ACIM Text Reading for August 14
Chapter 26 ~ The Transition
I. The “Sacrifice” of Oneness
In the “dynamics” of attack is sacrifice a key idea. It is the pivot upon which all compromise, all desperate attempts to strike a bargain, and all conflicts achieve a seeming balance. It is the symbol of the central theme that somebody must lose. Its focus on the body is apparent, for it is always an attempt to limit loss. The body is itself a sacrifice; a giving up of power in the name of saving just a little for yourself. To see a brother in another body, separate from yours, is the expression of a wish to see a little part of him and sacrifice the rest. Look at the world, and you will see nothing attached to anything beyond itself. All seeming entities can come a little nearer, or go a little farther off, but cannot join.
The world you see is based on “sacrifice” of oneness. It is a picture of complete disunity and total lack of joining. Around each entity is built a wall so seeming solid that it looks as if what is inside can never reach without, and what is out can never reach and join with what is locked away within the wall. Each part must sacrifice the other part, to keep itself complete. For if they joined each one would lose its own identity, and by their separation are their selves maintained.
The little that the body fences off becomes the self, preserved through sacrifice of all the rest. And all the rest must lose this little part, remaining incomplete to keep its own identity intact. In this perception of yourself the body’s loss would be a sacrifice indeed. For sight of bodies becomes the sign that sacrifice is limited, and something still remains for you alone. And for this little to belong to you are limits placed on everything outside, just as they are on everything you think is yours. For giving and receiving are the same. And to accept the limits of a body is to impose these limits on each brother whom you see. For you must see him as you see yourself.
The body is a loss, and can be made to sacrifice. And while you see your brother as a body, apart from you and separate in his cell, you are demanding sacrifice of him and you. What greater sacrifice could be demanded than that God’s Son perceive himself without his Father? And his Father be without His Son? Yet every sacrifice demands that they be separate and without the other. The memory of God must be denied if any sacrifice is asked of anyone. What witness to the Wholeness of God’s Son is seen within a world of separate bodies, however much he witnesses to truth? He is invisible in such a world. Nor can his song of union and of love be heard at all. Yet is it given him to make the world recede before his song, and sight of him replace the body’s eyes.
Those who would see the witnesses to truth instead of to illusion merely ask that they might see a purpose in the world that gives it sense and makes it meaningful. Without your special function has this world no meaning for you. Yet it can become a treasure house as rich and limitless as Heaven itself. No instant passes here in which your brother’s holiness cannot be seen, to add a limitless supply to every meager scrap and tiny crumb of happiness that you allot yourself.
You can lose sight of oneness, but can not make sacrifice of its reality. Nor can you lose what you would sacrifice, nor keep the Holy Spirit from His task of showing you that it has not been lost. Hear, then, the song your brother sings to you, and let the world recede, and take the rest his witness offers on behalf of peace. But judge him not, for you will hear no song of liberation for yourself, nor see what it is given him to witness to, that you may see it and rejoice with him. Make not his holiness a sacrifice to your belief in sin. You sacrifice your innocence with his, and die each time you see in him a sin deserving death.
Yet every instant can you be reborn, and given life again. His holiness gives life to you, who cannot die because his sinlessness is known to God; and can no more be sacrificed by you than can the light in you be blotted out because he sees it not. You who would make a sacrifice of life, and make your eyes and ears bear witness to the death of God and of His holy Son, think not that you have power to make of Them what God willed not They be. In Heaven, God’s Son is not imprisoned in a body, nor is sacrificed in solitude to sin. And as he is in Heaven, so must he be eternally and everywhere. He is the same forever. Born again each instant, untouched by time, and far beyond the reach of any sacrifice of life or death. For neither did he make, and only one was given him by One Who knows His gifts can never suffer sacrifice and loss.
God’s justice rests in gentleness upon His Son, and keeps him safe from all injustice the world would lay upon him. Could it be that you could make his sins reality, and sacrifice his Father’s Will for him? Condemn him not by seeing him within the rotting prison where he sees himself. It is your special function to ensure the door be opened, that he may come forth to shine on you, and give you back the gift of freedom by receiving it of you. What is the Holy Spirit’s special function but to release the holy Son of God from the imprisonment he made to keep himself from justice? Could your function be a task apart and separate from His Own?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 14
My home awaits me. I will hasten there.
If I so choose, I can depart this world entirely. It is not death which makes this possible, but it is change of mind about the purpose of the world. If I believe it has a value as I see it now, so will it still remain for me. But if I see no value in the world as I behold it, nothing that I want to keep as mine or search for as a goal, it will depart from me. For I have not sought for illusions to replace the truth.
Father, my home awaits my glad return. Your Arms are open and I hear Your Voice. What need have I to linger in a place of vain desires and of shattered dreams, when Heaven can so easily be mine?
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1223: I had an experience of God recently that I don’t know how to connect with my work with A Course in Miracles . Briefly, here is what happened. My cat, Ben, became seriously ill, and I was terribly upset. After leaving Ben in the care of the veterinarian, I returned home, still very anxious, and I found myself repeating, “Please forgive me, Ben, I am so very sorry.” I did this for hours, as if compelled to. Then I became aware that I was directing this to myself — that I was sorry to the core of my being for the harm I had done to myself over many years of abuse. Then came a powerful feeling that I was not alone. I experienced this as God, and for the first time in my life I felt alive and real. The power of His presence was beyond words. I was nothing; but I was everything. Fear did not exist, and there was a realization of beauty in death and in all things. This lasted for the weekend, but after that I felt very vulnerable, and my defenses built up again. I am still seeking to recover that feeling of being so real and alive.
A: Without knowing a great deal more about you, it is difficult to for us to say what all of this means for you specifically. We can simply point out a few concepts and teachings in the Course that we hope will be of help.
First, Jesus reminds us that we are “very new to the ways of salvation” (T.17.9:1) , which means if a profound experience does not last, such as the one you had, then it can serve the purpose of showing us what our permanent experience will be as we continue to get in touch with the interferences that must still be operating in our minds. He describes this in another place in the text in terms of light and darkness: “… the journey into darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it. A little flicker of your eyelids, closed so long, has not yet been sufficient to give you confidence in yourself, so long despised” (T.18.III.3:3,4). The experience you had seems to be much more than “a little flicker of your eyelids,” but that assessment is from our point of view, not from where Jesus is outside the dream. It may be helpful to read this entire section, “Light in the Dream,” as you will see there that Jesus is very encouraging, and is basically saying that our unconscious fear of total release causes us to retreat back into darkness after we glimpse the light. He assures us that we will succeed, however: “But you will advance, because your goal is the advance from fear to truth” (T.18.III.2:2). Notice, though, that in this section Jesus does not advise us to concentrate on God, but rather on our relationships — looking for grievances we are holding onto, or something else that would keep us separate from others — perhaps feeling that some people do not deserve to experience God’s Love and peace. Our fear of release is expressed that way, and therefore if we focus on becoming aware of what is keeping us separate from others, and then look at all that with Jesus or the Holy Spirit (which means without judgment), we will be letting go of what is blocking our awareness of God’s love and peace that is reflected in our right minds. Patience and gentleness are essential as you proceed with this process.