A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 31

ACIM Text Reading for March 31

Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back

VII. The Body as a Means of Communication

Attack is always physical. When attack in any form enters your mind you are equating yourself with a body, since this is the ego’s interpretation of the body. You do not have to attack physically to accept this interpretation. You are accepting it simply by the belief that attack can get you something you want. If you did not believe this, the idea of attack would have no appeal for you. When you equate yourself with a body you will always experience depression. When a child of God thinks of himself in this way he is belittling himself, and seeing his brothers as similarly belittled. Since he can find himself only in them, he has cut himself off from salvation.

Remember that the Holy Spirit interprets the body only as a means of communication. Being the communication link between God and His separated Sons, the Holy Spirit interprets everything you have made in the light of what He is. The ego separates through the body. The Holy Spirit reaches through it to others. You do not perceive your brothers as the Holy Spirit does, because you do not regard bodies solely as a means of joining minds and uniting them with yours and mine. This interpretation of the body will change your mind entirely about its value. Of itself it has none.

If you use the body for attack, it is harmful to you. If you use it only to reach the minds of those who believe they are bodies, and teach them through the body that this is not so, you will understand the power of the mind that is in you. If you use the body for this and only for this, you cannot use it for attack. In the service of uniting it becomes a beautiful lesson in communion, which has value until communion is. This is God’s way of making unlimited what you have limited. The Holy Spirit does not see the body as you do, because He knows the only reality of anything is the service it renders God on behalf of the function He gives it.

Communication ends separation. Attack promotes it. The body is beautiful or ugly, peaceful or savage, helpful or harmful, according to the use to which it is put. And in the body of another you will see the use to which you have put yours. If the body becomes a means you give to the Holy Spirit to use on behalf of union of the Sonship, you will not see anything physical except as what it is. Use it for truth and you will see it truly. Misuse it and you will misunderstand it, because you have already done so by misusing it. Interpret anything a art from the Holy Spirit and you will mistrust it. This will lead you to hatred and attack and loss of peace.

Yet all loss comes only from your own misunderstanding. Loss of any kind is impossible. But when you look upon a brother as a physical entity, his power and glory are ‘lost’ to you and so are yours. You have attacked him, but you must have attacked yourself first. Do not see him this way for your own salvation, which must bring him his. Do not allow him to belittle himself in your mind, but give him freedom from his belief in littleness, and thus escape from yours. As part of you, he is holy. As part of me, you are. To communicate with part of God Himself is to reach beyond the Kingdom to its Creator, through His Voice Which He has established as part of you.

Rejoice, then, that of yourself you can do nothing. You are not of yourself. He of Whom you are has willed your power and glory for you, with which you can perfectly accomplish His holy Will for you when you accept it for yourself. He has not withdrawn His gifts from you, but you believe you have withdrawn them from Him. Let no Son of God remain hidden for His Name’s sake, because His Name is yours.

The Bible says, ‘The word (or thought) was made flesh’. Strictly speaking this is impossible, since it seems to involve the translation of one order of reality into another. Different orders of reality merely appear to exist, just as different orders of miracles do. Thought cannot be made into flesh except by belief, since thought is not physical. Yet thought is communication, for which the body can be used. This is the only natural use to which it can be put. To use the body unnaturally is to lose sight of the Holy Spirit’s purpose, and thus to confuse the goal of His curriculum.

There is nothing so frustrating to a learner as a curriculum he cannot learn. His sense of adequacy suffers, and he must become depressed. Being faced with an impossible learning situation is the most depressing thing in the world. In fact, it is ultimately why the world itself is depressing. The Holy Spirit’s curriculum is never depressing, because it is a curriculum of joy. Whenever the reaction to learning is depression, it is because the true goal of the curriculum has been lost sight of.

In this world, not even the body is perceived as whole. Its purpose is seen as fragmented into many functions with little or no relationship to each other, so that it appears to be ruled by chaos. Guided by the ego, it is. Guided by the Holy Spirit, it is not. It becomes a means by which the part of the mind you tried to separatefrom spirit can reach beyond its distortions and return to spirit. The ego’s temple thus becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, where devotion to Him replaces devotion to the ego. In this sense the body does become a temple to God; His Voice abides in it by directing the use to which it is put.

Healing is the result of using the body solely for communication. Since this is natural it heals by making whole, which is also natural. All mind is whole, and the belief that part of it is physical, or not mind, is a fragmented or sick interpretation. Mind cannot be made physical, but it can be made manifest through the physical if it uses the body to go beyond itself. By reaching out, the mind extends itself. It does not stop at the body, for if it does it is blocked in its purpose. A mind that has been blocked has allowed itself to be vulnerable to attack, because it has turned against itself.

The removal of blocks, then, is the only way to guarantee help and healing. Help and healing are the normal expressions of a mind that is working through the body, but not in it. If the mind believes the body is its goal it will distort its perception of the body, and by blocking its own extension beyond it, will induce illness by fostering separation. Perceiving the body as a separate entity cannot but foster illness, because it is not true. A medium of communication loses its usefulness if it is used for anything else. To use a medium of communication as a medium of attack is an obvious confusion in purpose.

To communicate is to join and to attack is to separate. How can you do both simultaneously with the same thing and not suffer? Perception of the body can be unified only by one purpose. This releases the mind from the temptation to see the body in many lights, and gives it over entirely to the One Light in Which it can be really understood. To confuse a learning device with a curriculum goal is a fundamental confusion that blocks the understanding of both. Learning must lead beyond the body to the re-establishment of the power of the mind in it. This can be accomplished only if the mind extends to other minds, and does not arrest itself in its extension. This arrest is the cause of all illness, because only extension is the mind’s function.

The opposite of joy is depression. When your learning promotes depression instead of joy, you cannot be listening to God’s joyous Teacher and learning His lessons. To see a body as anything except a means of communication is to limit your mind and to hurt yourself. Health is therefore nothing more than united purpose. If the body is brought under the purpose of the mind, it becomes whole because the mind’s purpose is one. Attack can only be an assumed purpose of the body, because apart from the mind the body has no purpose at all.

You are not limited by the body, and thought cannot be made flesh. Yet mind can be manifested through the body if it goes beyond it and does not interpret it as limitation. Whenever you see another as limited to or by the body, you are imposing this limit on yourself. Are you willing to accept this, when your whole purpose for learning should be to escape from limitations? To conceive of the body as a means of attack and to believe that joy could possibly result, is a clear-cut indication of a poor learner. He has accepted a learning goal in obvious contradiction to the unified purpose of the curriculum, and one that is interfering with his ability to accept its purpose as his own.

Joy is unified purpose, and unified purpose is only God’s. When yours is unified it is His. Believe you can interfere with His purpose, and you need salvation. You have condemned yourself, but condemnation is not of God. Therefore it is not true. No more are any of its seeming results. When you see a brother as a body, you are condemning him because you have condemned yourself. Yet if all condemnation is unreal, and it must be unreal since it is a form of attack, then it can have no results.

Do not allow yourself to suffer from imagined results of what is not true. Free your mind from the belief that this is possible. In its complete impossibility lies your only hope for release. But what other hope would you want? Freedom from illusions lies only in not believing them. There is no attack, but there is unlimited communication and therefore unlimited power and wholeness. The power of wholeness is extension. Do not arrest your thought in this world, and you will open your mind to creation in God.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 31

Lesson 70

My salvation comes from me.

All temptation is nothing more than some form of the basic temptation not to believe the idea for today. Salvation seems to come from anywhere except from you. So, too, does the source of guilt. You see neither guilt nor salvation as in your own mind and nowhere else. When you realize that all guilt is solely an invention of your mind, you also realize that guilt and salvation must be in the same place. In understanding this you are saved.

