ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 31

ACIM Text Reading for July 31

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

VI. The Christ in You

The Christ in you is very still. He looks on what He loves, and knows it as Himself. And thus does He rejoice at what He sees, because He knows that it is one with Him and with His Father. Specialness, too, takes joy in what it sees, although it is not true. Yet what you seek for is a source of joy as you conceive it. What you wish is true for you. Nor is it possible that you can wish for something and lack faith that it is so. Wishing makes real, as surely as does will create. The power of a wish upholds illusions as strongly as does love extend itself. Except that one deludes; the other heals.

There is no dream of specialness, however hidden or disguised the form, however lovely it may seem to be, however much it delicately offers the hope of peace and the escape from pain, in which you suffer not your condemnation. In dreams effect and cause are interchanged, for here the maker of the dream believes that what he made is happening to him. He does not realize he picked a thread from here, a scrap from there, and wove a picture out of nothing. For the parts do not belong together, and the whole contributes nothing to the parts to give them meaning.

Where could your peace arise but from forgiveness? The Christ in you looks only on the truth, and sees no condemnation that could need forgiveness. He is at peace because He sees no sin. Identify with Him, and what has He that you have not? He is your eyes, your ears, your hands, your feet. How gentle are the sights He sees, the sounds He hears. How beautiful His hand that holds His brother’s, and how lovingly He walks beside him, showing him what can be seen and heard, and where he will see nothing and there is no sound to hear.

Yet let your specialness direct his way, and you will follow. And both will walk in danger, each intent, in the dark forest of the sightless, unlit but by the shifting tiny gleams that spark an instant from the fireflies of sin and then go out, to lead the other to a nameless precipice and hurl him over it. For what can specialness delight in but to kill? What does it seek for but the sight of death? Where does it lead but to destruction? Yet think not that it looked upon your brother first, nor hated him before it hated you. The sin its eyes behold in him and love to look upon it saw in you, and looks on still with joy. Yet is it joy to look upon decay and madness, and believe this crumbling thing, with flesh already loosened from the bone and sightless holes for eyes, is like yourself?

Rejoice you have no eyes with which to see; no ears to listen, and no hands to hold nor feet to guide. Be glad that only Christ can lend you His, while you have need of them. They are illusions, too, as much as yours. And yet because they serve a different purpose, the strength their purpose holds is given them. And what they see and hear and hold and lead is given light, that you may lead as you were led.

The Christ in you is very still. He knows where you are going, and He leads you there in gentleness and blessing all the way. His Love for God replaces all the fear you thought you saw within yourself. His Holiness shows you Himself in him whose hand you hold, and whom you lead to Him. And what you see is like yourself. For what but Christ is there to see and hear and love and follow home? He looked upon you first, but recognized that you were not complete. And so He sought for your completion in each living thing that He beholds and loves. And seeks it still, that each might offer you the Love of God.

Yet is He quiet, for He knows that love is in you now, and safely held in you by that same hand that holds your brother’s in your own. Christ’s hand holds all His brothers in Himself. He gives them vision for their sightless eyes, and sings to them of Heaven, that their ears may hear no more the sound of battle and of death. He reaches through them, holding out His hand, that everyone may bless all living things, and see their holiness. And He rejoices that these sights are yours, to look upon with Him and share His joy. His perfect lack of specialness He offers you, that you may save all living things from death, receiving from each one the gift of life that your forgiveness offers to your Self. The sight of Christ is all there is to see. The song of Christ is all there is to hear. The hand of Christ is all there is to hold. There is no journey but to walk with Him.

You who would be content with specialness, and seek salvation in a war with love, consider this: The holy Lord of Heaven has Himself come down to you, to offer you your own completion. What is His is yours because in your completion is His Own. He Who willed not to be without His Son could never will that you be brotherless. And would He give a brother unto you except he be as perfect as yourself, and just as like to Him in holiness as you must be?

There must be doubt before there can be conflict. And every doubt must be about yourself. Christ has no doubt, and from His certainty His quiet comes. He will exchange His certainty for all your doubts, if you agree that He is One with you, and that this Oneness is endless, timeless, and within your grasp because your hands are His. He is within you, yet He walks beside you and before, leading the way that He must go to find Himself complete. His quietness becomes your certainty. And where is doubt when certainty has come?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 31

Lesson 212

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(192) I have a function God would have me fill.

I seek the function that would set me free from all the vain
illusions of the world. Only the function God has given me
can offer freedom. Only this I seek, and only this will I
accept as mine.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #185: If the world that I perceive is not real, does that not mean all who dwell within that world, including myself, are not real, and then would that not also mean that only God is real, and it is God who is having the dream?

A: The first three points of your sequence are correct; the world is not real, everyone in the world is not real, only God is real. What does not follow is that God is having the dream. God is not part of the dream precisely because He is real and a dream is an illusion. “Real” and “illusion” are mutually exclusive. The “missing person” in your equation is the mind of the separated Son who is the dreamer of the dream. This is the you the Course is addressing, and is teaching us to identify with. We have mistakenly identified with the “figure in the dream” — the you you think you are — the you that is not real. This has caused us much confusion. A Course in Miracles’ explanation of how this has happened is that when the mind chooses to believe that separation from God is not only possible but real, it is as if the mind falls asleep and dreams a dream of separation. In this dream, the mind that is dreaming becomes identified with the figure in the dream. Everything is now turned upside down. The world becomes real to us. It is no longer perceived as the dream that it is, and we become lost in its illusions, totally unaware that we are dreaming. This is the power of denial in operation. What is denied is the choice in the mind to separate from God, and then dream this dream where God is absent and can enter not. The identity as dreamer of the dream is denied or forgotten, replaced by an identity as the figure in the dream. This identity crisis is the ego’s goal. It keeps us free of responsibility for the original choice in the mind to separate, and the decision to deny the choice. The goal of the Course is to teach us that we are in fact the dreamer of the dream, whereby we have the ability to become a lucid dreamer, aware that we are dreaming, and that we also have the power to make another choice. If, as a lucid dreamer, we are aware we are dreaming a nightmare of separation that is the source of all our pain, we will eventually realize we can awaken from this dream. The Course tells us: “You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real and God calls you to awake. There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him, because you will awaken. Your dreams contain many of the ego’s symbols and they have confused you. Yet that was only because you were asleep and did not know. When you wake you will see the truth around you and in you, and you will no longer believe in dreams because they will have no reality for you. Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you, because they are beautiful and true” (T.6.IV.6:3,4,5,6,7,8).

It may be helpful to relate this to the experience of a child having a dream. His parents are not in the dream, and are unaware that the child is having a nightmare. The nightmare seems real and frightening to the child while he sleeps. It is only when the child awakens that he realizes he was dreaming, and that he is safe in his bed with his parents there to comfort him, assuring him that the dream was not real.


Q #186: In Chapter 31 of A Course in Miracles, Section V, “Self-Concept vs Self,” Jesus says, “The role of the accuser will appear in many places and in many forms. And each will seem to be accusing you” (T.31.V.16:5,6). Can you explain what is meant by this?

A: As earlier parts of this section make clear, each judgment we hold against another is really a deeply buried self-accusation. Perhaps most graphic is the following; “No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering in its deadly aim. It points to you as well, but this is kept deeper in the mists below the face of innocence” (T.31.V.6:4,5).

The section then goes on (T.31.V.15,16) to discuss how we will assume various concepts or roles for our self-identity over time (e.g., child, sibling, student, lover, spouse, parent, employee, boss) — all the while believing that we are a victim in these various relationships, treated unfairly by a world of evil that exists outside ourselves. But all the accusations we hold against others as we assume the various roles of our lives (i.e., “the role of the accuser…in many places and in many forms”) really represent the hidden accusations of guilt and sin over the original separation thought and all its seeming ramifications that we hold against ourselves. And so as we accept and put into practice the Course’s teaching on projection, it will now seem that the finger we have pointed at others is, in each case, now pointing at ourselves. But the reality of our true Self is beyond all these roles and concepts And so Jesus reassures us, “Yet have no fear it [each role] will not be undone” (T.31.V.16:7). For none of the images of good or evil that we have made of both our brother and ourselves is real. And when we no longer want any of them, we will know Who we truly are (T.31.V.17).

God Wills You

 

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 30

ACIM Text Reading for July 30

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

V. Specialness versus Sinlessness

Specialness is a lack of trust in anyone except yourself. Faith is invested in yourself alone. Everything else becomes your enemy; feared and attacked, deadly and dangerous, hated and worthy only of destruction. Whatever gentleness it offers is but deception, but its hate is real. In danger of destruction it must kill, and you are drawn to it to kill it first. And such is guilt’s attraction. Here is death enthroned as savior; crucifixion is now redemption, and salvation can only mean destruction of the world, except yourself.

What could the purpose of the body be but specialness? And it is this that makes it frail and helpless in its own defense. It was conceived to make you frail and helpless. The goal of separation is its curse. Yet bodies have no goal. Purpose is of the mind. And minds can change as they desire. What they are, and all their attributes, they cannot change. But what they hold as purpose can be changed, and body states must shift accordingly. Of itself the body can do nothing. See it as means to hurt, and it is hurt. See it as means to heal, and it is healed.

You can but hurt yourself. This has been oft repeated, but is difficult to grasp as yet. To minds intent on specialness it is impossible. Yet to those who wish to heal and not attack, it is quite obvious. The purpose of attack is in the mind, and its effects are felt but where it is. Nor is the mind limited; so must it be that harmful purpose hurts the mind as one. Nothing could make less sense to specialness. Nothing could make more sense to miracles. For miracles are merely change of purpose from hurt to healing. This shift in purpose does “endanger” specialness, but only in the sense that all illusions are “threatened” by the truth. They will not stand before it. Yet what comfort has ever been in them, that you would keep the gift your Father asks from Him, and give it there instead? Given to Him, the universe is yours. Offered to them, no gifts can be returned. What you have given specialness has left you bankrupt and your treasure house barren and empty, with an open door inviting everything that would disturb your peace to enter and destroy.

