ACIM Text Reading for May 3
Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth
VI. The Circle of Atonement
The only part of your mind that has reality is the part that links you still with God. Would you have all of it transformed into a radiant message of God’s Love, to share with all the lonely ones who have denied Him? God makes this possible. Would you deny His yearning to be known? You yearn for Him, as He for you. This is forever changeless. Accept, then, the immutable. Leave the world of death behind, and return quietly to Heaven. There is nothing of value here, and everything of value there. Listen to the Holy Spirit, and to God through Him. He speaks of you to you. There is no guilt in you, for God is blessed in His Son as the Son is blessed in Him.
Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless. Each one teaches the message differently, and learns it differently. Yet until he teaches it and learns it, he will suffer the pain of dim awareness that his true function remains unfulfilled in him. The burden of guilt is heavy, but God would not have you bound by it. His plan for your awaking is as perfect as yours is fallible. You know not what you do, but He Who knows is with you. His gentleness is yours, and all the love you share with God He holds in trust for you. He would teach you nothing except how to be happy.
Blessed Son of a wholly blessing Father, joy was created for you. Who can condemn whom God has blessed? There is nothing in the Mind of God that does not share His shining innocence. Creation is the natural extension of perfect purity. Your only calling here is to devote yourself, with active willingness, to the denial of guilt in all its forms. To accuse is not to understand. The happy learners of the Atonement become the teachers of the innocence that is the right of all that God created. Deny them not what is their due, for you will not withhold it from them alone.
The inheritance of the Kingdom is the right of God’s Son, given him in his creation. Do not try to steal it from him, or you will ask for guilt and will experience it. Protect his purity from every thought that would steal it away and keep it from his sight. Bring innocence to light, in answer to the call of the Atonement. Never allow purity to remain hidden, but shine away the heavy veils of guilt within which the Son of God has hidden himself from his own sight.
We are all joined in the Atonement here, and nothing else can unite us in this world. So will the world of separation slip away, and full communication be restored between the Father and the Son. The miracle acknowledges the guiltlessness that must have been denied to produce the need of healing. Do not withhold this glad acknowledgment, for hope of happiness and release from suffering of every kind lie in it. Who is there but wishes to be free of pain? He may not yet have learned how to exchange guilt for innocence, nor realize that only in this exchange can freedom from pain be his. Yet those who have failed to learn need teaching, not attack. To attack those who have need of teaching is to fail to learn from them.
Teachers of innocence, each in his own way, have joined together, taking their part in the unified curriculum of the Atonement. There is no unity of learning goals apart from this. There is no conflict in this curriculum, which has one aim however it is taught. Each effort made on its behalf is offered for the single purpose of release from guilt, to the eternal glory of God and His creation. And every teaching that points to this points straight to Heaven, and the peace of God. There is no pain, no trial, no fear that teaching this can fail to overcome. The power of God Himself supports this teaching, and guarantees its limitless results.
Join your own efforts to the power that cannot fail and must result in peace. No one can be untouched by teaching such as this. You will not see yourself beyond the power of God if you teach only this. You will not be exempt from the effects of this most holy lesson, which seeks but to restore what is the right of God’s creation. From everyone whom you accord release from guilt you will inevitably learn your innocence. The circle of Atonement has no end. And you will find ever-increasing confidence in your safe inclusion in the circle with everyone you bring within its safety and its perfect peace.
Peace, then, be unto everyone who becomes a teacher of peace. For peace is the acknowledgment of perfect purity, from which no one is excluded. Within its holy circle is everyone whom God created as His Son. Joy is its unifying attribute, with no one left outside to suffer guilt alone. The power of God draws everyone to its safe embrace of love and union. Stand quietly within this circle, and attract all tortured minds to join with you in the safety of its peace and holiness. Abide with me within it, as a teacher of Atonement, not of guilt.
Blessed are you who teach with me. Our power comes not of us, but of our Father. In guiltlessness we know Him, as He knows us guiltless. I stand within the circle, calling you to peace. Teach peace with me, and stand with me on holy ground. Remember for everyone your Father’s power that He has given him. Believe not that you cannot teach His perfect peace. Stand not outside, but join with me within. Fail not the only purpose to which my teaching calls you. Restore to God His Son as He created him, by teaching him his innocence.
The crucifixion had no part in the Atonement. Only the resurrection became my part in it. That is the symbol of the release from guilt by guiltlessness. Whom you perceive as guilty you would crucify. Yet you restore guiltlessness to whomever you see as guiltless. Crucifixion is always the ego’s aim. It sees everyone as guilty, and by its condemnation it would kill. The Holy Spirit sees only guiltlessness, and in His gentleness He would release from fear and re-establish the reign of love. The power of love is in His gentleness, which is of God and therefore cannot crucify nor suffer crucifixion. The temple you restore becomes your altar, for it was rebuilt through you. And everything you give to God is yours. Thus He creates, and thus must you restore.
