ACIM Text Reading for July 4
Chapter 21 ~ Reason and Perception
Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything. And where there is no meaning, there is chaos.
Damnation is your judgment on yourself, and this you will project upon the world. See it as damned, and all you see is what you did to hurt the Son of God. If you behold disaster and catastrophe, you tried to crucify him. If you see holiness and hope, you joined the Will of God to set him free. There is no choice that lies between these two decisions. And you will see the witness to the choice you made, and learn from this to recognize which one you chose.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 4
I want the peace of God.
To say these words is nothing. But to mean these words is everything. If you could but mean them for just an instant, there would be no further sorrow possible for you in any form; in any place or time. Heaven would be completely given back to full awareness, memory of God entirely restored, the resurrection of all creation fully recognized.
No one can mean these words and not be healed. He cannot play with dreams, nor think he is himself a dream. He cannot make a hell and think it real. He wants the peace of God, and it is given him. For that is all he wants, and that is all he will receive. Many have said these words. But few indeed have meant them. You have but to look upon the world you see around you to be sure how very few they are. The world would be completely changed, should any two agree these words express the only thing they want.
Two minds with one intent become so strong that what they will becomes the Will of God. For minds can only join in truth. In dreams, no two can share the same intent. To each, the hero of the dream is different; the outcome wanted not the same for both. Loser and gainer merely shift about in changing patterns, as the ratio of gain to loss and loss to gain takes on a different aspect or another form.
Yet compromise alone a dream can bring. Sometimes it takes the form of union, but only the form. The meaning must escape the dream, for compromising is the goal of dreaming. Minds cannot unite in dreams. They merely bargain. And what bargain can give them the peace of God? Illusions come to take His place. And what He means is lost to sleeping minds intent on compromise, each to his gain and to another’s loss.
To mean you want the peace of God is to renounce all dreams. For no one means these words who wants illusions, and who therefore seeks the means which bring illusions. He has looked on them, and found them wanting. Now he seeks to go beyond them, recognizing that another dream would offer nothing more than all the others. Dreams are one to him. And he has learned their only difference is one of form, for one will bring the same despair and misery as do the rest.
The mind which means that all it wants is peace must join with other minds, for that is how peace is obtained. And when the wish for peace is genuine, the means for finding it is given, in a form each mind that seeks for it in honesty can understand. Whatever form the lesson takes is planned for him in such a way that he can not mistake it, if his asking is sincere. But if he asks without sincerity, there is no form in which the lesson will meet with acceptance and be truly learned.
Let us today devote our practicing to recognizing that we really mean the words we say. We want the peace of God. This is no idle wish. These words do not request another dream be given us. They do not ask for compromise, nor try to make another bargain in the hope that there may yet be one that can succeed where all the rest have failed. To mean these words acknowledges illusions are in vain, requesting the eternal in the place of shifting dreams which seem to change in what they offer, but are one in nothingness.
Today devote your practice periods to careful searching of your mind, to find the dreams you cherish still. What do you ask for in your heart? Forget the words you use in making your requests. Consider but what you believe will comfort you, and bring you happiness. But be you not dismayed by lingering illusions, for their form is not what matters now. Let not some dreams be more acceptable, reserving shame and secrecy for others. They are one. And being one, one question should be asked of all of them, “Is this what I would have, in place of Heaven and the peace of God?”
This is the choice you make. Be not deceived that it is otherwise. No compromise is possible in this. You choose God’s peace, or you have asked for dreams. And dreams will come as you requested them. Yet will God’s peace come just as certainly, and to remain with you forever. It will not be gone with every twist and turning of the road, to reappear, unrecognized, in forms which shift and change with every step you take.
You want the peace of God. And so do all who seem to seek for dreams. For them as well as for yourself, you ask but this when you make this request with deep sincerity. For thus you reach to what they really want, and join your own intent with what they seek above all things, perhaps unknown to them, but sure to you. You have been weak at times, uncertain in your purpose, and unsure of what you wanted, where to look for it, and where to turn for help in the attempt. Help has been given you. And would you not avail yourself of it by sharing it?
