ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 23

ACIM Reading for December 23

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

       AWAKE IN STILLNESS

    Peace cover you, within without the same,
    In shining silence and in peace so deep
    No dream of sin and evil can come near
    Your quiet mind. And then in stillness wake.
    First there is silence; then awakening.
    Now is the time appointed for the end
    Of dreaming. Still the cradle where you come
    To be reborn. The Christ is stirring in
    The home that He has chosen as His Own.
    His vision rests upon your eyes, and soon
    You will behold His face, and will forget
    The fantasies that seemed to be so real
    Until the stillness came. The Son of God
    Has come to join you now. His shining hand
    Is on your shoulder. And God’s silent Voice
    Speaks ceaselessly of Heaven. You will hear
    His single message calling to His Own
    From His abiding place, to wake in God.

             By Helen Schucman,
             January 15, 1974
             From The Gifts of God©, p. 73
             Published by the Foundation for Inner Peace
***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 23

Lesson 357

Truth answers every call we make to God,
Responding first with miracles, and then
Returning unto us to be itself.

Forgiveness, truth’s reflection, tells me how to offer miracles, and thus escape the prison house in which I think I live. Your holy Son is pointed out to me, first in my brother; then in me. Your Voice instructs me patiently to hear Your Word, and give as I receive. And as I look upon Your Son today, I hear Your Voice instructing me to find the way to You, as You appointed that the way shall be:

“Behold his sinlessness, and be you healed.”

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #729: Are Buddha and Christ the same, and is Enlightenment some kind of amnesia?

A: From the point of view of A Course in Miracles, the difference between Buddha and Christ is that Christ always remains part of God in Heaven as “the perfect Son of God, His one creation and His happiness, forever like Himself and one with Him” (C.5.3:1). Buddha would be considered, as would any other enlightened being, a symbol within the dream of separation representing the healed mind; that is, the separated mind that has accepted the Atonement and therefore knows the separation to be illusory. Christ, however, was never part of the illusion, but we retain within our minds (the right mind) the memory of our true Identity as Christ. Enlightenment, thus, is a remembrance, not a forgetting (amnesia), unless that were to mean forgetting everything that is not true. In the workbook Jesus explains his idea of enlightenment: “Why wait for Heaven? Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home” (W.pI.188.1).

See Question #261 for further comments about the path of Buddhism.


Q #730: Is there any method Jesus teaches in the Course about how we can deal with the fact that, while we may have mentally understood that forgiveness and waiting, etc., are the prime tools of “reaching” Christ consciousness/God/coming home (whatever you want to call it), the emotional body/ego may not want to oblige with this? Is there a method to “heal” the emotional body? Reading the Course or books by the Dalai Lama, which are all about love, has a very positive effect on me, and I seem to be touching that “undoing” moment every now and then, but is there any “method” that would make it easier to keep these feelings/attitudes up throughout the day? I found that telling these things “mentally” to me, won’t always do the job. Neither does “re-programming” or any of these “methods”. Would regular meditation (with the Course) do? Does Jesus recommend meditation?

A: The approach of A Course in Miracles to resistance is different from what one would normally expect. Jesus teaches us that what would be most helpful is just to be aware of our resistance and not to fight it or force ourselves — via affirmations, for example — to say and think what we are “supposed” to think and say (the exercises in the lessons). An essential part of the healing process is the humble acknowledgment that in one part of our minds we are terrified of accepting the truth about ourselves and therefore strenuously resisting learning and practicing the Course. We do not want to lose this self, though false, that we have made such an effort to sustain; we do not want to have to admit that we have been wrong about everything. Those fears would account for our “forgetting” or not being able to keep the experiences of the holy instant when we have for the moment set aside our egos.

Thus, while this is a course in mind training, the focus of the training is largely on searching our minds for ego thoughts and then looking at them without judgment, while recognizing at the same time that these thoughts are costing us the awareness of the love and peace that also reside in our minds: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T.16.IV.6:1,2).

The lessons in the workbook are carefully designed to start us off where we are — namely, strongly identified with a physical/emotional self — and gradually lead us inward to the identity we have repressed, that of a decision-making mind that lucidly chooses every minute of every day to reinforce its belief that it is separate from God or to undo that belief through recognizing that we all share the same interest and goal. In general, this is Jesus’ approach to resistance. There is nothing wrong in your meditating, if that is helpful to you, but meditation is not a major aspect of the Course’s mind-training process.

Your concern is shared by most students, and we have discussed it in several other Questions — see, for example numbers: 3592125129210, and 302.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 22

ACIM Reading for December 22

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

THE SINGING
There is a singing underneath the world
That holds it up, and enters in behind
All twisted thoughts, and comes to set them straight.
There is an ancient melody that still
Abides in every mind and sings of peace,
Eternity, and all the quiet things
That God created. Angels sing with joy,
And offer you their song, for it is yours.
You sing as ceaselessly. The Son of God
Can never sing alone. His voice is shared
By all the universe. It is the call
To God, and answered by His Voice Itself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 22

Lesson 356

Sickness is but another name for sin.
Healing is but another name for God.
The miracle is thus a call to Him.

