ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 30

ACIM Text Reading for September 30

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

V. Self Concept versus Self

The learning of the world is built upon a concept of the self adjusted to the world’s reality. It fits it well. For this an image is that suits a world of shadows and illusions. Here it walks at home, where what it sees is one with it. The building of a concept of the self is what the learning of the world is for. This is its purpose; that you come without a self, and make one as you go along. And by the time you reach “maturity” you have perfected it, to meet the world on equal terms, at one with its demands.

A concept of the self is made by you. It bears no likeness to yourself at all. It is an idol, made to take the place of your reality as Son of God. The concept of the self the world would teach is not the thing that it appears to be. For it is made to serve two purposes, but one of which the mind can recognize. The first presents the face of innocence, the aspect acted on. It is this face that smiles and charms and even seems to love. It searches for companions and it looks, at times with pity, on the suffering, and sometimes offers solace. It believes that it is good within an evil world.

This aspect can grow angry, for the world is wicked and unable to provide the love and shelter innocence deserves. And so this face is often wet with tears at the injustices the world accords to those who would be generous and good. This aspect never makes the first attack. But every day a hundred little things make small assaults upon its innocence, provoking it to irritation, and at last to open insult and abuse.

The face of innocence the concept of the self so proudly wears can tolerate attack in self-defense, for is it not a well-known fact the world deals harshly with defenseless innocence? No one who makes a picture of himself omits this face, for he has need of it. The other side he does not want to see. Yet it is here the learning of the world has set its sights, for it is here the world’s “reality” is set, to see to it the idol lasts.

Beneath the face of innocence there is a lesson that the concept of the self was made to teach. It is a lesson in a terrible displacement, and a fear so devastating that the face that smiles above it must forever look away, lest it perceive the treachery it hides. The lesson teaches this: “I am the thing you made of me, and as you look on me, you stand condemned because of what I am.” On this conception of the self the world smiles with approval, for it guarantees the pathways of the world are safely kept, and those who walk on them will not escape.

Here is the central lesson that ensures your brother is condemned eternally. For what you are has now become his sin. For this is no forgiveness possible. No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering and deadly in its aim. It points to you as well, but this is kept still deeper in the mists below the face of innocence. And in these shrouded vaults are all his sins and yours preserved and kept in darkness, where they cannot be perceived as errors, which the light would surely show. You can be neither blamed for what you are, nor can you change the things it makes you do. Your brother then is symbol of your sins to you who are but silently, and yet with ceaseless urgency, condemning still your brother for the hated thing you are.

Concepts are learned. They are not natural. Apart from learning they do not exist. They are not given, so they must be made. Not one of them is true, and many come from feverish imaginations, hot with hatred and distortions born of fear. What is a concept but a thought to which its maker gives a meaning of his own? Concepts maintain the world. But they can not be used to demonstrate the world is real. For all of them are made within the world, born in its shadow, growing in its ways and finally “maturing” in its thought. They are ideas of idols, painted with the brushes of the world, which cannot make a single picture representing truth.

A concept of the self is meaningless, for no one here can see what it is for, and therefore cannot picture what it is. Yet is all learning that the world directs begun and ended with the single aim of teaching you this concept of yourself, that you will choose to follow this world’s laws, and never seek to go beyond its roads nor realize the way you see yourself. Now must the Holy Spirit find a way to help you see this concept of the self must be undone, if any peace of mind is to be given you. Nor can it be unlearned except by lessons aimed to teach that you are something else. For otherwise, you would be asked to make exchange of what you now believe for total loss of self, and greater terror would arise in you.

Thus are the Holy Spirit’s lesson plans arranged in easy steps, that though there be some lack of ease at times and some distress, there is no shattering of what was learned, but just a re-translation of what seems to be the evidence on its behalf. Let us consider, then, what proof there is that you are what your brother made of you. For even though you do not yet perceive that this is what you think, you surely learned by now that you behave as if it were. Does he react for you? And does he know exactly what would happen? Can he see your future and ordain, before it comes, what you should do in every circumstance? He must have made the world as well as you to have such prescience in the things to come.

That you are what your brother made of you seems most unlikely. Even if he did, who gave the face of innocence to you? Is this your contribution? Who is, then, the “you” who made it? And who is deceived by all your goodness, and attacks it so? Let us forget the concept’s foolishness, and merely think of this; there are two parts to what you think yourself to be. If one were generated by your brother, who was there to make the other? And from whom must something be kept hidden? If the world be evil, there is still no need to hide what you are made of. Who is there to see? And what but is attacked could need defense?

Perhaps the reason why this concept must be kept in darkness is that, in the light, the one who would not think it true is you. And what would happen to the world you see, if all its underpinnings were removed? Your concept of the world depends upon this concept of the self. And both would go, if either one were ever raised to doubt. The Holy Spirit does not seek to throw you into panic. So He merely asks if just a little question might be raised.

There are alternatives about the thing that you must be. You might, for instance, be the thing you chose to have your brother be. This shifts the concept of the self from what is wholly passive, and at least makes way for active choice, and some acknowledgment that interaction must have entered in. There is some understanding that you chose for both of you, and what he represents has meaning that was given it by you. It also shows some glimmering of sight into perception’s law that what you see reflects the state of the perceiver’s mind. Yet who was it that did the choosing first? If you are what you chose your brother be, alternatives were there to choose among, and someone must have first decided on the one to choose, and let the other go.

Although this step has gains, it does not yet approach a basic question. Something must have gone before these concepts of the self. And something must have done the learning which gave rise to them. Nor can this be explained by either view. The main advantage of the shifting to the second from the first is that you somehow entered in the choice by your decision. But this gain is paid in almost equal loss, for now you stand accused of guilt for what your brother is. And you must share his guilt, because you chose it for him in the image of your own. While only he was treacherous before, now must you be condemned along with him.

The concept of the self has always been the great preoccupation of the world. And everyone believes that he must find the answer to the riddle of himself. Salvation can be seen as nothing more than the escape from concepts. It does not concern itself with content of the mind, but with the simple statement that it thinks. And what can think has choice, and can be shown that different thoughts have different consequence. So it can learn that everything it thinks reflects the deep confusion that it feels about how it was made and what it is. And vaguely does the concept of the self appear to answer what it does not know.

Seek not your Self in symbols. There can be no concept that can stand for what you are. What matters it which concept you accept while you perceive a self that interacts with evil, and reacts to wicked things? Your concept of yourself will still remain quite meaningless. And you will not perceive that you can interact but with yourself. To see a guilty world is but the sign your learning has been guided by the world, and you behold it as you see yourself. The concept of the self embraces all you look upon, and nothing is outside of this perception. If you can be hurt by anything, you see a picture of your secret wishes. Nothing more than this. And in your suffering of any kind you see your own concealed desire to kill.

You will make many concepts of the self as learning goes along. Each one will show the changes in your own relationships, as your perception of yourself is changed. There will be some confusion every time there is a shift, but be you thankful that the learning of the world is loosening its grasp upon your mind. And be you sure and happy in the confidence that it will go at last, and leave your mind at peace. The role of the accuser will appear in many places and in many forms. And each will seem to be accusing you. Yet have no fear it will not be undone.

The world can teach no images of you unless you want to learn them. There will come a time when images have all gone by, and you will see you know not what you are. It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound. Where concepts of the self have been laid by is truth revealed exactly as it is. When every concept has been raised to doubt and question, and been recognized as made on no assumptions that would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt. There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this:

“I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing,
where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself.”

Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 30

Lesson 274

Today belongs to love. Let me not fear.

Father, today I would let all things be as You created them, and give Your Son the honor due his sinlessness; the love of brother to his brother and his Friend. Through this I am redeemed. Through this as well the truth will enter where illusions were, light will replace all darkness, and Your Son will know he is as You created him.

A special blessing comes to us today, from Him Who is our Father. Give this day to Him, and there will be no fear today, because the day is given unto love.

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #186: In Chapter 31 of A Course in Miracles, Section V, “Self-Concept vs Self,” Jesus says, “The role of the accuser will appear in many places and in many forms. And each will seem to be accusing you” (T.31.V.16:5,6). Can you explain what is meant by this?

A: As earlier parts of this section make clear, each judgment we hold against another is really a deeply buried self-accusation. Perhaps most graphic is the following; “No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering in its deadly aim. It points to you as well, but this is kept deeper in the mists below the face of innocence” (T.31.V.6:4,5).

The section then goes on (T.31.V.15,16) to discuss how we will assume various concepts or roles for our self-identity over time (e.g., child, sibling, student, lover, spouse, parent, employee, boss) — all the while believing that we are a victim in these various relationships, treated unfairly by a world of evil that exists outside ourselves. But all the accusations we hold against others as we assume the various roles of our lives (i.e., “the role of the accuser…in many places and in many forms”) really represent the hidden accusations of guilt and sin over the original separation thought and all its seeming ramifications that we hold against ourselves. And so as we accept and put into practice the Course’s teaching on projection, it will now seem that the finger we have pointed at others is, in each case, now pointing at ourselves. But the reality of our true Self is beyond all these roles and concepts And so Jesus reassures us, “Yet have no fear it [each role] will not be undone” (T.31.V.16:7). For none of the images of good or evil that we have made of both our brother and ourselves is real. And when we no longer want any of them, we will know Who we truly are (T.31.V.17).

teach not that i died in vain



ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 29

ACIM Text Reading for September 29

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

IV. The Real Alternative

There is a tendency to think the world can offer consolation and escape from problems that its purpose is to keep. Why should this be? Because it is a place where choice among illusions seems to be the only choice. And you are in control of outcomes of your choosing. Thus you think, within the narrow band from birth to death, a little time is given you to use for you alone; a time when everyone conflicts with you, but you can choose which road will lead you out of conflict, and away from difficulties that concern you not. Yet they are your concern. How, then, can you escape from them by leaving them behind? What must go with you, you will take with you whatever road you choose to walk along.

Real choice is no illusion. But the world has none to offer. All its roads but lead to disappointment, nothingness and death. There is no choice in its alternatives. Seek not escape from problems here. The world was made that problems could not be escaped. Be not deceived by all the different names its roads are given. They have but one end. And each is but the means to gain that end, for it is here that all its roads will lead, however differently they seem to start; however differently they seem to go. Their end is certain, for there is no choice among them. All of them will lead to death. On some you travel gaily for a while, before the bleakness enters. And on some the thorns are felt at once. The choice is not what will the ending be, but when it comes.

There is no choice where every end is sure. Perhaps you would prefer to try them all, before you really learn they are but one. The roads this world can offer seem to be quite large in number, but the time must come when everyone begins to see how like they are to one another. Men have died on seeing this, because they saw no way except the pathways offered by the world. And learning they led nowhere, lost their hope. And yet this was the time they could have learned their greatest lesson. All must reach this point, and go beyond it. It is true indeed there is no choice at all within the world. But this is not the lesson in itself. The lesson has a purpose, and in this you come to understand what it is for.

