ACIM Text Reading for September 15
Chapter 29 ~ The Awakening
VIII. The Anti-Christ
What is an idol? Do you think you know? For idols are unrecognized as such, and never seen for what they really are. That is the only power that they have. Their purpose is obscure, and they are feared and worshipped, both, because you do not know what they are for, and why they have been made. An idol is an image of your brother that you would value more than what he is. Idols are made that he may be replaced, no matter what their form. And it is this that never is perceived and recognized. Be it a body or a thing, a place, a situation or a circumstance, an object owned or wanted, or a right demanded or achieved, it is the same.
Let not their form deceive you. Idols are but substitutes for your reality. In some way, you believe they will complete your little self, for safety in a world perceived as dangerous, with forces massed against your confidence and peace of mind. They have the power to supply your lacks, and add the value that you do not have. No one believes in idols who has not enslaved himself to littleness and loss. And thus must seek beyond his little self for strength to raise his head, and stand apart from all the misery the world reflects. This is the penalty for looking not within for certainty and quiet calm that liberates you from the world, and lets you stand apart, in quiet and in peace.
An idol is a false impression, or a false belief; some form of anti-Christ, that constitutes a gap between the Christ and what you see. An idol is a wish, made tangible and given form, and thus perceived as real and seen outside the mind. Yet it is still a thought, and cannot leave the mind that is its source. Nor is its form apart from the idea it represents. All forms of anti-Christ oppose the Christ. And fall before His face like a dark veil that seems to shut you off from Him, alone in darkness. Yet the light is there. A cloud does not put out the sun. No more a veil can banish what it seems to separate, nor darken by one whit the light itself.
This world of idols is a veil across the face of Christ, because its purpose is to separate your brother from yourself. A dark and fearful purpose, yet a thought without the power to change one blade of grass from something living to a sign of death. Its form is nowhere, for its source abides within your mind where God abideth not. Where is this place where what is everywhere has been excluded and been kept apart? What hand could be held up to block God’s way? Whose voice could make demand He enter not? The “more-than-everything” is not a thing to make you tremble and to quail in fear. Christ’s enemy is nowhere. He can take no form in which he ever will be real.
What is an idol? Nothing! It must be believed before it seems to come to life, and given power that it may be feared. Its life and power are its believer’s gift, and this is what the miracle restores to what has life and power worthy of the gift of Heaven and eternal peace. The miracle does not restore the truth, the light the veil between has not put out. It merely lifts the veil, and lets the truth shine unencumbered, being what it is. It does not need belief to be itself, for it has been created; so it is.
An idol is established by belief, and when it is withdrawn the idol “dies.” This is the anti-Christ; the strange idea there is a power past omnipotence, a place beyond the infinite, a time transcending the eternal. Here the world of idols has been set by the idea this power and place and time are given form, and shape the world where the impossible has happened. Here the deathless come to die, the all-encompassing to suffer loss, the timeless to be made the slaves of time. Here does the changeless change; the peace of God, forever given to all living things, give way to chaos. And the Son of God, as perfect, sinless and as loving as his Father, come to hate a little while; to suffer pain and finally to die.
Where is an idol? Nowhere! Can there be a gap in what is infinite, a place where time can interrupt eternity? A place of darkness set where all is light, a dismal alcove separated off from what is endless, has no place to be. An idol is beyond where God has set all things forever, and has left no room for anything to be except His Will. Nothing and nowhere must an idol be, while God is everything and everywhere.
What purpose has an idol, then? What is it for? This is the only question that has many answers, each depending on the one of whom the question has been asked. The world believes in idols. No one comes unless he worshipped them, and still attempts to seek for one that yet might offer him a gift reality does not contain. Each worshipper of idols harbors hope his special deities will give him more than other men possess. It must be more. It does not really matter more of what; more beauty, more intelligence, more wealth, or even more affliction and more pain. But more of something is an idol for. And when one fails another takes its place, with hope of finding more of something else. Be not deceived by forms the “something” takes. An idol is a means for getting more. And it is this that is against God’s Will.
