ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 31

ACIM Reading for October 31

Manual for Teachers

27. What Is the Resurrection?

Very simply, the resurrection is the overcoming or surmounting of death. It is a reawakening or a rebirth; a change of mind about the meaning of the world. It is the acceptance of the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the world’s purpose; the acceptance of the Atonement for oneself. It is the end of dreams of misery, and the glad awareness of the Holy Spirit’s final dream. It is the recognition of the gifts of God. It is the dream in which the body functions perfectly, having no function except communication. It is the lesson in which learning ends, for it is consummated and surpassed with this. It is the invitation to God to take His final step. It is the relinquishment of all other purposes, all other interests, all other wishes and all other concerns. It is the single desire of the Son for the Father.

The resurrection is the denial of death, being the assertion of life. Thus is all the thinking of the world reversed entirely. Life is now recognized as salvation, and pain and misery of any kind perceived as hell. Love is no longer feared, but gladly welcomed. Idols have disappeared, and the remembrance of God shines unimpeded across the world. Christ’s face is seen in every living thing, and nothing is held in darkness, apart from the light of forgiveness. There is no sorrow still upon the earth. The joy of Heaven has come upon it.

Here the curriculum ends. From here on, no directions are needed. Vision is wholly corrected and all mistakes undone. Attack is meaningless and peace has come. The goal of the curriculum has been achieved. Thoughts turn to Heaven and away from hell. All longings are satisfied, for what remains unanswered or incomplete? The last illusion spreads across the world, forgiving all things and replacing all attack. The whole reversal is accomplished. Nothing is left to contradict the Word of God. There is no opposition to the truth. And now the truth can come at last. How quickly will it come as it is asked to enter and envelop such a world!

All living hearts are tranquil with a stir of deep anticipation, for the time of everlasting things is now at hand. There is no death. The Son of God is free. And in his freedom is the end of fear. No hidden places now remain on earth to shelter sick illusions, dreams of fear and misperceptions of the universe. All things are seen in light, and in the light their purpose is transformed and understood. And we, God’s children, rise up from the dust and look upon our perfect sinlessness. The song of Heaven sounds around the world, as it is lifted up and brought to truth.

Now there are no distinctions. Differences have disappeared and Love looks on Itself. What further sight is needed? What remains that vision could accomplish? We have seen the face of Christ, His sinlessness, His Love behind all forms, beyond all purposes. Holy are we because His Holiness has set us free indeed! And we accept His Holiness as ours; as it is. As God created us so will we be forever and forever, and we wish for nothing but His Will to be our own. Illusions of another will are lost, for unity of purpose has been found.

These things await us all, but we are not prepared as yet to welcome them with joy. As long as any mind remains possessed of evil dreams, the thought of hell is real. God’s teachers have the goal of wakening the minds of those asleep, and seeing there the vision of Christ’s face to take the place of what they dream. The thought of murder is replaced with blessing. Judgment is laid by, and given Him Whose function judgment is. And in His Final Judgment is restored the truth about the holy Son of God. He is redeemed, for he has heard God’s Word and understood its meaning. He is free because he let God’s Voice proclaim the truth. And all he sought before to crucify are resurrected with him, by his side, as he prepares with them to meet his God.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 31

Lesson 304

Let not my world obscure the sight of Christ.

I can obscure my holy sight, if I intrude my world upon it. Nor can I behold the holy sights Christ looks upon, unless it is His vision that I use. Perception is a mirror, not a fact. And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward. I would bless the world by looking on it through the eyes of Christ. And I will look upon the certain signs that all my sins have been forgiven me.

You lead me from the darkness to the light; from sin to holiness. Let me forgive, and thus receive salvation for the world. It is Your gift, my Father, given me to offer to Your holy Son, that he may find again the memory of You, and of Your Son as You created him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #92: I have studied the Course for over 10 years and have done the workbook 2 1/2 times. I realized I did them very much as a ritual the first time. The second time was probably the best, and though I would sometimes fall into a routine/ritual, the awareness of what Jesus was saying really hit home. The third time was many years later. I only made it 1/2 way through before I gave up. The reason I really wanted to try the lessons again is because the text is more theoretical and over the years what I’ve learned from the practical application of the lessons seems to have lost some of its impact. This is probably normal. What I want to do is apply the Course to my everyday experiences and the workbook did this so well. I have been reading the Rules for Decision and trying to start my day this way, then remember my purpose for the day when I’ve lost my peace. This has been wonderful. My question is should the lessons be attempted again or should they just be read and applied as seen fit? What have people said about doing the lessons again?

A: We addressed part of your question in #64 (1/22/03) — whether the lessons should be done again. What you are experiencing is quite normal, as you have concluded. And since your practice of the Rules for Decision material is working for you so well, it makes sense to just stay with that. You just want to be sure that you are not caught in the ego trap of thinking you must apply the Course perfectly, 24 hours a day, or else you are not a good and faithful student. If there is any pressure or any sense of judgment at all, you can be sure that it is not coming from Jesus, and that you have attempted to direct your own process.

We all are resistant, or we would not need the Course at all. Looking more closely at your resistance might help put you in touch with the fear that must be present in your mind. Part of us recognizes the implications of our actually learning and fully implementing what the Course is teaching. Part of us knows that we have been wrong about absolutely everything and that absolutely everything about us would change, and that is very, very frightening. Part of us wants to go on, another part is terrified to continue.

Once you recognize the connection between your fear and your forgetting to apply the Course, the next step is to forgive yourself. Fear is not a sin. As you know from our answer to #64, the lessons are best practiced by doing them “poorly” and then forgiving yourself, as opposed to ritualizing them and focusing on the form rather than the content. The fact that you sincerely want to apply the Course to your everyday experiences is the content, and that is sufficient. The form this takes is not the point. You can then be grateful for having made the choice to undo your belief in the ego thought system, trusting that as your fear lessens, you will experience further shifts in your thinking and in your relationships. Just don’t try to evaluate your progress or try too hard to get results as you would define them. Trust the process.


Q #93: For several years of study I’ve tried to follow your thoughts about “looking within with Jesus” or “looking through his eyes.” I was never really able to visualize this occurring. Recently, I’ve come to accept that “looking with Jesus” means the application of his teachings in A Course in Miracles to my ego perceptions. In other words, believing the teachings also means believing and accepting the teacher. This has provided me with a better understanding of what it means to have Jesus with me. Is this a good way to visualize my relationship with Jesus or should it be something more personal?

A: The process you describe of applying the teachings of the Course to your ego perceptions is indeed a very appropriate practice of looking with Jesus. Since Jesus is a symbol of the content of the Course, he is present in our minds when its teachings are brought to awareness. This is especially true when we are willing to apply these teachings to our ego perceptions, and question their validity in the light of Jesus’ message. Because we identify with our perceptions, this is also a way of relating to Jesus in a very personal way. You have invited him to be with you in the form of the teachings of the Course, which can be symbolized as a lamp shedding new light on our darkened minds: “I give you the lamp and I will go with you. You will not take this journey alone. I will lead you to your true Father, Who hath need of you, as I have” (T.11.in.4:5,6,7).

jesus there is no death

 

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 30

ACIM Reading for October 30

Manual for Teachers

27. What Is Death?

Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end? We have asked this question before, but now we need to consider it more carefully. It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. This is regarded as “the way of nature,” not to be raised to question, but to be accepted as the “natural” law of life. The cyclical, the changing and unsure; the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path,–all this is taken as the Will of God. And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.

In this perception of the universe as God created it, it would be impossible to think of Him as loving. For who has decreed that all things pass away, ending in dust and disappointment and despair, can but be feared. He holds your little life in his hand but by a thread, ready to break it off without regret or care, perhaps today. Or if he waits, yet is the ending certain. Who loves such a god knows not of love, because he has denied that life is real. Death has become life’s symbol. His world is now a battleground, where contradiction reigns and opposites make endless war. Where there is death is peace impossible.

Death is the symbol of the fear of God. His Love is blotted out in the idea, which holds it from awareness like a shield held up to obscure the sun. The grimness of the symbol is enough to show it cannot coexist with God. It holds an image of the Son of God in which he is “laid to rest” in devastation’s arms, where worms wait to greet him and to last a little while by his destruction. Yet the worms as well are doomed to be destroyed as certainly. And so do all things live because of death. Devouring is nature’s “law of life.” God is insane, and fear alone is real.

The curious belief that there is part of dying things that may go on apart from what will die, does not proclaim a loving God nor re-establish any grounds for trust. If death is real for anything, there is no life. Death denies life. But if there is reality in life, death is denied. No compromise in this is possible. There is either a god of fear or One of Love. The world attempts a thousand compromises, and will attempt a thousand more. Not one can be acceptable to God’s teachers, because not one could be acceptable to God. He did not make death because He did not make fear. Both are equally meaningless to Him.

The “reality” of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body. And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real. But God would not be loving. There is no point at which the contrast between the perception of the real world and that of the world of illusions becomes more sharply evident. Death is indeed the death of God, if He is Love. And now His Own creation must stand in fear of Him. He is not Father, but destroyer. He is not Creator, but avenger. Terrible His Thoughts and fearful His image. To look on His creations is to die.

“And the last to be overcome will be death.” Of course! Without the idea of death there is no world. All dreams will end with this one. This is salvation’s final goal; the end of all illusions. And in death are all illusions born. What can be born of death and still have life? But what is born of God and still can die? The inconsistencies, the compromises and the rituals the world fosters in its vain attempts to cling to death and yet to think love real are mindless magic, ineffectual and meaningless. God is, and in Him all created things must be eternal. Do you not see that otherwise He has an opposite, and fear would be as real as love?