Why would you seek to try another road, another person or another place, when you have learned the way the lesson starts, but do not yet perceive what it is for? Its purpose is the answer to the search that all must undertake who still believe there is another answer to be found. Learn now, without despair, there is no hope of answer in the world. But do not judge the lesson that is but begun with this. Seek not another signpost in the world that seems to point to still another road. No longer look for hope where there is none. Make fast your learning now, and understand you but waste time unless you go beyond what you have learned to what is yet to learn. For from this lowest point will learning lead to heights of happiness, in which you see the purpose of the lesson shining clear, and perfectly within your learning grasp.

Who would be willing to be turned away from all the roadways of the world, unless he understood their real futility? Is it not needful that he should begin with this, to seek another way instead? For while he sees a choice where there is none, what power of decision can he use? The great release of power must begin with learning where it really has a use. And what decision has power if it be applied in situations without choice?

The learning that the world can offer but one choice, no matter what its form may be, is the beginning of acceptance that there is a real alternative instead. To fight against this step is to defeat your purpose here. You did not come to learn to find a road the world does not contain. The search for different pathways in the world is but the search for different forms of truth. And this would keep the truth from being reached.

Think not that happiness is ever found by following a road away from it. This makes no sense, and cannot be the way. To you who seem to find this course to be too difficult to learn, let me repeat that to achieve a goal you must proceed in its direction, not away from it. And every road that leads the other way will not advance the purpose to be found. If this be difficult to understand, then is this course impossible to learn. But only then. For otherwise, it is a simple teaching in the obvious.

There is a choice that you have power to make when you have seen the real alternatives. Until that point is reached you have no choice, and you can but decide how you would choose the better to deceive yourself again. This course attempts to teach no more than that the power of decision cannot lie in choosing different forms of what is still the same illusion and the same mistake. All choices in the world depend on this; you choose between your brother and yourself, and you will gain as much as he will lose, and what you lose is what is given him. How utterly opposed to truth is this, when all the lesson’s purpose is to teach that what your brother loses you have lost, and what he gains is what is given you.

He has not left His Thoughts! But you forgot His Presence and remembered not His Love. No pathway in the world can lead to Him, nor any worldly goal be one with His. What road in all the world will lead within, when every road was made to separate the journey from the purpose it must have unless it be but futile wandering? All roads that lead away from what you are will lead you to confusion and despair. Yet has He never left His Thoughts to die, without their Source forever in themselves.

He has not left His Thoughts! He could no more depart from them than they could keep Him out. In unity with Him do they abide, and in Their Oneness Both are kept complete. There is no road that leads away from Him. A journey from yourself does not exist. How foolish and insane it is to think that there could be a road with such an aim! Where could it go? And how could you be made to travel on it, walking there without your own reality at one with you?

Forgive yourself your madness, and forget all senseless journeys and all goal-less aims. They have no meaning. You can not escape from what you are. For God is merciful, and did not let His Son abandon Him. For what He is be thankful, for in that is your escape from madness and from death. Nowhere but where He is can you be found. There is no path that does not lead to Him.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 29

Lesson 273

The stillness of the peace of God is mine.

Perhaps we are now ready for a day of undisturbed tranquility. If this is not yet feasible, we are content and even more than satisfied to learn how such a day can be achieved. If we give way to a disturbance, let us learn how to dismiss it and return to peace. We need but tell our minds, with certainty, “The stillness of the peace of God is mine,” and nothing can intrude upon the peace that God Himself has given to His Son.

Father, Your peace is mine. What need have I to fear that anything can rob me of what You would have me keep? I cannot lose Your gifts to me. And so the peace You gave Your Son is with me still, in quietness and in my own eternal love for You.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1151(i): (The following two questions were posed by the same person.) Could you please explain the meaning of the following passage from A Course in Miracles : “He has not left His Thoughts! But you forgot His Presence and remembered not His Love” (T.31.lV.9:1,2).

A: “His Thoughts” refers to the extension of God, which is Christ, His Son — the capital indicates that it refers to Christ. Jesus is using the plural form because of the context of his message in this section. The content of the statement is that Love is perfect Oneness that can never be divided or changed in any way. Contrary to what the ego says of God, Jesus is reminding us that Love never abandons. God leaving His Son is an absolute impossibility. But the Son can believe he has left his Source, even though, in truth, that is an impossibility as well. That is the Atonement principle running throughout the Course: the separation from God never truly happened.

Q #1151(ii): Also, what would be the formula for seeing a brother you disliked in the past, but now with spiritual vision instead of judgment? What thoughts/prayers are best to use while with my brothers/sisters in order to let go of judgment?

A: There is no formula as such in the Course, but in many ways seeing your brother as sinless is what the whole Course is about, for when you see the face of Christ in your brother, you then remember God. There are two important parts to the process that leads to this vision of sinless­ness: recognizing the purpose judgment serves and the cost judging. Judgment is the life-blood of the ego; it keeps the belief in differences alive, and the belief in differences keeps separation real. Thus, we judge because we want to remain separate but not be held responsible for that choice. Locating our problems and lack of peace in what others to do us, thereby judging them as sinful and guilty, effectively hides the choice we are upholding in our minds.

Therefore, what we need to do, as Jesus teaches in many different ways, is to look with him at our need to judge, and to learn that the price we are willing to pay to continue to judge is the loss of our own peace. Jesus thus appeals to us: “You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment. When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning. In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you are judging them” (T.3.VI.3:1,2,3). Judging costs us dearly! We lose our peace and all sense of the identity we share with each other. In return we get to be right (at least some of the time), and we keep our special individuality. Is it worth it? We need only look at this, and not force ourselves to stop judging when it is still so meaningful to us. Eventually we will let ourselves feel the pain of continued judgment, and then we will be less willing to pay the price, especially when we also realize that it is not a sacrifice to give up judgment, in view of the fact that we are incapable of judging in the first place see M.10.2).

Lesson 335, “I choose to see my brother’s sinlessness” (W.pII.335), might be helpful in keep­ing these teachings present in your mind. Remember, though, you never want to fight against your need to judge others (or yourself). That will only force you into denial and then your progress will be halted. It is far more helpful to be honest about not wanting to see your brother sinless, and then not condemn yourself for that, yet remind yourself that there’s a price to be paid for such resistance. Gentleness and patience are essential.

In summary: “Your function here on earth is only to forgive him [your brother] , that you may accept him back as your Identity. He is as God created him. And you are what he is. Forgive him now his sins, and you will see that you are one with him” (W.pI.192.10:6,7,8,9).

ghost-mirror copy

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 28

ACIM Text Reading for September 28

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

III. The Self-Accused

Only the self-accused condemn. As you prepare to make a choice that will result in different outcomes, there is first one thing that must be overlearned. It must become a habit of response so typical of everything you do that it becomes your first response to all temptation, and to every situation that occurs. Learn this, and learn it well, for it is here delay of happiness is shortened by a span of time you cannot realize. You never hate your brother for his sins, but only for your own. Whatever form his sins appear to take, it but obscures the fact that you believe them to be yours, and therefore meriting a “just” attack.

Why should his sins be sins, if you did not believe they could not be forgiven in you? Why are they real in him, if you did not believe that they are your reality? And why do you attack them everywhere except you hate yourself? Are you a sin? You answer “yes” whenever you attack, for by attack do you assert that you are guilty, and must give as you deserve. And what can you deserve but what you are? If you did not believe that you deserved attack, it never would occur to you to give attack to anyone at all. Why should you? What would be the gain to you? What could the outcome be that you would want? And how could murder bring you benefit?

Sins are in bodies. They are not perceived in minds. They are not seen as purposes, but actions. Bodies act, and minds do not. And therefore must the body be at fault for what it does. It is not seen to be a passive thing, obeying your commands, and doing nothing of itself at all. If you are sin you are a body, for the mind acts not. And purpose must be in the body, not the mind. The body must act on its own, and motivate itself. If you are sin you lock the mind within the body, and you give its purpose to its prison house, which acts instead of it. A jailer does not follow orders, but enforces orders on the prisoner.

Yet is the body prisoner, and not the mind. The body thinks no thoughts. It has no power to learn, to pardon, nor enslave. It gives no orders that the mind need serve, nor sets conditions that it must obey. It holds in prison but the willing mind that would abide in it. It sickens at the bidding of the mind that would become its prisoner. And it grows old and dies, because that mind is sick within itself. Learning is all that causes change. And so the body, where no learning can occur, could never change unless the mind preferred the body change in its appearances, to suit the purpose given by the mind. For mind can learn, and there is all change made.

The mind that thinks it is a sin has but one purpose; that the body be the source of sin, to keep it in the prison house it chose and guards and holds itself at bay, a sleeping prisoner to the snarling dogs of hate and evil, sickness and attack; of pain and age, of grief and suffering. Here are the thoughts of sacrifice preserved, for here guilt rules, and orders that the world be like itself; a place where nothing can find mercy, nor survive the ravages of fear except in murder and in death. For here are you made sin, and sin cannot abide the joyous and the free, for they are enemies which sin must kill. In death is sin preserved, and those who think that they are sin must die for what they think they are.

Let us be glad that you will see what you believe, and that it has been given you to change what you believe. The body will but follow. It can never lead you where you would not be. It does not guard your sleep, nor interfere with your awakening. Release your body from imprisonment, and you will see no one as prisoner to what you have escaped. You will not want to hold in guilt your chosen enemies, nor keep in chains, to the illusion of a changing love, the ones you think are friends.

The innocent release in gratitude for their release. And what they see upholds their freedom from imprisonment and death. Open your mind to change, and there will be no ancient penalty exacted from your brother or yourself. For God has said there is no sacrifice that can be asked; there is no sacrifice that can be made.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 28

Lesson 272

How can illusions satisfy God’s Son?

Father, the truth belongs to me. My home is set in Heaven by Your Will and mine. Can dreams content me? Can illusions bring me happiness? What but Your memory can satisfy Your Son? I will accept no less than You have given me. I am surrounded by Your Love, forever still, forever gentle and forever safe. God’s Son must be as You created him.

Today we pass illusions by. And if we hear temptation call to us to stay and linger in a dream, we turn aside and ask ourselves if we, the Sons of God, could be content with dreams, when Heaven can be chosen just as easily as hell, and love will happily replace all fear.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #42: Does A Course in Miracles refer to “God” as an interactive god who makes changes and alterations to our physical and worldly existence in relation to our daily actions? The Course initially states that we are changeless but later refers to all the various changes which we make as we progress. I do not understand if we are capable of making any changes or not? If we are changeless, why bother doing anything at all because we are what we are anyway.

A: Although much of the Course refers to God in personal terms, as if He were a concerned Father, distinct from His children, who is watching over us, when we understand the basic metaphysical teachings of the Course on God, it becomes apparent that these kinds of personal, human references to God can not be meant literally. They represent the Course’s attempt to “use the language that this [finite] mind can understand, in the condition [of separation] in which it thinks it is” (T.25.I.7:4) and to correct the misperceptions we hold of God from our ego interpretation of God as an angry, vengeful Father who seeks to punish us for our attacks on Him.

