ACIM Text Reading for January 23
Chapter 1 ~ The Meaning of Miracles
III. Atonement and Miracles
I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. When you offer a miracle to any of my brothers, you do it to yourself and me. The reason you come before me is that I do not need miracles for my own Atonement, but I stand at the end in case you fail temporarily. My part in the Atonement is the canceling out of all errors that you could not otherwise correct. When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. As you share my unwillingness to accept error in yourself and others, you must join the great crusade to correct it; listen to my voice, learn to undo error and act to correct it. The power to work miracles belongs to you. I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing. Doing them will bring conviction in the ability, because conviction comes through accomplishment. The ability is the potential, the achievement is its expression, and the Atonement, which is the natural profession of the children of God, is the purpose.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away” means that they will not continue to exist as separate states. My word, which is the resurrection and the life, shall not pass away because life is eternal. You are the work of God, and his work is wholly lovable and wholly loving. This is how a man must think of himself in his heart, because this is what he is.
The forgiven are the means of the Atonement. Being filled with spirit, they forgive in return. Those who are released must join in releasing their brothers, for this is the plan of the Atonement. Miracles are the way in which minds that serve the Holy Spirit unite with me for the salvation or release of all of God’s creations.
I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement. You have a role in the Atonement which I will dictate to you. Ask me which miracles you should perform. This spares you needless effort, because you will be acting under direct communication. The impersonal nature of the miracle is an essential ingredient, because it enables me to direct its application, and under my guidance miracles lead to the highly personal experience of revelation. A guide does not control but he does direct, leaving it up to you to follow. “Lead us not into temptation” means “Recognize your errors and choose to abandon them by following my guidance. ”
Error cannot really threaten truth, which can always withstand it. Only the error is actually vulnerable. You are free to establish your kingdom where you see fit, but the right choice is inevitable if you remember this:
Spirit is in a state of grace forever.
Your reality is only spirit.
Therefore you are in a state of grace forever.Atonement undoes all errors in this respect, and thus uproots the source of fear. Whenever you experience God’s reassurances as threat, it is always because you are defending misplaced or misdirected loyalty. When you project this to others you imprison them, but only to the extent to which you reinforce errors they have already made. This makes them vulnerable to the distortions of others, since their own perception of themselves is distorted. The miracle worker can only bless them, and this undoes their distortions and frees them from prison.
You respond to what you perceive, and as you perceive so shall you behave. The Golden Rule asks you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This means that the perception of both must be accurate. The Golden Rule is the rule for appropriate behavior. You cannot behave appropriately unless you perceive correctly. Since you and your neighbor are equal members of one family, as you perceive both so you will do to both. You should look out from the perception of your own holiness to the holiness of others.
Miracles arise from a mind that is ready for them. By being united this mind goes out to everyone, even without the awareness of the miracle worker himself. The impersonal nature of miracles is because the Atonement itself is one, uniting all creations with their Creator. As an expression of what you truly are, the miracle places the mind in a state of grace. The mind then naturally welcomes the host within and the stranger without. When you bring in the stranger, he becomes your brother.
That the miracle may have effects on your brothers that you may not recognize is not your concern. The miracle will always bless you. Miracles you are not asked to perform have not lost their value. They are still expressions of your own state of grace, but the action aspect of the miracle should be controlled by me because of my complete awareness of the whole plan. The impersonal nature of miracle-mindedness ensures your grace, but only I am in a position to know where they can be bestowed.
Miracles are selective only in the sense that they are directed towards those who can use them for themselves. Since this makes it inevitable that they will extend them to others, a strong chain of Atonement is welded. However, this selectivity takes no account of the magnitude of the miracle itself, because the concept of size exists on a plane that is itself unreal. Since the miracle aims at restoring the awareness of reality, it would not be useful if it were bound by laws that govern the error it aims to correct.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 23
I see only the past.
This idea is particularly difficult to believe at first. Yet it is the rationale for all of the preceding ones.
It is the reason why nothing that you see means anything.
It is the reason why you have given everything you see all the meaning that it has for you.
It is the reason why you do not understand anything you see.
It is the reason why your thoughts do not mean anything, and why they are like the things you see.
It is the reason why you are never upset for the reason you think.
It is the reason why you are upset because you see something that is not there.
Old ideas about time are very difficult to change, because everything you believe is rooted in time, and depends on your not learning these new ideas about it. Yet that is precisely why you need new ideas about time. This first time idea is not really so strange as it may sound at first.
Look at a cup, for example. Do you see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, being thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on? Are not your aesthetic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences? How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it? What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past? You would have no idea what this cup is, except for your past learning. Do you, then, really see it?
Look about you. This is equally true of whatever you look at. Acknowledge this by applying the idea for today indiscriminately to whatever catches your eye. For example:
I see only the past in this pencil.
I see only the past in this shoe.
I see only the past in this hand.
I see only the past in that body.
I see only the past in that face.
Do not linger over any one thing in particular, but remember to omit nothing specifically. Glance briefly at each subject, and then move on to the next. Three or four practice periods, each to last a minute or so, will be enough.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: The specific context for this phrase is related in Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick. In a somewhat humorous dialogue between Helen and Jesus, Helen expresses some resistance to the Course by calling it an “elective.” Jesus responds that no, “it’s a definite requirement” in both form and content for Helen (p.215, second edition).
What is universally required is the content of the Course’s teaching, not the form. The many “ways” or paths to truth are different forms. Everyone will ultimately accept the truth and return to God. There is nothing but the truth, and nowhere else to go but to our true home in Heaven. However, how we get there may vary. The manual offers a helpful clarification: “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 …This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome” (M.1.3:1,2,3,4,5,4:1,2).
It may be helpful to remember that the different forms do not necessarily refer to what are usually considered to be religions or spiritual paths. As stated in the manual, there is only one requirement for someone to embark on the path to truth: “…somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s” (M.1.1:2).
Q #483: In The Most Commonly Asked Questions About A Course in Miracles you said that it would be an expression of specialness if we thought ourselves superior to be a student of a “sophisticated book that comes from Jesus himself.” But I feel very proud and good about myself that I have been working through such a difficult thought system; I feel very brave. What do you think?
A: That’s fine, as long as you do not think you are better than others who accept a different spirituality, or none. “Comparison must be an ego device, for love makes none. Specialness always makes comparisons” (T.24.II.1:1,2). It is quite contradictory to the whole message of the Course — the Son of God is one — to judge oneself superior to another for any reason whatsoever. Then, too, it is rather humbling when you realize that Jesus is saying in a number of different ways throughout the Course that we are here (or at least we think we are here in this world) because we attacked Love and banished it from our minds, and then we made up our own version of love as a substitute. He addresses us as little children, and even babies at times, in essence telling us that we are just beginning to take our first steps on the path of salvation. That is humbling indeed — nothing to brag about. But we can indeed be grateful that we have accepted a loving teacher who gently and patiently teaches us how to recognize our mistakes and then choose again: “If you want to be like me I will help you, knowing that we are alike. If you want to be different, I will wait until you change your mind. I can teach you, but only you can choose to listen to my teaching (T.8.IV.6:3,4,5).