ACIM Text Reading for June 4
Chapter 17 ~ Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship
VIII. The Conditions of Peace
The holy instant is nothing more than a special case, or an extreme example, of what every situation is meant to be. The meaning that the Holy Spirit’s purpose has given it is also given to every situation. It calls forth just the same suspension of faithlessness, withheld and left unused, that faith might answer to the call of truth. The holy instant is the shining example, the clear and unequivocal demonstration of the meaning of every relationship and every situation, seen as a whole. Faith has accepted every aspect of the situation, and faithlessness has not forced any exclusion on it. It is a situation of perfect peace, simply because you have let it be what it is.
This simple courtesy is all the Holy Spirit asks of you. Let truth be what it is. Do not intrude upon it, do not attack it, do not interrupt its coming. Let it encompass every situation and bring you peace. Not even faith is asked of you, for truth asks nothing. Let it enter, and it will call forth and secure for you the faith you need for peace. But rise you not against it, for against your opposition it cannot come.
Would you not want to make a holy instant of every situation? For such is the gift of faith, freely given wherever faithlessness is laid aside, unused. And then the power of the Holy Spirit’s purpose is free to use instead. This power instantly transforms all situations into one sure and continuous means for establishing his purpose, and demonstrating its reality. What has been demonstrated has called for faith, and has been given it. Now it becomes a fact, from which faith can no longer be withheld. The strain of refusing faith to truth is enormous, and far greater than you realize. But to answer truth with faith entails no strain at all.
To you who have acknowledged the Call of your Redeemer, the strain of not responding to His call seems to be greater than before. This is not so. Before, the strain was there, but you attributed it to something else, believing that the “something else” produced it. This was never true. For what the “something else” produced was sorrow and depression, sickness and pain, darkness and dim imaginings of terror, cold fantasies of fear and fiery dreams of hell. And it was nothing but the intolerable strain of refusing to give faith to truth, and see its evident reality.
Such was the crucifixion of the Son of God. His faithlessness did this to him. Think carefully before you let yourself use faithlessness against him. For he is risen, and you have accepted the Cause of his awakening as yours. You have assumed your part in his redemption, and you are now fully responsible to him. Fail him not now, for it has been given you to realize what your lack of faith in him must mean to you. His salvation is your only purpose. See only this in every situation, and it will be a means for bringing only this.
When you accepted truth as the goal for your relationship, you became a giver of peace as surely as your Father gave peace to you. For the goal of peace cannot be accepted apart from its conditions, and you had faith in it for no one accepts what he does not believe is real. Your purpose has not changed, and will not change, for you accepted what can never change. And nothing that it needs to be forever changeless can you now withhold from it. Your release is certain. Give as you have received. And demonstrate that you have risen far beyond any situation that could hold you back, and keep you separate from Him Whose call you answered.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 4
I will step back and let Him lead the way.
There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet. And the ones who walk the world as you do recognize their own. Yet those who have not yet perceived the way will recognize you also, and believe that you are like them, as you were before.
The world is an illusion. Those who choose to come to it are seeking for a place where they can be illusions, and avoid their own reality. Yet when they find their own reality is even here, then they step back and let it lead the way. What other choice is really theirs to make? To let illusions walk ahead of truth is madness. But to let illusion sink behind the truth and let the truth stand forth as what it is, is merely sanity.
This is the simple choice we make today. The mad illusion will remain awhile in evidence, for those to look upon who chose to come, and have not yet rejoiced to find they were mistaken in their choice. They cannot learn directly from the truth, because they have denied that it is so. And so they need a Teacher Who perceives their madness, but Who still can look beyond illusion to the simple truth in them.
If truth demanded they give up the world, it would appear to them as if it asked the sacrifice of something that is real. Many have chosen to renounce the world while still believing its reality. And they have suffered from a sense of loss, and have not been released accordingly. Others have chosen nothing but the world, and they have suffered from a sense of loss still deeper, which they did not understand.
Between these paths there is another road that leads away from loss of every kind, for sacrifice and deprivation both are quickly left behind. This is the way appointed for you now. You walk this path as others walk, nor do you seem to be distinct from them, although you are indeed. Thus can you serve them while you serve yourself, and set their footsteps on the way that God has opened up to you, and them through you.
