ACIM Text Reading for August 21
Chapter 26 ~ The Transition
VIII. The Immediacy of Salvation
The one remaining problem that you have is that you see an interval between the time when you forgive, and will receive the benefits of trusting in your brother. This but reflects the little you would keep between you and your brother, that you and he might be a little separate. For time and space are one illusion, which takes different forms. If it has been projected beyond your mind you think of it as time. The nearer it is brought to where it is, the more you think of it in terms of space.
There is a distance you would keep apart from your brother, and this space you perceive as time because you still believe you are external to him. This makes trust impossible. And you cannot believe that trust would settle every problem now. Thus do you think it safer to remain a little careful and a little watchful of interests perceived as separate. From this perception you cannot conceive of gaining what forgiveness offers now. The interval you think lies in between the giving and receiving of the gift seems to be one in which you sacrifice and suffer loss. You see eventual salvation, not immediate results.
Salvation is immediate. Unless you so perceive it, you will be afraid of it, believing that the risk of loss is great between the time its purpose is made yours and its effects will come to you. In this form is the error still obscured that is the source of fear. Salvation would wipe out the space you see between you still, and let you instantly become as one. And it is here you fear the loss would lie. Do not project this fear to time, for time is not the enemy that you perceive. Time is as neutral as the body is, except in terms of what you see it for. If you would keep a little space between you and your brother still, you then would want a little time in which forgiveness is withheld a little while. And this but makes the interval between the time in which forgiveness is withheld from you and given seem dangerous, with terror justified.
Yet space between you and your brother is apparent only in the present, now, and cannot be perceived in future time. No more can it be overlooked except within the present. Future loss is not your fear. But present joining is your dread. Who can feel desolation except now? A future cause as yet has no effects. And therefore must it be that if you fear, there is a present cause. And it is this that needs correction, not a future state.
The plans you make for safety all are laid within the future, where you cannot plan. No purpose has been given it as yet, and what will happen has as yet no cause. Who can predict effects without a cause? And who could fear effects unless he thought they had been caused, and judged disastrous now? Belief in sin arouses fear, and like its cause, is looking forward, looking back, but overlooking what is here and now. Yet only here and now its cause must be, if its effects already have been judged as fearful. And in overlooking this, is it protected and kept separate from healing. For a miracle is now. It stands already here, in present grace, within the only interval of time that sin and fear have overlooked, but which is all there is to time.
The working out of all correction takes no time at all. Yet the acceptance of the working out can seem to take forever. The change of purpose the Holy Spirit brought to your relationship has in it all effects that you will see. They can be looked at now. Why wait till they unfold in time and fear they may not come, although already there? You have been told that everything brings good that comes from God. And yet it seems as if this is not so. Good in disaster’s form is difficult to credit in advance. Nor is there really sense in this idea.
Why should the good appear in evil’s form? And is it not deception if it does? Its cause is here, if it appears at all. Why are not its effects apparent, then? Why in the future? And you seek to be content with sighing, and with “reasoning” you do not understand it now, but will some day. And then its meaning will be clear. This is not reason, for it is unjust, and clearly hints at punishment until the time of liberation is at hand. Given a change of purpose for the good, there is no reason for an interval in which disaster strikes, to be perceived as “good” some day but now in form of pain. This is a sacrifice of now, which could not be the cost the Holy Spirit asks for what He gave without a cost at all.
Yet this illusion has a cause which, though untrue, must be already in your mind. And this illusion is but one effect that it engenders, and one form in which its outcome is perceived. This interval in time, when retribution is perceived to be the form in which the “good” appears, is but one aspect of the little space that lies between you, unforgiven still.
Be not content with future happiness. It has no meaning, and is not your just reward. For you have cause for freedom now. What profits freedom in a prisoner’s form? Why should deliverance be disguised as death? Delay is senseless, and the “reasoning” that would maintain effects of present cause must be delayed until a future time, is merely a denial of the fact that consequence and cause must come as one. Look not to time, but to the little space between you still, to be delivered from. And do not let it be disguised as time, and so preserved because its form is changed and what it is cannot be recognized. The Holy Spirit’s purpose now is yours. Should not His happiness be yours as well?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 21
I give my life to God to guide today.