Earlier I said consider not the means by which salvation is attained, nor how to reach it. But do consider, and consider well, whether it is your wish that you might see your brother sinless. To specialness the answer must be “no.” A sinless brother is its enemy, while sin, if it were possible, would be its friend. Your brother’s sin would justify itself, and give it meaning that the truth denies. All that is real proclaims his sinlessness. All that is false proclaims his sins as real. If he is sinful, then is your reality not real, but just a dream of specialness that lasts an instant, crumbling into dust.

Do not defend this senseless dream, in which God is bereft of what He loves, and you remain beyond salvation. Only this is certain in this shifting world that has no meaning in reality: When peace is not with you entirely, and when you suffer pain of any kind, you have beheld some sin within your brother, and have rejoiced at what you thought was there. Your specialness seemed safe because of it. And thus you saved what you appointed to be your savior, and crucified the one whom God has given you instead. So are you bound with him, for you are one. And so is specialness his “enemy,” and yours as well.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 30

Lesson 211

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(191) I am the holy Son of God Himself.

In silence and in true humility I seek God’s glory, to behold
it in the Son whom He created as my Self.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #243: Some verses in the New Testament seem to speak of an “unpardonable sin” against the Holy Spirit. What is A Course in Miracles’ view of those passages?

A: The Course always views sin as part of the illusory ego thought system. It has no basis in reality. Therefore there are no pardonable or unpardonable sins, parallel to the principle that there is no hierarchy of illusions. The ego attempts to keep sin real in our minds because that is what keeps its own existence real. Without a notion of sin, there would be no need for dynamics to cope with its effects.

Jesus talks about this in the Course by teaching us that we have done nothing in reality that would warrant the label sin. What we would be inclined to call sin — our attack on God by separating from Him — is simply a “tiny, mad idea,” easily corrected by making the choice to accept the Atonement principle, which states that the separation never happened; and therefore there is no such thing as sin.


Q #244: Is happiness the goal of life?

A: A Course in Miracles states that “there is no life outside of Heaven” (T.23.II.19:1); so what we call life here is really illusory. But since we think we are here as individuals in a world, Jesus talks to us on that level in order to help us begin the process of awakening from the dream we call life. In that context, Jesus says that our goal is to achieve a state of abiding peace in our minds, which is the natural outcome of the practice of forgiveness. “Happiness,” he says, “cannot be found apart from Your joint Will [with God],” which is reflected in our choice to see our interests as shared with everyone else’s, not separate from them. We might say that no happiness the world offers can match the happiness we would experience when we experience the oneness and sinlessness of God’s Son.


Q #245: In many groups studying A Course in Miracles that I have attended, people mention that atonement and at-one-ment are the same thing. I consider at-one-ment to be a new age euphemism that actually has nothing to do with Atonement as it is used in the Course. I don’t find the word at-one-ment anywhere on the Course CD. Please give me your thoughts on this subject.

A: You are right. At-one-ment is not the same as Atonement as it is used in A Course in Miracles“The Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick defines Atonement as “the Holy Spirit’s plan of correction to undo the ego and heal the belief in separation” (p.32). The term at-one-ment is not used in the Course.

The Course tells us “the sole responsibility of God’s Teacher is to accept the Atonement for himself” (M.18.4:5), meaning to no longer believe that the separation is real. The term oneness in the Course refers to the unity of the Father and the Son in Heaven, and is reflected in the dream by joining with another through forgiveness. Neither of these principles of the Course’s thought system is expressed by the term at-one-ment.

certain as god

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 29

ACIM Text Reading for July 29

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

IV. The Forgiveness of Specialness

Forgiveness is the end of specialness. Only illusions can be forgiven, and then they disappear. Forgiveness is release from all illusions, and that is why it is impossible but partly to forgive. No one who clings to one illusion can see himself as sinless, for he holds one error to himself as lovely still. And so he calls it “unforgivable,” and makes it sin. How can he then give his forgiveness wholly, when he would not receive it for himself? For it is sure he would receive it wholly the instant that he gave it so. And thus his secret guilt would disappear, forgiven by himself.

Whatever form of specialness you cherish, you have made sin. Inviolate it stands, strongly defended with all your puny might against the Will of God. And thus it stands against yourself; your enemy, not God’s. So does it seem to split you off from God, and make you separate from Him as its defender. You would protect what God created not. And yet, this idol that seems to give you power has taken it away. For you have given your brother’s birthright to it, leaving him alone and unforgiven, and yourself in sin beside him, both in misery, before the idol that can save you not.

It is not you who are so vulnerable and open to attack that just a word, a little whisper that you do not like, a circumstance that suits you not, or an event that you did not anticipate upsets your world, and hurls it into chaos. Truth is not frail. Illusions leave it perfectly unmoved and undisturbed. But specialness is not the truth in you. It can be thrown off balance by anything. What rests on nothing never can be stable. However large and overblown it seems to be, it still must rock and turn and whirl about with every breeze.

Without foundation nothing is secure. Would God have left His Son in such a state, where safety has no meaning? No, His Son is safe, resting on Him. It is your specialness that is attacked by everything that walks and breathes, or creeps or crawls, or even lives at all. Nothing is safe from its attack, and it is safe from nothing. It will forevermore be unforgiving, for that is what it is; a secret vow that what God wants for you will never be, and that you will oppose His Will forever. Nor is it possible the two can ever be the same, while specialness stands like a flaming sword of death between them, and makes them enemies.

God asks for your forgiveness. He would have no separation, like an alien will, rise between what He wills for you and what you will. They are the same, for neither One wills specialness. How could They will the death of love itself? Yet They are powerless to make attack upon illusions. They are not bodies; as one Mind They wait for all illusions to be brought to Them, and left behind. Salvation challenges not even death. And God Himself, Who knows that death is not your will, must say, “Thy will be done” because you think it is.

Forgive the great Creator of the universe, the Source of life, of love and holiness, the perfect Father of a perfect Son, for your illusions of your specialness. Here is the hell you chose to be your home. He chose not this for you. Ask not He enter this. The way is barred to love and to salvation. Yet if you would release your brother from the depths of hell, you have forgiven Him Whose Will it is you rest forever in the arms of peace, in perfect safety, and without the heat and malice of one thought of specialness to mar your rest. Forgive the Holy One the specialness He could not give, and that you made instead.

The special ones are all asleep, surrounded by a world of loveliness they do not see. Freedom and peace and joy stand there, beside the bier on which they sleep, and call them to come forth and waken from their dream of death. Yet they hear nothing. They are lost in dreams of specialness. They hate the call that would awaken them, and they curse God because He did not make their dream reality. Curse God and die, but not by Him Who made not death; but only in the dream. Open your eyes a little; see the savior God gave to you that you might look on him, and give him back his birthright. It is yours.

The slaves of specialness will yet be free. Such is the Will of God and of His Son. Would God condemn Himself to hell and to damnation? And do you will that this be done unto your savior? God calls to you from him to join His Will to save you both from hell. Look on the print of nails upon his hands that he holds out for your forgiveness. God asks your mercy on His Son and on Himself. Deny Them not. They ask of you but that your will be done. They seek your love that you may love yourself. Love not your specialness instead of Them. The print of nails is on your hands as well. Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 29

Lesson 208

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(188) The peace of God is shining in me now.

I will be still, and let the earth be still along with me. And
in that stillness we will find the peace of God. It is within
my heart, which witnesses to God Himself.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #453: “Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified” (T.24.III.8:13) to me is one of the most important statements in A Course in Miracles. It contains the key to our release, yet it shows the main reason for our resistance to this release. Your comments on this statement would be most welcome.

A: Well said! Leading up to this grand conclusion, Jesus says, “Forgive the great Creator of the universe, the Source of life…for your illusions of your specialness. Here is the hell you chose to be your home. He chose not this for you. Ask not He enter this.…Forgive the Holy One the specialness He could not give, and that you made instead” (T.24.III.6:1,2,3,4,7). The ego has tried, from the very beginning, to implicate God in the horrors and suffering in the world, and in our personal lives. How wonderful it would be, for the ego, if God were held to be ultimately responsible for everything, which of course is exactly what is proclaimed in the Bible and the religions and philosophies based on the Bible.

Here in A Course in Miracles, and specifically in the passage you cite, Jesus is correcting that eons-old belief. God has nothing to do with the vicious world of specialness and crucifixion. He could not. Love can only love. That is why we have to forgive God; He is not part of our insanity, despite our desperately wanting Him to be.

Therefore, if crucifixion is in our lives, we are the ones who put it there, and want it there. That is a bitter pill to swallow for most of us, and we would resist it with all our might, because we would then have to admit that we have been wrong about every single thing we have ever thought. Our lives — our thoughts and emotions — are turned upside down, and we break out in a cold sweat in the face of such an awesome accusation. To hold others — ultimately God — responsible for our perceptions of crucifixion thus protects us from the deeply buried belief that we are the ones who crucified infinite love so that our own need for specialness could be satisfied. Jesus is exposing this deception, while assuring us that looking with him at this deep, dark secret is the only way we will ever be liberated permanently from all the pain and death that mark our lives in this world. There is nothing that stands in the way of this freedom other than our own choice to be right rather than happy. And that is not sinful — just silly.

