ACIM Text Reading for January 25
A Course in MiraclesText – Chapter 1The Meaning of Miracles
V. Wholeness and SpiritThe miracle is much like the body in that both are learning aids for facilitating a state in which they become unnecessary. When spirit’s original state of direct communication is reached, neither the body nor the miracle serves any purpose. While you believe you are in a body, however, you can choose between loveless and miraculous channels of expression. You can make an empty shell, but you cannot express nothing at all. You can wait, delay, paralyze yourself, or reduce your creativity almost to nothing. But you cannot abolish it. You can destroy your medium of communication, but not your potential. You did not create yourself.
The basic decision of the miracle-minded is not to wait on time any longer than is necessary. Time can waste as well as be wasted. The miracle worker, therefore, accepts the time-control factor gladly. He recognizes that every collapse of time brings everyone closer to the ultimate release from time, in which the Son and the Father are One. Equality does not imply equality now. When everyone recognizes that he has everything, individual contributions to the Sonship will no longer be necessary.
When the Atonement has been completed, all talents will be shared by all the Sons of God. God is not partial. All his children have his total love, and all his gifts are freely given to everyone alike. “Except ye become as little children” means that unless you fully recognize your complete dependence on God, you cannot know the real power of the Son in his true relationship with the Father. The specialness of God’s Sons does not stem from exclusion but from inclusion. All my brothers are special. If they believe they are deprived of anything, their perception becomes distorted. When this occurs the whole family of God, or the Sonship, is impaired in its relationships.
Ultimately, every member of the family of God must return. The miracle calls him to return because it blesses and honors him, even though he may be absent in spirit. “God is not mocked” is not a warning but a reassurance. God would be mocked if any of his creations lacked holiness. The creation is whole, and the mark of wholeness is holiness. Miracles are affirmations of Sonship, which is a state of completion and abundance.
Whatever is true is eternal, and cannot change or be changed. Spirit is therefore unalterable because it is already perfect, but the mind can elect what it chooses to serve. The only limit put on its choice is that it cannot serve two masters. If it elects to do so, the mind can become the medium by which spirit creates along the line of its own creation. If it does not freely elect to do so, it retains its creative potential but places itself under tyrannous rather than Authoritative control. As a result it imprisons, because such are the dictates of tyrants. To change your mind means to place it at the disposal of true Authority.
The miracle is a sign that the mind has chosen to be led by me in Christ’s service. The abundance of Christ is the natural result of choosing to follow him. All shallow roots must be uprooted, because they are not deep enough to sustain you. The illusion that shallow roots can be deepened, and thus made to hold, is one of the distortions on which the reverse of the Golden Rule rests. As these false underpinnings are given up, the equilibrium is temporarily experienced as unstable. However, nothing is less stable than an upside-down orientation. Nor can anything that holds it upside down be conducive to increased stability.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 25
I see nothing as it is now.
This idea obviously follows from the two preceding ones. But while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet. However, understanding is not necessary at this point. In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. These exercises are concerned with practice, not with understanding. You do not need to practice what you already understand. It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding, and assume that you have it already.
It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there. This idea can be quite disturbing, and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms. Yet that does not preclude applying it. No more than that is required for these or any other exercises. Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it.
These exercises, for which three or four practice periods are sufficient, involve looking about you and applying the idea for the day to whatever you see, remembering the need for its indiscriminate application, and the essential rule of excluding nothing. For example:
I do not see this typewriter as it is now.
I do not see this telephone as it is now.
I do not see this arm as it is now.
Begin with things that are nearest you, and then extend the range outward:
I do not see that coat rack as it is now.
I do not see that door as it is now.
I do not see that face as it is now.
It is emphasized again that while complete inclusion should not be attempted, specific exclusion must be avoided. Be sure you are honest with yourself in making this distinction. You may be tempted to obscure it.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #342: Lately, I have noticed that I experience a lot of rejection in life. I have difficulty belonging and increasingly cannot see how to navigate a world which seems so shallow. Everything seems, especially now, to be reliant on privilege, money, looks, age, class, race, influence, brains or ability. I feel a lot of love, but feel no incentive to get nearer to people’s egos. I feel safe this way. Nothing to date can really convince me to be otherwise. Nevertheless this has become painful. I have a few friends yet it is lonely. I must be misinterpreting A Course in Miracles. Also, I thought it was good to have boundaries (walls). Any ideas?
A: You’re recognizing how painful, empty and meaningless the world of our egos is, and this can be a helpful but nevertheless very disconcerting realization. But you don’t want to stop with this insight without taking the next step, for you have not yet completely switched teachers. For it is only the ego that judges and fears other egos. While you remain where you currently find yourself, differences still seem very real and rejection based on those differences almost unavoidable. And so it seems safety can be found only in withdrawal from the world. Yet isolating yourself only reinforces the belief in differences and separation in your mind, which must be experienced as very painful. It makes the error real — very serious and threatening — which is the ego’s only goal.
And so you want help in seeing the world of differences differently, and above all, in coming to recognize the real source of the meaning your own mind is giving to those differences, so that you can be open to a different, more gentle way of looking at the world and yourself. As contrary to our conscious beliefs about ourselves as it may seem, the truth is that we all unconsciously want to be rejected, so that the responsibility for rejection rests outside of ourselves (T.7.VII.8) and we don’t have to look at the choice for rejection that we have first made and then buried in our own minds.
