ACIM Text Reading for June 24
Chapter 19 ~ The Attainment of Peace
XI. The Fourth Obstacle: The Fear of God
What would you see without the fear of death? What would you feel and think if death held no attraction for you? Very simply, you would remember your Father. The Creator of life, the Source of everything that lives, the Father of the universe and of the universe of universes, and of everything that lies even beyond them would you remember. And as this memory rises in your mind, peace must still surmount a final obstacle, after which is salvation completed, and the Son of God entirely restored to sanity. For here your world does end.
The fourth obstacle to be surmounted hangs like a heavy veil before the face of Christ. Yet as His face rises beyond it, shining with joy because He is in His Father’s Love, peace will lightly brush the veil aside and run to meet Him, and to join with Him at last. For this dark veil, which seems to make the face of Christ Himself like to a leper’s, and the bright Rays of His Father’s Love that light His face with glory appear as streams of blood, fades in the blazing light beyond it when the fear of death is gone.
This is the darkest veil, upheld by the belief in death and protected by its attraction. The dedication to death and to its sovereignty is but the solemn vow, the promise made in secret to the ego never to lift this veil, not to approach it, nor even to suspect that it is there. This is the secret bargain made with the ego to keep what lies beyond the veil forever blotted out and unremembered. Here is your promise never to allow union to call you out of separation; the great amnesia in which the memory of God seems quite forgotten; the cleavage of your Self from you;–the fear of God, the final step in your dissociation.
See how the belief in death would seem to “save” you. For if this were gone, what could you fear but life? It is the attraction of death that makes life seem to be ugly, cruel and tyrannical. You are no more afraid of death than of the ego. These are your chosen friends. For in your secret alliance with them you have agreed never to let the fear of God be lifted, so you could look upon the face of Christ and join Him in His Father.
Every obstacle that peace must flow across is surmounted in just the same way; the fear that raised it yields to the love beyond, and so the fear is gone. And so it is with this. The desire to get rid of peace and drive the Holy Spirit from you fades in the presence of the quiet recognition that you love Him. The exaltation of the body is given up in favor of the spirit, which you love as you could never love the body. And the appeal of death is lost forever as love’s attraction stirs and calls to you. From beyond each of the obstacles to love, Love Itself has called. And each has been surmounted by the power of the attraction of what lies beyond. Your wanting fear seemed to be holding them in place. Yet when you heard the Voice of Love beyond them, you answered and they disappeared.
And now you stand in terror before what you swore never to look upon. Your eyes look down, remembering your promise to your “friends.” The “loveliness” of sin, the delicate appeal of guilt, the “holy” waxen image of death, and the fear of vengeance of the ego you swore in blood not to desert, all rise and bid you not to raise your eyes. For you realize that if you look on this and let the veil be lifted, they will be gone forever. All of your “friends,” your “protectors” and your “home” will vanish. Nothing that you remember now will you remember.
It seems to you the world will utterly abandon you if you but raise your eyes. Yet all that will occur is you will leave the world forever. This is the re-establishment of your will. Look upon it, open-eyed, and you will nevermore believe that you are at the mercy of things beyond you, forces you cannot control, and thoughts that come to you against your will. It is your will to look on this. No mad desire, no trivial impulse to forget again, no stab of fear nor the cold sweat of seeming death can stand against your will. For what attracts you from beyond the veil is also deep within you, unseparated from it and completely one.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 24
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(159) I give the miracles I have received.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(160) I am at home. Fear is the stranger here.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #71: I have a “pattern” of what seems to happen to me in relationships. I keep seeing the situations end up with me being alone and feeling like something has been taken away from me and that the other person has something I want and need. They get it and I don’t.
I have been trying to ask for help in every way I can imagine. I end up seeing my Teacher as torturing me and I am afraid of Him. Lately I have been asking for all the things I want for myself for these other people. It seems to bring some relief but the underlying thought of my Teacher torturing me is still there. How do I trust someone that is torturing me?