The seeming cost of accepting today’s idea is this: It means that nothing outside yourself can save you; nothing outside yourself can give you peace. But it also means that nothing outside yourself can hurt you, or disturb your peace or upset you in any way. Today’s idea places you in charge of the universe, where you belong because of what you are. This is not a role that can be partially accepted. And you must surely begin to see that accepting it is salvation.

It may not, however, be clear to you why the recognition that guilt is in your own mind entails the realization that salvation is there as well. God would not have put the remedy for the sickness where it cannot help. That is the way your mind has worked, but hardly His. He wants you to be healed, so He has kept the Source of healing where the need for healing lies.

You have tried to do just the opposite, making every attempt, however distorted and fantastic it might be, to separate healing from the sickness for which it was intended, and thus keep the sickness. Your purpose was to ensure that healing did not occur. God’s purpose was to ensure that it did.

Today we practice realizing that God’s Will and ours are really the same in this. God wants us to be healed, and we do not really want to be sick, because it makes us unhappy. Therefore, in accepting the idea for today, we are really in agreement with God. He does not want us to be sick. Neither do we. He wants us to be healed. So do we.

We are ready for two longer practice periods today, each of which should last some ten to fifteen minutes. We will, however, still let you decide when to undertake them. We will follow this practice for a number of lessons, and it would again be well to decide in advance when would be a good time to lay aside for each of them, and then adhering to your own decisions as closely as possible.

Begin these practice periods by repeating the idea for today, adding a statement signifying your recognition that salvation comes from nothing outside of you. You might put it this way:

My salvation comes from me. It cannot come from
anywhere else.

Then devote a few minutes, with your eyes closed, to reviewing some of the external places where you have looked for salvation in the past;–in other people, in possessions, in various situations and events, and in self-concepts that you sought to make real. Recognize that it is not there, and tell yourself:

My salvation cannot come from any of these things.
My salvation comes from me and only from me.

Now we will try again to reach the light in you, which is where your salvation is. You cannot find it in the clouds that surround the light, and it is in them you have been looking for it. It is not there. It is past the clouds and in the light beyond. Remember that you will have to go through the clouds before you can reach the light. But remember also that you have never found anything in the cloud patterns you imagined that endured, or that you wanted.

Since all illusions of salvation have failed you, surely you do not want to remain in the clouds, looking vainly for idols there, when you could so easily walk on into the light of real salvation. Try to pass the clouds by whatever means appeals to you. If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you. And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy.

For the short and frequent practice periods today, remind yourself that your salvation comes from you, and nothing but your own thoughts can hamper your progress. You are free from all external interference. You are in charge of your salvation. You are in charge of the salvation of the world. Say, then:

My salvation comes from me. Nothing outside of me can hold
me back. Within me is the world’s salvation and my own.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #147: How can I approach Jesus to bring peace to someone else’s troubled, fearful, restless mind while not being able to practically communicate with this other person (either verbally or otherwise)? Is it at all possible, because it is often (to put it mildly) hard enough to bring peace to one’s own mind?

A: Since A Course in Miracles tells us that peace is the result of choosing to identify with the Holy Spirit or Jesus in our minds, it is not really possible to ask Jesus to bring peace to someone’s mind (M.5.III.1:1,2,3,3:6). Moreover, Jesus does not bring peace to our own minds. The Course teaches that a lack of peace is the result of having made a choice in the mind to identify with the ego thought system in some way. This results in a feeling of guilt, which replaces peace in our awareness. This person’s fearful, restless mind is calling for help. To be helpful to them, we must first recognize that this is the choice they have made, and acknowledge the ability of their mind to choose differently. We then review our own mind for any judgments we are holding against this person, and any disquiet we may be experiencing, thus recognizing our own need for healing. Our “prayer” for someone else begins with our asking the Holy Spirit or Jesus for help in letting go of our judgments and misperceptions about ourselves and the other person. This is because if we perceive another person as in need, or lacking peace, we have first perceived this lack in ourselves, as you point out. If we do let go of our misperceptions and accept the Holy Spirit’s correction, we will experience peace. The peace in our mind is then extended throughout the Sonship; it joins with the peace that is present in everyone’s mind, whether or not they choose to be aware of it. This is the process by which we “offer” peace to a brother. The real action is always in our own mind. There is no need to communicate externally with the other person. By choosing peace ourselves, we are a reminder of the peace that is theirs, but neither we nor Jesus can choose for someone else, as He tells us: “I cannot choose for you, [or someone else] but I can help you make your own right choice” (T.3.IV.7:11). Once we have allowed the Holy Spirit’s thoughts to replace ours, he will guide us to act in a way that would be loving toward this person, or not to act at all. This will be the under the guidance of the Holy Spirit if we have in fact done our own “homework,” as outlined above. This is how we can live the following prayer from the Text, which holds the answer to your quest for peace as well as your friend’s: “I desire this holy instant for myself, that I may share it with my brother, whom I love. It is not possible that I can have it without him, or he without me. Yet it is wholly possible for us to share it now. And so I choose this instant as the one to offer to the Holy Spirit, that His blessing may descend on us, and keep us both in peace” (T.18.7:3,4,5,6).


Q #148: If we were all in a state of Oneness with God how could we have had the thought of separation in that “tiny, mad moment”? What would have possessed us to leave that oneness which was peace and bliss? And how could it have happened? What was the scenario do you think?

A: This is the “famous” question. It is famous because it is the most frequently asked question of students of A Course in Miracles (please see Question #10)The “famous” answer is that it is not really a question, but a statement that the separation did in fact occur (C.in.4; see also The Most Commonly Asked Questions About A Course in Miracles, Kenneth Wapnick, pp.17-22)—that is the assumption behind the question. The Course teaches us that the separation never did occur. In fact, it is impossible for the Son to separate from the Father. With this as the starting point, the Course goes on, at great length, to explain how we “got here,” since we believe we are here. The explanation it gives us is a kind of myth, explaining something that could never happen. It tells us that the Son of God fell asleep, and dreamed a dream of separation: “You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality” (T.10.I.2:1). Our experience as bodies in the world is a dream. Nothing has happened, and we are in truth still at Home in God.

What A Course in Miracles tells us “happened” in the mind of the sleeping Son is a wish for more than everything: “No one who comes here but must still have hope, some lingering illusion, or some dream that there is something outside of himself that will bring happiness and peace to him. If everything is in him this cannot be so. And therefore by his coming, he denies the truth about himself, and seeks for something more than everything, as if a part of it were separated off and found where all the rest of it is not” (T.29.VII.2:1, 2,3). Enticed by the “rush” of being autonomous individuals, thinking this will bring a happiness beyond the “peace and bliss” you mention, the Son chooses this thought of being separated from his Source. Although this seems to have occurred millions of years ago in some distant forgotten past, it is actually occurring instant by instant each time the choice is made to believe the separation is real. This is the only “explanation” for how we seem to be here, so real, so “alive,” so identified with bodies. It is a choice, and the Course tells us this choice is purposeful. It establishes our separate identities, which we have learned to prefer to the truth of who we are. We prefer this made up identity because we very mistakenly believe this will give us happiness. We have convinced ourselves that the ego is right and God is wrong about who we are. Clinging to this belief keeps the separation “alive and well” in our minds. This is what makes it happen, over and over in our minds. Again, the thought that drives us is that autonomy is better that unity, God is not enough, and the ego will give us the “more” that we seek.

