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
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
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.
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.