ACIM Text Reading for April 17
Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World
If you did not feel guilty you could not attack, for condemnation is the root of attack. It is the judgment of one mind by another as unworthy of love and deserving of punishment. But herein lies the split. For the mind that judges perceives itself as separate from the mind being judged, believing that by punishing another, it will escape punishment. All this is but the delusional attempt of the mind to deny itself, and escape the penalty of denial. It is not an attempt to relinquish denial, but to hold on to it. For it is guilt that has obscured the Father to you, and it is guilt that has driven you insane.
The acceptance of guilt into the mind of God’s Son was the beginning of the separation, as the acceptance of the Atonement is its end. The world you see is the delusional system of those made mad by guilt. Look carefully at this world, and you will realize that this is so. For this world is the symbol of punishment, and all the laws that seem to govern it are the laws of death. Children are born into it through pain and in pain. Their growth is attended by suffering, and they learn of sorrow and separation and death. Their minds seem to be trapped in their brain, and its powers to decline if their bodies are hurt. They seem to love, yet they desert and are deserted. They appear to lose what they love, perhaps the most insane belief of all. And their bodies wither and gasp and are laid in the ground, and are no more. Not one of them but has thought that God is cruel.
If this were the real world, God would be cruel. For no Father could subject His children to this as the price of salvation and be loving. Love does not kill to save. If it did, attack would be salvation, and this is the ego’s interpretation, not God’s. Only the world of guilt could demand this, for only the guilty could conceive of it. Adam’s “sin” could have touched no one, had he not believed it was the Father Who drove him out of Paradise. For in that belief the knowledge of the Father was lost, since only those who do not understand Him could believe it.
This world is a picture of the crucifixion of God’s Son. And until you realize that God’s Son cannot be crucified, this is the world you will see. Yet you will not realize this until you accept the eternal fact that God’s Son is not guilty. He deserves only love because he has given only love. He cannot be condemned because he has never condemned. The Atonement is the final lesson he need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 17
Truth will correct all errors in my mind.
What can correct illusions but the truth? And what are errors but illusions that remain unrecognized for what they are? Where truth has entered errors disappear. They merely vanish, leaving not a trace by which to be remembered. They are gone because, without belief, they have no life. And so they disappear to nothingness, returning whence they came. From dust to dust they come and go, for only truth remains.
Can you imagine what a state of mind without illusions is? How it would feel? Try to remember when there was a time,–perhaps a minute, maybe even less–when nothing came to interrupt your peace; when you were certain you were loved and safe. Then try to picture what it would be like to have that moment be extended to the end of time and to eternity. Then let the sense of quiet that you felt be multiplied a hundred times, and then be multiplied another hundred more.
And now you have a hint, not more than just the faintest intimation of the state your mind will rest in when the truth has come. Without illusions there could be no fear, no doubt and no attack. When truth has come all pain is over, for there is no room for transitory thoughts and dead ideas to linger in your mind. Truth occupies your mind completely, liberating you from all beliefs in the ephemeral. They have no place because the truth has come, and they are nowhere. They can not be found, for truth is everywhere forever, now.
When truth has come it does not stay a while, to disappear or change to something else. It does not shift and alter in its form, nor come and go and go and come again. It stays exactly as it always was, to be depended on in every need, and trusted with a perfect trust in all the seeming difficulties and the doubts that the appearances the world presents engender. They will merely blow away, when truth corrects the errors in your mind.
When truth has come it harbors in its wings the gift of perfect constancy, and love which does not falter in the face of pain, but looks beyond it, steadily and sure. Here is the gift of healing, for the truth needs no defense, and therefore no attack is possible. Illusions can be brought to truth to be corrected. But the truth stands far beyond illusions, and can not be brought to them to turn them into truth.
Truth does not come and go nor shift nor change, in this appearance now and then in that, evading capture and escaping grasp. It does not hide. It stands in open light, in obvious accessibility. It is impossible that anyone could seek it truly, and would not succeed. Today belongs to truth. Give truth its due, and it will give you yours. You were not meant to suffer and to die. Your Father wills these dreams be gone. Let truth correct them all.
We do not ask for what we do not have. We merely ask for what belongs to us, that we may recognize it as our own. Today we practice on the happy note of certainty that has been born of truth. The shaky and unsteady footsteps of illusion are not our approach today. We are as certain of success as we are sure we live and hope and breathe and think. We do not doubt we walk with truth today, and count on it to enter into all the exercises that we do this day.