In summary, the foundation of the Course’s teaching rests on this very important recognition of the power of the mind to choose. We are told that we chose wrongly by choosing to believe the separation occurred, and we are urged to “choose once again” (T.31.VIII.). In every situation where we find ourselves in conflict, pain or uneasiness we find the opportunity to question our experience in the light of this teaching and choose again: “The images you make cannot prevail against what God Himself would have you be. Be never fearful of temptation, then, but see it as it is; another chance to choose again” (T.31.VIII.4:1,2).

hostage or host

 

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 30

ACIM Text Reading for March 30

Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back

VI. The Treasure of God

We are the joint will of the Sonship, whose wholeness is for all. We begin the journey back by setting out together, and gather in our brothers as we continue together. Every gain in our strength is offered for all, so they too can lay aside their weakness and add their strength to us. God’s welcome waits for us all, and He will welcome us as I am welcoming you. Forget not the Kingdom of God for anything the world has to offer.

The world can add nothing to the power and the glory of God and His holy Sons, but it can blind the Sons to the Father if they behold it. You cannot behold the world and know God. Only one is true. I am come to tell you that the choice of which is true is not yours to make. If it were, you would have destroyed yourself. Yet God did not will the destruction of His creations, having created them for eternity. His Will has saved you, not from yourself but from your illusion of yourself. He has saved you for yourself.

Let us glorify Him Whom the world denies, for over His Kingdom the world has no power. No one created by God can find joy in anything except the eternal; not because he is deprived of anything else, but because nothing else is worthy of him. What God and His Sons create is eternal, and in this and this only is their joy.

Listen to the story of the prodigal son, and learn what God’s treasure is and yours: This son of a loving father left his home and thought he had squandered everything for nothing of any value, although he had not understood its worthlessness at the time. He was ashamed to return to his father, because he thought he had hurt him. Yet when he came home the father welcomed him with joy, because the son himself was his father’s treasure. He wanted nothing else.

God wants only His Son because His Son is His only treasure. You want your creations as He wants His. Your creations are your gift to the Holy Trinity, created in gratitude for your creation. They do not leave you any more than you left your Creator, but they extend your creation as God extended Himself to you. Can the creations of God Himself take joy in what is not real? And what is real except the creations of God and those that are created like His? Your creations love you as you love your Father for the gift of creation. There is no other gift that is eternal, and therefore there is no other gift that is true. How, then, can you accept anything else or give anything else, and expect joy in return? And what else but joy would you want? You made neither yourself nor your function. You made only the decision to be unworthy of both. Yet you cannot make yourself unworthy because you are the treasure of God, and what He values is valuable. There can be no question of its worth, because its value lies in God’s sharing Himself with it and establishing its value forever.

Your function is to add to God’s treasure by creating yours. His Will to you is His Will for you. He would not withhold creation from you because His joy is in it. You cannot find joy except as God does. His joy lay in creating you, and He extends His Fatherhood to you so that you can extend yourself as He did. You do not understand this because you do not understand Him. No one who does not accept his function can understand what it is, and no one can accept his function unless he knows what he is. Creation is the Will of God. His Will created you to create. Your will was not created separate from His, and so you must will as He wills.

An ‘unwilling will’ does not mean anything, being a contradiction in terms that actually means nothing. When you think you are unwilling to will with God, you are not thinking. God’s Will is thought. It cannot be contradicted by thought. God does not contradict Himself, and His Sons, who are like Him, cannot contradict themselves or Him. Yet their thought is so powerful that they can even imprison the mind of God’s Son, if they so choose. This choice does make the Son’s function unknown to him, but never to his Creator. And because it is not unknown to his Creator, it is forever knowable to him.

There is no question but one you should ever ask of yourself;—’Do I want to know my Father’s Will for me?’ He will not hide it. He has revealed it to me because I asked it of Him, and learned of what He had already given. Our function is to work together, because apart from each other we cannot function at all. The whole power of God’s Son lies in all of us, but not in any of us alone. God would not have us be alone because Hedoes not will to be alone. That is why He created His Son, and gave him the power to create with Him. Our creations are as holy as we are, and we are the Sons of God Himself, as holy as He is. Through our creations we extend our love, and thus increase the joy of the Holy Trinity. You do not understand this, because you who are God’s Own treasure do not regard yourself as valuable. Given this belief, you cannot understand anything.

I share with God the knowledge of the value He puts upon you. My devotion to you is of Him, being born of my knowledge of myself and Him. We cannot be separated. Whom God has joined cannot be separated, and God has joined all His Sons with Himself. Can you be separated from your life and your being? The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. Truth can only be experienced. It cannot be described and it cannot be explained. I can make you aware of the conditions of truth, but the experience is of God. Together we can meet its conditions, but truth will dawn upon you of itself.

What God has willed for you is yours. He has given His Will to His treasure, whose treasure it is. Your heart lies where your treasure is, as His does. You who are beloved of God are wholly blessed. Learn this of me, and free the holy will of all those who are as blessed as you are.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 30

Lesson 69

My grievances hide the light of the world in me.

No one can look upon what your grievances conceal. Because your grievances are hiding the light of the world in you, everyone stands in darkness, and you beside him. But as the veil of your grievances is lifted, you are released with him. Share your salvation now with him who stood beside you when you were in hell. He is your brother in the light of the world that saves you both.

Today let us make another real attempt to reach the light in you. Before we undertake this in our more extended practice period, let us devote several minutes to thinking about what we are trying to do. We are literally attempting to get in touch with the salvation of the world. We are trying to see past the veil of darkness that keeps it concealed. We are trying to let the veil be lifted, and to see the tears of God’s Son disappear in the sunlight.

Let us begin our longer practice period today with the full realization that this is so, and with real determination to reach what is dearer to us than all else. Salvation is our only need. There is no other purpose here, and no other function to fulfill. Learning salvation is our only goal. Let us end the ancient search today by finding the light in us, and holding it up for everyone who searches with us to look upon and rejoice.

Very quietly now, with your eyes closed, try to let go of all the content that generally occupies your consciousness. Think of your mind as a vast circle, surrounded by a layer of heavy, dark clouds. You can see only the clouds because you seem to be standing outside the circle and quite apart from it.

From where you stand, you can see no reason to believe there is a brilliant light hidden by the clouds. The clouds seem to be the only reality. They seem to be all there is to see. Therefore, you do not attempt to go through them and past them, which is the only way in which you would be really convinced of their lack of substance. We will make this attempt today.

After you have thought about the importance of what you are trying to do for yourself and the world, try to settle down in perfect stillness, remembering only how much you want to reach the light in you today,–now! Determine to go past the clouds. Reach out and touch them in your mind. Brush them aside with your hand; feel them resting on your cheeks and forehead and eyelids as you go through them. Go on; clouds cannot stop you.

If you are doing the exercises properly, you will begin to feel a sense of being lifted up and carried ahead. Your little effort and small determination call on the power of the universe to help you, and God Himself will raise you from darkness into light. You are in accord with His Will. You cannot fail because your will is His.

Have confidence in your Father today, and be certain that He has heard you and answered you. You may not recognize His answer yet, but you can indeed be sure that it is given you and you will yet receive it. Try, as you attempt to go through the clouds to the light, to hold this confidence in your mind. Try to remember that you are at last joining your will to God’s. Try to keep the thought clearly in mind that what you undertake with God must succeed. Then let the power of God work in you and through you, that His Will and yours be done.

In the shorter practice periods, which you will want to do as often as possible in view of the importance of today’s idea to you and your happiness, remind yourself that your grievances are hiding the light of the world from your awareness. Remind yourself also that you are not searching for it alone, and that you do know where to look for it. Say, then:

My grievances hide the light of the world in me. I cannot
see what I have hidden. Yet I want to let it be revealed to
me, for my salvation and the salvation of the world.