God has not many Sons, but only One. Who can have more, and who be given less? It is for him the Holy Spirit speaks, and tells you idols have no purpose here. For more than Heaven can you never have. If Heaven is within, why would you seek for idols that would make of Heaven less, to give you more than God bestowed upon your brother and on you, as one with Him? God gave you all there is. And to be sure you could not lose it, did He also give the same to every living thing as well. And thus is every living thing a part of you, as of Himself. No idol can establish you as more than God. But you will never be content with being less.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 15
Let me remember that my goal is God.
All that is needful is to train our minds to overlook all little senseless aims, and to remember that our goal is God. His memory is hidden in our minds, obscured but by our pointless little goals which offer nothing, and do not exist. Shall we continue to allow God’s grace to shine in unawareness, while the toys and trinkets of the world are sought instead? God is our only goal, our only Love. We have no aim but to remember Him.
Our goal is but to follow in the way that leads to You. We have no goal but this. What could we want but to remember You? What could we seek but our Identity?
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: Intelligence is a function of the brain, it is therefore part of the operational system of the body, not to be confused with the mind, which is not in the brain and does not require intelligence. That is not to say that the mind does not make use of the brain, as it does the body, in our illusory experience of being in a body in this dream state. The Course statements regarding the body can thus be applied to the brain/intelligence. It is neutral, and can be used by the Holy Spirit or the ego for their respective goals. This is true of any ability or skill attributed to the body. The Course itself is an example of the use of the intellect as a form, using language, metaphysical principles, psychological terms, etc., to reflect a choice in the mind to turn toward the love and truth which is the content. It is one form helpful to the Sonship to learn to accept love, but it is not the only form. In the Manual we are told: “This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome” (M.1.4:1,2).
We easily become confused when it comes to the brain and intelligence because we still think “that [our] understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is” (T.18.IV.7:5). We hold our intellectual abilities in high regard, failing to realize that the mind is the true home of thought, having nothing to do with the illusory thoughts that generate from our brains. The healing of the mind through forgiveness does not require intelligence, it requires willingness, which is a function of the mind. The mind can be willing and can in fact make a choice for healing without the need for intellect/intelligence. Otherwise intellectual ability and/or intelligence would obviously be a requirement for salvation and that would exclude a large segment of the Sonship (those who are mentally incapacitated, have brain dysfunctions, are comatose, etc.) We certainly have all had the experience of being completely baffled by a particular passage at one time only to have absolute clarity as to its meaning at a later reading. Our intelligence had nothing to do with the confusion or with the clarity. The confusion came from our resistance; the clarity from our willingness. A person with limited intelligence may come to the Course with little resistance and a high degree of willingness and thus be open to learning the content of the Course: its message of love and forgiveness. An intellectually gifted person, on the other hand, may be blocked by tremendous resistance and fail to grasp the true message of the Course, in spite of intellectually mastering the principles of its metaphysics. Although we are making use of our brains to read, study and even apply the teachings of the Course in our lives, the real activity is going on in the mind that is choosing to turn toward the light and truth of the Course’s message. The intellectual activity is the reflection of that choice, but it is not a requirement, and it is certainly not a glimpse of the Divine. Very intellectually limited persons have been brilliant reflections of light and love in the world, while intellectually gifted persons have remained entrenched in the ego’s darkness.
In our study and practice of the Course it becomes apparent that however much we intellectually understand or do not understand the principles of the Course, it is the application of these principles with sincere willingness that makes them effective in bringing about our healing and the experience of peace. As we read: “Salvation, perfect and complete, asks but a little wish that what is true be true; a little willingness to overlook what is not there; a little sigh that speaks for Heaven as a preference to this world that death and desolation seem to rule. In joyous answer will creation rise within you, to replace the world you see with Heaven, wholly perfect and complete. What is forgiveness but a willingness that truth be true?” (T.26.VII.10:1,2,3)