ACIM Text Reading for May 9
Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth
XI. The Equality of Miracles
When no perception stands between God and His creations, or between His children and their own, the knowledge of creation must continue forever. The reflections you accept into the mirror of your mind in time but bring eternity nearer or farther. But eternity itself is beyond all time. Reach out of time and touch it, with the help of its reflection in you. And you will turn from time to holiness, as surely as the reflection of holiness calls everyone to lay all guilt aside. Reflect the peace of Heaven here, and bring this world to Heaven. For the reflection of truth draws everyone to truth, and as they enter into it they leave all reflections behind.
In Heaven reality is shared and not reflected. By sharing its reflection here, its truth becomes the only perception the Son of God accepts. And thus, remembrance of his Father dawns on him, and he can no longer be satisfied with anything but his own reality. You on earth have no conception of limitlessness, for the world you seem to live in is a world of limits. In this world, it is not true that anything without order of difficulty can occur. The miracle, therefore, has a unique function, and is motivated by a unique Teacher Who brings the laws of another world to this one. The miracle is the one thing you can do that transcends order, being based not on differences but on equality.
Miracles are not in competition, and the number of them that you can do is limitless. They can be simultaneous and legion. This is not difficult to understand, once you conceive of them as possible at all. What is more difficult to grasp is the lack of order of difficulty that stamps the miracle as something that must come from elsewhere, not from here. From the world’s viewpoint, this is impossible.
Perhaps you have been aware of lack of competition among your thoughts, which even though they may conflict, can occur together and in great numbers. You may indeed be so used to this that it causes you little surprise. Yet you are also used to classifying some of your thoughts as more important, larger or better, wiser, or more productive and valuable than others. This is true of the thoughts that cross the mind of those who think they live apart. For some are reflections of Heaven, while others are motivated by the ego, which but seems to think.
The result is a weaving, changing pattern that never rests and is never still. It shifts unceasingly across the mirror of your mind, and the reflections of Heaven last but a moment and grow dim, as darkness blots them out. Where there was light, darkness removes it in an instant, and alternating patterns of light and darkness sweep constantly across your mind. The little sanity that still remains is held together by a sense of order that you establish. Yet the very fact that you can do this, and bring any order into chaos shows you that you are not an ego, and that more than an ego must be in you. For the ego is chaos, and if it were all of you, no order at all would be possible. Yet though the order you impose upon your mind limits the ego, it also limits you. To order is to judge, and to arrange by judgment.
It will seem difficult for you to learn that you have no basis at all for ordering your thoughts. This lesson the Holy Spirit teaches by giving you the shining examples of miracles to show you that your way of ordering is wrong, but that a better way is offered you. The miracle offers exactly the same response to every call for help. It does not judge the call. It merely recognizes what it is, and answers accordingly. It does not consider which call is louder or greater or more important. You may wonder how you who are still bound to judgment can be asked to do that which requires no judgment of your own. The answer is very simple. The power of God, and not of you, engenders miracles. The miracle itself is but the witness that you have the power of God in you. That is the reason why the miracle gives equal blessing to all who share in it, and that is also why everyone shares in it. The power of God is limitless. And being always maximal, it offers everything to every call from anyone. There is no order of difficulty here. A call for help is given help.
The only judgment involved is the Holy Spirit’s one division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love. You cannot safely make this division, for you are much too confused either to recognize love, or to believe that everything else is nothing but a call for love. You are too bound to form, and not to content. What you consider content is not content at all. It is merely form, and nothing else. For you do not respond to what a brother really offers you, but only to the particular perception of his offering by which the ego judges it.
The ego is incapable of understanding content, and is totally unconcerned with it. To the ego, if the form is acceptable the content must be. Otherwise it will attack the form. If you believe you understand something of the “dynamics” of the ego, let me assure you that you understand nothing of it. For of yourself you could not understand it. The study of the ego is not the study of the mind. In fact, the ego enjoys studying itself, and thoroughly approves the undertakings of students who would “analyze” it, thus approving its importance. Yet they but study form with meaningless content. For their teacher is senseless, though careful to conceal this fact behind impressive sounding words, but which lack any consistent sense when they are put together.