Also, be sure to tell yourself:

If I hold this grievance the light of the world will be hidden
from me,

if you are tempted to hold anything against anyone today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #252: In the Course, Jesus says that the Atonement works in time, and in all the dimensions of time. Does this mean that there is a “redeemer” figure in different worlds in every dimension of time? I’ve heard of this idea many years ago, but still know nothing about it. So as well as Jesus appearing in different forms in the Sonship’s dream of living on another world, could this also mean A Course in Miracles has, or will appear in other forms, in other worlds also, not excluding the fact it could also come again into this world in another, even more sophisticated form!

A: You’ve got it! Rather than seeing time in a linear way, picture it holographically (the entire history of the whole physical universe contained within each of our minds), and you can better understand how it is that a “redeemer” figure can be in all places at all times. As the Course states: “The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that one, and all of them that came within the first” (T.26.V.3:5). There is a hologram of “error,” which contains every possible “sin,” and the ramifications thereof. There is also a hologram of “Correction,” along with its ramifications (reedeemer figures, spiritual teachings, etc.). At any time, at any place, we are choosing one of these two holograms.

Gloria and Kenneth Wapnick deal with the nature of the separation and the Course’s view of time in Question 16 of The Most Commonly Asked Questions About A Course in Miracles: “…when the thought of separation is projected “far away” from the mind of the Son, it is expressed in the dimension of time: The past, the seeming present, and the future do appear to reflect the huge gap of billions of years the ego wishes to introduce between the mind’s decision to be separate from God and the Holy Spirit, and the Son’s experience of himself as a body. When the thought of separation is experienced between an individual and another person — i.e., closer to his experience of himself — then it is known as space, the physical gap we experience between ourselves and others in our special relationships. To state this another way, time (and therefore space as well) was specifically made by the ego to keep cause (the mind and its thoughts) and effect (our pain and suffering) separated.”

And yes, this does mean a more sophisticated form of teaching may appear in the world, and this is dependent upon the Son’s mind being more fully healed. As healing takes place, and a clear understanding and appreciation of the ego’s strategy is accepted, higher teachings are then possible. 


Q #253: I understand that we made the world outside to appear real, based on error. Also, in A Course in Miracles it mentions that every time a problem arises we do not look at the problem itself (which will make it “more real”). Instead, we look within. It is like saying if worldly things (including obligations) are all unreal, then we can simply “drop it” or “let go” (let God). It is like saying — forget about taxes, or bills, or the whole world, because they are not real. However, in the Course Jesus teaches, or at least mentions, how to look (outside or inside) without judgment (because there is nothing to judge). Please share your kind guidance to clarify this delusion.

A: A Course in Miracles is a spiritual path designed as a learning program. In this context, the world, and all the circumstances of our lives, become the classroom for learning and applying the Course principles. Everything in our lives is therefore very important to our learning, and is not meant to be merely “dropped.” It is meant to be examined, reinterpreted and transformed.

Although in truth the world is an illusion (W.155.2:1), it is very real to those who perceive themselves as separate from God, which includes most of us. In order to apply the principles of the Course to our lives, it is important not to confuse levels of teaching. The Course does not ask us to stop doing any of the things we do in the world as bodies. This is not a Course in behavior — it is a Course in mind training. A Course in Miracles is addressing the mind, and is concerned only with the content of the mind. Dealing with a perceived problem in the world is not what makes the error real. It is believing that the perceived problem is the cause of our upset and has an effect on the truth of who we are which makes the error real in our awareness, though not in truth.

When the Course asks us to look within, it does not say ignore or disregard the problem as it is perceived in the world. In fact, it tells us we must look at what we have made: “No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous…The “dynamics” of the ego will be our lesson for a while, for we must look first at this to see beyond it, since you have made it real. We will undo this error quietly together, and then look beyond it to truth” (T.11.V.1:1,2,5,6; italics added). Thus, the steps involved in applying the Course’s teaching begin with seeing the problem as we have made it up in the world, dealing with the problem in the normal way (i.e., paying taxes and bills), while learning to recognize that the problem is made up as a smokescreen for the real problem, which is the choice in the mind to take the thought of separation seriously. Recognizing the purpose the ego assigns to the world’s problems is what the Course means by “looking within.” Since we believe the world with its bills and taxes is real, we do have judgments which need to be acknowledged because they reveal our hidden beliefs in scarcity, victimization, etc. This is part of the process of looking within. The world and our feelings are showing us the “dark secrets” (T.22.VI.9:5) our minds contain. They cannot be dispelled if we are unaware of them.

In the same way, belief in the body cannot be undone by denying it and then ignoring the specific conditions of life in a body. Not paying bills or taxes would certainly bring on an avalanche of other problems. The exacerbated situation would reinforce the ego’s smokescreen, and would not facilitate healing. Only when the real problem — belief in separation — is recognized can we turn to the Holy Spirit in our minds to seek the real solution — undoing the belief in separation through forgiveness. Once this is accomplished, we will be ready to believe that the world with all its “problems” is not real, and move beyond it to the truth. 

certain as god 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 29

ACIM Text Reading for March 29

Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back

V. The Undivided Will of the Sonship

Can you be separated from your identification and be at peace? Dissociation is not a solution; it is a delusion. The delusional believe that truth will assail them, and they do not recognise it because they prefer the delusion. Judging truth as something they do not want, they perceive their illusions which block knowledge. Help them by offering them your unified mind on their behalf, as I am offering you mine on behalf of yours. Alone we can do nothing, but together our minds fuse into something whose power is far beyond the power of its separate parts. By not being separate, the Mind of God is established in ours and as ours. This Mind is invincible because it is undivided.

The undivided will of the Sonship is the perfect creator, being wholly in the likeness of God, Whose Will it is. You cannot be exempt from it if you are to understand what it is and what you are. By the belief that your will is separate from mine, you are exempting yourself from the Will of God which is yourself. Yet to heal is still to make whole. Therefore, to heal is to unite with those who are like you, because perceiving this likeness is to recognise the Father. If your perfection is in Him and only in Him, how can you know it without recognising Him? The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself. There is no separation of God and His creation. You will realise this when you understand that there is no separation between your will and mine. Let the Love of God shine upon you by your acceptance of me. My reality is yours and His. By joining your mind with mine you are signifying your awareness that the Will of God is one.

God’s Oneness and ours are not separate, because His Oneness encompasses ours. To join with me is to restore His power to you because we are sharing it. I offer you only the recognition of His power in you, but in that lies all truth. As we unite, we unite with Him. Glory be to the union of God and His holy Sons! All glory lies in Them because They are united. The miracles we do bear witness to the Will of the Father for His Son, and to our joy in uniting with His Will for us.

When you unite with me you are uniting without the ego, because I have renounced the ego in myself and therefore cannot unite with yours. Our union is therefore the way to renounce the ego in you. The truth in both of us is beyond the ego. Our success in transcending the ego is guaranteed by God, and I share this confidence for both of us and all of us. I bring God’s peace back to all His children because I received it of Him for us all. Nothing can prevail against our united wills because nothing can prevail against God’s.

Would you know the Will of God for you? Ask it of me who knows it for you and you will find it. I will deny you nothing, as God denies me nothing. Ours is simply the journey back to God Who is our home. Whenever fear intrudes anywhere along the road to peace, it is because the ego has attempted to join the journey with us and cannot do so. Sensing defeat and angered by it, the ego regards itself as rejected and becomes retaliative. You are invulnerable to its retaliation because I am with you. On this journey you have chosen me as your companion instead of the ego. Do not attempt to hold on to both, or you will try to go in different directions, and will lose the way.

