ACIM Text Reading for April 11
Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum
IV. Seeking and Finding
The ego is certain that love is dangerous, and this is always its central teaching. It never puts it this way; on the contrary everyone who believes that the ego is salvation seems to be intensely engaged in the search for love. Yet the ego, though encouraging the search for love very actively, makes one proviso; do not find it. Its dictates, then, can be summed up simply as: “Seek and do not find.” This is the one promise the ego holds out to you, and the one promise it will keep. For the ego pursues its goal with fanatic insistence, and its judgment, though severely impaired, is completely consistent.
The search the ego undertakes is therefore bound to be defeated. And since it also teaches that it is your identification, its guidance leads you to a journey which must end in perceived self-defeat. For the ego cannot love, and in its frantic search for love it is seeking what it is afraid to find. The search is inevitable because the ego is part of your mind, and because of its source the ego is not wholly split off, or it could not be believed at all. For it is your mind that believes in it and gives existence to it. Yet is it also your mind that has the power to deny the ego’s existence, and you will surely do so when you realize exactly what the journey is on which the ego sends you.
It is surely obvious that no one wants to find what would utterly defeat him. Being unable to love, the ego would be totally inadequate in love’s presence, for it could not respond at all. Then, you would have to abandon the ego’s guidance, for it would be quite apparent that it had not taught you the response you need. The ego will therefore distort love, and teach you that love really calls forth the responses the ego can teach. Follow its teaching, then, and you will surely search for love, but will not recognize it.
Do you realize that the ego must set you on a journey which cannot but lead to a sense of futility and depression: To seek and not find is hardly joyous. It this the promise you would keep? The Holy Spirit offers you another promise, and one that will lead to joy. For His promise is always, “Seek and you will find,” and under His guidance you cannot be defeated. His is the journey to accomplishment, and the goal He sets before you He will give you. For He will never deceive God’s Son whom He loves with the Love of the Father.
You will undertake a journey because you are not at home in this world. And you will search for your home whether you realize where it is or not. If you believe it is outside you the search will be futile, for you will be seeking it where it is not. You do not remember how to look within for you do not believe your home is there. Yet the Holy Spirit remembers it for you, and He will guide you to your home because that is His mission. As He fulfills His mission He will teach you yours, for your mission is the same as His. By guiding your brothers home you are but following Him.
Behold the Guide your Father gave you, that you might learn you have eternal life. For death is not your Father’s Will nor yours, and whatever is true is the Will of the Father. You pay no price for life for that was given you, but you do pay a price for death, and a very heavy one. If death is your treasure, you will sell everything else to purchase it. And you will believe that you have purchased it, because you have sold everything else. Yet you cannot sell the Kingdom of Heaven. Your inheritance can neither be bought nor sold. There can be no disinherited parts of the Sonship, for God is whole and all His extensions are like Him.
The Atonement is not the price of your wholeness, but it is the price of your awareness of your wholeness. For what you chose to “sell” had to be kept for you, since you could not “buy” it back. Yet you must invest in it, not with money but with spirit. For spirit is will, and will is the “price” of the Kingdom. Your inheritance awaits only the recognition that you have been redeemed. The Holy Spirit guides you into life eternal, but you must relinquish your investment in death, or you will not see life though it is all around you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 11
I share God’s Will for happiness for me.
You do not want to suffer. You may think it buys you something, and may still believe a little that it buys you what you want. Yet this belief is surely shaken now, at least enough to let you question it, and to suspect it really makes no sense. It has not gone as yet, but lacks the roots that once secured it tightly to the dark and hidden secret places of your mind.
Today we try to loose its weakened hold still further, and to realize that pain is purposeless, without a cause and with no power to accomplish anything. It cannot purchase anything at all. It offers nothing, and does not exist. And everything you think it offers you is lacking in existence, like itself. You have been slave to nothing. Be you free today to join the happy Will of God.
For several days we will continue to devote our periods of practicing to exercises planned to help you reach the happiness God’s Will has placed in you. Here is your home, and here your safety is. Here is your peace, and here there is no fear. Here is salvation. Here is rest at last.
