ACIM Text Reading for June 15
Chapter 19 ~ The Attainment of Peace
II. Sin versus Error
It is essential that error be not confused with sin, and it is this distinction that makes salvation possible. For error can be corrected, and the wrong made right. But sin, were it possible, would be irreversible. The belief in sin is necessarily based on the firm conviction that minds, not bodies, can attack. And thus the mind is guilty, and will forever so remain unless a mind not part of it can give it absolution. Sin calls for punishment as error for correction, and the belief that punishment is correction is clearly insane.
Sin is not an error, for sin entails an arrogance which the idea of error lacks. To sin would be to violate reality, and to succeed. Sin is the proclamation that attack is real and guilt is justified. It assumes the Son of God is guilty, and has thus succeeded in losing his innocence and making himself what God created not. Thus is creation seen as not eternal, and the Will of God open to opposition and defeat. Sin is the grand illusion underlying all the ego’s grandiosity. For by it God Himself is changed, and rendered incomplete.
The Son of God can be mistaken; he can deceive himself; he can even turn the power of his mind against himself. But he cannot sin. There is nothing he can do that would really change his reality in any way, nor make him really guilty. That is what sin would do, for such is its purpose. Yet for all the wild insanity inherent in the whole idea of sin, it is impossible. For the wages of sin is death, and how can the immortal die?
A major tenet in the ego’s insane religion is that sin is not error but truth, and it is innocence that would deceive. Purity is seen as arrogance, and the acceptance of the self as sinful is perceived as holiness. And it is this doctrine that replaces the reality of the Son of God as his Father created him, and willed that he be forever. Is this humility? Or is it, rather, an attempt to wrest creation away from truth, and keep it separate?
Any attempt to reinterpret sin as error is always indefensible to the ego. The idea of sin is wholly sacrosanct to its thought system, and quite unapproachable except with reverence and awe. It is the most “holy” concept in the ego’s system; lovely and powerful, wholly true, and necessarily protected with every defense at its disposal. For here lies its “best” defense, which all the others serve. Here is its armor, its protection, and the fundamental purpose of the special relationship in its interpretation.
It can indeed be said the ego made its world on sin. Only in such a world could everything be upside down. This is the strange illusion that makes the clouds of guilt seem heavy and impenetrable. The solidness that this world’s foundation seems to have is found in this. For sin has changed creation from an Idea of God to an ideal the ego wants; a world it rules, made up of bodies, mindless and capable of complete corruption and decay. If this is a mistake, it can be undone easily by truth. Any mistake can be corrected, if truth be left to judge it. But if the mistake is given the status of truth, to what can it be brought? The “holiness” of sin is kept in place by just this strange device. As truth it is inviolate, and everything is brought to it for judgment. As a mistake, it must be brought to truth. It is impossible to have faith in sin, for sin is faithlessness. Yet it is possible to have faith that a mistake can be corrected.
There is no stone in all the ego’s embattled citadel that is more heavily defended than the idea that sin is real; the natural expression of what the Son of God has made himself to be, and what he is. To the ego, this is no mistake. For this is its reality; this is the “truth” from which escape will always be impossible. This is his past, his present and his future. For he has somehow managed to corrupt his Father, and change His Mind completely. Mourn, then, the death of God, Whom sin has killed! And this would be the ego’s wish, which in its madness it believes it has accomplished.
Would you not rather that all this be nothing more than a mistake, entirely correctable, and so easily escaped from that its whole correction is like walking through a mist into the sun? For that is all it is. Perhaps you would be tempted to agree with the ego that it is far better to be sinful than mistaken. Yet think you carefully before you allow yourself to make this choice. Approach it not lightly, for it is the choice of hell or Heaven.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 15
I am entrusted with the gifts of God.
All things are given you. God’s trust in you is limitless. He knows His Son. He gives without exception, holding nothing back that can contribute to your happiness. And yet, unless your will is one with His, His gifts are not received. But what would make you think there is another will than His?
Here is the paradox that underlies the making of the world. This world is not the Will of God, and so it is not real. Yet those who think it real must still believe there is another will, and one that leads to opposite effects from those He wills. Impossible indeed; but every mind that looks upon the world and judges it as certain, solid, trustworthy and true believes in two creators; or in one, himself alone. But never in one God.