The Course spends very little time on the impossible task of describing to our limited, finite minds the true nature of God, His creations, and reality — “there is no symbol for totality” (T.27.III.5:1) — but there are a few attempts. For example, from the workbook, “What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him” (W.pI.12:4). And acknowledging the impossibility of capturing in words That Which is beyond all concepts and symbols: “Oneness is simply the idea God is. And in His Being, He encompasses all things. No mind holds anything but Him. We say ‘God is,’ and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless. There are no lips to speak them, and no part of mind sufficiently distinct to feel it is now aware of something not itself. It has united with its Source. And like its Source Itself, it merely is” (W.p.I.169.5).

So God, Who is “All in all” (T.7.IV.7:4), can not act on a part of Himself, as if it were separate from Him. And even to refer to Him as “Him” is to attribute a personal nature to the Source of all that in reality is totally abstract. The Course therefore does not describe God as interacting with his children in the world. That role is given to the Holy Spirit as the Voice for God, providing the Holy Spirit a symbolic function, unlike the Father and the Son (T.5.I.4:1). But since the world is all a projection of the basic ego illusion, which has no reality, there really is no world in which the Holy Spirit intervenes, only a mind that believes there is a world. And even then the Voice for God has no active function in the mind — “It merely reminds” (T.5.II.7:4) us of the truth about ourselves and God, which has never changed.

The Course also refers to God as “the Changeless,” (W.pI.112.2:2) and “Formlessness” (W.pI.186.14:1), Who creates “only the changeless” (T.6.IV.12:4). Consequently, it is inconceivable that He could be involved in making changes and alterations in a world of form.

And that brings us to the second question you raise about our changelessness. In our reality as spirit, nothing has changed and we remain sinless, perfect and at one with our Source — this is the principle of the Atonement, repeated numerous times throughout the Course. It is in this sense that we are truly changeless. But clearly this is not what we believe or experience about ourselves. And so the Course does not simply assert what is real and true and leave it at that. That would not be of any help to us, trapped as we seem to be in the morass of our mistaken beliefs. So the Course accepts us where we think we are, acknowledging that we believe that we are each a separate physical being, living as a body in a world of time and space, struggling against forces that seem to be beyond our control. And it offers us the means — forgiveness, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit — to find the way out of this meaningless, senseless maze of beliefs in which we have imprisoned ourselves (T.26.V.4:1). Not because any of it is real, but only because we believe it is. And so long as we believe we have changed ourselves from our true reality as Christ, we will need to move through a seeming process of change that undoes all the changes we believe we have introduced into our identity, until we at last realize that in reality nothing has changed at all and we are back at home in the Heaven we never left, where we have always been. So this is a process of undoing, and not really doing at all. And any change we may seem to experience in the process of undoing our mistaken beliefs is as illusory as the initial thought of change that seemed to expel us from Heaven. But while we hold on to the belief that change is both possible and real, then change will be our experience. And our only choice will be whether to seek for change that reinforces guilt and separation and seems to take us even farther from our true home, or change that results from the practice of forgiveness in the context of our worldly relationships, allowing us to return.

kingdom of god

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 27

ACIM Text Reading for September 27

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

II. Walking with Christ

An ancient lesson is not overcome by the opposing of the new and old. It is not vanquished that the truth be known, nor fought against to lose to truth’s appeal. There is no battle that must be prepared; no time to be expended, and no plans that need be laid for bringing in the new. There is an ancient battle being waged against the truth, but truth does not respond. Who could be hurt in such a war, unless he hurts himself? He has no enemy in truth. And can he be assailed by dreams?

Let us review again what seems to stand between you and the truth of what you are. For there are steps in its relinquishment. The first is a decision that you make. But afterwards, the truth is given you. You would establish truth. And by your wish you set two choices to be made, each time you think you must decide on anything. Neither is true. Nor are they different. Yet must we see them both, before you can look past them to the one alternative that is a different choice. But not in dreams you made, that this might be obscured to you.

What you would choose between is not a choice and gives but the illusion it is free, for it will have one outcome either way. Thus is it really not a choice at all. The leader and the follower emerge as separate roles, each seeming to possess advantages you would not want to lose. So in their fusion there appears to be the hope of satisfaction and of peace. You see yourself divided into both these roles, forever split between the two. And every friend or enemy becomes a means to help you save yourself from this.

Perhaps you call it love. Perhaps you think that it is murder justified at last. You hate the one you gave the leader’s role when you would have it, and you hate as well his not assuming it at times you want to let the follower in you arise, and give away the role of leadership. And this is what you made your brother for, and learned to think that this his purpose is. Unless he serves it, he has not fulfilled the function that was given him by you. And thus he merits death, because he has no purpose and no usefulness to you.

And what of him? What does he want of you? What could he want, but what you want of him? Herein is life as easily as death, for what you choose you choose as well for him. Two calls you make to him, as he to you. Between these two is choice, because from them there is a different outcome. If he be the leader or the follower to you it matters not, for you have chosen death. But if he calls for death or calls for life, for hate or for forgiveness and for help, is not the same in outcome. Hear the one, and you are separate from him and are lost. But hear the other, and you join with him and in your answer is salvation found. The voice you hear in him is but your own. What does he ask you for? And listen well! For he is asking what will come to you, because you see an image of yourself and hear your voice requesting what you want.

Before you answer, pause to think of this:

“The answer that I give my brother is
What I am asking for. And what I learn
Of him is what I learn about myself.”

Then let us wait an instant and be still, forgetting everything we thought we heard; remembering how much we do not know. This brother neither leads nor follows us, but walks beside us on the selfsame road. He is like us, as near or far away from what we want as we will let him be. We make no gains he does not make with us, and we fall back if he does not advance. Take not his hand in anger but in love, for in his progress do you count your own. And we go separately along the way unless you keep him safely by your side.

Because he is your equal in God’s Love, you will be saved from all appearances and answer to the Christ Who calls to you. Be still and listen. Think not ancient thoughts. Forget the dismal lessons that you learned about this Son of God who calls to you. Christ calls to all with equal tenderness, seeing no leaders and no followers, and hearing but one answer to them all. Because He hears one Voice, He cannot hear a different answer from the one He gave when God appointed Him His only Son.

Be very still an instant. Come without all thought of what you ever learned before, and put aside all images you made. The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent. There will be no attack upon the things you thought were precious and in need of care. There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made. Nothing will hurt you in this holy place, to which you come to listen silently and learn the truth of what you really want. No more than this will you be asked to learn. But as you hear it, you will understand you need but come away without the thoughts you did not want, and that were never true.

Forgive your brother all appearances, that are but ancient lessons you have taught yourself about the sinfulness in you. Hear but his call for mercy and release from all the fearful images he holds of what he is and of what you must be. He is afraid to walk with you, and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back, and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey’s goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning’s outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you.

An instant spent without your old ideas of who your great companion is and what he should be asking for, will be enough to let this happen. And you will perceive his purpose is the same as yours. He asks for what you want, and needs the same as you. It takes, perhaps, a different form in him, but it is not the form you answer to. He asks and you receive, for you have come with but one purpose; that you learn you love your brother with a brother’s love. And as a brother, must his Father be the same as yours, as he is like yourself in truth.

Together is your joint inheritance remembered and accepted by you both. Alone it is denied to both of you. Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone, with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. And thus there is confusion, and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is, and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you, so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight, but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 27

Lesson 271

Section 6. What is the Christ?

Christ is God’s Son as He created Him. He is the Self we share, uniting us with one another, and with God as well. He is the Thought which still abides within the Mind that is His Source. He has not left His holy home, nor lost the innocence in which He was created. He abides unchanged forever in the Mind of God.

Christ is the link that keeps you one with God, and guarantees that separation is no more than an illusion of despair, for hope forever will abide in Him. Your mind is part of His, and His of yours. He is the part in which God’s Answer lies; where all decisions are already made, and dreams are over. He remains untouched by anything the body’s eyes perceive. For though in Him His Father placed the means for your salvation, yet does He remain the Self Who, like His Father, knows no sin.

Home of the Holy Spirit, and at home in God alone, does Christ remain at peace within the Heaven of your holy mind. This is the only part of you that has reality in truth. The rest is dreams. Yet will these dreams be given unto Christ, to fade before His glory and reveal your holy Self, the Christ, to you at last.

The Holy Spirit reaches from the Christ in you to all your dreams, and bids them come to Him, to be translated into truth. He will exchange them for the final dream which God appointed as the end of dreams. For when forgiveness rests upon the world and peace has come to every Son of God, what could there be to keep things separate, for what remains to see except Christ’s face?

And how long will this holy face be seen, when it is but the symbol that the time for learning now is over, and the goal of the Atonement has been reached at last? So therefore let us seek to find Christ’s face and look on nothing else. As we behold His glory, will we know we have no need of learning or perception or of time, or anything except the holy Self, the Christ Whom God created as His Son.

Lesson 271

Christ’s is the vision I will use today.

Each day, each hour, every instant, I am choosing what I want to look upon, the sounds I want to hear, the witnesses to what I want to be the truth for me. Today I choose to look upon what Christ would have me see, to listen to God’s Voice, and seek the witnesses to what is true in God’s creation. In Christ’s sight, the world and God’s creation meet, and as they come together all perception disappears. His kindly sight redeems the world from death, for nothing that He looks on but must live, remembering the Father and the Son; Creator and creation unified.

Father, Christ’s vision is the way to You. What He beholds invites Your memory to be restored to me. And this I choose, to be what I would look upon today.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #38: What is the Course referring to when it says: “There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made” (T.31.II.8.5)?

A: The “call that never has been made” refers to the “call” to be separate from God, heard constantly in our wrong minds. It is impossible to separate from totality, from everything; therefore, the call “never was made.” That is another way of stating the Atonement principle that the separation never happened in reality. And we will not be punished for wishing to hear the call that tells us that our individual, separate identity is real. In a different context, Jesus says basically the same thing: “Here is your promise never to allow union to call you out of separation” (T.19.IV.D.3). But he never tires of reminding us that it is not a sin deserving of retribution to prefer to exist as an individual being and make up a God in our own image rather than answer the call of the Holy Spirit to return to our true Identity as spirit, as Christ. This is what is meant by: “There will be no assault…” It corrects the traditional biblical views that an offended, vengeful God demands atonement through sacrifice for the sins of His children.

Q #39: I have heard you say numerous times that when we awaken, we don’t go poof, that we don’t disappear, etc. And yet, every time I seriously consider going home with Jesus, I think of the unfinished job I still have “here” and it stops me. I then remember you say that whatever needs to be done here would be done because my body would then be directed in the most helpful way, but that it wouldn’t be my concern any more. In fact, if it were my concern, it would be my ego doing it. Is that right? How do I reconcile that with the example of bodhisattvas who choose to maintain an attachment to something in this world–be it a loved one or chocolate, in order to maintain the body and do the work of helping that they came here to do? That is an investment in what we do from the point of view of the Course, isn’t it?

A: If I understand you correctly, you are saying that you believe you are here and would like to go home, but you haven’t made that choice yet because you feel you are not finished here. That state of mind is distinctly different from the state of a mind that is healed, knows that it is not really here, but has become solely the instrument of the Holy Spirit’s Love. The starting points, in other words, are very different. The healed mind has already “left,” you might say, and is “here” in a totally different way from the mind that is still on the journey and considering the choice to go home with Jesus. A healed mind is beyond any bodily identity and thoroughly identified with non- dualistic love. To be present in an illusory state, therefore, requires a focus on something to help ground it. It could be anything at all — from a love of chocolate to following a certain baseball team. But there would never be a reluctance or resistance to returning home, because the healed mind knows it is already there; there is nothing to attain, no journey.

