ACIM Text Reading for May 6
Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth
VIII. Sharing Perception with the Holy Spirit
What do you want? Light or darkness, knowledge or ignorance are yours, but not both. Opposites must be brought together, not kept apart. For their separation is only in your mind, and they are reconciled by union, as you are. In union, everything that is not real must disappear, for truth is union. As darkness disappears in light, so ignorance fades away when knowledge dawns. Perception is the medium by which ignorance is brought to knowledge. Yet the perception must be without deceit, for otherwise it becomes the messenger of ignorance rather than a helper in the search for truth.
The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth. Truth is. It can neither be lost nor sought nor found. It is there, wherever you are, being within you. Yet it can be recognized or unrecognized, real or false to you. If you hide it, it becomes unreal to you because you hid it and surrounded it with fear. Under each cornerstone of fear on which you have erected your insane system of belief, the truth lies hidden. Yet you cannot know this, for by hiding truth in fear, you see no reason to believe that the more you look at fear the less you see it, and the clearer what it conceals becomes.
It is not possible to convince the unknowing that they know. From their point of view it is not true. Yet it is true because God knows it. These are clearly opposite viewpoints on what the “unknowing” are. To God, unknowing is impossible. It is therefore not a point of view at all, but merely a belief in something that does not exist. It is only this belief that the unknowing have, and by it they are wrong about themselves. They have defined themselves as they were not created. Their creation was not a point of view, but rather a certainty. Uncertainty brought to certainty does not retain any conviction of reality.
Our emphasis has been on bringing what is undesirable to the desirable; what you do not want to what you do. You will realize that salvation must come to you this way, if you consider what dissociation is. Dissociation is a distorted process of thinking whereby two systems of belief which cannot coexist are both maintained. If they are brought together, their joint acceptance becomes impossible. But if one is kept in darkness from the other, their separation seems to keep them both alive and equal in their reality. Their joining thus becomes the source of fear, for if they meet, acceptance must be withdrawn from one of them. You cannot have them both, for each denies the other. Apart, this fact is lost from sight, for each in a separate place can be endowed with firm belief. Bring them together, and the fact of their complete incompatibility is instantly apparent. One will go, because the other is seen in the same place.
Light cannot enter darkness when a mind believes in darkness, and will not let it go. Truth does not struggle against ignorance, and love does not attack fear. What needs no protection does not defend itself. Defense is of your making. God knows it not. The Holy Spirit uses defenses on behalf of truth only because you made them against it. His perception of them, according to his purpose, merely changes them into a call for what you have attacked with them. Defenses, like everything you made, must be gently turned to your own good, translated by the Holy Spirit from means of self-destruction to means of preservation and release. His task is mighty, but the power of God is with Him. Therefore, to Him it is so easy that it was accomplished the instant it was given Him for you. Do not delay in your return to peace by wondering how He can fulfill what God has given Him to do. Leave that to Him Who knows. You are not asked to do mighty tasks yourself. You are merely asked to do the little He suggests you do, trusting Him only to the small extent of believing that, if He asks it, you can do it. You will see how easily all that He asks can be accomplished.
The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to him every secret you have locked away from Him. Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon. He sees for you, and unless you look with Him He cannot see. The vision of Christ is not for Him alone, but for Him with you. Bring, therefore, all your dark and secret thoughts to Him, and look upon them with Him. He holds the light, and you the darkness. They cannot coexist when both of you together look on them. His judgment must prevail, and He will give it to you as you join your perception to His.
Joining with Him in seeing is the way in which you learn to share with him the interpretation of perception that leads to knowledge. You cannot see alone. Sharing perception with Him Whom God has given you teaches you how to recognize what you see. It is the recognition that nothing you see means anything alone. Seeing with Him will show you that all meaning, including yours, comes not from double vision, but from the gentle fusing of everything into one meaning, one emotion and one purpose. God has one Purpose which He shares with you. The single vision which the Holy Spirit offers you will bring this oneness to your mind with clarity and brightness so intense you could not wish, for all the world, not to accept what God would have you have. Behold your will, accepting it as His, with all His Love as yours. All honor to you through Him, and through Him unto God.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 6
All that I give is given to myself.
sToday’s idea, completely alien to the ego and the thinking of the world, is crucial to the thought reversal that this course will bring about. If you believed this statement, there would be no problem in complete forgiveness, certainty of goal, and sure direction. You would understand the means by which salvation comes to you, and would not hesitate to use it now.