Teacher of God, your one assignment could be stated thus: Accept no compromise in which death plays a part. Do not believe in cruelty, nor let attack conceal the truth from you. What seems to die has but been misperceived and carried to illusion. Now it becomes your task to let the illusion be carried to the truth. Be steadfast but in this; be not deceived by the “reality” of any changing form. Truth neither moves nor wavers nor sinks down to death and dissolution. And what is the end of death? Nothing but this; the realization that the Son of God is guiltless now and forever. Nothing but this. But do not let yourself forget it is not less than this.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 30

Lesson 303

The holy Christ is born in me today.

Watch with me, angels, watch with me today. Let all God’s holy Thoughts surround me, and be still with me while Heaven’s Son is born. Let earthly sounds be quiet, and the sights to which I am accustomed disappear. Let Christ be welcomed where He is at home. And let Him hear the sounds He understands, and see but sights that show His Father’s Love. Let Him no longer be a stranger here, for He is born again in me today.

Your Son is welcome, Father. He has come to save me from the evil self I made. He is the Self that You have given me. He is but what I really am in truth. He is the Son You love above all things. He is my Self as You created me. It is not Christ that can be crucified. Safe in Your Arms let me receive Your Son.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #153: In “To Be Or Not To Be,” Ken stated that we all attempt to cheat death in various ways, only to preserve our individuality. Within the illusion doesn’t reincarnation do the same thing? We “live,” we “die,” only to “live” again, just to keep the ego alive and well. At some point we must choose the right-minded tape….Could you please comment on this.

A. Yes, reincarnation preserves our individuality, as well as the illusion of time. However, the purpose of multiple reincarnations — as traditionally defined in the different systems — is to have as many opportunities as are needed to complete one’s learning, so that the cycle of birth and death may be ended permanently. In A Course in Miracles, as you probably know, Jesus states that “in the ultimate sense, reincarnation is impossible. There is no past or future, and the idea of birth into a body has no meaning either once or many times. Reincarnation cannot, then, be true in any real sense. Our only question should be, ‘Is the concept helpful?’” (M.24.1:1,2,3,4). And in the discussion that follows, he concludes that any belief that leads to progress in accepting the Atonement for ourselves should be honored (M.24.6). Thus it comes down to form and content.

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Q #91-a: I have been watching a TV show called “Crossing Over” by John Edward. This fellow appears sincere and loving and able to communicate with the “dead.” How does this reconcile with the Course, or in other words how does the Course look at this. Just another illusion?

Q #91-b: Jesus talks about all Life as being part of God, and I can get a sense of that in humans, but what about dogs and cats for instance? They seem to have a soul and if you listen to people like Jonathan Edward he says that the people he contacts have old pets with them. Dogs and cats seem to be part of the Son of God. What about “lower” animals like a rat? I know that this is probably silly, but I’m curious about your thoughts.                                                                        

A: These questions deal with both metaphysical and worldly (dream) levels. From a metaphysical standpoint, Jesus makes the Course’s view of communication with the dead perfectly clear in the Laws of Chaos section: “There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion….Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere” (T.23.II.19:1,2,3,6). So there is only the illusion of life in this world.

Yet we who experience “life” in this world grapple daily with the “hierarchy of illusions” (T.23.II.2:3); life, death, animate, inanimate, human, animal, etc. There are people who communicate with the “dead,” with the “living” (from great distances), foresee the future, see the distant past, etc. These experiences, as well as innumerable others, are possible on this worldly level, or level of the dream, because they reflect the workings of the mind. And since we know the mind is one, then it should not be surprising that people can “connect” with each other. Just because we believe that we are separate and independent from everything else in this world does not mean that it is true. And having “forgotten” our origin, communicating in a way like Jonathan Edward does seems incredible to us. This type of communication however, reflects the property of the mind being one, and is our natural form of communication. So as you can see, there is no difference in communication between “live” bodies, “dead” bodies, or “live and dead” bodies. There are no bodies; only mind.

And questions about “higher” and “lower” are not silly, since we all want to know how the hierarchy of our world fits into the hierarchy of God’s world. And that word, “hierarchy,” should give us a clue as to the answer. The Course teaches that all forms of life here are the same; i.e., all are our projections of the ego thought of separation from God, and it also teaches that God’s world has no hierarchy, no levels, no differences. God, and His One Son, Christ, are totally unified, which is a concept we are unable to understand with a brain that has been made to only understand duality. But we can at least intellectually understand that the thought of separation in the mind is one of content, not form. And so the form that this thought of separation takes, — animate or inanimate, protozoan or mammal — is irrelevant.

And finally, remembering that this world is a “dream,” you undoubtedly know from your own experience that anything can happen in a dream. “Does not a world that seems quite real arise in dreams? Yet think what this world is. It is clearly not the world you saw before you slept….Dreams…are the best example you could have of how perception can be utilized to substitute illusions for truth. You do not take them seriously on awaking because the fact that reality is so outrageously violated in them becomes apparent. Yet they are a way of looking at the world, and changing it to suit the ego better”(T.18.II.1:1,2,3.2:1,2,3,4).

accept only love

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 29

ACIM Reading for October 29

26. Manual for Teachers

Can God Be Reached Directly?

God indeed can be reached directly, for there is no distance between Him and His Son. His awareness is in everyone’s memory, and His Word is written on everyone’s heart. Yet this awareness and this memory can arise across the threshold of recognition only where all barriers to truth have been removed. In how many is this the case? Here, then, is the role of God’s teachers. They, too, have not attained the necessary understanding as yet, but they have joined with others. This is what sets them apart from the world. And it is this that enables others to leave the world with them. Alone they are nothing. But in their joining is the power of God.

There are those who have reached God directly, retaining no trace of worldly limits and remembering their own Identity perfectly. These might be called the Teachers of teachers because, although they are no longer visible, their image can yet be called upon. And they will appear when and where it is helpful for them to do so. To those to whom such appearances would be frightening, they give their ideas. No one can call on them in vain. Nor is there anyone of whom they are unaware. All needs are known to them, and all mistakes are recognized and overlooked by them. The time will come when this is understood. And meanwhile, they give all their gifts to the teachers of God who look to them for help, asking all things in their name and in no other.

Sometimes a teacher of God may have a brief experience of direct union with God. In this world, it is almost impossible that this endure. It can, perhaps, be won after much devotion and dedication, and then be maintained for much of the time on earth. But this is so rare that it cannot be considered a realistic goal. If it happens, so be it. If it does not happen, so be it as well. All worldly states must be illusory. If God were reached directly in sustained awareness, the body would not be long maintained. Those who have laid the body down merely to extend their helpfulness to those remaining behind are few indeed. And they need helpers who are still in bondage and still asleep, so that by their awakening can God’s Voice be heard.

Do not despair, then, because of limitations. It is your function to escape from them, but not to be without them. If you would be heard by those who suffer, you must speak their language. If you would be a savior, you must understand what needs to be escaped. Salvation is not theoretical. Behold the problem, ask for the answer, and then accept it when it comes. Nor will its coming be long delayed. All the help you can accept will be provided, and not one need you have will not be met. Let us not, then, be too concerned with goals for which you are not ready. God takes you where you are and welcomes you. What more could you desire, when this is all you need?

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 29

Lesson 302

Where darkness was I look upon the light.

Father, our eyes are opening at last. Your holy world awaits us, as our sight is finally restored and we can see. We thought we suffered. But we had forgot the Son whom You created. Now we see that darkness is our own imagining, and light is there for us to look upon. Christ’s vision changes darkness into light, for fear must disappear when love has come. Let me forgive Your holy world today, that I may look upon its holiness and understand it but reflects my own.

Our Love awaits us as we go to Him, and walks beside us showing us the way. He fails in nothing. He the End we seek, and He the Means by which we go to Him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #451: What is your understanding of, “And they will appear when and where it is helpful for them to do so?”

A: The “they” referred to in the above quote from the manual for teachers are what A Course in Miracles refers to as the Teachers of teachers, those who have transcended all worldly limitations and have remembered their Identity perfectly (M.26.2:1,2). From our ego-based perspective as figures in the dream, they would seem to be other figures in the dream who have awakened, such as Jesus. However, we must remember that we are the dreamer of the dream, not the figure in the dream, and so it would be more accurate to say that such Teachers are symbols within our dream of the Answer, pure manifestations of the Holy Spirit — egoless thoughts that remind us of the truth of ourselves. The thought behind each such symbol is abstract, but the form they may appear to take will be whatever form our own mind gives to them that allows us to hear the message of correction without increasing our fear. And so, while we still believe we are separate, they will also seem to us to be separate (T.25.I.5:1), because that is what will be least threatening and most helpful to us. The form could be an intuition, an inner voice, a book, music, a person, etc. The specific form is always irrelevant to the purpose. All that matters is the message of love, which will be a reminder to ourselves to forgive, regardless of the form it appears to take.


Q #452: Since everything is purpose and not form, is it possible that we can be guided to scream loudly at someone and it can be coming from the content of love?

A: Yes, we can be guided by love to yell at someone. If we are identified with love and our ego is not involved at all, then the love would be expressed in whatever form would be appropriate in the situation. The key, though, is to get our egos out of the way, which is not that easy to do. The ego is very shrewd and deceptive, and always wants nothing more than to perpetuate its own existence, but make it appear as though something else is going on. So, often it disguises itself in the form of love and concern, which in many cases is but a means used to justify attack. We all have had the experience of realizing much later that what we thought was a right-minded interaction was only a veiled attack. So we must exercise extreme caution with this kind of approach. With much practice, we can become familiar with our favorite means of self-deception, and then we can be more alert to the kinds of traps we are apt to fall into.