I believe you are expressing something entirely different in content from this state of mind. In form, both might experience that they are not yet finished with what they are here to do. But for those still on the journey and learning how to lessen their investment in their bodily identity, there would be tremendous fear to let go totally of the only identity with which they are familiar. It is a gradual process over many, many years requiring the commitment to look fearlessly with Jesus at the contents of their wrong minds, which rest almost immutably on the defiant choice to leave Home and never return. As Jesus poignantly reassures us: “I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny” (T.11.VI.3.6). It is a process, and the final choice will be made effortlessly. In fact, the attraction to Love will be so strong, that it will not even be regarded as a choice. There no longer is a concern about going “poof”!

secret of salvation

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 26

ACIM Text Reading for September 26

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

I. The Simplicity of Salvation

How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now, and never will be. The impossible has not occurred, and can have no effects. And that is all. Can this be hard to learn by anyone who wants it to be true? Only unwillingness to learn it could make such an easy lesson difficult. How hard is it to see that what is false can not be true, and what is true can not be false? You can no longer say that you perceive no differences in false and true. You have been told exactly how to tell one from the other, and just what to do if you become confused. Why, then, do you persist in learning not such simple things?

There is a reason. But confuse it not with difficulty in the simple things salvation asks you learn. It teaches but the very obvious. It merely goes from one apparent lesson to the next, in easy steps that lead you gently from one to another, with no strain at all. This cannot be confusing, yet you are confused. For somehow you believe that what is totally confused is easier to learn and understand. What you have taught yourself is such a giant learning feat it is indeed incredible. But you accomplished it because you wanted to, and did not pause in diligence to judge it hard to learn or too complex to grasp.

No one who understands what you have learned, how carefully you learned it, and the pains to which you went to practice and repeat the lessons endlessly, in every form you could conceive of them, could ever doubt the power of your learning skill. There is no greater power in the world. The world was made by it, and even now depends on nothing else. The lessons you have taught yourself have been so overlearned and fixed they rise like heavy curtains to obscure the simple and the obvious. Say not you cannot learn them. For your power to learn is strong enough to teach you that your will is not your own, your thoughts do not belong to you, and even you are someone else.

Who could maintain that lessons such as these are easy? Yet you have learned more than this. You have continued, taking every step, however difficult, without complaint, until a world was built that suited you. And every lesson that makes up the world arises from the first accomplishment of learning; an enormity so great the Holy Spirit’s Voice seems small and still before its magnitude. The world began with one strange lesson, powerful enough to render God forgotten, and His Son an alien to himself, in exile from the home where God Himself established him. You who have taught yourself the Son of God is guilty, say not that you cannot learn the simple things salvation teaches you!

Learning is an ability you made and gave yourself. It was not made to do the Will of God, but to uphold a wish that it could be opposed, and that a will apart from it was yet more real than it. And this has learning sought to demonstrate, and you have learned what it was made to teach. Now does your ancient overlearning stand implacable before the Voice of truth, and teach you that Its lessons are not true; too hard to learn, too difficult to see, and too opposed to what is really true. Yet you will learn them, for their learning is the only purpose for your learning skill the Holy Spirit sees in all the world. His simple lessons in forgiveness have a power mightier than yours, because they call from God and from your Self to you.

Is this a little Voice, so small and still It cannot rise above the senseless noise of sounds that have no meaning? God willed not His Son forget Him. And the power of His Will is in the Voice That speaks for Him. Which lesson will you learn? What outcome is inevitable, sure as God, and far beyond all doubt and question? Can it be your little learning, strange in outcome and incredible in difficulty will withstand the simple lessons being taught to you in every moment of each day, since time began and learning had been made?

The lessons to be learned are only two. Each has its outcome in a different world. And each world follows surely from its source. The certain outcome of the lesson that God’s Son is guilty is the world you see. It is a world of terror and despair. Nor is there hope of happiness in it. There is no plan for safety you can make that ever will succeed. There is no joy that you can seek for here and hope to find. Yet this is not the only outcome which your learning can produce. However much you may have overlearned your chosen task, the lesson that reflects the Love of God is stronger still. And you will learn God’s Son is innocent, and see another world.

The outcome of the lesson that God’s Son is guiltless is a world in which there is no fear, and everything is lit with hope and sparkles with a gentle friendliness. Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend, and let it join with you. And never does a call remain unheard, misunderstood, nor left unanswered in the selfsame tongue in which the call was made. And you will understand it was this call that everyone and everything within the world has always made, but you had not perceived it as it was. And now you see you were mistaken. You had been deceived by forms the call was hidden in. And so you did not hear it, and had lost a friend who always wanted to be part of you. The soft eternal calling of each part of God’s creation to the whole is heard throughout the world this second lesson brings.

There is no living thing that does not share the universal Will that it be whole, and that you do not leave its call unheard. Without your answer is it left to die, as it is saved from death when you have heard its calling as the ancient call to life, and understood that it is but your own. The Christ in you remembers God with all the certainty with which He knows His Love. But only if His Son is innocent can He be Love. For God were fear indeed if he whom He created innocent could be a slave to guilt. God’s perfect Son remembers his creation. But in guilt he has forgotten what he really is.

The fear of God results as surely from the lesson that His Son is guilty as God’s Love must be remembered when he learns his innocence. For hate must father fear, and look upon its father as itself. How wrong are you who fail to hear the call that echoes past each seeming call to death, that sings behind each murderous attack and pleads that love restore the dying world. You do not understand Who calls to you beyond each form of hate; each call to war. Yet you will recognize Him as you give Him answer in the language that He calls. He will appear when you have answered Him, and you will know in Him that God is Love.

What is temptation but a wish to make the wrong decision on what you would learn, and have an outcome that you do not want? It is the recognition that it is a state of mind unwanted that becomes the means whereby the choice is reassessed; another outcome seen to be preferred. You are deceived if you believe you want disaster and disunity and pain. Hear not the call for this within yourself. But listen, rather, to the deeper call beyond it that appeals for peace and joy. And all the world will give you joy and peace. For as you hear, you answer. And behold! Your answer is the proof of what you learned. Its outcome is the world you look upon.

Let us be still an instant, and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and every preconception that we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away.

Be innocent of judgment, unaware of any thoughts of evil or of good that ever crossed your mind of anyone. Now do you know him not. But you are free to learn of him, and learn of him anew. Now is he born again to you, and you are born again to him, without the past that sentenced him to die, and you with him. Now is he free to live as you are free, because an ancient learning passed away, and left a place for truth to be reborn.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 26

Lesson 270

I will not use the body’s eyes today.

Father, Christ’s vision is Your gift to me, and it has power to translate all that the body’s eyes behold into the sight of a forgiven world. How glorious and gracious is this world! Yet how much more will I perceive in it than sight can give. The world forgiven signifies Your Son acknowledges his Father, lets his dreams be brought to truth, and waits expectantly the one remaining instant more of time which ends forever, as Your memory returns to him. And now his will is one with Yours. His function now is but Your Own, and every thought except Your Own is gone.

The quiet of today will bless our hearts, and through them peace will come to everyone. Christ is our eyes today. And through His sight we offer healing to the world through Him, the holy Son whom God created whole; the holy Son whom God created One.


ACIM Q & A for  Today

Q #1116In the answer to Question #771, you say, “Jesus did not need to forgive those who crucified his body because he was not identified with his body.” In bodies we need to learn to forgive others. The Jesus who appears in the Bible makes the most important quote of his entire career by saying, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” If he had no need to extend forgiveness to those who attacked his body, then why did he ask for those who had attacked his body to be forgiven? If one claims that this Jesus in his petition for forgiveness in the Bible has nothing to do with the Jesus in A Course in Miracles, then we have completely thrown out the baby with the bath water.

While it is easy to recognize the insanity of this world, one can but wonder at the lack of consistency in conflicting statements made throughout the entire texts. If they were in error or mere figures of speech, the distinction is not usually or clearly drawn for the reader. How can inconsistency be consistent with truth? If a thing is true it must always be true.

A: Ah yes, it can all become so very confusing when we try to understand who really said what when, or when we aren’t clear how to differentiate between what is meant literally and what is meant metaphorically in a writing such as the Course, which is much more like a poem than a scientific treatise.

Perhaps the simplest way to respond to your query would be this. The content of the message of the figure we call Jesus who lived two thousand years ago is the same as the content of the message of the Jesus who speaks to us now from outside time and space through the Course. The forms no doubt are different, for a variety of reasons, including differences in the psychological sophistication of the times then and now. However, it is a completely separate question as to whether Jesus’ followers, especially those who attempted to put his good news down in writing two thousand years ago, truly understood his message of love and forgiveness. From the Course’s perspective, if we accept its words as coming from the same source as the Jesus who appeared two thousand years ago in Palestine, the accuracy of the New Testament and its gospels as reports on Jesus’ words and teachings is debatable. Jesus’ followers’ recollections of his message, or what they heard second and third hand from others (ever played the game of “telephone’?), were no doubt distorted by the projections of their own egos.

Jesus comments very explicitly on these distortions in the text:

      “The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are .

      “If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the “wrath of God” as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry.

      “These are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament, although its gospel is really only the message of love. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they never could have quoted me as saying, ‘I come not to bring peace but a sword.’ This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught. Nor could they have described my reactions to Judas as they did, if they had really understood me. I could not have said, ‘Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?’ unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not. The ‘punishment’ I was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?

      “As you read the teachings of the Apostles, remember that I told them myself that there was much they would understand later, because they were not wholly ready to follow me at the time ” (T.6.I.13;14;15;16:1) .

So you’re going to make yourself crazy if you attempt to reconcile the teachings of the Course with what Jesus’ followers two thousand years ago wrote about what they thought he had said and taught and done. The statement you repeat above as attributed to Jesus by the gospel writers at his crucifixion, if taken literally, would undermine the whole foundation upon which the Course’s teachings on forgiveness rest. If Jesus had believed there was anything to forgive, he would have been making sin real and his request to the Father would be what Jesus in “The Song of Prayer” pamphlet refers to as forgiveness-to-destroy (S.2.I,II) . Jesus in the Course does provide an alternative interpretation of this gospel statement that clearly provides a correction for its original intent: “Miracle-minded forgiveness is onlycorrection. It has no element of judgment at all. The statement ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’ in no way evaluates what they do. It is an appeal to God to heal their minds. There is no reference to the outcome of the error. That does not matter” (T.2.V.A.16) .

Now if you feel more drawn to the stories and quotations attributed to Jesus in the New Testament than to his words in the Course, then perhaps the Course is not your path. You are the only one who can decide that. But if the Course is your path, you’ll want to stay focused on its content and not get lost in the ego’s hairsplitting over discrepancies and contradictions. Jesus emphasizes this near the end of the Course:

“This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception….

