ACIM Text Reading for August 1
Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness
VII. Salvation from Fear
Before your brother’s holiness the world is still, and peace descends on it in gentleness and blessing so complete that not one trace of conflict still remains to haunt you in the darkness of the night. He is your savior from the dreams of fear. He is the healing of your sense of sacrifice and fear that what you have will scatter with the wind and turn to dust. In him is your assurance God is here, and with you now. While he is what he is, you can be sure that God is knowable and will be known to you. For He could never leave His Own creation. And the sign that this is so lies in your brother, offered you that all your doubts about yourself may disappear before his holiness. See in him God’s creation. For in him his Father waits for your acknowledgment that He created you as part of Him.
Without you there would be a lack in God, a Heaven incomplete, a Son without a Father. There could be no universe and no reality. For what God wills is whole, and part of Him because His Will is One. Nothing alive that is not part of Him, and nothing is but is alive in Him. Your brother’s holiness shows you that God is One with him and you; that what he has is yours because you are not separate from him nor from his Father.
Nothing is lost to you in all the universe. Nothing that God created has He failed to lay before you lovingly, as yours forever. And no Thought within His Mind is absent from your own. It is His Will you share His Love for you, and look upon yourself as lovingly as He conceived of you before the world began, and as He knows you still. God changes not His Mind about His Son with passing circumstance which has no meaning in eternity where He abides, and you with Him. Your brother isas He created him. And it is this that saves you from a world that He created not.
Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has. Until you see the healing of the Son as all you wish to be accomplished by the world, by time and all appearances, you will not know the Father nor yourself. For you will use the world for what is not its purpose, and will not escape its laws of violence and death. Yet it is given you to be beyond its laws in all respects, in every way and every circumstance, in all temptation to perceive what is not there, and all belief God’s Son can suffer pain because he sees himself as he is not.
Look on your brother, and behold in him the whole reversal of the laws that seem to rule this world. See in his freedom yours, for such it is. Let not his specialness obscure the truth in him, for not one law of death you bind him to will you escape. And not one sin you see in him but keeps you both in hell. Yet will his perfect sinlessness release you both, for holiness is quite impartial, with one judgment made for all it looks upon. And that is made, not of itself, but through the Voice that speaks for God in everything that lives and shares His Being.
It is His sinlessness that eyes that see can look upon. It is His loveliness they see in everything. And it is He they look for everywhere, and find no sight nor place nor time where He is not. Within your brother’s holiness, the perfect frame for your salvation and the world’s, is set the shining memory of Him in Whom your brother lives, and you along with him. Let not your eyes be blinded by the veil of specialness that hides the face of Christ from him, and you as well. And let the fear of God no longer hold the vision you were meant to see from you. Your brother’s body shows not Christ to you. He is set forth within his holiness.
Choose, then, his body or his holiness as what you want to see, and which you choose is yours to look upon. Yet will you choose in countless situations, and through time that seems to have no end, until the truth be your decision. For eternity is not regained by still one more denial of Christ in him. And where is your salvation, if he is but a body? Where is your peace but in his holiness? And where is God Himself but in that part of Him He set forever in your brother’s holiness, that you might see the truth about yourself, set forth at last in terms you recognized and understood?
Your brother’s holiness is sacrament and benediction unto you. His errors cannot withhold God’s blessing from himself, nor you who see him truly. His mistakes can cause delay, which it is given you to take from him, that both may end a journey that has never begun, and needs no end. What never was is not a part of you. Yet you will think it is, until you realize that it is not a part of him who stands beside you. He is the mirror of yourself, wherein you see the judgment you have laid on both of you. The Christ in you beholds his holiness. Your specialness looks on his body and beholds him not.
See him as what he is, that your deliverance may not be long. A senseless wandering, without a purpose and without accomplishment of any kind, is all the other choice can offer you. Futility of function not fulfilled will haunt you while your brother lies asleep, till what has been assigned to you is done and he is risen from the past. He who condemned himself, and you as well, is given you to save from condemnation, along with you. And both shall see God’s glory in His Son, whom you mistook as flesh, and bound to laws that have no power over him at all.
Would you not gladly realize these laws are not for you? Then see him not as prisoner to them. It cannot be what governs part of God holds not for all the rest. You place yourself under the laws you see as ruling him. Think, then, how great the Love of God for you must be, that He has given you a part of Him to save from pain and give you happiness. And never doubt but that your specialness will disappear before the Will of God, Who loves each part of Him with equal love and care. The Christ in you can see your brother truly. Would you decide against the holiness He sees?
Specialness is the function that you gave yourself. It stands for you alone, as self-created, self-maintained, in need of nothing, and unjoined with anything beyond the body. In its eyes you are a separate universe, with all the power to hold itself complete within itself, with every entry shut against intrusion, and every window barred against the light. Always attacked and always furious, with anger always fully justified, you have pursued this goal with vigilance you never thought to yield, and effort that you never thought to cease. And all this grim determination was for this; you wanted specialness to be the truth.
Now you are merely asked that you pursue another goal with far less vigilance; with little effort and with little time, and with the power of God maintaining it, and promising success. Yet of the two, it is this one you find more difficult. The “sacrifice” of self you understand, nor do you deem this cost too heavy. But a tiny willingness, a nod to God, a greeting to the Christ in you, you find a burden wearisome and tedious, too heavy to be borne. Yet to the dedication to the truth as God established it no sacrifice is asked, no strain called forth, and all the power of Heaven and the might of truth itself is given to provide the means, and guarantee the goal’s accomplishment.