Surely, there are many people who can be reached only by being yelled at — adolescents and immature young adults being prime examples. But proceed with caution! The ego will seize any opportunity to unload guilt and hatred onto someone else and make it look as if it is a charitable act.

kingdom of god

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 28

ACIM Reading for October 28

Manual for Teachers 

25. Are “Psychic” Powers Desirable?

The answer to this question is much like the preceding one. There are, of course, no “unnatural” powers, and it is obviously merely an appeal to magic to make up a power that does not exist. It is equally obvious, however, that each individual has many abilities of which he is unaware. As his awareness increases, he may well develop abilities that seem quite startling to him. Yet nothing he can do can compare even in the slightest with the glorious surprise of remembering Who he is. Let all his learning and all his efforts be directed toward this one great final surprise, and he will not be content to be delayed by the little ones that may come to him on the way.

Certainly there are many “psychic” powers that are clearly in line with this course. Communication is not limited to the small range of channels the world recognizes. If it were, there would be little point in trying to teach salvation. It would be impossible to do so. The limits the world places on communication are the chief barriers to direct experience of the Holy Spirit, Whose Presence is always there and Whose Voice is available but for the hearing. These limits are placed out of fear, for without them the walls that surround all the separate places of the world would fall at the holy sound of His Voice. Who transcends these limits in any way is merely becoming more natural. He is doing nothing special, and there is no magic in his accomplishments.

The seemingly new abilities that may be gathered on the way can be very helpful. Given to the Holy Spirit, and used under His direction, they are valuable teaching aids. To this, the question of how they arise is irrelevant. The only important consideration is how they are used. Taking them as ends in themselves, no matter how this is done, will delay progress. Nor does their value lie in proving anything; achievements from the past, unusual attunement with the “unseen,” or “special” favors from God. God gives no special favors, and no one has any powers that are not available to everyone. Only by tricks of magic are special powers “demonstrated.”

Nothing that is genuine is used to deceive. The Holy Spirit is incapable of deception, and He can use only genuine abilities. What is used for magic is useless to Him. But what He uses cannot be used for magic. There is, however, a particular appeal in unusual abilities that can be curiously tempting. Here are strengths which the Holy Spirit wants and needs. Yet the ego sees in these same strengths an opportunity to glorify itself. Strengths turned to weakness are tragedy indeed. Yet what is not given to the Holy Spirit must be given to weakness, for what is withheld from love is given to fear, and will be fearful in consequence.

Even those who no longer value the material things of the world may still be deceived by “psychic” powers. As investment has been withdrawn from the world’s material gifts, the ego has been seriously threatened. It may still be strong enough to rally under this new temptation to win back strength by guile. Many have not seen through the ego’s defenses here, although they are not particularly subtle. Yet, given a remaining wish to be deceived, deception is made easy. Now the “power” is no longer a genuine ability, and cannot be used dependably. It is almost inevitable that, unless the individual changes his mind about its purpose, he will bolster his “power’s” uncertainties with increasing deception.

Any ability that anyone develops has the potentiality for good. To this there is no exception. And the more unusual and unexpected the power, the greater its potential usefulness. Salvation has need of all abilities, for what the world would destroy the Holy Spirit would restore. “Psychic” abilities have been used to call upon the devil, which merely means to strengthen the ego. Yet here is also a great channel of hope and healing in the Holy Spirit’s service. Those who have developed “psychic” powers have simply let some of the limitations they laid upon their minds be lifted. It can be but further limitations they lay upon themselves if they utilize their increased freedom for greater imprisonment. The Holy Spirit needs these gifts, and those who offer them to Him and Him alone go with Christ’s gratitude upon their hearts, and His holy sight not far behind.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 28

Lesson 301

Section 9. What is the Second Coming?

Christ’s Second Coming, which is sure as God, is merely the correction of mistakes, and the return of sanity. It is a part of the condition that restores the never lost, and re-establishes what is forever and forever true. It is the invitation to God’s Word to take illusion’s place; the willingness to let forgiveness rest upon all things without exception and without reserve.

It is the all-inclusive nature of Christ’s Second Coming that permits it to embrace the world and hold you safe within its gentle advent, which encompasses all living things with you. There is no end to the release the Second Coming brings, as God’s creation must be limitless. Forgiveness lights the Second Coming’s way, because it shines on everything as one. And thus is oneness recognized at last.

The Second Coming ends the lessons that the Holy Spirit teaches, making way for the Last Judgment, in which learning ends in one last summary that will extend beyond itself, and reaches up to God. The Second Coming is the time in which all minds are given to the hands of Christ, to be returned to spirit in the name of true creation and the Will of God.

The Second Coming is the one event in time which time itself can not affect. For every one who ever came to die, or yet will come or who is present now, is equally released from what he made. In this equality is Christ restored as one Identity, in which the Sons of God acknowledge that they all are one. And God the Father smiles upon His Son, His one creation and His only joy.

Pray that the Second Coming will be soon, but do not rest with that. It needs your eyes and ears and hands and feet. It needs your voice. And most of all it needs your willingness. Let us rejoice that we can do God’s Will, and join together in its holy light. Behold, the Son of God is one in us, and we can reach our Father’s Love through Him.


Lesson 301

And God Himself shall wipe away all tears.

Father, unless I judge I cannot weep. Nor can I suffer pain, or feel I am abandoned or unneeded in the world. This is my home because I judge it not, and therefore is it only what You will. Let me today behold it uncondemned, through happy eyes forgiveness has released from all distortion. Let me see Your world instead of mine. And all the tears I shed will be forgotten, for their source is gone. Father, I will not judge Your world today.

God’s world is happy. Those who look on it can only add their joy to it, and bless it as a cause of further joy in them. We wept because we did not understand. But we have learned the world we saw was false, and we will look upon God’s world today.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #993In Question #48 you state that “ A Course in Miracles is unique among spiritualities or spiritual approaches, both contemporary and ancient ones.” I have found remarkable parallels between the Course and the ancient Gnostic writings, in particular that the world was made in error, not by God. While there apparently was never one organized creed of Gnosticism, it does appear that its teachings and gospels were part of early Christian thought, and then stamped out, as the Christian Church that we know today established its formal creed. Kenneth Wapnick’s book Love Does Not Condemn deals with the subject of Gnosticism and its relation to the Course. It might be helpful to readers of this forum to provide a brief explanation regarding the relationship, similarities, and differences of the early Gnostic writings to the principles contained in the Course.

A: Interestingly, Ken’s original intention was to write a brief article on this topic; but he found his “article” expanding rather quickly as he read more of the Gnostic and related literature, until finally he decided a full-length book would be needed in order to do justice to this important dimension of Course. Thus, his six-hundred-page book. So to ask for a “brief explanation” is quite a challenge. At the risk of oversimplifying a complex topic — there were several schools of Gnosticism, with differing views among the schools, and within each school as well — we will give it a try by presenting some general contours.

The Course and Gnosticism are similar in maintaining that the world was not created by the true God, but by a false god. In the higher teachings, primarily the Valentinian school, which differed significantly from others, the world was regarded as an illusion. Valentinus called it a fantasy or “Sophia’s folly.” This resulted in a generally negative attitude toward the world; in fact, Gnostics despised the world and sought to avoid being “contaminated” by it. So, while they said the world was not real, they made it real in their minds by seeing it as the locus of sin — which led many Gnostics to avoid involvement with the world and the body. The behavioral and practical implications of the metaphysics varied greatly among the different groups, some of which were shared with early Christians.

This is where we see a major difference between Gnosticism and A Course in Miracles . The Course’s position is inherent in the title of Ken’s book: Love Does Not Condemn , which comes from a passage about the body, but implicitly includes the world: “The body was not made by love. Yet love does not condemn it and can use it lovingly, respecting what the Son of God has made and using it to save him from illusions” (T.18.VI.4:7,8) . The entire physical universe is seen as illusory — as part of the ego’s defensive war against God — but it is not judged inherently evil or sinful, as it now can serve the Holy Spirit’s purpose of correcting our purpose in having made it. Thus, the problem is not the world or the body, but our use of it, which is entirely a function of our decision-making minds. This is why the Course says nothing about behavior, much to the frustration of many of its students. It teaches us how to be in the world but not of it; but the focus is exclusively on bringing out of concealment the purpose we have chosen in our minds: namely, to use the world and the body to keep the separation real, while not accepting responsibility for it. Our salvation comes, therefore, not in avoiding involvement with the world, but by seeing it as a classroom in which we learn how to use it to undo our belief in separation through forgiveness. The non-dualism of the Course’s metaphysics is thus maintained.


Q #994If God doesn’t know we exist, who the hell have we all been praying to for thousands of years? Have we been choreographing our own answers? If our prayers were not answered, was it because we couldn’t create properly? Is this why millions of people were killed during the Holocaust although they were devout, prayerful people — because there was no one to hear their prayers and help them? Has everyone that thought there was a God who cared about them, guided them, and loved them been duped? Am I interpreting all of this correctly?

A: No, you are not quite interpreting the message of A Course in Miracles correctly. The Course does give us a way of thinking about God and the nature of this world that is radically different from what western religions have taught for centuries. However, its central message is not that we suffer because God cannot hear us or because we cannot “create properly,” but rather that we suffer because we actively choose to experience suffering instead of the Love of God. The Course informs us that we have been wrong about God because we have been so very wrong about ourselves. Let us take a closer look at how it explains these dynamics.

Jesus tells us that God does not know we are here because we are not here . In the original instant, filled with imaginary guilt, we wanted to escape from God — simultaneously believing that we had killed Him and that He would rise again and give us the punishment we thought we deserved for daring to consider the idea of separation. So we chose to listen to the ego, fall asleep, and dream up this world. Having been birthed by a thought of guilt, this is a guilt-filled world in which everyone appears to lead lives that overflow with punishing pain. While, as you mentioned, Holocaust victims provide an example of extreme physical and psychological anguish, we need hardly look to them to find proof of human suffering that one would expect a Loving God to alleviate. Indeed, simply living as a body is a set up for almost continual pain — the pain of material need, illness, aging, loss, dependency, and so on. The Course asks us to look honestly at this and admit that, as much as we may profess to love Him, if we believe that God created and controls the events in this world and our lives, a part of our minds must hate Him for not doing more to improve things.

