ACIM Text Reading for September 20
Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning
IV. Beyond All Idols
Idols are quite specific. But your will is universal, being limitless. And so it has no form, nor is content for its expression in the terms of form. Idols are limits. They are the belief that there are forms that will bring happiness, and that, by limiting, is all attained. It is as if you said, “I have no need of everything. This little thing I want, and it will be as everything to me.” And this must fail to satisfy, because it is your will that everything be yours. Decide for idols and you ask for loss. Decide for truth and everything is yours.
It is not form you seek. What form can be a substitute for God the Father’s Love? What form can take the place of all the love in the Divinity of God the Son? What idol can make two of what is one? And can the limitless be limited? You do not want an idol. It is not your will to have one. It will not bestow on you the gift you seek. When you decide upon the form of what you want, you lose the understanding of its purpose. So you see your will within the idol, thus reducing it to a specific form. Yet this could never be your will, because what shares in all creation cannot be content with small ideas and little things.
Behind the search for every idol lies the yearning for completion. Wholeness has no form because it is unlimited. To seek a special person or a thing to add to you to make yourself complete, can only mean that you believe some form is missing. And by finding this, you will achieve completion in a form you like. This is the purpose of an idol; that you will not look beyond it, to the source of the belief that you are incomplete. Only if you had sinned could this be so. For sin is the idea you are alone and separated off from what is whole. And thus it would be necessary for the search for wholeness to be made beyond the boundaries of limits on yourself.
It never is the idol that you want. But what you think it offers you, you want indeed and have the right to ask for. Nor could it be possible it be denied. Your will to be complete is but God’s Will, and this is given you by being His. God knows not form. He cannot answer you in terms that have no meaning. And your will could not be satisfied with empty forms, made but to fill a gap that is not there. It is not this you want. Creation gives no separate person and no separate thing the power to complete the Son of God. What idol can be called upon to give the Son of God what he already has?
Completion is the function of God’s Son. He has no need to seek for it at all. Beyond all idols stands his holy will to be but what he is. For more than whole is meaningless. If there were change in him, if he could be reduced to any form and limited to what is not in him, he would not be as God created him. What idol can he need to be himself? For can he give a part of him away? What is not whole cannot make whole. But what is really asked for cannot be denied. Your will isgranted. Not in any form that would content you not, but in the whole completely lovely Thought God holds of you.
Nothing that God knows not exists. And what He knows exists forever, changelessly. For thoughts endure as long as does the mind that thought of them. And in the Mind of God there is no ending, nor a time in which His Thoughts were absent or could suffer change. Thoughts are not born and cannot die. They share the attributes of their creator, nor have they a separate life apart from his. The thoughts you think are in your mind, as you are in the Mind Which thought of you. And so there are no separate parts in what exists within God’s Mind. It is forever One, eternally united and at peace.
Thoughts seem to come and go. Yet all this means is that you are sometimes aware of them, and sometimes not. An unremembered thought is born again to you when it returns to your awareness. Yet it did not die when you forgot it. It was always there, but you were unaware of it. The Thought God holds of you is perfectly unchanged by your forgetting. It will always be exactly as it was before the time when you forgot, and will be just the same when you remember. And it is the same within the interval when you forgot.
The Thoughts of God are far beyond all change, and shine forever. They await not birth. They wait for welcome and remembering. The Thought God holds of you is like a star, unchangeable in an eternal sky. So high in Heaven is it set that those outside of Heaven know not it is there. Yet still and white and lovely will it shine through all eternity. There was no time it was not there; no instant when its light grew dimmer or less perfect ever was.
Who knows the Father knows this light, for He is the eternal sky that holds it safe, forever lifted up and anchored sure. Its perfect purity does not depend on whether it is seen on earth or not. The sky embraces it and softly holds it in its perfect place, which is as far from earth as earth from Heaven. It is not the distance nor the time that keeps this star invisible to earth. But those who seek for idols cannot know the star is there.
