ACIM Text Reading for May 29
Chapter 17 ~ Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship
II. The Forgiven World
Can you imagine how beautiful those you forgive will look to you? In no fantasy have you ever seen anything so lovely. Nothing you see here, sleeping or waking, comes near to such loveliness. And nothing will you value like unto this, nor hold so dear. Nothing that you remember that made your heart sing with joy has ever brought you even a little part of the happiness this sight will bring you. For you will see the Son of God. You will behold the beauty the Holy Spirit loves to look upon, and which He thanks the Father for. He was created to see this for you, until you learned to see it for yourself. And all His teaching leads to seeing it and giving thanks with Him.
This loveliness is not a fantasy. It is the real world, bright and clean and new, with everything sparkling under the open sun. Nothing is hidden here, for everything has been forgiven and there are no fantasies to hide the truth. The bridge between that world and this is so little and so easy to cross, that you could not believe it is the meeting place of worlds so different. Yet this little bridge is the strongest thing that touches on this world at all. This little step, so small it has escaped your notice, is a stride through time into eternity, beyond all ugliness into beauty that will enchant you, and will never cease to cause you wonderment at its perfection.
This step, the smallest ever taken, is still the greatest accomplishment of all in God’s plan of Atonement. All else is learned, but this is given, complete and wholly perfect. No one but Him Who planned salvation could complete it thus. The real world, in its loveliness, you learn to reach. Fantasies are all undone, and no one and nothing remain still bound by them, and by your own forgiveness you are free to see. Yet what you see is only what you made, with the blessing of your forgiveness on it. And with this final blessing of God’s Son upon himself, the real perception, born of the new perspective he has learned, has served its purpose.
The stars will disappear in light, and the sun that opened up the world to beauty will vanish. Perception will be meaningless when it has been perfected, for everything that has been used for learning will have no function. Nothing will ever change; no shifts nor shadings, no differences, no variations that made perception possible will still occur. The perception of the real world will be so short that you will barely have time to thank God for it. For God will take the last step swiftly, when you have reached the real world and have been made ready for Him.
The real world is attained simply by the complete forgiveness of the old, the world you see without forgiveness. The great Transformer of perception will undertake with you the careful searching of the mind that made this world, and uncover to you the seeming reasons for your making it. In the light of the real reason that He brings, as you follow Him, He will show you that there is no reason here at all. Each spot His reason touches grows alive with beauty, and what seemed ugly in the darkness of your lack of reason is suddenly released to loveliness. Not even what the Son of God made in insanity could be without a hidden spark of beauty that gentleness could release.
All this beauty will rise to bless your sight as you look upon the world with forgiving eyes. For forgiveness literally transforms vision, and lets you see the real world reaching quietly and gently across chaos, removing all illusions that had twisted your perception and fixed it on the past. The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder, and a blade of grass a sign of God’s perfection. From the forgiven world the Son of God is lifted easily into his home. And there he knows that he has always rested there in peace. Even salvation will become a dream, and vanish from his mind. For salvation is the end of dreams, and with the closing of the dream will have no meaning. Who, awake in Heaven, could dream that there could ever be need of salvation?
How much do you want salvation? It will give you the real world, trembling with readiness to be given you. The eagerness of the Holy Spirit to give you this is so intense He would not wait, although He waits in patience. Meet His patience with your impatience at delay in meeting Him. Go out in gladness to meet with your Redeemer, and walk with Him in trust out of this world, and into the real world of beauty and forgiveness.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 29
My mind holds only what I think with God.
(137) When I am healed I am not healed alone.
(138) Heaven is the decision I must make.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1030: I’ve stopped thinking about inconclusive questions that we cannot answer with our minds. One thing that did it for me is that I realize that we find a witness to our own innocence, not in ego but as in Self. And most of all, I read A Course in Miracles as a prime source of our understanding/perception, until we arrive with knowledge which just IS. Herein lies forgiveness of the world. What do you think?
