ACIM Text Reading for April 20
Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World
IV. The Fear of Redemption
You may wonder why it is so crucial that you look upon your hatred and realize its full extent. You may also think that it would be easy enough for the Holy Spirit to show it to you, and to dispel it without the need for you to raise it to awareness yourself. Yet there is one more obstacle you have interposed between yourself and the Atonement. We have said that no one will countenance fear if he recognizes it. Yet in your disordered state of mind you are not afraid of fear. You do not like it, but it is not your desire to attack that really frightens you. You are not seriously disturbed by your hostility. You keep it hidden because you are more afraid of what it covers. You could look even upon the ego’s darkest cornerstone without fear if you did not believe that, without the ego, you would find within yourself something you fear even more. You are not really afraid of crucifixion. Your real terror is of redemption.
Under the ego’s dark foundation is the memory of God, and it is of this that you are really afraid. For this memory would instantly restore you to your proper place, and it is this place that you have sought to leave. Your fear of attack is nothing compared to your fear of love. You would be willing to look even upon your savage wish to kill God’s Son, if you did not believe that it saves you from love. For this wish caused the separation, and you have protected it because you do not want the separation healed. You realize that, by removing the dark cloud that obscures it, your love for your Father would impel you to answer His call and leap into Heaven. You believe that attack is salvation because it would prevent you from this. For still deeper than the ego’s foundation, and much stronger than it will ever be, is your intense and burning love of God, and His for you. This is what you really want to hide.
In honesty, is it not harder for you to say “I love” than “I hate?” You associate love with weakness and hatred with strength, and your own real power seems to you as your real weakness. For you could not control your joyous response to the call of love if you heard it, and the whole world you thought you made would vanish. The Holy Spirit, then, seems to be attacking your fortress, for you would shut out God, and He does not will to be excluded.
You have built your whole insane belief system because you think you would be helpless in God’s Presence, and you would save yourself from His Love because you think it would crush you into nothingness. You are afraid it would sweep you away from yourself and make you little, because you believe that magnitude lies in defiance, and that attack is grandeur. You think you have made a world God would destroy; and by loving Him, which you do, you would throw this world away, which you would. Therefore, you have used the world to cover your love, and the deeper you go into the blackness of the ego’s foundation, the closer you come to the Love that is hidden there. And it is this that frightens you.
You can accept insanity because you made it, but you cannot accept love because you did not. You would rather be a slave of the crucifixion than a Son of God in redemption. Your individual death seems more valuable than your living oneness, for what is given you is not so dear as what you made. You are more afraid of God than of the ego, and love cannot enter where it is not welcome. But hatred can, for it enters of its own volition and cares not for yours.
You must look upon your illusions and not keep them hidden, because they do not rest on their own foundation. In concealment they appear to do so, and thus they seem to be self-sustained. This is the fundamental illusion on which the others rest. For beneath them, and concealed as long as they are hidden, is the loving mind that thought it made them in anger. And the pain in this mind is so apparent, when it is uncovered, that its need of healing cannot be denied. Not all the tricks and games you offer it can heal it, for here is the real crucifixion of God’s Son.
And yet he is not crucified. Here is both his pain and his healing, for the Holy Spirit’s vision is merciful and His remedy is quick. Do not hide suffering from His sight, but bring it gladly to Him. Lay before His eternal sanity all your hurt, and let Him heal you. Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from His Light, and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover. For He will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you and cleanse it of its littleness, restoring it to the magnitude of God.
Beneath all the grandiosity you hold so dear is your real call for help. For you call for love to your Father as your Father calls you to Himself. In that place which you have hidden, you will only to unite with the Father, in loving remembrance of Him. You will find this place of truth as you see it in your brothers, for though they may deceive themselves, like you they long for the grandeur that is in them. And perceiving it you will welcome it, and it will be yours. For grandeur is the right of God’s Son, and no illusions can satisfy him or save him from what he is. Only his love is real, and he will be content only with his reality.
Save him from his illusions that you may accept the magnitude of your Father in peace and joy. But exempt no one from your love, or you will be hiding a dark place in your mind where the Holy Spirit is not welcome. And thus you will exempt yourself from His healing power, for by not offering total love you will not be healed completely. Healing must be as complete as fear, for love cannot enter where there is one spot of fear to mar its welcome.