Each one you see you place within the holy circle of Atonement or leave outside, judging him fit for crucifixion or for redemption. If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without, you join him there. Judge not except in quietness which is not of you. Refuse to accept anyone as without the blessing of Atonement, and bring him into it by blessing him. Holiness must be shared, for therein lies everything that makes it holy. Come gladly to the holy circle, and look out in peace on all who think they are outside. Cast no one out, for here is what he seeks along with you. Come, let us join him in the holy place of peace which is for all of us, united as one within the Cause of peace.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 3
Let me remember I am one with God.
Today we will again give thanks for our Identity in God. Our home is safe, protection guaranteed in all we do, power and strength available to us in all our undertakings. We can fail in nothing. Everything we touch takes on a shining light that blesses and that heals. At one with God and with the universe we go our way rejoicing, with the thought that God Himself goes everywhere with us.
How holy are our minds! And everything we see reflects the holiness within the mind at one with God and with itself. How easily do errors disappear, and death give place to everlasting life. Our shining footprints point the way to truth, for God is our Companion as we walk the world a little while. And those who come to follow us will recognize the way because the light we carry stays behind, yet still remains with us as we walk on.
What we receive is our eternal gift to those who follow after, and to those who went before or stayed with us a while. And God, Who loves us with the equal love in which we were created, smiles on us and offers us the happiness we gave.
Today we will not doubt His Love for us, nor question His protection and His care. No meaningless anxieties can come between our faith and our awareness of His Presence. We are one with Him today in recognition and remembrance. We feel Him in our hearts. Our minds contain His Thoughts; our eyes behold His loveliness in all we look upon. Today we see only the loving and the lovable.
We see it in appearances of pain, and pain gives way to peace. We see it in the frantic, in the sad and the distressed, the lonely and afraid, who are restored to the tranquility and peace of mind in which they were created. And we see it in the dying and the dead as well, restoring them to life. All this we see because we saw it first within ourselves.
No miracle can ever be denied to those who know that they are one with God. No thought of theirs but has the power to heal all forms of suffering in anyone, in times gone by and times as yet to come, as easily as in the ones who walk beside them now. Their thoughts are timeless, and apart from distance as apart from time.
We join in this awareness as we say that we are one with God. For in these words we say as well that we are saved and healed; that we can save and heal accordingly. We have accepted, and we now would give. For we would keep the gifts our Father gave. Today we would experience ourselves at one with Him, so that the world may share our recognition of reality. In our experience the world is freed. As we deny our separation from our Father, it is healed along with us.
Peace be to you today. Secure your peace by practicing awareness you are one with your Creator, as He is with you. Sometime today, whenever it seems best, devote a half an hour to the thought that you are one with God. This is our first attempt at an extended period for which we give no rules nor special words to guide your meditation. We will trust God’s Voice to speak as He sees fit today, certain He will not fail. Abide with Him this half an hour. He will do the rest.
Your benefit will not be less if you believe that nothing happens. You may not be ready to accept the gain today. Yet sometime, somewhere, it will come to you, nor will you fail to recognize it when it dawns with certainty upon your mind. This half an hour will be framed in gold, with every minute like a diamond set around the mirror that this exercise will offer you. And you will see Christ’s face upon it, in reflection of your own.
Perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow, you will see your own transfiguration in the glass this holy half an hour will hold out to you, to look upon yourself. When you are ready you will find it there, within your mind and waiting to be found. You will remember then the thought to which you gave this half an hour, thankfully aware no time was ever better spent.
Perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow, you will look into this glass, and understand the sinless light you see belongs to you; the loveliness you look on is your own. Count this half hour as your gift to God, in certainty that His return will be a sense of love you cannot understand, a joy too deep for you to comprehend, a sight too holy for the body’s eyes to see. And yet you can be sure someday, perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow, you will understand and comprehend and see.