The ego’s way is not mine, but it is also not yours. The Holy Spirit has one direction for all minds, and the one He taught me is yours. Let us not lose sight of His direction through illusions, for only illusions of another direction can obscure the one for which God’s Voice speaks in all of us. Never accord the ego the power to interfere with the journey. It has none, because the journey is the way to what is true. Leave all illusions behind, and reach beyond all attempts of the ego to hold you back. I go before you because I am beyond the ego. Reach, therefore, for my hand because you want to transcend the ego. My strength will never be wanting, and if you choose to share it you will do so. I give it willingly and gladly, because I need you as much as you need me.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 29

Lesson 68

Love holds no grievances.

You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death. Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind. It seems to split you off from your Source and make you unlike Him. It makes you believe that He is like what you think you have become, for no one can conceive of his Creator as unlike himself.

Shut off from your Self, which remains aware of Its likeness to Its Creator, your Self seems to sleep, while the part of your mind that weaves illusions in its sleep appears to be awake. Can all this arise from holding grievances? Oh, yes! For he who holds grievances denies he was created by love, and his Creator has become fearful to him in his dream of hate. Who can dream of hatred and not fear God?

It is as sure that those who hold grievances will redefine God in their own image, as it is certain that God created them like Himself, and defined them as part of Him. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will suffer guilt, as it is certain that those who forgive will find peace. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will forget who they are, as it is certain that those who forgive will remember.

Would you not be willing to relinquish your grievances if you believed all this were so? Perhaps you do not think you can let your grievances go. That, however, is simply a matter of motivation. Today we will try to find out how you would feel without them. If you succeed even by ever so little, there will never be a problem in motivation ever again.

Begin today’s extended practice period by searching your mind for those against whom you hold what you regard as major grievances. Some of these will be quite easy to find. Then think of the seemingly minor grievances you hold against those you like and even think you love. It will quickly become apparent that there is no one against whom you do not cherish grievances of some sort. This has left you alone in all the universe in your perception of yourself.

Determine now to see all these people as friends. Say to them all, thinking of each one in turn as you do so:

I would see you as my friend, that I may remember you
are part of me and come to know myself.

Spend the remainder of the practice period trying to think of yourself as completely at peace with everyone and everything, safe in a world that protects you and loves you, and that you love in return. Try to feel safety surrounding you, hovering over you and holding you up. Try to believe, however briefly, that nothing can harm you in any way. At the end of the practice period tell yourself:

Love holds no grievances. When I let all my grievances
go I will know I am perfectly safe.

The short practice periods should include a quick application of today’s idea in this form, whenever any thought of grievance arises against anyone, physically present or not:

Love holds no grievances. Let me not betray my Self.

In addition, repeat the idea several times an hour in this form:

Love holds no grievances. I would wake to my Self by
laying all my grievances aside and wakening in Him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #839: How can one use the perspective of A Course in Miracles to look at a person who is verbally abusive and to become more peaceful within?

A: The first place the Course asks us to look in a relationship is at ourselves. Our feelings, judgments, and thoughts show us the unconscious content of the mind, i.e., the forgotten choice to deny the Self that God created and to identify with the ego instead. Guilt, along with feelings of emptiness, vulnerability, and unworthiness, are the inevitable result of that choice. When the guilt is projected out, it is experienced in relationships characterized by victimization scripts. Although victim/abused and victimizer/abuser have different roles in the relationship, both are acting out the fear that innocence has been irretrievably lost by the mind’s attack on the Self. And so, motivated by a deep feeling of worthlessness, the victimizer feels compelled to attack in some form such as verbal abuse. The distorted thinking is that making another look bad makes the attacker look better. Thus, someone else’s loss is his gain This is an expression of the fourth law of chaos found in chapter 23 of the text: “This seeming law is the belief you have what you have taken. By this, another’s loss becomes your gain, and thus it fails to recognize that you can never take away save from yourself” (23.II.9:3,4). The victimizer convinces himself that his accusations are truly justified. The underlying belief is that he has taken the other’s innocence and now has it for himself. The victim believes the victimizer is to blame for his loss of peace and for his feeling unfairly treated. He is the innocent victim and many witnesses can be found to support this view. The true source of this feeling, however, is the mind that chose to throw peace and innocence away by identifying with the ego. The victim-victimizer plot is an ideal scenario for the ego to keep the mind’s power to choose from awareness, by focusing attention on the external dynamics of the relationship.

As with every relationship, peace is found in forgiveness. It begins with willingness to apply the above mentioned principles of the Course’s teaching to the example you give, which releases it from the ego’s interpretation of every victim/victimizer situation. It is now seen in a different light and for a different purpose. While the feeling of victimization may remain and should not be denied, the source is no longer seen as another’s attack, but as the mind that chose to deny its true Identity as God’s innocent Son. The attack then becomes an opportunity to see the guilt engendered by this choice in its projected form. Early in the text, Jesus gives us a process to help us practice forgiveness in any situation: “…. the first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise… Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation: I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise. I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him. I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me” (T.5.VII.6:3,5,6,7,8,9,10,11). Because the true source of victimization is a decision in the mind, this format addresses the problem with no mention of the “attacker.” The important thing is taking responsibility for the mind’s choice without judging this mistaken choice as a sin. When this occurs, peace is possible no matter what kind of attacks may be hurled at us. Then, with the Holy Spirit’s help, you may choose to take steps to improve the relationship in some way or discontinue it altogether. When the Holy Spirit has been chosen, whatever follows will be loving for both you and the other person.


Q #840: If the world I see is the guilt in my mind projected outwards, then does that not make me responsible for the suffering I see in this world? Jesus healed the sick with his right perception, so how can I practically apply that to the suffering I see in this world?

A: We do not know whether or not the historical Jesus healed the sick. There are no historical documents of his life, besides the gospel accounts, which were written many years after his death and whose factual accuracy is disputed by scripture scholars. The Course does not teach that Jesus heals our minds or our bodies. The healing Jesus teaches in the Course is accomplished by a choice in the mind. The mind that chose to identify with the ego thought system is sick, and is healed as it learns to choose against the ego by choosing the Holy Spirit. Neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit makes that choice for us. As Jesus tells us in the text: “I cannot choose for you, but I can help you make your own right choice” (T.3.IV.7:11). That is the ultimate healing goal of A Course in Miracles. It is achieved through a process of exposing the sickness of the ego’s thought system: its dynamics, purpose, goal, and painful effects. Since the ego’s greatest defense is denial, its exposure is the beginning of its undoing/healing. Exposing the ego weakens it, just as some forms of bacteria cannot survive in the dry warmth of sunlight. Thus, bringing the darkness of the ego’s sickness to the light of forgiveness is the healing Jesus teaches in the Course.

What we are directly responsible for is the mind’s choice for separation, which is the source of guilt and the world’s suffering (including our own). The suffering we perceive is the reflection of our own pain, perception is interpretation. The problem lies not in seeing suffering in the world, but in seeing those who suffer as different from ourselves. We are taught in the Course that everyone who chooses separation is sick and in need of healing: “A sick person perceives himself as separate from God” (M.22.6:5). Sickness is thus equated with separation, and so healing is the undoing of separation. Everyone who identifies with the body is suffering, whether the pain is obvious, or camouflaged as pleasure. In the insanity of the ego’s plan for “life” apart from God in the body, pleasure and pain are the same: “Pain compels attention, drawing it away from Him (the Holy Spirit) and focusing upon itself. Its purpose is the same as pleasure, for they both are means to make the body real. What shares a common purpose is the same”(T.27.VI.1:3,4,5 italics added). It is not our responsibility to determine who is in need of help, not to mention the fact that we could not make the distinction if we wanted to. In the ego’s upside- down thinking we are confused about everything, especially pain and pleasure. Sin [separation/ sickness] shifts from pain to pleasure, and again to pain. For either witness is the same, and carries but one message: ‘You are here, within this body, and you can be hurt. You can have pleasure, too, but only at the cost of pain’” (T27.VI.2:1,2,3). Given this predicament, our only responsibility is to allow the Holy Spirit to heal our minds through the practice of forgiveness. Whenever we find ourselves upset about anything in the world, Jesus would have us see an opportunity to remember that we have chosen to believe the ego’s message that the body is real and, reminiscent of Pogo’s claim, we are “it.” The healing Jesus offers in the Course is focused on this belief , which is the true source of everyone’s pain. The ego’s lie has made us sick, and the Holy Spirit’s truth will heal us.

