ACIM Text Reading for May 13
Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant
III. Littleness versus Magnitude
Be not content with littleness. But be sure you understand what littleness is, and why you could never be content with it. Littleness is the offering you give yourself. You offer this in place of magnitude, and you accept it. Everything in this world is little because it is a world made out of littleness, in the strange belief that littleness can content you. When you strive for anything in this world in the belief that it will bring you peace, you are belittling yourself and blinding yourself to glory. Littleness and glory are the choices open to your striving and your vigilance. You will always choose one at the expense of the other.
Yet what you do not realize, each time you choose, is that your choice is your evaluation of yourself. Choose littleness and you will not have peace, for you will have judged yourself unworthy of it. And whatever you offer as a substitute is much too poor a gift to satisfy you. It is essential that you accept the fact, and accept it gladly, that there is no form of littleness that can ever content you. You are free to try as many as you wish, but all you will be doing is to delay your homecoming. For you will be content only in magnitude, which is your home.
There is a deep responsibility you owe yourself, and one you must learn to remember all the time. The lesson may seem hard at first, but you will learn to love it when you realize that it is true and is but a tribute to your power. You who have sought and found littleness, remember this: Every decision you make stems from what you think you are, and represents the value that you put upon yourself. Believe the little can content you, and by limiting yourself you will not be satisfied. For your function is not little, and it is only by finding your function and fulfilling it that you can escape from littleness.
There is no doubt about what your function is, for the Holy Spirit knows what it is. There is no doubt about its magnitude, for it reaches you through Him from Magnitude. You do not have to strive for it, because you have it. All striving must be directed against littleness, for it does require vigilance to protect your magnitude in this world. To hold your magnitude in perfect awareness in a world of littleness is a task the little cannot undertake. Yet it is asked of you, in tribute to your magnitude and not your littleness. Nor is it asked of you alone. The power of God will support every effort you make on behalf of His dear Son. Search for the little, and you deny yourself His power. God is not willing that His Son be content with less than everything. For He is not content without His Son, and His Son cannot be content with less than his Father has given him.
I asked you earlier, “Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God?” Let this question be asked you by the Holy Spirit every time you make a decision. For every decision you make does answer this, and invites sorrow or joy accordingly. When God gave Himself to you in your creation, He established you as host to Him forever. He has not left you, and you have not left Him. All your attempts to deny His magnitude, and make His Son hostage to the ego, cannot make little whom God has joined with Him. Every decision you make is for Heaven or for hell, and brings you the awareness of what you decided for.
The Holy Spirit can hold your magnitude, clean of all littleness, clearly and in perfect safety in your mind, untouched by every little gift the world of littleness would offer you. But for this, you cannot side against Him in what He wills for you. Decide for God through Him. For littleness, and the belief that you can be content with littleness, are decisions you make about yourself. The power and the glory that lie in you from God are for all who, like you, perceive themselves as little, and believe that littleness can be blown up into a sense of magnitude that can content them. Neither give littleness, nor accept it. All honor is due the host of God. Your littleness deceives you, but your magnitude is of Him Who dwells in you, and in Whom you dwell. Touch no one, then, with littleness in the Name of Christ, eternal Host unto His Father.
In this season (Christmas) which celebrates the birth of holiness into this world, join with me who decided for holiness for you. It is our task together to restore the awareness of magnitude to the host whom God appointed for Himself. It is beyond all your littleness to give the gift of God, but not beyond you. For God would give Himself through you. He reaches from you to everyone and beyond everyone to His Son’s creations, but without leaving you. Far beyond your little world but still in you, He extends forever. Yet He brings all His extensions to you, as host to Him.
Is it a sacrifice to leave littleness behind, and wander not in vain? It is not sacrifice to wake to glory. But it is sacrifice to accept anything less than glory. Learn that you must be worthy of the Prince of Peace, born in you in honor of Him Whose host you are. You know not what love means because you have sought to purchase it with little gifts, thus valuing it too little to understand its magnitude. Love is not little and love dwells in you, for you are host to Him. Before the greatness that lives in you, your poor appreciation of yourself and all the little offerings you give slip into nothingness.