Father, You promised You would never fail to answer any call Your Son might make to You. It does not matter where he is, what seems to be his problem, nor what he believes he has become. He is Your Son, and You will answer him. The miracle reflects Your Love, and thus it answers him. Your Name replaces every thought of sin, and who is sinless cannot suffer pain. Your Name gives answer to Your Son, because to call Your Name is but to call his own.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #731: I was brought up to believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient, knowing everything that is, that has been, and that ever will be. So before God created the world, He must have known what exactly was going to happen — who was going to go to hell and who wasn’t. So if, as A Course in Miracles says, the world is a dream that I am making up, then is what I have written just my ego strategy to hold God responsible for my sin and not myself, to say that I cannot be a sinner because I never really had a choice anyway since it was all pre-ordained in God’s Mind? Thus when I stand before God to be judged and my name is not in the book of life, I can present this as my defense to God before being cast into the lake of fire, to avoid damnation or at least to try to. But if God knows everything in advance, then God is powerless to change the future and He cannot be omnipotent. Is this my get-out- clause to avoid an imaginary punishment from God, my ego’s attempt to be innocent, to see itself or me as just an innocent victim not responsible for its own sin at all, putting the guilt on God and not myself?

A: You can look at what you’ve described, as you say, simply as your ego’s efforts to shift blame outside yourself onto an unfair, victimizing God, if you note these apparent contradictions but do not seriously question the basic premises you seemed to learn as a child. But you can also look at what you’re thinking as the beginning of a right-minded realization that there is something wrong with this traditional concept of God that is found in most religions of the world, where God is the Creator of the world, Who put you here along with everyone else. For there are some logical contradictions in this traditional view of an infinite and perfect God as the Creator of a finite and imperfect world, that many of the greatest religious and spiritual thinkers and philosophers across the ages have not been able to reconcile.

The Course is relatively unique among the world’s spiritualities in asserting that God has nothing to do with and can in no way be responsible for the limited world of time and space — some of the Gnostic teachings of two thousand years ago held to a similar position and presented arguments much like the ones you offer above (for a comprehensive presentation of these issues as found in the Western spiritual tradition, see Kenneth Wapnick’s Love Does Not Condemn: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil According to Platonism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and A Course in Miracles). And of course, the Course goes one step further to assert that this world is an illusion and does not exist in reality (e.g., W.pI.132.6:1,2,3), despite our experiences to the contrary.

If there were any force, personal or impersonal, outside of our own minds, that could be held responsible for any aspect of the world and our experience in it, then we would indeed be victims. But the Course’s position on this is uncompromising, presented clearly early in the workbook: “I am not the victim of the world I see” because “I have invented the world I see” (W.p.I.31,32). And so it is central to the Course’s teaching that neither God nor Jesus nor the Holy Spirit can intervene in either the world or in our minds (e.g., T.2.VII.1:4,5,6). For if they could, we would not have complete responsibility for our experience, and we could legitimately feel victimized by their failure to intervene. It is the purpose of the Course to return to our awareness the power of our mind to choose, and not to look outside of ourselves to find someone else either to blame or to supplicate.

In the Course’s own words, “Let us today be truly humble, and accept what we have made as what it is. The power of decision is our own. Decide but to accept your rightful place as co- creator of the universe [of spirit], and all you think you made [the world of bodies] will disappear. What rises to awareness then will be all that there ever was, eternally as it is now. And it will take the place of self-deceptions made but to usurp the altar to the Father and the Son” (W.p.I.152.8).

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 20

ACIM Reading for December 20

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

BENEDICTION
Angels are Thoughts that come from God to you.
Secure in their protection may you rest;
Quiet in certainty that comes from them,
At peace in mind and heart and holiness;
Unmindful of the world, and sure that they
Are with you, watching over you, and fixed
In their determination to maintain.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 20

Lesson 354

We stand together, Christ and I, in peace 
And certainty of purpose. And in Him 
Is His Creator, as He is in me.

My oneness with the Christ establishes me as Your Son, beyond the reach of time, and wholly free of every law but Yours. I have no self except the Christ in me. I have no purpose but His Own. And He is like His Father. Thus must I be one with You as well as Him. For who is Christ except Your Son as You created Him? And what am I except the Christ in me?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #305: Does “I need do nothing” mean that it’s not OK to consciously try to develop new habits to replace the old fear based ones, like avoiding eye contact or speaking softly or giving up too soon, etc….How can I get over these things if I don’t do anything about them? Lesson 135 in A Course in Miracles says that planning for things is a defense and should be avoided. However, I feel that if I don’t plan or practice ahead of time I won’t be able to function: I won’t know what to say or do when the moment arises. I am really quite stalled here. Perhaps I am misinterpreting all of this. Can you somehow clear this up for me?

A: When A Course in Miracles says: “I need do nothing except not to interfere” (T.16.I.3:12) it is telling us primarily not to interfere, because that is what we do. It is not telling us to do nothing in the world or with the body. We need do nothing to be who we are (God’s Son), except remove all the beliefs that oppose that truth. That is why the Course describes the ego thought system in all its diverse forms and expressions. Lesson 135 of the workbook is a very good example of this. It exposes the defense system that is set in motion when the mind chooses to identify with the body. In no way does it suggest that any of the defenses or behaviors should be changed or avoided. That is not its goal. The goal of the Course is clearly expressed in the following instruction: “…seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world”(T.21.in.7:1). We can paraphrase this important line replacing “the world” with “the body,” “your behavior,” “your habits,” “your defenses.” This is a Course in mind training, and nothing else. Understanding this distinction is essential to understanding, and more importantly, applying the principles of the Course.

