from the One Son, or Christ? Since Heaven is non-dualistic, I recognize that these terms are just concepts to help us understand the non-separated state. However, I would benefit from your explanation of the distinction that the Course is using with the term Holy Spirit and the Son or Christ, and what is actually meant by these terms as part of the Holy Trinity.
A: Strictly speaking, there is no Trinity. In Heaven there is only God. “The first in time means nothing, but the First in eternity is God the Father, Who is both First and One. Beyond the First there is no other, for there is no order, no second or third, and nothing but the First” (T.14.IV.1:7,8). Christ is defined as “the extension of the Love and the Loveliness of God, as perfect as His Creator and at peace with Him” (T.11.IV.7:5) ; yet, to quote a well-known line in the workbook, “. . . nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him” (W.pI.132.12:4) . Christ is not a being apart from the Father.
The Holy Spirit is metaphorically described in A Course in Miracles as God’s Answer to the separation, but there is no detailed explanation of the genesis of the Holy Spirit. Some descriptions offered are as follows: “The Holy Spirit is the only part of the Holy Trinity that has a symbolic function. . . . the Healer, the Comforter and the Guide” (T.5.I.4:1,2). “The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception” (T.5.I.5:1). “He is part of the Holy Trinity, because His Mind is partly yours and also partly God’s. This needs clarification, not in statement but in experience” (T.5.III.1:4,5). It seems therefore that the Holy Spirit is spoken of only in relation to the separation, which we know is illusory and never happened. But Jesus also teaches that when the dream of separation is over, the Holy Spirit will “return to the eternal formlessness of God” (C.6.5:8).
In trying to fill in the blanks and even formulate a theology, it is important to keep in mind how the Course uses language, and related to that, its intention of offering a correction of what it sees as the mistakes of traditional Christianity. As you probably have noticed in our answers on this Service, we like to refer students to chapter 2 of Kenneth’s Few Choose to Listen (Volume Two of The Message of “A Course in Miracles” ), where they will find a comprehensive explanation of the Course’s use of words and terms. Equally important, as you allude to in your question, there is no way we can understand the Godhead or Heaven while we are still choosing to keep ourselves separate from it by believing that we truly exist here as separate individuals. A sample of many such acknowledgments in the Course: “Through our creations we extend our love, and thus increase the joy of the Holy Trinity. You do not understand this, because you who are God’s Own treasure do not regard yourself as valuable. Given this belief, you cannot understand anything. . . . Truth can only be experienced. It cannot be described and it cannot be explained. I can make you aware of the conditions of truth, but the experience is of God. Together we can meet its conditions, but truth will dawn upon you of itself” (T.8.VI.8:9,10,11; 9:8,9,10,11).
Q #1160: Where does the Course stand in regard to the ideas of twinflame, soul mate, and karmic relationships? Are those concepts true, or do they really just add to the belief of separation among brothers and special relationships?
A: A Course in Miracles does not say whether these concepts are true or not. On the level of absolute truth, of course, there are no relationships, because reality is non-dualistic, a state of perfect Oneness. In our separated state within the dream, though, we obviously have relationships; and the Course helps us realize that the only meaningful aspect of relationships is the purpose we have given them in our minds — either the ego’s or the Holy Spirit’s. As we explain in Question #320, the key aspects of a special relationship — which means the ego purpose of separation has been given it — are dependency, completion, and needs. Thus, the feeling that someone is your soul mate could reflect the ego’s purpose of reinforcing your belief that you are separate, incomplete, and have needs that must be met, or it could reflect your desire to undo these belief, and that this person will be your partner in the forgiveness process. It can be a right- minded or wrong-minded attraction.
With regard to karma, one of the major differences between that approach and the Course’s is that the Course sees time as holographic, not linear, which means there can be no causal connection between the past and our present experience — unless our minds deliberately put one there. Another point of difference is that since “projection makes perception” and the world is “the outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1:1,5) , we do nothing to the world and the world does nothing to us. A comprehensive view of this issue can be found in the following Questions: #332, #363, #514i, #516, and #577.