ACIM Text Reading for September 19
Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning
III. Freedom of Will
Do you not understand that to oppose the Holy Spirit is to fight yourself? He tells you but your will; He speaks for you. In His Divinity is but your own. And all He knows is but your knowledge, saved for you that you may do your will through Him. God asks you do your will. He joins with you. He did not set His Kingdom up alone. And Heaven itself but represents your will, where everything created is for you. No spark of life but was created with your glad consent, as you would have it be. And not one Thought that God has ever had but waited for your blessing to be born. God is no enemy to you. He asks no more than that He hear you call Him “Friend.”
How wonderful it is to do your will! For that is freedom. There is nothing else that ever should be called by freedom’s name. Unless you do your will you are not free. And would God leave His Son without what he has chosen for himself? God but ensured that you would never lose your will when He gave you His perfect Answer. Hear It now, that you may be reminded of His Love and learn your will. God would not have His Son made prisoner to what he does not want. He joins with you in willing you be free. And to oppose Him is to make a choice against yourself, and choose that you be bound.
Look once again upon your enemy, the one you chose to hate instead of love. For thus was hatred born into the world, and thus the rule of fear established there. Now hear God speak to you, through Him Who is His Voice and yours as well, reminding you that it is not your will to hate and be a prisoner to fear, a slave to death, a little creature with a little life. Your will is boundless; it is not your will that it be bound. What lies in you has joined with God Himself in all creation’s birth. Remember Him Who has created you, and through your will created everything. Not one created thing but gives you thanks, for it is by your will that it was born. No light of Heaven shines except for you, for it was set in Heaven by your will.
What cause have you for anger in a world that merely waits your blessing to be free? If you be prisoner, then God Himself could not be free. For what is done to him whom God so loves is done to God Himself. Think not He wills to bind you, Who has made you co-creator of the universe along with Him. He would but keep your will forever and forever limitless. This world awaits the freedom you will give when you have recognized that you are free. But you will not forgive the world until you have forgiven Him Who gave your will to you. For it is by your will the world is given freedom. Nor can you be free apart from Him Whose holy Will you share.
God turns to you to ask the world be saved, for by your own salvation is it healed. And no one walks upon the earth but must depend on your decision, that he learn death has no power over him, because he shares your freedom as he shares your will. It is your will to heal him, and because you have decided with him, he is healed. And now is God forgiven, for you chose to look upon your brother as a friend.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 19
Let me perceive no differences today.
Father, You have one Son. And it is he that I would look upon today. He is Your one creation. Why should I perceive a thousand forms in what remains as one? Why should I give this one a thousand names, when only one suffices? For Your Son must bear Your Name, for You created him. Let me not see him as a stranger to his Father, nor as stranger to myself. For he is part of me and I of him, and we are part of You Who are our Source, eternally united in Your Love; eternally the holy Son of God.
We who are one would recognize this day the truth about ourselves. We would come home, and rest in unity. For there is peace, and nowhere else can peace be sought and found.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #821: I am at a place in life in which I am experiencing overwhelming fear. My husband and I have been married for a few years and together for nine. Over time, the outward dramas have lessened and now that there is a certain sense of outward stability in my marriage, I seem to be assailed on all sides by fears: is this situation one in which I can grow? Am I denying part of myself by staying in this relationship? Do I feel like I would be better off alone, with someone else, or with a woman? All these questions come to mind. More than anything, it seems that I have reached a place where I am now forced to take responsibility for my own thoughts — that I am encountering my shadow side. I want to run. Is there anything in A Course in Miracles that might speak to this level of fear and specific steps to take to deal with it?
A: While we remain closely identified with the ego, it can feel as if we are being forced to take responsibility for our thoughts, as you describe. True, the Course is encouraging us to accept this responsibility as central to progressing on our path of forgiveness. But if there is any sense of coercion, the ego has joined the process in an attempt to subvert and derail it. And that feeling of coercion itself only adds to the anxiety and the fear. So the first step in addressing the fear is to recognize and accept that any sense of pressure is coming only from yourself. And if the overwhelming fear persists, Jesus gently advises, “Do not fight yourself” (T.30.I.1:7) . It is okay to wait until you are ready.
The ego revels in the thought that there is something terrible within that we must force ourselves to examine. For that reinforces the belief that the ego — and the separation — are real. And so, for this reason, when we are ready to look within, Jesus invites us to look with him, for he does not share our horrible evaluation of ourselves and he certainly does not take the ego seriously. One of his clearest invitations to us, which also acknowledges our fear, is found at the beginning of “The ‘Dynamics’ of the Ego,” in which he reminds us that this is something we do together : “No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous. We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth. The ‘dynamics’ of the ego will be our lesson for a while, for we must look first at this to see beyond it, since you have made it real. We will undo this error quietly together, and then look beyond it to truth” (T.11.V.1).
You are wise to recognize that the real issue of your fear involves examining your own thoughts, but you also acknowledge having thoughts of running away from your relationship with your husband. Now these thoughts are not surprising if, as you say, you are experiencing less drama and conflict in your external life, which may very well reflect an inner shift away from the ego and towards the peace within that Jesus is offering. And you can be sure the ego is not going to take this change of allegiance lying down. External drama and conflict conveniently serve the ego’s purpose of keeping our focus outward and away from the mind, where the only real hope of finding lasting peace lies. If the ego begins to sense that our present relationship is no longer serving its purpose, it will counsel us to pull up stakes and go in search of someone or something else — anything other than remaining in peace and beginning to look within.
Two passages from the text describe the ambivalence we can experience around this dual process of moving towards the light while at the same time beginning to use that light to look more deeply and eventually beyond the darkness of the ego. The fear that is aroused by approaching the light, as well as the process of looking together with Jesus at the darkness, are aptly described in the following:
“As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear, and sometimes to stark terror. But you will advance, because your goal is the advance from fear to truth. The goal you accepted is the goal of knowledge, for which you signified your willingness. Fear seems to live in darkness, and when you are afraid you have stepped back. Let us then join quickly in an instant of light, and it will be enough to remind you that your goal is light. (T.18.III.2).
And the fear that is associated with uncovering the ego’s layers of sin and guilt in the mind, as well as the process of recognizing its unreality, is powerfully described in the following:
“The closer you come to the foundation of the ego’s thought system, the darker and more obscure becomes the way. Yet even the little spark in your mind is enough to lighten it. Bring this light fearlessly with you, and bravely hold it up to the foundation of the ego’s thought system. Be willing to judge it with perfect honesty. Open the dark cornerstone of terror on which it rests, and bring it out into the light. There you will see that it rested on meaninglessness, and that everything of which you have been afraid was based on nothing” (T.11.in.3:5,6,7,8,9,10).
Additional readings from the text that may help you get a clearer picture of what the fear is all about and what the process of releasing that fear involves, in the context of our relationship with our brother, joined with Jesus, include “Light in the Dream” (T.18.III) and “The Fear to Look Within” (T.21.IV) .