Whenever the Course describes all the things we do as bodies, and the beliefs we hold, it does not tell us not to do them, nor not to believe them. It teaches by showing us the contrast between the effect of the ego belief system (pain) with the effect of the Holy Spirit’s thought system (peace). It tells us that what we do on the level of form neither causes nor resolves the problem of the separation on the level of the mind. Therefore, changing your behavioral habits because it will make you feel better about yourself is just as acceptable as any of the things we do to take care of our bodies, our houses, or our cars. As long as we believe we are bodies living in the world these things must be maintained in working order, and taken care as best we see fit.

Until our minds are healed of all belief in the separation and in our identity as bodies, our only goal must be to uncover all our hidden beliefs so they can be exchanged for the belief system of the Holy Spirit. Then the mind that is free of guilt will use the body, as described in this lesson, without defenses. This does not mean that the body will then be perfect, or not need food, or sleep, or eye glasses. It means the mind will not confuse itself with the body and will not look to it for safety or for anything. In the process of healing, we are not asked not to plan, or to try to live as if our minds were healed while they are still sick. It is always important in reading the Course to remember that it is addressing the decision making part of the mind. We are asked to choose which teacher we will consult in making our plans. The Holy Spirit tells us that as we make our plans we can remember to search our minds for all of the insane beliefs that interfere with our being able to allow His wisdom to lead us to our truth.

Webmaster’s note: see also questions #293 #289 #90.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 21

ACIM Reading for December 21

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

QUIETNESS
The world knows not of quiet. Restlessness
Is its abiding law. From there it goes
To pain and joylessness, and back again
To the unceasing restlessness on which
It stands, uncertain, insecure and frail,
Prey to illusions, victimized by guilt.
Yet quietness comes over it at last.
For when forgiveness comes, its certain gift
Is stillness, in which all the world is hushed;
A silence where the littleness of sin
Shrinks into nothingness before the Love
Forgiveness represents. And in His Name
Is everyone acknowledged as the same.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 21

Lesson 355

There is no end to all the peace and joy,
And all the miracles that I will give,
When I accept God’s Word. Why not today?

Why should I wait, my Father, for the joy You promised me? For You will keep Your Word You gave Your Son in exile. I am sure my treasure waits for me, and I need but reach out my hand to find it. Even now my fingers touch it. It is very close. I need not wait an instant more to be at peace forever. It is You I choose, and my Identity along with You. Your Son would be Himself, and know You as his Father and Creator, and his Love.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #303: My question is about grace. I’m working on Lesson 168-9 of A Course in Miracles…which says grace is not learned and grace is not the goal this course aspires to attain.…grace is the means to get vision first with knowledge but an instant later…I’m just trying to understand exactly what grace is and how one should try to attain it.

A: In the “Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick, grace is defined as “our natural state as spirit” and “an aspect of God’s love in this world (p.46). It may be helpful in reading passages in the Course which use the term grace, such as the Lessons you mention, to remember it is referring to the truth of who we are as spirit, and the reflection of God’s love present in our minds: “Spirit is in a state of grace forever. Your reality is only spirit. Therefore you are in a state of grace forever” (T.1.III.5:4,5,6). Grace is not, therefore, something that needs to be attained, nor can it be taught or learned. It is simply the truth that will be revealed of its own when we no longer believe in our guilty, sinful selves identified with the body. Our goal is to become aware of our true identity as spirit because it is what God created us to be. God’s grace, His gift, is the identity we share with Him. The process of forgiveness, whereby we uncover all the hidden beliefs about ourselves that are in opposition to this truth, is what will lead us to the awareness of this identity and acceptance of His grace.

In other places, however, grace is spoken about somewhat differently. Grace is vision in that it is awareness of our natural state. In the passage you refer to, the Course tells us that the vision of who we are in truth will be followed instantly by knowledge of our Oneness with God, and in that instant awareness of the world disappears. That is our goal, that is grace. It is “an aspect of God’s love in this world” (Glossary, p.46) because our minds hold the memory of God’s love and the memory of our true identity as spirit, God’s innocent Son. Whenever we are willing to choose to identify with this part of our minds, rather than with the ego, we accept the grace that is ours:“Grace is acceptance of the Love of God within a world of seeming hate and fear” (W.pI.169.2:1).


Q #304: I keep thinking about what A Course in Miracles refers to as the “authority” problem. I understand it to mean that there is a constant struggle within me between what I believe is the “reason” for being here and for my life, and what God “believes” is the reason for my being here and for my life. Unfortunately — like most concepts the Course teaches — I have a feeling my understanding is missing the mark. Am I even close?

A: Actually, you are not far off the mark at all. Someone once said: “If God is your co-pilot, switch seats!” Jesus tells us that the problem is much deeper than that: “The authority problem is still the only source of conflict, because the ego was made out of the wish of God’s Son to father Him. The ego, then, is nothing more than a delusional system in which you made your own father” (T.11.in.2:3,4). This obviously is insane, as Jesus himself remarks in the continuation of that passage; yet we continue to allow this conflict to rage in our minds and to project itself out all over the place in many forms, because we believe that to submit to God as our Author and Source would be a sentence of death. Or at the very least, we could not exist as we would like to.