And yet, ultimately, the Course’s message is a happy one, which lets us know that God’s Love is much closer than most of us ever imagined. We do not need to beseech God, please Him, or struggle to earn His Love because, in reality, we remain safely enveloped in it, at home in Heaven. As the Course says “Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere. Outside of Heaven, only the conflict of illusion stands; senseless, impossible and beyond all reason, and yet perceived as an eternal barrier to Heaven” (T.23.II.19:6,7).

So all we need do to begin to awaken to that reality is undo the one mistake that we have made from the moment time seemed to begin — choosing the thought system of the ego rather than the Holy Spirit (Who represents the memory of God’s Love in our mind). When we choose the Holy Spirit’s Love, we will be happy regardless of whether the circumstances in our lives are ones that the world would judge to be pleasant or miserable. Likewise, when we choose the ego, we will be unhappy no matter how good or bad our external situation appears to be. For this reason, we cannot judge someone else’s life as being fair or unfair. While certainly the outer life of virtually every human being seems filled with gross injustices, we cannot know why each of us chooses a particular script or the lessons we may be learning as a result of our choice.

Those who have believed that God cared about them, guided them, and loved them have not been duped ifthis belief helped them to get in touch with His Love in their mind. In the end, it does not really matter how we conceptualize God or our relationship to Him, so long as we find a way of doing so that helps us replace our guilt and fear with love and inner peace. Basically, Jesus just wants to help us find our way home and has given us the Course as a tool to help us make the journey. But this does not make the Course any more or less true than other tools people have used for the same purpose. Remember, nothing in this world is true, and anything in this world can help us move closer to truth (love) in our mind if that is the purpose we give it. This is why, after establishing the illusory nature of the physical world and the body, Jesus can make a statement like, “If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you. And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy” (W.pI.70.9:3,4) . Similarly, if people throughout history have felt God’s Love even while conceptualizing it in a way that is clearly at odds from how it is presented in the Course, this has been no idle fantasy.

you cannot lose your soul

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 27

ACIM Reading for October 27

Manual for Teachers

24. Is Reincarnation So?

In the ultimate sense, reincarnation is impossible. There is no past or future, and the idea of birth into a body has no meaning either once or many times. Reincarnation cannot, then, be true in any real sense. Our only question should be, “Is the concept helpful?” And that depends, of course, on what it is used for. If it is used to strengthen the recognition of the eternal nature of life, it is helpful indeed. Is any other question about it really useful in lighting up the way? Like many other beliefs, it can be bitterly misused. At least, such misuse offers preoccupation and perhaps pride in the past. At worst, it induces inertia in the present. In between, many kinds of folly are possible.

Reincarnation would not, under any circumstances, be the problem to be dealt with now. If it were responsible for some of the difficulties the individual faces now, his task would still be only to escape from them now. If he is laying the groundwork for a future life, he can still work out his salvation only now. To some, there may be comfort in the concept, and if it heartens them its value is self-evident. It is certain, however, that the way to salvation can be found by those who believe in reincarnation and by those who do not. The idea cannot, therefore, be regarded as essential to the curriculum. There is always some risk in seeing the present in terms of the past. There is always some good in any thought which strengthens the idea that life and the body are not the same.

For our purposes, it would not be helpful to take any definite stand on reincarnation. A teacher of God should be as helpful to those who believe in it as to those who do not. If a definite stand were required of him, it would merely limit his usefulness, as well as his own decision making. Our course is not concerned with any concept that is not acceptable to anyone, regardless of his formal beliefs. His ego will be enough for him to cope with, and it is not the part of wisdom to add sectarian controversies to his burdens. Nor would there be an advantage in his premature acceptance of the course merely because it advocates a long-held belief of his own.

It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this course aims at a complete reversal of thought. When this is finally accomplished, issues such as the validity of reincarnation become meaningless. Until then, they are likely to be merely controversial. The teacher of God is, therefore, wise to step away from all such questions, for he has much to teach and learn apart from them. He should both learn and teach that theoretical issues but waste time, draining it away from its appointed purpose. If there are aspects to any concept or belief that will be helpful, he will be told about it. He will also be told how to use it. What more need he know?

Does this mean that the teacher of God should not believe in reincarnation himself, or discuss it with others who do? The answer is, certainly not! If he does believe in reincarnation, it would be a mistake for him to renounce the belief unless his internal Teacher so advised. And this is most unlikely. He might be advised that he is misusing the belief in some way that is detrimental to his pupil’s advance or his own. Reinterpretation would then be recommended, because it is necessary. All that must be recognized, however, is that birth was not the beginning, and death is not the end. Yet even this much is not required of the beginner. He need merely accept the idea that what he knows is not necessarily all there is to learn. His journey has begun.

The emphasis of this course always remains the same;–it is at this moment that complete salvation is offered you, and it is at this moment that you can accept it. This is still your one responsibility. Atonement might be equated with total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future. Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time. No teaching that does not lead to this is of concern to God’s teachers. All beliefs will point to this if properly interpreted. In this sense, it can be said that their truth lies in their usefulness. All beliefs that lead to progress should be honored. This is the sole criterion this course requires. No more than this is necessary.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 27

Lesson 300

Only an instant does this world endure.

This is a thought which can be used to say that death and sorrow are the certain lot of all who come here, for their joys are gone before they are possessed, or even grasped. Yet this is also the idea that lets no false perception keep us in its hold, nor represent more than a passing cloud upon a sky eternally serene. And it is this serenity we seek, unclouded, obvious and sure, today.

We seek Your holy world today. For we, Your loving Sons, have lost our way a while. But we have listened to Your Voice, and learned exactly what to do to be restored to Heaven and our true Identity. And we give thanks today the world endures but for an instant. We would go beyond that tiny instant to eternity.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #242: I am confused by A Course in Miracles’ use of the word conditions. We are not to ask for help with the “release of fear,” but rather to ask “for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about.” Would you say it’s also appropriate to ask for help in bringing “proper learning conditions” about?…for help in bringing about the conditions for peace?…for help in bringing about the conditions for love?…etc. I assume it’s talking about conditions of mind.

A: Yes, the term conditions always refers to a choice made in our minds, which accounts for our lack of peace, for our not being aware of love’s presence, etc. The point of the passage you are referring to (T.2.VI.4) is that Jesus was helping Helen and all of us to learn to take responsibility for our thoughts and feelings, so that we can get back in touch with the power of our minds to choose. We essentially chose to repress this power and become mindless instead when we gave our allegiance to the ego. So Jesus is saying that it really would not be helpful to us in the long run, if he simply took our fear away from us, without our having learned that it is there only because of our ongoing choice to prefer separation to oneness (the conditions that led to the fear). He tells us several paragraphs later: “You may still complain about fear, but you nevertheless persist in making yourself fearful. I have already indicated that you cannot ask me to release you from fear. I know it does not exist, but you do not. If I intervened between your thoughts and their results, I would be tampering with a basic law of cause and effect; the most fundamental law there is. I would hardly help you if I depreciated the power of your own thinking. This would be in direct opposition to the purpose of this course. It is much more helpful to remind you that you do not guard your thoughts carefully enough” (T.2.VII.1:2,3,4,5,6,7).

So Jesus is emphasizing the importance of guarding our thoughts very carefully, just as the entire workbook comes back over and over again to the importance of our being vigilant about our thoughts. That is what he wants to help us with: looking at how willing we are to keep ourselves separate and special, how willing we are to see others as the sinners and ourselves as innocent victims. These are the conditions that result in our fear and our lack of peace, etc.

Thus is it very appropriate to ask for help in bringing about the conditions that would facilitate our learning, and that would bring about the conditions for peace and love, etc. If we were to look with him at all of our ego thoughts, and then let them go, fear and guilt would vanish forever, and then the love that had been blocked by the fear would be our only reality. All fear and guilt rest on our willingness to choose against the love of Jesus and for the ego, which ensures our survival as separate individuals.

Finally, if we ask him to help us look at our choice to keep him away, then we have already begun the process of correcting that choice. That is the kind of help that would benefit us most.

*

Q #157: In his teaching, Ken Wapnick says that God doesn’t even know that we exist; that we are here in the world. Where in A Course in Miracles does it say that, or what passage implies that? I don’t have a problem with the statement, because I understand that in the Course “existence” refers to our belief in the ego, the belief that we are bodies, and “being” refers to our state of oneness in Heaven. So it would make sense that God does not “know” us in our ego state. But can you clarify where it comes from? Also, where in the Course does Jesus make reference to the “decision maker” that Ken refers to so often?

A: The statement that God does not even know that we exist, as you suggest, follows from an understanding of the Course’s metaphysics. The self we believe we are, here in the world, is an illusory projection of an illusory thought in an illusory split mind. It has no reality. God, Who is total Oneness, can not know anything that is not a part of that total Oneness, and His knowing cannot involve a separate observer and an observed. If God knew of our existence in this world, the separation would be real. But the Course asserts over and over again that the separation never happened in reality — the principle of the Atonement (e.g., T.2.I.4:4; T.2.VII.6:7,8,9).

Although the specific wording you ask about is never used in the Course, there are a number of passages that clearly imply that God does not know of our existence here. Among them are the following: “God and His creations remain in surety, and therefore know that no miscreations exist” (T.3.IV.7:1). “God did create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to His Own. There is nothing else” (T.3.V.7:3,4). A little later, speaking of our self and God’s Self, Jesus observes, “They are fundamentally irreconcilable, because spirit cannot perceive and the ego cannot know. They are therefore not in communication and can never be in communication” (T.4.I.2:11,12). And in the next section:“The ego’s ceaseless attempts to gain the spirit’s acknowledgement and thus establish its own existence are useless. Spirit in its knowledge is unaware of the ego. It does not attack it; it merely cannot conceive of it at all” (T.4.II.8:5,6,7).

