ACIM Text Reading for August 20
Chapter 26 ~ The Transition
VII. The Laws of Healing
This is a course in miracles. As such, the laws of healing must be understood before the purpose of the course can be accomplished. Let us review the principles that we have covered, and arrange them in a way that summarizes all that must occur for healing to be possible. For when it once is possible it must occur.
All sickness comes from separation. When the separation is denied, it goes. For it is gone as soon as the idea that brought it has been healed, and been replaced by sanity. Sickness and sin are seen as consequence and cause, in a relationship kept hidden from awareness that it may be carefully preserved from reason’s light.
Guilt asks for punishment, and its request is granted. Not in truth, but in the world of shadows and illusions built on sin. The Son of God perceived what he would see because perception is a wish fulfilled. Perception changes, made to take the place of changeless knowledge. Yet is truth unchanged. It cannot be perceived, but only known. What is perceived takes many forms, but none has meaning. Brought to truth, its senselessness is quite apparent. Kept apart from truth, it seems to have a meaning and be real.
Perception’s laws are opposite to truth, and what is true of knowledge is not true of anything that is apart from it. Yet has God given answer to the world of sickness, which applies to all its forms. God’s answer is eternal, though it works in time, where it is needed. Yet because it is of God, the laws of time do not affect its workings. It is in this world, but not a part of it. For it is real, and dwells where all reality must be. Ideas leave not their source, and their effects but seem to be apart from them. Ideas are of the mind. What is projected out, and seems to be external to the mind, is not outside at all, but an effect of what is in, and has not left its source.
God’s answer lies where the belief in sin must be, for only there can its effects be utterly undone and without cause. Perception’s laws must be reversed, because they are reversals of the laws of truth. The laws of truth forever will be true, and cannot be reversed; yet can be seen as upside down. And this must be corrected where the illusion of reversal lies.
It is impossible that one illusion be less amenable to truth than are the rest. But it is possible that some are given greater value, and less willingly offered to truth for healing and for help. No illusion has any truth in it. Yet it appears some are more true than others, although this clearly makes no sense at all. All that a hierarchy of illusions can show is preference, not reality. What relevance has preference to the truth? Illusions are illusions and are false. Your preference gives them no reality. Not one is true in any way, and all must yield with equal ease to what God gave as answer to them all. God’s Will is One. And any wish that seems to go against His Will has no foundation in the truth.
Sin is not error, for it goes beyond correction to impossibility. Yet the belief that it is real has made some errors seem forever past the hope of healing, and the lasting grounds for hell. If this were so, would Heaven be opposed by its own opposite, as real as it. Then would God’s Will be split in two, and all creation be subjected to the laws of two opposing powers, until God becomes impatient, splits the world apart, and relegates attack unto Himself. Thus has He lost His Mind, proclaiming sin has taken His reality from Him and brought His Love at last to vengeance’s heels. For such an insane picture an insane defense can be expected, but can not establish that the picture must be true.
Nothing gives meaning where no meaning is. And truth needs no defense to make it true. Illusions have no witnesses and no effects. Who looks on them is but deceived. Forgiveness is the only function here, and serves to bring the joy this world denies to every aspect of God’s Son where sin was thought to rule. Perhaps you do not see the role forgiveness plays in ending death and all beliefs that rise from mists of guilt. Sins are beliefs that you impose between your brother and yourself. They limit you to time and place, and give a little space to you, another little space to him. This separating off is symbolized, in your perception, by a body which is clearly separate and a thing apart. Yet what this symbol represents is but your wish to be apart and separate.
Forgiveness takes away what stands between your brother and yourself. It is the wish that you be joined with him, and not apart. We call it “wish” because it still conceives of other choices, and has not yet reached beyond the world of choice entirely. Yet is this wish in line with Heaven’s state, and not in opposition to God’s Will. Although it falls far short of giving you your full inheritance, it does remove the obstacles that you have placed between the Heaven where you are, and recognition of where and what you are. Facts are unchanged. Yet facts can be denied and thus unknown, though they were known before they were denied.
Salvation, perfect and complete, asks but a little wish that what is true be true; a little willingness to overlook what is not there; a little sigh that speaks for Heaven as a preference to this world that death and desolation seem to rule. In joyous answer will creation rise within you, to replace the world you see with Heaven, wholly perfect and complete. What is forgiveness but a willingness that truth be true? What can remain unhealed and broken from a Unity Which holds all things within Itself? There is no sin. And every miracle is possible the instant that the Son of God perceives his wishes and the Will of God are one.
