ACIM Text Reading for May 8
Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth
X. The Reflection of Holiness
The Atonement does not make holy. You were created holy. It merely brings unholiness to holiness; or what you made to what you are. Bringing illusion to truth, or the ego to God, is the Holy Spirit’s only function. Keep not your making from your Father, for hiding it has cost you knowledge of Him and of yourself. The knowledge is safe, but where is your safety apart from it? The making of time to take the place of timelessness lay in the decision to be not as you are. Thus truth was made past, and the present was dedicated to illusion. And the past, too, was changed and interposed between what always was and now. The past that you remember never was, and represents only the denial of what always was.
Bringing the ego to God is but to bring error to truth, where it stands corrected because it is the opposite of what it meets. It is undone because the contradiction can no longer stand. How long can contradiction stand when its impossible nature is clearly revealed? What disappears in light is not attacked. It merely vanishes because it is not true. Different realities are meaningless, for reality must be one. It cannot change with time or mood or chance. Its changelessness is what makes it real. This cannot be undone. Undoing is for unreality. And this reality will do for you.
Merely by being what it is, does truth release you from everything that it is not. The Atonement is so gentle you need but whisper to it, and all its power will rush to your assistance and support. You are not frail with God beside you. Yet without Him you are nothing. The Atonement offers you God. The gift that you refused is held by Him in you. The Holy Spirit holds it there for you. God has not left His altar, though his worshippers placed other gods upon it. The temple still is holy, for the Presence that dwells within it is holiness.
In the temple, holiness waits quietly for the return of them that love it. The Presence knows they will return to purity and to grace. The graciousness of God will take them gently in, and cover all their sense of pain and loss with the immortal assurance of their Father’s Love. There, fear of death will be replaced with joy of life. For God is Life, and they abide in Life. The Presence of holiness lives in everything that lives, for holiness created life, and leaves not what it created holy as itself.
In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here. Yet no reflections of the images of other gods must dim the mirror that would hold God’s reflection in it. Earth can reflect Heaven or hell; God or the ego. You need but leave the mirror clean and clear of all the images of hidden darkness you have drawn upon it. God will shine upon it of Himself. Only the clear reflection of Himself can be perceived upon it.
Reflections are seen in light. In darkness they are obscure, and their meaning seems to lie only in shifting interpretations, rather than in themselves. The reflection of God needs no interpretation. It is clear. Clean but the mirror, and the message that shines forth from what the mirror holds out for everyone to see, no one can fail to understand. It is the message that the Holy Spirit is holding to the mirror that is in him. He recognizes it because he has been taught his need for it, but knows not where to look to find it. Let him, then, see it in you and share it with you.
Could you but realize for a single instant the power of healing that the reflection of God, shining in you, can bring to all the world, you could not wait to make the mirror of your mind clean to receive the image of the holiness that heals the world. The image of holiness that shines in your mind is not obscure, and will not change. Its meaning to those who look upon it is not obscure, for everyone perceives it as the same. All bring their different problems to its healing light, and all their problems find but healing there.
The response of holiness to any form of error is always the same. There is no contradiction in what holiness calls forth. Its one response is healing, without regard for what is brought to it. Those who have learned to offer only healing, because of the reflection of holiness in them, are ready at last for Heaven. There, holiness is not a reflection, but rather the actual condition of what was but reflected to them here. God is no image, and His creations, as part of Him, hold Him in them in truth. They do not merely reflect truth, for they are truth.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 8
The world I see holds nothing that I want.
The world you see holds nothing that you need to offer you; nothing that you can use in any way, nor anything at all that serves to give you joy. Believe this thought, and you are saved from years of misery, from countless disappointments, and from hopes that turn to bitter ashes of despair. No one but must accept this thought as true, if he would leave the world behind and soar beyond its petty scope and little ways.
Each thing you value here is but a chain that binds you to the world, and it will serve no other end but this. For everything must serve the purpose you have given it, until you see a different purpose there. The only purpose worthy of your mind this world contains is that you pass it by, without delaying to perceive some hope where there is none. Be you deceived no more. The world you see holds nothing that you want.
Escape today the chains you place upon your mind when you perceive salvation here. For what you value you make part of you as you perceive yourself. All things you seek to make your value greater in your sight limit you further, hide your worth from you, and add another bar across the door that leads to true awareness of your Self.
Let nothing that relates to body thoughts delay your progress to salvation, nor permit temptation to believe the world holds anything you want to hold you back. Nothing is here to cherish. Nothing here is worth one instant of delay and pain; one moment of uncertainty and doubt. The worthless offer nothing. Certainty of worth can not be found in worthlessness.