*

Q #690: I am having great difficulty with one phrase that keeps recurring in A Course in Miracles and it has shown up in Question #453, which centers on the statement, “Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified” (T.24.III.8:13). The troublesome statement is: “That is why we have to forgive God; He is not part of our insanity…” In the common use of forgive, I would forgive someone for some wrong that they have done to me and I hold no grudge against them. How can I forgive God? He has not done anything to my detriment. I find this use very confusing.

A: What He has done “wrong” is that He does not notice us — the ultimate affront! God (the true God) is completely unaware of our existence, and therefore is not involved in our lives to bless our many sacrifices and efforts done in the name of goodness and innocence, and to justify our judgments of those who have treated us unfairly. Jesus teaches us it is insane to think that for one to win another must lose (T.25.VII), and that it is possible for love to be exclusive. But these principles are at the core of the thought system that governs our lives, and, indeed, are the very source of our existence as individuals. God, as perfect Oneness and Love, could not give rise to this insanity, which means it is not real. Our existence as individuals consequently is exposed as not linked to God in any way. Suffering, pain, and death, as well as heroism and triumphs are not His Will.

A massive system of deception and lies is thus uncovered, shattering the foundation of our existence and the universe in which we appear to live, and forcing us to face what we swore we would never again look upon (T.19.IV.D.6:1). Everything that goes on in our personal worlds as well as the world at large is our will, not God’s. The implications of this recognition are staggering, which become the focus of Jesus’ teachings throughout his course. It seems far more tolerable to have God’s blessings on our struggles and suffering, justifying our perception of sin and victimizers “out there,” rather than to have to accept responsibility for all of it ourselves (as the one Son). It is for this that we need to forgive God. He gives no credence or validity to what is so real and meaningful to us: “Not one Thought of His makes any sense at all within this world. And nothing that the world believes as true has any meaning in His Mind at all” (T.25.VII.3:3,4). Therefore, since does God not support our thought system, He does not support us, either, as we know ourselves. What means so much to us is nothing to God. The same is true for Jesus, as well. He sees everything of the body and our individual identity as meaningless — all the events of our lives, which seem to have so much significance, are without meaning. We are presented with this in the very first lesson of the workbook, and many times in many ways throughout the rest of the lessons — Lesson 93, for example: “The self you made is not the Son of God. Therefore, this self does not exist at all. And anything it seems to do and think means nothing. It is neither bad nor good. It is unreal, and nothing more than that” (W.pI.93.5:1,2,3,4,5). This realization is bound to stir up some profound emotions in us — fear, anger, confusion, etc. Who likes to be told that they are unreal?

This is not the end of the story, though, because at some point in our work with the Course, we will find ourselves relieved to be unburdened of our guilty secret. We will be glad to have been proven wrong in all we thought to be the truth. But before reaching that stage comes the anger that God did not buy our story. It is not all that pleasant to be caught in a lie, and this is especially devastating when the deception involves our very identity. We suddenly become aware of the massive self-deception we have engaged in, and without the help of Jesus and his course, or some other loving reflection of truth outside our thought system, we would have a most difficult time coping with this situation and all the guilt and fear it arouses. All that supported us now is revealed as but strategic ways of keeping us from the truth about ourselves and reality — defenses against the truth. It is as if the bottom has fallen out. But Jesus helps us realize we need only have the willingness to change our choice of teachers in our minds from the ego to him, and peace will be restored in our awareness. We are merely awakening from a nightmare dream of separation from our Creator and Source.

not his will you be crucified.jpg

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 28

ACIM Text Reading for July 28

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

III. The Treachery of Specialness

Comparison must be an ego device, for love makes none. Specialness always makes comparisons. It is established by a lack seen in another, and maintained by searching for, and keeping clear in sight, all lacks it can perceive. This does it seek, and this it looks upon. And always whom it thus diminishes would be your savior, had you not chosen to make of him a tiny measure of your specialness instead. Against the littleness you see in him you stand as tall and stately, clean and honest, pure and unsullied, by comparison with what you see. Nor do you understand it is yourself that you diminish thus.

Pursuit of specialness is always at the cost of peace. Who can attack his savior and cut him down, yet recognize his strong support? Who can detract from his omnipotence, yet share his power? And who can use him as the gauge of littleness, and be released from limits? You have a function in salvation. Its pursuit will bring you joy. But the pursuit of specialness must bring you pain. Here is a goal that would defeat salvation, and thus run counter to the Will of God. To value specialness is to esteem an alien will to which illusions of yourself are dearer than the truth.

Specialness is the idea of sin made real. Sin is impossible even to imagine without this base. For sin arose from it, out of nothingness; an evil flower with no roots at all. Here is the self-made “savior,” the “creator” who creates unlike the Father, and which made His Son like to itself and not like unto Him. His “special” sons are many, never one, each one in exile from himself, and Him of Whom they are a part. Nor do they love the Oneness Which created them as one with Him. They chose their specialness instead of Heaven and instead of peace, and wrapped it carefully in sin, to keep it “safe” from truth.

You are not special. If you think you are, and would defend your specialness against the truth of what you really are, how can you know the truth? What answer that the Holy Spirit gives can reach you, when it is your specialness to which you listen, and which asks and answers? Its tiny answer, soundless in the melody that pours from God to you eternally in loving praise of what you are, is all you listen to. And that vast song of honor and of love for what you are seems silent and unheard before its “mightiness.” You strain your ears to hear its soundless voice, and yet the Call of God Himself is soundless to you.

You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it. They speak a different language and they fall on different ears. To every special one a different message, and one with different meaning, is the truth. Yet how can truth be different to each one? The special messages the special hear convince them they are different and apart; each in his special sins and “safe” from love, which does not see his specialness at all. Christ’s vision is their “enemy,” for it sees not what they would look upon, and it would show them that the specialness they think they see is an illusion.

What would they see instead? The shining radiance of the Son of God, so like his Father that the memory of Him springs instantly to mind. And with this memory, the Son remembers his own creations, as like to him as he is to his Father. And all the world he made, and all his specialness, and all the sins he held in its defense against himself, will vanish as his mind accepts the truth about himself, as it returns to take their place. This is the only “cost” of truth: You will no longer see what never was, nor hear what makes no sound. Is it a sacrifice to give up nothing, and to receive the Love of God forever?

You who have chained your savior to your specialness, and given it his place, remember this: He has not lost the power to forgive you all the sins you think you placed between him and the function of salvation given him for you. Nor will you change his function, any more than you can change the truth in him and in yourself. But be you certain that the truth is just the same in both. It gives no different messages, and has one meaning. And it is one you and your brother both can understand, and one that brings release to both of you. Here stands your brother with the key to Heaven in his hand, held out to you. Let not the dream of specialness remain between you. What is one is joined in truth.

Think of the loveliness that you will see within yourself, when you have looked on him as on a friend. He is the enemy of specialness, but only friend to what is real in you. Not one attack you thought you made on him has taken from him the gift that God would have him give to you. His need to give it is as great as yours to have it. Let him forgive you all your specialness, and make you whole in mind and one with him. He waits for your forgiveness only that he may return it unto you. It is not God Who has condemned His Son, but you, to save his specialness and kill his Self.

You have come far along the way of truth; too far to falter now. Just one step more, and every vestige of the fear of God will melt away in love. Your brother’s specialness and yours are enemies, and bound in hate to kill each other and deny they are the same. Yet it is not illusions that have reached this final obstacle which seems to make God and His Heaven so remote that They cannot be reached. Here in this holy place does truth stand waiting to receive you and your brother in silent blessing, and in peace so real and so encompassing that nothing stands outside. Leave all illusions of yourself outside this place, to which you come in hope and honesty.

Here is your savior from your specialness. He is in need of your acceptance of himself as part of you, as you for his. You are alike to God as God is to Himself. He is not special, for He would not keep one part of what He is unto Himself, not given to His Son but kept for Him alone. And it is this you fear, for if He is not special, then He willed His Son to be like Him, and your brother is like you. Not special, but possessed of everything, including you. Give him but what he has, remembering God gave Himself to you and your brother in equal love, that both might share the universe with Him Who chose that love could never be divided, and kept separate from what it is and must forever be.

You are your brother’s; part of love was not denied to him. But can it be that you have lost because he is complete? What has been given him makes you complete, as it does him. God’s Love gave you to him and him to you because He gave Himself. What is the same as God is one with Him. And only specialness could make the truth of God and you as one seem anything but Heaven, with the hope of peace at last in sight.

Specialness is the seal of treachery upon the gift of love. Whatever serves its purpose must be given to kill. No gift that bears its seal but offers treachery to giver and receiver. Not one glance from eyes it veils but looks on sight of death. Not one believer in its potency but seeks for bargains and for compromise that would establish sin love’s substitute, and serve it faithfully. And no relationship that holds its purpose dear but clings to murder as safety’s weapon, and the great defender of all illusions from the “threat” of love.

The hope of specialness makes it seem possible God made the body as the prison house that keeps His Son from Him. For it demands a special place God cannot enter, and a hiding place where none is welcome but your tiny self. Nothing is sacred here but unto you, and you alone, apart and separate from all your brothers; safe from all intrusions of sanity upon illusions; safe from God and safe for conflict everlasting. Here are the gates of hell you closed upon yourself, to rule in madness and in loneliness your special kingdom, apart from God, away from truth and from salvation.

The key you threw away God gave your brother, whose holy hands would offer it to you when you were ready to accept His plan for your salvation in the place of yours. How could this readiness be reached save through the sight of all your misery, and the awareness that your plan has failed, and will forever fail to bring you peace and joy of any kind? Through this despair you travel now, yet it is but illusion of despair. The death of specialness is not your death, but your awaking into life eternal. You but emerge from an illusion of what you are to the acceptance of yourself as God created you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 28

Lesson 209

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(189) I feel the Love of God within me now.