A: It appears that the situation you describe in your relationships is one of being victimized by your partner, a situation that you have projected on to your Teacher. Since you capitalize “Teacher” and “Him” you must be referring to Jesus or the Holy Spirit. It may be helpful to make this assumption in answering your question. The Course tells us that while our minds are not healed all our relationships are marked with the victim/victimizer theme. This takes the form of feeling needy, unfairly treated and deprived. We blame others for causing our sense of scarcity. The Course invites us to see the real cause of this so it can be “undone”. The real cause of feeling deprived is that we have denied our true identity and taken on an identity as separated individuals, being on our own apart from God. The guilt we feel for having made this choice to identify with the ego is too much to bear, so we project it onto others, including Jesus. We blame them for treating us unfairly. We are then caught in a vicious circle because the guilt is not undone by projecting it. It stays in the mind impelling us to continually find situations and people to project it onto. That is why you notice a pattern in your relationships. We do the same thing over and over hoping for different results. The Course asks us to accept responsibility for the choice we have made. This is the process of undoing that is the real solution to our predicament. Although we may still perceive our partners or Jesus as causing our feelings of victimization, there is a part of our mind that now knows that the feeling comes from within and not outside ourselves. This does dissipate some of the feeling and is the beginning step of the forgiveness process. This is what the Course means when it says “Be willing to forgive the Son of God for what he did not do” (T.17.III.1:5). Since we project the same feelings onto Jesus, He is obviously included in the forgiveness process as well.
There is another reason why it is normal for students of the Course to feel victimized by Jesus. The ego recognizes that by following His teaching in the Course the underpinnings of its thought system are being pulled out from under it and eventually our identification with it will be relinquished. This can indeed be experienced in a mild form as having something taken away, or in the extreme as “being tortured.” The Manual describes this process: “First, they must go through what might be called a period of undoing. This need not be painful, but it usually is so experienced. It seems as if things are being taken away, and it is rarely understood initially that their lack of value is merely being recognized” (M.4.I.A.3:1,2,3). The very title of this section, “The Development of Trust,” indicates that we are starting from a place of not trusting to be led through a process of developing trust. Our learning process with Jesus as our teacher may be viewed as similar to the healing relationship with a doctor or dentist. When we see a doctor or dentist we know that their help may seem to hurt us but they will treat our illness and eventually we will feel better. In this sense Jesus is our “doctor”; he is a teacher who is teaching us a new thought system to heal our sick minds. It seems to hurt because we are so confused and lost in our misperceptions about everything and we are attached to the thoughts of the ego that have actually made our minds sick and in need of healing. It may help to try to relate to Jesus as you would to a kind and loving doctor who is helping in the gentlest way possible. Just as the dentist or doctor would not take groans or complaining personally, neither does Jesus. In fact he expects that we have grievances against him and knows that we are just learning to trust him: “Forgive me, then, today. And you will know you have forgiven me if you behold your brother in the light of holiness. He cannot be less holy than can I, and you can not be holier than he” (W.pII.288.2:1,2,3).Our forgiveness then includes Jesus and all of our brothers. It is the answer to our problem of separation and our feelings of deprivation. In the process it is important not to deny the negative feelings towards Jesus, but not to think they have any effect on his love or his ability to help in spite of our fear or lack of trust. The fact that you ask for help must mean that on some level you do trust him and you do know he can help you.
As we learn to see the ego dynamics at work in our relationships and understand their purpose, we learn to be willing to take responsibility for the way we feel and no longer believe the ego’s interpretation or projection. It then becomes easier to accept that Jesus is not the cause of our dilemma; rather he is offering us a way out of hell through the teaching of the Course. He is not forcing us or rushing us, but nudges us gently along the path from the ego’s dream of darkness to the light ofhis love: “How can you wake children in a more kindly way than by a gentle Voice that will not frighten them, but will merely remind them that the night is over and the light has come? You do not inform them that the nightmares that frightened them so badly are not real, because children believe in magic. You merely reassure them that they are safe now. Then you train them to recognize the difference between sleeping and waking, so they will understand they need not be afraid of dreams. And so when bad dreams come, they will themselves call on the light to dispel them” (T.6.V.2).