      “All terms are potentially controversial, and those who seek controversy will find it. Yet those who seek clarification will find it as well. They must, however, be willing to overlook controversy, recognizing that it is a defense against truth in the form of a delaying maneuver…. A universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed. Here alone consistency becomes possible because here alone uncertainty ends.

      “This course remains within the ego framework, where it is needed…. Therefore it uses words, which are symbolic, and cannot express what lies beyond symbols. … The course is simple . It has one function [ forgiveness ]and one goal [ peace ]. Only in that does it remain wholly consistent because only that can be consistent”,2; 2:1,2,3,5,6,7; 3:1,3,8,9,10 ).

Finally, in response to your concluding comment: A thing, including the Course, as well as the Bible, can never be true. The content underlying the words can reflect the truth, but the words themselves are not the truth. Teachings can only point to the truth, which is beyond all words and symbols.

For further discussion on the nature of the Course’s use of symbols, The Message of A Course in Miracles, Part II: Few Choose to Listen,as well as the audiotape and CD set, Duality as Metaphor , can be especially helpful.

Q #1117You mentioned in an earlier answer that recalling the past was a defense against the truth. I know from reading A Course in Miracles that sickness is also one of these defenses. Can you give a list of other common defenses?

A: Since the guilt that arises as the result of the mind’s choice for separation is projected on to the body, everything pertaining to the body is a defense against the truth because it was made as a substitute for the oneness that was abandoned when separation was chosen. A list of defenses contains everything we choose to use to defend and protect belief in separation. It is a long list indeed. Anything that proves the world “real” in our experience defends the mind’s belief in it, thereby denying the truth of oneness. This is the mind’s way of dissociating from itself in its attempt to remain separate from its Source. The truth, however, is that there is no defense against the truth; it can be denied, forgotten, blocked from awareness, but it cannot be changed or extinguished. We read on the first page of the text: “Nothing real (truth) can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists” ( . It follows that the illusory existence of what is not real (ego/ world) requires constant defense in order for the mind to sustain belief in it by its choice. Thus, the entire made-up physical universe is a defense. Obviously we cannot undo the belief in separation by crossing defenses off our list.

However, we learn in the Course that everything made as a defense against the truth can be used by the Holy Spirit to lead to the truth. Through the process of forgiveness, the entire defense strategy of the ego is transformed into a classroom for learning to accept the truth. The body and the world lose their power to defend against the truth when they are seen as projections of the mind. Willingness to apply this important principle in any situation strengthens belief in the power of the mind and weakens the ego’s defense arsenal. There is no need to fight against the defenses. They need only be recognized as a smokescreen used by the ego to keep truth from awareness. They reflect the mind’s choice to identify with the ego and to forget that it ever made a choice. One of the important goals of the Course is to uncover the ego’s deceptive scheme and expose its defenses so the mind can choose to correct the error of believing in separation and accept its true identity as mind. Anything outside of the mind that is perceived as having any positive or negative effect on the mind’s perfect peace is a defense against it and therefore against the truth. It constitutes a denial of the part of the mind that holds the memory of God’s Love and abides in perfect peace. Being willing to see the ego’s defense strategy at work in every relationship is the beginning of its undoing by the mere fact that it has been exposed. Not justifying the mind’s projections lessens their effectiveness as defenses; not defending the defenses weakens them. Through this gentle practice, the ego’s grip is loosened and eventually undone. The defense list fades and is erased.

 secret of salvation


ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 25

ACIM Text Reading for September 25

Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning

IX. Changeless Reality

Appearances deceive, but can be changed. Reality is changeless. It does not deceive at all, and if you fail to see beyond appearances you are deceived. For everything you see will change, and yet you thought it real before, and now you think it real again. Reality is thus reduced to form, and capable of change. Reality is changeless. It is this that makes it real, and keeps it separate from all appearances. It must transcend all form to be itself. It cannot change.

The miracle is means to demonstrate that all appearances can change because they are appearances, and cannot have the changelessness reality entails. The miracle attests salvation from appearances by showing they can change. Your brother has a changelessness in him beyond appearance and deception, both. It is obscured by changing views of him that you perceive as his reality. The happy dream about him takes the form of the appearance of his perfect health, his perfect freedom from all forms of lack, and safety from disaster of all kinds. The miracle is proof he is not bound by loss or suffering in any form, because it can so easily be changed. This demonstrates that it was never real, and could not stem from his reality. For that is changeless, and has no effects that anything in Heaven or on earth could ever alter. But appearances are shown to be unreal because they change.

What is temptation but a wish to make illusions real? It does not seem to be the wish that no reality be so. Yet it is an assertion that some forms of idols have a powerful appeal that makes them harder to resist than those you would not want to have reality. Temptation, then, is nothing more than this; a prayer the miracle touch not some dreams, but keep their unreality obscure and give to them reality instead. And Heaven gives no answer to the prayer, nor can a miracle be given you to heal appearances you do not like. You have established limits. What you ask is given you, but not of God Who knows no limits. You have limited yourself.

Reality is changeless. Miracles but show what you have interposed between reality and your awareness is unreal, and does not interfere at all. The cost of the belief there must be some appearances beyond the hope of change is that the miracle cannot come forth from you consistently. For you have asked it be withheld from power to heal all dreams. There is no miracle you cannot have when you desire healing. But there is no miracle that can be given you unless you want it. Choose what you would heal, and He Who gives all miracles has not been given freedom to bestow His gifts upon God’s Son. When he is tempted, he denies reality. And he becomes the willing slave of what he chose instead.

Because reality is changeless is a miracle already there to heal all things that change, and offer them to you to see in happy form, devoid of fear. It will be given you to look upon your brother thus. But not while you would have it otherwise in some respects. For this but means you would not have him healed and whole. The Christ in him is perfect. Is it this that you would look upon? Then let there be no dreams about him that you would prefer to seeing this. And you will see the Christ in him because you let Him come to you. And when He has appeared to you, you will be certain you are like Him, for He is the changeless in your brother and in you.

This will you look upon when you decide there is not one appearance you would hold in place of what your brother really is. Let no temptation to prefer a dream allow uncertainty to enter here. Be not made guilty and afraid when you are tempted by a dream of what he is. But do not give it power to replace the changeless in him in your sight of him. There is no false appearance but will fade, if you request a miracle instead. There is no pain from which he is not free, if you would have him be but what he is. Why should you fear to see the Christ in him? You but behold yourself in what you see. As he is healed are you made free of guilt, for his appearance is your own to you.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 25

Lesson 268

Let all things be exactly as they are.

Let me not be Your critic, Lord, today, and judge against You. Let me not attempt to interfere with Your creation, and distort it into sickly forms. Let me be willing to withdraw my wishes from its unity, and thus to let it be as You created it. For thus will I be able, too, to recognize my Self as You created me. In love was I created, and in love will I remain forever. What can frighten me, when I let all things be exactly as they are?

Let not our sight be blasphemous today, nor let our ears attend to lying tongues. Only reality is free of pain. Only reality is free of loss. Only reality is wholly safe. And it is only this we seek today.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #160: Is there a difference between waking and sleeping dreams as an indication of which thought system and teacher you’ve really chosen, the ego or the Holy Spirit? During my waking dream, I study the principles of A Course in Miracles for hours each day, and try to be in my right mind, willing not to judge myself and others or judge that the world and the body still seem real to me. And so I very often find peace, or the willingness to find peace. But once I go into the sleeping dream, it seems like the ego’s home turf. None of the mind training I’ve been studying and practicing shows up. The dreams are nonsensical, crazy, scary, and have no reflection of any holiness in them. So are my night time dreams really defining what beliefs are in my mind? Do these dreams negate and override my waking dreams? When my mind is healed will the content of both my day and night dreams be the same? Also, would listening to Course-related audio tapes prior to falling asleep and while asleep allow ideas to penetrate into your mind more easily than while awake?

A: If you can remember that the ego’s purpose is always to make differences seem real, you can begin to recognize that your question of differences between your waking and sleeping states is merely another arena in which the ego is attempting to confuse you so it can maintain a grip on your mind. And all the better if it can lead you to question the value and validity of what shifts you are already experiencing in some aspects of your life.

It will be more helpful, rather than believing that there is a qualitative difference between waking and sleeping dreams, to recognize that in some circumstances you remember that you have a choice and in others you forget that you do. For some people, this may be reflected in differences in the intensity of their reactions and their willingness to forgive between their relationships at home and those at work. For others it may be differences in how strong their ego reaction is with one parent in comparison to the other. And in your case, it is a difference between remembering the Holy Spirit during your waking state and your sleeping state. Regardless of the specific circumstances in which the ego seems to have the upper hand, the solution will always be the same. As soon as you recognize that the ego has taken over and that you also have a choice of teachers – – no matter whether it’s in the middle of an ego reaction or sometime later — all you need do is ask for the help that the Holy Spirit offers. And so in your case, whether you remember while you are still asleep or only after you wake up does not matter. All you need to do is recognize that it’s your ego and you can now make a different choice.

Over time, we learn to generalize our lessons of forgiveness to more and more relationships and situations and states of mind. But we need not concern ourselves with why there are differences along the way. Our only concern is to recognize where we are still holding back and then, when we are ready and willing, apply the principles of forgiveness to those thoughts. Clearly, with your sleeping dreams, after you awaken, you know you are only talking about thoughts in your mind and not events that seem to have any reality and long term consequences. The fact that they can still seem to have power simply demonstrates the desire for the ego to be real. So generalizing after you are awake should become easier and easier, and in time you may find yourself beginning to remember the choice you have during your sleeping dreams as well. But whether you remember during the dream itself is not a critical concern, except in your ego’s view. For further discussion of waking vs. sleeping dreams, you may wish to read Question #41.

As to whether there is more of a willingness to learn Course principles when falling asleep or during sleep, there can be no definitive answer, individual differences being what they are. Some students in fact find listening to tapes a great way to help themselves fall asleep!

Q #161: Why is the message of Jesus in A Course in Miracles so different than that of His mother the Virgin Mary in all her apparitions throughout the last century? In her message God is aware of what goes on in this world, and does punish the unfaithful.

A: The people who have experienced apparitions of Mary have heard a message that is compatible with their religious beliefs. In many cases, they are fervent believers with traditional theological views. The two points you mention, that God is aware of happenings in this world, and punishes the unfaithful, are beliefs held by many Christians. For believers, a religious experience such as an apparition by a spiritual being like Mary, deepens and validates their faith. Love would not challenge their belief system, by introducing unfamiliar concepts from a different path, such as A Course in Miracles. As you may know, the Course is a spiritual teaching that is not based on the Bible or traditional Christian or Catholic theology. Although it uses Christian terms, their meaning in the Course is different. However, both Mary’s message, and the message of A Course in Miracles can be experienced as loving and helpful teachings for their respective followers. They may be similar in content though not at all similar in form. In form they are, as you say, very different. That is because they are two very different spiritual thought systems with different theological beliefs. It is important to remember that thoughts and beliefs are not truth; they are expressions or reflections of it. Jesus and Mary represent a truth that is beyond any of the forms that may give it expression. Truth uses different forms, at different times, for different people. This does not contradict the content of the message, the purpose of which is to lead us back to our home in God. As we are told in the Course: “Helpers are given you in many forms, although upon the altar they are one. Beyond each one there is a Thought of God, and this will never change. But they have names which differ for a time, for time needs symbols, being itself unreal” (C.5.1:3,4,5).