The Love of God is what created me. The Love of God is
everything I am. The Love of God proclaimed me as His
Son. The Love of God within me sets me free.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #89: The course says we are not our body. The Christ Self is in us and we are not in a body. The real Self the Christ is in Holiness. Where are we then? Everything is inside but not inside the body then where? Is it the place before I became a body? Where was I before I took a body form? Is that where the Christ and my real Self is? If individual consciousness does not exist there, how does one know the place when he is there? Or is (not knowing) real knowledge.

A: We are at a distinct disadvantage in trying to answer these questions, which are everyone’s questions. The reason is that we have no way of conceptualizing or understanding what does not have physical (quantifiable) dimensions. And that is precisely what the Christ Self is — beyond time and space entirely. Therefore “where” does not apply — “where” always has spatial connotations, as do the terms inside and outside. We have no concepts nor a language that can encompass non-physical reality. And to take this one step further, we are trying to understand a realm of reality which we have chosen to banish from our awareness, and/or have changed its true meaning entirely. Moreover, the body (i.e., the brain) was specifically made not to understand (T.18.IX.4,5). So we are really severely “disabled” when we start grappling with these issues, and yet they are vitally important to us.

Indeed, we can say that the Christ Self is nowhere, which is “where” we were before we took bodily form, and we will have no trouble recognizing it when we return because it is not a place, and besides, we never left. Okay, now that you are even more confused, let’s see if we can unravel this a bit:

We are told that “to be without a body is to be in our natural state” (W.pI.72.9:3), but that “what you have done to hurt your mind has made it so unnatural that it does not remember what is natural to it. And when you are told what is natural, you cannot understand it” (T.16.II.3:1,2). This is our predicament. We have hurt our minds by denying we have a mind and thinking instead that we are bodies. We continue to do this — although we are not aware that we are making these choices — so that we can keep the separation going. Thus we think physical existence is real, and our true Self is an unknown and distant reality. When we no longer have a need to deny our true Identity as spirit, as Christ, we will simply be what we always have been. We never truly “became” a body. We remain decision-making minds simply fantasizing or hallucinating that we are something other than our Christ Self. As a result, there would not be a problem recognizing “where” we are when we no longer are “in” a body, because we are never “in” a body at all. The mind just chooses to think it is a body. Our body is just an idea in the mind, and since “ideas leave not their source,” it has no reality outside the mind that thinks it. That is why Jesus concentrates so much on the need to look within our minds with him — so that we would become aware of this thought system, which we have chosen to govern all of our thinking and perception.

The following quote nicely expresses some of these points: “The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. Truth can only be experienced. It cannot be described and it cannot be explained. I can make you aware of the conditions of truth, but the experience is of God. Together we can meet its conditions, but truth will dawn upon you of itself” (T.8.VI.9:6,7,8,9,10,11).

The conditions Jesus is talking about of course pertain to forgiveness, which is why it is the central theme of his teachings. A major effect of practicing forgiveness is that our identification with the body automatically begins to weaken and is replaced by more frequent perceptions of our oneness with each other beyond the body. So as we continue to forgive ourselves and others, we gradually allow back into our awareness what we had been denying by believing we are individuals living in a physical world with separate and competing interests and goals. As we make our way back up the ladder separation led us down (T.28.III.1:2), our identity shifts slowly and the kinds of questions you raise begin to fade and ultimately disappear, because they have come from the perspective of bodily, individualized existence, and that perspective has now shifted.

sun of god guiltless

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 27

ACIM Text Reading for July 27

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

II. Specialness as a Substitute for Love

Love is extension. To withhold the smallest gift is not to know love’s purpose. Love offers everything forever. Hold back but one belief, one offering, and love is gone, because you asked a substitute to take its place. And now must war, the substitute for peace, come with the one alternative that you can choose for love. Your choosing it has given it all the reality it seems to have.

Beliefs will never openly attack each other because conflicting outcomes are impossible. But an unrecognized belief is a decision to war in secret, where the results of conflict are kept unknown and never brought to reason, to be considered sensible or not. And many senseless outcomes have been reached, and meaningless decisions have been made and kept hidden, to become beliefs now given power to direct all subsequent decisions. Mistake you not the power of these hidden warriors to disrupt your peace. For it is at their mercy while you decide to leave it there. The secret enemies of peace, your least decision to choose attack instead of love, unrecognized and swift to challenge you to combat and to violence far more inclusive than you think, are there by your election. Do not deny their presence nor their terrible results. All that can be denied is their reality, but not their outcome.

All that is ever cherished as a hidden belief, to be defended though unrecognized, is faith in specialness. This takes many forms, but always clashes with the reality of God’s creation and with the grandeur that He gave His Son. What else could justify attack? For who could hate someone whose Self is his, and Whom he knows? Only the special could have enemies, for they are different and not the same. And difference of any kind imposes orders of reality, and a need to judge that cannot be escaped.

What God created cannot be attacked, for there is nothing in the universe unlike itself. But what is different calls for judgment, and this must come from someone “better,” someone incapable of being like what he condemns, “above” it, sinless by comparison with it. And thus does specialness become a means and end at once. For specialness not only sets apart, but serves as grounds from which attack on those who seem “beneath” the special one is “natural” and “just.” The special ones feel weak and frail because of differences, for what would make them special is their enemy. Yet they protect its enmity and call it “friend.” On its behalf they fight against the universe, for nothing in the world they value more.

Specialness is the great dictator of the wrong decisions. Here is the grand illusion of what you are and what your brother is. And here is what must make the body dear and worth preserving. Specialness must be defended. Illusions can attack it, and they do. For what your brother must become to keep your specialness is an illusion. He who is “worse” than you must be attacked, so that your specialness can live on his defeat. For specialness is triumph, and its victory is his defeat and shame. How can he live, with all your sins upon him? And who must be his conqueror but you?

Would it be possible for you to hate your brother if you were like him? Could you attack him if you realized you journey with him, to a goal that is the same? Would you not help him reach it in every way you could, if his attainment of it were perceived as yours? You are his enemy in specialness; his friend in a shared purpose. Specialness can never share, for it depends on goals that you alone can reach. And he must never reach them, or your goal is jeopardized. Can love have meaning where the goal is triumph? And what decision can be made for this that will not hurt you?

Your brother is your friend because his Father created him like you. There is no difference. You have been given to your brother that love might be extended, not cut off from him. What you keep is lost to you. God gave you and your brother Himself, and to remember this is now the only purpose that you share. And so it is the only one you have. Could you attack your brother if you chose to see no specialness of any kind between you and him? Look fairly at whatever makes you give your brother only partial welcome, or would let you think that you are better off apart. Is it not always your belief your specialness is limited by your relationship? And is not this the “enemy” that makes you and your brother illusions to each other?

The fear of God and of your brother comes from each unrecognized belief in specialness. For you demand your brother bow to it against his will. And God Himself must honor it or suffer vengeance. Every twinge of malice, or stab of hate or wish to separate arises here. For here the purpose that you and your brother share becomes obscured from both of you. You would oppose this course because it teaches you you and your brother are alike. You have no purpose that is not the same, and none your Father does not share with you. For your relationship has been made clean of special goals. And would you now defeat the goal of holiness that Heaven gave it? What perspective can the special have that does not change with every seeming blow, each slight, or fancied judgment on itself? Those who are special must defend illusions against the truth. For what is specialness but an attack upon the Will of God? You love your brother not while it is this you would defend against him. This is what he attacks, and you protect. Here is the ground of battle which you wage against him. Here must he be your enemy and not your friend. Never can there be peace among the different. He is your friend because you are the same.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 27

Lesson 208

I am not a body. I am free. 
For I am still as God created me.

(188) The peace of God is shining in me now.

I will be still, and let the earth be still along with me. And
in that stillness we will find the peace of God. It is within
my heart, which witnesses to God Himself.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #44: How do I act in the world of form before I have been able to forgive a situation? If I act lovingly without really feeling it I will feel resentment. If I act according to my true feelings I will feel guilty. Either way I lose!!!

A: The key is always to be aware of your motivation in a conflict with someone else — the underlying purpose it serves, as you seem to struggle over how to act. “What you do comes from what you think”(T.2.VI.2:7), as Jesus points out. “It is only at this level that you can exercise choice…It is pointless to believe that controlling the outcome of misthought can result in healing….You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of willingness….Change does not mean anything at the symptom level, where it cannot work” (2:6; 3:1,4,7).

We are stubborn creatures, not prone to forgiveness, although it is the most natural thing we can do in this world. But the world is an unnatural place. And so we resist what really would be kindest and most helpful to ourselves. So long as I think that acting lovingly towards others is a charitable whim I bestow on an undeserving someone outside of myself (W.pI.126.4:1), I will resent not getting in my “justified” licks against you if I feel you have treated me unfairly. But if I can honestly look at how a retaliatory attack on you will really make me feel, I may be more open to a right-minded solution. If I can begin to recognize that my reaction to you has nothing to do with what you have done and everything to do with the guilt in my own mind, which is the cause of all my pain and for which I am always seeking a target on which to project it, I may think twice about reinforcing that guilt in my own mind by a further overt attack on you. Forgiveness is not a gift bestowed on someone else, unmerited and unjustified. It is a gift I offer first and foremost to myself. When I accept that gift for myself, then I will automatically know how to respond to you who had seemed to offend me, offering you the same gift I have just accepted for myself, in the form in which you will most likely be able to accept it. And I will have no sense of resentment or loss associated with it.

