ACIM Text Reading for July 18
Chapter 22 ~ Salvation and the Holy Relationship
V. The Branching of the Road
When you come to the place where the branch in the road is quite apparent, you cannot go ahead. You must go either one way or the other. For now if you go straight ahead, the way you went before you reached the branch, you will go nowhere. The whole purpose of coming this far was to decide which branch you will take now. The way you came no longer matters. It can no longer serve. No one who reaches this far can make the wrong decision, although he can delay. And there is no part of the journey that seems more hopeless and futile than standing where the road branches, and not deciding on which way to go.
It is but the first few steps along the right way that seem hard, for you have chosen, although you still may think you can go back and make the other choice. This is not so. A choice made with the power of Heaven to uphold it cannot be undone. Your way is decided. There will be nothing you will not be told, if you acknowledge this.
And so you and your brother stand, here in this holy place, before the veil of sin that hangs between you and the face of Christ. Let it be lifted! Raise it together, for it is but a veil that stands between you. Either you alone will see it as a solid block, nor realize how thin the drapery that separates you now. Yet it is almost over in your awareness, and peace has reached you even here, before the veil. Think what will happen after. The Love of Christ will light your faces, and shine from them into a darkened world that needs the light. And from this holy place he will return with you, not leaving it nor you. You will become his messengers, returning him unto himself.
Think of the loveliness that you will see, who walk with him! And think how beautiful will each of you look to the other! How happy you will be to be together, after such a long and lonely journey where you walked alone. The gates of Heaven, open now for you, will you now open to the sorrowful. And none who looks upon the Christ in you but will rejoice. How beautiful the sight you saw beyond the veil, which you will bring to light the tired eyes of those as weary now as once you were. How thankful will they be to see you come among them, offering Christ’s forgiveness to dispel their faith in sin.
Every mistake you make, your brother will gently have corrected for you. For in his sight your loveliness is his salvation, which he would protect from harm. And each will be the others strong protector from everything that seems to rise between you both. So shall you walk the world with me, whose message has not yet been given everyone. For you are here to let it be received. God’s offer still is open, yet it waits acceptance. From you who have accepted it is it received. Into your joined hands is it safely given, for you who share it have become its willing guardians and protectors.
To all who share the Love of God the grace is given to the givers of what they have received. And so they learn that it is theirs forever. All barriers disappear before their coming, as every obstacle was finally surmounted that seemed to rise and block their way before. This veil you lift together opens the way to truth to more than you. Those who would let illusions be lifted from their minds are this world’s saviors, walking the world with their Redeemer, and carrying His message of hope and freedom and release from suffering to everyone who needs a miracle to save him.
How easy is it to offer this miracle to everyone! No one who has received it for himself could find it difficult. For by receiving it, he learned it was not given him alone. Such is the function of a holy relationship; to receive together and give as you received. Standing before the veil, it still seems difficult. But hold out your joined hands and touch this heavy-seeming block, and you will learn how easily your fingers slip through its nothingness. It is no solid wall. And only an illusion stands between you and the holy Self you share.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 18
I am not a body. I am free.
Freedom must be impossible as long as you perceive a body as yourself. The body is a limit. Who would seek for freedom in a body looks for it where it can not be found. The mind can be made free when it no longer sees itself as in a body, firmly tied to it and sheltered by its presence. If this were the truth, the mind were vulnerable indeed!
The mind that serves the Holy Spirit is unlimited forever, in all ways, beyond the laws of time and space, unbound by any preconceptions, and with strength and power to do whatever it is asked. Attack thoughts cannot enter such a mind, because it has been given to the Source of love, and fear can never enter in a mind that has attached itself to love. It rests in God. And who can be afraid who lives in Innocence, and only loves?
It is essential for your progress in this course that you accept today’s idea, and hold it very dear. Be not concerned that to the ego it is quite insane. The ego holds the body dear because it dwells in it, and lives united with the home that it has made. It is a part of the illusion that has sheltered it from being found illusory itself.