Begin by asking Him Who goes with you upon this undertaking that He be in your awareness as you go with Him. You are not made of flesh and blood and bone, but were created by the selfsame Thought which gave the gift of life to Him as well. He is your Brother, and so like to you your Father knows that You are both the same. It is your Self you ask to go with you, and how could He be absent where you are?
Truth will correct all errors in your mind which tell you you could be apart from Him. You speak to Him today, and make your pledge to let His function be fulfilled through you. To share His function is to share His joy. His confidence is with you, as you say:
Truth will correct all errors in my mind,
And I will rest in Him Who is my Self.
Then let Him lead you gently to the truth, which will envelop you and give you peace so deep and tranquil that you will return to the familiar world reluctantly.
And yet you will be glad to look again upon this world. For you will bring with you the promise of the changes which the truth that goes with you will carry to the world. They will increase with every gift you give of five small minutes, and the errors that surround the world will be corrected as you let them be corrected in your mind.
Do not forget your function for today. Each time you tell yourself with confidence, “Truth will correct all errors in my mind,” you speak for all the world and Him Who would release the world, as He would set you free.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #210: There seems to be a conflict between the ego consciousness and God consciousness that ebbs and flows. I’ve been studying A Course in Miracles for three months and am able to observe the “struggle” almost as a spectator would. Comments appreciated.
A: Our minds are split between the part that identifies with the ego thought system of separation (wrong-mindedness) and the part that identifies with the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness (right-mindedness). We are constantly choosing between the two thought systems, although we generally are not aware of making this choice. That is the point of the training in the Course: first, to help us catch the thoughts that precede our experience, which, in the workbook lessons, Jesus refers to as the process of mind searching, where we would observe what is going on in our minds. Then eventually, we would be able to catch ourselves choosing either the ego or the Holy Spirit as our teacher. This is a process that continues throughout our lives.
You perhaps are referring to the fear that we experience when we ask for help to change our teacher from the ego to Jesus or the Holy Spirit. That could be perceived as a struggle in which we are attracted to the healing love in our right minds, but are still reluctant to let go of everything else. We always are identified with one or the other, though, and over a period of time we would become more and more clear about which one we have chosen. We go back and forth between our right mind and our wrong mind, but there is no neutral state. If we are observing our inner state with the ego, then we would be fearful, judgmental, or self-glorifying. If we are observing our inner state with Jesus, we would be peaceful, non-judgmental, and patient, knowing that we are in the process of undoing something that never happened, and therefore we would not take any of our thoughts all that seriously.
A: Yes, it is. And if you think about it, you can see that it happens all the time, from the very first cases of new diseases such as AIDS or SARS, before they are identified in the media, to illnesses that affect children congenitally or very early in life, before we would see them as having any “knowledge” of the disease. So how does this happen, in light of A Course in Miracles’ teachings on how we choose our illnesses?
All diseases and illnesses in the body are the effects of a decision made in the mind (W.pI.136.2,3,4,5), not the brain. Like every other decision about what happens to us in our lifetime, these decisions are made outside of time and space. The brain that we believe — incorrectly — is the seat of consciousness and decision-making is only an effect. Much of what is contained in the mind remains out of our conscious awareness, but at a deeper level we do know all of its contents. It is our fear of the power of our mind however that keeps it all buried (T.2.VI.9), so that our defenses can work and we do not seem to be responsible for the things that happen to us — we can see ourselves as victims of forces beyond our control. In that way, the pain that comes from our choosing the thought of separation seems instead to come from what others do to us. And our guilt over separation remains buried and protected, along with the thought of separation.
Having said this, we also need to be clear that the goal is not to make the unconscious conscious so that we can make better choices for our body’s health and well-being. It is not really fear of the illness itself that causes us to choose it — we actually want the illness for its value as a defense. Our goal is to learn over time to forgive ourselves for the illusory guilt over separation. For it is this guilt that we believe calls for punishment, which in turn demonstrates that the guilt and separation are serious and real. And that punishment can assume many different forms, disease being just one among many. So the problem is not the punishment, what ever form it may take, but our mistaken belief in our guilt. And that is what we want to make conscious. For that is where the only real healing can occur.
For a related discussion, see also Question #117.