ACIM Text Reading for September 16
Chapter 29 ~ The Awakening
IX. The Forgiving Dream
The slave of idols is a willing slave. For willing he must be to let himself bow down in worship to what has no life, and seek for power in the powerless. What happened to the holy Son of God that this could be his wish; to let himself fall lower than the stones upon the ground, and look to idols that they raise him up? Hear, then, your story in the dream you made, and ask yourself if it be not the truth that you believe that it is not a dream.
A dream of judgment came into the mind that God created perfect as Himself. And in that dream was Heaven changed to hell, and God made enemy unto His Son. How can God’s Son awaken from the dream? It is a dream of judgment. So must he judge not, and he will waken. For the dream will seem to last while he is part of it. Judge not, for he who judges will have need of idols, which will hold the judgment off from resting on himself. Nor can he know the Self he has condemned. Judge not, because you make yourself a part of evil dreams, where idols are your “true” identity, and your salvation from the judgment laid in terror and in guilt upon yourself.
All figures in the dream are idols, made to save you from the dream. Yet they are part of what they have been made to save you from. Thus does an idol keep the dream alive and terrible, for who could wish for one unless he were in terror and despair? And this the idol represents, and so its worship is the worship of despair and terror, and the dream from which they come. Judgment is an injustice to God’s Son, and it is justice that who judges him will not escape the penalty he laid upon himself within the dream he made. God knows of justice, not of penalty. But in the dream of judgment you attack and are condemned; and wish to be the slave of idols, which are interposed between your judgment and the penalty it brings.
There can be no salvation in the dream as you are dreaming it. For idols must be part of it, to save you from what you believe you have accomplished, and have done to make you sinful and put out the light within you. Little child, the light is there. You do but dream, and idols are the toys you dream you play with. Who has need of toys but children? They pretend they rule the world, and give their toys the power to move about, and talk and think and feel and speak for them. Yet everything their toys appear to do is in the minds of those who play with them. But they are eager to forget that they made up the dream in which their toys are real, nor recognize their wishes are their own.
Nightmares are childish dreams. The toys have turned against the child who thought he made them real. Yet can a dream attack? Or can a toy grow large and dangerous and fierce and wild? This does the child believe, because he fears his thoughts and gives them to the toys instead. And their reality becomes his own, because they seem to save him from his thoughts. Yet do they keep his thoughts alive and real, but seen outside himself, where they can turn against him for his treachery to them. He thinks he needs them that he may escape his thoughts, because he thinks the thoughts are real. And so he makes of anything a toy, to make his world remain outside himself, and play that he is but a part of it.
There is a time when childhood should be passed and gone forever. Seek not to retain the toys of children. Put them all away, for you have need of them no more. The dream of judgment is a children’s game, in which the child becomes the father, powerful, but with the little wisdom of a child. What hurts him is destroyed; what helps him, blessed. Except he judges this as does a child, who does not know what hurts and what will heal. And bad things seem to happen, and he is afraid of all the chaos in a world he thinks is governed by the laws he made. Yet is the real world unaffected by the world he thinks is real. Nor have its laws been changed because he does not understand.
The real world still is but a dream. Except the figures have been changed. They are not seen as idols which betray. It is a dream in which no one is used to substitute for something else, nor interposed between the thoughts the mind conceives and what it sees. No one is used for something he is not, for childish things have all been put away. And what was once a dream of judgment now has changed into a dream where all is joy, because that is the purpose that it has. Only forgiving dreams can enter here, for time is almost over. And the forms that enter in the dream are now perceived as brothers, not in judgment, but in love.
Forgiving dreams have little need to last. They are not made to separate the mind from what it thinks. They do not seek to prove the dream is being dreamed by someone else. And in these dreams a melody is heard that everyone remembers, though he has not heard it since before all time began. Forgiveness, once complete, brings timelessness so close the song of Heaven can be heard, not with the ears, but with the holiness that never left the altar that abides forever deep within the Son of God. And when he hears this song again, he knows he never heard it not. And where is time, when dreams of judgment have been put away?
Whenever you feel fear in any form,–and you are fearful if you do not feel a deep content, a certainty of help, a calm assurance Heaven goes with you,–be sure you made an idol, and believe it will betray you. For beneath your hope that it will save you lie the guilt and pain of self-betrayal and uncertainty, so deep and bitter that the dream cannot conceal completely all your sense of doom. Your self-betrayal must result in fear, for fear is judgment, leading surely to the frantic search for idols and for death.