This is characteristic of the ego’s judgments. Separately, they seem to hold, but put them together and the system of thought that arises from joining them is incoherent and utterly chaotic. For form is not enough for meaning, and the underlying lack of content makes a cohesive system impossible. Separation therefore remains the ego’s chosen condition. For no one alone can judge the ego truly. Yet when two or more join together in searching for truth, the ego can no longer defend its lack of content. The fact of union tells them it is not true.
It is impossible to remember God in secret and alone. For remembering Him means you are not alone, and are willing to remember it. Take no thought for yourself, for no thought you hold is for yourself. If you would remember your Father, let the Holy Spirit order your thoughts and give only the answer with which He answers you. Everyone seeks for love as you do, but knows it not unless he joins with you in seeking it. If you undertake the search together, you bring with you a light so powerful that what you see is given meaning. The lonely journey fails because it has excluded what it would find.
As God communicates to the Holy Spirit in you, so does the Holy Spirit translate His communications through you, so you can understand them. God has no secret communications, for everything of Him is perfectly open and freely accessible to all, being for all. Nothing lives in secret, and what you would hide from the Holy Spirit is nothing. Every interpretation you would lay upon a brother is senseless. Let the Holy Spirit show him to you, and teach you both his love and his call for love. Neither his mind nor yours holds more than these two orders of thought.
The miracle is the recognition that this is true. Where there is love, your brother must give it to you because of what it is. But where there is a call for love, you must give it because of what you are. Earlier I said this course will teach you how to remember what you are, restoring to you your Identity. We have already learned that this Identity is shared. The miracle becomes the means of sharing It. By supplying your Identity wherever It is not recognized, you will recognize It. And God Himself, Who wills to be with His Son forever, will bless each recognition of His Son with all the love He holds for him. Nor will the power of all His Love be absent from any miracle you offer to His Son. How, then, can there be any order of difficulty among them?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 9
Beyond this world there is a world I want.
This is the thought that follows from the one we practiced yesterday. You cannot stop with the idea the world is worthless, for unless you see that there is something else to hope for, you will only be depressed. Our emphasis is not on giving up the world, but on exchanging it for what is far more satisfying, filled with joy, and capable of offering you peace. Think you this world can offer that to you?
It might be worth a little time to think once more about the value of this world. Perhaps you will concede there is no loss in letting go all thought of value here. The world you see is merciless indeed, unstable, cruel, unconcerned with you, quick to avenge and pitiless with hate. It gives but to rescind, and takes away all things that you have cherished for a while. No lasting love is found, for none is here. This is the world of time, where all things end.
Is it a loss to find a world instead where losing is impossible; where love endures forever, hate cannot exist and vengeance has no meaning? Is it loss to find all things you really want, and know they have no ending and they will remain exactly as you want them throughout time? Yet even they will be exchanged at last for what we cannot speak of, for you go from there to where words fail entirely, into a silence where the language is unspoken and yet surely understood.
Communication, unambiguous and plain as day, remains unlimited for all eternity. And God Himself speaks to His Son, as His Son speaks to Him. Their language has no words, for what They say cannot be symbolized. Their knowledge is direct and wholly shared and wholly one. How far away from this are you who stay bound to this world. And yet how near are you, when you exchange it for the world you want.
Now is the last step certain; now you stand an instant’s space away from timelessness. Here can you but look forward, never back to see again the world you do not want. Here is the world that comes to take its place, as you unbind your mind from little things the world sets forth to keep you prisoner. Value them not, and they will disappear. Esteem them, and they will seem real to you.
Such is the choice. What loss can be for you in choosing not to value nothingness? This world holds nothing that you really want, but what you choose instead you want indeed! Let it be given you today. It waits but for your choosing it, to take the place of all the things you seek but do not want.