Jesus explains: “The projection of the ego makes it appear as if God’s Will is outside yourself, and therefore not yours. In this interpretation it seems possible for God’s Will and yours to conflict. God, then, may seem to demand of you what you do not want to give, and thus deprive you of what you want.…You are afraid to know God’s Will, because you believe it is not yours. This belief is your whole sickness and your whole fear” (T.11.9:1,2,3; 10:3,4).

So to the extent that you value an individual, autonomous existence, you will unconsciously believe that you usurped God’s power in order to get and keep that existence and that He is coming after you to get it back. This is the one-or-the-other principle at the heart of the ego thought system, and fear is its unfortunate consequence. “To deny His Authorship is to deny yourself the reason for your peace, so that you see yourself only in segments. This strange perception isthe authority problem” (T.3.VI.10.6,7).

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 14

ACIM Reading for December 14

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

SONG TO MY SELF
I cannot be replaced. I am unique
In God’s creation. I am held so dear
By Him that it is madness to believe
That I could suffer pain or loss or fear.
Holy am I; in sinlessness complete,
In wisdom infinite, in love secure,
In patience perfect, and in faithfulness
Beyond all thought of sin, and wholly pure.
Who could conceive of suffering for me?
Surely the mind that thought it is insane.
I never left my Father’s house. What need
Have I to journey back to Him again?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 14

Lesson 348

I have no cause for anger or for fear,
For You surround me. And in every need
That I perceive, Your grace suffices me.

Father, let me remember You are here, and I am not alone. Surrounding me is everlasting Love. I have no cause for anything except the perfect peace and joy I share with You. What need have I for anger or for fear? Surrounding me is perfect safety. Can I be afraid, when Your eternal promise goes with me? Surrounding me is perfect sinlessness. What can I fear, when You created me in holiness as perfect as Your Own?

God’s grace suffices us in everything that He would have us do. And only that we choose to be our will as well as His.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #691: Discerning the Voice of Holy Spirit is a most important but very ambiguous issue in practicing A Course in Miracles. Helen heard this Voice clearly and unambiguously. I’m inclined to think that many lessons of the workbook took this capability of Helen into account. The designed short period of practice (one year) reinforces that in my opinion. One year seems to be too short for radically reversing the thought system of the average person. What made Helen so sensitive and attuned to this Voice? Could we be helped by inquiring into this, so that we might develop this capability?

A: Kenneth talks about Helen’s “hearing” ability in his biography of Helen, Absence from Felicity. Her hearing was somewhat “rusty” at first, he reports, but then the interferences that were there initially cleared up and the Voice was heard in its purity from then on. The lessons began about three and a half years after the scribing commenced in 1965. What made Helen “so sensitive and attuned to this Voice” was her willingness to set aside her ego completely and be in her right mind. She did not regard this as anything exceptional that she alone could do. She always told people who were tempted to see her as spiritually blessed that they could do exactly what she did; all that was required was the willingness to set aside their ego, if only for an instant. The abstract presence of love is part of everyone’s mind and hearing the Voice is only one form in which that love can be experienced. Each of us will experience it in the form we can best relate to and accept without excessive fear. The form is illusory and will fade when enough fear subsides to allow the full experience of that love into one’s awareness. Therefore, it would not make sense to make the form into a big deal.

Moreover, there is no way of our knowing where we are on our Atonement path, or where anyone else is, either. Comparisons therefore are not likely to be spiritually beneficial. Learning and practicing this Course is carried out in the context of the relationship between the student and the Holy Spirit or Jesus. The events and circumstances of our lives are meaningful, thus, only to the extent that they reflect back to us whether we have chosen the ego or Jesus as our teacher.

Finally, there certainly are lessons and parts of lessons that assume an advanced spiritual state, yet there are many others that explicitly refer to a process of learning and practice that could extend over many years, even lifetimes. And then at the very end of the workbook Jesus tells us that “this course is a beginning, not an end” (W.ep.1:1). Similarly, toward the end of the text, the beginnings of chapters 30 and 31, Jesus is basically telling Helen that she is moving along well but has not yet reached the end of her process. The ability to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit is simply the process of learning to let go of one’s ego, as Jesus so clearly states in this passage, to single out one of many such passages: “You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it. They speak a different language and they fall on different ears” (T.24.II.5:1,2). That was the essence of Helen’s process and is ours as well.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 13

ACIM Reading for December 13

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

With Thanks

No one can know just what his part will mean

When God from little lights completes a star

From what we give to Him. Each is unseen

Until the other parts from near and far

Are joined by Him into a form that He

can use to light the darkness.  In His hand

The stars are born, to shine upon the sea

And to enchant all things upon the land

And raise them Heavenward. Perhaps your gift

Is set upon a star tip, or perhaps

It shimmers at the center point, to lift

A heart from sadness. Or perhaps it caps

a silver star-side. Do not then forget

In what we value little God may see

A new-born star, unknown to us as yet

Who cannot look on glory still to be.

 

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 13

Lesson 347

Anger must come from judgment. Judgment is
The weapon I would use against myself,
To keep the miracle away from me.