The gifts of God are not acceptable to anyone who holds such strange beliefs. He must believe that to accept God’s gifts, however evident they may become, however urgently he may be called to claim them as his own, is to be pressed to treachery against himself. He must deny their presence, contradict the truth, and suffer to preserve the world he made.
Here is the only home he thinks he knows. Here is the only safety he believes that he can find. Without the world he made is he an outcast; homeless and afraid. He does not realize that it is here he is afraid indeed, and homeless, too; an outcast wandering so far from home, so long away, he does not realize he has forgotten where he came from, where he goes, and even who he really is.
Yet in his lonely, senseless wanderings, God’s gifts go with him, all unknown to him. He cannot lose them. But he will not look at what is given him. He wanders on, aware of the futility he sees about him everywhere, perceiving how his little lot but dwindles, as he goes ahead to nowhere. Still he wanders on in misery and poverty, alone though God is with him, and a treasure his so great that everything the world contains is valueless before its magnitude.
He seems a sorry figure; weary, worn, in threadbare clothing, and with feet that bleed a little from the rocky road he walks. No one but has identified with him, for everyone who comes here has pursued the path he follows, and has felt defeat and hopelessness as he is feeling them. Yet is he really tragic, when you see that he is following the way he chose, and need but realize Who walks with him and open up his treasures to be free?
This is your chosen self, the one you made as a replacement for reality. This is the self you savagely defend against all reason, every evidence, and all the witnesses with proof to show this is not you. You heed them not. You go on your appointed way, with eyes cast down lest you might catch a glimpse of truth, and be released from self-deception and set free.
You cower fearfully lest you should feel Christ’s touch upon your shoulder, and perceive His gentle hand directing you to look upon your gifts. How could you then proclaim your poverty in exile? He would make you laugh at this perception of yourself. Where is self-pity then? And what becomes of all the tragedy you sought to make for him whom God intended only joy?
Your ancient fear has come upon you now, and justice has caught up with you at last. Christ’s hand has touched your shoulder, and you feel that you are not alone. You even think the miserable self you thought was you may not be your Identity. Perhaps God’s Word is truer than your own. Perhaps His gifts to you are real. Perhaps He has not wholly been outwitted by your plan to keep His Son in deep oblivion, and go the way you chose without your Self.
God’s Will does not oppose. It merely is. It is not God you have imprisoned in your plan to lose your Self. He does not know about a plan so alien to His Will. There was a need He did not understand, to which He gave an Answer. That is all. And you who have this Answer given you have need no more of anything but this.
Now do we live, for now we cannot die. The wish for death is answered, and the sight that looked upon it now has been replaced by vision which perceives that you are not what you pretend to be. One walks with you Who gently answers all your fears with this one merciful reply, “It is not so.” He points to all the gifts you have each time the thought of poverty oppresses you, and speaks of His Companionship when you perceive yourself as lonely and afraid.
Yet He reminds you still of one thing more you had forgotten. For His touch on you has made you like Himself. The gifts you have are not for you alone. What He has come to offer you, you now must learn to give. This is the lesson that His giving holds, for He has saved you from the solitude you sought to make in which to hide from God. He has reminded you of all the gifts that God has given you. He speaks as well of what becomes your will when you accept these gifts, and recognize they are your own.
The gifts are yours, entrusted to your care, to give to all who chose the lonely road you have escaped. They do not understand they but pursue their wishes. It is you who teach them now. For you have learned of Christ there is another way for them to walk. Teach them by showing them the happiness that comes to those who feel the touch of Christ, and recognize God’s gifts. Let sorrow not tempt you to be unfaithful to your trust.
Your sighs will now betray the hopes of those who look to you for their release. Your tears are theirs. If you are sick, you but withhold their healing. What you fear but teaches them their fears are justified. Your hand becomes the giver of Christ’s touch; your change of mind becomes the proof that who accepts God’s gifts can never suffer anything. You are entrusted with the world’s release from pain.
Betray it not. Become the living proof of what Christ’s touch can offer everyone. God has entrusted all His gifts to you. Be witness in your happiness to how transformed the mind becomes which chooses to accept His gifts, and feel the touch of Christ. Such is your mission now. For God entrusts the giving of His gifts to all who have received them. He has shared His joy with you. And now you go to share it with the world.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #946: It’s my understanding that in A Course in Miracles , Jesus is speaking to our mind not to our brain. It’s also my understanding that there is only one mind. So how can we collectively do anything if there is only one mind and we don’t exist? For example, how do we collectively dream a tsunami or any other disaster such as war?