Here does it hide, and here it can be seen as what it is. Declare your innocence and you are free. The body disappears, because you have no need of it except the need the Holy Spirit sees. For this, the body will appear as useful form for what the mind must do. It thus becomes a vehicle which helps forgiveness be extended to the all-inclusive goal that it must reach, according to God’s plan.
Cherish today’s idea, and practice it today and every day. Make it a part of every practice period you take. There is no thought that will not gain thereby in power to help the world, and none which will not gain in added gifts to you as well. We sound the call of freedom round the world with this idea. And would you be exempt from the acceptance of the gifts you give?
The Holy Spirit is the home of minds that seek for freedom. In Him they have found what they have sought. The body’s purpose now is unambiguous. And it becomes perfect in the ability to serve an undivided goal. In conflict-free and unequivocal response to mind with but the thought of freedom as its goal, the body serves, and serves its purpose well. Without the power to enslave, it is a worthy servant of the freedom which the mind within the Holy Spirit seeks.
Be free today. And carry freedom as your gift to those who still believe they are enslaved within a body. Be you free, so that the Holy Spirit can make use of your escape from bondage, to set free the many who perceive themselves as bound and helpless and afraid. Let love replace their fears through you. Accept salvation now, and give your mind to Him Who calls to you to make this gift to Him. For He would give you perfect freedom, perfect joy, and hope that finds its full accomplishment in God.
You are God’s Son. In immortality you live forever. Would you not return your mind to this? Then practice well the thought the Holy Spirit gives you for today. Your brothers stand released with you in it; the world is blessed along with you, God’s Son will weep no more, and Heaven offers thanks for the increase of joy your practice brings even to it. And God Himself extends His Love and happiness each time you say:
I am not a body. I am free.
I hear the Voice that God has given me,
and it is only this my mind obeys.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #142: I have been a keen student of A Course in Miracles for a good 12 years and find it the most appropriate spiritual path for me. Thinking of Jesus and his teachings has become a part of my life, a way of consciously forgiving myself and thus of course others as well. I also accept fully that all pain is some form of unforgiveness (“Certain it is that all distress does not appear to be but unforgiveness” [W.pI.193.4:1]). Now regardless of my practice, which is almost on a continual and absolutely unforced basis, parallel to whatever else I may be occupied with, various aches and pains and other ailments do occur at a level which makes me question the efficacy of my practice — my only choice then remaining the same old magic, usually a pain killer. Even ardently repeating a maxim like “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me” [W.pI.rVI.3:3,4,5] during an attack seems quite ineffective. Is it basically still a very fearful subconscious that is at the bottom of this, or is it the ego taking me for a ride and having me believe that I have forgiven myself more than I really have?
A: You’re trying so very hard, but you also want to be gentle and patient with yourself. It would be helpful not to try to evaluate your progress based on any feedback you feel your body is giving you. Aches and pains always reveal unhealed areas in the mind, and in that sense it is helpful to pay attention to them, but not as a yardstick against which to judge how well you are practicing forgiveness and whether you are passing or failing the Course.
Yes, there is still fear, as well as guilt, buried in your subconscious mind, and yes, your ego will always want to fool you about your progress, but also your lack of progress (T.18.V.1:5,6). All of that is to be expected while you still identify yourself as the body which has the name you answer to. For seeing yourself as a body means you still believe that the separation and its accompanying guilt are real and you still believe you need a defense against that guilt, which is the purpose the body serves. The pain, apparently in the body, is intended to distract you from its real source in the mind. So if you are willing to make the connection back to the mind and see the cause — unforgiveness — that is all you really need do.
If there is a pain killer that seems to be helpful in relieving your pain, by all means continue to use it. So what if it is not the ultimate healing? Know that Jesus is not judging you for what you may see as your weakness and inability to forgive completely. Taking medication is a gentler and more loving way of dealing with your pain than trying to persuade yourself that the pain is not real by using words from the Course as affirmations to shout down the ego and cover over what you still believe about yourself — that you are a body. It will always be more helpful simply to get in touch with what you still believe and why, knowing, as you suggest, that it is only fear that holds you in those beliefs. By acknowledging and looking at the fear, you will be doing your part in its healing.
For a further consideration of issues related to the questions you raise, you may wish to look at Question #128.