ACIM Text Reading for May 12
Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant
II. The End of Doubt
The Atonement is in time, but not for time. Being in you, it is eternal. What holds remembrance of God cannot be bound by time. No more are you. For unless God is bound, you cannot be. An instant offered to the Holy Spirit is offered to God on your behalf, and in that instant you will awaken gently in Him. In the blessed instant you will let go all your past learning, and the Holy Spirit will quickly offer you the whole lesson of peace. What can take time, when all the obstacles to learning it have been removed? Truth is so far beyond time that all of it happens at once. For as it was created one, so its oneness depends not on time at all.
Do not be concerned with time, and fear not the instant of holiness that will remove all fear. For the instant of peace is eternal because it is without fear. It will come, being the lesson God gives you, through the Teacher He has appointed to translate time into eternity. Blessed is God’s Teacher, Whose joy it is to teach God’s holy Son his holiness. His joy is not contained in time. His teaching is for you because His joy is yours. Through Him you stand before God’s altar, where He gently translates hell into Heaven. For it is only in Heaven that God would have you be.
How long can it take to be where God would have you? For you are where you have forever been and will forever be. All that you have, you have forever. The blessed instant reaches out to encompass time, as God extends Himself to encompass you. You who have spent days, hours and even years in chaining your brothers to your ego in an attempt to support it and uphold its weakness, do not perceive the Source of strength. In this holy instant you will unchain all your brothers, and refuse to support either their weakness or your own.
You do not realize how much you have misused your brothers by seeing them as sources of ego support. As a result, they witness to the ego in your perception, and seem to provide reasons for not letting it go. Yet they are far stronger and much more compelling witnesses for the Holy Spirit. And they support His strength. It is, therefore, your choice whether they support the ego or the Holy Spirit in you. And you will recognize which you have chosen by their reactions. A Son of God who has been released through the Holy Spirit in a brother is always recognized. He cannot be denied. If you remain uncertain, it is only because you have not given complete release. And because of this, you have not given a single instant completely to the Holy Spirit. For when you have, you will be sure you have. You will be sure because the witness to Him will speak so clearly of Him that you will hear and understand. You will doubt until you hear one witness whom you have wholly released through the Holy Spirit. And then you will doubt no more.
The holy instant has not yet happened to you. Yet it will, and you will recognize it with perfect certainty. No gift of God is recognized in any other way. You can practice the mechanics of the holy instant, and will learn much from doing so. Yet its shining and glittering brilliance, which will literally blind you to this world by its own vision, you cannot supply. And here it is, all in this instant, complete, accomplished and given wholly.
Start now to practice your little part in separating out the holy instant. You will receive very specific instructions as you go along. To learn to separate out this single second, and to experience it as timeless, is to begin to experience yourself as not separate. Fear not that you will not be given help in this. God’s Teacher and His lesson will support your strength. It is only your weakness that will depart from you in this practice, for it is the practice of the power of God in you. Use it but for one instant, and you will never deny it again. Who can deny the Presence of what the universe bows to, in appreciation and gladness? Before the recognition of the universe that witnesses to It, your doubts must disappear.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 12
I loose the world from all I thought it was.
What keeps the world in chains but your beliefs? And what can save the world except your Self? Belief is powerful indeed. The thoughts you hold are mighty, and illusions are as strong in their effects as is the truth. A madman thinks the world he sees is real, and does not doubt it. Nor can he be swayed by questioning his thoughts’ effects. It is but when their source is raised to question that the hope of freedom comes to him at last.
Yet is salvation easily achieved, for anyone is free to change his mind, and all his thoughts change with it. Now the source of thought has shifted, for to change your mind means you have changed the source of all ideas you think or ever thought or yet will think. You free the past from what you thought before. You free the future from all ancient thoughts of seeking what you do not want to find.
