ACIM Text Reading for June 8
Chapter 18 ~ The Passing of the Dream
IV. The Little Willingness
The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the answer. The desire and the willingness to let it come precede its coming. You prepare your mind for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more. Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego to Him and confuse the two. He asks but little. It is He Who adds the greatness and the might. He joins with you to make the holy instant far greater than you can understand. It is your realization that you need do so little that enables Him to give so much.
Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this, and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it. The miracle of the holy instant lies in your willingness to let it be what it is. And in your willingness for this lies also your acceptance of yourself as you were meant to be.
Humility will never ask that you remain content with littleness. But it does require that you be not content with less than greatness that comes not of you. Your difficulty with the holy instant arises from your fixed conviction that you are not worthy of it. And what is this but the determination to be as you would make yourself? God did not create His dwelling place unworthy of Him. And if you believe He cannot enter where He wills to be, you must be interfering with His Will. You do not need the strength of willingness to come from you, but only from His Will.
The holy instant does not come from your little willingness alone. It is always the result of your small willingness combined with the unlimited power of God’s Will. You have been wrong in thinking that it is needful to prepare yourself for Him. It is impossible to make arrogant preparations for holiness, and not believe that it is up to you to establish the conditions for peace. God has established them. They do not wait upon your willingness for what they are. Your willingness is needed only to make it possible to teach you what they are. If you maintain you are unworthy of learning this, you are interfering with the lesson by believing that you must make the learner different. You did not make the learner, nor can you make him different. Would you first make a miracle yourself, and then expect one to be made for you?
You merely ask the question. The answer is given. Seek not to answer, but merely to receive the answer as it is given. In preparing for the holy instant, do not attempt to make yourself holy to be ready to receive it. That is but to confuse your role with God’s. Atonement cannot come to those who think that they must first atone, but only to those who offer it nothing more than simple willingness to make way for it. Purification is of God alone, and therefore for you. Rather than seek to prepare yourself for Him, try to think thus:
- “I who am host to God am worthy of Him.
- He who established His dwelling place in me created it as He would have it be.
- It is not needful that I make it ready for Him,
- But only that I do not interfere with His plan to restore to me my own awareness of my readiness, which is eternal.
- I need add nothing to His plan.
- But to receive it, I must be willing not to substitute my own in place of it.”
And that is all. Add more, and you will merely take away the little that is asked. Remember you made guilt, and that your plan for the escape from guilt has been to bring Atonement to it, and make salvation fearful. And it is only fear that you will add, if you prepare yourself for love. The preparation for the holy instant belongs to Him Who gives it. Release yourself to Him Whose function is release. Do not assume His function for Him. Give Him but what He asks, that you may learn how little is your part, and how great is His.
It is this that makes the holy instant so easy and so natural. You make it difficult because you insist there must be more that you need do, and it is very hard for you to realize it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit’s are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing. Salvation is easy just because it asks nothing you cannot give right now.
Forget not that it has been your decision to make everything that is natural and easy for you impossible. If you believe the holy instant is difficult for you, it is because you have become the arbiter of what is possible, and remain unwilling to give place to One Who knows. The whole belief in orders of difficulty in miracles is centered on this. Everything God wills is not only possible, but has already happened. And that is why the past has gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your mind, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 8
I give the miracles I have received.
No one can give what he has not received. To give a thing requires first you have it in your own possession. Here the laws of Heaven and the world agree. But here they also separate. The world believes that to possess a thing, it must be kept. Salvation teaches otherwise. To give is how to recognize you have received. It is the proof that what you have is yours.
You understand that you are healed when you give healing. You accept forgiveness as accomplished in yourself when you forgive. You recognize your brother as yourself, and thus do you perceive that you are whole. There is no miracle you cannot give, for all are given you. Receive them now by opening the storehouse of your mind where they are laid, and giving them away.
Christ’s vision is a miracle. It comes from far beyond itself, for it reflects eternal love and the rebirth of love which never dies, but has been kept obscure. Christ’s vision pictures Heaven, for it sees a world so like to Heaven that what God created perfect can be mirrored there. The darkened glass the world presents can show but twisted images in broken parts. The real world pictures Heaven’s innocence.
Christ’s vision is the miracle in which all miracles are born. It is their source, remaining with each miracle you give, and yet remaining yours. It is the bond by which the giver and receiver are united in extension here on earth, as they are one in Heaven. Christ beholds no sin in anyone. And in His sight the sinless are as one. Their holiness was given by His Father and Himself.