The word decision maker as Ken has used it in his teaching is not found in the Course itself. The Course’s one use of that phrase speaks of our resistance to recognizing the power of decision that resides in the mind, preferring instead to see “the body… [as] the decision maker” (M.5.II.1:7). Although that one instance is not describing the mind, the point being made is that the mind and not the body is the decision maker. The word decision maker thus is a convenient shorthand for referring to the part of the split mind that the Course is addressing throughout. It clearly can not be addressing the self that we believe we are, for the Course repeatedly reminds us that that self is not real and that the brain that we believe makes choices has no power at all. For example, in the workbook Jesus, with some amusement, observes, “You also believe the body’s brain can think. If you but understood the nature of thought, you could but laugh at this insane idea.” W.pI.92.2:1,2).

That the focus should be on the decision making power of our mind is most appropriate when we consider that Jesus emphasizes that “the power of decision is your one remaining freedom as a prisoner of this world. You can decide to see it [the world] right” (T.12.VII.9:1,2). And later, “Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit the choice for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours” (T.14.III.4:1,2,3; italics added). The centrality of the concept of choice or decision to Course teachings is evident when we consider that variations on the words choose and decide are used well over a thousand times across the three volumes of the Course. And the concluding section of the text, “Choose Once Again” (T.31.VIII), is a beautiful paean to choice.

secret of salvation

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 26

ACIM Reading for October 26

Manual for Teachers

23. Does Jesus Have a Special Role in Healing?

God’s gifts can rarely be received directly. Even the most advanced of God’s teachers will give way to temptation in this world. Would it be fair if their pupils were denied healing because of this? The Bible says, “Ask in the name of Jesus Christ.” Is this merely an appeal to magic? A name does not heal, nor does an invocation call forth any special power. What does it mean to call on Jesus Christ? What does calling on his name confer? Why is the appeal to him part of healing?

We have repeatedly said that one who has perfectly accepted the Atonement for himself can heal the world. Indeed, he has already done so. Temptation may recur to others, but never to this One. He has become the risen Son of God. He has overcome death because he has accepted life. He has recognized himself as God created him, and in so doing he has recognized all living things as part of him. There is now no limit on his power, because it is the power of God. So has his name become the Name of God, for he no longer sees himself as separate from Him.

What does this mean for you? It means that in remembering Jesus you are remembering God. The whole relationship of the Son to the Father lies in him. His part in the Sonship is also yours, and his completed learning guarantees your own success. Is he still available for help? What did he say about this? Remember his promises, and ask yourself honestly whether it is likely that he will fail to keep them. Can God fail His Son? And can one who is one with God be unlike Him? Who transcends the body has transcended limitation. Would the greatest teacher be unavailable to those who follow him?

The name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol. But it stands for love that is not of this world. It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray. It becomes the shining symbol for the Word of God, so close to what it stands for that the little space between the two is lost, the moment that the name is called to mind. Remembering the name of Jesus Christ is to give thanks for all the gifts that God has given you. And gratitude to God becomes the way in which He is remembered, for love cannot be far behind a grateful heart and thankful mind. God enters easily, for these are the true conditions for your homecoming.

Jesus has led the way. Why would you not be grateful to him? He has asked for love, but only that he might give it to you. You do not love yourself. But in his eyes your loveliness is so complete and flawless that he sees in it an image of his Father. You become the symbol of his Father here on earth. To you he looks for hope, because in you he sees no limit and no stain to mar your beautiful perfection. In his eyes Christ’s vision shines in perfect constancy. He has remained with you. Would you not learn the lesson of salvation through his learning? Why would you choose to start again, when he has made the journey for you?

No one on earth can grasp what Heaven is, or what its one Creator really means. Yet we have witnesses. It is to them that wisdom should appeal. There have been those whose learning far exceeds what we can learn. Nor would we teach the limitations we have laid on us. No one who has become a true and dedicated teacher of God forgets his brothers. Yet what he can offer them is limited by what he learns himself. Then turn to one who laid all limits by, and went beyond the farthest reach of learning. He will take you with him, for he did not go alone. And you were with him then, as you are now.

This course has come from him because his words have reached you in a language you can love and understand. Are other teachers possible, to lead the way to those who speak in different tongues and appeal to different symbols? Certainly there are. Would God leave anyone without a very present help in time of trouble; a savior who can symbolize Himself? Yet do we need a many-faceted curriculum, not because of content differences, but because symbols must shift and change to suit the need. Jesus has come to answer yours. In him you find God’s Answer. Do you, then, teach with him, for he is with you; he is always here.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 26

Lesson 299

Eternal holiness abides in me.

My holiness is far beyond my own ability to understand or know. Yet God, my Father, Who created it, acknowledges my holiness as His. Our Will, together, understands it. And Our Will, together, knows that it is so.

Father, my holiness is not of me. It is not mine to be destroyed by sin. It is not mine to suffer from attack. Illusions can obscure it, but can not put out its radiance, nor dim its light. It stands forever perfect and untouched. In it are all things healed, for they remain as You created them. And I can know my holiness. For Holiness Itself created me, and I can know my Source because it is Your Will that You be known.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #626: In the manual for teachers of A Course in Miracles we are told, “the name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol” (M.23.4:1). Why isn’t it revealed earlier in the text that Jesus is purely symbolic in the curriculum? The Course truly takes on a different meaning when one realizes that Jesus’ role in the Course is purely symbolic.

A: The simple answer to your question is that the statement indicates the name is a symbol, reflecting the earlier statement in the manual that “words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality” (M.21.1:9,10). The statement can also be understood on a deeper level, where Jesus is seen as a symbol of love, just as we are symbols of the ego’s thought system of separation. On that level, everything is a symbol, since everything is taking place in a mind that believes it exists outside the perfect Oneness of God, the only reality, for which there is no symbol and which is “ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen” (T.27.III.5:2).

There are not real, separate entities existing in a physical cosmos, even though that is what our senses tell us. Lesson 184 begins by saying, “You live by symbols. You have made up names for everything you see. Each one becomes a separate entity, identified by its own name. By this you carve it out of unity” (W.pI.184.1:1,2,3,4). Jesus is addressing the decision-making mind outside time and space, as he always does in the Course. Yet, in that same lesson he makes it clear that he is not expecting us to go beyond all symbols; but he also cautions us not to be deceived by the symbols of the world: “They do not stand for anything at all, and in your practicing it is this thought that will release you from them. They become but means by which you can communicate in ways the world can understand, but which you recognize is not the unity where true communication can be found” (W.pI.184.9:4,5).

“Jesus,” then, is a symbol, not of the world of separation, but of the real world of love and unity. As we identify more and more with the mind and less and less with the body, we will be better able to relate to this. In the meantime, we should go right on relating to him and ourselves as individuals as long as that is our experience, keeping in mind, however, what he is teaching in this lesson in particular. He is teaching us how to use the names of things in the world to get beyond them to the “one Name, one meaning, and a single Source which unifies all things within Itself” (11:3). Our starting point, which will take us a long way, is to ask help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit to see beyond the separate, competing interests that divide us to the common purpose we all share of restoring to our awareness our unity as God’s one Son. This process of forgiveness is wonderfully described in the section in the text called “Beyond All Symbols” (T.27.III). Also, Chapter 17 in Kenneth’s book, Absence from Felicity, explains Helen Schucman’s experience of Jesus on these two levels. It helps to resolve the confusion that practically all students run into when they begin to deal with this aspect of the Course.

complete forgiveness

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 25

ACIM Reading for October 25

Manual for Teachers

22. How Are Healing and Atonement Related?

Healing and Atonement are not related; they are identical. There is no order of difficulty in miracles because there are no degrees of Atonement. It is the one complete concept possible in this world, because it is the source of a wholly unified perception. Partial Atonement is a meaningless idea, just as special areas of hell in Heaven are inconceivable. Accept Atonement and you are healed. Atonement is the Word of God. Accept His Word and what remains to make sickness possible? Accept His Word and every miracle has been accomplished. To forgive is to heal. The teacher of God has taken accepting the Atonement for himself as his only function. What is there, then, he cannot heal? What miracle can be withheld from him?

The progress of the teacher of God may be slow or rapid, depending on whether he recognizes the Atonement’s inclusiveness, or for a time excludes some problem areas from it. In some cases, there is a sudden and complete awareness of the perfect applicability of the lesson of the Atonement to all situations, but this is comparatively rare. The teacher of God may have accepted the function God has given him long before he has learned all that his acceptance holds out to him. It is only the end that is certain. Anywhere along the way, the necessary realization of inclusiveness may reach him. If the way seems long, let him be content. He has decided on the direction he wants to take. What more was asked of him? And having done what was required, would God withhold the rest?

That forgiveness is healing needs to be understood, if the teacher of God is to make progress. The idea that a body can be sick is a central concept in the ego’s thought system. This thought gives the body autonomy, separates it from the mind, and keeps the idea of attack inviolate. If the body could be sick Atonement would be impossible. A body that can order a mind to do as it sees fit could merely take the place of God and prove salvation is impossible. What, then, is left to heal? The body has become lord of the mind. How could the mind be returned to the Holy Spirit unless the body is killed? And who would want salvation at such a price?

Certainly sickness does not appear to be a decision. Nor would anyone actually believe he wants to be sick. Perhaps he can accept the idea in theory, but it is rarely if ever consistently applied to all specific forms of sickness, both in the individual’s perception of himself and of all others as well. Nor is it at this level that the teacher of God calls forth the miracle of healing. He overlooks the mind and body, seeing only the face of Christ shining in front of him, correcting all mistakes and healing all perception. Healing is the result of the recognition, by God’s teacher, of who it is that is in need of healing. This recognition has no special reference. It is true of all things that God created. In it are all illusions healed.

