ACIM Text Reading for August 29
Chapter 27 ~ The Healing of the Dream
VI. The Witnesses to Sin
Pain demonstrates the body must be real. It is a loud, obscuring voice whose shrieks would silence what the Holy Spirit says, and keep His words from your awareness. Pain compels attention, drawing it away from Him and focusing upon itself. Its purpose is the same as pleasure, for they both are means to make the body real. What shares a common purpose is the same. This is the law of purpose, which unites all those who share in it within itself. Pleasure and pain are equally unreal, because their purpose cannot be achieved. Thus are they means for nothing, for they have a goal without a meaning. And they share the lack of meaning which their purpose has.
Sin shifts from pain to pleasure, and again to pain. For either witness is the same, and carries but one message: “You are here, within this body, and you can be hurt. You can have pleasure, too, but only at the cost of pain.” These witnesses are joined by many more. Each one seems different because it has a different name, and so it seems to answer to a different sound. Except for this, the witnesses of sin are all alike. Call pleasure pain, and it will hurt. Call pain a pleasure, and the pain behind the pleasure will be felt no more. Sin’s witnesses but shift from name to name, as one steps forward and another back. Yet which is foremost makes no difference. Sin’s witnesses hear but the call of death.
This body, purposeless within itself, holds all your memories and all your hopes. You use its eyes to see, its ears to hear, and let it tell you what it is it feels. It does not know. It tells you but the names you gave to it to use, when you call forth the witnesses to its reality. You cannot choose among them which are real, for any one you choose is like the rest. This name or that, but nothing more, you choose. You do not make a witness true because you called him by truth’s name. The truth is found in him if it is truth he represents. And otherwise he lies, if you should call him by the holy Name of God Himself.
God’s Witness sees no witnesses against the body. Neither does He harken to the witnesses by other names that speak in other ways for its reality. He knows it is not real. For nothing could contain what you believe it holds within. Nor could it tell a part of God Himself what it should feel and what its function is. Yet must He love whatever you hold dear. And for each witness to the body’s death He sends a witness to your life in Him Who knows no death. Each miracle He brings is witness that the body is not real. Its pains and pleasures does He heal alike, for all sin’s witnesses do His replace.
The miracle makes no distinctions in the names by which sin’s witnesses are called. It merely proves that what they represent has no effects. And this it proves because its own effects have come to take their place. It matters not the name by which you called your suffering. It is no longer there. The One Who brings the miracle perceives them all as one, and called by name of fear. As fear is witness unto death, so is the miracle the witness unto life. It is a witness no one can deny, for it is the effects of life it brings. The dying live, the dead arise, and pain has vanished. Yet a miracle speaks not but for itself, but what it represents.
Love, too, has symbols in a world of sin. The miracle forgives because it stands for what is past forgiveness and is true. How foolish and insane it is to think a miracle is bound by laws that it came solely to undo! The laws of sin have different witnesses with different strengths. And they attest to different sufferings. Yet to the One Who sends forth miracles to bless the world, a tiny stab of pain, a little worldly pleasure, and the throes of death itself are but a single sound; a call for healing, and a plaintive cry for help within a world of misery. It is their sameness that the miracle attests. It is their sameness that it proves. The laws that call them different are dissolved, and shown as powerless. The purpose of a miracle is to accomplish this. And God Himself has guaranteed the strength of miracles for what they witness to.
Be you then witness to the miracle, and not the laws of sin. There is no need to suffer any more. But there is need that you be healed, because the suffering and sorrow of the world have made it deaf to its salvation and deliverance.
The resurrection of the world awaits your healing and your happiness, that you may demonstrate the healing of the world. The holy instant will replace all sin if you but carry its effects with you. And no one will elect to suffer more. What better function could you serve than this? Be healed that you may heal, and suffer not the laws of sin to be applied to you. And truth will be revealed to you who chose to let love’s symbols take the place of sin.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 29
Section 3. What is the World?
The world is false perception. It is born of error, and it has not left its source. It will remain no longer than the thought that gave it birth is cherished. When the thought of separation has been changed to one of true forgiveness, will the world be seen in quite another light; and one which leads to truth, where all the world must disappear and all its errors vanish. Now its source has gone, and its effects are gone as well.
The world was made as an attack on God. It symbolizes fear. And what is fear except love’s absence? Thus the world was meant to be a place where God could enter not, and where His Son could be apart from Him. Here was perception born, for knowledge could not cause such insane thoughts. But eyes deceive, and ears hear falsely. Now mistakes become quite possible, for certainty has gone.
The mechanisms of illusion have been born instead. And now they go to find what has been given them to seek. Their aim is to fulfill the purpose which the world was made to witness and make real. They see in its illusions but a solid base where truth exists, upheld apart from lies. Yet everything that they report is but illusion which is kept apart from truth.