What is the Will of God? He wills His Son have everything. And this He guaranteed when He created him as everything. It is impossible that anything be lost, if what you have is what you are. This is the miracle by which creation became your function, sharing it with God. It is not understood apart from Him, and therefore has no meaning in this world. Here does the Son of God ask not too much, but far too little. He would sacrifice his own identity with everything, to find a little treasure of his own. And this he cannot do without a sense of isolation, loss and loneliness. This is the treasure he has sought to find. And he could only be afraid of it. Is fear a treasure? Can uncertainty be what you want? Or is it a mistake about your will, and what you really are?
Let us consider what the error is, so it can be corrected, not protected. Sin is belief attack can be projected outside the mind where the belief arose. Here is the firm conviction that ideas can leave their source made real and meaningful. And from this error does the world of sin and sacrifice arise. This world is an attempt to prove your innocence, while cherishing attack. Its failure lies in that you still feel guilty, though without understanding why. Effects are seen as separate from their source, and seem to be beyond you to control or to prevent. What is thus kept apart can never join.
Cause and effect are one, not separate. God wills you learn what always has been true: that He created you as part of Him, and this must still be true because ideas leave not their source. Such is creation’s law; that each idea the mind conceives but adds to its abundance, never takes away. This is as true of what is idly wished as what is truly willed, because the mind can wish to be deceived, but cannot make it be what it is not. And to believe ideas can leave their source is to invite illusions to be true, without success. For never will success be possible in trying to deceive the Son of God.
The miracle is possible when cause and consequence are brought together, not kept separate. The healing of effect without the cause can merely shift effects to other forms. And this is not release. God’s Son could never be content with less than full salvation and escape from guilt. For otherwise he still demands that he must make some sacrifice, and thus denies that everything is his, unlimited by loss of any kind. A tiny sacrifice is just the same in its effects as is the whole idea of sacrifice. If loss in any form is possible, then is God’s Son made incomplete and not himself. Nor will he know himself, nor recognize his will. He has forsworn his Father and himself, and made Them Both his enemies in hate.
Illusions serve the purpose they were made to serve. And from their purpose they derive whatever meaning that they seem to have. God gave to all illusions that were made another purpose that would justify a miracle whatever form they took. In every miracle all healing lies, for God gave answer to them all as one. And what is one to Him must be the same. If you believe what is the same is different you but deceive yourself. What God calls One will be forever One, not separate. His Kingdom is united; thus it was created, and thus will it ever be.
The miracle but calls your ancient Name, which you will recognize because the truth is in your memory. And to this Name your brother calls for his release and yours. Heaven is shining on the Son of God. Deny him not, that you may be released. Each instant is the Son of God reborn until he chooses not to die again. In every wish to hurt he chooses death instead of what his Father wills for him. Yet every instant offers life to him because his Father wills that he should live.
In crucifixion is redemption laid, for healing is not needed where there is no pain or suffering. Forgiveness is the answer to attack of any kind. So is attack deprived of its effects, and hate is answered in the name of love. To you to whom it has been given to save the Son of God from crucifixion and from hell and death, all glory be forever. For you have power to save the Son of God because his Father willed that it be so. And in your hands does all salvation lie, to be both offered and received as one.
To use the power God has given you as He would have it used is natural. It is not arrogant to be as He created you, nor to make use of what He gave to answer all His Son’s mistakes and set him free. But it is arrogant to lay aside the power that He gave, and choose a little senseless wish instead of what He wills. The gift of God to you is limitless. There is no circumstance it cannot answer, and no problem which is not resolved within its gracious light.
Abide in peace, where God would have you be. And be the means whereby your brother finds the peace in which your wishes are fulfilled. Let us unite in bringing blessing to the world of sin and death. For what can save each one of us can save us all. There is no difference among the Sons of God. The unity that specialness denies will save them all, for what is one can have no specialness. And everything belongs to each of them. No wishes lie between a brother and his own. To get from one is to deprive them all. And yet to bless but one gives blessing to them all as one.
Your ancient Name belongs to everyone, as theirs to you. Call on your brother’s name and God will answer, for on Him you call. Could He refuse to answer when He has already answered all who call on Him? A miracle can make no change at all. But it can make what always has been true be recognized by those who know it not; and by this little gift of truth but let to be itself, the Son of God allowed to be himself, and all creation freed to call upon the Name of God as one.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 20
Be in my mind, my Father, through the day.
Be in my mind, my Father, when I wake, and shine on me throughout the day today. Let every minute be a time in which I dwell with You. And let me not forget my hourly thanksgiving that You have remained with me, and always will be there to hear my call to You and answer me. As evening comes, let all my thoughts be still of You and of Your Love. And let me sleep sure of my safety, certain of Your care, and happily aware I am Your Son.
