ACIM Text Reading for May 23
Chapter 16 ~ The Forgiveness of Illusions
III. The Reward of Teaching
We have already learned that everyone teaches, and teaches all the time. You may have taught well, and yet you may not have learned how to accept the comfort of your teaching. If you will consider what you have taught, and how alien it is to what you thought you knew, you will be compelled to realize that your Teacher came from beyond your thought system. Therefore He could look upon it fairly, and perceive it was untrue. He must have done so from the basis of a very different thought system, and one with nothing in common with yours. For certainly what He has taught, and what you have taught through Him, have nothing in common with what you taught before He came. And the results have been to bring peace where there was pain, and suffering has disappeared to be replaced by joy.
You may have taught freedom, but you have not learned how to be free. I said earlier, “By their fruits ye shall know them, and they shall know themselves.” For it is certain that you judge yourself according to your teaching. The ego’s teaching produces immediate results, because its decisions are immediately accepted as your choice. And this acceptance means that you are willing to judge yourself accordingly. Cause and effect are very clear in the ego’s thought system, because all your learning has been directed toward establishing the relationship between them. And would you not have faith in what you have so diligently taught yourself to believe? Yet remember how much care you have exerted in choosing its witnesses, and in avoiding those which spoke for the cause of truth and its effects.
Does not the fact that you have not learned what you have taught show you that you do not perceive the Sonship as one? And does it not also show you that you do not regard yourself as one? For it is impossible to teach successfully wholly without conviction, and it is equally impossible that conviction be outside of you. You could never have taught freedom unless you did believe in it. And it must be that what you taught came from yourself. Yet this Self you clearly do not know, and do not recognize It even though It functions. What functions must be there. And it is only if you deny what It has done that you could possibly deny Its Presence.
This is a course in how to know yourself. You have taught what you are, but have not let what you are teach you. You have been very careful to avoid the obvious, and not to see the real cause and effect relationship that is perfectly apparent. Yet within you is everything you taught. What can it be that has not learned it? It must be this part that is really outside yourself, not by your own projection, but in truth. And it is this part that you have taken in that is not you. What you accept into your mind does not really change it. Illusions are but beliefs in what is not there. And the seeming conflict between truth and illusion can only be resolved by separating yourself from the illusion and not from truth.
Your teaching has already done this, for the Holy Spirit is part of you. Created by God, He left neither God nor His creation. He is both God and you, as you are God and Him together. For God’s Answer to the separation added more to you than you tried to take away. He protected both your creations and you together, keeping one with you what you would exclude. And they will take the place of what you took in to replace them. They are quite real, as part of the Self you do not know. They communicate to you through the Holy Spirit, and their power and gratitude to you for their creation they offer gladly to your teaching of yourself, who is their home. You who are host to God are also host to them. For nothing real has ever left the mind of its creator. And what is not real was never there.
You are not two selves in conflict. What is beyond God? If you who hold Him and whom He holds are the universe, all else must be outside, where nothing is. You have taught this, and from far off in the universe, yet not beyond yourself, the witnesses to your teaching have gathered to help you learn. Their gratitude has joined with yours and God’s to strengthen your faith in what you taught. For what you taught is true. Alone, you stand outside your teaching and apart from it. But with them you must learn that you but taught yourself, and learned from the conviction you shared with them.
This year you will begin to learn, and make learning commensurate with teaching. You have chosen this by your own willingness to teach. Though you seemed to suffer for it, the joy of teaching will yet be yours. For the joy of teaching is in the learner, who offers it to the teacher in gratitude, and shares it with him. As you learn, your gratitude to your Self, Who teaches you what He is, will grow and help you honor Him. And you will learn His power and strength and purity, and love Him as His Father does. His Kingdom has no limits and no end, and there is nothing in Him that is not perfect and eternal. All this is you, and nothing outside of this is you.
To your most holy Self all praise is due for what you are, and for what He is Who created you as you are. Sooner or later must everyone bridge the gap he imagines exists between his selves. Each one builds this bridge, which carries him across the gap as soon as he is willing to expend some little effort on behalf of bridging it. His little efforts are powerfully supplemented by the strength of Heaven, and by the united will of all who make Heaven what it is, being joined within it. And so the one who would cross over is literally transported there.
Your bridge is built stronger than you think, and your foot is planted firmly on it. Have no fear that the attraction of those who stand on the other side and wait for you will not draw you safely across. For you will come where you would be, and where your Self awaits you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 23
My mind holds only what I think with God.
