ACIM Text Reading for February 4
Chapter 2 ~ The Separation and the Atonement
VII. Cause and Effect
You may still complain about fear, but you nevertheless persist in making yourself fearful. I have already indicated that you cannot ask me to release you from fear. I know it does not exist, but you do not. If I intervened between your thoughts and their results, I would be tampering with a basic law of cause and effect; the most fundamental law there is. I would hardly help you if I depreciated the power of your own thinking. This would be in direct opposition to the purpose of this course. It is much more helpful to remind you that you do not guard your thoughts carefully enough. You may feel that at this point it would take a miracle to enable you to do this, which is perfectly true. You are not used to miracle-minded thinking, but you can be trained to think that way. All miracle workers need that kind of training.
I cannot let you leave your mind unguarded, or you will not be able to help me. Miracle working entails a full realisation of the power of thought in order to avoid miscreation. Otherwise a miracle will be necessary to set the mind itself straight, a circular process that would not foster the time collapse for which the miracle was intended. The miracle worker must have genuine respect for true cause and effect as a necessary condition for the miracle to occur.
Both miracles and fear come from thoughts. If you are not free to choose one, you would also not be free to choose the other. By choosing the miracle you have rejected fear, if only temporarily. You have been fearful of everyone and everything. You are afraid of God, of me and of yourself. You have misperceived or miscreated Us, and believe in what you have made. You would not have done this if you were not afraid of your own thoughts. The fearful must miscreate, because they misperceive creation. When you miscreate you are in pain. The cause and effect principle now becomes a real expediter, though only temporarily. Actually, ‘Cause’ is a term properly belonging to God, and His ‘Effect’ is His Son. This entails a set of Cause and Effect relationships totally different from those you introduce into miscreation. The fundamental conflict in this world, then, is between creation and miscreation. All fear is implicit in the second, and all love in the first. The conflict is therefore one between love and fear.
It has already been said that you believe you cannot control fear because you yourself made it, and your belief in it seems to render it out of your control. Yet any attempt to resolve the error through attempting the mastery of fear is useless. In fact, it asserts the power of fear by the very assumption that it need be mastered. The true resolution rests entirely on mastery through love. In the interim, however, the sense of conflict is inevitable, since you have placed yourself in a position where you believe in the power of what does not exist.
Nothing and everything cannot coexist. To believe in one is to deny the other. Fear is really nothing and love is everything. Whenever light enters darkness, the darkness is abolished. What you believe is true for you. In this sense the separation hasoccurred, and to deny it is merely to use denial inappropriately. However, to concentrate on error is only a further error. The initial corrective procedure is to recognise temporarily that there is a problem, but only as an indication that immediate correction is needed. This establishes a state of mind in which the Atonement can be accepted without delay. It should be emphasised, however, that ultimately no compromise is possible between everything and nothing. Time is essentially a device by which all compromise in this respect can be given up. It only seems to be abolished by degrees, because time itself involves intervals that do not exist. Miscreation made this necessary as a corrective device. The statement ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’ needs only one slight correction to be meaningful in this context; ‘He gave it to His only begotten Son’.
It should especially be noted that God has only one Son. If all His creations are His Sons, every one must be an integral part of the whole Sonship. The Sonship in its Oneness transcends the sum of its parts. However this is obscured as long as any of its parts is missing. That is why the conflict cannot ultimately be resolved until all the parts of the Sonship have returned. Only then can the meaning of wholeness in the true sense be understood. Any part of the Sonship can believe in error or incompleteness if he so chooses. However, if he does so, he is believing in the existence of nothingness. The correction of this error is the Atonement.
I have already briefly spoken about readiness, but some additional points might be helpful here. Readiness is only the prerequisite for accomplishment. The two should not be confused. As soon as a state of readiness occurs, there is usually some degree of desire to accomplish, but it is by no means necessarily undivided. The state does not imply more than a potential for a change of mind. Confidence cannot develop fully until mastery has been accomplished. We have already attempted to correct the fundamental error that fear can be mastered, and have emphasised that the only real mastery is through love. Readiness is only be beginning of confidence. You may think this implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery, but let me remind you that time and space are under my control.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 4
I am determined to see.
We have been quite casual about our practice periods thus far. There has been virtually no attempt to direct the time for undertaking them, minimal effort has been required, and not even active cooperation and interest have been asked. This approach has been intentional, and very carefully planned. We have not lost sight of the crucial importance of the reversal of your thinking. The salvation of the world depends on it. Yet you will not see if you regard yourself as being coerced, and if you give in to resentment and opposition.