You who prefer separation to sanity cannot obtain it in your right mind. You were at peace until you asked for special favor. And God did not give it for the request was alien to Him, and you could not ask this of a Father Who truly loved His Son. Therefore you made of Him an unloving father, demanding of Him what only such a father could give. And the peace of God’s Son was shattered, for he no longer understood his Father. He feared what he had made, but still more did he fear his real Father, having attacked his own glorious equality with Him.
In peace he needed nothing and asked for nothing. In war he demanded everything and found nothing. For how could the gentleness of love respond to his demands, except by departing in peace and returning to the Father? If the Son did not wish to remain in peace, he could not remain at all. For a darkened mind cannot live in the light, and it must seek a place of darkness where it can believe it is where it is not. God did not allow this to happen. Yet you demanded that it happen, and therefore believed that it was so.
To “single out” is to “make alone,” and thus make lonely. God did not do this to you. Could He set you apart, knowing that your peace lies in His Oneness? He denied you only your request for pain, for suffering is not of His creation. Having given you creation, He could not take it from you. He could but answer your insane request with a sane answer that would abide with you in your insanity. For His answer is the reference point beyond illusions, from which you can look back on them and see them as insane. But seek this place and you will find it, for Love is in you and will lead you there.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 20
I am as God created me.
We will repeat today’s idea from time to time. For this one thought would be enough to save you and the world, if you believed that it is true. Its truth would mean that you have made no changes in yourself that have reality, nor changed the universe so that what God created was replaced by fear and evil, misery and death. If you remain as God created you fear has no meaning, evil is not real, and misery and death do not exist.
Today’s idea is therefore all you need to let complete correction heal your mind, and give you perfect vision that will heal all the mistakes that any mind has made at any time or place. It is enough to heal the past and make the future free. It is enough to let the present be accepted as it is. It is enough to let time be the means for all the world to learn escape from time, and every change that time appears to bring in passing by.
If you remain as God created you, appearances cannot replace the truth, health cannot turn to sickness, nor can death be substitute for life, or fear for love. All this has not occurred, if you remain as God created you. You need no thought but just this one, to let redemption come to light the world and free it from the past.
In this one thought is all the past undone; the present saved to quietly extend into a timeless future. If you are as God created you, then there has been no separation of your mind from His, no split between your mind and other minds, and only unity within your own.
The healing power of today’s idea is limitless. It is the birthplace of all miracles, the great restorer of the truth to the awareness of the world. Practice today’s idea with gratitude. This is the truth that comes to set you free. This is the truth that God has promised you. This is the Word in which all sorrow ends.
For your five-minute practice periods, begin with this quotation from the text:
I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing.
And I am His Son.
Then, with this statement firmly in your mind, try to discover in your mind the Self Who is the holy Son of God Himself.
Seek Him within you Who is Christ in you, the Son of God and brother to the world; the Savior Who has been forever saved, with power to save whoever touches Him, however lightly, asking for the Word that tells him he is brother unto Him.
You are as God created you. Today honor your Self. Let graven images you made to be the Son of God instead of what he is be worshipped not today. Deep in your mind the holy Christ in you is waiting your acknowledgment as you. And you are lost and do not know yourself while He is unacknowledged and unknown.
Seek Him today, and find Him. He will be your Savior from all idols you have made. For when you find Him, you will understand how worthless are your idols, and how false the images which you believed were you. Today we make a great advance to truth by letting idols go, and opening our hands and hearts and minds to God today.
We will remember Him throughout the day with thankful hearts and loving thoughts for all who meet with us today. For it is thus that we remember Him. And we will say, that we may be reminded of His Son, our holy Self, the Christ in each of us:
I am as God created me.
Let us declare this truth as often as we can. This is the Word of God that sets you free. This is the key that opens up the gate of Heaven, and that lets you enter in the peace of God and His eternity.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1301: Would you kindly explain the following sentence: “Under the circumstances, would it not be more desirable to have been wrong, even apart from the fact that you were wrong?” (T.13.IV.3) What is the difference between “you have been” and “you were”?
A: In the context of the two paragraphs that precede this passage, Jesus is saying that we were wrong in believing that attack is our reality and that our destruction is the final proof that we were right. In other words, we were wrong about everything we believed. So he is saying that we should really want to be wrong — to be glad we have been wrong — because our identification with the ego has led only to unhappiness and hopelessness. Recall the question he asks us later in the text of A Course in Miracles : “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” (T.29.VII.1:9) . It is the same idea — we should be glad that we have been totally wrong about ourselves and reality, and happily accept the truth that we have been denying.