Christ’s vision is the bridge between the worlds. And in its power can you safely trust to carry you from this world into one made holy by forgiveness. Things which seem quite solid here are merely shadows there; transparent, faintly seen, at times forgot, and never able to obscure the light that shines beyond them. Holiness has been restored to vision, and the blind can see.
This is the Holy Spirit’s single gift; the treasure house to which you can appeal with perfect certainty for all the things that can contribute to your happiness. All are laid here already. All can be received but for the asking. Here the door is never locked, and no one is denied his least request or his most urgent need. There is no sickness not already healed, no lack unsatisfied, no need unmet within this golden treasury of Christ.
Here does the world remember what was lost when it was made. For here it is repaired, made new again, but in a different light. What was to be the home of sin becomes the center of redemption and the hearth of mercy, where the suffering are healed and welcome. No one will be turned away from this new home, where his salvation waits. No one is stranger to him. No one asks for anything of him except the gift of his acceptance of his welcoming.
Christ’s vision is the holy ground in which the lilies of forgiveness set their roots. This is their home. They can be brought from here back to the world, but they can never grow in its unnourishing and shallow soil. They need the light and warmth and kindly care Christ’s charity provides. They need the love with which He looks on them. And they become His messengers, who give as they received.
Take from His storehouse, that its treasures may increase. His lilies do not leave their home when they are carried back into the world. Their roots remain. They do not leave their source, but carry its beneficence with them, and turn the world into a garden like the one they came from, and to which they go again with added fragrance. Now are they twice blessed. The messages they brought from Christ have been delivered, and returned to them. And they return them gladly unto Him.
Behold the store of miracles set out for you to give. Are you not worth the gift, when God appointed it be given you? Judge not God’s Son, but follow in the way He has established. Christ has dreamed the dream of a forgiven world. It is His gift, whereby a sweet transition can be made from death to life; from hopelessness to hope. Let us an instant dream with Him. His dream awakens us to truth. His vision gives the means for a return to our unlost and everlasting sanctity in God.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: Because it hurts, and because not to decide against pain keeps us in hell. However, there is really no obligation to decide against pain. As long as pain is tolerable, denied, or temporarily assuaged, it is conceivable that no decision against it will be made. The physical, emotional, and psychological pain experienced in the body is a reflection of the pain in the mind, which is the result of denying our identity as God’s one Son by choosing to separate from Him. Pain, therefore, is the condition of the separated Son: “Pain is the thought of evil taking form, and working havoc in your holy mind. Pain is the ransom you have gladly paid not to be free. In pain is God denied the Son He loves. In pain does fear appear to triumph over love, and time replace eternity and Heaven. And the world becomes a cruel and a bitter place, where sorrow rules and little joys give way before the onslaught of the savage pain that waits to end all joy in misery” (W.p.I.190.8). Why then would we want it?
Since we have found numerous ways to adapt to the very painful experience of denying our true Self, and identifying with the ego, our pain often goes unrecognized. This adjustment to pain is compounded by our confusing pain and joy, as the Course tells us: “You no more recognize what is painful than you know what is joyful, and are, in fact, very apt to confuse the two. The Holy Spirit’s main function is to teach you to tell them apart. What is joyful to you is painful to the ego, and as long as you are in doubt about what you are, you will be confused about joy and pain” (T.7.X.3:4,5,6). It is when the true depth and searing pain of the ego’s thought system is recognized, and becomes intolerable, that steps are taken to decide against it. This is the goal of the Course. Until then, tremendous energy, time, and money are spent in making accommodations to live with the pain of being in this world.
The decision against pain is inevitable, because the decision for God is inevitable. We could paraphrase a very familiar line in the Introduction to the Text: “It is a required decision. Only the time you make it is voluntary” (T.in.1:2,3; italics added). From the moment of birth we seek to alleviate or avoid pain. This is a drive natural to physical bodies. Unless some specific pathology exists, we naturally seek relief from every imaginable physical, psychological, and emotional discomfort, whether we do so consciously or unconsciously. The Holy Spirit makes use of this natural aversion to pain to lead us gently to make another choice, which will end our pain and lead us out of hell. When we have had enough of the pain in our psyches caused by our destructive ego choices, we will be willing to accept His help and find the relief forgiveness offers: “Do you not then begin to understand what forgiveness will do for you? It will remove all sense of weakness, strain and fatigue from your mind. It will take away all fear and guilt and pain. It will restore the invulnerability and power God gave His Son to your awareness” (W.pI.62.3:2,3,4,5). Being without weakness, strain, fatigue, fear, and guilt would seem to be a convincing enough reason to decide against pain, not to mention the peace that will replace it, whenever we are ready to accept it.