ACIM Text Reading for September 21
Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning
V. The Truth behind Illusions
You will attack what does not satisfy, and thus you will not see you made it up. You always fight illusions. For the truth behind them is so lovely and so still in loving gentleness, were you aware of it you would forget defensiveness entirely, and rush to its embrace. The truth could never be attacked. And this you knew when you made idols. They were made that this might be forgotten. You attack but false ideas, and never truthful ones. All idols are the false ideas you made to fill the gap you think arose between yourself and what is true. And you attack them for the things you think they represent. What lies beyond them cannot be attacked.
The wearying, dissatisfying gods you made are blown-up children’s toys. A child is frightened when a wooden head springs up as a closed box is opened suddenly, or when a soft and silent woolly bear begins to squeak as he takes hold of it. The rules he made for boxes and for bears have failed him, and have broken his “control” of what surrounds him. And he is afraid, because he thought the rules protected him. Now must he learn the boxes and the bears did not deceive him, broke no rules, nor mean his world is made chaotic and unsafe. He was mistaken. He misunderstood what made him safe, and thought that it had left.
The gap that is not there is filled with toys in countless forms. And each one seems to break the rules you set for it. It never was the thing you thought. It must appear to break your rules for safety, since the rules were wrong. But you are not endangered. You can laugh at popping heads and squeaking toys, as does the child who learns they are no threat to him. Yet while he likes to play with them, he still perceives them as obeying rules he made for his enjoyment. So there still are rules that they can seem to break and frighten him. Yet is he at the mercy of his toys? And can they represent a threat to him?
Reality observes the laws of God, and not the rules you set. It is His laws that guarantee your safety. All illusions that you believe about yourself obey no laws. They seem to dance a little while, according to the rules you set for them. But then they fall and cannot rise again. They are but toys, my child, so do not grieve for them. Their dancing never brought you joy. But neither were they things to frighten you, nor make you safe if they obeyed your rules. They must be neither cherished nor attacked, but merely looked upon as children’s toys without a single meaning of their own. See one in them and you will see them all. See none in them and they will touch you not.
Appearances deceive because they are appearances and not reality. Dwell not on them in any form. They but obscure reality, and they bring fear because they hide the truth. Do not attack what you have made to let you be deceived, for thus you prove that you have been deceived. Attack has power to make illusions real. Yet what it makes is nothing. Who could be made fearful by a power that can have no real effects at all? What could it be but an illusion, making things appear like to itself?
Look calmly at its toys, and understand that they are idols which but dance to vain desires. Give them not your worship, for they are not there. Yet this is equally forgotten in attack. God’s Son needs no defense against his dreams. His idols do not threaten him at all. His one mistake is that he thinks them real. What can the power of illusions do?
Appearances can but deceive the mind that wants to be deceived. And you can make a simple choice that will forever place you far beyond deception. You need not concern yourself with how this will be done, for this you cannot understand. But you will understand that mighty changes have been quickly brought about, when you decide one very simple thing; you do not want whatever you believe an idol gives. For thus the Son of God declares that he is free of idols. And thus is he free.
Salvation is a paradox indeed! What could it be except a happy dream? It asks you but that you forgive all things that no one ever did; to overlook what is not there, and not to look upon the unreal as reality. You are but asked to let your will be done, and seek no longer for the things you do not want. And you are asked to let yourself be free of all the dreams of what you never were, and seek no more to substitute the strength of idle wishes for the Will of God.
Here does the dream of separation start to fade and disappear. For here the gap that is not there begins to be perceived without the toys of terror that you made. No more than this is asked. Be glad indeed salvation asks so little, not so much. It asks for nothing in reality. And even in illusions it but asks forgiveness be the substitute for fear. Such is the only rule for happy dreams. The gap is emptied of the toys of fear, and then its unreality is plain. Dreams are for nothing. And the Son of God can have no need of them. They offer him no single thing that he could ever want. He is delivered from illusions by his will, and but restored to what he is. What could God’s plan for his salvation be, except a means to give him to Himself?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 21
I am surrounded by the Love of God.
Father, You stand before me and behind, beside me, in the place I see myself, and everywhere I go. You are in all the things I look upon, the sounds I hear, and every hand that reaches for my own. In You time disappears, and place becomes a meaningless belief. For what surrounds Your Son and keeps him safe is Love itself. There is no source but this, and nothing is that does not share its holiness; that stands beyond Your one creation, or without the Love which holds all things within itself. Father, Your Son is like Yourself. We come to You in Your Own Name today, to be at peace within Your everlasting Love.
My brothers, join with me in this today. This is salvation’s prayer. Must we not join in what will save the world, along with us?
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #761: If God is “absolute” and “one,” there cannot be anything but Him. How then can there be a Son, and why? Is God dreaming or is the Son? What link if any is there between God and the world — the Holy Spirit or the Son? If this world is an illusion and God hasn’t made it, do angels and other spiritual beings also “not exist”? Do we exist if time was but a moment in our mind and is long gone by, what are the practical implications for our daily lives? Even if we recognize this fact, I don’t feel that this makes any difference in our normal lives. The world does not cease to exist, even if we try.
A: From the perspective of absolute truth, you are right, there can be no Son distinguishable from God (W.pI.132.12:4). It is only within the seeming dream of the sleeping Son that there appear to be two entities, God and the Son. And, unlike some Eastern spiritual teachings, the God of the Course does not dream and the world is not the effect of His dreaming but of the Son’s. The Course speaks of the Son because it is addressed to a mind caught in the misbelief of duality and separation, and so uses the split mind’s symbols to correct the misbelief, while we still believe we are separate (T.25.I.7:4) . See also Questions #27, #72, #85 and #228 for further discussions of how A Course in Miracles comes to us in dualistic language, despite its nondualistic metaphysics.
There is no link between God and the world, for the world is only a shadowy projection of an illusory thought of guilt in the mind. There is however a Link between God and the mind of the Son that seems to have fallen asleep, which the Course calls the Holy Spirit (T.6.I.19:1 ; T.10.III.2:5,6; T.13.XI.8:1; C.6.3,4) . This link is not a separate entity — although the Course often speaks of the Holy Spirit in this way — but is only the memory of God (T.10.II.2:3,4,5,6) that we would have had to carry with us in our mind into the dream, since we can never separate from God in reality.
Nothing within the realm of duality and separate beings, including angels, has any real existence from the Course’s perspective. The Course does use the concept of angels in a number of places, but only as a symbol of God’s Love (see also Questions #36 and #413ii). That realm of duality also includes the selves we think we are. The “I” is the false self of the ego, the illusory individual self we all cling to as our identity. The Course’s goal, through the process of forgiveness, or letting go of our judgments, is to lead us to a readiness to release all the concepts we hold about ourselves, including, at the very end of the process, the concept that we are an individual self, an “I” — ego is, after all, the Latin word for “I.”
Although the Course’s metaphysics teaches that time is already over, Jesus acknowledges that, as you point out, this is not our experience:“For those in time can speak of things beyond, and listen to words which explain what is to come is past already. Yet what meaning can the words convey to those who count the hours still, and rise and work and go to sleep by them?” (W.169.10:3,4).And yet, in practical terms, as we can allow ourselves to accept the possibility of the idea, even if it is not our immediate experience, it may perhaps help us over time begin to take the specifics of our lives and ourselves just a little less seriously, to have a little less concern about how things turn out, and to be more open merely to watching ourselves move through our lives without trying so obstinately to control the outcomes. All of these would be reflections of a deepening peace that flows from the acceptance of all that is, which forgiveness brings about. And what could be more practical?