Let us consider what you do believe, in place of this idea. It seems to you that other people are apart from you, and able to behave in ways which have no bearing on your thoughts, nor yours on theirs. Therefore, your attitudes have no effect on them, and their appeals for help are not in any way related to your own. You further think that they can sin without affecting your perception of yourself, while you can judge their sin, and yet remain apart from condemnation and at peace.
When you “forgive” a sin, there is no gain to you directly. You give charity to one unworthy, merely to point out that you are better, on a higher plane than he whom you forgive. He has not earned your charitable tolerance, which you bestow on one unworthy of the gift, because his sins have lowered him beneath a true equality with you. He has no claim on your forgiveness. It holds out a gift to him, but hardly to yourself.
Thus is forgiveness basically unsound; a charitable whim, benevolent yet undeserved, a gift bestowed at times, at other times withheld. Unmerited, withholding it is just, nor is it fair that you should suffer when it is withheld. The sin that you forgive is not your own. Someone apart from you committed it. And if you then are gracious unto him by giving him what he does not deserve, the gift is no more yours than was his sin.
If this be true, forgiveness has no grounds on which to rest dependably and sure. It is an eccentricity, in which you sometimes choose to give indulgently an undeserved reprieve. Yet it remains your right to let the sinner not escape the justified repayment for his sin. Think you the Lord of Heaven would allow the world’s salvation to depend on this? Would not His care for you be small indeed, if your salvation rested on a whim?
You do not understand forgiveness. As you see it, it is but a check upon overt attack, without requiring correction in your mind. It cannot give you peace as you perceive it. It is not a means for your release from what you see in someone other than yourself. It has no power to restore your unity with him to your awareness. It is not what God intended it to be for you.
Not having given Him the gift He asks of you, you cannot recognize His gifts, and think He has not given them to you. Yet would He ask you for a gift unless it was for you? Could He be satisfied with empty gestures, and evaluate such petty gifts as worthy of His Son? Salvation is a better gift than this. And true forgiveness, as the means by which it is attained, must heal the mind that gives, for giving is receiving. What remains as unreceived has not been given, but what has been given must have been received.
Today we try to understand the truth that giver and receiver are the same. You will need help to make this meaningful, because it is so alien to the thoughts to which you are accustomed. But the Help you need is there. Give Him your faith today, and ask Him that He share your practicing in truth today. And if you only catch a tiny glimpse of the release that lies in the idea we practice for today, this is a day of glory for the world.
Give fifteen minutes twice today to the attempt to understand today’s idea. It is the thought by which forgiveness takes its proper place in your priorities. It is the thought that will release your mind from every bar to what forgiveness means, and let you realize its worth to you.
In silence, close your eyes upon the world that does not understand forgiveness, and seek sanctuary in the quiet place where thoughts are changed and false beliefs laid by. Repeat today’s idea, and ask for help in understanding what it really means. Be willing to be taught. Be glad to hear the Voice of truth and healing speak to you, and you will understand the words He speaks, and recognize He speaks your words to you.
As often as you can, remind yourself you have a goal today; an aim which makes this day of special value to yourself and all your brothers. Do not let your mind forget this goal for long, but tell yourself:
All that I give is given to myself. The Help I need to learn
that this is true is with me now. And I will trust in Him.