If you choose to do something to alleviate a specific form of suffering in the world, the real goal remains allowing the Holy Spirit to heal your mind of the thought of separation. Choosing this as the purpose of your work is a truly meaningful contribution to the Sonship. At the end of the text, Jesus’ healing message to all of us is the same: “In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, ‘My brother, choose again.’ He would not leave one source of pain unhealed, nor any image left to veil the truth” (T.31.VIII.3:2,3).

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 28

ACIM Text Reading for March 28

Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back

IV. The Gift of Freedom

If God’s Will for you is complete peace and joy, unless you experience only this you must be refusing to acknowledge His Will. His Will does not vacillate, being changeless forever. When you are not at peace it can only be because you do not believe you are in Him. Yet He is All in all. His peace is complete, and you must be included in it. His laws govern you because they govern everything. You cannot exempt yourself from His laws, although you can disobey them. Yet if you do, and only if you do, you will feel lonely and helpless, because you are denying yourself everything.

I am come as a light into a world that does deny itself everything. It does this simply by dissociating itself from everything. It is therefore an illusion of isolation, maintained by fear of the same loneliness that is its illusion. I said that I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. That is why I am the light of the world. If I am with you in the loneliness of the world, the loneliness is gone. You cannot maintain the illusion of loneliness if you are not alone. My purpose, then, is still to overcome the world. I do not attack it, but my light must dispel it because of what it is. Light does not attack darkness, but it does shine it away. If my light goes with you everywhere, you shine it away with me. The light becomes ours, and you cannot abide in darkness any more than darkness can abide wherever you go. The remembrance of me is the remembrance of yourself, and of Him Who sent me to you.

You were in darkness until God’s Will was done completely by any part of the Sonship. When this was done, it was perfectly accomplished by all. How else could it be perfectly accomplished? My mission was simply to unite the will of the Sonship with the Will of the Father by being aware of the Father’s Will myself. This is the awareness I came to give you, and your problem in accepting it is the problem of this world. Dispelling it is salvation, and in this sense I am the salvation of the world. The world must therefore despise and reject me, because the world is the belief that love is impossible. If you will accept the fact that I am with you, you are denying the world and accepting God. My will is His, and your decision to hear me is the decision to hear His Voice and abide in His Will. As God sent me to you so will I send you to others. And I will go to them with you, so we can teach them peace and union.

Do you not think the world needs peace as much as you do? Do you not want to give it to the world as much as you want to receive it? For unless you do, you will not receive it. If you want to have it of me, you must give it. Healing does not come from anyone else. You must accept guidance from within. The guidance must be what you want, or it will be meaningless to you. That is why healing is a collaborative venture. I can tell you what to do, but you must collaborate by believing that I know what you should do. Only then will your mind choose to follow me. Without this choice you could not be healed because you would have decided against healing, and this rejection of my decision for you makes healing impossible.

Healing reflects our joint will. This is obvious when you consider what healing is for. Healing is the way in which the separation is overcome. Separation is overcome by union. It cannot be overcome by separating. The decision to unite must be unequivocal, or the mind itself is divided and not whole. Your mind is the means by which you determine your own condition, because mind is the mechanism of decision. It is the power by which you separate or join, and experience pain or joy accordingly. My decision cannot overcome yours, because yours is as powerful as mine. If it were not so the Sons of God would be unequal. All things are possible through our joint decision, but mine alone cannot help you. Your will is as free as mine, and God Himself would not go against it. I cannot will what God does not will. I can offer my strength to make yours invincible, but I cannot oppose your decision without competing with it and thereby violating God’s Will for you.

Nothing God created can oppose your decision, as nothing God created can oppose His Will. God gave your will its power, which I can only acknowledge in honour of His. 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. How else can it be, if God’s Kingdom is freedom? Freedom cannot be learned by tyranny of any kind, and the perfect equality of all God’s Sons cannot be recognised through the dominion of one mind over another. God’s Sons are equal in will, all being the Will of their Father. This is the only lesson I came to teach.

If your will were not mine it would not be our Father’s. This would mean you have imprisoned yours, and have not let it be free. Of yourself you can do nothing, because of yourself you are nothing. I am nothing without the Father and you are nothing without me, because by denying the Father you deny yourself. I will always remember you, and in my remembrance of you lies your remembrance of yourself. In our remembrance of each other lies our remembrance of God. And in this remembrance lies your freedom because your freedom is in Him. Join, then, with me in praise of Him and you whom He created. This is our gift of gratitude to Him, which He will share with all His creations, to whom He gives equally whatever is acceptable to Him. Because it is acceptable to Him it is the gift of freedom, which is His Will for all His Sons. By offering freedom you will be free.

Freedom is the only gift you can offer to God’s Sons, being an acknowledgement of what they are and what He is. Freedom is creation, because it is love. Whom you seek to imprison you do not love. Therefore, when you seek to imprison anyone, including yourself, you do not love him and you cannot identify with him. When you imprison yourself you are losing sight of your true identification with me and with the Father. Your identification is with the Father and with the Son. It cannot be with one and not the other. If you are part of one you must be part of the other, because they are one. The Holy Trinity is holy because It is One. If you exclude yourself from this union, you are perceiving the Holy Trinity as separated. You must be included in It, because It is everything. Unless you take your place in It and fulfil your function as part of It, the Holy Trinity is as bereft as you are. No part of It can be imprisoned if Its truth is to be known.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 28

Lesson 67

Love created me like itself.

Today’s idea is a complete and accurate statement of what you are. This is why you are the light of the world. This is why God appointed you as the world’s savior. This is why the Son of God looks to you for his salvation. He is saved by what you are. We will make every effort today to reach this truth about you, and to realize fully, if only for a moment, that it is the truth.

In the longer practice period, we will think about your reality and its wholly unchanged and unchangeable nature. We will begin by repeating this truth about you, and then spend a few minutes adding some relevant thoughts, such as:

Holiness created me holy.
Kindness created me kind.
Helpfulness created me helpful.
Perfection created me perfect.

Any attribute which is in accord with God as He defines Himself is appropriate for use. We are trying today to undo your definition of God and replace it with His Own. We are also trying to emphasize that you are part of His definition of Himself.

After you have gone over several such related thoughts, try to let all thoughts drop away for a brief preparatory interval, and then try to reach past all your images and preconceptions about yourself to the truth in you. If love created you like itself, this Self must be in you. And somewhere in your mind It is there for you to find.

You may find it necessary to repeat the idea for today from time to time to replace distracting thoughts. You may also find that this is not sufficient, and that you need to continue adding other thoughts related to the truth about yourself. Yet perhaps you will succeed in going past that, and through the interval of thoughtlessness to the awareness of a blazing light in which you recognize yourself as love created you. Be confident that you will do much today to bring that awareness nearer, whether you feel you have succeeded or not.

It will be particularly helpful today to practice the idea for the day as often as you can. You need to hear the truth about yourself as frequently as possible, because your mind is so preoccupied with false self-images. Four or five times an hour, and perhaps even more, it would be most beneficial to remind yourself that love created you like itself. Hear the truth about yourself in this.