Okay, but what if I’m still too stubborn to believe and accept what is truly in my own best interest for a particular situation — I am not ready to forgive because I still want to hold on to my grievance against you so that I can believe the guilt is in you and not in me? Then I would want at least to be able to acknowledge that I am still identified with my ego, where my “choices” seem to be limited to either overtly attacking you in retaliation or sacrificing my right to retaliation in a feigned “loving” show of “forgiveness” (still an attack). Either option will reinforce my guilt if I act without awareness of my underlying motivation. And so these are not really different choices at all, at the level of content. So now it will be important that I at least be honest with myself, and recognize that it is neither kindness nor righteousness nor any evil within me that is guiding me to act in whatever way I finally choose with my ego, since I have already decided against choosing at the only level that can really help. It is my own fear of love and of the quiet, gentle peace that accompanies the release of grievances that is behind my resistance to asking for help from a different Teacher. If I can recognize that and not judge myself for it, then I have at least minimized the guilt that I am reinforcing in my own mind for continuing to identify with my ego. And that is always a goal of the Course.


awake & remember

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 26

ACIM Text Reading for July 26

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

I. Introduction

Forget not that the motivation for this course is the attainment and the keeping of the state of peace. Given this state the mind is quiet, and the condition in which God is remembered is attained. It is not necessary to tell Him what to do. He will not fail. Where He can enter, there He is already. And can it be He cannot enter where He wills to be? Peace will be yours because it is His Will. Can you believe a shadow can hold back the Will that holds the universe secure? God does not wait upon illusions to let Him be Himself. No more His Son. They are. And what illusion that idly seems to drift between Them has the power to defeat what is Their Will?

To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardize your learning. No belief is neutral. Every one has the power to dictate each decision you make. For a decision is a conclusion based on everything that you believe. It is the outcome of belief, and follows it as surely as does suffering follow guilt and freedom sinlessness. There is no substitute for peace. What God creates has no alternative. The truth arises from what He knows. And your decisions come from your beliefs as certainly as all creation rose in His Mind because of what He knows.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 26

Lesson 207

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(187) I bless the world because I bless myself.

God’s blessing shines upon me from within my heart,
where He abides. I need but turn to Him, and every sorrow
melts away, as I accept His boundless Love for me.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #283: I have been a student of A Course in Miracles for six years now and practice at it daily. Every time I have a questions to ask it gets answered in some form by you. so thank you for all the help. Now I am a little confused on how to handle this situation. The last eight years I have gained 30 lbs and being 69 years of age it is a concern because the additional weight can lead to many diseases and I am not comfortable with it. So I went on a diet of healthy eating and exercises. I am comfortable with my game plan but I am confused because I know that all the illnesses, aches and pains are only my own guilt about the choice I made on leaving God and that guilt is projected on to my body.  So, if I stay aware of this fact and continue on my plan will that be OK? How do we handle following the Course and doing what we think is necessary in this world. This question could be used in many different situations. Again thank you for all your help.

A: You are correct. This question can be applied to many different situations regarding behavior.

As you undoubtedly know, the focus of A Course in Miracles is not on changing our behavior, but rather on changing the teacher who will guide us through our daily lives. And yet, we have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is basically where we find ourselves right now. It doesn’t matter that yesterday I was practically sitting at the right hand of God when today I’m a hateful, spiteful, blankety-blank!

So, we start where we are. As you stated, you know your ailments come from your guilt. This recognition alone gives you more knowledge than 99.9% of the population. You are off to a good start right there! You want to lose weight to live a longer and healthier life, and as an aside, to perhaps feel better about your looks as well (although you didn’t say so). You have a plan, which seems complete and well thought out. You imply that you have implemented your plan, at least for a little while, and then you became confused — about your plan, about your guilt, etc.

Sounds like you made a right-minded decision to take better care of yourself, to love yourself a little more, to “let go” of some of your guilt, and to be worthy of good health and happiness. It also sounds like once you started implementing your plan, a tiny voice began to whisper in your ear — the content of its message, no matter what the words, being “who will I be without my guilt?” Once heard, you began to get confused. Should I? Would I? Could I? All of this a direct response to your right-minded decision.

This is a perfect example of what we all do in various aspects of our lives. We make right-minded decisions, become afraid of them (and their implications) and jump right back into the arms of the ego until we tire of its insanity and begin the entire process again — over, and over, and over. We continue this way until our fear is totally diminished and we make the final right-minded choice, at which point we are in the real world, and the tiny voice of the ego is heard no more. And, if you can generalize this process to your entire life, you’ll be able to more quickly and easily recognize signs of fear as they creep into your thoughts, no matter what form they take. This will help you take your doubt and self-sabotage less seriously than you have in the past, simply stating:: “Of course, I’ve gotten afraid again. So what else is new?”

be of good cheer

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 25

ACIM Text Reading for July 25

Chapter 23 ~ The War Against Yourself

V. Above the Battleground

Do not remain in conflict, for there is no war without attack. The fear of God is fear of life, and not of death. Yet He remains the only place of safety. In Him is no attack, and no illusion in any form stalks Heaven. Heaven is wholly true. No difference enters, and what is all the same cannot conflict. You are not asked to fight against your wish to murder. But you are asked to realize the form it takes conceals the same intent. And it is this you fear, and not the form. What is not love is murder. What is not loving must be an attack. Every illusion is an assault on truth, and every one does violence to the idea of love because it seems to be of equal truth.

What can be equal to the truth, yet different? Murder and love are incompatible. Yet if they both are true, then must they be the same, and indistinguishable from one another. So will they be to those who see God’s Son a body. For it is not the body that is like the Son’s Creator. And what is lifeless cannot be the Son of Life. How can a body be extended to hold the universe? Can it create, and be what it creates? And can it offer its creations all that it is and never suffer loss?

God does not share His function with a body. He gave the function to create unto His Son because it is His Own. It is not sinful to believe the function of the Son is murder, but it is insanity. What is the same can have no different function. Creation is the means for God’s extension, and what is His must be His Son’s as well. Either the Father and the Son are murderers, or neither is. Life makes not death, creating like itself.

The lovely light of your relationship is like the Love of God. It cannot yet assume the holy function God gave His Son, for your forgiveness of your brother is not complete as yet, and so it cannot be extended to all creation. Each form of murder and attack that still attracts you and that you do not recognize for what it is, limits the healing and the miracles you have the power to extend to all. Yet does the Holy Spirit understand how to increase your little gifts and make them mighty. Also He understands how your relationship is raised above the battleground, in it no more. This is your part; to realize that murder in any form is not your will. The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose.

Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it. From there will your perspective be quite different. Here in the midst of it, it does seem real. Here you have chosen to be part of it. Here murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle is not real, and easily escaped. Bodies may battle, but the clash of forms is meaningless. And it is over when you realize it never was begun. How can a battle be perceived as nothingness when you engage in it? How can the truth of miracles be recognized if murder is your choice?

When the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above. Even in forms you do not recognize, the signs you know. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. This you know well. When they occur leave not your place on high, but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder. And God Himself and all the lights of Heaven will gently lean to you, and hold you up. For you have chosen to remain where He would have you, and no illusion can attack the peace of God together with His Son.

See no one from the battleground, for there you look on him from nowhere. You have no reference point from where to look, where meaning can be given what you see. For only bodies could attack and murder, and if this is your purpose, then you must be one with them. Only a purpose unifies, and those who share a purpose have a mind as one. The body has no purpose of itself, and must be solitary. From below, it cannot be surmounted. From above, the limits it exerts on those in battle still are gone, and not perceived. The body stands between the Father and the Heaven He created for His Son because it has no purpose.

Think what is given those who share their Father’s purpose, and who know that it is theirs. They want for nothing. Sorrow of any kind is inconceivable. Only the light they love is in awareness, and only love shines upon them forever. It is their past, their present and their future; always the same, eternally complete and wholly shared. They know it is impossible their happiness could ever suffer change of any kind. Perhaps you think the battleground can offer something you can win. Can it be anything that offers you a perfect calmness, and a sense of love so deep and quiet that no touch of doubt can ever mar your certainty? And that will last forever?

Those with the strength of God in their awareness could never think of battle. What could they gain but loss of their perfection? For everything fought for on the battleground is of the body; something it seems to offer or to own. No one who knows that he has everything could seek for limitation, nor could he value the body’s offerings. The senselessness of conquest is quite apparent from the quiet sphere above the battleground. What can conflict with everything? And what is there that offers less, yet could be wanted more? Who with the Love of God upholding him could find the choice of miracles or murder hard to make?

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 25

Lesson 206

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(186) Salvation of the world depends on me.

I am entrusted with the gifts of God, because I am His Son.
And I would give His gifts where He intended them to be.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #900What about solipsism [the theory that nothing exists or is real but the self ]? For me the greatest fear is that of cosmic aloneness. I sometimes wake up feeling, “It’s true! There is no one else.” The philosophers witter on about “private language,” but their arguments don’t stand up to the experience, horror, and the conviction. A Course in Miracles talks a lot about unification and how the split will return to being whole. Doesn’t that sound kind of lonely? Why “we”? Why not “I”? If I’m dreaming the perceived world, why aren’t I dreaming other people? When unification happens, the “Returning” as they say in Zen, why should this be good? Why not awful? Is it because bliss is a non-dual emotion, as against any kind of fear which is dualistic? That may be true, except the fear we call “horror” has a frozen feel to it, a sort of resignation.

A: Cosmic aloneness is probably one good definition of hell. But “aloneness” implies a self that experiences itself as a self, as does fear. And that is not what A Course in Miracles means by unity or oneness, which is a state transcending consciousness all together. Jesus tells us that in our present state there is no way we can understand “a Oneness joined as One” (T.25.I.7:2) . But he assures us often in the Course that when our minds are healed of all separation thoughts, we will be indescribably happy and peaceful, as in one instance he exclaims: “ O my brothers, if you only knew the peace that will envelop you and hold you safe and pure and lovely in the Mind of God, you could but rush to meet Him where His altar is. Hallowed your Name and His, for they are joined here in this holy place. Here He leans down to lift you up to Him, out of illusions into holiness; out of the world and to eternity; out of all fear and given back to love” (C.4.8:1,2,3). No solipsist has ever spoken like that! Egoless love and solipsism are mutually exclusive: “For it is the function of love to unite all things unto itself, and to hold all things together by extending its wholeness” (T.12.VIII.7:11) .