Father, I want what goes against my will, and do not want what is my will to have. Straighten my mind, my Father. It is sick. But You have offered freedom, and I choose to claim Your gift today. And so I give all judgment to the One You gave to me to judge for me. He sees what I behold, and yet He knows the truth. He looks on pain, and yet He understands it is not real, and in His understanding it is healed. He gives the miracles my dreams would hide from my awareness. Let Him judge today. I do not know my will, but He is sure it is Your Own. And He will speak for me, and call Your miracles to come to me.

Listen today. Be very still, and hear the gentle Voice for God assuring you that He has judged you as the Son He loves.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #850What does the successful completion of A Course in Miracles look like? I was disappointed to read that Helen did not make it. When I was reading Absence from Felicity , I was horrified to read about the nature of Helen’s death; it seemed gruesome. How could this be? One year ago I read about the illusion of sickness and what it means. I was a chronically sick person, but once I believed that sickness was an illusion like the Matrix, I never was never sick again. This made quite an impression on me. How could Helen have died that way when I could remove sickness with a minor revelation?

A: It appears that you are confusing form and content by concluding that Helen “did not make it” because of the nature of her death. Most people would look to that as a kind of criterion of her spiritual advancement; but it would be a mistake to do so. Kenneth also stated in his account of her death that there was a totally peaceful look on her face. Jesus had told her that he would come for her when she died, and her peaceful countenance seemed to confirm that.

When we use the nature of a person’s death as a criterion, we would have to ask ourselves, Well, what about Jesus? His death was rather gruesome if you judge entirely by what appeared to happen to his body. Yet he tells us in the Course that he did not experience it as a gruesome event at all (T.6.I.5) . That was the lesson he was passing on to us and asking us to demonstrate as well: “Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you” (T.11.VI.7:3,4) . The condition of one’s body (the form) is not necessarily an indicator of the content of one’s mind — of whether or not Jesus lives in us. In this sense, there is no way of saying what the successful completion of the Course would look like, perhaps other than to say that an inner state of undisturbed peace would somehow radiate through a person who would appear to be “normal” in every other respect. This could be a person paralyzed from a spinal cord injury, the plumber who just fixed a broken pipe in your kitchen, or the surgeon who just transplanted a liver. The beginning of Lesson 155 says of such a person that he or she would “smile more frequently” (W.pI.155.1:2) . That is all that would stand out, so to speak.

There is no way we can know the whole of another person’s Atonement path, anymore than we can know our own, and therefore we should not judge where we think a person is, spiritually. As we move along in our journey back to God and our true Self, Jesus encourages us to approach everything in our lives as classrooms in which we can gradually and gently learn that everything outside Heaven, including our individual selves, is an illusion. Thus, when we are sick or even dying, Jesus can guide us through that experience to help us learn that the peace in our minds cannot be affected by anything of the body. What a valuable lesson! He starts with wherever we are at, whatever the condition of our bodies, and he just invites us to ask him in as our teacher. That is the way most of us learn.

As your experience testifies, though, we can also learn in one instant that our bodies are completely under the control of our minds, and then there would no longer be any symptoms, unless the mind chose to use the body that way. That is not necessarily an indicator of spiritual advancement, though. We do have very powerful minds, and our bodies do only what our minds tell them to do; but the completion of our Atonement path involves much more than that.

Question #262 discusses the suffering and death of enlightened beings, along with other pertinent issues about death.

 

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 12

ACIM Reading for December 12

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

The Risen Sun

Be still, my soul, and rest upon the Lord
In quiet certainty. For He has come
To rescue you from doubt. And now you stand
In blazing glory of a risen sun
That cannot set. It will forever be
Exactly as it is. You stand with Him
Within a radiance prepared for you
Before time was and far beyond its reach.
Be still and know. And knowing, be you sure
Your Lord has come to you. There is no doubt
That stands before His countenance, nor can
Conceal from you what He would have you see.
The sun has risen. He has come at last.
Where stands his Presence there can be no past.
Be still, my soul, and rest upon the Lord
Who comes to keep the promise of His Word
.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 12

Lesson 346

Today the peace of God envelops me,
And I forget all things except His Love.

Father, I wake today with miracles correcting my perception of all things. And so begins the day I share with You as I will share eternity, for time has stepped aside today. I do not seek the things of time, and so I will not look upon them. What I seek today transcends all laws of time and things perceived in time. I would forget all things except Your Love. I would abide in You, and know no laws except Your law of love. And I would find the peace which You created for Your Son, forgetting all the foolish toys I made as I behold Your glory and my own.

And when the evening comes today, we will remember nothing but the peace of God. For we will learn today what peace is ours, when we forget all things except God’s Love.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #194: You explain in many places that A Course in Miracles is uncompromising about the fact that this world does not exist. Could you list the passages from the text and/or the workbook that explain that this is so?

A: We are listing a number of references here, and we also refer you to Q #111. This is an important issue, which actually is the foundation of the whole thought system of A Course in Miracles. You might also find our Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracleshelpful — under “world.” When the main principles are identified, then you can see how they are expressed in many different ways. For example, if only what God creates exists, and God creates only what is eternal and infinite, then anything not of God does not and could not exist, i.e., the changing, limited cosmos.

A sampling of statements:

1) “Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge.…In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God, and does not exist” (W.pI.43.1:1,2; 2:1,2).

