ACIM Text Reading for June 30
Chapter 20 ~ The Vision of Holiness
V. Heralds of Eternity
In this world, God’s Son comes closest to himself in a holy relationship. There he begins to find the certainty his Father has in him. And there he finds his function of restoring his Father’s laws to what was held outside them, and finding what was lost. Only in time can anything be lost, and never lost forever. So do the parts of God’s Son gradually join in time, and with each joining is the end of time brought nearer. Each miracle of joining is a mighty herald of eternity. No one who has a single purpose, unified and sure, can be afraid. No one who shares his purpose with him can not be one with him.
Each herald of eternity sings of the end of sin and fear. Each speaks in time of what is far beyond it. Two voices raised together call to the hearts of everyone, to let them beat as one. And in that single heartbeat is the unity of love proclaimed and given welcome. Peace to your holy relationship, which has the power to hold the unity of the Son of God together. You give to one another for everyone, and in your gift is everyone made glad. Forget not Who has given you the gifts you give, and through your not forgetting this, will you remember Who gave the gifts to Him to give to you.
It is impossible to overestimate your brother’s value. Only the ego does this, but all it means is that it wants the other for itself, and therefore values him too little. What is inestimable clearly cannot be evaluated. Do you recognize the fear that rises from the meaningless attempt to judge what lies so far beyond your judgment you cannot even see it? Judge not what is invisible to you or you will never see it, but wait in patience for its coming. It will be given you to see your brother’s worth when all you want for him is peace. And what you want for him you will receive.
How can you estimate the worth of him who offers peace to you? What would you want except his offering? His worth has been established by his Father, and you will recognize it as you receive his Father’s gift through him. What is in him will shine so brightly in your grateful vision that you will merely love him and be glad. You will not think to judge him, for who would see the face of Christ and yet insist that judgment still has meaning? For this insistence is of those who do not see. Vision or judgment is your choice, but never both of these.
Your brother’s body is as little use to you as it is to him. When it is used only as the Holy Spirit teaches, it has no function. For minds need not the body to communicate. The sight that sees the body has no use which serves the purpose of a holy relationship. And while you look upon your brother thus, the means and end have not been brought in line. Why should it take so many holy instants to let this be accomplished, when one would do? There is but one. The little breath of eternity that runs through time like golden light is all the same; nothing before it, nothing afterwards.
You look upon each holy instant as a different point in time. It never changes. All that it ever held or will ever hold is here right now. The past takes nothing from it, and the future will add no more. Here, then, is everything. Here is the loveliness of your relationship, with means and end in perfect harmony already. Here is the perfect faith that you will one day offer to your brother already offered you; and here the limitless forgiveness you will give each other already given, the face of Christ you yet will look upon already seen.
Can you evaluate the giver of a gift like this? Would you exchange this gift for any other? This gift returns the laws of God to your remembrance. And merely by remembering them, the laws that held you prisoner to pain and death must be forgotten. This is no gift your brother’s body offers you. The veil that hides the gift hides him as well. He is the gift, and yet he knows it not. No more do you. And yet, have faith that He Who sees the gift in both of you will offer and receive it for you both. And through His vision will you see it, and through his understanding recognize it and love it as your own.
Be comforted, and feel the Holy Spirit watching over you in love and perfect confidence in what he sees. He knows the Son of God, and shares his Father’s certainty the universe rests in his gentle hands in safety and in peace. Let us consider now what he must learn, to share his Father’s confidence in him. What is he, that the Creator of the universe should offer it to him and know it rests in safety? He looks upon himself not as his Father knows him. And yet it is impossible the confidence of God should be misplaced.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 30
Introduction to Lessons 181-200
Our next few lessons make a special point of firming up your willingness to make your weak commitment strong; your scattered goals blend into one intent. You are not asked for total dedication all the time as yet. But you are asked to practice now in order to attain the sense of peace such unified commitment will bestow, if only intermittently. It is experiencing this that makes it sure that you will give your total willingness to following the way the course sets forth.
