ACIM Text Reading for August 27
Chapter 27 ~ The Healing of the Dream
IV. The Quiet Answer
In quietness are all things answered, and is every problem quietly resolved. In conflict there can be no answer and no resolution, for its purpose is to make no resolution possible, and to ensure no answer will be plain. A problem set in conflict has no answer, for it is seen in different ways. And what would be an answer from one point of view is not an answer in another light. You are in conflict. Thus it must be clear you cannot answer anything at all, for conflict has no limited effects. Yet if God gave an answer there must be a way in which your problems are resolved, for what He wills already has been done.
Thus it must be that time is not involved and every problem can be answered now. Yet it must also be that, in your state of mind, solution is impossible. Therefore, God must have given you a way of reaching to another state of mind in which the answer is already there. Such is the holy instant. It is here that all your problems should be brought and left. Here they belong, for here their answer is. And where its answer is, a problem must be simple and be easily resolved. It must be pointless to attempt to solve a problem where the answer cannot be. Yet just as surely it must be resolved, if it is brought to where the answer is.
Attempt to solve no problems but within the holy instant’s surety. For there the problem will be answered and resolved. Outside there will be no solution, for there is no answer there that could be found. Nowhere outside a single, simple question is ever asked. The world can only ask a double question. One with many answers can have no answers. None of them will do. It does not ask a question to be answered, but only to restate its point of view.
All questions asked within this world are but a way of looking, not a question asked. A question asked in hate cannot be answered, because it is an answer in itself. A double question asks and answers, both attesting the same thing in different form. The world asks but one question. It is this: “Of these illusions, which of them istrue? Which ones establish peace and offer joy? And which can bring escape from all the pain of which this world is made?” Whatever form the question takes, its purpose is the same. It asks but to establish sin is real, and answers in the form of preference. “Which sin do you prefer? That is the one that you should choose. The others are not true. What can the body get that you would want the most of all? It is your servant and also your friend. But tell it what you want, and it will serve you lovingly and well.” And this is not a question, for it tells you what you want and where to go for it. It leaves no room to question its beliefs, except that what it states takes question’s form.
A pseudo-question has no answer. It dictates the answer even as it asks. Thus is all questioning within the world a form of propaganda for itself. Just as the body’s witnesses are but the senses from within itself, so are the answers to the questions of the world contained within the questions that are asked. Where answers represent the questions, they add nothing new and nothing has been learned. An honest question is a learning tool that asks for something that you do not know. It does not set conditions for response, but merely asks what the response should be. But no one in a conflict state is free to ask this question, for he does not wantan honest answer where the conflict ends.
Only within the holy instant can an honest question honestly be asked. And from the meaning of the question does the meaningfulness of the answer come. Here is it possible to separate your wishes from the answer, so it can be given you and also be received. The answer is provided everywhere. Yet it is only here it can be heard. An honest answer asks no sacrifice because it answers questions truly asked. The questions of the world but ask of whom is sacrifice demanded, asking not if sacrifice is meaningful at all. And so, unless the answer tells “of whom,” it will remain unrecognized, unheard, and thus the question is preserved intact because it gave the answer to itself. The holy instant is the interval in which the mind is still enough to hear an answer that is not entailed within the question asked. It offers something new and different from the question. How could it be answered if it but repeats itself?
Therefore, attempt to solve no problems in a world from which the answer has been barred. But bring the problem to the only place that holds the answer lovingly for you. Here are the answers that will solve your problems because they stand apart from them, and see what can be answered; what the question is. Within the world the answers merely raise another question, though they leave the first unanswered. In the holy instant, you can bring the question to the answer, and receive the answer that was made for you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 27
The glory of my Father is my own.
Let not the truth about ourselves today be hidden by a false humility. Let us instead be thankful for the gifts our Father gave us. Can we see in those with whom He shares His glory any trace of sin and guilt? And can it be that we are not among them, when He loves His Son forever and with perfect constancy, knowing he is as He created him?
We thank You, Father, for the light that shines forever in us. And we honor it, because You share it with us. We are one, united in this light and one with You, at peace with all creation and ourselves.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #275: I am struggling with the exact meaning of the verb “to extend” in A Course in Miracles. I learn in the Glossary-Index and on page 114 of the text that the laws of mind in the world are different from the laws of mind in the Kingdom: the mind of the world projects and perceives and cannot go beyond this, while the Mind of spirit only extends. Since I am from a non-English-speaking culture, I am struggling to understand what seems to be a very fundamental concept. I would really appreciate your help.
A: As you may have noticed in the Glossary-Index, to extend, or extension, has two levels of meaning in the Course. At the level of knowledge — the oneness and totality of Heaven or the Kingdom, which the Course says is our only reality — extension is synonymous with creation (e.g., T.11.I.3:4,5; T.14.V.3:4). But the meaning of neither of these words is comprehensible to our finite minds, since they refer to a totally abstract activity or process of Mind/spirit that has nothing to do with time or space or bodies — all illusory dimensions of the physical world made by the false ego mind. In Heaven, we are God’s extensions or creations, and like Him, we can extend or create. But even this statement cannot be taken literally, for it suggests that we and God are separate, that He has somehow brought us into being as an entity separate from Him. Because our non-dualistic reality is one, unified, perfect and eternal, extension of that reality cannot involve adding more to it or increasing it in any way that our limited minds would understand (W.pI.105.4:2,3,4,5). And so there is little more to be said about the meaning of extension at this level that would be helpful.
The Course’s other meaning of extension refers to the level of perception, the level of the illusory, dualistic, split mind. The meaning is still somewhat abstract, but a little more comprehensible than at the completely abstract level of knowledge or Heaven. Our experience in the world of time and space and separate bodies is based on the law of mind that governs all thought at this level, the inevitable dynamic that leads us to perceive outside of ourselves the content within our minds that we have chosen to see as real. And there are only two contents to choose between within the split mind: the ego’s guilt or the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness. We see outside ourselves whatever content we have chosen within. If we have chosen the Holy Spirit as the guide for our thoughts, the Course refers to the process as extension. If the ego is our guide, the process is called projection.
The ego seeks to use the dynamic of projection to place the guilt outside of our minds and then to deny its origin in our minds. In other words, rather than seeing the guilt outside us as an extension of the same guilt in our minds — which it is — the ego wants us to believe that we can literally project the guilt outside of our minds so that it is now separate from us, thereby supposedly regaining for us the innocence we believe we lost with the thought of separation. And for this defense to work, we have to forget that we projected the guilt from our own mind. Of course, this is not how mind works, for denial does not alter the fact that the mind is indeed the source and “ideas leave not their source” (T.26.VII.4:7,8,9).
The Holy Spirit’s goal, in contrast, is to teach us to recognize the correspondence between what we perceive outside and what content we have chosen in our mind so that we can make an informed choice about what we will extend or project until our split mind is healed. The ego desperately attempts to hide this dynamic from us, for the success of its projection depends on our failing to recognize that we project or extend only our own thoughts (W.pI.30.2). And the ego’s strategy is very successful most of the time, for our anger and judgment reflect our belief that the outside world is indeed independent of us. So the Holy Spirit seeks to reinforce our awareness of the continuity between within and without as a result of extension, while the ego always seeks to deny the source in our mind and assert that what we see outside of ourselves — guilt — exists separate from and independent of us. The Course’s purpose is to help us see that the choice of what we extend or project is ours alone — each with its own consequences for our peace of mind.