When a teacher of God fails to heal, it is because he has forgotten Who he is. Another’s sickness thus becomes his own. In allowing this to happen, he has identified with another’s ego, and has thus confused him with a body. In so doing, he has refused to accept the Atonement for himself, and can hardly offer it to his brother in Christ’s Name. He will, in fact, be unable to recognize his brother at all, for his Father did not create bodies, and so he is seeing in his brother only the unreal. Mistakes do not correct mistakes, and distorted perception does not heal. Step back now, teacher of God. You have been wrong. Lead not the way, for you have lost it. Turn quickly to your Teacher, and let yourself be healed.

The offer of Atonement is universal. It is equally applicable to all individuals in all circumstances. And in it is the power to heal all individuals of all forms of sickness. Not to believe this is to be unfair to God, and thus unfaithful to Him. A sick person perceives himself as separate from God. Would you see him as separate from you? It is your task to heal the sense of separation that has made him sick. It is your function to recognize for him that what he believes about himself is not the truth. It is your forgiveness that must show him this. Healing is very simple. Atonement is received and offered. Having been received, it must be accepted. It is in the receiving, then, that healing lies. All else must follow from this single purpose.

Who can limit the power of God Himself? Who, then, can say which one can be healed of what, and what must remain beyond God’s power to forgive? This is insanity indeed. It is not up to God’s teachers to set limits upon Him, because it is not up to them to judge His Son. And to judge His Son is to limit his Father. Both are equally meaningless. Yet this will not be understood until God’s teacher recognizes that they are the same mistake. Herein does he receive Atonement, for he withdraws his judgment from the Son of God, accepting him as God created him. No longer does he stand apart from God, determining where healing should be given and where it should be withheld. Now can he say with God, “This is my beloved Son, created perfect and forever so.”

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 25

Lesson 298

I love You, Father, and I love Your Son.

My gratitude permits my love to be accepted without fear. And thus am I restored to my reality at last. All that intruded on my holy sight forgiveness takes away. And I draw near the end of senseless journeys, mad careers and artificial values. I accept instead what God establishes as mine, sure that in that alone I will be saved; sure that I go through fear to meet my Love.

Father, I come to You today, because I would not follow any way but Yours. You are beside me. Certain is Your way. And I am grateful for Your holy gifts of certain sanctuary, and escape from everything that would obscure my love for God my Father and His holy Son.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #496: Does Jesus have a sense of humor?

A: Yes and no. As one who has accepted the Atonement for himself and is a symbol of the part of the mind that remembers the truth of who we are, Jesus does not need, nor have a sense of humor. He reflects only the love that extends through him. However, as our teacher, this love takes the form that best suits our need. One of those forms is A Course in Miracles, which does indeed have passages that can considered humorous. Part of the definition of humor itself may apply to the Course: “the ability to perceive, appreciate, or express what is funny, amusing, or ludicrous” (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary). Since ludicrous is something that is “laughably absurd” (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary), it is aptly applied to the separation thought, which Jesus describes as ridiculous in several passages in the Course. Indeed, the very foundation of the Course’s metaphysics is set in the context of humor: Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together, we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity…(T.27.VIII.6:2,3,4,5).

Thus, Jesus is inviting us to laugh at our absurd belief in separation. In the end, we will see that our journey into seeming darkness and terror was in fact nothing but a silly, laughable mistake. He gives us a somewhat humorous description of fear: “How weak is fear; how little and how meaningless…This is your “enemy,”–a frightened mouse that would attack the universe. How likely is it that it will succeed?…Which is the stronger? Is it this tiny mouse or everything that God created? You and your brother are not joined together by this mouse, but by the Will of God. And can a mouse betray whom God has joined? (T.22.V.4:1,3,4,6,7,8,9).

He who sees how foolish it looks for God’s Son, thinking he has destroyed Heaven, to be masquerading as a miserable sinner in a body must indeed smile. However, since we take our insanity very seriously, Jesus is not laughing at us. He is offering a path that leads to where we can laugh at ourselves, and forget our ridiculous belief in sin, guilt, and fear: “The time has come to laugh at such insane ideas” (W.pI.190.4:2). Jesus must think we are ready to have a sense of humor.

secret of salvation

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 24

ACIM Reading for October 24

Manual for Teachers

21. What Is the Role of Words in Healing?

Strictly speaking, words play no part at all in healing. The motivating factor is prayer, or asking. What you ask for you receive. But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying. Sometimes the words and the prayer are contradictory; sometimes they agree. It does not matter. God does not understand words, for they were made by separated minds to keep them in the illusion of separation. Words can be helpful, particularly for the beginner, in helping concentration and facilitating the exclusion, or at least the control, of extraneous thoughts. Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality.

As symbols, words have quite specific references. Even when they seem most abstract, the picture that comes to mind is apt to be very concrete. Unless a specific referent does occur to the mind in conjunction with the word, the word has little or no practical meaning, and thus cannot help the healing process. The prayer of the heart does not really ask for concrete things. It always requests some kind of experience, the specific things asked for being the bringers of the desired experience in the opinion of the asker. The words, then, are symbols for the things asked for, but the things themselves but stand for the experiences that are hoped for.

The prayer for things of this world will bring experiences of this world. If the prayer of the heart asks for this, this will be given because this will be received. It is impossible that the prayer of the heart remain unanswered in the perception of the one who asks. If he asks for the impossible, if he wants what does not exist or seeks for illusions in his heart, all this becomes his own. The power of his decision offers it to him as he requests. Herein lie hell and Heaven. The sleeping Son of God has but this power left to him. It is enough. His words do not matter. Only the Word of God has any meaning, because it symbolizes that which has no human symbols at all. The Holy Spirit alone understands what this Word stands for. And this, too, is enough.

Is the teacher of God, then, to avoid the use of words in his teaching? No, indeed! There are many who must be reached through words, being as yet unable to hear in silence. The teacher of God must, however, learn to use words in a new way. Gradually, he learns how to let his words be chosen for him by ceasing to decide for himself what he will say. This process is merely a special case of the lesson in the workbook that says, “I will step back and let Him lead the way.” The teacher of God accepts the words which are offered him, and gives as he receives. He does not control the direction of his speaking. He listens and hears and speaks.

A major hindrance in this aspect of his learning is the teacher of God’s fear about the validity of what he hears. And what he hears may indeed be quite startling. It may also seem to be quite irrelevant to the presented problem as he perceives it, and may, in fact, confront the teacher with a situation that appears to be very embarrassing to him. All these are judgments that have no value. They are his own, coming from a shabby self-perception which he would leave behind. Judge not the words that come to you, but offer them in confidence. They are far wiser than your own. God’s teachers have God’s Word behind their symbols. And He Himself gives to the words they use the power of His Spirit, raising them from meaningless symbols to the Call of Heaven itself.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 24

Lesson 297

Forgiveness is the only gift I give.

Forgiveness is the only gift I give, because it is the only gift I want. And everything I give I give myself. This is salvation’s simple formula. And I, who would be saved, would make it mine, to be the way I live within a world that needs salvation, and that will be saved as I accept Atonement for myself.

Father, how certain are Your ways; how sure their final outcome, and how faithfully is every step in my salvation set already, and accomplished by Your grace. Thanks be to You for Your eternal gifts, and thanks to You for my Identity.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #399: My question has to do with the question in the teacher’s manual of A Course in Miracles titled “What is the role of words in healing?” (M.21). As I have been going along in my forgiveness path, I am learning to let the Holy Spirit speak through me to others. My answer to my brother is often something that I realized I needed to hear as well, or something that I needed to have reinforced that I already learned. Sometimes I feel guided to say something that truly has nothing to do with the situation at hand. Why would Jesus want me to say it? Sometimes I say something and I feel like everyone looks at me like I am crazy! Please, advice would be so greatly appreciated!

A: There really is no way of knowing why you are prompted to say certain things. In our present state we cannot see into our minds where all the choices and dynamics take place. It might help you, though, to shift your attention away from what the voice says, to doing what it tells you to do so that you can hear it better. As we have come to realize, the emphasis in A Course in Miracles is always on undoing the interferences to our hearing the Voice of the Holy Spirit. This is something that Jesus stressed with Helen, the scribe of the Course: “Remember you need nothing, but you have an endless store of loving gifts to give. But teach this lesson only to yourself. Your brother will not learn it from your words or from the judgments you have laid on him. You need not even speak a word to him. You cannot ask, ‘What shall I say to him?’ and hear God’s answer. Rather ask instead, ‘Help me to see this brother through the eyes of truth and not of judgment,’ and the help of God and all His angels will respond” (Absence from Felicity, p. 381).

So as Jesus helped Helen to learn, our goal ought always to be to perceive ourselves and others through the non-judgmental eyes of forgiveness, which we approach by first looking at our readiness to judge and find fault. We all are eager to have our egos out of the way so that the love of Jesus or the Holy Spirit would speak through us to others, and then we would be truly helpful. But that is usually a long, long process because we have so many defenses in place and we are not aware of our tenacious need to maintain these defenses (the many forms of judgment, specialness, and bodily concerns). When the ego is gone, there is only one Voice, and there is no other self to wonder about its meaning. But that is the end of the process. Jesus just asks that we take the little steps right now that lead in that direction (W.pI.193.13:7), not so that we will always say the right things to others, but so that we would no longer want to be other than as God created us.

An article called “Learning to Listen” appeared in the September 2003 edition of “The Lighthouse”; we have also published an audio tape album called “Healing: Hearing the Melody.” Both are helpful sources in working with this important topic of listening.

 

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Q #574: I understand Jesus’ remarks in his section from A Course in Miracles, “What is the role of words in healing?” (M.21); he says that over time we learn to let our words be chosen for us and that a major hindrance to this aspect of learning is our “fear about the validity” of what we hear. I am training now to be a teacher and I let Jesus speak through me and am learning how to discern more and more and sometimes what I hear is indeed startling and “has nothing to do with the situation” as I perceive it. Sometimes I am embarrassed but I usually calm down. I guess implicit in this question is me “second-guessing” God and thinking that I know better than He does but sometimes I am just startled at what I said and the other person is too. Can you help offer some insight here?