Our lessons now are geared specifically to widening horizons, and direct approaches to the special blocks that keep your vision narrow, and too limited to let you see the value of our goal. We are attempting now to lift these blocks, however briefly. Words alone can not convey the sense of liberation which their lifting brings. But the experience of freedom and of peace that comes as you give up your tight control of what you see speaks for itself. Your motivation will be so intensified that words become of little consequence. You will be sure of what you want, and what is valueless.
And so we start our journey beyond words by concentrating first on what impedes your progress still. Experience of what exists beyond defensiveness remains beyond achievement while it is denied. It may be there, but you cannot accept its presence. So we now attempt to go past all defenses for a little while each day. No more than this is asked, because no more than this is needed. It will be enough to guarantee the rest will come.
I trust my brothers, who are one with me.
Trusting your brothers is essential to establishing and holding up your faith in your ability to transcend doubt and lack of sure conviction in yourself. When you attack a brother, you proclaim that he is limited by what you have perceived in him. You do not look beyond his errors. Rather, they are magnified, becoming blocks to your awareness of the Self that lies beyond your own mistakes, and past his seeming sins as well as yours.
Perception has a focus. It is this that gives consistency to what you see. Change but this focus, and what you behold will change accordingly. Your vision now will shift, to give support to the intent which has replaced the one you held before. Remove your focus on your brother’s sins, and you experience the peace that comes from faith in sinlessness. This faith receives its only sure support from what you see in others past their sins. For their mistakes, if focused on, are witnesses to sins in you. And you will not transcend their sight and see the sinlessness that lies beyond.
Therefore, in practicing today, we first let all such little focuses give way to our great need to let our sinlessness become apparent. We instruct our minds that it is this we seek, and only this, for just a little while. We do not care about our future goals. And what we saw an instant previous has no concern for us within this interval of time wherein we practice changing our intent. We seek for innocence and nothing else. We seek for it with no concern but now.
A major hazard to success has been involvement with your past and future goals. You have been quite preoccupied with how extremely different the goals this course is advocating are from those you held before. And you have also been dismayed by the depressing and restricting thought that, even if you should succeed, you will inevitably lose your way again.
How could this matter? For the past is gone; the future but imagined. These concerns are but defenses against present change of focus in perception. Nothing more. We lay these pointless limitations by a little while. We do not look to past beliefs, and what we will believe will not intrude upon us now. We enter in the time of practicing with one intent; to look upon the sinlessness within.
We recognize that we have lost this goal if anger blocks our way in any form. And if a brother’s sins occur to us, our narrowed focus will restrict our sight, and turn our eyes upon our own mistakes, which we will magnify and call our “sins.” So, for a little while, without regard to past or future, should such blocks arise we will transcend them with instructions to our minds to change their focus, as we say:
It is not this that I would look upon.
I trust my brothers, who are one with me.
And we will also use this thought to keep us safe throughout the day. We do not seek for long-range goals. As each obstruction seems to block the vision of our sinlessness, we seek but for surcease an instant from the misery the focus upon sin will bring, and uncorrected will remain.
Nor do we ask for fantasies. For what we seek to look upon is really there. And as our focus goes beyond mistakes, we will behold a wholly sinless world. When seeing this is all we want to see, when this is all we seek for in the name of true perception, are the eyes of Christ inevitably ours. And the Love He feels for us becomes our own as well. This will become the only thing we see reflected in the world and in ourselves.
The world which once proclaimed our sins becomes the proof that we are sinless. And our love for everyone we look upon attests to our remembrance of the holy Self which knows no sin, and never could conceive of anything without Its sinlessness. We seek for this remembrance as we turn our minds to practicing today. We look neither ahead nor backwards. We look straight into the present. And we give our trust to the experience we ask for now. Our sinlessness is but the Will of God. This instant is our willing one with His.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #188: After studying A Course in Miracles for 11 years, I’m only now beginning to understand how much I don’t want to learn it. I know this really means how much I fear it, and that I might need to be more “gentle” with myself. But trying to take things less seriously would seem to undermine the Course’s attempt to show us just how deeply we are committed to the ego thought system. Thank you for any suggestions on this, from a student who still loves being the dream figure amid glimpses that he is not.
