ACIM Reading for November 21
ACIM Reading for November 21
Song of Prayer
3.- I. The Cause of Sickness1. Do not mistake effect for cause, nor think that sickness is apart and separate from what its cause must be. It is a sign, a shadow of an evil thought that seems to have reality and to be just, according to the usage of the world. It is external proof of inner “sins,” and witnesses to unforgiving thoughts that injure and would hurt the Son of God. Healing the body is impossible, and this is shown by the brief nature of the “cure.” The body yet must die, and so its healing but delays its turning back to dust, where it was born and will return.
2. The body’s cause is unforgiveness of the Son of God. It has not left its source, and in its
pain and aging and the mark of death upon it this is clearly shown. Fearful and frail it seems to be to those who think their life is tied to its command and linked to its unstable, tiny breath. Death stares at them as every moment goes irrevocably past their grasping hands, which cannot hold them back. And they feel fear as bodies change and sicken. For they sense the heavy scent of death upon their hearts.
3. The body can be healed as an effect of true forgiveness. Only that can give remembrance of immortality, which is the gift of holiness and love. Forgiveness must be given by a mind which understands that it must overlook all shadows on the holy face of Christ, among which sickness should be seen as one. Nothing but that; the sign of judgment made by brother upon brother, and the Son of God upon himself. For he has damned his body as his prison, and forgot that it is he who gave this role to it.
4. What he has done now must God’s Son undo. But not alone. For he has thrown away the prison’s key; his holy sinlessness and the remembrance of his Father’s Love. Yet help is given to him in the Voice his Father placed in him. The power to heal is now his Father’s gift, for through His Voice He still can reach His Son, reminding him the body may become his chosen home, but it will never be his home in truth.
5. Distinctions therefore must be made between true healing and its faulty counterpart. The world of opposites is healing’s place, for what in Heaven could there be to heal? As prayer within the world can ask amiss and seeming charity forgive to kill, so healing can be false as well as true; a witness to the power of the world or to the everlasting Love of God.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 21
All things I think I see reflect ideas.
This is salvation’s keynote: What I see reflects a process in my mind, which starts with my idea of what I want. From there, the mind makes up an image of the thing the mind desires, judges valuable, and therefore seeks to find. These images are then projected outward, looked upon, esteemed as real and guarded as one’s own. From insane wishes comes an insane world. From judgment comes a world condemned. And from forgiving thoughts a gentle world comes forth, with mercy for the holy Son of God, to offer him a kindly home where he can rest a while before he journeys on, and help his brothers walk ahead with him, and find the way to Heaven and to God.
Our Father, Your ideas reflect the truth, and mine apart from Yours but make up dreams. Let me behold what only Yours reflect, for Yours and Yours alone establish truth.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #388: I have been thinking and meditating a lot on the concept of prayer. It seems to me that the only thing we can do in prayer is to give thanks. Because God does not and cannot enter the human form, we cannot ask for anything, but it seems that many people say that they prayed and God did this or that for them and thus their “miracles.” What happens here in these instances? Tell me more about prayer. I understand it seems silly to ask God to do what is already being done. What would Jesus say?
A: “The Song of Prayer” pamphlet may answer many of your questions regarding prayer. It describes different levels or steps, and uses the image of a ladder reaching up to God. The prayer you describe, whereby people ask for certain “things” (material, psychological, or emotional) for themselves or others, is at the bottom of the ladder. It is a form of magic, in that it seems that someone or something outside (in this case, God), granted a wish. What actually takes place is a process in the mind. A person wants something and uses the power of the mind to obtain it. But, because the person is unaware or afraid of the power of their mind, it appears that a petition is made and then granted by God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. This is then called a “miracle.” As you may know, the miracle A Course in Miracles teaches (which is a change in perception), has nothing to do with anything external. Since the Course is teaching us that we do in fact have a mind and that it has the power to choose, it certainly would not want us to think that God grants prayers in the way described above. It tells us that true prayer is the prayer of the heart, and it is always answered because in the dream we have and experience anything we truly desire. A very important principle of the thought system of A Course in Miraclesexplains this: “There is no world apart from what you wish, and herein lies your ultimate release. Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly. Ideas leave not their source”(W.pI.132.5:1,2,3).