Begin your practice periods today with this acceptance of God’s Will for you:
I share God’s Will for happiness for me, and
I accept it as my function now.
Then seek this function deep within your mind, for it is there, awaiting but your choice. You cannot fail to find it when you learn it is your choice, and that you share God’s Will.
Be happy, for your only function here is happiness. You have no need to be less loving to God’s Son than He Whose Love created him as loving as Himself. Besides these hourly five-minute rests, pause frequently today, to tell yourself that you have now accepted happiness as your one function. And be sure that you are joining with God’s Will in doing this.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #465: I always understood that in A Course in Miracles Jesus never asks us to do anything in the world, except in how to do the workbook lessons. Then I rediscover in Chapter 12: “Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something ‘outrageous,’ do it because it does not matter” (T.12.III.4:1). I have also read your question and answer #60. This does not answer why he is telling us to “do something in the world.” If there is no world, why do something that my brother wants me to do?
A: The context of this statement appears in the preceding two paragraphs, and it is essential to realize that Jesus is not talking about form or behavior, but about the content in our minds. Thus he explains that the other person’s “very insistence should tell you that he believes salvation lies in it. If you insist on refusing and experience a quick response of opposition, you are believing that your salvation lies in not doing it. You, then, are making the same mistake he is, and are making his error real to both of you” (T.12.III.2:2,3,4). The content Jesus is pointing out to us is the error of believing that what we do or do not do in the world is important and in some way related to our salvation: “Insistence means investment, and what you invest in is always related to your notion of salvation” (2:5). Even though he knows the world is not real, he shows us how to use our experiences in the world as a classroom so that we can discover the specific mistakes we are making in our thinking, why they occur, and what to do about them. He is always teaching us about the content in our minds, not our behavior. His teachings will always be misunderstood if this distinction is not recognized. Therefore in the context of adamantly refusing to do what another asks of us, Jesus is saying that what will help us undo the separation and learn that salvation has nothing to do with the world is to join with the other person by doing what seems “outrageous,” remembering of course that “this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other” (T.16.I.6:5).
Q #692: Relating to Question #465 “If someone asks you to do something outrageous, do it because it does not matter.” Yet, “Do not do a foolish thing that would hurt either.” We are constantly bombarded by telemarketers and could almost literally change phone or other services daily at their request. This too wouldn’t matter though it may continue to disappoint yesterday’s salesman and induce unnecessary busyness into today’s buyer. Ultimately, neither the salesman nor I can be hurt no matter what the decision; so I guess I’m asking for clarification of the meaning of “hurt” in this context.
A: It probably is safe to say that when Jesus was talking about this issue to Helen, the scribe of A Course in Miracles, he did not have telemarketers or other solicitors in mind. Common sense dictates that we not respond to every request made by a salesperson. On the other hand, an egoless person may be guided to buy what has been offered because the interaction is helpful to the seller’s Atonement process, not because there is any need for the item. But that advanced state is not what Jesus is referring to in these passages. He is talking about an immediate, strong reaction of opposition — a stubborn refusal to even consider the request. That extreme reaction means something is going on beneath the surface that needs to be looked at. With telemarketers, we can quickly but kindly decline the call, and that would be the end of it, just as we might decline solicitors outside a supermarket or other kind of store. There is no issue.
Q #693: Where is Evil? Does it exist in all of us? Does it exist only in our perceived enemy? If our enemy no longer existed would evil follow? If evil no longer existed would our perceived enemy follow? Why do we destroy to honor our faith in God? Why do we bargain to gain more good than the evil we allow? Is evil fear? Is fear evil? Does fear and love control all we do? Do we have control on deciding between them?