We need to learn — through the process of forgiveness — that we are the dreamers of our own dreams so that we can recover our mind’s power to choose. When we come back to that, we will clearly see what we chose against — a love embracing all creation as one — in order to have our individual existence. We will also realize the pain involved in maintaining that existence through denial and projection, and that will cause us to be less and less attracted to it, especially because we will have remembered it was a choice based on fictitious premises (the Course’s myth of the ego).

At the beginning of Lesson 107 , Jesus uses our language and familiar experience to give us a hint of what awaits us when our minds are healed:

“Can you imagine what a state of mind without illusions is? How it would feel? Try to remember when there was a time, — perhaps a minute, maybe even less — when nothing came to interrupt your peace; when you were certain you were loved and safe. Then try to picture what it would be like to have that moment be extended to the end of time and to eternity. Then let the sense of quiet that you felt be multiplied a hundred times, and then be multiplied another hundred more.

And now you have a hint, not more than just the faintest intimation of the state your mind will rest in when the truth has come. Without illusions there could be no fear, no doubt and no attack. . . . all pain is over . . .” (W.pI.107.2; 3:1,2,3).

The practice of forgiveness leads to the recognition of how painful it is to exist in a state of sepa­ration, a pain we have been denying. As that becomes clearer to us, our hold on separation decreases, realizing that it is a most unnatural state, and then we are attracted more and more to our natural state as the extension of God’s Love. We sacrifice nothing, feeling only gratitude for being home at last.

to hold and share

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 24

ACIM Text Reading for July 24

Chapter 23 ~ The War Against Yourself

IV. Salvation without Compromise

Is it not true you do not recognize some of the forms attack can take? If it is true attack in any form will hurt you, and will do so just as much as in another form that you do recognize, then it must follow that you do not always recognize the source of pain. Attack in any form is equally destructive. Its purpose does not change. Its sole intent is murder, and what form of murder serves to cover the massive guilt and frantic fear of punishment the murderer must feel? He may deny he is a murderer and justify his savagery with smiles as he attacks. Yet he will suffer, and will look on his intent in nightmares where the smiles are gone, and where the purpose rises to meet his horrified awareness and pursue him still. For no one thinks of murder and escapes the guilt the thought entails. If the intent is death, what matter the form it takes?

Is death in any form, however lovely and charitable it may seem to be, a blessing and a sign the Voice for God speaks through you to your brother? The wrapping does not make the gift you give. An empty box, however beautiful and gently given, still contains nothing. And neither the receiver nor the giver is long deceived. Withhold forgiveness from your brother and you attack him. You give him nothing, and receive of him but what you gave.

Salvation is no compromise of any kind. To compromise is to accept but part of what you want; to take a little and give up the rest. Salvation gives up nothing. It is complete for everyone. Let the idea of compromise but enter, and the awareness of salvation’s purpose is lost because it is not recognized. It is denied where compromise has been accepted, for compromise is the belief salvation is impossible. It would maintain you can attack a little, love a little, and know the difference. Thus it would teach a little of the same can still be different, and yet the same remain intact, as one. Does this make sense? Can it be understood?

This course is easy just because it makes no compromise. Yet it seems difficult to those who still believe that compromise is possible. They do not see that, if it is, salvation is attack. Yet it is certain the belief that salvation is impossible cannot uphold a quiet, calm assurance it has come. Forgiveness cannot be withheld a little. Nor is it possible to attack for this and love for that and understand forgiveness. Would you not want to recognize assault upon your peace in any form, if only thus does it become impossible that you lose sight of it? It can be kept shining before your vision, forever clear and never out of sight, if you defend it not.

Those who believe that peace can be defended, and that attack is justified on its behalf, cannot perceive it lies within them. How could they know? Could they accept forgiveness side by side with the belief that murder takes some forms by which their peace is saved? Would they be willing to accept the fact their savage purpose is directed against themselves? No one unites with enemies, nor is at one with them in purpose. And no one compromises with an enemy but hates him still, for what he kept from him.

Mistake not truce for peace, nor compromise for the escape from conflict. To be released from conflict means that it is over. The door is open; you have left the battleground. You have not lingered there in cowering hope that it will not return because the guns are stilled an instant, and the fear that haunts the place of death is not apparent. There is no safety in a battleground. You can look down on it in safety from above and not be touched. But from within it you can find no safety. Not one tree left still standing will shelter you. Not one illusion of protection stands against the faith in murder. Here stands the body, torn between the natural desire to communicate and the unnatural intent to murder and to die. Think you the form that murder takes can offer safety? Can guilt be absent from a battlefield?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 24

Lesson 205

I am not a body. I am free. 
For I am still as God created me.

(185) I want the peace of God.

The peace of God is everything I want. The peace of God is
my one goal; the aim of all my living here, the end I seek,
my purpose and my function and my life, while I abide
where I am not at home.

 

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #63: We were discussing anger in our study group and it was suggested that to experience anger, we would not “express” it outwardly, but instead, as the Course encourages us, be “Above the Battleground” (T.23.IV), “Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it” (5:1). This certainly sounds better than overtly abusing another with our anger. But what about the idea of yelling into a pillow or hitting a punching bag? Is that still considered attack? What if my anger is so intense that I am unable (unwilling) to “Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it”?

A: Your question suggests a confusion that many students often make in their work with the Course. The Course, like the Holy Spirit, is only concerned with content (thought) and not form (behavior). If I am in conflict and am feeling anger, I am no longer at peace, whether I act on that anger or not. Anger and attack are in the mind and that is where correction is needed. Being disciplined enough not to act out the anger, or to direct it at an inanimate object (such as a pillow or a punching bag) rather than at a person, has certain advantages in that it does not set in motion a possible sequence of overt attack and retaliation at the level of behavior which will almost certainly serve to reinforce the guilt in both your mind and the mind of the person you are attacking back. But the attack is still alive and well in your mind and the problem of the anger will not be resolved until you address it at its source in the mind. This will involve recognizing that your angry feelings and thoughts of attack have nothing to do with the other person at whom those feelings are directed and by whom they seem to have been elicited.

To “be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon” your anger is to remember that you are a mind that has a choice whether to look at the conflict with your ego or with the Holy Spirit as your teacher. When you “look” with your ego, you will still believe that your angry feelings are somehow justified, that at some level you have been treated unfairly and that your reaction is a reasonable one, even if you choose not to act on it. If that continues to be your perception, no healing has occurred.

But when you look with the Holy Spirit, you will come to understand that the problem is not the other person but rather a choice you first made within your own mind to see yourself as separate from love. That choice, as it always does, produces guilt, which you find unbearable. And so the guilt must be projected outside yourself, onto someone else whom you will want to see as treating you unfairly, upon whom the guilt can then rest. And so the feelings of conflict that have come from your own decision to separate in your mind from love then seem to be caused by what this other person has “done” to you. And yet if you had not chosen guilt in the first place, their words or actions would have absolutely no effect on you. The fact that they seem to only tells you about your prior decision to turn to your ego and away from love. Once you have accepted this realization and the correction offered by the Holy Spirit — that you are not separate from love and never have been — the guilt vanishes, as well as the anger and the conflict that were its effect, and you no longer need to see someone else as your opponent, deserving of your attack (in self-defense, of course!).

By the way, although the Course says that “anger is never justified” (T.30.VI.1:1) — and why that is true should be apparent from what we have just discussed — the Course never says we should not get angry. In fact, much of the Course is addressed at telling us what happens when we do get angry and how it can be corrected, and this is only because Jesus understands that we will continue to become angry and will need the correction he offers us. And sometimes we may be able to put the brakes on acting out our anger and sometimes we may feel compelled to act it out, but the problem — the guilt in our mind — and the solution — recognizing the choice of purpose we have in all of it — remain the same. Rather than denying our anger, Jesus wants us to look at it with him so we can recognize its real source, rather than attempt to justify it based on our mistaken perceptions of our own victimization. Our justifications, quite simply, are always invalid.

hostage or host

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 23

ACIM Text Reading for July 23

Chapter 23 ~ The War Against Yourself

III. The Laws of Chaos

The “laws” of chaos can be brought to light, though never understood. Chaotic laws are hardly meaningful, and therefore out of reason’s sphere. Yet they appear to be an obstacle to reason and to truth. Let us, then, look upon them calmly, that we may look beyond them, understanding what they are, not what they would maintain. It is essential it be understood what they are for, because it is their purpose to make meaningless, and to attack the truth. Here are the laws that rule the world you made. And yet they govern nothing, and need not be broken; merely looked upon and gone beyond.

The first chaotic law is that the truth is different for everyone. Like all these principles, this one maintains that each is separate and has a different set of thoughts that set him off from others. This principle evolves from the belief there is a hierarchy of illusions; some are more valuable and therefore true. Each one establishes this for himself, and makes it true by his attack on what another values. And this is justified because the values differ, and those who hold them seem to be unlike, and therefore enemies.

Think how this seems to interfere with the first principle of miracles. For this establishes degrees of truth among illusions, making it seem that some of them are harder to overcome than others. If it were realized that they are all the same and equally untrue, it would be easy, then, to understand that miracles apply to all of them. Errors of any kind can be corrected because they are untrue. When brought to truth instead of to each other, they merely disappear. No part of nothing can be more resistant to the truth than can another.