The simple prayer of the Course then would be our willingness to change our minds. All of our efforts in practicing and applying the teachings of the Course — forgiveness, letting go of grievances, paying attention to our thoughts and beliefs, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance to have them transformed, remembering our goal as often as we can — is the form our prayer takes. It is the expression of our willingness to accept the healing of our minds, the desire of our hearts, as we look honestly at all the forms our resistance and opposition take in our interactions and pursuits throughout the day. This prayer will eventually lead to the awareness of what we truly want, the top of the ladder of prayer when: “You have understood that you forgive and pray but for yourself. And in this understanding you are healed. In prayer you have united with your Source, and understood that you have never left. This level cannot be attained until there is no hatred in your heart, and no desire to attack the Son of God” (S.3.IV.4:3,4,5,).
Q #389: a. According to A Course in Miracles, God is O.K. and we are not O.K. Very similar to the biblical point of view: sin of Adam, etc. We have God Who is always right on the one hand, and deluded, deteriorated mankind on the other. The old religious cliché?
b. We are not we at all. We are ego and ego is bad, unreal, does not exist at all, so we do not exist. Ego is an illusion so we are in the illusion. But who is deluded? The mind of the Son of God is? Why does that mind prefer to abide in illusion? It doesn’t like truth? It doesn’t endure truth?
c. It seems to me that the Course wants to blame every natural human thing like love relationships, the drive to know things, to ask questions, to explore. All these are the ego’s things, bad things and they do not even exist. What is this powerful Monster-Ego that, although it does not exist, holds all of humanity in its grasp and even God can do nothing about it?
d. Can it be that the separation is a part of the natural process of the Son of God’s evolvement? And conceived by God purposely? And ego is just a natural thing? And not opposed to God? It’s written “the body is just a learning device”. Maybe the ego is just another learning device?
A: It may seem as if the Course and Jesus are saying the negative things about all of us that you state. But they are not — we are! The Course is simply trying to help us get in touch with all the false beliefs we hold about ourselves, but these certainly do not represent how Jesus views us. According to the Course, in reality we are more than OK, we’re perfect (e.g., T.1.I.32:4; T.1.II.3:3; T.2.I.1:3; T.2.II.5:7; T.2.III.5:6,7; T.6.IV.10; T.9.I.13:1,2; T.10.IV.1:4). But we are the ones who keep denying that we are (e.g., T.6.III.2:3; T.15.III.4:9,5:6; T.21.II.13:1,2). The Course, unlike the Bible, is very clear that sin is not real (T.19.III). Again, we are the ones who keep insisting, with the ego, that sin is real (T.21.IV.1,2,3). The Course does not say that we are the ego but rather that we have chosen to identify with the ego, which is not who we are (T.4.III.3,4; T.4.VI.1;3). The Course also does not assert that the ego is bad — the ego says the ego is bad, in order to have us take it seriously. And although we are not the ego, we believe we are and so we think we are bad or sinful (T.5.V.3:1,2,3,4,5,6;4:1,2,3). Again the ego’s view of us is certainly not Jesus’ view of us. He is trying to help us see what we believe and what accompanies it so we can decide whether we want to continue believing it. But he takes none of it seriously for he knows none of it is real (e.g., T.2.VII.1:2.3).
As to why the mind of the Son of God has chosen to abide in illusion, as compelling as that question seems to be — you are assuming that it is true that we do abide here, and certainly that seems to be our experience. The Course and Jesus’ position is that it’s not true, but so long as we believe it is, he’ll speak to us in the only language we allow ourselves to understand right now (T.25.I.7:4), about the things we think are real, in a way that will lead us to understand that they are not. It is not that God can do nothing about the illusion but rather that there is nothing to be done! There only seems to be much for us to allow to be undone. The Course passes no condemnation or blame against the inventions of the ego — all its questions and seeking and relationships. We are the ones who make the accusations. The Course merely attempts to help us see the consequences of our choices and beliefs. But it never attacks them, for that would mean they are real and have to be dealt with. It is only the ego that sees itself — or tries to persuade us – – that it is big and powerful (T.22.V.4).
Now the Course is not insisting that we accept its particular symbolic myth of the origins of the world and the cause of our pain and unhappiness. And you do seem to have some pretty strong objections to its particular logic and arguments. The Course says what it says quite emphatically and without compromise, and it is helpful to understand what it is saying in order to evaluate whether it speaks to you personally or not. But if it does not make sense to you, that is O.K. too, and there will be another path that uses other symbols that is more suited to your own particular needs. Other teachings, including many New Age paths, speak of duality and the world as creations of God and describe the soul as evolving and developing through its experiences in the world of form. If you resonate more to these teachings, it would be foolish for you to keep butting heads with the Course. It makes no claim for the universality of its form, only its content. In its own words, “There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved. But the content of the course never changes. Its central theme is always, ‘God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation’ (M.1.3:1,2,3,4,5). So know that peace will accompany you wherever you go, and trust that you will find what will serve you well on your path to God.