Try to realize in the shorter practice periods that this is not your tiny, solitary voice that tells you this. This is the Voice for God, reminding you of your Father and of your Self. This is the Voice of truth, replacing everything that the ego tells you about yourself with the simple truth about the Son of God. You were created by love like itself.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #837: My daughter’s father abandoned us when I was three and a half months pregnant. He has offered no financial or emotional support since this time. He has had no contact with his daughter either. He has chosen to turn his back on the both of us. His family however continued to be interested in our lives. I found this situation extremely frustrating as his family would continually bring up my daughter’s father (as if reminding me he had chosen to abandon us).

I since cut communication with the family, as I was overwhelmed with the situation. Over six months has passed and I am asking to see everyone involved in this situation differently (i.e., without judgment). I would like to heal the relationship with the family and my daughter’s father. However, when I go to call or write a note or make some contact with them, I am reminded of all the pain I went through while I was in contact with them. I don’t know how to heal this situation. It doesn’t seem to go away.

However I just can’t bring myself to swallow my pride and try again at having a relationship with my daughter’s side of the family. Can I find peace with this situation without physically making contact with these people again? How do I know that I did the right thing in severing the relationship with the family? I still feel somewhat haunted by my decision, but really don’t know how to move on and find lasting peace in my mind with all of the above mentioned people. How can I look at a man that abandoned his/our child in a “different light.”

A: Perhaps one of the hardest lessons to accept and learn as a student of A Course in Miracles is that our upset and pain, regardless of what our experience seems to be, is never the result of what someone else has or has not done to us (W.pI.5). Everything in our experience seems to shout otherwise, and it is usually not difficult to find allies who will support us in our perception of ourselves as victims. But if we genuinely want to heal our relationships and release ourselves from the conflict and hurt and anger, the Course asks us to shift our focus from the external situation to our own inner decision to invest in the belief in sin and guilt and attack and abandonment. For that is the only source of our pain (W.pI.23).

This is not to justify what anyone else does or fails to do, but rather to clarify that we have always first made a decision within our own mind to perceive ourselves as a victim in order to defend against the pain of our own choice for guilt, or we could not be affected by what the other person does. This of course contradicts all the counsel the world offers, but that is simply because the Course is offering us a radically different way of perceiving ourselves, our lives, our relationships, and our world — one that affirms that we alone are the rulers of our universe and our destiny (W.pII.253). How loudly and vehemently does the world — and our ego mind — protest this acceptance of total responsibility for our experiences (T.21.II.1,2,3,4,5).

The Course will not advise you on the particulars of your situation, such as whether you should or should not have cut off contact with his family, or whether you should re-establish it. Helpful answers to those questions are only possible after you have addressed your own need to see yourself unfairly treated (T.26.X.3,4,5), a need by the way which you share, regardless of the form it expresses itself in your life, with everyone else who seems to walk this earth. So you don’t want to judge yourself for choosing the victim role — all of us who find ourselves here, in our own specific ways, have made the same choice.

And so until you are able to release the judgments of unworthiness that you hold against yourself for abandoning your true Self, everyone else will only continue to be a symbol of that inner choice, and contact with them will necessarily continue to be painful. As inadequate as it may seem to us to be, the truth is we are all only ever doing the best we can, given our belief in our limitations and the guilt that naturally accompanies those perceptions. And that blanket generalization applies to the father of your daughter as well.

Are you aware that you do not refer anywhere in your question to the nature of your relationship with this man, other than to identify him as the father of your daughter? It appears that you so want to avoid acknowledging his relationship to you that you even refer to his family as your daughter’s side of the family. Perhaps he has been your husband or lover, but the real nature of the relationship that you want to deny is that he is your brother, a brother who is just as self-accusing and guilt-ridden as you may feel, regardless of what face he presents to the world. But you will only come to such a forgiven perception of him by first recognizing the mirror to your own self that he is holding up to you (T.7.VII.3:9; T.24.VI.8). And so to release him from judgment is only to release yourself. And in that release you will necessarily perceive the both of you in a “different light.”


Q #838: I would like to know if you think A Course in Miracles and Transcendental Meditation are compatible spiritual disciplines? I am studying the Course but enjoy the centeredness from my meditation time. I am asking about TM in particular and not meditation in general.

A: If you find Transcendental Meditation useful as a technique for helping you relax and become more peaceful and centered, by all means, continue to use it in your life. But if you want to use it as a spiritual discipline, integrating it with the practice of the Course, you may be introducing some confusion and potential conflict into your life. Now there is some disagreement as to whether Transcendental Meditation is simply a meditation technique or an actual spiritual discipline. Its proponents generally present TM in a non-spiritual framework in an effort to make it accessible to people of all ages, cultures, and religious backgrounds. But it has been developed by the movement’s founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, from principles of the ancient Hindu Vedic tradition of India.

The expressed purpose of the practice of TM is to achieve a state of consciousness called transcendental consciousness, which through repeated practice leads one towards what Maharishi calls enlightenment. However, enlightenment as defined within TM circles would not be considered a spiritual state from the perspective of the Course. For example, in a 1998 interview, Maharishi is quoted as saying: “‘Enlightenment’ means lack of darkness, absence of darkness. And ‘absence of darkness’ means no mistake, no weakness, no shortcoming—success everywhere, fulfillment of desire everywhere—that is enlightenment. One is living in full accord with Natural Law” (italics added).

While the Course does provide a kind of mind training that leads to higher levels of consciousness (e.g., C.1.7:4,5,6), its purpose is to lead us ultimately beyond any perceptual-based consciousness and beyond any concern with the quality of our lives here within the world. In other words, from the Course’s perspective, enlightenment involves a process of gradually awakening from the dream and not simply making the dream better. So the two paths, to the degree that there is an intended spiritual direction implicit in TM, have very different purposes. From the Course’s perspective, TM would be like any technique or practice that provides some relief from the tensions and anxieties of seeming life in the body. The Course teaches that only the practice of forgiveness leads to the undoing of the guilt over separation buried deep in the mind that is the real cause of all tension and anxiety (e.g., W.pI.41.1:2,3; W.pI.194.2:1).

jesus there is no death

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 27

ACIM Text Reading for March 27

Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back

III. The Holy Encounter

Glory to God in the highest, and to you because He has so willed it. Ask and it shall be given you, because it has already been given. Ask for light and learn that you are light. If you want understanding and enlightenment you will learn it, because your decision to learn it is the decision to listen to the Teacher Who knows of light, and can therefore teach it to you. There is no limit on your learning because there is no limit on your mind. There is no limit on His teaching because He was created to teach. Understanding His function perfectly He fulfils it perfectly, because that is His joy and yours.

To fulfil the Will of God perfectly is the only joy and peace that can be fully known, because it is the only function that can be fully experienced. When this is accomplished, then, there is no other experience. Yet the wish for other experience will block its accomplishment, because God’s Will cannot be forced upon you, being an experience of total willingness. The Holy Spirit understands how to teach this, but you do not. That is why you need Him, and why God gave Him to you. Only His teaching will release your will to God’s, uniting it with His power and glory and establishing them as yours. You share them as God shares them, because this is the natural outcome of their being.

The Will of the Father and of the Son are one, by their extension. Their extension is the result of Their oneness, holding Their unity together by extending Their joint Will. This is perfect creation by the perfectly created, in union with the Perfect Creator. The Father must give fatherhood to His Son, because His Own Fatherhood must be extended outward. You who belong in God have the holy function of extending His Fatherhood by placing no limits upon it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you how to do this, for you can know what it means only of God Himself.

When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself. For I am always there with you, in remembrance of you.