No one who truly seeks the peace of God can fail to find it. For he merely asks that he deceive himself no longer by denying to himself what is God’s Will. Who can remain unsatisfied who asks for what he has already? Who could be unanswered who requests an answer which is his to give? The peace of God is yours.
For you was peace created, given you by its Creator, and established as His Own eternal gift. How can you fail, when you but ask for what He wills for you? And how could your request be limited to you alone? No gift of God can be unshared. It is this attribute that sets the gifts of God apart from every dream that ever seemed to take the place of truth.
No one can lose and everyone must gain whenever any gift of God has been requested and received by anyone. God gives but to unite. To take away is meaningless to Him. And when it is as meaningless to you, you can be sure you share one Will with Him, and He with you. And you will also know you share one Will with all your brothers, whose intent is yours.
It is this one intent we seek today, uniting our desires with the need of every heart, the call of every mind, the hope that lies beyond despair, the love attack would hide, the brotherhood that hate has sought to sever, but which still remains as God created it. With Help like this beside us, can we fail today as we request the peace of God be given us?
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1191: My inclination has been for years to feel that I have enough work to do in personal encounters and relationships, and that I do not have to look for more issues coming from the media. I am convinced that the world will not become a better place, and so, not in resignation, but happily, I turn to the only place to go in seriousness, which is inside, and do the work there. I am asking about this because I remember thinking that the world will change some day because of our inner work, and then we will see happy headlines instead of catastrophic headlines.
A: It seems as if you are reflecting the important principle of A Course in Miracles : “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world” (T.21.in.1:7) . It is essential to understand this passage as pertaining only to content, not form. The opening statement of the paragraph in which this quote appears provides its context: “Projection makes perception” (T.21.in.1:1) . This is the thrust of Jesus’ teaching and his training of us. He wants us to learn how to perceive correctly, which means learning to make a connection between our perception and the prior choice we made in our minds to identify with the ego thought system or the Holy Spirit’s thought system. Our interpretation of what our eyes see follows directly from that choice. If we identify with the thought system of forgiveness, we can look on scenes of overwhelming devastation and know that devastation has nothing to do with reality (W.pII.13.1:3) . We will not be indifferent to the suffering of others; we will be at peace as we deal with the situations in our lives and the world because we will know that pain and suffering do not define our reality. We will be in the world but not of it.
The origin of the world is a thought of attack (W.pII.3.2:1) , and therefore it is not surprising that headlines constantly scream of disaster and catastrophe. That will continue until the mind of God’s Son no longer is attracted to separation. When we are unwilling to pay the high price of being separate, we will ask for help to change our minds about our purpose for being here, and then the world will take on a different purpose: “It becomes a home in which forgiveness is born, and where it grows and becomes stronger and more all-embracing. Here is it nourished, for here it is needed” (M.14.2:2,3) . When every seemingly separate mind has at last accepted the Atonement, the world will not become a better place with “happy headlines”; “It will merely cease to seem to be” (M.14.2:12) . There will be no need for a world when there no longer is any guilt in our minds that needs to be projected. But we needn’t fear that the world will disappear before we are ready to leave it behind: “Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality. Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition. The urgency is only in dislodging your mind from its fixed position here” (T.16.VI.8:1,2,3) .
In the section “I Need Do Nothing,” Jesus teaches us how to walk his unique path of forgiveness, a path that has us quietly peaceful in our minds while busily active in the world. It is not a path of indifference or escapism. One way of describing this approach is to say that we learn to become passive to the ego but not to the Holy Spirit. Our peace is sustained by our choice to identify with the Holy Spirit’s thought system, because then whatever we do will be done through us, with no effort or strain on our part. That is the essence of Jesus’ message in this section: “To do nothing is to rest, and make a place within you where the activity of the body ceases to demand attention. . . . This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. For from this center will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly. It is this center, from which the body is absent, that will keep it so in your awareness of it” (T.18.VII.7:7; 8:3,4,5).