This is as every day should be. Today, practice the end of fear. Have faith in Him Who is your Father. Trust all things to Him. Let Him reveal all things to you, and be you undismayed because you are His Son.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: A Course in Miracles twice refers to this principle as one of the basic or central thoughts in its teachings (W.pI.156.1:3; W.pI.167.3:6,7), so it’s good to understand it. It’s a foundational thought in understanding both the Atonement principle and the process of forgiveness.
In the Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles, Kenneth Wapnick restates this principle as “an idea cannot leave the mind that thought it.” So at the level of Heaven, this means that we, as Ideas or Thoughts created, or thought, in God’s Mind (T.6.II.8:1,2), cannot separate from Him — the separation cannot happen. We must remain as Ideas in the Mind that thought us — we cannot leave our Source. Another way of thinking about this is that if God is All That Is and there can be nothing outside Him, then we can not be anywhere except where He has placed us, within His Mind. This is the basis for the Atonement principle, which asserts that the separation never happened (T.6.II.10:5,6,7,8; M.2:2).
Now the ego, which is the illusory thought of separation, would like us to think differently, and the body and the world are what it offers as proof that we are indeed separate from our Source. And certainly our experience is that there is a world external to us that operates on each of our separate bodies, independent of our own thoughts. But the Course, drawing again on this principle and applying it to the Son’s seemingly split mind, asserts otherwise. The thought of separation, and the guilt that the ego tells us must accompany it, cannot leave the ego mind that thought them. The ego’s plan to escape guilt by projecting it outside the split mind is a doomed venture, for our desire to see guilt outside of ourselves constitutes an attack, both on ourselves and on what or whom we want to see as outside ourselves, which only serves to reinforce and maintain the guilt in our own mind, and not escape from it.
To help us understand how something which seems so very real and separate from us can still be within our mind, Jesus uses the metaphor of the dream to describe our experience in the world (T.10.I.2,3; T.18.II). Certainly, when we are asleep at night, dreaming, we seem to be a body, and a world seems to exist separate from the self in the dream we think we are. But that is only because our mind has mistakenly identified ourselves with one specific figure in the dream, to which the rest of the dream world seems external. And yet, upon awakening, we recognize that the self we thought we were and the world in which that self moved and all the other figures in the dream were all contained within our dreaming mind — the ideas of which we were dreaming never left their source in our mind. There was nothing outside our mind, external to us, despite what our experience while we slept and dreamed seemed to be. Our waking world, Jesus tells us, is no different (T.10.I.2). Although it appears to be outside, it has never left its source — the guilt over separation within our split mind. And this is the basis for the Course’s process of forgiveness.
For if all the other figures in my life who seem to attack me in various ways and cause me pain are really nothing but projections of the guilt that has never left my own mind, then I am not really needing to forgive anyone but myself. And my brothers, who only seem to be outside of me, are simply giving me the opportunity to get back in touch with that buried guilt in my mind, which I have made them symbols of.
Now, even with an intellectual understanding of what the Course means and how this process works, our resistance to putting it into practice is going to be tremendous. That resistance, for example, would explain why you would have found yourself having such difficulty understanding what the phrase itself, “Ideas leave not their source,” means. For it turns our whole world upside down and inside out, or perhaps more accurately, outside in!
The gentle steps that Jesus is leading us along do not require that we accept totally what he is teaching us here, but only that we have the humility to acknowledge that perhaps our interpretations of what seems to be happening to us are mistaken, and perhaps we will be happier acting from a recognition of shared interests with all our brothers, rather than from separate, competing interests. For, in the end, we will each come to realize that not only are we and our brothers the same, but we are one. And so, to quote another Course principle that depends on this one as well, “All that I give is given to myself” (W.pI.126).
Q #1096(i): (The following questions were posed by the same person). If God doesn’t know about our illusions, why does the Course say, “God gave to all illusions that were made another purpose . . .” (T.26.VII.15:3)?
A: Whenever Jesus speaks about God being involved in the illusion, his meaning is not to be taken literally. It is the content of Jesus’ message that is important, not its form. (See our answer to #4 below.) He goes to great lengths to re-orient the thinking of those who have come to think of God as judgmental and demanding punishment for our sins. In the passage you quote, what Jesus wants us to know is that although we have used the world and our lives for ego purposes, we can undo all that by turning to our inner Teacher (Jesus or the Holy Spirit) and asking for help to use the world and our lives for His purpose of healing our minds of the belief in separation. That choice of the miracle is always available to us — at every instant in every experience. That is what Jesus is reminding us of in your quoted statement. The emphasis is not on God, but on the shift in purpose that we can make whenever we so choose. Without this alternative purpose, we would be stuck with the ego’s version of salvation, which is atonement through sacrifice: our sin of separating from God is real, and now we need to pay Him back for what we did. Jesus is correcting that type of thinking.