ACIM Reading for November 11
I. True Prayer, under 1. Prayer in THE SONG OF PRAYER
- True Prayer
S-1.I.1. Prayer is a way offered by the Holy Spirit to reach God. 2 It is not merely a question or an entreaty. 3 It cannot succeed until you realize that it asks for nothing. 4 How else could it serve its purpose? 5 It is impossible to pray for idols and hope to reach God. 6 True prayer must avoid the pitfall of asking to entreat. 7 Ask, rather, to receive what is already given; to accept what is already there.
S-1.I.2. You have been told to ask the Holy Spirit for the answer to any specific problem, and that you will receive a specific answer if such is your need. 2 You have also been told that there is only one problem and one answer. 3 In prayer this is not contradictory. 4 There are decisions to make here, and they must be made whether they be illusions or not. 5 You cannot be asked to accept answers which are beyond the level of need that you can recognize. 6 Therefore, it is not the form of the question that matters, nor how it is asked. 7 The form of the answer, if given by God, will suit your need as you see it. 8 This is merely an echo of the reply of His Voice. 9 The real sound is always a song of thanksgiving and of Love.
S-1.I.3. You cannot, then, ask for the echo. 2 It is the song that is the gift. 3 Along with it come the overtones, the harmonics, the echoes, but these are secondary. 4 In true prayer you hear only the song. 5 All the rest is merely added. 6 You have sought first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all else has indeed been given you.
S-1.I.4. The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need. 2 To ask for the specific is much the same as to look on sin and then forgive it. 3 Also in the same way, in prayer you overlook your specific needs as you see them, and let them go into God’s Hands. 4 There they become your gifts to Him, for they tell Him that you would have no gods before Him; no love but His. 5 What could His answer be but your remembrance of Him? 6 Can this be traded for a bit of trifling advice about a problem of an instant’s duration? 7 God answers only for eternity. 8 But still all little answers are contained in this.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 11
All gifts my brothers give belong to me.
Each day a thousand treasures come to me with every passing moment. I am blessed with gifts throughout the day, in value far beyond all things of which I can conceive. A brother smiles upon another, and my heart is gladdened. Someone speaks a word of gratitude or mercy, and my mind receives this gift and takes it as its own. And everyone who finds the way to God becomes my savior, pointing out the way to me, and giving me his certainty that what he learned is surely mine as well.
I thank You, Father, for the many gifts that come to me today and every day from every Son of God. My brothers are unlimited in all their gifts to me. Now may I offer them my thankfulness, that gratitude to them may lead me on to my Creator and His memory.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #965: I am becoming more sensitive to my thoughts, and seeing the world more as an observer. But I have lost a sense of love. If everything is a dream, the world is insane, and our only purpose is to awaken, then what is there left to do? For example, I used to enjoy playing music, but now that doesn’t even make sense to me. I feel sad that my experience of being here doesn’t seem to contain love anymore. What has happened?
A: A Course in Miracles asks us to question every value that we hold (T.24.in.2:1) . If we truly do this, while we still in fact hold these values, how could we not go through a period of disorientation and loss? Jesus expects us to go through this and repeatedly reassures us about it. He tells us that the process of undoing we have undertaken “need not be painful, but it usually is so experienced” (M.4.I.A.3:2).
One of the central, and for the majority of students, most difficult teachings of the Course is that our concept of love is entirely false and misguided. What we have called love until now is really the ego’s substitute for love. The ego defines love as getting our special needs met. That means finding an external source to fill up the lack we perceive in ourselves (caused by our belief that we separated from God, destroying Him and His Love). We can seek to be filled up by — and form special love relationships with — other people, substances, or activities. But doing so is a set up because we are asking something outside of us to save us from our own self-hatred and nothing can actually do that.
Through practicing the Course, it gradually dawns on us that our notion of love makes no sense and that we do not know what real love is. At that point, we start to understand that this world offers nothing we want, but we do not yet comprehend what we do want. Jesus understands the despair this engenders, telling us that “Men have died on seeing this, because they saw no way except the pathways offered by the world. And learning they led nowhere, lost their hope” (T.31.IV.3:4,5).
But then Jesus continues, ” And yet this was the time they could have learned their greatest lesson. All must reach this point, and go beyond it. It is true indeed there is no choice at all within the world. But this is not the lesson in itself. The lesson has a purpose, and in this you come to understand what it is for” (T.31.IV.3:6,7,8,9).
In other words, Jesus has a purpose in helping us to see the futility of searching for love in this world. He wants us to stop settling for the ego’s “shabby substitute” for love and to reawaken to the grandeur of the Holy Spirit’s Love that is still in our mind.
That means, no longer seeking for love outside ourselves but rather asking the Holy Spirit to teach us what love really is. From reading the Course, we can understand intellectually that real love means reflecting God’s Love through forgiveness (in other words, taking back the projections of guilt we have placed upon ourselves as well as everyone and everything else). But only by holding the Holy Spirit’s hand can we actually find out how to do that. And that means we need a classroom in which to practice.
You are correct that the Course informs us that the separation never happened and this physical life we think we are living is a dream. But that doesn’t mean there is no point to what we do here. Because we believe we are here, our activities and relationships are the classrooms in which we can learn what love really is. This is why Jesus states, “the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships, but would transform them” (T.17.IV.2:3).
So, as Course students we do not want to drop our special relationships or daily activities. Rather, we want to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us through them. We want to engage in them with Him as our Teacher. Doing this turns everything into an opportunity to shift our purpose from attack and separation to forgiveness and joining.
Approached in this way, our daily activities make perfect sense and acquire great meaning. Then something like playing music can become a symbol of God’s Love in your mind and a source of great joy. And this is how (is in fact the only way) we begin to awaken from this dream. Happy Music Making!