The present now remains the only time. Here in the present is the world set free. For as you let the past be lifted and release the future from your ancient fears, you find escape and give it to the world. You have enslaved the world with all your fears, your doubts and miseries, your pain and tears; and all your sorrows press on it, and keep the world a prisoner to your beliefs. Death strikes it everywhere because you hold the bitter thoughts of death within your mind.
The world is nothing in itself. Your mind must give it meaning. And what you behold upon it are your wishes, acted out so you can look on them and think them real. Perhaps you think you did not make the world, but came unwillingly to what was made already, hardly waiting for your thoughts to give it meaning. Yet in truth you found exactly what you looked for when you came.
There is no world apart from what you wish, and herein lies your ultimate release. Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly. Ideas leave not their source. This central theme is often stated in the text, and must be borne in mind if you would understand the lesson for today. It is not pride which tells you that you made the world you see, and that it changes as you change your mind.
But it is pride that argues you have come into a world quite separate from yourself, impervious to what you think, and quite apart from what you chance to think it is. There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach. Not everyone is ready to accept it, and each one must go as far as he can let himself be led along the road to truth. He will return and go still farther, or perhaps step back a while and then return again.
But healing is the gift of those who are prepared to learn there is no world, and can accept the lesson now. Their readiness will bring the lesson to them in some form which they can understand and recognize. Some see it suddenly on point of death, and rise to teach it. Others find it in experience that is not of this world, which shows them that the world does not exist because what they behold must be the truth, and yet it clearly contradicts the world.
And some will find it in this course, and in the exercises that we do today. Today’s idea is true because the world does not exist. And if it is indeed your own imagining, then you can loose it from all things you ever thought it was by merely changing all the thoughts that gave it these appearances. The sick are healed as you let go all thoughts of sickness, and the dead arise when you let thoughts of life replace all thoughts you ever held of death.
A lesson earlier repeated once must now be stressed again, for it contains the firm foundation for today’s idea. You are as God created you. There is no place where you can suffer, and no time that can bring change to your eternal state. How can a world of time and place exist, if you remain as God created you?
What is the lesson for today except another way of saying that to know your Self is the salvation of the world? To free the world from every kind of pain is but to change your mind about yourself. There is no world apart from your ideas because ideas leave not their source, and you maintain the world within your mind in thought.
Yet if you are as God created you, you cannot think apart from Him, nor make what does not share His timelessness and Love. Are these inherent in the world you see? Does it create like Him? Unless it does, it is not real, and cannot be at all. If you are real the world you see is false, for God’s creation is unlike the world in every way. And as it was His Thought by which you were created, so it is your thoughts which made it and must set it free, that you may know the Thoughts you share with God.
Release the world! Your real creations wait for this release to give you fatherhood, not of illusions, but as God in truth. God shares His Fatherhood with you who are His Son, for He makes no distinctions in what is Himself and what is still Himself. What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him.
There is no world because it is a thought apart from God, and made to separate the Father and the Son, and break away a part of God Himself and thus destroy His Wholeness. Can a world which comes from this idea be real? Can it be anywhere? Deny illusions, but accept the truth. Deny you are a shadow briefly laid upon a dying world. Release your mind, and you will look upon a world released.
Today our purpose is to free the world from all the idle thoughts we ever held about it, and about all living things we see upon it. They can not be there. No more can we. For we are in the home our Father set for us, along with them. And we who are as He created us would loose the world this day from every one of our illusions, that we may be free.
Begin the fifteen-minute periods in which we practice twice today with this:
I who remain as God created me would loose the world from
all I thought it was. For I am real because the world is not,
and I would know my own reality.
Then merely rest, alert but with no strain, and let your mind in quietness be changed so that the world is freed, along with you.
You need not realize that healing comes to many brothers far across the world, as well as to the ones you see nearby, as you send out these thoughts to bless the world. But you will sense your own release, although you may not fully understand as yet that you could never be released alone.
