ACIM Text Reading for September 5
Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear
V. The Alternate to Dreams of Fear
What is a sense of sickness but a sense of limitation? Of a splitting off and separating from? A gap that is perceived between you and your brother, and what is now seen as health? And so the good is seen to be outside; the evil, in. And thus is sickness separating off the self from good, and keeping evil in. God is the Alternate to dreams of fear. Who shares in them can never share in Him. But who withdraws his mind from sharing them is sharing Him. There is no other choice. Except you share it, nothing can exist. And you exist because God shared His Will with you, that His creation might create.
It is the sharing of the evil dreams of hate and malice, bitterness and death, of sin and suffering and pain and loss, that makes them real. Unshared, they are perceived as meaningless. The fear is gone from them because you did not give them your support. Where fear has gone there love must come, because there are but these alternatives. Where one appears, the other disappears. And which you share becomes the only one you have. You have the one that you accept, because it is the only one you wish to have.
You share no evil dreams if you forgive the dreamer, and perceive that he is not the dream he made. And so he cannot be a part of yours, from which you both are free. Forgiveness separates the dreamer from the evil dream, and thus releases him. Remember if you share an evil dream, you will believe you are the dream you share. And fearing it, you will not want to know your own Identity, because you think that It is fearful. And you will deny your Self, and walk upon an alien ground which your Creator did not make, and where you seem to be a something you are not. You will make war upon your Self, which seems to be your enemy; and will attack your brother, as a part of what you hate. There is no compromise. You are your Self or an illusion. What can be between illusion and the truth? A middle ground, where you can be a thing that is not you, must be a dream and cannot be the truth.
You have conceived a little gap between illusions and the truth to be the place where all your safety lies, and where your Self is safely hidden by what you have made. Here is a world established that is sick, and this the world the body’s eyes perceive. Here are the sounds it hears; the voices that its ears were made to hear. Yet sights and sounds the body can perceive are meaningless. It cannot see nor hear. It does not know what seeing is; what listening is for. It is as little able to perceive as it can judge or understand or know. Its eyes are blind; its ears are deaf. It can not think, and so it cannot have effects.
What is there God created to be sick? And what that He created not can be? Let not your eyes behold a dream; your ears bear witness to illusion. They were made to look upon a world that is not there; to hear the voices that can make no sound. Yet are there other sounds and other sights that can be seen and heard and understood. For eyes and ears are senses without sense, and what they see and hear they but report. It is not they that hear and see, but you, who put together every jagged piece, each senseless scrap and shred of evidence, and make a witness to the world you want. Let not the body’s ears and eyes perceive these countless fragments seen within the gap that you imagined, and let them persuade their maker his imaginings are real.
Creation proves reality because it shares the function all creation shares. It is not made of little bits of glass, a piece of wood, a thread or two, perhaps, all put together to attest its truth. Reality does not depend on this. There is no gap that separates the truth from dreams and from illusions. Truth has left no room for them in any place or time. For it fills every place and every time, and makes them wholly indivisible.
You who believe there is a little gap between you and your brother, do not see that it is here you are as prisoners in a world perceived to be existing here. The world you see does not exist, because the place where you perceive it is not real. The gap is carefully concealed in fog, and misty pictures rise to cover it with vague uncertain forms and changing shapes, forever unsubstantial and unsure. Yet in the gap is nothing. And there are no awesome secrets and no darkened tombs where terror rises from the bones of death. Look at the little gap, and you behold the innocence and emptiness of sin that you will see within yourself, when you have lost the fear of recognizing love.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 5
Whatever suffers is not part of me.
I have disowned the truth. Now let me be as faithful in disowning falsity. Whatever suffers is not part of me. What grieves is not myself. What is in pain is but illusion in my mind. What dies was never living in reality, and did but mock the truth about myself. Now I disown self-concepts and deceits and lies about the holy Son of God. Now am I ready to accept him back as God created him, and as he is.
Father, my ancient love for You returns, and lets me love Your Son again as well. Father, I am as You created me. Now is Your Love remembered, and my own. Now do I understand that they are one.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: The first place the Course asks us to look in a relationship is at ourselves. Our feelings, judgments, and thoughts show us the unconscious content of the mind, i.e., the forgotten choice to deny the Self that God created and to identify with the ego instead. Guilt, along with feelings of emptiness, vulnerability, and unworthiness, are the inevitable result of that choice. When the guilt is projected out, it is experienced in relationships characterized by victimization scripts. Although victim/abused and victimizer/abuser have different roles in the relationship, both are acting out the fear that innocence has been irretrievably lost by the mind’s attack on the Self. And so, motivated by a deep feeling of worthlessness, the victimizer feels compelled to attack in some form such as verbal abuse. The distorted thinking is that making another look bad makes the attacker look better. Thus, someone else’s loss is his gain This is an expression of the fourth law of chaos found in chapter 23 of the text: “This seeming law is the belief you have what you have taken. By this, another’s loss becomes your gain, and thus it fails to recognize that you can never take away save from yourself” (23.II.9:3,4). The victimizer convinces himself that his accusations are truly justified. The underlying belief is that he has taken the other’s innocence and now has it for himself. The victim believes the victimizer is to blame for his loss of peace and for his feeling unfairly treated. He is the innocent victim and many witnesses can be found to support this view. The true source of this feeling, however, is the mind that chose to throw peace and innocence away by identifying with the ego. The victim-victimizer plot is an ideal scenario for the ego to keep the mind’s power to choose from awareness, by focusing attention on the external dynamics of the relationship.
As with every relationship, peace is found in forgiveness. It begins with willingness to apply the above mentioned principles of the Course’s teaching to the example you give, which releases it from the ego’s interpretation of every victim/victimizer situation. It is now seen in a different light and for a different purpose. While the feeling of victimization may remain and should not be denied, the source is no longer seen as another’s attack, but as the mind that chose to deny its true Identity as God’s innocent Son. The attack then becomes an opportunity to see the guilt engendered by this choice in its projected form. Early in the text, Jesus gives us a process to help us practice forgiveness in any situation: “…. the first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise… Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation: I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise. I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him. I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me” (T.5.VII.6:3,5,6,7,8,9,10,11). Because the true source of victimization is a decision in the mind, this format addresses the problem with no mention of the “attacker.” The important thing is taking responsibility for the mind’s choice without judging this mistaken choice as a sin. When this occurs, peace is possible no matter what kind of attacks may be hurled at us. Then, with the Holy Spirit’s help, you may choose to take steps to improve the relationship in some way or discontinue it altogether. When the Holy Spirit has been chosen, whatever follows will be loving for both you and the other person.