Illusion still appears to cling to you, that you may reach them. Yet it has stepped back. And it is not illusion that they hear you speak of, nor illusion that you bring their eyes to look on and their minds to grasp. Nor can the truth, which walks ahead of you, speak to them through illusions, for the road leads past illusion now, while on the way you call to them, that they may follow you.
All roads will lead to this one in the end. For sacrifice and deprivation are paths that lead nowhere, choices for defeat, and aims that will remain impossible. All this steps back as truth comes forth in you, to lead your brothers from the ways of death, and set them on the way to happiness. Their suffering is but illusion. Yet they need a guide to lead them out of it, for they mistake illusion for the truth.
Such is salvation’s call, and nothing more. It asks that you accept the truth, and let it go before you, lighting up the path of ransom from illusion. It is not a ransom with a price. There is no cost, but only gain. Illusion can but seem to hold in chains the holy Son of God. It is but from illusions he is saved. As they step back, he finds himself again.
Walk safely now, yet carefully, because this path is new to you. And you may find that you are tempted still to walk ahead of truth, and let illusions be your guide. Your holy brothers have been given you, to follow in your footsteps as you walk with certainty of purpose to the truth. It goes before you now, that they may see something with which they can identify; something they understand to lead the way.
Yet at the journey’s ending there will be no gap, no distance between truth and you. And all illusions walking in the way you travelled will be gone from you as well, with nothing left to keep the truth apart from God’s completion, holy as Himself. Step back in faith and let truth lead the way. You know not where you go. But One Who knows goes with you. Let Him lead you with the rest.
When dreams are over, time has closed the door on all the things that pass and miracles are purposeless, the holy Son of God will make no journeys. There will be no wish to be illusion rather than the truth. And we step forth toward this, as we progress along the way that truth points out to us. This is our final journey, which we make for everyone. We must not lose our way. For as truth goes before us, so it goes before our brothers who will follow us.
We walk to God. Pause and reflect on this. Could any way be holier, or more deserving of your effort, of your love and of your full intent? What way could give you more than everything, or offer less and still content the holy Son of God? We walk to God. The truth that walks before us now is one with Him, and leads us to where He has always been. What way but this could be a path that you would choose instead?
Your feet are safely set upon the road that leads the world to God. Look not to ways that seem to lead you elsewhere. Dreams are not a worthy guide for you who are God’s Son. Forget not He has placed His Hand in yours, and given you your brothers in His trust that you are worthy of His trust in you. He cannot be deceived. His trust has made your pathway certain and your goal secure. You will not fail your brothers nor your Self.
And now He asks but that you think of Him a while each day, that He may speak to you and tell you of His Love, reminding you how great His trust; how limitless His Love. In your Name and His Own, which are the same, we practice gladly with this thought today:
I will step back and let Him lead the way,
For I would walk along the road to Him.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1317 : The answer to Question #898 said: “Love is in the director’s seat now, not you as an individual.” In my view, this seems to be in contradiction to what is said in Lesson 154 concerning the messengers of God and their messages: that they “perform their part by their acceptance of His messages as for themselves, and show they understand the messages by giving them away. They choose no roles that are not given them by His authority. And so they gain by every message that they give away” (W.pI.154.7:2,3,4). As I see it, the messenger has an active role here. How are these two ideas related?
A: Different points are being made in the material you quote, but the content is the same. The point that is stressed in Question #898 is that when you let go of the ego, you are aware that you are not the individual self that you thought you were and that was always defining both the problem and the solution. When you let go of the ego, there is nothing left in your mind but love, and then your perception is identical with the Holy Spirit’s. You are aligned with truth, not illusion.
In Lesson 154, Jesus is making a different, though related, point; and that is that our only function is to accept the Atonement through the practice of forgiveness. As “ministers,” we cannot truly bring Jesus’ message of forgiveness to the world without first having accepted it ourselves, because in A Course in Miracles giving and receiving are the same. This is in contrast to the world’s view, where the role of messengers is just to deliver messages to other people; the delivery of the message is just an external event. Jesus is teaching us that if we want to receive God’s Love, we must give It — meaning we must come to recognize that we all share the same interests, and, ultimately, the same Self. I remember my true Identity as Christ only when I see that same Identity as defining everyone else. This is all about content, not form.
