ACIM Text Reading for April 13
Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum
V. The Sane Curriculum
Only love is strong because it is undivided. The strong do not attack because they see no need to do so. Before the idea of attack can enter your mind, you must have perceived yourself as weak. Because you attacked yourself and believed that the attack was effective, you behold yourself as weakened. No longer perceiving yourself and your brothers as equal, and regarding yourself as weaker, you attempt to “equalize” the situation you made. You use attack to do so because you believe that attack was successful in weakening you.
That is why the recognition of your own invulnerability is so important to the restoration of your sanity. For if you accept your invulnerability, you are recognizing that attack has no effect. Although you have attacked yourself, you will be demonstrating that nothing really happened. Therefore, by attacking you have not done anything. Once you realize this you will no longer see any sense in attack, for it manifestly does not work and cannot protect you. Yet the recognition of your invulnerability has more than negative value. If your attacks on yourself have failed to weaken you, you are still strong. You therefore have no need to “equalize” the situation to establish your strength.
You will never realize the utter uselessness of attack except by recognizing that your attack on yourself has no effects. For others do react to attack if they perceive it, and if you are trying to attack them you will be unable to avoid interpreting this as reinforcement. The only place you can cancel out all reinforcement is in yourself. For you are always the first point of your attack, and if this has never been, it has no consequences.
The Holy Spirit’s Love is your strength, for yours is divided and therefore not real. You cannot trust your own love when you attack it. You cannot learn of perfect love with a split mind, because a split mind has made itself a poor learner. You tried to make the separation eternal, because you wanted to retain the characteristics of creation, but with your own content. Yet creation is not of you, and poor learners do need special teaching.
You have learning handicaps in a very literal sense. There are areas in your learning skills that are so impaired that you can progress only under constant, clear-cut direction, provided by a Teacher Who can transcend your limited resources. He becomes your Resource because of yourself you cannot learn. The learning situation in which you placed yourself is impossible, and in this situation you clearly require a special Teacher and a special curriculum. Poor learners are not good choices as teachers, either for themselves or for anyone else. You would hardly turn to them to establish the curriculum by which they can escape from their limitations. If they understood what is beyond them, they would not be handicapped.
You do not know the meaning of love, and that is your handicap. Do not attempt to teach yourself what you do not understand, and do not try to set up curriculum goals where yours have clearly failed. Your learning goal has been not to learn, and this cannot lead to successful learning. You cannot transfer what you have not learned, and the impairment of the ability to generalize is a crucial learning failure. Would you ask those who have failed to learn what learning aids are for? They do not know. If they could interpret the aids correctly, they would have learned from them.
I have said that the ego’s rule is, “Seek and do not find.” Translated into curricular terms this means, “Try to learn but do not succeed.” The result of this curriculum goal is obvious. Every legitimate teaching aid, every real instruction, and every sensible guide to learning will be misinterpreted, since they are all for facilitating the learning this strange curriculum is against. If you are trying to learn how not to learn, and the aim of your teaching is to defeat itself, what can you expect but confusion? Such a curriculum does not make sense. This attempt at “learning” has so weakened your mind that you cannot love, for the curriculum you have chosen is against love, and amounts to a course in how to attack yourself. A supplementary goal in this curriculum is learning how not to overcome the split that makes its primary aim believable. And you will not overcome the split in this curriculum, for all your learning will be on its behalf. Yet your mind speaks against your learning as your learning speaks against your mind, and so you fight against all learning and succeed, for that is what you want. But perhaps you do not realize, even yet, that there is something you want to learn, and that you can learn it because it is your choice to do so.
You who have tried to learn what you do not want should take heart, for although the curriculum you set yourself is depressing indeed, it is merely ridiculous if you look at it. Is it possible that the way to achieve a goal is not to attain it? Resign now as your own teacher. This resignation will not lead to depression. It is merely the result of an honest appraisal of what you have taught yourself, and of the learning outcomes that have resulted. Under the proper learning conditions, which you can neither provide nor understand, you will become an excellent learner and an excellent teacher. But it is not so yet, and will not be so until the whole learning situation as you have set it up is reversed.
Your learning potential, properly understood, is limitless because it will lead you to God. You can teach the way to Him and learn it, if you follow the Teacher Who knows the way to Him and understands His curriculum for learning it. The curriculum is totally unambiguous, because the goal is not divided and the means and the end are in complete accord. You need offer only undivided attention. Everything else will be given you. For you really want to learn aright, and nothing can oppose the decision of God’s Son. His learning is as unlimited as he is.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 13
God, being Love, is also happiness.