Beyond all idols is the Thought God holds of you. Completely unaffected by the turmoil and the terror of the world, the dreams of birth and death that here are dreamed, the myriad of forms that fear can take; quite undisturbed, the Thought God holds of you remains exactly as it always was. Surrounded by a stillness so complete no sound of battle comes remotely near, it rests in certainty and perfect peace. Here is your one reality kept safe, completely unaware of all the world that worships idols, and that knows not God. In perfect sureness of its changelessness and of its rest in its eternal home, the Thought God holds of you has never left the Mind of its Creator Whom it knows, as its Creator knows that it is there.
Where could the Thought God holds of you exist but where you are? Is your reality a thing apart from you, and in a world which your reality knows nothing of? Outside you there is no eternal sky, no changeless star and no reality. The mind of Heaven’s Son in Heaven is, for there the Mind of Father and of Son joined in creation which can have no end. You have not two realities, but one. Nor can you be aware of more than one. An idol or the Thought God holds of you is your reality. Forget not, then, that idols must keep hidden what you are, not from the Mind of God, but from your own. The star shines still; the sky has never changed. But you, the holy Son of God Himself, are unaware of your reality.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 20
My holy vision sees all things as pure.
Father, Your Mind created all that is, Your Spirit entered into it, Your Love gave life to it. And would I look upon what You created as if it could be made sinful? I would not perceive such dark and fearful images. A madman’s dream is hardly fit to be my choice, instead of all the loveliness with which You blessed creation; all its purity, its joy, and its eternal, quiet home in You.
And while we still remain outside the gate of Heaven, let us look on all we see through holy vision and the eyes of Christ. Let all appearances seem pure to us, that we may pass them by in innocence, and walk together to our Father’s house as brothers and the holy Sons of God.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #428: From the accounts of many people who have had near-death experiences, we can conclude that the material world and our planet are very important and designed for spiritual learning, training, and evolving. There are no futile things in them and everything has meaning. On the contrary, from view of A Course in Miracles, our world is meaningless and designed by the ego to keep the illusion of separation and to control the guilt over the separation. The contradiction is obvious. I perceive the accounts of people having had NDE as evidence from the spiritual world. How can you explain the contradiction?
A: If the separation from God never happened, then in reality there is no world. “This is the central thought the course attempts to teach” (W.pI.132.6:3). However, since we think the world is real, then A Course in Miracles teaches us how to use the world — “made as an attack on God” (W.pII.3.2:1) — to learn that ultimately it is illusory, and further, that the self that thinks it exists in the world is also illusory. In that sense, the world is our classroom, until with the Holy Spirit’s help we change all of the mistaken beliefs in our minds. Thus, on the level of absolute truth, the world is totally illusory; but on the level of our dream of separation, we can learn to use our interactions in the world to help us awaken from the dream, at which point the world would disappear back into the nothingness from which it came.
The world is meaningful or important, thus, only to the extent that our experiences in the world can tell us whether we have chosen to reinforce the ego’s purpose or Jesus’ purpose. Choosing the ego as our teacher would serve to keep us rooted in the world and forever apart from the peace of God. Choosing Jesus as our teacher would serve to remind us of the absurdity of wanting to exist apart from our true home in Heaven as aliens in a world of separate beings always involved in life-and-death struggles on some level.
A near-death experience can be extremely valuable in helping people realize there is something beyond bodily existence; but the same experience can occur — and has occurred many, many times — apart from a NDE. In a section in the text called “Beyond the Body” (T.18.VI), Jesus describes the body as a “limit imposed on the universal communication that is an eternal property of mind” (8:3), and then he discusses the experience of being liberated or transported beyond the body. In part Jesus explains, “What really happens is that you have given up the illusion of a limited awareness, and lost your fear of union” (11:7). Then at the end of the section, he invites us to “come to this place of refuge, where you can be yourself in peace. Not through destruction, not through a breaking out, but merely by a quiet melting in. For peace will join you there simply because you have been willing to let go the limits you have placed upon love, and joined it where it is and where it led you, in answer to its gentle call to be at peace” (14:5,6,7).
From the perspective of A Course in Miracles, thus, NDE’s can be helpful, not as evidence of a spiritual world beyond the physical world, but as evidence of another dimension in one’s own mind that can be chosen any time the value of a separate, individual existence is called into question. How that is experienced (the form) varies from individual to individual. But coming close to death is not a condition for having it.