The initial rejection was our rejection of God through our desire to be separate and apart from Him and His All-Encompassing Love. As a result of that choice, we seem to have deprived ourselves of love, a very painful state. We have rejected not only God, but our true Self, the Christ, Who is forever one with the Father. Without separation, rejection would be impossible, for there would be nothing outside to reject. In fact. “the separation is the notion of rejection…. Any split in mind must involve a rejection of part of it, and this is the belief in separation” (T.6.I.18:4; T.6.II.1:1).
Now, in reality, we can neither reject God nor ourselves, but we can believe that we have and convince ourselves that we are very sinful and guilty for that choice — and vulnerable to counterattack as punishment for our choice. And so we made up a world onto which we project the attack and guilt, as well as a self that can be rejected by that world, never remembering where the thought of rejection originated. And now we can protest our innocence, for clearly it is others who are doing the rejecting (T.7.VII.9). The Course’s purpose is to get us in touch with this self- deceiving dynamic, where we project responsibility for rejection on to others.
And so it is not with our external relationships that we want to seek changes, but rather with our internal relationships. We want to learn to reject the ego and its erroneous interpretations of what seems to be happening to us and turn instead to Jesus or the Holy Spirit, Who will help us understand what our ego has been up to. Those external relationships that seem to be the cause of feelings of rejection are nothing more than the effects of an inner decision to continue to hold on to the belief in separation and rejection. And so they are helpful triggers for directing us inward to where the real healing work needs to happen. So to avoid relationships in the world would be to avoid the opportunities to uncover and heal the guilt within — exactly what the ego wants!
Now this does not mean you should force yourself to be in situations that you find uncomfortable or painful, where rejection by others is certain. Before we remember that we are really a part of the boundless Love that created us as Christ, boundaries in our external relationships can be very helpful as we learn to trust our inner Teacher and become more comfortable at looking at our judgments of ourselves and others. But as the willingness to look within and heal the darkness there increases, the fear of rejection from outside must diminish, as will the need for boundaries. For “only those who give over all desire to reject can know that their own rejection is impossible” (T.3.VI.9:1).
Q #820: The first miracle principle in A Course in Miracles is that “there is no order of difficulty in Miracles.” Does that not mean, if I did the workbook “properly”, I would be able to be “enlightened” with each and every exercise I am doing in the Course (so 365 chances to reach God)? Do they not mean all the same (i.e. point at the same unspeakable “thing” that the Course can but lead us to but never explicitly say)? The lessons 70-75 seem quite crucial to me, what else is there to learn after “the light has come” and I can “celebrate the ending of the long dream of disaster”? Once I have forgiven the world completely (albeit theoretically), does it not disappear and with God’s vision in me…why is this passage not at the end of the workbook?
A: If you did just one lesson perfectly, you would have completed the goal of the Course.
However, the reason there are 31 chapters and 365 lessons is summed up simply in one of the lessons: “To say these words [of any lesson] is nothing. But to mean these words is everything. If you could but mean them for just an instant, there would be no further sorrow possible for you in any form; in any place or time. Heaven would be completely given back to full awareness, memory of God entirely restored, the resurrection of all creation fully recognized” (W.pI.185.1:1,2,3,4). If we have not had the experienced described in this passage, we may conclude that we have not meant these words completely , not even for an instant. Commitment is still weak, resistance is strong, and willingness wavers. In other words, we are afraid of awakening to the truth. And so we have at least 365 thousand opportunities to learn to accept that we are home in God. On the journey, there are glimpses of the light that has come, and if the light were the only thing we wanted, yes, it would be enough. However, attraction to guilt and attachment to specialness drop a veil to obscure the light, lest it remain to replace the individual autonomy that is still cherished. That is why there are lessons after 70-75, and why the workbook ends by telling us we’ve only just begun: “This course is a beginning, not an end” (W.ep.I:1).
Forgiving the world theoretically does not accomplish the Course’s goal of removing the blocks to love’s awareness (T.in.1:7) . The world must actually be forgiven, which means not seeing in it the cause of anything that is experienced in the dream of separation. And you are correct; in this there is no hierarchy. Thus, we are taught in the Course to “question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardize your learning.” (T.24.in.2:1,2; italics added ). The values and beliefs that sustain the ego thought system are, for the most part, hidden under layers of denial. It therefore takes time, lessons, starts and stops, to bring them to the light. The process is gradual and gentle because fear and resistance are great: “It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there. This idea can be quite disturbing, and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms” (W.pI.9.2:1,2). A brief review of how real the world, the body, and the drama of life seem to be reveals the intensity of this resistance. That is why there is still work to be done, forgiveness lessons to be learned. The workbook is done “properly” by following the instructions, which simply tell us to just do the lessons (W.in.9) . We are told only willingness is necessary. Most likely that is because Jesus knows we will do them “badly,” and he assures us that our imperfection is not a problem: “It is [the Holy Spirit’s] task to atone for your unwillingness by His perfect faith, and it is His faith you share with Him there. Out of your recognition of your unwillingness for your release, His perfect willingness is given you (T.16.VI.12:4,5). Thus, each sincere application of the principles of forgiveness in our relationships, however imperfect it may be, brings us closer to the ending of the dream. Our concern in practicing the Course, therefore, is to be vigilant for every spot of darkness (judgments) and every illusion we choose to make real, that they may be questioned and found wanting. Until we are convinced none of them will meet our real need to accept the truth about ourselves instead of the ego’s lies, we need the lessons of the workbook and the many pages of the text to turn to for guidance, instruction, and comfort.