ACIM Reading for November 20
The Song of Prayer
3. Healing- Introduction1. Prayer has both aids and witnesses which make the steep ascent more gentle and more sure, easing the pain of fear and offering the comfort and the promises of hope. Forgiveness’ witness and an aid to prayer, a giver of assurance of success in ultimate attainment of the goal, is healing. Its importance should not be too strongly emphasized, for healing is a sign or symbol of forgiveness’ strength, and only an effect or shadow of a change of mind about the goal of prayer.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 20
I merely follow, for I would not lead.
Father, You are the One Who gave the plan for my salvation to me. You have set the way I am to go, the role to take, and every step in my appointed path. I cannot lose the way. I can but choose to wander off a while, and then return. Your loving Voice will always call me back, and guide my feet aright. My brothers all can follow in the way I lead them. Yet I merely follow in the way to You, as You direct me and would have me go.
So let us follow One Who knows the way. We need not tarry, and we cannot stray except an instant from His loving Hand. We walk together, for we follow Him. And it is He Who makes the ending sure, and guarantees a safe returning home.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #628: I feel kind of confused about prayer. I have understood that forgiveness means to see something that you desire to change as being something that has been made by the ego. You accept and recognize this as true. Then you ask the Holy Spirit for true perception regarding this thing. I understand that prayers of supplication are not answered by the Holy Spirit. Is not the very asking for true perception a type of prayer of supplication?
A: A Course in Miracles teaches that forgiveness is a process, whereby we recognize that any grievance we have against any person, event, or thing is the result of a projection of guilt. Guilt originates in the mind when a choice is made to be separate from God and from others. The mind seeks to free itself from this guilt by projecting it onto something external to itself. It then dissociates itself from responsibility for choosing separation, denies the guilt, and blames something or someone for causing its discomfort. The forgiveness process begins with the willingness to look at our grievances in the light of this teaching. Whenever we find ourselves blaming something or someone for our feelings of anger, victimization, abandonment, etc., we are asked to remember that the source of our feeling is the guilt in our minds for choosing separation, not the situation or person we are accusing. That is what the Course means when it tells us we “…forgive the Son of God [our brother] for what he did not do” (T.17.III.1:5).
Because we have denied our identity as minds and have a strong attachment to our identity as bodies, this is not an easy process to practice. That is where “prayer” comes in. The Course does not tell us that the Holy Spirit does not answer prayers of supplication. All prayer begins with supplication. Because we perceive Jesus and the Holy Spirit as separate from us, our experience is that we ask them to help us. They represent the part of our minds that remembers our true Identity as God’s innocent Son. The prayer is actually a way of reminding ourselves that we do have a mind with the power to choose “another way” of looking at any situation. The very fact of recognizing misperception as a mistaken choice is already another way of looking, and is in itself the answer to a prayer to see differently. It is not the whole story, but it is a good beginning. Once we have come this far in the process, we have the opportunity to accept that the Holy Spirit’s perception is true, and we would be happier if we let it replace all the judgments about ourselves and others that we have used to keep ourselves rooted in the illusion of separation. This, too, is a prayer, in that it expresses our desire to remember this process each time we find ourselves judging, and becoming upset with the people and circumstances of our lives.
Our prayer then, is to remember, and the answer is our remembering. This is how we join with the Holy Spirit in our minds, and allow Him to teach us to eventually remain there with Him. It is the prayer described in The Song of Prayer (supplement to A Course in Miracles), whereby we “Ask…to receive what is already given; to accept what is already there” (S.1.I.1:7).
Q #629: “The loving thoughts his [the Son of God’s] mind perceives in this world are the world’s only reality.” If all the apparent kindness and thoughtfulness in the world is the result of the mind’s malevolent manipulation, how can loving thoughts be perceived in this world? I can’t see anything in the world to be happy about although others perceive me as happy, kind, loving, etc. – a perception I do not share. I’m sure that if and when I ever learn what A Course in Miracles is teaching I will know what happiness is. But I need to see something that reflects love in the meantime. Help!
A: Within the illusory world of separation from God, the mind of God’s Son is divided between the part that expresses the ego thought system (the “wrong mind”) and the part that expresses the Holy Spirit’s thought system (the “right mind”). This split mind is completed by a decision- making aspect that is always choosing between the two. What emanates from the right mind is truly loving in contrast to what emanates from the wrong mind, which has the appearance of love but is always some form of special love and therefore not really loving at all. The world reflects one or the other to us, since the world “is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1:5). The concept of cause and effect, specifically the idea that the inner is the cause of the outer is a major aspect of the mind-training dimension of this Course. Since that is the exact opposite of what the world teaches, it is a most difficult concept for us to grasp, let alone practice. The core message of the Course will be misunderstood if this aspect of its theory is passed by. That is why Jesus places such great emphasis on it throughout his course, but especially in the early part of the workbook, where he says again and again that our inner and outer worlds are the same (e.g., W.pI.32.2:1)
When you look out from your right mind, you are looking with Jesus — what is known in the Course as vision, or true perception. With Jesus as your “eyes,” you would see only what is loving or what is calling for love, both in yourself and others. The process Jesus guides us through in his course is this kind of gradual, gentle transition — from depending on what our physical senses perceive to tell us who we are and what the world is to turning more and more to him as our inner teacher to help us perceive truly.