A: These simple and direct statements from the text are the foundation for responding to your queries about evil: “The truth is true. Nothing else matters, nothing else is real, and everything beside it is not there” (T.14.II.3:3,4). This is another way of stating the fundamental principle of A Course in Miracles, found in the Introduction to the text: “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists” (T.in.2:2,3).What is true and real is our Identity as God’s innocent Son. Everything else is part of our experience in the illusion, which rises in our awareness when we choose to believe the separation is not only real, but a sin, deserving of punishment. This fundamental belief of the ego thought system breathes life into every thought of evil, pain, hatred, and despair that darkens our lives in the nightmare of “life” apart from God. The dream itself may be considered “evil” in the sense that its source (the thought of separation) is an attack on God and on His Son. The way into the dream is to deny God and our oneness with Him, choosing the illusion of the body and the world instead. Jesus gives us a clear exposition of the ego’s substitution for reality: “Sin is the home of all illusions, which but stand for things imagined, issuing from thoughts that are untrue. They are the “proof” that what has no reality is real. Sin “proves” God’s Son is evil; timelessness must have an end; eternal life must die. And God Himself has lost the Son He loves, with but corruption to complete Himself, His Will forever overcome by death, love slain by hate, and peace to be no more” (W.pII.4.3:1,2,3,4). Not a great place to be. Although it is not real, evil enters the illusion as a haunting force following the mind’s choice to identify with the ego. However, it is a force with no power, because it is an effect, not a cause. That is not to say that once we believe we are in the world as bodies we do not have some experiences that seem pleasant and others we call “evil.” This is in keeping with the ego’s endless array of qualifications to differentiate every experience in the dream. We are not asked to deny these distinctions, but to recognize them as the ego’s scheme to make the dream real, and then acknowledge that they are powerless.
As an ego concept, evil is fear’s product. Fearful that God will punish His Son who has denied Him by choosing separation instead of oneness, the Son invents a myriad of evil “monsters” who are out to get him; just as a child believes his imagined monsters are poised to attack: “A madman’s dreams are frightening, and sin appears indeed to terrify. And yet what sin perceives is but a childish game” (W.pII.4.4:1,2).
The world filled with evil, fear, sin, guilt, enemies, danger and attack is the madman’s dream. Once we are caught in this thought system, it does not matter where evil lurks, nor in whom. The “good” and “evil” of the ego are the same because they serve the same purpose: to keep us rooted in the belief in separation. “Escape” from this system is possible only by learning to identify with the memory of God’s Love that remains in part of our mind. The paths may be different, but everyone will eventually accept this Love. For students of the Course, it is by bringing every ego misperception to the light of the Holy Spirit’s true perception, allowing His interpretation of our experience in the world to replace ours, that we are gradually freed of the ego’s “evil shadow.” This requires only our willingness to see every experience as a projection of the guilt in our minds for having chosen to identify with the ego, as we mentioned earlier.
Though we are wrong about our ego identity, we are not condemned to the punishment of evil forces, nor have we succeeded in changing reality by our mad imaginings: “Correction has one answer to all this, and to the world that rests on this: You but mistake interpretation for the truth. And you are wrong. But a mistake is not a sin, nor has reality been taken from its throne by your mistakes. God reigns forever, and His laws alone prevail upon you and upon the world. His Love remains the only thing there is. Fear [evil] is illusion, for you are like Him” (M.18.3:6,7,8,9,10,11,12).
No destruction honors God. In fact, God does not require that we honor Him at all, but the ego’s God does. And since the ego’s God is a destroyer (T.23.II.7:8; T.26.VII.7), to honor Him is to be like Him. Yet the only possible honor we could offer God would be to accept that we are as He created us; nothing more than that, but also nothing less. The non-dualistic theology of the Course teaches that God does not know His Son as separate from Himself; He is only oneness. Our split minds cannot truly understand this, but we can learn what it is not: it is not fear, evil, or destruction.
Our goal in studying the Course is not to try to avoid, abolish, or transform evil, but to undo our belief in separation through forgiveness, so that eventually we will forget our evil dreams and remember only God’s Love. The only decision we need make is between the ego’s lie of sin, guilt and fear, and the Holy Spirit’s message that we remain innocent, as we were created. Nothing has happened to destroy the Love the Father extends to His Son. That is what we seek to remember. “Nothing else matters, nothing else is real” (T.14.II.3:4).