Neither the theological views nor the specific beliefs is what is important. What matters is the love that is being expressed by a spiritual teacher, and the helpfulness of the teaching. If our concern is that God be sure to punish the unfaithful, we are missing the point ourselves. The important thing is that we be faithful to the beliefs taught by our spiritual path, with a fervent desire to return to God. If a person accepts the love that inspires their specific religious belief system and learns to truly live that love themselves, in the end it does not matter whether they began their journey out of fear of God’s punishment, or because they were seeking God’s peace. It is the experience that is important. The Course tells us: “A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary” ( There are many paths, many faiths, many forms of expression, but one truth, one God.


ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 24

ACIM Text Reading for September 24

Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning

VIII. The New Interpretation

Would God have left the meaning of the world to your interpretation? If He had, it has no meaning. For it cannot be that meaning changes constantly, and yet is true. The Holy Spirit looks upon the world as with one purpose, changelessly established. And no situation can affect its aim, but must be in accord with it. For only if its aim could change with every situation could each one be open to interpretation which is different every time you think of it. You add an element into the script you write for every minute in the day, and all that happens now means something else. You take away another element, and every meaning shifts accordingly.

What do your scripts reflect except your plans for what the day should be? And thus you judge disaster and success, advance, retreat, and gain and loss. These judgments all are made according to the roles the script assigns. The fact they have no meaning in themselves is demonstrated by the ease with which these labels change with other judgments, made on different aspects of experience. And then, in looking back, you think you see another meaning in what went before. What have you really done, except to show there was no meaning there? But you assigned a meaning in the light of goals that change, with every meaning shifting as they change.

Only a constant purpose can endow events with stable meaning. But it must accord one meaning to them all. If they are given different meanings, it must be that they reflect but different purposes. And this is all the meaning that they have. Can this be meaning? Can confusion be what meaning means? Perception cannot be in constant flux, and make allowance for stability of meaning anywhere. Fear is a judgment never justified. Its presence has no meaning but to show you wrote a fearful script, and are afraid accordingly. But not because the thing you fear has fearful meaning in itself.

A common purpose is the only means whereby perception can be stabilized, and one interpretation given to the world and all experiences here. In this shared purpose is one judgment shared by everyone and everything you see. You do not have to judge, for you have learned one meaning has been given everything, and you are glad to see it everywhere. It cannot change because you would perceive it everywhere, unchanged by circumstance. And so you offer it to all events, and let them offer you stability.

Escape from judgment simply lies in this; all things have but one purpose, which you share with all the world. And nothing in the world can be opposed to it, for it belongs to everything, as it belongs to you. In single purpose is the end of all ideas of sacrifice, which must assume a different purpose for the one who gains and him who loses. There could be no thought of sacrifice apart from this idea. And it is this idea of different goals that makes perception shift and meaning change. In one united goal does this become impossible, for your agreement makes interpretation stabilize and last.

How can communication really be established while the symbols that are used mean different things? The Holy Spirit’s goal gives one interpretation, meaningful to you and to your brother. Thus can you communicate with him, and he with you. In symbols that you both can understand the sacrifice of meaning is undone. All sacrifice entails the loss of your ability to see relationships among events. And looked at separately they have no meaning. For there is no light by which they can be seen and understood. They have no purpose. And what they are for cannot be seen. In any thought of loss there is no meaning. No one has agreed with you on what it means. It is a part of a distorted script, which cannot be interpreted with meaning. It must be forever unintelligible. This is not communication. Your dark dreams are but the senseless, isolated scripts you write in sleep. Look not to separate dreams for meaning. Only dreams of pardon can be shared. They mean the same to both of you.

Do not interpret out of solitude, for what you see means nothing. It will shift in what it stands for, and you will believe the world is an uncertain place, in which you walk in danger and uncertainty. It is but your interpretations which are lacking in stability, for they are not in line with what you really are. This is a state so seemingly unsafe that fear must rise. Do not continue thus, my brother. We have one Interpreter. And through His use of symbols are we joined, so that they mean the same to all of us. Our common language lets us speak to all our brothers, and to understand with them forgiveness has been given to us all, and thus we can communicate again.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 24

Lesson 267

My heart is beating in the peace of God.

Surrounding me is all the life that God created in His Love. It calls to me in every heartbeat and in every breath; in every action and in every thought. Peace fills my heart, and floods my body with the purpose of forgiveness. Now my mind is healed, and all I need to save the world is given me. Each heartbeat brings me peace; each breath infuses me with strength. I am a messenger of God, directed by His Voice, sustained by Him in love, and held forever quiet and at peace within His loving Arms. Each heartbeat calls His Name, and every one is answered by His Voice, assuring me I am at home in Him.

Let me attend Your Answer, not my own. Father, my heart is beating in the peace the Heart of Love created. It is there and only there that I can be at home.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #338: I know that if I attack another I will feel guilty and I should ask the Holy Spirit for help if I feel I’ve been attacked. Would this apply equally if I have a behavior such as an addiction that I feel guilty about? If I continue with the behavior I am sure to feel guilty. If I stop the behavior I may not feel guilty, but I really haven’t fixed the problem. What would be the best way to handle this situation? The specific problem I am talking about is overeating.

A: Yes, whether I am attacking another, feeling attacked by another, or attacking myself — which is what an addiction represents — the only appropriate response is to ask the Holy Spirit for help. An addiction is an attack on myself because it says, over and over again, that I am incomplete and must seek outside myself for my completion, a repeated denial that I am the Christ, forever one with Its Source (T.29.VII.2,3,4,6).

All attack, no matter how it is expressed, is nothing more than the projection of the hidden guilt in our minds that the ego insists we must bear because of our (imagined) attack on God at the moment of separation, when we denied our reality as Christ. We’ve convinced ourselves that our guilt is real, but then have attempted to avoid responsibility for it. And so we seek to project the guilt outside our mind so that it seems to reside instead in bodies, our own and others. We keep this dynamic hidden from ourselves, so that the guilt remains protected. But when we ask for help from Jesus or the Holy Spirit, we are really indicating a willingness to accept responsibility (but not blame!) for the way we feel, seeing the external situation now, not as the problem, but rather as an indicator of the guilt that would otherwise remain unconscious in the mind.

And so, as you observe, focusing on changing or controlling the behavior, such as overeating, does not address the real problem. For we are only modifying an external symptom, or effect, of the guilt without addressing the cause, the guilt itself, which, remaining unexamined, we will continue to believe is real. Consequently, we will look to project the unbearable but nevertheless illusory guilt onto some other external form, perhaps another addiction. Early in A Course in Miracles Jesus speaks of how controlling or changing behavior, without addressing the mind, simply produces strain, which is intolerable, leading usually to rage and further projection (T.2.VI.5).

Now this does not mean that there is no value in developing some discipline and bringing out-of- control behavior under control, especially if the addiction is physically or emotionally damaging to us, thereby reinforcing the guilt in our minds. And the choice to bring about a helpful external shift may certainly reflect a real but still perhaps unconscious desire for an inner shift from the ego to the Holy Spirit as our teacher. But at some stage in our learning, we will come to recognize that guilt in the mind is always the only problem. Only through recognizing its inevitable projection out onto the world of form do we begin to become aware of it in our mind, where we can make a meaningful choice for its release.

A single tape by Kenneth Wapnick, as well as a small book transcribed and edited from the tape, both titled Overeating: A Dialogue, explore the issue of overeating in greater depth. The material, while addressing food addictions, can be applied to any addiction, since the content is always the same. There is also additional discussion of addictions from the Course’s perspective in Questions #30 and #57.


ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 23

ACIM Text Reading for September 23

Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning

VII. The Justification for Forgiveness

Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation. It is here escape from fear begins, and will be made complete. Here is the real world given in exchange for dreams of terror. For it is on this forgiveness rests, and is but natural. You are not asked to offer pardon where attack is due, and would be justified. For that would mean that you forgive a sin by overlooking what is really there. This is not pardon. For it would assume that, by responding in a way which is not justified, your pardon will become the answer to attack that has been made. And thus is pardon inappropriate, by being granted where it is not due.

Pardon is always justified. It has a sure foundation. You do not forgive the unforgivable, nor overlook a real attack that calls for punishment. Salvation does not lie in being asked to make unnatural responses which are inappropriate to what is real. Instead, it merely asks that you respond appropriately to what is not real by not perceiving what has not occurred. If pardon were unjustified, you would be asked to sacrifice your rights when you return forgiveness for attack. But you are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is the only sane response. It keeps your rights from being sacrificed.

This understanding is the only change that lets the real world rise to take the place of dreams of terror. Fear cannot arise unless attack is justified, and if it had a real foundation pardon would have none. The real world is achieved when you perceive the basis of forgiveness is quite real and fully justified. While you regard it as a gift unwarranted, it must uphold the guilt you would “forgive.” Unjustified forgiveness is attack. And this is all the world can ever give. It pardons “sinners” sometimes, but remains aware that they have sinned. And so they do not merit the forgiveness that it gives.

This is the false forgiveness which the world employs to keep the sense of sin alive. And recognizing God is just, it seems impossible His pardon could be real. Thus is the fear of God the sure result of seeing pardon as unmerited. No one who sees himself as guilty can avoid the fear of God. But he is saved from this dilemma if he can forgive. The mind must think of its Creator as it looks upon itself. If you can see your brother merits pardon, you have learned forgiveness is your right as much as his. Nor will you think that God intends for you a fearful judgment that your brother does not merit. For it is the truth that you can merit neither more nor less than he.

Forgiveness recognized as merited will heal. It gives the miracle its strength to overlook illusions. This is how you learn that you must be forgiven too. There can be no appearance that can not be overlooked. For if there were, it would be necessary first there be some sin that stands beyond forgiveness. There would be an error that is more than a mistake; a special form of error that remains unchangeable, eternal, and beyond correction or escape. There would be one mistake that had the power to undo creation, and to make a world that could replace it and destroy the Will of God. Only if this were possible could there be some appearances that could withstand the miracle, and not be healed by it.

There is no surer proof idolatry is what you wish than a belief there are some forms of sickness and of joylessness forgiveness cannot heal. This means that you prefer to keep some idols, and are not prepared, as yet, to let all idols go. And thus you think that some appearances are real and not appearances at all. Be not deceived about the meaning of a fixed belief that some appearances are harder to look past than others are. It always means you think forgiveness must be limited. And you have set a goal of partial pardon and a limited escape from guilt for you. What can this be except a false forgiveness of yourself, and everyone who seems apart from you?

It must be true the miracle can heal all forms of sickness, or it cannot heal. Its purpose cannot be to judge which forms are real, and which appearances are true. If one appearance must remain apart from healing, one illusion must be part of truth. And you could not escape all guilt, but only some of it. You must forgive God’s Son entirely. Or you will keep an image of yourself that is not whole, and will remain afraid to look within and find escape from every idol there. Salvation rests on faith there cannot be some forms of guilt that you cannot forgive. And so there cannot be appearances that have replaced the truth about God’s Son.

