ACIM Text Reading for January 21
Chapter 1 ~ The Meaning of Miracles
Principles of Miracles (Cont’d)
26. Miracles represent freedom from fear. “Atoning” means “undoing.” The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.
27. A miracle is a universal blessing from God through me to all my brothers. It is the privilege of the forgiven to forgive.
28. Miracles are a way of earning release from fear. Revelation induces a state in which fear has already been abolished. Miracles are thus a means and revelation is an end.
29. Miracles praise God through you. They praise him by honoring his creations, affirming their perfection. They heal because they deny body-identification and affirm spirit-identification.
30. By recognizing spirit, miracles adjust the levels of perception and show them in proper alignment. This places spirit at the center, where it can communicate directly.
31. Miracles should inspire gratitude, not awe. You should thank God for what you really are. The children of God are holy and the miracle honors their holiness, which can be hidden but never lost.
32. I inspire all miracles, which are really intercessions. They intercede for your holiness and make your perceptions holy. By placing you beyond the physical laws they raise you into the sphere of celestial order. In this order you are perfect.
33. Miracles honor you because you are lovable. They dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you. They thus atone for your errors by freeing you from your nightmares. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity.
34. Miracles restore the mind to its fullness. By atoning for lack they establish perfect protection. The spirit’s strength leaves no room for intrusions.
35. Miracles are expressions of love, but they may not always have observable effects.
36. Miracles are examples of right thinking, aligning your perceptions with truth as God created it.
37. A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking by me. It acts as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception and reorganizing it properly. This places you under the Atonement principle, where perception is healed. Until this has occurred, knowledge of the Divine Order is impossible.
38. The Holy Spirit is the mechanism of miracles. He recognizes both God’s creations and your illusions. He separates the true from the false by his ability to perceive totally rather than selectively.
39. The miracle dissolves error because the Holy Spirit identifies error as false or unreal. This is the same as saying that by perceiving light, darkness automatically disappears.
40. The miracle acknowledges everyone as your brother and mine. It is a way of perceiving the universal mark of God.
41. Wholeness is the perceptual content of miracles. They thus correct, or atone for, the faulty perception of lack.
42. A major contribution of miracles is their strength in releasing you from your false sense of isolation, deprivation and lack.
43. Miracles arise from a miraculous state of mind, or a state of miracle-readiness.
44. The miracle is an expression of an inner awareness of Christ and the acceptance of his Atonement.
45. A miracle is never lost. It may touch many people you have not even met, and produce undreamed of changes in situations of which you are not even aware.
46. The Holy Spirit is the highest communication medium. Miracles do not involve this type of communication, because they are temporary communication devices. When you return to your original form of communication with God by direct revelation, the need for miracles is over.
47. The miracle is a learning device that lessens the need for time. It establishes an out-of-pattern time interval not under the usual laws of time. In this sense it is timeless.
48. The miracle is the only device at your immediate disposal for controlling time. Only revelation transcends it, having nothing to do with time at all.
49. The miracle makes no distinction among degrees of misperception. It is a device for perception correction, effective quite apart from either the degree or the direction of the error. This is its true indiscriminateness.
50. The miracle compares what you have made with creation, accepting what is in accord with it as true, and rejecting what is out of accord as false.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 21
I am never upset for the reason I think.
This idea, like the preceding one, can be used with any person, situation or event you think is causing you pain. Apply it specifically to whatever you believe is the cause of your upset, using the description of the feeling in whatever term seems accurate to you. The upset may seem to be fear, worry, depression, anxiety, anger, hatred, jealousy or any number of forms, all of which will be perceived as different. This is not true. However, until you learn that form does not matter, each form becomes a proper subject for the exercises for the day. Applying the same idea to each of them separately is the first step in ultimately recognizing they are all the same.
When using the idea for today for a specific perceived cause of an upset in any form, use both the name of the form in which you see the upset, and the cause which you ascribe to it. For example:
I am not angry at ___ for the reason I think.
I am not afraid of ___ for the reason I think.
But again, this should not be substituted for practice periods in which you first search your mind for “sources” of upset in which you believe, and forms of upset which you think result.
In these exercises, more than in the preceding ones, you may find it hard to be indiscriminate, and to avoid giving greater weight to some subjects than to others. It might help to precede the exercises with the statement:
There are no small upsets.
They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.
Then examine your mind for whatever is distressing you, regardless of how much or how little you think it is doing so.
You may also find yourself less willing to apply today’s idea to some perceived sources of upset than to others. If this occurs, think first of this:
I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go.
For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them all as the same.
Then search your mind for no more than a minute or so, and try to identify a number of different forms of upset that are disturbing you, regardless of the relative importance you may give them. Apply the idea for today to each of them, using the name of both the source of the upset as you perceive it, and of the feeling as you experience it. Further examples are:
I am not worried about ___ for the reason I think.
I am not depressed about ___ for the reason I think.
Three or four times during the day is enough.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: The term order is another word for “dimension” or “realm,” more specifically, the system of laws governing that realm. Thus, the “sphere of celestial order” refers to the realm beyond the physical realm, where the laws of spirit have nothing in common with the laws of the ego world. The same would be true of the “Divine Order.” While we still adhere to the ego thought system, the realm of God and Heaven is completely unknowable by us. The law of love’s eternal, non- quantitative extension is meaningless to us while we are enmeshed in the specialness of individual existence.