Holy child of God, when will you learn that only holiness can content you and give you peace? Remember that you learn not for yourself alone, no more than I did. It is because I learned for you that you can learn of me. I would but teach you what is yours, so that together we can replace the shabby littleness that binds the host of God to guilt and weakness with the glad awareness of the glory that is in him. My birth in you is your awakening to grandeur. Welcome me not into a manger, but into the altar to holiness, where holiness abides in perfect peace. My Kingdom is not of this world because it is in you. And you are of your Father. Let us join in honoring you, who must remain forever beyond littleness.
Decide with me, who has decided to abide with you. I will as my Father wills, knowing His Will is constant and at peace forever with itself. You will be content with nothing but His Will. Accept no less, remembering that everything I learned is yours. What my Father loves I love as He does, and I can no more accept it as what it is not, than He can. And no more can you. When you have learned to accept what you are, you will make no more gifts to offer to yourself, for you will know you are complete, in need of nothing, and unable to accept anything for yourself. But you will gladly give, having received. The host of God needs not seek to find anything.
If you are wholly willing to leave salvation to the plan of God and unwilling to attempt to grasp for peace yourself, salvation will be given you. Yet think not you can substitute your plan for His. Rather, join with me in His, that we may release all those who would be bound, proclaiming together that the Son of God is host to Him. Thus will we let no one forget what you would remember. And thus will you remember it.
Call forth in everyone only the remembrance of God, and of the Heaven that is in him. For where you would have your brother be, there will you think you are. Hear not his appeal to hell and littleness, but only his call for Heaven and greatness. Forget not that his call is yours, and answer him with me. God’s power is forever on the side of His host, for it protects only the peace in which He dwells. Lay not littleness before His holy altar, which rises above the stars and reaches even to Heaven, because of what is given it.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 13
I will not value what is valueless.
Sometimes in teaching there is benefit, particularly after you have gone through what seems theoretical and far from what the student has already learned, to bring him back to practical concerns. This we will do today. We will not speak of lofty, world-encompassing ideas, but dwell instead on benefits to you.
You do not ask too much of life, but far too little. When you let your mind be drawn to bodily concerns, to things you buy, to eminence as valued by the world, you ask for sorrow, not for happiness. This course does not attempt to take from you the little that you have. It does not try to substitute utopian ideas for satisfactions which the world contains. There are no satisfactions in the world.
Today we list the real criteria by which to test all things you think you want. Unless they meet these sound requirements, they are not worth desiring at all, for they can but replace what offers more. The laws that govern choice you cannot make, no more than you can make alternatives from which to choose. The choosing you can do; indeed, you must. But it is wise to learn the laws you set in motion when you choose, and what alternatives you choose between.
We have already stressed there are but two, however many there appear to be. The range is set, and this we cannot change. It would be most ungenerous to you to let alternatives be limitless, and thus delay your final choice until you had considered all of them in time; and not been brought so clearly to the place where there is but one choice that must be made.
Another kindly and related law is that there is no compromise in what your choice must bring. It cannot give you just a little, for there is no in between. Each choice you make brings everything to you or nothing. Therefore, if you learn the tests by which you can distinguish everything from nothing, you will make the better choice.
First, if you choose a thing that will not last forever, what you chose is valueless. A temporary value is without all value. Time can never take away a value that is real. What fades and dies was never there, and makes no offering to him who chooses it. He is deceived by nothing in a form he thinks he likes.
Next, if you choose to take a thing away from someone else, you will have nothing left. This is because, when you deny his right to everything, you have denied your own. You therefore will not recognize the things you really have, denying they are there. Who seeks to take away has been deceived by the illusion loss can offer gain. Yet loss must offer loss, and nothing more.
Your next consideration is the one on which the others rest. Why is the choice you make of value to you? What attracts your mind to it? What purpose does it serve? Here it is easiest of all to be deceived. For what the ego wants it fails to recognize. It does not even tell the truth as it perceives it, for it needs to keep the halo which it uses to protect its goals from tarnish and from rust, that you may see how “innocent” it is.
Yet is its camouflage a thin veneer, which could deceive but those who are content to be deceived. Its goals are obvious to anyone who cares to look for them. Here is deception doubled, for the one who is deceived will not perceive that he has merely failed to gain. He will believe that he has served the ego’s hidden goals.
Yet though he tries to keep its halo clear within his vision, still must he perceive its tarnished edges and its rusted core. His ineffectual mistakes appear as sins to him, because he looks upon the tarnish as his own; the rust a sign of deep unworthiness within himself. He who would still preserve the ego’s goals and serve them as his own makes no mistakes, according to the dictates of his guide. This guidance teaches it is error to believe that sins are but mistakes, for who would suffer for his sins if this were so?