2) “There is no world! This is the central concept the course attempts to teach” (W.pI.132.6:2,3). There are other statements within this lesson that state the unreality of the world; e.g., “How can a world of time and place exist, if you remain as God created you?” (9:4); “There is no world because it is a thought apart from God, and made to separate the Father and the Son, and break away a part of God Himself and thus destroy His Wholeness. Can a world which comes from this idea be real? Can it be anywhere?” (13:1,2,3).

3) “I am as God created me”; “What has been given you? The knowledge that you are a mind, in Mind and purely mind, sinless forever, wholly unafraid, because you were created out of love. Nor have you left your Source, remaining as you were created” (W.pI.158.1:1,2,3).

4) “Sin is the home of all illusions, which but stand for things imagined, issuing from thoughts that are untrue. They are the ‘proof’ that what has no reality is real. Sin ‘proves’ God’s Son is evil; timelessness must have an end; eternal life must die. And God Himself has lost the Son He loves, with but corruption to complete Himself, His Will forever overcome by death, love slain by hate, and peace to be no more” (W.pII.4.3).

5) “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal?” (T.20.VIII.7:3,4,5,ff.)

6) “There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion…Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere” (T.23.II.19.1,2,6).

7) “God’s laws do not obtain directly to a world perception rules, for such a world could not have been created by the Mind to which perception has no meaning. Yet are His laws reflected everywhere [through the Holy Spirit]. Not that the world where this reflection is, is real at all. Only because His Son believes it is, and from His Son’s belief He could not let Himself be separate entirely. He could not enter His Son’s insanity with him…” (T.24.III.2).

8) “This world is causeless…” (T.28.II.6:1).

9) “They [your eyes and ears] were made to look upon a world that is not there; to hear the voices that make no sound” (T.28.V.5:4).

10) “What seems eternal all will have an end. The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is” (T.29.VI.2:7,8,9,10).

11) “Can what has no beginning really end? The world will end in an illusion, as it began” (M.14.1:1,2).

12) “The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself. Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever. Some things will last in time a little while longer than others. But the time will come when all things visible will have an end” (C.4.1).

13) “What is false is false, and what is true has never changed” (W.pII.10.1:1).

14) “How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now, and never will be. The impossible has not occurred, and can have no effects. And that is all” (T.31.I.1:1,2,3,4).

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 10

ACIM Reading for December 10

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

THE SINGING
There is a singing underneath the world
That holds it up, and enters in behind
All twisted thoughts, and comes to set them straight.
There is an ancient melody that still
Abides in every mind and sings of peace,
Eternity, and all the quiet things
That God created. Angels sing with joy,
And offer you their song, for it is yours.
You sing as ceaselessly. The Son of God
Can never sing alone. His voice is shared
By all the universe. It is the call
To God, and answered by His Voice Itself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 10

Lesson 344

Today I learn the law of love; that what
I give my brother is my gift to me.

This is Your law, my Father, not my own. I have not understood what giving means, and thought to save what I desired for myself alone. And as I looked upon the treasure that I thought I had, I found an empty place where nothing ever was or is or will be. Who can share a dream? And what can an illusion offer me? Yet he whom I forgive will give me gifts beyond the worth of anything on earth. Let my forgiven brothers fill my store with Heaven’s treasures, which alone are real. Thus is the law of love fulfilled. And thus Your Son arises and returns to You.

How near we are to one another, as we go to God. How near is He to us. How close the ending of the dream of sin, and the redemption of the Son of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #192: “I do not choose God’s channels wrongly” (T.4.VI.6:3). This line has always had a strong emotional impact on me (it made me cry, boosted my confidence, etc.), but sometimes I think this line perhaps was meant only personally for Helen?

A: It must always be remembered that A Course in Miracles came for Helen and Bill in response to their joining together to find a better way of relating. Therefore, many of the comments — especially in the early chapters — were meant for them; but clearly they can be seen as applying to all of us who struggle with the same issues with which they struggled. The statement you refer to, therefore, in no way implies that they were special, a meaning our egos would immediately see in it, as the ego knows only of separation. Helen did not see herself as specially blessed in any way, and very quickly corrected anyone who regarded her as special.

Connecting this statement with two other key statements further clarifies the meaning: “All my brothers are special” and “All are called” (T.1.V.3; T.3.IV.7). While using the language of the Bible, Jesus clearly corrects the traditional view that singles out certain special people: “many are called, but few are chosen,” or groups of people: “the chosen people.” He is basically telling us that we are not mistaken in thinking that we are dear to him.

At the beginning of Lesson 93, he describes the horribly negative self-concept we harbor deep within our minds — sometimes not very far beneath the surface. And then he tells us that we are so convinced that this is the truth about us that it is difficult for him to help us see that it is all based on nothing (W.pI.93.1,2). That explains why we would tend to think that Jesus was referring only to Helen and Bill, not us, a trend of thought he later calls arrogant. When we think that way, we ought to stop and reflect on where those thoughts are coming from, and how in feeling unworthy we are really telling Jesus he is wrong about us.