A: Yes, the process is easy in this sense. We first choose to identify with either the hatred of the ego in our wrong minds or the love of Jesus or the Holy Spirit in our right minds. Then our experience of the outer world will reflect this experience of our inner world. It is a significant step forward to realize that our internal experiences are never anything other than expressions of the choice we have first made in our minds. Our unfortunate mistake has been to take for granted that our experiences are caused by what happens externally, and so our lives have been geared toward changing the world so that we may be happier and more peaceful.
In “The Savior’s Vision” Jesus tells us: “For holiness is seen through holy eyes that look upon the innocence within, and thus expect to see it everywhere. And so they call it forth in everyone they look upon, that he may be what they expect of him. This is the savior’s vision; that he see his innocence in all he looks upon, and see his own salvation everywhere” (T.31.VII.11:3,4,5) . The world is thus forgiven, because we no longer see it as the cause of our problems and lack of peace. This is what is meant when Jesus says in this same section in the text, “The savior’s vision is as innocent of what your brother is as it is free of any judgment made upon yourself. It sees no past in anyone at all” (T.31.VII.13:1) . When you identify with your innocence (the Atonement principle), you know that everyone else is included in that innocence, as God’s Son is one; and therefore you see past all the differentiating forms that would tempt us to think otherwise. The varied conflicts and problems may continue in the world, but you would have released them from all responsibility for your internal condition. And you may be participating in resolving some of those problems, but you would be doing so solely as a means of having that vision of innocence encompass everyone, without exception.
Q #1031: This question is with reference to Question #724. Many religious beliefs and spiritual paths say that God created this world or constantly creates it through us. The Course says otherwise, and I think this is what distinguishes it from other belief systems. However, if you say that we cannot think apart from God, then the “little” things we witness in this world must also be part of, not just us as dreaming Sons of God, but also of God Himself, from Whom we never separated. So one could be tempted to say that the world is made of (part of) God having fallen asleep rather than “only” the sleeping Son of God. Would it be apt to say that God is “the canvas” upon which all the playings and going-ons of the world take place? A kind of background picture that never changes? God is Love, and then we cease to speak?
A: If the world, in any sense, were part of God, the world would be real. And the Course states unequivocally that it is not real: “There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach (W.pI.132.6:2,3) . The teachings of A Course in Miracles are presented on two levels. Level One teachings state the absolute truth: The world of Heaven alone is real — God, Christ, and His creations; all else is illusory and not real — anything with limits, which includes everything material, temporal, and spatial. We think we are real as bodies existing in a physical world, so Jesus speaks to us on that level (Level Two), but only so that he can help us realize that our identity as individual selves is part of a delusional thought system intended to keep the truth about us concealed. God would not be God if a delusional system were in any way part of Him or even known by Him; and certainly He would not be perfect as God if part of Him fell asleep.
To say that “we cannot think apart from God” is to say that our reality as Christ alone is real, and therefore any thoughts we seem to have as autonomous individuals cannot be our real thoughts. This is the point of two lessons in the workbook: “My mind is part of God’s. I am very holy” (W.pI.35) and “God is the Mind with which I think” (W.pI.45) , where Jesus speaks to us on Level One: “There is no relationship between what is real and what you think is real. Nothing that you think are your real thoughts resemble your real thoughts in any respect. Nothing that you think you see bears any resemblance to what vision will show you” (W.pI.45.1:3,4,5) . The “you” Jesus is addressing is the decision-making aspect in our minds that has denied our true Identity and made up another identity as an individual self in this world. In the exercises, therefore, Jesus helps us get back to that decision-making power of our minds so that we would realize another choice is available to us — we can choose to identify with our right minds where the Holy Spirit holds for us the memory of our true Identity. Thus, our thoughts right now can be reflections of the ego’s thought system of separation or the Holy Spirit’s thought system of oneness. That distinction reflects the Level Two teachings in the Course. When we no longer choose thoughts of separation, which means we give no credence to the differences in form among us, our minds will be one with the Holy Spirit’s and then our thoughts will reflect only the perfect Oneness of God’s Love. In sum, then, in truth we cannot think apart from God, because there is no “we” apart from God. If we think we are apart from God, then our thoughts are not real thoughts.