A: To the Holy Spirit (and Jesus as His manifestation), everything is either an expression of love or a call for love. He sees the larger picture of everyone’s Atonement path and is not limited by what we normally see as the boundaries of our lives in the world. Form is completely irrelevant to the Holy Spirit. And therefore His response to calls for love would be in terms of where people are on their Atonement paths, which is not something we ordinarily are in touch with. That is why what we hear may be startlingly different from what we think we should say. In the section you refer to, Jesus explains that our doubts and discomfort when this happens come from a “shabby self-perception,” which we would do well to “leave behind” (M.21.5.4,5). So that is what Jesus advises us to do in this aspect of our training. It means that we need to develop our ability to recognize our underlying self-images — specifically the ones that include a sense of inadequacy, neediness, specialness, and being unfairly treated. The more we hold onto self-images such as these, the less likely we would be to accurately discern the Holy Spirit’s Voice from the ego’s voice, because our holding onto them implies that we know better than Jesus who we really are, even after hearing him say again and again, “you are as God created you.” Thus, the trouble we have in humbly accepting Jesus at his word leads to the difficulties in our ability to hear accurately.

See also our answers to Questions #11, #43, and #77.


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Q #911In the Manual for teachers, in the section, What Is the Role of Words in Healing, the Course says “…words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality. (M.21.1,9,10)” Could you please explain what this means?

A: In A Course in Miracles, Jesus makes the case that everything we experience in our entire life (waking and sleeping) is a dream. Like a psychotherapist telling a patient that everything in his nighttime dream is a symbol, Jesus tells us that everything in this world of form is a symbol. If we perceive or experience something, it is because we put it there (not as the individual we think we are, but rather as the one mind of God’s Son that dreamed it could separate and exist in a world outside of Heaven).

Now, obviously every word represents something within this world (be it a physical object, an emotion, or an idea). Thus, every word symbolizes a thing that is itself a symbol. To elaborate on this a bit, the wrong mind (the voice of the ego) begins with a concept of separation. From there, it projects a world of form filled with objects. So to the ego, everything in the physical world is a symbol of that initial concept of separation. Finally, listening to the wrong mind, we use words to symbolize those symbols of separation.

The same principle holds true for the right mind (the Voice of the Holy Spirit). Starting with our memory of God, it creates a concept of what God and love are. Then we use words to symbolize those concepts.

Jesus says words are twice removed from reality because reality is beyond all symbols. Reality is the oneness of Heaven, the totality of God. It is our real home at one with God, Whom we never left. The Course tells us that “As nothingness cannot be pictured, so there is no symbol for totality. Reality is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen. (T.27.III.5:1,2)” It states that forgiveness (our path to awakening to reality) causes ” symbols to fade , and leaves nothing that “the eyes have ever seen or ears have heard …to be perceived. (T.27.III.7:1,2)” So, at the very end of the journey, we are left with no symbols to perceive and no need of further symbols to communicate our perceptions.

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Q #495: I have read and re-read the following passage from the manual of A Course in Miracles about prayer. I still cannot understand what Jesus is trying to say. Can you help?

“The prayer for things of this world will bring experiences of this world. If the prayer of the heart asks for this, this will be given because this will be received. It is impossible that the prayer of the heart remain unanswered in the perception of the one who asks. If he asks for the impossible, if he wants what does not exist or seeks for illusions in his heart, all this becomes his own. The power of his decision offers it to him as he requests. Herein lie hell and Heaven” (M.21.3:1,2,3,4,5,6)

A: To speak of the “prayer of the heart” is another way of saying “this is what my mind wants.” If my prayer (as a decision-making mind identified with the ego) is to prove that I am right and God is wrong — that separation is reality and oneness is illusion — then I will have experiences that will validate that, because that is what I have asked for. And of course this requires that there be a world in which separation can be expressed in innumerable forms — of victimization, especially. So my perception of suffering, death, conflict, oppression, etc., as real is coming from my secret wish that they be real, in order to fulfill my underlying objective of proving God wrong. My ego then reigns supreme. Herein lies hell! But it is here by my own choice. In this sense there are no “innocent victims.” In my wrong mind I want separation to be the truth, so my experience in the world will be that my interests are in conflict with almost everyone else’s. I have thus sought for the things of this world and therefore that is what I now experience: separate interests as some form of pain or pleasure.

But when my prayer is for the recovery of my memory of my true Self, which embraces all people, then my eyes may still see the same scenes in the world, but my experience of them will be entirely different. To put this in the context of form and content, I will still perceive separate interests in terms of form, but the content in my mind will always be the same, which is that we all share the same interests. I have looked on the “tiny, mad idea of separation” and simply smiled at it, judging it as silly and not to be taken seriously. This means that nothing at all can disturb or change my inner peace. I will now see through the eyes of forgiveness. In the words of Lesson 122, I will experience “a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that never can be hurt, a deep, abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect it can never be upset” (W.pI.122.1:6) — and all this regardless of what is going on in the world.

you cannot lose your soul

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 23

ACIM Reading for October 23

Manual for Teachers

20. What Is the Peace of God?

It has been said that there is a kind of peace that is not of this world. How is it recognized? How is it found? And being found, how can it be retained? Let us consider each of these questions separately, for each reflects a different step along the way.

First, how can the peace of God be recognized? God’s peace is recognized at first by just one thing; in every way it is totally unlike all previous experiences. It calls to mind nothing that went before. It brings with it no past associations. It is a new thing entirely. There is a contrast, yes, between this thing and all the past. But strangely, it is not a contrast of true differences. The past just slips away, and in its place is everlasting quiet. Only that. The contrast first perceived has merely gone. Quiet has reached to cover everything.

How is this quiet found? No one can fail to find it who but seeks out its conditions. God’s peace can never come where anger is, for anger must deny that peace exists. Who sees anger as justified in any way or any circumstance proclaims that peace is meaningless, and must believe that it cannot exist. In this condition, peace cannot be found. Therefore, forgiveness is the necessary condition for finding the peace of God. More than this, given forgiveness there must be peace. For what except attack will lead to war? And what but peace is opposite to war? Here the initial contrast stands out clear and apparent. Yet when peace is found, the war is meaningless. And it is conflict now that is perceived as nonexistent and unreal.

How is the peace of God retained, once it is found? Returning anger, in whatever form, will drop the heavy curtain once again, and the belief that peace cannot exist will certainly return. War is again accepted as the one reality. Now must you once again lay down your sword, although you do not recognize that you have picked it up again. But you will learn, as you remember even faintly now what happiness was yours without it, that you must have taken it again as your defense. Stop for a moment now and think of this: Is conflict what you want, or is God’s peace the better choice? Which gives you more? A tranquil mind is not a little gift. Would you not rather live than choose to die?

Living is joy, but death can only weep. You see in death escape from what you made. But this you do not see; that you made death, and it is but illusion of an end. Death cannot be escape, because it is not life in which the problem lies. Life has no opposite, for it is God. Life and death seem to be opposites because you have decided death ends life. Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real. In this one sentence is our course explained. In this one sentence is our practicing given its one direction. And in this one sentence is the Holy Spirit’s whole curriculum specified exactly as it is.

What is the peace of God? No more than this; the simple understanding that His Will is wholly without opposite. There is no thought that contradicts His Will, yet can be true. The contrast between His Will and yours but seemed to be reality. In truth there was no conflict, for His Will is yours. Now is the mighty Will of God Himself His gift to you. He does not seek to keep it for Himself. Why would you seek to keep your tiny frail imaginings apart from Him? The Will of God is One and all there is. This is your heritage. The universe beyond the sun and stars, and all the thoughts of which you can conceive, belong to you. God’s peace is the condition for His Will. Attain His peace, and you remember Him.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 23

Lesson 296

The Holy Spirit speaks through me today.

The Holy Spirit needs my voice today, that all the world may listen to Your Voice, and hear Your Word through me. I am resolved to let You speak through me, for I would use no words but Yours, and have no thoughts which are apart from Yours, for only Yours are true. I would be savior to the world I made. For having damned it I would set it free, that I may find escape, and hear the Word Your holy Voice will speak to me today.

We teach today what we would learn, and that alone. And so our learning goal becomes an unconflicted one, and possible of easy reach and quick accomplishment. How gladly does the Holy Spirit come to rescue us from hell, when we allow His teaching to persuade the world, through us, to seek and find the easy path to God.

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ACIM Q & A for Today


Q #620: A web search on A Course in Miracles produces many anti-Course articles — everything ranging from the view that the Course is Satan-inspired, to opinions that those who are involved with it are anti-Christian, anti-Biblical cultists. As one who came to the Course after having validated its principles of forgiveness and peace in real life before ever reading a word of them in print, I perpetually wrestle with the fact that I believe in my heart the Course is valid but that its Jesus does contradict the Bible. This is starting to cause me much anguish, as the Bible itself says there will be many false prophets in the end times and to test their words against the Scriptures. I can certainly understand differences in interpretation, but all of the direct contradictions are causing me to have serious doubts.

A: Many students have anguished over this issue, some returning to their prior religious affiliation, and others remaining with the Course. There is no doubt that the theology of the Course and that of the Bible are mutually exclusive. No one can make this decision for you. You should follow whatever path brings you closer to God, and leaves you feeling peaceful, and with love for all people. To make your decision based on fear, though, would seem to be counter- productive, as it would be hard to feel love for a God Who binds you to Himself and His Word out of fear. Fear and love cannot coexist. And there would also continue to be conflict if part of you still believed the Course to be a valid spiritual path.