 

Then, too, we must remember that although our experience at first may be that of being chosen, that is not the reality. As we get further up the ladder, our experience will be that we are really allowing ourselves to experience love more and more, and resisting it less and less.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 9

ACIM Reading for December 9

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

BRIGHT STRANGER
Strange was my Love to me. For when He came
I did not know Him. And He seemed to me
To be but an intruder on my peace.
I did not see the gifts He brought, nor heard
His soft appeal. I tried to shut Him out
With locks and keys that merely fell away
Before His coming. I could not escape
The gentleness with which He looked at me.
I asked Him in unwillingly, and turned
Away from Him. But He held out His hand
And asked me to remember Him. In me
An ancient Name began to stir and break
Across my mind in gold. The light embraced
Me deep in silence till He spoke the Word,
And then at last I recognized my Lord.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 9

Lesson 343

I am not asked to make a sacrifice
To find the mercy and the peace of God.

The end of suffering can not be loss. The gift of everything can be but gain. You only give. You never take away. And You created me to be like You, so sacrifice becomes impossible for me as well as You. I, too, must give. And so all things are given unto me forever and forever. As I was created I remain. Your Son can make no sacrifice, for he must be complete, having the function of completing You. I am complete because I am Your Son. I cannot lose, for I can only give, and everything is mine eternally.

The mercy and the peace of God are free. Salvation has no cost. It is a gift that must be freely given and received. And it is this that we would learn today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1044My question relates to page 155 of Absence of Felicity where Kenneth states that people experience Jesus differently and that Helen knew Jesus was talking to her because, “He told her the opposite of what she wanted to hear.” I understand that Jesus speaks to each person in an individual way, yet how could something that speaks against someone’s peace be benign? I believe that Jesus would never speak for such things.

A: It is important to know the context of Helen’s comment in order to understand it properly. On the same page you cite in Absence from Felicity , Kenneth states that Helen was keenly aware of her inner conflict — between “Heaven and Helen,” as she described it. Within this framework, “Jesus’ will and her own were always separate,” and therefore she would be aware of what was coming from her — meaning the part of her that was terrified of accepting his love — and what was coming from that loving presence she knew to be Jesus. She was aware that she was resisting the emotional acceptance of what she had accepted intellectually from Jesus. “Helen did believe in the truth of the Course’s teachings, not to mention in the existence of its author. However, she was not able emotionally to accept its truth into her own personal life” (p. 156). This is a crucial distinction. She knew that she would be better off doing what Jesus asked of her; she was just afraid of the consequences of accepting his will unconditionally at all times. Jesus was not speaking against her peace, as you have interpreted her comment to mean. Quite the opposite — she knew she would be better off if she integrated into her daily life what she knew to be the truth intellectually. Kenneth concludes that this integration came “all at once at the moment of her death” (p. 157; see also Chapter 18 where Kenneth describes her final days and death).

Every student of A Course in Miracles is bound to run into this same dilemma. We all have minds split between wanting Jesus to be the central figure in our journey, and a fierce resistance to letting go of the self we think is our identity but which is a false self determined to keep the true Jesus as far away as possible. This intense fear will inevitably cause us to have a distorted experience of his love. That is why he emphasizes so much the need to become aware of these two parts of our minds. It is vital to our progress with the Course to come to know and respect our fear of the truth about us, so that we will not erect even further defenses against it, thus burying it deeper and deeper in our minds. This is what Jesus wants to help us with more than anything, if we will let him. If we do let him, we will be more peaceful, more often, as together we walk the pathway home.

secret of salvation

 

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 8

ACIM Reading for December 8

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process & Practice

3.- III. The Question of Payment1. No one can pay for therapy, for healing is of God and He asks for nothing. It is, however, part of His plan that everything in this world be used by the Holy Spirit to help in carrying out the plan. Even an advanced therapist has some earthly needs while he is here.  Should he need money it will be given him, not in payment, but to help him better serve the plan. Money is not evil. It is nothing. But no one here can live with no illusions, for he must yet strive to have the last illusion be accepted by everyone everywhere. He has a mighty part in this one purpose, for which he came. He stays here but for this. And while he stays he will be given what he needs to stay.

2. Only an unhealed healer would try to heal for money, and he will not succeed to the extent to which he values it. Nor will he find his healing in the process. There will be those of whom the Holy Spirit asks some payment for His purpose. There will be those from whom He does not ask. It should not be the therapist who makes these decisions. There is a difference between payment and cost. To give money where God’s plan allots it has no cost. To withhold it from where it rightfully belongs has enormous cost. The therapist who would do this loses the name of healer, for he could never understand what healing is. He cannot give it, and so he does not have it.

3. The therapists of this world are indeed useless to the world’s salvation. They make demands, and so they cannot give. Patients can pay only for the exchange of illusions. This, indeed, must demand payment, and the cost is great. A “bought” relationship cannot offer the only gift whereby all healing is accomplished. Forgiveness, the Holy Spirit’s only dream, must have no cost. For if it does, it merely crucifies God’s Son again. Can this be how he is forgiven? Can this be how the dream of sin will end?

4. The right to live is something no one need fight for. It is promised him, and guaranteed by God. Therefore it is a right the therapist and patient share alike. If their relationship is to be holy, whatever one needs is given by the other; whatever one lacks the other supplies. Herein is the relationship made holy, for herein both are healed. The therapist repays the patient in gratitude, as does the patient repay him. There is no cost to either. But thanks are due to both, for the release from long imprisonment and doubt. Who would not be grateful for such a gift?
Yet who could possibly imagine that it could be bought?