A: Apparently, trying to take things less seriously has in fact shown you “just how deeply we are committed to the ego thought system”. Taking things less seriously is not as easy as it may sound. Any attempt to do so leads us to realize that we do take things very seriously. In studying the Course, we soon become aware that if we begin to take some aspects of the ego thought system less seriously we will end up taking the whole thing less seriously. In the end, rather than undermining the Course’s teaching, this will actually undermine the ego’s thought system. This is why we don’t do it. And this is why we don’t want to learn what the Course teaches. This in itself is an important and helpful realization. It means that you have some understanding of what the Course is saying about who we are (the dreamer of the dream), and more importantly, who we are not (a figure in the dream). A clear recognition of our resistance to learning this gives us an appreciation for the process and, as you say, the need for gentleness in applying the teachings of the Course.
It is not surprising that it is difficult to take things less seriously. The Course does not discount how seriously we have taken our mistaken beliefs about ourselves and our world. “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. We can remember this, if we but look directly at their cause. And we will see the grounds for laughter, not a cause for fear” (T.27.VIII.5:5,6,7,8,9,10).
Our learning process requires that first we recognize just how seriously we take ourselves. Trying to force ourselves not to take things seriously probably won’t work. The only way we can learn to do this is mentioned in the quote above. We need to learn to look at the cause of our beliefs. The cause is the decision in the mind to separate from God, and then believe it is an accomplished fact. The Course is telling us this is ridiculous, and eventually we will laugh at it. This will happen when we have let go of our guilt over having taken it seriously in the first place. Obviously we are not laughing yet. You may find it helpful to practice not taking your resistance too seriously, and not judging yourself for your love of being a figure in the dream. Our resistance and unwillingness do not change truth, or justify our fear, and we are not banished from Heaven because of them. Furthermore, full acceptance is not required for us to practice what the Course teaches. As the Introduction to the workbook tells us: “Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy” (W.in.9:1,2,3). If you continue to remind yourself that what you see and experience in the dream is not real and has no effect on the real you, it will become increasingly easier to take things less seriously. Each remembrance strengthens belief in the Holy Spirit’s thought system and diminishes our “seriousness.” As with God, the laughter is inevitable.
Q #189: What does A Course in Miracles refer to as “all” in the sentence “To have, give all to all.” (T.6.V.A:13)? I have heard Ken say that it doesn’t mean to give everything away in this world and go live on a mountain top. What does it mean?
A: First, Jesus is correcting the ego’s version, which is “to have, take all from all.” To the ego, the only way of having something is to get it from somewhere or someone. Therefore, Jesus tells us, “the first step in the reversal or undoing process is the undoing of the getting concept” (T.6.V.B.3:1). This is directly related to our learning to prefer shared interests instead of separate, competing interests; and that by seeking to take something from someone, we will wind up as the loser, because we will have once again denied that God’s Son is one and that as His creation we already have everything (W.pI.133.7).
So this has nothing to do with form or with behavior; it has to do with our attitude or inner orientation: the content, not the form. It has to do with undoing our inclination to exclude others and to acquire what we want at another’s expense. It has to do with looking at how we value uniqueness and specialness, and how that leads to more conflict instead of peace. We would begin to question the value of something that cannot be shared with everyone — why we would want something that cannot be shared with everyone. Again, this has to do with our attitude. Obviously, as you said, we are not being asked to buy enough for everyone in the world whenever we go shopping. Jesus is working with the premises that govern our thinking.
This first lesson of the Holy Spirit, then, is essentially about undoing our concept of getting as the means of having: “You must learn first that having rests on giving, and not on getting” (T.6.V.C.6:1).