Some people have said to themselves as they continued with the Course still with lingering doubts and fear that they could be making the wrong decision: What is the worst that can happen? I can always go back — the Course will always be there for me. And what’s wrong with becoming more compassionate, more kind, less judgmental, and less guilty? Suppose I spend the rest of my life undoing my guilt, my hateful thoughts, my fear of love, the obstacles to peace? Would God be upset with me because I got the theology wrong? What do you think???

What might interest you is our book, co-authored by Kenneth Wapnick and Norris Clarke, a Catholic priest/philosopher, A Course in Miracles and Christianity: A Dialogue.


Q #621: My wife and I are both in the army. We got married last July and haven’t been able to spend more than a month total together since, because I just spent a few months in Korea. I returned in November, we were stationed far away from each other during the time before she got sent to Iraq in January, a day before her birthday. I tried really hard to get sent there to be with her, but it’s just not going to happen. I did receive word, however, that I’m going to Afghanistan in a couple months… it’s a lot more dangerous there and my safety isn’t guaranteed. My father, who introduced me to A Course in Miracles, tells me to just smile because everything is as it should be. I am so frustrated and angry at the current situation and I’m not really sure whom I’m supposed to forgive. My wife and I are both students of the teachings of Jesus, but can’t really seem to figure out why our love is constantly being tested. It’s been a long time now since we have seen each other, and this is a constant burden on the both of us. It has been a constant battle with the military since we got married. Why do I feel like we are being attacked? What is your advice for us?

A: Although the Course reminds us that there is no hierarchy among illusions (T.26.VII.6:5), that does not mean that we will not experience some of the times and circumstances of our lives as much more difficult, frustrating and painful than others. Your father meant well, but his advice is not strictly in line with the Course’s teachings. Only through forgiveness can we be certain that we are where we are supposed to be — in our right mind — learning the lessons of forgiveness that we have, on a level we are rarely in touch with, given to ourselves. And we can’t force a smile on ourselves over situations where we still feel unfairly treated and victimized.

So being honest with yourselves, as you are doing, about how you are feeling — not denying what feels like the injustice of it all — is an important first step. But of course you don’t want to stop there. The answer to your question that you’re not sure whom you are supposed to forgive in fact holds the key. For the Course is telling us that we really only ever need to forgive ourselves. We need to forgive ourselves for believing that we can be bereft of love. And our lives, sometimes in subtle and other times in more blatant ways, are set up, by our unconscious choice, to prove to us that we will never have the love we need and deserve. Your repeated forced separations from each other certainly must reinforce that belief that all of us who find ourselves here in the world share.

Many times, we are in situations where we are simply not in control of what happens to us. The army would be a prime example. But the one choice we always have, no matter the external circumstances, is which teacher we will choose to be our guide in interpreting what happens to us. If we choose the ego, we will believe that we are the victim of other people’s choices, which are robbing us of our happiness. If we choose Jesus as our teacher, we will be expressing a willingness to learn that the love and peace we want is always available to us within our own minds, regardless of external circumstances. This is not an easy lesson to learn, and our lives have been set up to prove just the opposite, but the willingness to consider that possibility opens the door at least a crack to a different experience. It is only natural to want to be together, but because you are not together physically does not mean that you’re not still together in the thoughts in your mind. And the Course tells us the mind is where the only genuine experience of joining can be found (T.18.VI.11,12,13,14). In those moments when you can allow yourself this different experience that transcends time and space and the body, you will know that you can never be deprived of what you truly want, regardless of where you find yourself. And over time, with practice, this awareness can grow in your experience until you will want nothing else (W.pI.231.1).

You but mistake interpretation

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 22

ACIM Reading for October 22

Manual for Teachers

19. What Is Justice?

Justice is the divine correction for injustice. Injustice is the basis for all the judgments of the world. Justice corrects the interpretations to which injustice gives rise, and cancels them out. Neither justice nor injustice exists in Heaven, for error is impossible and correction meaningless. In this world, however, forgiveness depends on justice, since all attack can only be unjust. Justice is the Holy Spirit’s verdict upon the world. Except in His judgment justice is impossible, for no one in the world is capable of making only just interpretations and laying all injustices aside. If God’s Son were fairly judged, there would be no need for salvation. The thought of separation would have been forever inconceivable.

Justice, like its opposite, is an interpretation. It is, however, the one interpretation that leads to truth. This becomes possible because, while it is not true in itself, justice includes nothing that opposes truth. There is no inherent conflict between justice and truth; one is but the first small step in the direction of the other. The path becomes quite different as one goes along. Nor could all the magnificence, the grandeur of the scene and the enormous opening vistas that rise to meet one as the journey continues, be foretold from the outset. Yet even these, whose splendor reaches indescribable heights as one proceeds, fall short indeed of all that wait when the pathway ceases and time ends with it. But somewhere one must start. Justice is the beginning.

All concepts of your brothers and yourself; all fears of future states and all concerns about the past, stem from injustice. Here is the lens which, held before the body’s eyes, distorts perception and brings witness of the distorted world back to the mind that made the lens and holds it very dear. Selectively and arbitrarily is every concept of the world built up in just this way. “Sins” are perceived and justified by careful selectivity in which all thought of wholeness must be lost. Forgiveness has no place in such a scheme, for not one “sin” but seems forever true.

Salvation is God’s justice. It restores to your awareness the wholeness of the fragments you perceive as broken off and separate. And it is this that overcomes the fear of death. For separate fragments must decay and die, but wholeness is immortal. It remains forever and forever like its Creator, being one with Him. God’s Judgment is His justice. Onto this,–a Judgment wholly lacking in condemnation; an evaluation based entirely on love,–you have projected your injustice, giving God the lens of warped perception through which you look. Now it belongs to Him and not to you. You are afraid of Him, and do not see you hate and fear your Self as enemy.

Pray for God’s justice, and do not confuse His mercy with your own insanity. Perception can make whatever picture the mind desires to see. Remember this. In this lies either Heaven or hell, as you elect. God’s justice points to Heaven just because it is entirely impartial. It accepts all evidence that is brought before it, omitting nothing and assessing nothing as separate and apart from all the rest. From this one standpoint does it judge, and this alone. Here all attack and condemnation becomes meaningless and indefensible. Perception rests, the mind is still, and light returns again. Vision is now restored. What had been lost has now been found. The peace of God descends on all the world, and we can see. And we can see!

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 22

Lesson 295

The Holy Spirit looks through me today.

Christ asks that He may use my eyes today, and thus redeem the world. He asks this gift that He may offer peace of mind to me, and take away all terror and all pain. And as they are removed from me, the dreams that seemed to settle on the world are gone. Redemption must be one. As I am saved, the world is saved with me. For all of us must be redeemed together. Fear appears in many different forms, but love is one.

My Father, Christ has asked a gift of me, and one I give that it be given me. Help me to use the eyes of Christ today, and thus allow the Holy Spirit’s Love to bless all things which I may look upon, that His forgiving Love may rest on me.

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Q & A for Today

Q #619: I have been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. And I know A Course in Miracles would say that’s a perfect way for the ego to get you. There is no cure as of yet. But I am doing other things to help in my healing, alternative things, praying for my highest good, asking what the lesson is I am supposed to learn in all this. Does it all go back to guilt? I ask Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help me see this differently. My father died four months after I was diagnosed. My brother gives me no emotional support. I have prayed for a healing between my brother and myself, and it only seems to get worse. Sometimes I just can’t take it anymore.I have been sober for 16 years. Have I not learned anything? I feel so alone sometimes. But the cancer has taught me compassion, that I already thought I had. I want to be a channel for God’s Love. I have my skin-care license. That’s what I love, and wanted to use that as my way of giving back. How can I be a channel if I am sick?

A: Compassion is the key word in what you have said. But you must apply it to yourself, which means being more gentle: specifically, lightening up on the judgmental thoughts against yourself, such as “Have I not learned anything?” I am sure you would never say that to another person with a serious problem. Why be so hard on yourself? Our perception is too limited to know why this condition is in your script, but it need not be looked upon as totally negative. The lesson you can learn is that the only important aspect of it now is which teacher you will choose to help you through it: the ego or Jesus. The ego would “guide” you in such a way that you would wind up feeling alone and guilty for somehow failing this Course. Jesus would help you see this differently by guiding you to the peace deep within you that is untouched by anything of the body or the world. Surely, a difficult lesson, but Jesus and the Holy Spirit would help you approach your condition as a classroom in which you can begin to recover a sense of your true Identity outside the dream of separation.

This does not entail denial of your physical and emotional pain. And it does not mean that you should not pursue whatever treatment you want to, including psychological counseling for your intense feelings. There are truly kind counselors available for people who, like yourself, are undergoing a life-threatening illness. The kind, gentle approach of the Course combines both levels: doing whatever is helpful to alleviate the physical/emotional condition, and doing the inner work of bringing all your anger and grievances to the loving presence in your right mind, where you will feel that you are not being judged, but only loved. Your interaction with doctors and other medical people would then be an opportunity to choose against the ego’s goal of separate, conflicting interests, and for the Holy Spirit’s goal of shared interests. Our guilt prevents us from experiencing that love, so that is the importance of being open and honest about unforgiveness toward yourself and others. Learning how to look with Jesus — which means non-judgmentally — at the contents of our wrong mind puts us on the right path to healing and peace.

Finally, resuming skin-care work could very well be an expression of kindness toward yourself, since that is what you love to do. But rather than doing it “as a way of giving back,” which sounds a little sacrificial, you might consider approaching it as a wonderful classroom — a means of joining with others through sharing a common interest. That would help you gradually to go to a deeper level of joining, where you recognize more and more that you and your clients are joined both as the separated Son of God journeying back to your true home in Heaven as God’s eternally innocent Son. Your work then, combined with your “little willingness,” would be the means the Holy Spirit could use to heal your mind of all thoughts of separation. So it is a matter of doing whatever you can for your body, and at the same time in some part of your mind knowing that the cancer in your body is not really the problem. Your belief that you are separate from the Love and peace of God is the problem.

memory of god