Happiness is an attribute of love. It cannot be apart from it. Nor can it be experienced where love is not. Love has no limits, being everywhere. And therefore joy is everywhere as well. Yet can the mind deny that this is so, believing there are gaps in love where sin can enter, bringing pain instead of joy. This strange belief would limit happiness by redefining love as limited, and introducing opposition in what has no limit and no opposite.
Fear is associated then with love, and its results become the heritage of minds that think what they have made is real. These images, with no reality in truth, bear witness to the fear of God, forgetting being Love, He must be joy. This basic error we will try again to bring to truth today, and teach ourselves:
God, being Love, is also happiness.
To fear Him is to be afraid of joy.
Begin your periods of practicing today with this association, which corrects the false belief that God is fear. It also emphasizes happiness belongs to you, because of what He is.
Allow this one correction to be placed within your mind each waking hour today. Then welcome all the happiness it brings as truth replaces fear, and joy becomes what you expect to take the place of pain. God, being Love, it will be given you. Bolster this expectation frequently throughout the day, and quiet all your fears with this assurance, kind and wholly true:
God, being Love, is also happiness.
And it is happiness I seek today.
I cannot fail, because I seek the truth.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1324: I was playing chess on the computer and began to think that I was wasting my life doing this; I’m not being spiritual enough. The other side of the coin is thinking I’m good because I spent a lot of time with my kids. I am aware of the ego traps in this, but I think underneath it is the idea that I have to sacrifice things of the world to let go enough to undo the ego, especially in light of passages from the Course that seem to teach that if we don’t fulfill our function, we have indeed wasted our life. That’s intimidating. What would it mean to fulfill your function? Is watching myself getting mad at myself for playing on the computer part of fulfilling my function? Is it possible to fulfill your function a little, or for a little while, then slip? I always feel like I’m being graded!!!
A: The last statement is quite important: “I always feel like I’m being graded” — spoken as a good healthy ego! That is what you want to look at, because that indicates your study of A Course in Miracles must be being guided by the ego. Guilt distorts. That is why there is so much emphasis in the Course on bringing the darkness to the light. Therein lies your function: bringing your guilt to the presence of love in your right mind, or looking at your guilt with the healing eyes of love. And you can do this whether you are playing chess on the computer or spending time with your kids. It’s not the form — it’s the content. You can play chess with guilt or without guilt; you can play with your kids with guilt or without guilt. It is always a question of which teacher you choose beforehand in your mind.
This is the message of two important sections in the text: “Setting the Goal” (T.17.VI) and “The Consistency of Means and End” (T.20.VII). We first decide on the goal or end we want to attain: for example, peace, seeing our interests as shared with everyone else. Then the activity will be seen as the means to achieve this end. The activity itself (the form) won’t matter. The content alone will provide the meaning for you. So, it is not what you do that is important, but the purpose you have given to it — with whom you do it, the ego or Jesus. There is no hierarchy of illusions: some activities are not “good” for us and others “bad”; some are not holy and others unholy. The world is not the problem; therefore, we need sacrifice nothing. If we truly want the peace of God, then we will look at how we are using things in the world to interfere with that peace, and then ask for help to use them to undo the interference.
This really is the core of what Jesus discusses in “The Special Function” where he tells us that “forgiveness is the only function meaningful in time” (T.25.VI.5:3) ; that is a matter of choosing against the ego’s purpose for our bodies and relationships (separation and specialness), and for the Holy Spirit’s (forgiveness and peace). The Course is constantly training us to look within and focus on the purpose we are always giving to the interactions and activities in our lives. And, fortunately, there are only two possible choices, only one of which will undo the separation, bring us peace, and lead us home.
It is quite normal to be inconsistent in this process of shifting from outside to within, and from the ego’s purpose to the Holy Spirit’s. We are tremendously fearful of the implications of letting go of our ego, and so we bounce back and forth. But as we experience more and more the peace and calmness of mind that comes when we forgive, we will be motivated to choose it more frequently. Then the discomfort of being in our wrong minds will become more noticeable, and could be experienced as a kind of external pressure to do better. It is just that we are denying less, and the pain that was always there is coming into our awareness. Jesus never exerts pressure or imposes sanctions — that would be the ego’s Jesus. Our egos, eager to subvert our work with the Course, will tempt us to distort Jesus’ gentle message of forgiveness into a threatening message of judgment. The more we recognize that intrusion, the more we can learn to simply smile at its silliness and allow the non-judgmental, comforting presence of love in our minds to be the source of all we do.