And so we come to the criterion for choice that is the hardest to believe, because its obviousness is overlaid with many levels of obscurity. If you feel any guilt about your choice, you have allowed the ego’s goals to come between the real alternatives. And thus you do not realize there are but two, and the alternative you think you chose seems fearful, and too dangerous to be the nothingness it actually is.
All things are valuable or valueless, worthy or not of being sought at all, entirely desirable or not worth the slightest effort to obtain. Choosing is easy just because of this. Complexity is nothing but a screen of smoke, which hides the very simple fact that no decision can be difficult. What is the gain to you in learning this? It is far more than merely letting you make choices easily and without pain.
Heaven itself is reached with empty hands and open minds, which come with nothing to find everything and claim it as their own. We will attempt to reach this state today, with self-deception laid aside, and with an honest willingness to value but the truly valuable and the real. Our two extended practice periods of fifteen minutes each begin with this:
I will not value what is valueless,
and only what has value do I seek,
for only that do I desire to find.
And then receive what waits for everyone who reaches, unencumbered, to the gate of Heaven, which swings open as he comes. Should you begin to let yourself collect some needless burdens, or believe you see some difficult decisions facing you, be quick to answer with this simple thought:
I will not value what is valueless,
for what is valuable belongs to me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #138: If it is inevitable that we will wake up, or at least remember our true Identity, then behaviorally would it be logical to do whatever one feels is most peaceful in the world? And so in many ways it doesn’t really matter what others do or say. In fact, A Course in Miracles itself is quite irrelevant, if the waking process is inevitable. I mean isn’t it just a matter of hanging around doing what one likes doing best and not being naive to the fact that the ego will jabber on nonsense regardless of our seemingly worldly activities?
A: While “the outcome is as certain as God” (T.2.III.3:10) and “the acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time” (T.2.III.3:1) — simply because we could never really separate ourselves from God — we are still making a deliberate choice right now to remain asleep in our dream of time. And for all of us, the pain of the thought of separation behind the dream will eventually become so intolerable that we will all at some point want to make a different choice, the choice to awaken (T.2.III.3). So the only question any of us needs to ask ourselves now is, how long do I want to remain in pain, asleep in time? If we do not want to be conscious of and accept responsibility for our choice to see ourselves as separate, Jesus tells us we can continue to temporize and procrastinate for a time period at least as long as the time across which the separation has already occurred, that is, “millions of years”! (T.2.VIII.2:5).
Granted, all of this is illusory, and, from Jesus’ perspective outside of time, it matters little: “Nothing is ever lost but time, which in the end is meaningless. For it is but a little hindrance to eternity, quite meaningless to the real Teacher of the world”(T.26.V.2:1,2). But Jesus also recognizes that this is not our experience here in time: “Yet since you do believe in it [time], why should you waste it going nowhere, when it can be used to reach a goal as high as learning can achieve?…it is hard indeed to wander off, alone and miserable, down a road that leads to nothing and that has no purpose” (T.26.V.2:3,6).
So we have a choice about how we want to use time and how long we want to remain in the experience of time. Yes, in the end, it won’t matter, for we will have to remember who we really are — that has never really changed. But while we still believe all of this is real, Jesus in his Course is telling us that the length of our time in time can be “greatly shortened by miracles, the device for shortening but not abolishing time” (T.2.VIII.2:6). But this means, if the Course is our path, that our relationships with our brothers are of central importance, for it is upon others that each of us has projected all the guilt and responsibility for the pain of separation that we don’t want to see within ourselves. And so, as students of the Course, we will care what others do or say, not because we want to change them, but because our reactions to them can direct us to the unhealed places within our own mind. To avoid looking at our reactions to others, dismissing them as irrelevant to our waking process, would be to engage in denial, which is just another way of saying we are refusing to accept responsibility for our own decision to be separate. In the end, we will all see this, but the choice we have now is whether we want to acknowledge any of these projections now.
As difficult as looking at our brother to see our own “secret sins and hidden hates” (T.31.VIII.9:2) may seem to be, Jesus wants us to understand that not looking leads to even greater pain, for there is no hope for healing then. And so he encourages us, reminding us that this is a path we take with our brother: “Think not the way to Heaven’s gate is difficult at all. Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping step to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do” (T.26.V.2:4,5; italics added).