ACIM Reading for November 4
Clarification of Terms
The Ego – The Miracle
Illusions will not last. Their death is sure and this alone is certain in their world. It is the ego’s world because of this. What is the ego? But a dream of what you really are. A thought you are apart from your Creator and a wish to be what He created not. It is a thing of madness, not reality at all. A name for namelessness is all it is. A symbol of impossibility; a choice for options that do not exist. We name it but to help us understand that it is nothing but an ancient thought that what is made has immortality. But what could come of this except a dream which, like all dreams, can only end in death?
What is the ego? Nothingness, but in a form that seems like something. In a world of form the ego cannot be denied for it alone seems real. Yet could God’s Son as He created him abide in form or in a world of form? Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so.
There is no definition for a lie that serves to make it true. Nor can there be a truth that lies conceal effectively. The ego’s unreality is not denied by words nor is its meaning clear because its nature seems to have a form. Who can define the undefinable? And yet there is an answer even here.
We cannot really make a definition for what the ego is, but we can say what it is not. And this is shown to us with perfect clarity. It is from this that we deduce all that the ego is. Look at its opposite and you can see the only answer that is meaningful.
The ego’s opposite in every way,–in origin, effect and consequence–we call a miracle. And here we find all that is not the ego in this world. Here is the ego’s opposite and here alone we look on what the ego was, for here we see all that it seemed to do, and cause and its effects must still be one.
Where there was darkness now we see the light. What is the ego? What the darkness was. Where is the ego? Where the darkness was. What is it now and where can it be found? Nothing and nowhere. Now the light has come: Its opposite has gone without a trace. Where evil was there now is holiness. What is the ego? What the evil was. Where is the ego? In an evil dream that but seemed real while you were dreaming it. Where there was crucifixion stands God’s Son. What is the ego? Who has need to ask? Where is the ego? Who has need to seek for an illusion now that dreams are gone?
What is a miracle? A dream as well. But look at all the aspects of this dream and you will never question any more. Look at the kindly world you see extend before you as you walk in gentleness. Look at the helpers all along the way you travel, happy in the certainty of Heaven and the surety of peace. And look an instant, too, on what you left behind at last and finally passed by.
This was the ego–all the cruel hate, the need for vengeance and the cries of pain, the fear of dying and the urge to kill, the brotherless illusion and the self that seemed alone in all the universe. This terrible mistake about yourself the miracle corrects as gently as a loving mother sings her child to rest. Is not a song like this what you would hear? Would it not answer all you thought to ask, and even make the question meaningless?
Your questions have no answer, being made to still God’s Voice, which asks of everyone one question only: “Are you ready yet to help Me save the world?” Ask this instead of what the ego is, and you will see a sudden brightness cover up the world the ego made. No miracle is now withheld from anyone. The world is saved from what you thought it was. And what it is, is wholly uncondemned and wholly pure.
The miracle forgives; the ego damns. Neither need be defined except by this. Yet could a definition be more sure, or more in line with what salvation is? Problem and answer lie together here, and having met at last the choice is clear. Who chooses hell when it is recognized? And who would not go on a little while when it is given him to understand the way is short and Heaven is his goal?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 4
This instant is the only time there is.
I have conceived of time in such a way that I defeat my aim. If I elect to reach past time to timelessness, I must change my perception of what time is for. Time’s purpose cannot be to keep the past and future one. The only interval in which I can be saved from time is now. For in this instant has forgiveness come to set me free. The birth of Christ is now, without a past or future. He has come to give His present blessing to the world, restoring it to timelessness and love. And love is ever-present, here and now.
Thanks for this instant, Father. It is now I am redeemed. This instant is the time You have appointed for Your Son’s release, and for salvation of the world in him.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #636: How many planes or levels of consciousness are there? All of us are familiar with the physical, since that’s where we are focused, and many of us are also familiar with the astral plane, since it seems to be ‘right next door’, and it appears that we just bounce back and forth between these two states. But what is the significance — within the illusion, of course — of the mental and causal planes (and even other planes of existence way beyond these) spoken about by so many metaphysicians? Is there a hierarchy — again, within the illusion – – of consciousness? Is finding our way back to God like climbing Mount Everest, where we have to establish several base camps in each plane of consciousness that we sometimes have to return to before we can reach our final destination?
A: However many planes or levels of consciousness there may be is not the concern of A Course in Miracles: “The structure of ‘individual consciousness’ is essentially irrelevant because it is a concept representing the ‘original error’ [separation] or the ‘original sin’ (C.in.1:4). The Course tells us our problem is that we believe the thought of separation that introduced consciousness (all levels and planes) in the first place (See:T.3.IV.2) is real. The goal of the Holy Spirit’s curriculum, as set forth in the Course, is to heal the mind of this thought. This healing is accomplished through the process of forgiveness, whereby the ego’s perception is replaced by the Holy Spirit’s. These principles are the foundation of the Course’s teaching and provide us with the steps we are to take if we choose it as our path back to God.
In studying the Course it is helpful to remember that whenever it refers to the body or the world it includes every aspect of each (including astral bodies, energy fields, consciousness, and planes of all types). They are all equally part of the illusion of separation, and are therefore not real. Jesus asks us some very unsettling questions in this regard: “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination?” (T.20.VIII.7:3) and “Is it harder to dispel the belief of the insane in a larger hallucination as opposed to a smaller one? (M.8.5:2) This greatly simplifies things for us. However, we have great resistance to learning this important message of the Course, due to our attachment to identifying with the body. One way to make the separation and the world real is to establish a hierarchy of values, by which we measure the worth of all parts of the illusion.(See:T.23.II.2:1,2,3) The mind that is addressed in the Course is outside of time and space, beyond all levels of consciousness, mental planes, or astral bodies. It is the mind choosing to identify with the Holy Spirit, Who represents the memory of God, that will enable us eventually to disidentify with every part of the hallucination.
In this process it is not necessary to unravel, nor travel the winding “circuitous routes” of the ego’s complexities: It is not necessary to follow fear through all the circuitous routes by which it burrows underground and hides in darkness, to emerge in forms quite different from what it is. Yet it is necessary to examine each one as long as you would retain the principle that governs all of them. When you are willing to regard them, not as separate, but as different manifestations of the same idea, and one you do not want, they go together” (T.15.X.5:1,2,3). This passage contains not only the principles that respond to your question, but important information regarding the process of undoing the thought that put consciousness on the map, so to speak. The thought of separation has taken a multitude of forms. We are asked to become aware of how we use these many forms to disguise this single thought, so we can learn that they are all the same. We use them all to prove the world and the body are real. The Holy Spirit uses them to teach us they are nothing and will never give us what we truly want. Learning to identify more and more with the Holy Spirit in our minds instead of with the body is what leads us home. The only camp we need to set up is in our minds. That is where we find the light that will dispel the darkness of consciousness and the separation that gave it birth.