Practice your willingness to make this change ten minutes in the morning and at night, and once more in between. Begin with this:
Beyond this world there is a world I want.
I choose to see that world instead of this,
for here is nothing that I really want.
Then close your eyes upon the world you see, and in the silent darkness watch the lights that are not of this world light one by one, until where one begins another ends loses all meaning as they blend in one.
Today the lights of Heaven bend to you, to shine upon your eyelids as you rest beyond the world of darkness. Here is light your eyes can not behold. And yet your mind can see it plainly, and can understand. A day of grace is given you today, and we give thanks. This day we realize that what you feared to lose was only loss.
Now do we understand there is no loss. For we have seen its opposite at last, and we are grateful that the choice is made. Remember your decision hourly, and take a moment to confirm your choice by laying by whatever thoughts you have, and dwelling briefly only upon this:
The world I see holds nothing that I want.
Beyond this world there is a world I want.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #614: I have been a student of A Course in Miracles for about 10 years. Does a man compromise his masculinity if he honors, or surrenders to the spirituality of the Universe? Can a man be a man in the world with Spirituality as his guide rather than the male ego? Recently, I have come to terms with what most people think of when they think of my personality….Mr. Nice Guy….too nice. I have to admit that growing up in a family with a dominating mom and a father who appeased her did not bring strong masculine traits to the forefront. Now, however, I am attempting to reclaim my masculinity with the hope that this does not mean I have to abandon the spiritual progress I have made during my study of the Course. I feel a man can be a man in the world and still honor love within and express it in a masculine way!
A: To answer your question, it may be helpful first to clarify that it is not part of the Course’s teaching and practice that we are to surrender to the Universe, to God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, or anyone else. In fact, the word surrender is never used in the Course, for it implies submission of one’s will to another’s, as if they are different and in conflict. The Course teaches that our will and God’s are one and that they are not in conflict (W.pI.74.1,2,3,4), although we have forgotten that and have made up an illusory will that seems to oppose God’s Will (T.7.IV.6:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8). The ego would want us to believe that God requires surrender, for that means the ego is both real and alive. The Course process instead is one of releasing our own interpretations and judgments to the light of true forgiveness, where their meaninglessness can simply be recognized.
The Course would not have anything specific to say about whether you should attempt to reclaim your masculinity and become more assertive in your relationships with others, but there is no reason that those efforts would have to be incompatible with the Course’s teachings. It certainly is possible to learn to take a position on various issues and concerns in your life and set limits without attacking others. The Course in fact could be very helpful in supporting you in doing that in a nonjudgmental, accepting way with both yourself and others. The challenge would be not to apply your developing assertiveness in a rigid, rule-bound way, for then you would simply be trading one set of self-imposed restrictions for another. Instead, you would want to be able to identify any thoughts of fear or guilt, as well as any investment you may have associated with particular actions and outcomes that concern you. If you can bring those judgments to the Holy Spirit and release them, you will then be able to act with both confidence and kindness, for your ego will not be the source of your decisions.
The Course can also shed some light on why you have adopted the role of “Mr. Nice Guy” up until now in your life, which ultimately has nothing to do with dynamics in your family when you were growing up. It is simply one variation on what the Course calls the “face of innocence” (T.31.V.2), the ego’s attempt to present a non-threatening, guiltless face to the world in order to keep hidden what we each really believe about ourselves — that we are the guilty murderer who destroyed love. Now that guilty secret is not really true either, but it is what we believe about ourselves, covered over by all our defenses. Until we can look directly at the self-accusation with the nonjudgmental, loving presence of Jesus or the Holy Spirit beside us and release it, it will operate at an unconscious level to sabotage all of our relationships, no matter how good and honest our intentions may seem to be. But as your mind is healed, you will find “the strength of gentleness” (M.4.IV.2) will be increasingly accessible to you in all your interactions with others.