5. It has well been said that to him who hath shall be given. Because he has, he can give.
And because he gives, he shall be given. This is the law of God, and not of the world. So it is with God’s healers. They give because they have heard His Word and understood it. All that they need will thus be given them. But they will lose this understanding unless they remember that all they have comes only from God. If they believe they need anything from a brother, they will recognize him as a brother no longer. And if they do this, a light goes out even in Heaven. Where God’s Son turns against himself, he can look only upon darkness. He has himself denied the light, and cannot see.

6. One rule should always be observed: No one should be turned away because he cannot pay. No one is sent by accident to anyone. Relationships are always purposeful. Whatever their purpose may have been before the Holy Spirit entered them, they are always His potential temple; the resting place of Christ and home of God Himself. Whoever comes has been sent. Perhaps he was sent to give his brother the money he needed. Both will be blessed thereby. Perhaps he was sent to teach the therapist how much he needs forgiveness, and how valueless is money in comparison. Again will both be blessed. Only in terms of cost could one have more. In sharing, everyone must gain a blessing without cost.

7. This view of payment may well seem impractical, and in the eyes of the world it would be so. Yet not one worldly thought is really practical. How much is gained by striving for illusions? How much is lost by throwing God away? And is it possible to do so? Surely it is impractical to strive for nothing, and to attempt to do what is impossible. Then stop a while, long enough to think of this: You have perhaps been seeking for salvation without recognizing where to look. Whoever asks your help can show you where. What greater gift than this could you be given? What greater gift is there that you would give?

8. Physician, healer, therapist, teacher, heal thyself. Many will come to you carrying the gift of healing, if you so elect. The Holy Spirit never refuses an invitation to enter and abide with you. He will give you endless opportunities to open the door to your salvation, for such is His function. He will also tell you exactly what your function is in every circumstance and at all times. Whoever He sends you will reach you, holding out his hand to his Friend. Let the Christ in you bid him welcome, for that same Christ is in him as well. Deny him entrance, and you have denied the Christ in you. Remember the sorrowful story of the world, and the glad tidings of salvation. Remember the plan of God for the restoration of joy and peace. And do not forget how very simple are the ways of God:

You were lost in the darkness of the world until you asked for light.
And then God sent His Son to give it to you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 8

Lesson 342

I let forgiveness rest upon all things,
For thus forgiveness will be given me.

I thank You, Father, for Your plan to save me from the hell I made. It is not real. And You have given me the means to prove its unreality to me. The key is in my hand, and I have reached the door beyond which lies the end of dreams. I stand before the gate of Heaven, wondering if I should enter in and be at home. Let me not wait again today. Let me forgive all things, and let creation be as You would have it be and as it is. Let me remember that I am Your Son, and opening the door at last, forget illusions in the blazing light of truth, as memory of You returns to me.

Brother, forgive me now. I come to you to take you home with me. And as we go, the world goes with us on our way to God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1055In all the years that Helen Schucman was “talking” to Jesus, did she ever ask him any questions about historical data that concerned his life on earth?

A: No, Jesus’ life on earth seemed to be of no interest to her. At one point when he was speaking to her about the fruitlessness of studying the past, he said to her. “Even My personal history is of no value to you except as it teaches you that I can help you now ” ( Absence from Felicity , p. 287).


Q #1056A Course in Miracles speaks frequently of the one question that we are to “ask” God instead of the many that make up our “lives” on earth. What exactly would that question be if it cannot be asked with words? A feeling of direct “communication”, i.e. “being”? Is the “communion with God” the Course speaks of not also an illusion in that it implies one (separated) aspect of God is talking to another separated aspect?

A: This “question” always pertains to content, not form. Thus, it would always be about our accepting the Atonement, or some variant of that. As an example, Jesus twice pleads with us: “Why wait for Heaven?” (W.pI.131.6:1; W.pI.188.1:1) ; and again in the workbook he tells us that we should ask “a thousand times a day,” “‘Who walks with me?’” (W.pI.156.8:1,2) . Then, in the lovely prose poem “The Gifts of God,” Jesus directs our thoughts to the gifts we can give to God. In one of many beautifully moving pleas to us, he exclaims, “Child of Eternal Love, what gift is there your Father wants of you except yourself? And what is there that you would rather give, for what is there that you would rather have? . . . What trifling gifts made out of sickly fear and evil dreams of suffering and death can be the substitute you really want for the rememberance of Christ in You?” ( The Gifts of God , p. 125)

Since imploring God’s help with our world and our lives has been the focal point of prayer in practically all religions, East and West, Jesus uses that form in his process of correcting our thinking about who we are and Who God is. But he obviously does not think real communication with God occurs in the dream; it can’t. This becomes clear as you comprehend the thought system of A Course in Miracles in its fullness. We are really praying to ourselves to recognize, first, our unquestioned commitment to the ego, and then to turn to the memory of truth in our right minds — symbolized by Jesus and the Holy Spirit — for help in seeing our mistake, so that we may make the choice to end our self- imposed exile from Love, now that we realize that that is what we have done. As our minds are healed of all thoughts of separation from God and from each other, we simply become Love, once again, God’s gift to us in our creation.

shine it away