ACIM Reading for November 2
This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception. The means of the Atonement is forgiveness. The structure of “individual consciousness” is essentially irrelevant because it is a concept representing the “original error” or the “original sin.” To study the error itself does not lead to correction, if you are indeed to succeed in overlooking the error. And it is just this process of overlooking at which the course aims.
All terms are potentially controversial, and those who seek controversy will find it. Yet those who seek clarification will find it as well. They must, however, be willing to overlook controversy, recognizing that it is a defense against truth in the form of a delaying maneuver. Theological considerations as such are necessarily controversial, since they depend on belief and can therefore be accepted or rejected. A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed. Here alone consistency becomes possible because here alone uncertainty ends.
This course remains within the ego framework, where it is needed. It is not concerned with what is beyond all error because it is planned only to set the direction towards it. Therefore it uses words, which are symbolic, and cannot express what lies beyond symbols. It is merely the ego that questions because it is only the ego that doubts. The course merely gives another answer, once a question has been raised. However, this answer does not attempt to resort to inventiveness or ingenuity. These are attributes of the ego. The course is simple. It has one function and one goal. Only in that does it remain wholly consistent because only that can be consistent.
The ego will demand many answers that this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, “How did the impossible occur?”, “To what did the impossible happen?”, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you.
You will notice that the emphasis on structural issues in the course is brief and early. Afterwards and soon, it drops away to make way for the central teaching. Since you have asked for clarification, however, these are some of the terms that are used.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 2
The gift of Christ is all I seek today.
What but Christ’s vision would I use today, when it can offer me a day in which I see a world so like to Heaven that an ancient memory returns to me? Today I can forget the world I made. Today I can go past all fear, and be restored to love and holiness and peace. Today I am redeemed, and born anew into a world of mercy and of care; of loving kindness and the peace of God.
And so, our Father, we return to You, remembering we never went away; remembering Your holy gifts to us. In gratitude and thankfulness we come, with empty hands and open hearts and minds, asking but what You give. We cannot make an offering sufficient for Your Son. But in Your Love the gift of Christ is his.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #973: I have been reading A Course in Miracles for over twenty years and have never directly experienced the Holy Spirit or Jesus. I never had any visions or heard any voices. The only time I have any experience of Jesus or the Holy Spirit is when I read the words in ACIM . The Introduction to the clarification of terms at the end of the manual says “A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary” (C.in.2:5). I feel my focus is on what I am not experiencing like not being angry, fearful, or guilty. I recognize not to use the ego thought system to judge or value anything in this world. Can you explain what is meant by a universal experience?
A: The universal experience Jesus refers to is that all people would experience in some way that God loves them and has never condemned them. Earlier in the manual, he expressed it this way: “God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation” (M.1.3:5) . Because of all the cultural, linguistic, and other differences among the people and nations in the world, it is unlikely that there could ever be a theological expression of this that would be accepted by everyone; but that does not matter in the end, Jesus is saying. All that matters is that we experience in whatever way we can, our innocence in God’s sight, and that this innocence extends to everyone, without exception. This does not have to be experienced as a vision or a voice; it could simply be an awareness or a feeling. But Jesus teaches us that we should not try to force ourselves to have this experience. He teaches us, rather, to recognize our commitment to the exact opposite — our concealed investment in seeing ourselves and/or others as sinful, which is the basis of our guilt, fear, and anger. This investment — coming from our identification with the ego — is the interference to our awareness of our eternal innocence; and therefore the focus of the Course’s teachings and exercises is on forgiveness. For students who have accepted A Course in Miracles as their path, the practice of forgiveness is what will bring about the universal experience of love. Everyone will eventually arrive at the same place, but the means and paths may all differ.
Q #1269: I have been a student/teacher of A Course in Miracles since 1977. A few years ago, I was “graced” with an awareness of my Oneness and my Totality with all that is. The experience is, of course, beyond verbal description. My life was forever transformed. The knowing was transcendent. Can you tell me how others who have “been there” and are “in the world but not of it” are responding to such an awareness?
A: We have answered other questions along these lines, and we refer you to them for discussion and references to helpful passages in the Course: #39 and #101. In general, what would characterize the experience of a healed mind is the effortlessness of life, because there would no longer be any interference or opposition to love’s presence. Love would just flow through, answering all calls for help in forms that would be accepted without fear. There are no visible signs that distinguish an egoless person from one who is still processing, other than that the egoless person perhaps smiles more frequently (W.pI.155.1) . To truly know and experience that we are all one and that whatever seems to separate us is totally false simplifies one’s life immensely, in that it relieves all the intensity and conflict normally associated with life as an individual, vulnerable, competitive, physical/psychological self.