(125) In quiet I receive God’s Word today.
(126) All that I give is given to myself.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #81: I have read that all relationships are special, and that one can even have a special relationship with the Course itself. I often wonder if I myself have a special relationship with the Course. How can I know if I do or not? And is this really even a “problem” I should concern myself with? (One reason I suspect I may have a special relationship with the Course is because I often think that all the world’s problems would be solved if everyone would just read the Course.)
A: Yes, all relationships are special, and that includes our relationship with the Course. What makes the Course “special” is individualized, and varies in form, but it usually involves perceiving the form of the Course as having special power to meet our special needs. Another form the specialness frequently takes for students is feeling “special,” and often “superior” to believers of other traditional forms of spirituality. This specialness includes the reason you give — that everyone should read the Course. And with that you have answered the first part of your question. As the Course itself tells us in the Manual: “There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved….This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome” (M.1.3:1,2,4:1,2).
Our relationship with the Course is no more or less a problem than anything else. It is an opportunity for forgiveness. The ego uses everything for its purpose of separation and judgment, including the Course. All of our relationships, without exception, need to be looked at in the light of the Course’s teaching: “…let us look more closely at the relationships the ego contrives, and let the Holy Spirit judge them truly. For it is certain that if you will look at them, you will offer them gladly to Him. What He can make of them you do not know, but you will become willing to find out, if you are willing first to perceive what you have made of them” (T.15.VII.5:3,4,5). It is important to recognize the specialness, being very honest about the specific feelings and judgments involved in it, and see how you are using it to be separate and special. This applies whether the specialness takes the form of love or hate, because seeming special love for the Course is the same as special hate. The specialness with the Course reflects how we perceive other people; the people we “love” who follow the Course as we do, and those we “hate,” who do not study it as we do, or do not study it at all. Behind the specialness with the Course stand all our brothers, thus is the world divided and our relationships defined to suit our needs. The Course therefore, fits in with everything else in our lives and in our world by reflecting back to us the choice we have made to be separate. Jesus does not ask us to “love” the Course, or preach it. He asks us to study it, practice it, and apply its teaching to everything, including the Course itself: “Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you” (T.11.VI.7:3,4).
Q #82: The Course says we are already Home. Then that would mean that we are already in Heaven now. Heaven has no outside or inside. It is everything. Does this mean that this world is in Heaven and Heaven is in this world? Is this similar to the Vedantic statement, Atman is Brahman?
A. The non-dualism of the Course is an absolute non-dualism that states that reality is infinite, formless, changeless, and eternal; nothing finite or of form is real in any way. That would mean that the finite, physical universe has no reality. It is entirely illusory. There are other non-dualistic systems that place the world within the being of God. These are the different forms of pantheism — both east and west — which give reality to the world, but not as a creation outside God’s being. The Course’s non-dualism is absolute, giving no reality to finite multiplicity. Thus reality is perfect Oneness, “nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within” (T.18.VI.1:6). And in stating that “the world was made as an attack on God” (W.pII.3.2:2), Jesus makes it clear that the world is not in God nor of God.
This is the metaphysical foundation of the startling statement that “you are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality” (T.10.I.2:1), and why Jesus asks “who is the you, who are living in this world?” (T.4.II.11:8). The entire Course is addressed to a mind outside time and space that has chosen to deny its true Identity as the formless extension of its infinite Source, and “become” instead an individualized entity limited by time and space. At the same time, this mind conceals the memory of its true Identity as the one Son of God. Only in a dream or a fantasy could this occur, but not in reality, as the Course teaches. Therefore, we, as we know ourselves in this world, have no reality. All that exists is God and the undifferentiated, eternal, changeless, and perfect extension of His infinite being, a reality having no counterpart in the world, nor can it be understood in this world.
“No one asleep and dreaming in the world remembers his attack upon himself. No one believes there really was a time when he knew nothing of a body, and could never have conceived this world as real. He would have seen at once that these ideas are one illusion, too ridiculous for anything but to be laughed away. How serious they now appear to be! And no one can remember when they would have met with laughter and with disbelief” (T.27.VIII.5:4,5,6,7,8).
Separating from infinity, from totality, is impossible, the Course teaches. God creates only like Himself. Therefore His creations share His being, but without ever being less than He is: “Yet could God’s Son as He created him abide in form or in a world of form?” (C.2.2:4). In this sense, the Course’s teachings are similar to the Vedantic statement, Atman is Brahman, as echoed in another passage: “What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him” (W.pI.132.12:4).