The second law of chaos, dear indeed to every worshipper of sin, is that each one must sin, and therefore deserves attack and death. This principle, closely related to the first, is the demand that errors call for punishment and not correction. For the destruction of the one who makes the error places him beyond correction and beyond forgiveness. What he has done is thus interpreted as an irrevocable sentence upon himself, which God Himself is powerless to overcome. Sin cannot be remitted, being the belief the Son of God can make mistakes for which his own destruction becomes inevitable.

Think what this seems to do to the relationship between the Father and the Son. Now it appears that They can never be One again. For One must always be condemned, and by the Other. Now are They different, and enemies. And Their relationship is one of opposition, just as the separate aspects of the Son meet only to conflict but not to join. One becomes weak, the other strong by his defeat. And fear of God and of each other now appears as sensible, made real by what the Son of God has done both to himself and his Creator.

The arrogance on which the laws of chaos stand could not be more apparent than emerges here. Here is a principle that would define what the Creator of reality must be; what He must think and what He must believe; and how He must respond, believing it. It is not seen as even necessary that He be asked about the truth of what has been established for His belief. His Son can tell Him this, and He has but the choice whether to take his word for it or be mistaken. This leads directly to the third preposterous belief that seems to make chaos eternal. For if God cannot be mistaken, He must accept His Son’s belief in what he is, and hate him for it.

See how the fear of God is reinforced by this third principle. Now it becomes impossible to turn to Him for help in misery. For now He has become the “enemy” Who caused it, to Whom appeal is useless. Nor can salvation lie within the Son, whose every aspect seems to be at war with Him, and justified in its attack. And now is conflict made inevitable, beyond the help of God. For now salvation must remain impossible, because the Savior has become the enemy.

There can be no release and no escape. Atonement thus becomes a myth, and vengeance, not forgiveness, is the Will of God. From where all this begins, there is no sight of help that can succeed. Only destruction can be the outcome. And God Himself seems to be siding with it, to overcome His Son. Think not the ego will enable you to find escape from what it wants. That is the function of this course, which does not value what the ego cherishes.

The ego values only what it takes. This leads to the fourth law of chaos, which, if the others are accepted, must be true. This seeming law is the belief you have what you have taken. By this, another’s loss becomes your gain, and thus it fails to recognize that you can never take away save from yourself. Yet all the other laws must lead to this. For enemies do not give willingly to one another, nor would they seek to share the things they value. And what your enemies would keep from you must be worth having, because they keep it hidden from your sight.

All of the mechanisms of madness are seen emerging here: the “enemy” made strong by keeping hidden the valuable inheritance that should be yours; your justified position and attack for what has been withheld; and the inevitable loss the enemy must suffer to save yourself. Thus do the guilty ones protest their “innocence.” Were they not forced into this foul attack by the unscrupulous behavior of the enemy, they would respond with only kindness. But in a savage world the kind cannot survive, so they must take or else be taken from.

And now there is a vague unanswered question, not yet “explained.” What is this precious thing, this priceless pearl, this hidden secret treasure, to be wrested in righteous wrath from this most treacherous and cunning enemy? It must be what you want but never found. And now you “understand” the reason why you found it not. For it was taken from you by this enemy, and hidden where you would not think to look. He hid it in his body, making it the cover for his guilt, the hiding place for what belongs to you. Now must his body be destroyed and sacrificed, that you may have that which belongs to you. His treachery demands his death, that you may live. And you attack only in self-defense.

But what is it you want that needs his death? Can you be sure your murderous attack is justified unless you know what it is for? And here a final principle of chaos comes to the “rescue.” It holds there is a substitute for love. This is the magic that will cure all of your pain; the missing factor in your madness that makes it “sane.” This is the reason why you must attack. Here is what makes your vengeance justified. Behold, unveiled, the ego’s secret gift, torn from your brother’s body, hidden there in malice and in hatred for the one to whom the gift belongs. He would deprive you of the secret ingredient that would give meaning to your life. The substitute for love, born of your enmity to your brother, must be salvation. It has no substitute, and there is only one. And all your relationships have but the purpose of seizing it and making it your own.

Never is your possession made complete. And never will your brother cease his attack on you for what you stole. Nor will God end His vengeance upon both, for in His madness He must have this substitute for love, and kill you both. You who believe you walk in sanity with feet on solid ground, and through a world where meaning can be found, consider this: These are the laws on which your “sanity” appears to rest. These are the principles which make the ground beneath your feet seem solid. And it is here you look for meaning. These are the laws you made for your salvation. They hold in place the substitute for Heaven which you prefer. This is their purpose; they were made for this. There is no point in asking what they mean. That is apparent. The means of madness must be insane. Are you as certain that you realize the goal is madness?

No one wants madness, nor does anyone cling to his madness if he sees that this is what it is. What protects madness is the belief that it is true. It is the function of insanity to take the place of truth. It must be seen as truth to be believed. And if it is the truth, then must its opposite, which was the truth before, be madness now. Such a reversal, completely turned around, with madness sanity, illusions true, attack a kindness, hatred love, and murder benediction, is the goal the laws of chaos serve. These are the means by which the laws of God appear to be reversed. Here do the laws of sin appear to hold love captive, and let sin go free.

These do not seem to be the goals of chaos, for by the great reversal they appear to be the laws of order. How could it not be so? Chaos is lawlessness, and has no laws. To be believed, its seeming laws must be perceived as real. Their goal of madness must be seen as sanity. And fear, with ashen lips and sightless eyes, blinded and terrible to look upon, is lifted to the throne of love, its dying conqueror, its substitute, the savior from salvation. How lovely do the laws of fear make death appear. Give thanks unto the hero on love’s throne, who saved the Son of God for fear and death!

And yet, how can it be that laws like these can be believed? There is a strange device that makes it possible. Nor is it unfamiliar; we have seen how it appears to function many times before. In truth it does not function, yet in dreams, where only shadows play the major roles, it seems most powerful. No law of chaos could compel belief but for the emphasis on form and disregard of content. No one who thinks that one of these laws is true sees what it says. Some forms it takes seem to have meaning, and that is all.

How can some forms of murder not mean death? Can an attack in any form be love? What form of condemnation is a blessing? Who makes his savior powerless and finds salvation? Let not the form of the attack on him deceive you. You cannot seek to harm him and be saved. Who can find safety from attack by turning on himself? How can it matter what the form this madness takes? It is a judgment that defeats itself, condemning what it says it wants to save. Be not deceived when madness takes a form you think is lovely. What is intent on your destruction is not your friend.

You would maintain, and think it true, that you do not believe these senseless laws, nor act upon them. And when you look at what they say, they cannot be believed. Brother, you do believe them. For how else could you perceive the form they take, with content such as this? Can any form of this be tenable? Yet you believe them for the form they take, and do not recognize the content. It never changes. Can you paint rosy lips upon a skeleton, dress it in loveliness, pet it and pamper it, and make it live? And can you be content with an illusion that you are living?

There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion. At best it seems like life; at worst, like death. Yet both are judgments on what is not life, equal in their inaccuracy and lack of meaning. Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere. Outside of Heaven, only the conflict of illusion stands; senseless, impossible and beyond all reason, and yet perceived as an eternal barrier to Heaven. Illusions are but forms. Their content is never true.

The laws of chaos govern all illusions. Their forms conflict, making it seem quite possible to value some above the others. Yet each one rests as surely on the belief the laws of chaos are the laws of order as do the others. Each one upholds these laws completely, offering a certain witness that these laws are true. The seeming gentler forms of the attack are no less certain in their witnessing, or their results. Certain it is illusions will bring fear because of the beliefs that they imply, not for their form. And lack of faith in love, in any form, attests to chaos as reality.

From the belief in sin, the faith in chaos must follow. It is because it follows that it seems to be a logical conclusion; a valid step in ordered thought. The steps to chaos do follow neatly from their starting point. Each is a different form in the progression of truth’s reversal, leading still deeper into terror and away from truth. Think not one step is smaller than another, nor that return from one is easier. The whole descent from Heaven lies in each one. And where your thinking starts, there must it end.

Brother, take not one step in the descent to hell. For having taken one, you will not recognize the rest for what they are. And they will follow. Attack in any form has placed your foot upon the twisted stairway that leads from Heaven. Yet any instant it is possible to have all this undone. How can you know whether you chose the stairs to Heaven or the way to hell? Quite easily. How do you feel? Is peace in your awareness? Are you certain which way you go? And are you sure the goal of Heaven can be reached? If not, you walk alone. Ask, then, your Friend to join with you, and give you certainty of where you go.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 23

Lesson 204

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(184) The Name of God is my inheritance.

God’s Name reminds me that I am His Son, not slave to
time, unbound by laws which rule the world of sick illusions,
free in God, forever and forever one with Him.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #279: I know that, as A Course in Miracles says, all illness is a defense against truth. Are you aware of any case of someone who, after many years of continuous study and practice of the Course, started to feel an abstract fear of this apparent reality, like losing his mind — agoraphobic-like symptoms?

A: It is not surprising that fear may appear to become more intense as we work with the Course over time. We are after all in the process of removing all the many defenses we have constructed to minimize fear in our awareness and to disguise it as other seemingly more manageable feelings, such as anger or excitement.

Jesus is well aware that our fear will seem to increase over time as we study and apply his Course: “You have not yet gone back far enough, and that is why you become so fearful. As you approach the Beginning, you feel the fear of the destruction of your thought system upon you as if it were the fear of death. There is no death, but there is a belief in death” (T.3.VII.5:9,10,11). And later in the text: “As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear, and sometimes to stark terror” (T.18.III.2:1).