As sight was made to lead away from truth, it can be redirected. Sounds become the call for God, and all perception can be given a new purpose by the One Whom God appointed Savior to the world. Follow His light, and see the world as He beholds it. Hear His Voice alone in all that speaks to you. And let Him give you peace and certainty, which you have thrown away, but Heaven has preserved for you in Him.
Let us not rest content until the world has joined our changed perception. Let us not be satisfied until forgiveness has been made complete. And let us not attempt to change our function. We must save the world. For we who made it must behold it through the eyes of Christ, that what was made to die can be restored to everlasting life.
This holy instant is salvation come.
What joy there is today! It is a time of special celebration. For today holds out the instant to the darkened world where its release is set. The day has come when sorrows pass away and pain is gone. The glory of salvation dawns today upon a world set free. This is the time of hope for countless millions. They will be united now, as you forgive them all. For I will be forgiven by you today.
We have forgiven one another now, and so we come at last to You again. Father, Your Son, who never left, returns to Heaven and his home. How glad are we to have our sanity restored to us, and to remember that we all are one.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1126: You say in Question #225, “As long as we experience ourselves as bodies, then we need to respond to and respect our bodily needs, both physical and psychological.” And in Question #406, “Lack of attention or concern about those responsibilities at the level of form is almost always an expression of our authority problem …” Does this mean that we need to follow the ego fears to respect our psychological needs? For example, do we need to travel around the world to be whole, sleep with certain people to be whole, act like a “real man,” or repay people’s wrongs to get rid of guilt? I believe Jesus frees us from these things, but my ego would like me to believe I am not being appropriate if I don’t follow what it tells me I need to be a whole person. I’m trying to get to the point where I can listen to the Holy Spirit on matters like this and not give my power away to someone who will tell me the answer. But I still am not sure what Jesus or the Holy Spirit want from me.
A: What Jesus and the Holy Spirit “want” from you is that you would see that the ego is all made up, and that you therefore should not take it so seriously. You already are whole and complete as God’s Son (W.pII.14) ; but you have hidden that from your awareness and replaced it with a self that is plagued with problems and self-doubt. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are guiding you in the process of letting go of your needto keep the truth of your wholeness concealed.
The ego would help you become a whole person only according to its definition of what that is. To follow the ego’s guidance in anything would never help you get past guilt and fear. Without guilt and fear, there is no ego! The ego wants us to have physical and psychological needs so that we will always be in conflict and focused on satisfying those needs, which almost always happens at another’s expense, thus reinforcing differences and separation. It is obvious, though, that we can never fulfill these needs perfectly and permanently. That is part of the ego’s strategy to keep us glued to the world, and therefore to itself. Thus, as long as we think we are real as bodies, we are going to have needs and longings, and the frustration and satisfaction that come with them; we will also find ourselves in roles with responsibilities to fulfill in those roles: as parents, children, citizens, students, employees, supervisors, drivers, etc. This is all very normal.
Spiritual advancement is not attained through defiance or fear with regard to our needs, roles, and responsibilities. But this does not mean that you must explore and experience every conceivable means of satisfying your needs: You needn’t follow Don Juan’s example with sex, anymore than you need to indulge your appetite for food by eating at every single restaurant in the world. When there is excessive fear or guilt over one’s sexual drive, food cravings, or any other drive or inclination — for whatever reason — professional counseling is often helpful. We need to get to the point where we are comfortable with all of the normal drives and needs that we have as bodies, physical and psychological, so that we are not obsessed with indulging them, denying them, or running away from them out of fear and shame.
The approach of A Course in Miracles to this — once one is fairly mature in the sense just described — is to bring into the picture the idea of purpose , i.e., for what purpose am I using my sexuality, my intellectual attributes, my strong body, my role as parent, my role as husband, etc.? This is the shift from form to content, where the real healing begins. The ego’s purpose is to reinforce separation through individuality and conflict; the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to help us awaken from the dream that we are separate from one another and from God. This simplifies matters enormously, because focusing on purpose (content) enables one to get past the complexities of the behavior and all of the should I? or shouldn’t I? dilemmas that sometimes lead people into long-term psychoanalysis. This is what is behind this instruction of Jesus: “It is not necessary to follow fear through all the circuitous routes by which it burrows underground and hides in darkness, to emerge in forms quite different from what it is. Yet it is necessary to examine each one as long as you would retain the principle that governs all of them. When you are willing to regard them, not as separate, but as different manifestations of the same idea, and one you do not want, they go together” (T.15.X.5:1,2,3) .
As you are able to recognize more and more the same ego thread running through all the complexities of human behavior and attitudes, you will be able to work on getting in touch with your decision to uphold the ego thought system, which is dominated by the principles of one or the other and scarcity . This is the function of the miracle — to bring your attention from the world and the body back to the mind, where you can then, with Jesus, look calmly at the ego dynamics that are causing the problem, and replace them with the dynamics of forgiveness, thus restoring peace and joy to your mind.