Look on your brother with the willingness to see him as he is. And do not keep a part of him outside your willingness that he be healed. To heal is to make whole. And what is whole can have no missing parts that have been kept outside. Forgiveness rests on recognizing this, and being glad there cannot be some forms of sickness which the miracle must lack the power to heal.

God’s Son is perfect, or he cannot be God’s Son. Nor will you know him, if you think he does not merit the escape from guilt in all its consequences and its forms. There is no way to think of him but this, if you would know the truth about yourself.

“I thank You, Father, for Your perfect Son,
and in his glory will I see my own.”

Here is the joyful statement that there are no forms of evil that can overcome the Will of God; the glad acknowledgment that guilt has not succeeded by your wish to make illusions real. And what is this except a simple statement of the truth?

Look on your brother with this hope in you, and you will understand he could not make an error that could change the truth in him. It is not difficult to overlook mistakes that have been given no effects. But what you see as having power to make an idol of the Son of God you will not pardon. For he has become to you a graven image and a sign of death. Is this your savior? Is his Father wrong about His Son? Or have you been deceived in him who has been given you to heal, for your salvation and deliverance?



ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 23

Lesson 266

My holy Self abides in you, God’s Son.

Father, You gave me all Your Sons, to be my saviors and my counselors in sight; the bearers of Your holy Voice to me. In them are You reflected, and in them does Christ look back upon me from my Self. Let not Your Son forget Your holy Name. Let not Your Son forget his holy Source. Let not Your Son forget his Name is Yours.

This day we enter into Paradise, calling upon God’s Name and on our own, acknowledging our Self in each of us; united in the holy Love of God. How many saviors God has given us! How can we lose the way to Him, when He has filled the world with those who point to Him, and given us the sight to look on them?


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #337: What are errors and mistakes? Are they physical actions or ways of looking? Why does the ego always remind us of how we hurt people or ourselves, or if something wasn’t fair. Why does the ego seem right and why does it seem logical? Is it the ego or the Holy Spirit pointing out my faults? If the Holy Spirit helps one correct the error does that mean the ego is right in its judgment of the so-called “error”? How do you know if it’s an error and why does the ego demand “correction” of it as well? Also it states a few times about how a Son of God will not murder yet animals murder all the time to live. Is nature wrong and how are we exempt from it?

A: It could take a book to answer your litany of questions satisfactorily, but we will try to suggest a few ideas here that will hopefully point you in the right direction. Since, from the perspective of A Course in Miracles, there is only mind, errors or mistakes can be only of the mind. Jesus clarifies this very early in the text when he explains that “only the mind is capable of error. The body can act wrongly only when it is responding to misthought” (T.2.IV.2:4,5). And, as you suggest, errors are really mistaken ways of looking or, to be more specific, mistaken ways of looking at the world, our brothers, and ourselves with the ego as our guide rather than with Jesus or the Holy Spirit. And ego-directed looking is always judgmental. It is only the ego that points out our faults. The Holy Spirit will gently invite us to recognize how our thinking is misguided when we listen to the ego, but His purpose would never be to accuse us or to induce guilt in us over our mistakes (T.9.III.1).

Now our original error was the thought that we could separate ourselves from God and that we have in fact succeeded in establishing a separate identity for ourselves independent of Him. Every error that has followed since in our thinking comes from that initial thought of separation. But we have deliberately compounded the errors in our mind in such a way that we have quite intentionally confused ourselves and lost sight of that original error. So all of our errors since the initial one are really subterfuges that keep us unaware of the original mistake and focused instead on addressing all the other seeming mistakes and problems in our life. And so that is why the ego, as you observe, is always reminding us of how we hurt others or have been hurt ourselves — this is the cover for the real problem, so that we never call the belief in separation into question.

Just because the ego is based on a mistaken thought, an insane premise — that we could separate from God — does not mean that the thought system built on that premise does not have a very definite and persuasive internal logic to it, once we accept its premise. Jesus in the Course says, “The ego’s logic is as impeccable as that of the Holy Spirit, because your mind has the means at its disposal to side with Heaven or earth, as it elects” (T.5.V.1:4). And in fact, logic has its origins in the ego thought system, for there is nothing to decide or deduce or prove in Heaven. But having once accepted the ego’s logic, which seems to condemn us to hell for eternity, the good news is that we can let go of our guilt-reinforcing use for it and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in its application, with very different results: “The Holy Spirit uses logic as easily and as well as does the ego, except that His conclusions are not insane. They take a direction exactly opposite, pointing as clearly to Heaven as the ego points to darkness and to death. We have followed much of the ego’s logic, and have seen its logical conclusions. And having seen them, we have realized that they cannot be seen except in illusions, for there alone their seeming clearness seems to be clearly seen. Let us now turn away from them, and follow the simple logic by which the Holy Spirit teaches the simple conclusions that speak for truth, and only truth” (,5,6,7,8).

Correction in the Holy Spirit’s thought system is different in every way, including purpose, from the ego’s. The ego sees error as sin to prove its own existence and to convince us that we can see the guilt we have made real over that error in others rather than in ourselves. In contrast, the only error the Holy Spirit corrects is our belief in the ego. Clearly this is an error the ego cannot correct, since its own existence depends on our belief in separation. The ego corrects through attack and punishment, the Holy Spirit through the gentle process of forgiveness. And the Holy Spirit begins to undo our belief in separation by leading us toward a recognition of shared rather than separate interests with our brothers. For more on the contrast between the Holy Spirit’s and the ego’s correction of error, you may wish to look at “The Correction of Error” in the text (T.9.III).

The Son of God cannot attack or murder in reality. But that he can believe he can is apparent when you pick up a newspaper or watch the news on TV, or simply examine your own thoughts when you are angry. It is not nature that leads humans or other animals to kill. Nature is just an aspect of the illusory world, which is an effect of our mistaken choice in the mind for separation. It is the desire to protect our individual illusory self at any cost that leads to murder first in thought and then in action. And yet, contrary to what the ego, the world and our senses may tell us, correction is not needed at the level of behavior, but only in our feverish imaginations that believe that all of this is real. “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this? And would you see it?” (T.20.VIII.7:3,4,5,6,7). This does not mean that we are asked to deny what our eyes seem to show us, but rather to be open to a different interpretation of what we see, through the miracle. The miracle brings our focus back from the world to our minds, where we can acknowledge the purpose we have given the world — to be the projection of our error outward, so blame rests elsewhere. Having taken this step, we can then invite the Holy Spirit to give the world His purpose — the recognition that the error in truth never really happened and our guilt is not real.

firefly sunset biglittle beach love does not condemn

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 22

ACIM Text Reading for September 22

Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning

VI. The Only Purpose

The real world is the state of mind in which the only purpose of the world is seen to be forgiveness. Fear is not its goal, for the escape from guilt becomes its aim. The value of forgiveness is perceived and takes the place of idols, which are sought no longer, for their “gifts” are not held dear. No rules are idly set, and no demands are made of anyone or anything to twist and fit into the dream of fear. Instead, there is a wish to understand all things created as they really are. And it is recognized that all things must be first forgiven, and then understood.

Here, it is thought that understanding is acquired by attack. There, it is clear that by attack is understanding lost. The folly of pursuing guilt as goal is fully recognized. And idols are not wanted there, for guilt is understood as the sole cause of pain in any form. No one is tempted by its vain appeal, for suffering and death have been perceived as things not wanted and not striven for. The possibility of freedom has been grasped and welcomed, and the means by which it can be gained can now be understood. The world becomes a place of hope, because its only purpose is to be a place where hope of happiness can be fulfilled. And no one stands outside this hope, because the world has been united in belief the purpose of the world is one which all must share, if hope be more than just a dream.

Not yet is Heaven quite remembered, for the purpose of forgiveness still remains. Yet everyone is certain he will go beyond forgiveness, and he but remains until it is made perfect in himself. He has no wish for anything but this. And fear has dropped away, because he is united in his purpose with himself. There is a hope of happiness in him so sure and constant he can barely stay and wait a little longer, with his feet still touching earth. Yet is he glad to wait till every hand is joined, and every heart made ready to arise and go with him. For thus is he made ready for the step in which is all forgiveness left behind.

The final step is God’s, because it is but God Who could create a perfect Son and share His Fatherhood with him. No one outside of Heaven knows how this can be, for understanding this is Heaven itself. Even the real world has a purpose still beneath creation and eternity. But fear is gone because its purpose is forgiveness, not idolatry. And so is Heaven’s Son prepared to be himself, and to remember that the Son of God knows everything his Father understands, and understands it perfectly with Him.

The real world still falls short of this, for this is God’s Own purpose; only His, and yet completely shared and perfectly fulfilled. The real world is a state in which the mind has learned how easily do idols go when they are still perceived but wanted not. How willingly the mind can let them go when it has understood that idols are nothing and nowhere, and are purposeless. For only then can guilt and sin be seen without a purpose, and as meaningless.

Thus is the real world’s purpose gently brought into awareness, to replace the goal of sin and guilt. And all that stood between your image of yourself and what you are, forgiveness washes joyfully away. Yet God need not create His Son again, that what is his be given back to him. The gap between your brother and yourself was never there. And what the Son of God knew in creation he must know again.

When brothers join in purpose in the world of fear, they stand already at the edge of the real world. Perhaps they still look back, and think they see an idol that they want. Yet has their path been surely set away from idols toward reality. For when they joined their hands it was Christ’s hand they took, and they will look on Him Whose hand they hold. The face of Christ is looked upon before the Father is remembered. For He must be unremembered till His Son has reached beyond forgiveness to the Love of God. Yet is the Love of Christ accepted first. And then will come the knowledge They are One.

How light and easy is the step across the narrow boundaries of the world of fear when you have recognized Whose hand you hold! Within your hand is everything you need to walk with perfect confidence away from fear forever, and to go straight on, and quickly reach the gate of Heaven itself. For He Whose hand you hold was waiting but for you to join Him. Now that you have come, would He delay in showing you the way that He must walk with you? His blessing lies on you as surely as His Father’s Love rests upon Him. His gratitude to you is past your understanding, for you have enabled Him to rise from chains and go with you, together, to His Father’s house.

An ancient hate is passing from the world. And with it goes all hatred and all fear. Look back no longer, for what lies ahead is all you ever wanted in your heart. Give up the world! But not to sacrifice. You never wanted it. What happiness have you sought here that did not bring you pain? What moment of content has not been bought at fearful price in coins of suffering? Joy has no cost. It is your sacred right, and what you pay for is not happiness. Be speeded on your way by honesty, and let not your experiences here deceive in retrospect. They were not free from bitter cost and joyless consequence.

Do not look back except in honesty. And when an idol tempts you, think of this:

There never was a time an idol brought
You anything except the “gift” of guilt.
Not one was bought except at cost of pain,
Nor was it ever paid by you alone.

Be merciful unto your brother, then. And do not choose an idol thoughtlessly, remembering that he will pay the cost as well as you. For he will be delayed when you look back, and you will not perceive Whose loving hand you hold. Look forward, then, and walk with confidence, with happy hearts that beat in hope and do not pound in fear.