Then spend a quiet moment, opening your mind to His correction and His Love. And what you hear of Him you will believe, for what He gives will be received by you.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: The “secret sins and hidden hates” are the separation beliefs the mind holds, but covers over with heavy layers of denial and projection. In fact, the mind builds a defensive fortress around its plot to keep separation real in its awareness. The cement that holds the whole thing together is denial. Almost simultaneously with its choice to be separate, the mind judges the choice as sinful, feels tremendous guilt for the “sin,” projects the guilt out to the body, and then denies it ever did anything. It thereby denies its power to choose and, most importantly, its identity as mind. Key to the success of this plot is keeping it hidden from awareness so the mind can convince itself that it is powerless and has no choice but to accept the ego’s dream of separation. Once the mind finds itself embroiled in the illusion of the body, it continues to keep its sin and guilt hidden from awareness by projecting them out and blaming external agents for its predicament. The main target of this scheme is the ego’s made-up God. The ego tells a very convincing tale to get the mind off the hook and ensure that its power and, most importantly its choice, are kept hidden: God made the world and the body, tricked his creatures into sinning, and is now tracking them down to punish them with death. This insanity is the foundation of the ego’s plan for salvation through sacrifice and death, sustained by guilt and fear, and designed to keep the Son of God out of his mind.
Since hiding the mind’s activity through denial is at the core of the ego’s insanity, the Holy Spirit’s curriculum of healing begins with uncovering what was hidden, and restoring to awareness the mind’s power to choose. That is why so much of the teaching of the Course is devoted to describing the ego’s dynamics. The key to unraveling the thick layers of denial is to train the mind to recognize the ego’s antics in operation in one’s life. Recognizing the mind’s projections returns the source of the problem to the mind where it belongs. That is the first step in the forgiveness process. We find many passages in A Course in Miracles where Jesus exhorts us to look: “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” (T.13.III.7:1,2,3,4,5,6). Several layers of the mind’s denial network are revealed in this passage: illusions hide behind projections that seem to have a life of their own, hidden behind the illusions is the “loving mind,” as well as the pain that results from the mind’s decision. The intense pain of denying God’s Love is hidden behind all the ego’s frantic attempts (“tricks and games”) to make the illusion of separation real and convince God’s Son that happiness is possible outside of Heaven. No matter how hard the ego tries, it cannot undo the anguish of its error, and by confusing itself with the ego, the mind has crucified God’s Son. This is the ego’s arsenal of “secret sins.”
Hidden beneath all the debris of the guilt-infested secret sins is the mind’s best kept “sinless secret”: the memory of God’s Love. The Holy Spirit’s healing process is aimed at undoing belief in the mind’s secret sins so the Love that lies buried beneath them can be revealed. To that end, we are asked to look with the Holy Spirit at what has been hidden: “Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from His light, and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover [the “sinful” as well as the sinless] . 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” (T.13.III.7:5,6, italics ours ).
Q #1154 I have heard people say “it makes me happy to help others.” I never thought that there was anything “bad” about that statement until I made that comment and my brother said that I was trying to please myself. I started wondering who was doing the talk, the ego or the spirit? I know that God wants us to be happy, but how can you tell if the happiness that comes from helping others comes from the ego? Can you give me your opinion?
A: Yes, God wants us to be happy, but that happiness can be found only through remembering we belong to Him and not to the world in any way ( see Lesson 182 — W.pI.182). When we forget this (which is usually all the time), we will be unhappy and then seek outside us for something that will make us happy. That could be anything at all, including helping others. But the behavior of helping others (the form) does not, in itself, tell you whether it came from your mind’s choice for the ego or the Holy Spirit (the content). If it was a right-minded choice, then you would have no investment in the outcome of what you did; your inner peace and happiness would not be affected by the situation in any way; you would not take anything personally — praise or criticism; you would not perceive the situation in terms of victims and victimizers; you would not exclude anyone from the love and kindness you extended to that particular person — the content of love in your mind, not the form of the help).
Jesus is teaching us in A Course in Miracles to focus on the purpose we have chosen in our minds, a choice that precedes behavioral interaction. That is the only relevant aspect of what we do — our choice of teacher. You have chosen the ego’s thought system of separation if your focus is on the body — what bodies do or don’t do and how that affects you. You have chosen the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness if you focus on seeing shared interests, as opposed to separate interests, and you are increasingly attracted to seeing everyone as part of the Sonship, without exception.