The form that our increased fear may take will in most cases keep our focus on the external world and on threat to the body’s life and well-being, since that is the identity as egos we are trying to maintain. Agoraphobia is certainly a specific form in which the fear could be expressed, as the experience of oneness that the Course is leading us towards is one of no limits or boundaries — the ultimate spaciousness, if you will.

No matter what form the fear takes, the answer is always the same. All fear ultimately comes from the belief that we have attacked and destroyed love and that we will be attacked and destroyed in return. If we can quiet our minds just enough to ask for help, joining with the presence of love that has remained always there despite our beliefs, we will know that love cannot be destroyed, and so neither the guilt of attack nor the punishment we have believed it calls for are true. In the words that conclude the introduction to the text, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God” (T.in.2:2,3,4).

You do not say whether this is simply a theoretical question you are asking or whether you are describing your own or someone else’s actual experience. If the latter is the case, should the symptoms persist and continue to be unsettling and problematic, it is always a wise course of action to see a professional therapist for help in alleviating the symptoms.


Q #280: Is there a positive form of denial? Would denying the countless, tiny, fearful, negative thoughts that bombard me throughout the day be one way of applying, in practical terms, what Jesus calls, “Denial of Error”?

A: It depends on what you mean by denying. If you mean that you are aware that they are there and that you (as the decision maker) are responsible for them, but then you deny their power to take away your peace or change your reality as God’s Son, then you are using denial in a helpful, positive way. Then you would be denying the error, or denying the denial of truth (T.12.II.1:5). The mistake we all made was to take the “tiny, mad idea” of separation seriously, instead of smiling at the silliness and insanity of believing that we could exist as separate individuals apart from God (T.27.VIII.6). We repeat this mistake every time we judge our ego thoughts to be so awful and so bothersome that we need to repress them or escape from them. We correct that mistake every time we look squarely at our ego thoughts, and remember that the only power they have is the power we give to them by our belief that they define us and that they can truly affect us. So that we don’t skip steps, then, we first must deny their seeming power. And we can do that most effectively by looking at them with the love of Jesus next to us. As that love becomes more and more real to us, our ego thoughts will become less and less real to us. And then one day we will simply regard them as meaningless, as we will have finally accepted the love of Jesus as the only reality in our minds.

sun of god guiltless

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 22

ACIM Text Reading for July 22

Chapter 23 ~ The War Against Yourself

II. The Irreconcilable Beliefs

The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness. The means of war are not the means of peace, and what the warlike would remember is not love. War is impossible unless belief in victory is cherished. Conflict within you must imply that you believe the ego has the power to be victorious. Why else would you identify with it? Surely you realize the ego is at war with God. Certain it is it has no enemy. Yet just as certain is its fixed belief it has an enemy that it must overcome and will succeed.

Do you not realize a war against yourself would be a war on God? Is victory conceivable? And if it were, is this a victory that you would want? The death of God, if it were possible, would be your death. Is this a victory? The ego always marches to defeat, because it thinks that triumph over you is possible. And God thinks otherwise. This is no war; only the mad belief the Will of God can be attacked and overthrown. You may identify with this belief, but never will it be more than madness. And fear will reign in madness, and will seem to have replaced love there. This is the conflict’s purpose. And to those who think that it is possible, the means seem real.

Be certain that it is impossible God and the ego, or yourself and it, will ever meet. You seem to meet, and make your strange alliances on grounds that have no meaning. For your beliefs converge upon the body, the ego’s chosen home, which you believe is yours. You meet at a mistake; an error in your self-appraisal. The ego joins with an illusion of yourself you share with it. And yet illusions cannot join. They are the same, and they are nothing. Their joining lies in nothingness; two are as meaningless as one or as a thousand. The ego joins with nothing, being nothing. The victory it seeks is meaningless as is itself.

Brother, the war against yourself is almost over. The journey’s end is at the place of peace. Would you not now accept the peace offered you here? This “enemy” you fought as an intruder on your peace is here transformed, before your sight, into the giver of your peace. Your “enemy” was God Himself, to Whom all conflict, triumph and attack of any kind are all unknown. He loves you perfectly, completely and eternally. The Son of God at war with his Creator is a condition as ridiculous as nature roaring at the wind in anger, proclaiming it is part of itself no more. Could nature possibly establish this, and make it true? Nor is it up to you to say what shall be part of you and what is kept apart.

The war against yourself was undertaken to teach the Son of God that he is not himself, and not his Father’s Son. For this, the memory of his Father must be forgotten. It is forgotten in the body’s life, and if you think you are a body, you will believe you have forgotten it. Yet truth can never be forgotten by itself, and you have not forgotten what you are. Only a strange illusion of yourself, a wish to triumph over what you are, remembers not.

The war against yourself is but the battle of two illusions, struggling to make them different from each other, in the belief the one that conquers will be true. There isno conflict between them and the truth. Nor are they different from each other. Both are not true. And so it matters not what form they take. What made them is insane, and they remain part of what made them. Madness holds out no menace to reality, and has no influence upon it. Illusions cannot triumph over truth, nor can they threaten it in any way. And the reality that they deny is not a part of them.

What you remember is a part of you. For you must be as God created you. Truth does not fight against illusions, nor do illusions fight against the truth. Illusions battle only with themselves. Being fragmented, they fragment. But truth is indivisible, and far beyond their little reach. You will remember what you know when you have learned you cannot be in conflict. One illusion about yourself can battle with another, yet the war of two illusions is a state where nothing happens. There is no victor and there is no victory. And truth stands radiant, apart from conflict, untouched and quiet in the peace of God.

Conflict must be between two forces. It cannot exist between one power and nothingness. There is nothing you could attack that is not part of you. And by attacking it you make two illusions of yourself, in conflict with each other. And this occurs whenever you look on anything that God created with anything but love. Conflict is fearful, for it is the birth of fear. Yet what is born of nothing cannot win reality through battle. Why would you fill your world with conflicts with yourself? Let all this madness be undone for you, and turn in peace to the remembrance of God, still shining in your quiet mind.

See how the conflict of illusions disappears when it is brought to truth! For it seems real only as long as it is seen as war between conflicting truths; the conqueror to be the truer, the more real, and the vanquisher of the illusion that was less real, made an illusion by defeat. Thus, conflict is the choice between illusions, one to be crowned as real, the other vanquished and despised. Here will the Father never be remembered. Yet no illusion can invade His home and drive Him out of what He loves forever. And what He loves must be forever quiet and at peace because it is His home.

You who are beloved of Him are no illusion, being as true and holy as Himself. The stillness of your certainty of Him and of yourself is home to both of You, Who dwell as One and not apart. Open the door of His most holy home, and let forgiveness sweep away all trace of the belief in sin that keeps God homeless and His Son with Him. You are not a stranger in the house of God. Welcome your brother to the home where God has set him in serenity and peace, and dwells with him. Illusions have no place where love abides, protecting you from everything that is not true. You dwell in peace as limitless as its Creator, and everything is given those who would remember Him. Over His home the Holy Spirit watches, sure that its peace can never be disturbed.

How can the resting place of God turn on itself, and seek to overcome the One Who dwells there? And think what happens when the house of God perceives itself divided. The altar disappears, the light grows dim, the temple of the Holy One becomes a house of sin. And nothing is remembered except illusions. Illusions can conflict, because their forms are different. And they do battle only to establish which form is true.

Illusion meets illusion; truth, itself. The meeting of illusions leads to war. Peace, looking on itself, extends itself. War is the condition in which fear is born, and grows and seeks to dominate. Peace is the state where love abides, and seeks to share itself. Conflict and peace are opposites. Where one abides the other cannot be; where either goes the other disappears. So is the memory of God obscured in minds that have become illusions’ battleground. Yet far beyond this senseless war it shines, ready to be remembered when you side with peace.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 22

Lesson 203

I am not a body. I am free. 
For I am still as God created me.

(183) I call upon God’s Name and on my own.

The Name of God is my deliverance from every thought of
evil and of sin, because it is my own as well as His.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #351: Regarding the phrase, “The memory of God comes to a quiet mind,” which “mind” is this referencing? If it’s the “brain mind” we use in the daily dream, does this mean that it is helpful to find and use ways to try to quiet the brain, for example, meditation? If the phrase refers to the one Mind, how is it possible to “quiet” that Mind through the interference of our “Brahmanic”?

A: The mind A Course in Miracles refers to here is the right mind, not the brain. This mind is quiet. It is only when the mind chooses to identify with the thought of separation that awareness of the memory of God is blocked and the quiet is replaced by the ego’s “raucous shrieking.” The Course tells us that the purpose of the ego’s shrieks is to keep us anchored in its thought system, unaware that we have a mind at all, much less a quiet one.

Meditation may be helpful to keep us focused on our goal, and there are several meditative exercises in the workbook to help us. However, neither meditation in itself nor quieting the brain is the means the Course uses to bring about the mind’s healing of the thought of separation. It is asking us to look at the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that flood into our awareness from the mind through our brains, not to try to silence them: “Our task is but to continue, as fast as possible, the necessary process of looking straight at all the interference and seeing it exactly as it is” (T.15.IX.2:1).

The beliefs we hold about ourselves as separate, sinful and guilty, and our attack thoughts that are projections of our guilt onto others keep the awareness of God’s Love blocked. They have been purposefully chosen in defense of the decision to be separate, and must be recognized as the cause of all the devastating effects we experience in the ego’s nightmare. Looking in this way leads us to question the value we place on our beliefs: “To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardize your learning. No belief is neutral. Every one has the power to dictate each decision you make” (T.24.in.2:1,2,3,4). We will eventually learn that our beliefs have no value; only then will we be free to let them go so they can be replaced by the thoughts of the Holy Spirit Who brings healing to our minds. This healed mind is the quiet mind where the memory of God returns to awareness.

memory of god