Forgiving dreams remind you that you live in safety and have not attacked yourself. So do your childish terrors melt away, and dreams become a sign that you have made a new beginning, not another try to worship idols and to keep attack. Forgiving dreams are kind to everyone who figures in the dream. And so they bring the dreamer full release from dreams of fear. He does not fear his judgment for he has judged no one, nor has sought to be released through judgment from what judgment must impose. And all the while he is remembering what he forgot, when judgment seemed to be the way to save him from its penalty.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 16
Let me remember that there is no sin.
Sin is the only thought that makes the goal of God seem unattainable. What else could blind us to the obvious, and make the strange and the distorted seem more clear? What else but sin engenders our attacks? What else but sin could be the source of guilt, demanding punishment and suffering? And what but sin could be the source of fear, obscuring God’s creation; giving love the attributes of fear and of attack?
Father, I would not be insane today. I would not be afraid of love, nor seek for refuge in its opposite. For love can have no opposite. You are the Source of everything there is. And everything that is remains with You, and You with it.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #138: If it is inevitable that we will wake up, or at least remember our true Identity, then behaviorally would it be logical to do whatever one feels is most peaceful in the world? And so in many ways it doesn’t really matter what others do or say. In fact, A Course in Miracles itself is quite irrelevant, if the waking process is inevitable. I mean isn’t it just a matter of hanging around doing what one likes doing best and not being naive to the fact that the ego will jabber on nonsense regardless of our seemingly worldly activities?
A: While “the outcome is as certain as God” (T.2.III.3:10) and “the acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time” (T.2.III.3:1) — simply because we could never really separate ourselves from God — we are still making a deliberate choice right now to remain asleep in our dream of time. And for all of us, the pain of the thought of separation behind the dream will eventually become so intolerable that we will all at some point want to make a different choice, the choice to awaken (T.2.III.3). So the only question any of us needs to ask ourselves now is, how long do I want to remain in pain, asleep in time? If we do not want to be conscious of and accept responsibility for our choice to see ourselves as separate, Jesus tells us we can continue to temporize and procrastinate for a time period at least as long as the time across which the separation has already occurred, that is, “millions of years”! (T.2.VIII.2:5).
Granted, all of this is illusory, and, from Jesus’ perspective outside of time, it matters little: “Nothing is ever lost but time, which in the end is meaningless. For it is but a little hindrance to eternity, quite meaningless to the real Teacher of the world”(T.26.V.2:1,2). But Jesus also recognizes that this is not our experience here in time: “Yet since you do believe in it [time], why should you waste it going nowhere, when it can be used to reach a goal as high as learning can achieve?…it is hard indeed to wander off, alone and miserable, down a road that leads to nothing and that has no purpose” (T.26.V.2:3,6).
So we have a choice about how we want to use time and how long we want to remain in the experience of time. Yes, in the end, it won’t matter, for we will have to remember who we really are — that has never really changed. But while we still believe all of this is real, Jesus in his Course is telling us that the length of our time in time can be “greatly shortened by miracles, the device for shortening but not abolishing time” (T.2.VIII.2:6). But this means, if the Course is our path, that our relationships with our brothers are of central importance, for it is upon others that each of us has projected all the guilt and responsibility for the pain of separation that we don’t want to see within ourselves. And so, as students of the Course, we will care what others do or say, not because we want to change them, but because our reactions to them can direct us to the unhealed places within our own mind. To avoid looking at our reactions to others, dismissing them as irrelevant to our waking process, would be to engage in denial, which is just another way of saying we are refusing to accept responsibility for our own decision to be separate. In the end, we will all see this, but the choice we have now is whether we want to acknowledge any of these projections now.
As difficult as looking at our brother to see our own “secret sins and hidden hates” (T.31.VIII.9:2) may seem to be, Jesus wants us to understand that not looking leads to even greater pain, for there is no hope for healing then. And so he encourages us, reminding us that this is a path we take with our brother: “Think not the way to Heaven’s gate is difficult at all. Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping step to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do” (T.26.V.2:4,5; italics added).