This is our first attempt to introduce structure. Do not misconstrue it as an effort to exert force or pressure. You want salvation. You want to be happy. You want peace. You do not have them now, because your mind is totally undisciplined, and you cannot distinguish between joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, love and fear. You are now learning how to tell them apart. And great indeed will be your reward.
Your decision to see is all that vision requires. What you want is yours. Do not mistake the little effort that is asked of you for an indication that our goal is of little worth. Can the salvation of the world be a trivial purpose? And can the world be saved if you are not? God has one Son, and he is the resurrection and the life. His will is done because all power is given him in Heaven and on earth. In your determination to see is vision given you.
The exercises for today consist in reminding yourself throughout the day that you want to see. Today’s idea also tacitly implies the recognition that you do not see now. Therefore, as you repeat the idea, you are stating that you are determined to change your present state for a better one, and one you really want.
Repeat today’s idea slowly and positively at least twice an hour today, attempting to do so every half hour. Do not be distressed if you forget to do so, but make a real effort to remember. The extra repetitions should be applied to any situation, person or event that upsets you. You can see them differently, and you will. What you desire you will see. Such is the real law of cause and effect as it operates in the world.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #583: Re: T.2.VII.5:14 — “The statement ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life’ needs only slight correction to be meaningful in this context; ‘He gave it to His only begotten Son.’” I do not understand how God loved the world and gave it to His only begotten Son if, as A Course in Miracles teaches, God does not know about the world.
A: Taken by itself, this is a puzzling passage. It is important to note, however, that it is being discussed in a specific context: Jesus is talking about the temporary need for corrective procedures in order to restore to our minds the awareness that “fear is nothing and love is everything” and that “God has only one Son”; no compromise in this is possible (T.2.VII.5:3; 6:1). Therefore “world” in this reference is the real world, the state of mind reflecting the transcendence of the ego, the healing of all belief in separation. Jesus refers to this passage again in Chapter 12, where he states explicitly that he means the real world(T.12.III.8). In this larger context, thus, Jesus is saying that the Atonement principle, the correction for our belief in fear and separation, is already in our minds. “He gave it to His only begotten Son” is a metaphorical expression of the Atonement principle. So Jesus is assuring us that we will not perish because of our perceived attack on God. We are already saved from this insane way of thinking about ourselves and God, and need but choose the correction already in our minds — this is the “world” God gave “to His only begotten Son.”That is the content behind the words.
Q #1012: In 1985 I had an extraordinary experience of oneness with God. I have never considered myself a religious person and never understood why people were religious. I came away from this experience believing to my very core in things that I didn’t really understand, i.e., there is no sin, God is mind, do not judge, we are all one, etc. The experience was one of profound remembering where I belonged, and it surely wasn’t here on earth. My path since then has been convoluted. After attempting to adapt my personal “knowledge” to other religions, I read and attempted to practice A Course in Miracles , but soon gave it up to turn to other things. I have recently had a renewed interest in the Course, but have many questions about my own personal experience and no one to talk to about it. Is this type of experience a common occurrence?
A: There is no way of our knowing how many people have had such an experience. Not more than a few have mentioned something like this to us. There certainly could be many others who have experienced their oneness with God and now live quietly in peace with love being the sole source of their thoughts and activities. They would not have a need to talk about their lives, although they could be guided by love to do so. Jesus talks about the experience of union with God in the section in the manual called “Can God Be Reached Directly?” (M.26) . You might find it helpful to read that, and also the earlier one entitled “How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?” (M.16) .
The focus of A Course in Miracles is on forgiveness, not God, even though He is mentioned on just about every page. The Course is about our daily practice of its lessons, rather than on experiencing oneness with God. It is nice when one has such an experience, as that provides a glimpse of the end of the process. But reflecting that oneness in the relationships of our lives is the immediate objective of the Course’s teachings. We do that by first recognizing our wrong-minded dedication to seeing our interests as separate from others’, and then asking for help to shift that perception to shared interests, whereby we realize that we are all — without exception — joined both in the pain of separation from God, and in our common call for help to awaken from that nightmare. Then, when “not one illusion is accorded faith, and not one spot of darkness still remains to hide the face of Christ” (T.31.VIII.12:5) , our minds will rest in the peace and stillness of Perfect Oneness.