Today we practice letting go all thought of values we have given to the world. We leave it free of purposes we gave its aspects and its phases and its dreams. We hold it purposeless within our minds, and loosen it from all we wish it were. Thus do we lift the chains that bar the door to freedom from the world, and go beyond all little values and diminished goals.
Pause and be still a little while, and see how far you rise above the world, when you release your mind from chains and let it seek the level where it finds itself at home. It will be grateful to be free a while. It knows where it belongs. But free its wings, and it will fly in sureness and in joy to join its holy purpose. Let it rest in its Creator, there to be restored to sanity, to freedom and to love.
Give it ten minutes rest three times today. And when your eyes are opened afterwards, you will not value anything you see as much as when you looked at it before. Your whole perspective on the world will shift by just a little, every time you let your mind escape its chains. The world is not where it belongs. And you belong where it would be, and where it goes to rest when you release it from the world. Your Guide is sure. Open your mind to Him. Be still and rest.
Protect your mind throughout the day as well. And when you think you see some value in an aspect or an image of the world, refuse to lay this chain upon your mind, but tell yourself with quiet certainty:
This will not tempt me to delay myself.
The world I see holds nothing that I want.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #32: I have read that Freud said the point of psychoanalysis is to make the unconscious conscious. I know that the Course is based in some ways on concepts of Freudian theory, but doesn’t the Course say that all consciousness is inherently illusory? Doesn’t this clash, then, with the main objective of psychoanalysis? Or am I having a case of level confusion?
A: The Course does indeed identify consciousness with what is illusory, describing it early in the text as “the level of perception, the first split introduced into the mind after the separation, making the mind a perceiver rather than a creator. Consciousness is correctly identified as the domain of the ego” (T.3.IV.2:1,2). But like all things the ego has made to support and maintain the belief in separation, the Holy Spirit can give it a different purpose. And so later, Jesus observes that “consciousness has levels and awareness can shift quite dramatically, but it cannot transcend the perceptual realm. At its highest level it becomes aware of the real world, and can be trained to do so increasingly” (C.1.7:4,5).
So yes, although consciousness metaphysically speaking is part of the illusion and so is not real, since we believe in its reality and experience it as an inherent part of ourselves, the Course provides us a way to use our consciousness in order ultimately to transcend it. The process of being trained to attain the real world is really a matter of making conscious what our ego has made unconscious through fear, so that the false perceptions of the ego can be healed and replaced by the true perception of the Holy Spirit, preparing us for our return to knowledge (the Course’s term for Heaven), beyond all consciousness and perception.
We have made the split mind — where consciousness resides — unconscious, and instead believe that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the body or, more specifically, of the brain. We have also made unconscious all the guilt in the mind that we have concocted as a defense of consciousness, projecting the guilt out into a world of form where we would never suspect its origin. So all of the ego’s defenses must be made conscious — or as the Course more eloquently describes it, we must “be willing to bring the darkness to light” (T.18.III.6:2) — so that their unreality can be recognized. And so we use the consciousness of the split mind to do this until, in the end, all of our false perceptions have been made conscious and healed, and consciousness is no longer needed. At that point, we are ready to leave the realm of consciousness and perception and “disappear into the Presence beyond the veil…not to be seen [perceived] but known” (T.19.IV.D.19:1).
Q #33: When I am “stuck” and don’t feel I am being completely willing to let go of a well-established defense, I very often ask Jesus to help me with my unwillingness in the situation. I have experienced what I believe is success with this tool from time to time. I must also say that it doesn’t always work — I still feel the discomfort and unhappiness of retaining the grievance even though I’ve asked Him to help me with my unwillingness. Is this some kind of sophisticated ego ploy?
A: Being totally honest with Jesus about your unwillingness to let go of a grievance is helpful in itself, especially since you are experiencing the effects of not letting it go. This stubbornness does not make you sinful and does not affect Jesus’ love for you. So feeling like a failure, or any form of self-condemnation would be the only mistake at that point — you already are aware of the price you are paying to hold on to the grievance. You can just stop with that, acknowledging that forgiveness is a process, and that when the underlying fear lessens, you will take another step. If you really wanted to forgive, you would. You might ask yourself what you would feel like, or what would happen, if you really did totally let go of the grievance. That might disclose the nature of the fear behind your unwillingness. Then you and Jesus could deal with that together. That would help to keep you honest, too.
There is no way of ever being totally sure whether you are listening to the ego or the Holy Spirit. After many years of experience, you become more familiar with your favorite means of self- deception, but usually you need someone who knows you well to help you discern. It’s a difficulty most students experience, because of the tremendous fear we all have of returning home to God.