Q #753: This is more of a “grammatical” question, I first read this passage in the German translation of A Course in Miracles and thought perhaps it is a translation mistake, but I checked with the original English version and the passage is equally confusing. Lesson 1 of the workbook says: “That is the purpose of the exercise. The statement should merely be applied to anything you see. As you practice the idea for the day, use it totally indiscriminately. Do not attempt to apply it to everything you see, for these exercises should not become ritualistic” (W.pI.3:2,3,4,5). Can you explain the difference between applying things to anything you see but not to everything? In German it is clearly the same…what do I “have” to do, I look at things and say they are nothing but should not look at everything I see and say the same? Is this some kind of “loose” viewpoint, nothing matters anything but please do not apply this idea as a doctrine (because then it would matter)?
A: Sentence 6 holds the key to what Jesus is getting at: “Only be sure that nothing you see is specifically excluded.” He is very much aware of the cleverness of our egos — how we all would attempt to compromise and make bargains with him so that we don’t have to change too much — how we try to get him to accept our terms and conditions for our relationship with him as our teacher. Thus, in the context of this lesson, he is alerting us to this tendency to put ourselves in control of our work with his course. He knows that we would attempt to exclude certain parts of our experience from the application, and so he is saying, “Don’t do this. It will not help you to achieve the goals of this course if you make exceptions to my instructions.” This is what he means in the statements he makes about achieving the holy instant: “The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep…. In your practice, then, try only to be vigilant against deception, and seek not to protect the thoughts you would keep to yourself” (T.15.IV.9:1,2,8).
While Jesus wants us to be disciplined in our practice — because our minds are typically so un disciplined — he wants us to stop short of ritual, only because turning a practice into a ritual usually means we no longer do it in a meaningful way that would produce the desired effects. He tells us in the manual for teachers: “Routines as such are dangerous, because they easily become gods in their own right, threatening the very goals for which they were set up” (M.16.2:5) . Our willingness to do what he advises, even if we forget to do it, is what affects our spiritual process, as opposed to the mere repetition of what he tells us to say at exactly the times he tells us to say it.
Q #617: Three different questions from the same questioner:
i. Can you explain the following sentence (W.pI.13.1:4) “However, it does not follow that you will not think you perceive something that has no meaning.” There are 3 negatives in this sentence which I do not understand.
A: The sentence means: you do perceive things that have no meaning. In the early lessons of the workbook Jesus is teaching us to distinguish between what has meaning (what exists) and what is meaningless (what does not exist). By choosing to believe the separation is real, we dream a dream in which we perceive the world and the body as real, and give them all the meaning that they have for us (W.pI.2). Nothing outside of Heaven has meaning because it does not truly exist. Since we cannot obliterate the part of the mind that remembers this, the choice against this memory causes intense conflict in the mind, which is experienced as fear and anxiety, as this lesson explains. The choice to give meaning to the meaningless puts us in competition with God as paragraph three describes. Fear that the meaning we ascribe to all things, including (and especially) ourselves, will be challenged, causes us to expend tremendous energy defending ourselves and our beliefs. This is the effect of our choosing to believe the world is real, thus perceiving things that have no meaning/existence.
ii. Regarding Question #377 concerning special relationships, what does it mean when you say “the relationship will fall away?”
A: In any relationship with people, objects, or events, healing occurs when the mind chooses to identify with the Holy Spirit’s Love instead of the ego’s thought of separation. Guilt and its projection are thus diminished, thereby transforming the relationship from serving the ego’s purpose of separation to the Holy Spirit’s purpose of healing. What then “will fall away” is the specialness. The relationship is initially marked by specialness needs due to the sense of lack that accompanies the choice to deny our true Identity by listening to the ego. This is true for all relationships. Through the healing process of forgiveness, relationships with persons become a classroom for learning that we have no separate interests. Relationships with other things “fall away” in the sense that they cease to be important. They are no longer sought after to fill the void left by the separation; having or experiencing them has neither a positive nor negative effect.
iii. In “Right Teaching and Right Learning” I would like clarification on the following: “a good teacher….must meet another condition; he must believe in the students to whom he offers the ideas.” On one level, I understand Jesus is telling us he believes in us. How does this relate to someone teaching the Course? Does it refer to a non-judgmental attitude?
A: The Course tells us that in all our relationships we are both teaching and learning/teacher and student. The passage you quote is not referring exclusively to a teacher actually teaching the Course to students. It applies to each encounter we have with others. One of the most important goals of the Course is to teach us that we are minds with the power to choose, and are therefore responsible for our choice. This is the lesson we are asked to learn for ourselves and apply to everyone, whether or not they are students of the Course. It is the foundation of the forgiveness process, whereby we recognize that every experience in the dream, as well as every judgment concerning others, is the result of a choice in the mind to listen either to the voice of the ego, or the Voice of the Holy Spirit. The ego tells us we are bodies, and are guilty sinners deserving of punishment for believing this. The Holy Spirit tells us we are God’s innocent Son. What we choose determines what we believe about ourselves and others. We then teach it by the mere fact of believing it: “Remember always that what you believe you will teach. Believe with me, and we will become equal as teachers” (T.6.I.6:10,11).
When we perceive others as anything less than wholly deserving of God’s Love and ours, it is because we have believed the ego’s lie about our identity, judged ourselves as sinful, and believe the same about everyone else. We believe in students [others] by recognizing that they are not victims imprisoned in bodies; they are minds with the power to choose, just as we are.