Add further jewels to the golden frame that holds the mirror offered you today, by hourly repeating to yourself:
Let me remember I am one with God, at one with all my
brothers and my Self, in everlasting holiness and peace.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1006: I have read your answer to Question #15, yet somehow I need a little more help. I have a healthy son I am thrilled with, whom I had through in vitro fertilization. I desired more children, but since have lost two to miscarriages. I believe I have a great deal of guilt in that my age — past 40 — would be a gamble and here seemed the proof: death of both embryos due to chromosome damage. I really feel like I murdered them both by seeking magic — the in vitro fertilization. So here is my issue: Almost daily, when I am with my son, someone asks if he is my “only child.” My mind instantly swings into guilt mode. I know the question is just a conversation opener, but it feels like an attack. I have issues around the miscarriages, older stepchildren, and adopting, and all my feelings bubble up. The last time I could only nod my head in shame and guilt. With my five year old son there and unaware of all the details, I could not attack back as my ego wants, “No, he is not my only, the other two are dead!” And I realize an attack would alienate everyone. But my internal buttons and feelings of sin, guilt, and fear are being pushed. I am still stumped as to how to cope with all this.
I do acknowledge what is happening in the moment and how enraged I become. I do see how their bringing up this deep pain (which is just scratching the surface of the original pain of killing off God) makes me want to “kill,” through words or fantasy, the person I perceive as my attacker, even though they only have unintentionally handed me the mirror so I can look at my guilt. I also know intellectually that I did not murder my unborn children, but part of me must not believe it. I ask for help from Jesus and show him my negative thoughts, but I would like more healing than this. I find it difficult to accept the statement, “Loss is not loss when properly perceived.” I understand intellectually that this is all an illusion, that I am not a body. But when this stuff comes up they are just concepts to my ego.
A: Where you are with all your feelings is okay. You don’t want to try to use the intellectual concepts of A Course in Miracles to change what seems to be happening for you. You will know at a deeper level that they are true at some point on your spiritual path, but for now you simply want to be as honest as you can about your thoughts and feelings about your life circumstances — they after all comprise your classroom. Mostly you speak of your guilt, but what also comes through very clearly is your anger. And although you acknowledge your rage at the strangers’ inquiries, there almost certainly are layers to that anger that you may be missing by jumping to the ontological explanation that you killed God. And all these unrecognized and unacknowledged layers of defenses continue to operate below your awareness, keeping your focus outside yourself, which of course is their purpose, despite your best intentions to look at the guilt within.
What might these other layers involve? Your anger at the strangers seems somehow out of proportion to the nature of their “attack,” as you acknowledge. It may feel safer to keep the focus of your anger on them than on other perhaps less conscious targets. For it seems likely from what you say that you are angry that you have not been able to have the children you want — perhaps angry at a spouse or ex-spouse, a lover, a parent, or God — someone else who is somehow responsible for depriving you of what you so desperately want, requiring you to rely on your own creative attempts to have the children on your own that will make your life feel more complete. And there must also be great sadness and grief at the recurring losses. It’s important that you uncover the anger and grief you are carrying, and all the hidden justifications for those feelings, not because they are true, but because you still believe at some level that they are true. And you cannot jump to the ontological explanation without looking at the ego’s layers of defenses as clearly as you can, or you will simply keep the defenses unexamined and intact (T.11.V.1;2:1,2) .
Once you can get in touch with the anger and the specific thoughts behind that anger, you can begin to take responsibility for the projection involved in those judgments against others. Now it is true that all the levels of anger are simply defenses against the underlying ontological guilt, but the thought that we believe we have killed God is mostly an intellectual concept for most of us, which is, as Jesus tells us, “an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering” (M.2.4:1). But we relive its content every instant that we choose the ego, putting our own needs and desires above everyone else’s. So we can at least begin to be honest about how much we want to have things our own way and how angry we can become at anyone else who seems to stand in the way of our getting what we want. There’s the projection that most of us can begin to identify with. Others may be putting their own needs first, but that could not anger us unless we were doing the same thing but did not want to acknowledge it in ourselves.
Ultimately, Jesus assures us, we will learn that “it is not necessary to follow fear [and guilt] through all the circuitous routes by which it burrows underground and hides in darkness, to emerge in forms quite different from what it is. Yet it is necessary to examine each one as long as you would retain the principle that governs all of them” (T.15.X.5:1,2,3). And that principle that we all still retain, even cling to, is that the separation and the accompanying guilt — and the resulting individual self that each of us identifies with — are real and require a defense. But until we can genuinely experience the guilt at that level, we will need to begin with all the specific expressions of our guilt, usually accessed by first acknowledging our anger at others and the judgments we are holding against them. Over time, we will begin to recognize the common thread running through all of our projections, and the ontological guilt will become more of an experience than an empty intellectual concept. But in each case, by looking with Jesus at our projections and accepting the underlying guilt as ours, we will begin to release the need for that defense. And the need for anything or anyone — adult or child — to fill the emptiness we feel inside will lose its power over us. And peace and joy will then fill the space left empty by the disappearing guilt and anger.