Father, I give You all my thoughts today. I would have none of mine. In place of them, give me Your Own. I give You all my acts as well, that I may do Your Will instead of seeking goals which cannot be obtained, and wasting time in vain imaginings. Today I come to You. I will step back and merely follow You. Be You the Guide, and I the follower who questions not the wisdom of the Infinite, nor Love whose tenderness I cannot comprehend, but which is yet Your perfect gift to me.
Today we have one Guide to lead us on. And as we walk together, we will give this day to Him with no reserve at all. This is His day. And so it is a day of countless gifts and mercies unto us.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #880: In A Course in Miracles , Jesus states that we would be too shocked and frightened to find out that there is no dream at all, so the interim solution would be to live a “happy” dream with positive attitudes etc. I wonder how can we be shocked at finding out that even the “happy dream” has been an illusion, if there isn’t anything to cling to or split from? If we are pure consciousness, the realization must surely be natural? What is shocked and frightened must still be a part of the dream.
A: Yes, the frightened figure in the dream is part of the illusion along with consciousness, the happy dream, the real world, and the process of awakening. This is because “In reality [the separation] never happened at all” (M.2.2:8) . Although we are too frightened to believe him, Jesus does in fact tell us there is no dream (T.18.II.9:2) , no world (W.pI.136.6:2) , no body (T.18.VII.3:1) and no ego (T.9.IV.5) . This does not stop us, however, from believing in the existence of the whole package, and actively choosing not to believe the true and natural. Jesus tells us several times that we do not believe his message: “ Perhaps you do not feel you need a course which, in the end, teaches that only reality is true. But do you believe it? When you perceive the real world, you will recognize that you did not believe it” (T.11.VIII.1:2,3,4). The only explanation for this insanity is that we are too afraid to accept the Course’s message and awaken to the truth. When we are no longer afraid of love and no longer devoted to the ego’s specialness, it will indeed be natural to awaken from the dream entirely. Meanwhile, both attachment to specialness and fear of our true Identity as God’s one Son keep the dream very real in our experience.
Because falling into the sleep of separation was a choice, awakening requires our willingness to make another choice. The very fact that we choose to remain entrenched in the ego thought system is simple proof that Jesus is right about our fear of accepting the true and natural. Our fear is such that we do not just cower and hide from the truth, we are quite actively opposed to it: “You attack the real world every day and every hour and every minute, and yet you are surprised that you cannot see it” (T.12.VIII.1:3). In keeping with the ego’s upside-down thinking, we have become very good at doing the unnatural and avoiding what is most natural; i.e., our identity as minds with the power to choose. However, in order to defend its choice for the unnatural (the ego and the body) the mind conveniently denies its power and projects the separation thought, making it look like events external to the mind are the cause of the body’s seeming existence. The mind then becomes afraid of the natural in order to further support its belief in the unnatural. It has identified with the body and is terrified that it will be destroyed if it accepts its true identity. That is why we need the gentle process of forgiveness that Jesus teaches in the Course. Its central message is that nothing external to the mind has any effect on it, and everything in the dream is the reflection of a choice in the mind. The goal is to restore to the mind awareness of its power to choose, so it will decide to make another choice, motivated by the pain of choosing separation. Guilt for this choice is what keeps the figure in the dream in a deep sleep wherein the call to waken is but dimly heard. Each time we are willing to see judgment against others as the projection of our own guilt for having chosen the ego, we loosen its grip and fear lessens. As fear and guilt are gradually undone in this way, the dream lightens and becomes a happy dream, until the attainment of the real world that will end all dreaming. Only then will the illusion of separation be forgotten and the knowledge of oneness (our natural state) restored.