A: To answer your questions, let’s start by thinking about how nighttime dreams work. In nighttime dreams, there seem to be various people interacting with each other. But when you wake up, you realize that it was all going on inside your head. All the characters in your dream were created, scripted, and directed by your imagination. No matter how many characters appeared, or how real they seemed, in the morning you open your eyes and find that there is still only one of you.
Similarly, A Course in Miracles makes it clear that in reality, outside of this dream of time and space, we remain in Heaven as a “Oneness joined as One” (T.25.I.7). Unfortunately, we have covered this truth over with several layers of illusion, making it virtually impossible for us to understand how this could be so. But the Course helps us understand it by explaining that it all began with one thought of separation. That thought seemed to birth a mind that was separate from its Creator — a state the mind found both thrilling and terrifying. These feelings pushed the one mind to fall more deeply asleep, seeming to fragment into billions of pieces and wind up in this world of multiplicity. But each fragment, born of a single thought, retained the entire thought system of the one mind from which it came. And so, as fragments, we can have individual (and quite different) experiences of being in this world. Yet, fragmented from the same Source, we share an experience of how this world works, and the events that take place within it.
You are correct that in the Course, Jesus is addressing our mind not our brain. But he is not appealing to the one mind which, being already one, does not need the message of the Course. Instead, Jesus speaks to our individual split minds. As the Course makes clear, each of us has three parts to our mind: the ego, the Holy Spirit, and the decision maker, which chooses between the two. Jesus’ purpose in writing his course was to remind us that we can shift from the ego to the Holy Spirit as our internal Teacher. And so he is really speaking to the decision making part of our mind because that is the part that can make the shift. Like the one mind, the decision maker is outside of time and space. But the choices the decision maker makes determine whether we will use this dream world as a prison or as a classroom for awakening to our true home in Heaven.
When the decision maker chooses the Holy Spirit, we automatically begin to reflect the oneness of Heaven in our thoughts, words, and actions. This is because, as the Course says, ” It is the Holy Spirit’s function to teach you how this oneness is experienced, what you must do that it can be experienced, and where you should go to do it” (T.25.I.6:4). And so the process the Course lays out for us is really one of gradually awakening to our oneness. At the very end of the journey, we will find that even the one mind is an illusion as we at last accept that “nowhere does the Father end [and] the Son begin as something separate from Him” (W.pI.132.12:4).
For a related discussion about the paradox of one mind and separate consciousness, please see Question #127: If there is only one Mind, why do I perceive myself as unique?
Q #947: A Course in Miracles tells me to withdraw from my ego goals, that the ego self is not my real self, and that to disengage from the ego is the only road to peace and joy. I want to do this, but I also want the money. How do I reconcile the two?
A: We will answer your question, but whom should we bill for the service? 🙂
Seriously, though, believe it or not, you do not have to reconcile the two. The Course does not ask us to give up anything we are still attached to. In fact, it states, “It would indeed be strange if you were asked to go beyond all symbols of the world…You have need to use the symbols of the world a while” (W.pI.184.9:1,2). Certainly money is one of the most potent symbols in this world. The fact that you have a special relationship with it hardly places you in a unique position. But the fact that you are willing to be honest about it gives you a wonderful opportunity to do what the Course actually advises. That means inviting the Holy Spirit to simply look at it with you. In other words, ask Him to help you watch all your financial transactions without judging or justifying them.
Remember that the Course tells us “the Holy Spirit uses special relationships, which you have chosen to support the ego, as learning experiences that point to truth. Under His teaching, every relationship becomes a lesson in love” (T.15.V.4:5). So you do not want to give up special relationships because they are the very things the Holy Spirit can use to heal your mind. Where there is a special relationship (in other words, a history of the ego running the show), there is always the presence of guilt and fear. And that certainly describes the feelings most of us have – – consciously or unconsciously — around money. So the first lesson in love the Holy Spirit might give you about money could be to have compassion for your own fear-based attachment to it. And since guilt and fear are the ego’s bread and butter, that is the beginning of withdrawing from the ego. As that happens, you will gradually find yourself feeling a greater sense of ease around money, regardless of what is happening externally.
So to summarize: When it comes to switching from the ego to the Holy Spirit, you do not have to make any withdrawals until you lose interest. And when you cannot find your balance, let Jesus reconcile the difference.