Q #1302: When I shut the doors, confine myself in a room, and immerse myself in reading A Course in Miracles , I feel such elation because everything it says rings true. I literally wish that when I open the doors, the illusory world would not exist anymore. This brings instantaneous fear and anxiety, of course. I sometimes picture the “cunning” ego asserting specialness, as if mocking me to say “see, God does not really love you; you’re stuck here.” I get so confused and sad, I just weep as I always have. It seems as if there is a constant battle raging inside me, and peace, even when it comes, is fleeting. It seems as if I have to remember to “choose once again” constantly and unrelentingly. When all is said and done, I truly want only God. I also honestly believe that God waits for me. But why the seeming distance and the muck that shields the light?
A: Yes, other students have these kinds of experiences — they are not uncommon at all. Patience and gentleness are essential in working through this process. If we could simply accept the peace of God without reservation the first time we open our minds to it, we would not need A Course in Miracles ; and, indeed, we probably would not even be here. It is perhaps far more helpful and realistic to assume that we don’t really want it — or, that we want it only our terms — because we are terrified of what it would mean to fully accept it. Deep down we realize that our identity as we know it would disappear, as would the world. We thus are highly conflicted — we both desperately want peace, yet are terrified of accepting it. We think it would be the most wonderful thing ever to awaken from this burdensome dream of suffering, yet we are not sure we want to let go of our identity as an self. This is the theme Jesus discusses in “The Fear of Redemption” (T.13.III) , and it is also the subject of Kenneth’s recent book, Ending Our Resistance to Love . However, Jesus reassures us of the gentleness of the journey on which he is leading us: we will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it (T.13.VII.9:1) ; and we will not be “abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality” (T.16.VI.8:1).
It certainly does seem as if a battle is being waged in our minds, but this is true only from the ego’s vantage point. (Note the section in the text called “Above the Battleground” (T.23.IV. ) The ego senses a mortal threat to its existence, and that threat is our mind’s power to decide against the ego and for the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness. To make this choice is the beginning of the end of the ego, which is why it devised its strategy to shield us from our identities as decision-making minds. Thus, for the ego there is definitely a life-and-death struggle, because both sides are real in its eyes. This is the tension we cannot help feeling when we identify with the ego. From Jesus vantage point, however, there is no battle, for he knows that the ego and everything it stands for is made up — you cannot do battle with something that does not exist, unless you’re Don Quixote! Asking our questions — what is the ego and where can it found? — Jesus answers: “Nothing and nowhere!” (C.2.6:7). Jesus thus guides us on our journey back into our minds where we can get in touch with our erroneous beliefs and then choose against them.
But because we think we are bodies living in a world and are no longer aware of our identity as minds with the power of choice, Jesus starts us off on that level and uses our experiences in the world to lead us back to the content in our minds, and eventually back to our identity as minds. He teaches us how to treat our reactions to the goings-on in our daily lives as reflections of the contents we have chosen to make real in our minds: “the outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1:5). That is why our interactions are important — they constitute the curriculum Jesus can use as our teacher. This is A Course in Miracles’ distinctive path.
If you retreat from the world out of fear, ultimately it is because you have given the world a power it does not really have, forgetting that it is a projection of your mind (part of the ego’s strategy) and that you therefore have given it the only meaning it has — a major principle in all of the Course’s teachings (in addition to the reference to Chapter 21 above, see also T.13.IX.3:1 and W.pI.2 ). Succumbing to the ego’s threats about the danger of remaining in your mind, you are overlooking the real strength that is still there. Depression is one of the consequences of taking the ego seriously. To choose the ego is to deny truth, separate yourself from the source of true peace and happiness, and have it appear that you are just a helpless victim of forces beyond your control. Jesus’ teaching objective, thus, is to lead us back within to the place where we make the choice to believe in his truth or to deny it. His method takes into consideration our unfortunate condition of not even realizing there is a “within” to which we can return. This, again, points to the value of our interactions in the world — we can now learn to focus on their purpose (content) while still acting responsibly in our roles (form): “Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has” (T.24.VI.1,2). This is where our hope lies, upheld by Jesus’ promise to be with us each step of the way, and by his guarantee that we cannot fail, for all that we are doing is denying our denial of truth (T.12.II.1:5) , and remembering what we chose to forget.