The Will of God forever lies in those whose hands are joined. Until they joined, they thought He was their enemy. But when they joined and shared a purpose, they were free to learn their will is one. And thus the Will of God must reach to their awareness. Nor can they forget for long that it is but their own.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 22

Lesson 265

Creation’s gentleness is all I see.

I have indeed misunderstood the world, because I laid my sins on it and saw them looking back at me. How fierce they seemed! And how deceived was I to think that what I feared was in the world, instead of in my mind alone. Today I see the world in the celestial gentleness with which creation shines. There is no fear in it. Let no appearance of my sins obscure the light of Heaven shining on the world. What is reflected there is in God’s Mind. The images I see reflect my thoughts. Yet is my mind at one with God’s. And so I can perceive creation’s gentleness.

In quiet would I look upon the world, which but reflects Your Thoughts, and mine as well. Let me remember that they are the same, and I will see creation’s gentleness.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1226Please discuss gratitude and A Course in Miracles . Can we be truly grateful for anything more than the opportunity to forgive?

A: If by gratitude for the opportunity to forgive, you mean being grateful to each other for these opportunities, you have touched upon the essence of A Course in Miracles, which is forgiveness. In a recorded workshop called “Our Gratitude to God,” Ken discusses gratitude on three levels: our gratitude to God, to Jesus, and to each other. Just as forgiveness is the correction for the unforgiveness we feel, gratitude, too, is a correction. It corrects the ingratitude we feel on these three levels, and when our ingratitude is corrected, the need for gratitude disappears. This has nothing to do with Jesus or God needing our gratitude (see T.6.I.17 ) — it is just another dimension in the process of undoing the ego thought system in our minds. If ingratitude is seen as a cornerstone of the ego system, basically going hand in hand with judgment, attack, fear, and guilt, then love must come when we undo the ingratitude and allow ourselves to feel grateful to each other, to Jesus, and to God, because love has been hidden behind the ingratitude. Ingratitude is like a veil, and therefore, when the veil is gone, the Love of God can be experienced.

In brief, the gratitude the Course asks us to feel toward each other is not for what you do for me or for the miserable way you have treated me. It is gratitude for being able to see in you a mirror of my own self. Seeing the “sin” in you, I know it is within me, and by changing my mind about you, I am changing my mind about myself. That is the source of our gratitude toward each other. Yet, I cannot forgive you without a loving Presence next to me, and so my gratitude to you is impossible without my also feeling grateful to Jesus or the Holy Spirit. I realize, in other words, that I cannot change my mind by myself, because it is my self that got me into this mess, that has accused you, and that believes I can do it on my own. Relying on this self will only serve to keep me in hell. Thus, I recognize not only that I cannot do this without Jesus, but also that I cannot do it without you, because you represent a part of my self that I have split off and pushed outside me. And until I recognize that you are not outside me, but are really a part of me, I will never know the Christ that I am. “Your function here on earth is only to forgive him, that you may accept him back as your Identity. He is as God created him. And you are what he is. Forgive him now his sins, and you will see that you are one with him” (W.pI.192.10:6,7,8,9).

As we advance in this process of undoing the ego, our gratitude to Jesus will grow as we realize that despite all the awful ego stuff that goes on inside us, part of us knows he truly loves us, and that by accepting his love, we can accept the love that we are. This, then, does away with the ingratitude we have felt toward God, thanks to our acceptance of the ego’s replacement for the true God. By reflecting Heaven’s love in his relationship with us, Jesus helps us remember the deep gratitude we feel for God as our loving Creator and Source.

For some further commentary, see Question #556, which contrasts the ego’s version of gratitude with the Holy Spirit’s. Excerpts from the tape album “Our Gratitude to God” are posted on our Web site under Teaching Materials/Excerpts Series.

forgiveness is still


ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 21

ACIM Text Reading for September 21

Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning

V. The Truth behind Illusions

You will attack what does not satisfy, and thus you will not see you made it up. You always fight illusions. For the truth behind them is so lovely and so still in loving gentleness, were you aware of it you would forget defensiveness entirely, and rush to its embrace. The truth could never be attacked. And this you knew when you made idols. They were made that this might be forgotten. You attack but false ideas, and never truthful ones. All idols are the false ideas you made to fill the gap you think arose between yourself and what is true. And you attack them for the things you think they represent. What lies beyond them cannot be attacked.

The wearying, dissatisfying gods you made are blown-up children’s toys. A child is frightened when a wooden head springs up as a closed box is opened suddenly, or when a soft and silent woolly bear begins to squeak as he takes hold of it. The rules he made for boxes and for bears have failed him, and have broken his “control” of what surrounds him. And he is afraid, because he thought the rules protected him. Now must he learn the boxes and the bears did not deceive him, broke no rules, nor mean his world is made chaotic and unsafe. He was mistaken. He misunderstood what made him safe, and thought that it had left.

The gap that is not there is filled with toys in countless forms. And each one seems to break the rules you set for it. It never was the thing you thought. It must appear to break your rules for safety, since the rules were wrong. But you are not endangered. You can laugh at popping heads and squeaking toys, as does the child who learns they are no threat to him. Yet while he likes to play with them, he still perceives them as obeying rules he made for his enjoyment. So there still are rules that they can seem to break and frighten him. Yet is he at the mercy of his toys? And can they represent a threat to him?

Reality observes the laws of God, and not the rules you set. It is His laws that guarantee your safety. All illusions that you believe about yourself obey no laws. They seem to dance a little while, according to the rules you set for them. But then they fall and cannot rise again. They are but toys, my child, so do not grieve for them. Their dancing never brought you joy. But neither were they things to frighten you, nor make you safe if they obeyed your rules. They must be neither cherished nor attacked, but merely looked upon as children’s toys without a single meaning of their own. See one in them and you will see them all. See none in them and they will touch you not.

Appearances deceive because they are appearances and not reality. Dwell not on them in any form. They but obscure reality, and they bring fear because they hide the truth. Do not attack what you have made to let you be deceived, for thus you prove that you have been deceived. Attack has power to make illusions real. Yet what it makes is nothing. Who could be made fearful by a power that can have no real effects at all? What could it be but an illusion, making things appear like to itself?

Look calmly at its toys, and understand that they are idols which but dance to vain desires. Give them not your worship, for they are not there. Yet this is equally forgotten in attack. God’s Son needs no defense against his dreams. His idols do not threaten him at all. His one mistake is that he thinks them real. What can the power of illusions do?

Appearances can but deceive the mind that wants to be deceived. And you can make a simple choice that will forever place you far beyond deception. You need not concern yourself with how this will be done, for this you cannot understand. But you will understand that mighty changes have been quickly brought about, when you decide one very simple thing; you do not want whatever you believe an idol gives. For thus the Son of God declares that he is free of idols. And thus is he free.

Salvation is a paradox indeed! What could it be except a happy dream? It asks you but that you forgive all things that no one ever did; to overlook what is not there, and not to look upon the unreal as reality. You are but asked to let your will be done, and seek no longer for the things you do not want. And you are asked to let yourself be free of all the dreams of what you never were, and seek no more to substitute the strength of idle wishes for the Will of God.

Here does the dream of separation start to fade and disappear. For here the gap that is not there begins to be perceived without the toys of terror that you made. No more than this is asked. Be glad indeed salvation asks so little, not so much. It asks for nothing in reality. And even in illusions it but asks forgiveness be the substitute for fear. Such is the only rule for happy dreams. The gap is emptied of the toys of fear, and then its unreality is plain. Dreams are for nothing. And the Son of God can have no need of them. They offer him no single thing that he could ever want. He is delivered from illusions by his will, and but restored to what he is. What could God’s plan for his salvation be, except a means to give him to Himself?


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 21

Lesson 264

I am surrounded by the Love of God.

Father, You stand before me and behind, beside me, in the place I see myself, and everywhere I go. You are in all the things I look upon, the sounds I hear, and every hand that reaches for my own. In You time disappears, and place becomes a meaningless belief. For what surrounds Your Son and keeps him safe is Love itself. There is no source but this, and nothing is that does not share its holiness; that stands beyond Your one creation, or without the Love which holds all things within itself. Father, Your Son is like Yourself. We come to You in Your Own Name today, to be at peace within Your everlasting Love.

My brothers, join with me in this today. This is salvation’s prayer. Must we not join in what will save the world, along with us?


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #761If God is “absolute” and “one,” there cannot be anything but Him. How then can there be a Son, and why? Is God dreaming or is the Son? What link if any is there between God and the world — the Holy Spirit or the Son? If this world is an illusion and God hasn’t made it, do angels and other spiritual beings also “not exist”? Do we exist if time was but a moment in our mind and is long gone by, what are the practical implications for our daily lives? Even if we recognize this fact, I don’t feel that this makes any difference in our normal lives. The world does not cease to exist, even if we try.

A: From the perspective of absolute truth, you are right, there can be no Son distinguishable from God (W.pI.132.12:4). It is only within the seeming dream of the sleeping Son that there appear to be two entities, God and the Son. And, unlike some Eastern spiritual teachings, the God of the Course does not dream and the world is not the effect of His dreaming but of the Son’s. The Course speaks of the Son because it is addressed to a mind caught in the misbelief of duality and separation, and so uses the split mind’s symbols to correct the misbelief, while we still believe we are separate (T.25.I.7:4) . See also Questions #27, #72, #85 and #228 for further discussions of how A Course in Miracles comes to us in dualistic language, despite its nondualistic metaphysics.

There is no link between God and the world, for the world is only a shadowy projection of an illusory thought of guilt in the mind. There is however a Link between God and the mind of the Son that seems to have fallen asleep, which the Course calls the Holy Spirit (T.6.I.19:1 T.10.III.2:5,6; T.13.XI.8:1; C.6.3,4) . This link is not a separate entity — although the Course often speaks of the Holy Spirit in this way — but is only the memory of God (T.10.II.2:3,4,5,6) that we would have had to carry with us in our mind into the dream, since we can never separate from God in reality.

Nothing within the realm of duality and separate beings, including angels, has any real existence from the Course’s perspective. The Course does use the concept of angels in a number of places, but only as a symbol of God’s Love (see also Questions #36 and #413ii). That realm of duality also includes the selves we think we are. The “I” is the false self of the ego, the illusory individual self we all cling to as our identity. The Course’s goal, through the process of forgiveness, or letting go of our judgments, is to lead us to a readiness to release all the concepts we hold about ourselves, including, at the very end of the process, the concept that we are an individual self, an “I” — ego is, after all, the Latin word for “I.”

Although the Course’s metaphysics teaches that time is already over, Jesus acknowledges that, as you point out, this is not our experience:“For those in time can speak of things beyond, and listen to words which explain what is to come is past already. Yet what meaning can the words convey to those who count the hours still, and rise and work and go to sleep by them?” (W.169.10:3,4).And yet, in practical terms, as we can allow ourselves to accept the possibility of the idea, even if it is not our immediate experience, it may perhaps help us over time begin to take the specifics of our lives and ourselves just a little less seriously, to have a little less concern about how things turn out, and to be more open merely to watching ourselves move through our lives without trying so obstinately to control the outcomes. All of these would be reflections of a deepening peace that flows from the acceptance of all that is, which forgiveness brings about. And what could be more practical?

secret of salvation