Throughout the day, increase the freedom sent through your ideas to all the world, and say whenever you are tempted to deny the power of your simple change of mind:
I loose the world from all I thought it was,
and choose my own reality instead.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #17: I heard that in the real world the separation is seen, but separate interests are not. Is that true? What does that actually mean? Which came first the separation or the guilt? (I imagine the separation) Can the guilt be undone without undoing the separation or are they all tied together? You see I’d quite like to get rid of the guilt…and seeing my brothers interests as my own sounds good since it ends the terrible sense of conflict and competition…but losing my individuality does not feel like a price I am willing to pay. I would rather be a non-guilty non-conflicted non-competitive, non-frightened, happy, individual. Is that possible?
A: First, you are correct in concluding that the separation came before guilt — guilt is simply the psychological experience of sin — the feeling that results from being sinful.
Most students reach this same impasse that you have described. What you are feeling is quite normal and understandable, given the strength of our identification with our existence as specific individuals. For the most part, we know no other way of being and find it quite difficult — to put it mildly — to integrate Jesus’ teaching that this identity is a replacement for our true Identity as God created us. So Jesus emphasizes throughout the Course, that this is a gradual, gentle process, and we can take as long as we would like to complete it with him. He comforts us by saying: “Do not fear that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality” (T.16.VI.8:1), because he knows well that we are terrified of letting go of this identity.
As we choose to forgive more and more — to let go of grievances — we will feel better about ourselves, and therefore we will want to do that more and more. And as that process continues, we will begin to identify more and more with Jesus’ way of thinking and approaching our lives, which means that our point of reference for our lives will gradually shift from simply having our needs met to realizing that we all share a common interest, both in our wrong minds and in our right minds. As we become less and less preoccupied with using the world and other people to meet our needs — i.e., as we see the purpose of our lives differently — our self-concept will begin to shift, without our even having focused directly on that.
When we become totally identified with Jesus’ way of thinking, our only attraction will be to his love. And when all of our thinking and perceptions flow from that love, our sense of individuality will be meaningful only to the extent that it can be a means of extending Jesus’ healing love to other minds that are calling out for it. That is the state of mind known as “the real world.” It is the natural outcome of the practice of forgiveness. So when we reach that advanced stage, we will no longer be thinking of ourselves as persons with needs and goals that have to be fulfilled. We will perceive from a vantage point “above the battleground” only people who are calling out for love, not knowing they are simply figures in a dream that they themselves are dreaming.
Q #18: The Course speaks throughout about will. It states that will is not involved in perception (C.1.7:2); that I have imprisoned my will (T.9.I:4.1); and that if I did not have a split mind, I would recognize that willing is salvation (T.9.I.5:4). Just what is will as it is related in the Course, and what purpose, if any, does it serve in the dream?
A: When the Course speaks of “will” it is always referring to God’s Will; “God’s Will is all there is.” (C.3.6:1). It is speaking on the level of the Mind where our will is one with God’s, where truth is true and everything else is false (T.31.I.1:7). This is an example of the Course’s non-dualism; there cannot be a will apart from God’s, His Will is our salvation, our true will is one with His. We are “willing,” i.e., exercising the power of our will, only when we choose to accept the truth about ourselves, and this is our salvation. The Course distinguishes between willing and wanting. When we choose to make sin real, to believe the ego’s lie about who we are in the dream, we are “wanting” to make an illusory alternative to God’s Will and to defend this made up self. This is the imprisonment of our true will; this is how we deny it, and this is the origin of perception — we see what we want to see.
To help us in our learning, the Course uses a related term, “the little willingness,” in reference to our experience in the dream. Being willing, in this sense, is agreeing to choose to see differently; to accept a different interpretation; to question the meaning and value we place on all our relationships, and our entire experience in this dream; to see the effects of the ego choices we have made, and consider their cost. This is enough, the Course tells us, to turn us around in our journey, heading back in the direction of our home in God and the one Will we share with Him; He is our Father, we are His innocent Son. In this way we can make choices in the dream, in the practice and application of the Course that put us in tune with the Will we share with God.