The way we are “active,” thus, is by choosing to be taught by the teacher of forgiveness and oneness, not by the teacher of conflict and separation. We then become the message, just as Jesus tells us that “to teach is to demonstrate” (M.in.2:1) . Again, this is only about what is going on in our minds (content), not behavior (form). I cannot experience the Love of God in myself if I am judging even one other person as not worthy of that Love, because what is inherently all-inclusive cannot be known through exclusion. We are active in our minds, thus; and then that content will be expressed in our interactions. In the end, then, the two statements convey the same content.
Q #1318 : I’m confused. Am I living in a hologram that provides for every possibility, depending upon what choice I make, or am I living a script that is closed to anything other than what has already happened?
A: Time can be viewed as holographic in the sense that it is not linear. But our choices, as minds, are only between two alternatives: the ego’s thought system and the Holy Spirit’s thought system. That is the only content in our minds, and we are never choosing anything else. Time and form blind us to that, which is why Jesus says: “Nothing so blinding as perception of form. For sight of form means understanding has been obscured” (T.22.III.6:7,8), and time is “a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion . . . .” (W.pI.158.4:1). Time, the world, and our seeming choices in the world are all part of the ego’s strategy to keep us split off from the truth that we never truly left God. The instant the separation seemed to happen, the correction of that error occurred as well. That is what Jesus is teaching us in saying, “This world was over long ago. The thoughts that made it are no longer in the mind that thought of them and loved them for a little while” (T.28.I.1:6,7). In this sense, we are “living a script that is closed to anything other than what has already happened,” as the workbook tells us: “ The script is written. . . . we but see the journey from the point at which it ended, look back on it, imagining we make it once again; reviewing mentally what has gone by” (W.pI.158.4:3,5; see also W.pI.169.8:3). Our scripts are important, however, because they provide the curriculum that our Teacher can use to help us realize that we are merely dreaming that we are separate from each other and from God: “The miracle establishes you dream a dream, and that its content is not true” (T.28.II.7:1).
We could continue with this for many pages, but space limitations here do not allow for that. We hope, however, that this brief summary will be of help in unconfusing you. A major impediment to achieving full clarity is that our human conceptual/linguistic framework is itself an ego-derived defense against the truth, as this passage, among many others, acknowledges: “Yet time is but another phase of what does nothing. It works hand in hand with all the other attributes with which you seek to keep concealed the truth about yourself” (T.28.I.6:1,2). We have no other reference point, though, until we regain a sense of ourselves as decision-making minds and then realize we do not need defenses. Fortunately, that is exactly the kind of help Jesus provides in his course. We have listed below some other passages that pertain to your question, and we also refer you to Kenneth’s comprehensive study of time in his book, A Vast Illusion: Time According to “A Course in Miracles.”
“Each day, and every minute in each day, and every instant that each minute holds, you but relive the single instant when the time of terror took the place of love” (T.26.V.13:1).
“Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit is the choice for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide between is fixed, because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion” (T.14.III.4:1,2,3,4).
“. . . while time lasts in your mind there will be choices. Time itself is your choice. If you would remember eternity, you must look only on the eternal. If you allow yourself to become preoccupied with the temporal, you are living in time. As always, your choice is determined by what you value. Time and eternity cannot both be real, because they contradict each other. If you will accept only what is timeless as real, you will begin to understand eternity and make it yours” (T.10.V.14:3,4,5,6,7,8,9).
“Time seems to go in one direction, but when you reach its end it will roll up like a long carpet spread along the past behind you, and will disappear. As long as you believe the Son of God is guilty you will walk along this carpet, believing that it leads to death” (T.13.I.3:5,6).
“Past, present and future are not continuous, unless you force continuity on them. . . . You would destroy time’s continuity by breaking it into past, present and future for your own purposes” (T.13.VI.4:2,6).
“Time lasted but an instant in your mind, with no effect upon eternity. And so is all time past, and everything exactly as it was before the way to nothingness was made. The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that one, and all of them that came within the first” (T.26.V.3:3,4,5).