You who believe it easier to see your brother’s body than his holiness, be sure you understand what made this judgment. Here is the voice of specialness heard clearly, judging against the Christ and setting forth for you the purpose that you can attain, and what you cannot do. Forget not that this judgment must apply to what you do with it as your ally. For what you do through Christ it does not know. To Him this judgment makes no sense at all, for only what His Father wills is possible, and there is no alternative for Him to see. Out of His lack of conflict comes your peace. And from His purpose comes the means for effortless accomplishment and rest.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 1
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
(193) All things are lessons God would have me learn.
A lesson is a miracle which God offers to me, in place of
thoughts I made that hurt me. What I learn of Him becomes
the way I am set free. And so I choose to learn His lessons
and forget my own.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #219: How does A Course in Miracles view the issues of demon possession which some religious organizations treat as real? Does the Course really claim that evil does not exist? Does the Course claim that there is no battle between Good and Evil? And, I am sure it states somewhere in the Course, if my memory is correct, that we do not heal but God does. How then does the Course explain faith healers? I am referring to the legitimate cases supported by the Catholic Church, cases involving individuals that have the stigmata. If the crucifixion is not important they why would these people be afflicted with the wounds of the crucifixion?
A: One of the fundamental differences between Christian theology and A Course in Miracles is the Course teaching that sin is not real. In Christianity, the belief that sin is real is at the root of its entire belief system; it is synonymous with evil. These are, therefore, mutually exclusive teachings, and the beliefs and practices that follow from them are also mutually exclusive. In Christianity, the idea of sin is given different expressions in form, one of which is demon possession. In Christian thought, both sin and evil represent a will in opposition to God’s. This is the nature of sin. The Course, on the other hand, teaches that there is no sin, and no opposition to God’s Will is possible: “…sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin [e.g. demon possession] will never happen, for it has no cause. Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God’s Son. There is no sin” (W.pI.101.5:2,3,4). “What is opposed to God does not exist….” (W.pI.137.11:3).
Clearly what does not exist cannot do battle with what is real. According to the Course, only God is real. What appears to do battle in the world is the ego’s made-up idea of what is “good” conflicting with the ego’s made-up idea of what is “evil.” This is the battleground that is home to the ego thought system, but the Course tells us that it is not real. The Course teaching in this regard can be summed up: sin is not real, and so there can be no demon personifying sin; evil does not exist, and so there cannot be a battle between good and evil.
For a Christian believer, the crucifixion and the wounds of the crucified Jesus are very real. Inspired by devotion to these beliefs, a person with a very deep desire to share the sufferings of the crucifixion as a way of identifying with the historical Jesus could experience the physical manifestation of the wounds of the crucifixion, known as the stigmata. However, even the Catholic Church acknowledges that these physical marks can be caused by an intense psychological state, not divine intervention. This neither negates nor proves the person’s devotion. The stigmata has been experienced by persons who were psychologically imbalanced, as well as by those, such as St. Francis of Assisi, who are believed to be a saints. As with everything, the Course brings our focus to the content, never the form. All form, stigmata included, can be the result of the ego’s choice to separate, or, the choice to join in the mind with the Holy Spirit, Who reflects God’s love in the dream. The Course does not say the crucifixion was not important; it reinterprets it: “The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted” (T.6.I.4:6). Christianity teaches that God’s innocent Son, Jesus, died to atone for the sins of humanity, and thus reopened the gates of Heaven that were shut when Adam and Eve committed the original sin. The Course teaches that the gates of Heaven were never shut, and there is no sin. God’s one Son is made up of the entire Sonship, including Jesus (not exclusively Jesus). This one Son cannot be harmed, cannot suffer, and cannot die. All this is true, according to the Course, because the separation never happened, and the world and the body are not real. The events that occurred in the life of the historical Jesus have been interpreted by those who wrote down the Gospels, and by the leaders of religious institutions in accord with their belief system. We who identify with our bodies and believe in suffering and death bring these beliefs to our view of the crucifixion of Jesus. We assume that what would be true for us, if we were crucified, was true for him — that he felt betrayed and victimized, suffered agony, and died. Since Jesus did not identify with the body, and knew his true identity as a Son of God, this was not his experience of the crucifixion.
The Course teaches that true healing is of the mind, and only of the mind. This is accomplished through forgiveness, and leads to the undoing of the belief in the separation. This healing will result in peace, and may or may not have any manifestation in form. If true healing of this nature occurs, whatever happens in form is irrelevant. The mind that chooses to believe in the separation and the reality of the body can also choose to make the body sick. The Course is teaching us that another choice is also possible — the mind can choose against sickness. When a person seeks help in healing from a faith healer and the body is healed, it is because a choice for healing was made in the mind. The person then joins with the faith healer in the shared purpose of healing. This is true even when no physical contact occurs (M.5.II.2,3,4;III.1,2). The choice in the mind of the individual is the only explanation for any healing that occurs. The ultimate healing is awakening from the dream of separation, which is accomplished by undoing our belief in separation. Nothing really happens except that we will no longer be asleep, and will know ourselves in our true identity as God’s one Son. This is what is referred to when the Course says: “Healing does not come directly from God, Who knows His creations as perfectly whole. Yet healing is still of God, because it proceeds from His Voice and from His laws” (T.7.IV.1:4,5). What proceeds from His Voice and from His laws is the truth of who we are. It is healing in the sense that the mind will no longer be made sick or insane by the thought of separation.