The goal of the curriculum, regardless of the teacher you choose, is ‘Know thyself’. There is nothing else to seek. Everyone is looking for himself and for the power and glory he thinks he has lost. Whenever you are with anyone, you have another opportunity to find them. Your power and glory are in him because they are yours. The ego tries to find them in yourself alone, because it does not know where to look. The Holy Spirit teaches you that if you look only at yourself you cannot find yourself, because that is not what you are. Whenever you are with a brother, you are learning what you are because you are teaching what you are. He will respond either with pain or with joy, depending on which teacher you are following. He will be imprisoned or released according to your decision, and so will you. Never forget your responsibility to him, because it is your responsibility to yourself. Give him his place in the Kingdom and you will have yours.

The Kingdom cannot be found alone, and you who are the Kingdom cannot find yourself alone. To achieve the goal of the curriculum, then, you cannot listen to the ego, whose purpose is to defeat its own goal. The ego does not know this, because it does not know anything. But you can know it, and you will know it if you are willing to look at what the ego would make of you. This is your responsibility, because once you have really looked at it you will accept the Atonement for yourself. What other choice could you make? Having made this choice you will understand why you once believed that, when you met someone else, you thought he was someone else. And every holy encounter in which you enter fully will teach you this is not so.

You can encounter only part of yourself because you are part of God, Who is everything. His power and glory are everywhere, and you cannot be excluded from them. The ego teaches that your strength is in you alone. The Holy Spirit teaches that all strength is in God and therefore in you. God wills no one suffer. He does not will anyone to suffer for a wrong decision, including you. That is why He has given you the means for undoing it. Through His power and glory all your wrong decisions are undone completely, releasing you and your brother from every imprisoning thought any part of the Sonship holds. Wrong decisions have no power, because they are not true. The imprisonment they seem to produce is no more true than they are.

Power and glory belong to God alone. So do you. God gives whatever belongs to Him because He gives of Himself, and everything belongs to Him. Giving of yourself is the function He gave you. Fulfilling it perfectly will let you remember what you have of Him, and by this you will remember also what you are in Him. You cannot be powerless to do this, because this is your power. Glory is God’s gift to you, because that is what He is. See this glory everywhere to remember what you are.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 27

Lesson 66

My happiness and my function are one.

You have surely noticed an emphasis throughout our recent lessons on the connection between fulfilling your function and achieving happiness. This is because you do not really see the connection. Yet there is more than just a connection between them; they are the same. Their forms are different, but their content is completely one.

The ego does constant battle with the Holy Spirit on the fundamental question of what your function is. So does it do constant battle with the Holy Spirit about what your happiness is. It is not a two-way battle. The ego attacks and the Holy Spirit does not respond. He knows what your function is. He knows that it is your happiness.

Today we will try to go past this wholly meaningless battle and arrive at the truth about your function. We will not engage in senseless arguments about what it is. We will not become hopelessly involved in defining happiness and determining the means for achieving it. We will not indulge the ego by listening to its attacks on truth. We will merely be glad that we can find out what truth is.

Our longer practice period today has as its purpose your acceptance of the fact that not only is there a very real connection between the function God gave you and your happiness, but that they are actually identical. God gives you only happiness. Therefore, the function He gave you must be happiness, even if it appears to be different. Today’s exercises are an attempt to go beyond these differences in appearance, and recognize a common content where it exists in truth.

Begin the ten-to-fifteen-minute practice period by reviewing these thoughts:

God gives me only happiness.
He has given my function to me.
Therefore my function must be happiness.

Try to see the logic in this sequence, even if you do not yet accept the conclusion. It is only if the first two thoughts are wrong that the conclusion could be false. Let us, then, think about the premises for a while, as we are practicing.

The first premise is that God gives you only happiness. This could be false, of course, but in order to be false it is necessary to define God as something He is not. Love cannot give evil, and what is not happiness is evil. God cannot give what He does not have, and He cannot have what He is not. Unless God gives you only happiness, He must be evil. And it is this definition of Him you are believing if you do not accept the first premise.

The second premise is that God has given you your function. We have seen that there are only two parts of your mind. One is ruled by the ego, and is made up of illusions. The other is the home of the Holy Spirit, where truth abides. There are no other guides but these to choose between, and no other outcomes possible as a result of your choice but the fear that the ego always engenders, and the love that the Holy Spirit always offers to replace it.

Thus, it must be that your function is established by God through His Voice, or is made by the ego which you have made to replace Him. Which is true? Unless God gave your function to you, it must be the gift of the ego. Does the ego really have gifts to give, being itself an illusion and offering only the illusion of gifts?

Think about this during the longer practice period today. Think also about the many forms the illusion of your function has taken in your mind, and the many ways in which you tried to find salvation under the ego’s guidance. Did you find it? Were you happy? Did they bring you peace? We need great honesty today. Remember the outcomes fairly, and consider also whether it was ever reasonable to expect happiness from anything the ego ever proposed. Yet the ego is the only alternative to the Holy Spirit’s Voice.

You will listen to madness or hear the truth. Try to make this choice as you think about the premises on which our conclusion rests. We can share in this conclusion, but in no other. For God Himself shares it with us. Today’s idea is another giant stride in the perception of the same as the same, and the different as different. On one side stand all illusions. All truth stands on the other. Let us try today to realize that only the truth is true.

In the shorter practice periods, which would be most helpful today if undertaken twice an hour, this form of the application is suggested:

My happiness and function are one, because God has
given me both.

It will not take more than a minute, and probably less, to repeat these words slowly and think about them a little while as you say them.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1334I have a question about the idea of a “self-concept” and its relationship to guilt. My understanding of the self-concept is this: I look in the mirror and assess the things I like and do not like about my body; whom I think about; who I am in the world financially; how I believe that I look compared to others; where I am in the world compared to others; etc. I see that there are things that I “like” and “dislike” about “myself.” Is it correct to say that according to A Course in Miracles , the things that I don’t like about myself are really projections of unhealed guilt that I am projecting onto my made up and false “self” in the world and onto my body; is that correct?

A: Without more specific information about what you dislike about yourself it is difficult to determine whether or not it is a projection of unhealed guilt. No one likes to hear this, but even things you like about yourself can come from unhealed guilt. It all depends on the goal you have chosen to pursue in your mind. If you (the decision-making part of your mind) are intent on validating your existence as an individual, then being kind and generous (seemingly positive traits) can be a way of having people notice you as someone very special. This would be the ego’s way of dealing with unhealed guilt — cover it over with a self-concept that makes it appear that you are really a good, innocent person. But you can also use those same traits in the service of forgiveness, which would have the effect of lessening your investment in being special and different from others, a very effective way of dealing with guilt. Similarly, any form of success in the world can be an expression of your ego, but it can also be given the purpose of helping you learn that your interests are not separate from anyone else’s. This is why Jesus tells us that “Love makes no comparisons” (W.pI.195.4:2) and that “the ego literally lives by comparisons (T.4.II.7:1) . Comparing yourself with others ultimately makes differences real, which is essential for the ego’s survival.

What is helpful to remember is that on one level (Level One), all self-concepts, whether judged as positive or negative, are of the ego, because they are substitutes for our true Self as Christ, which we have denied. This is a major theme in “Self-Concept versus Self” (T.31.V). But on another level (Level Two), our self-concepts can be a means of helping us get in touch with the content in our minds and our power to choose to identify either with the ego or the Holy Spirit. This points out the importance of learning to focus on purpose . Thus, Jesus stresses: “This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything. What is the purpose?” (T.4.V.6:8,9). If you shift to this focus, then your work with self-concepts can be more helpful in healing your mind of the guilt that the ego has convinced us is real, but which Jesus is helping us learn is made up and never justified.


Q #1335Please comment on our relationship with Jesus, and the importance of this in A Course in Miracles . My struggle is that I have difficulty connecting with Jesus, and I would like to drop this resistance. I have felt “spiritually void” for most of my life, after negatively experiencing my Christian (Catholic) upbringing. I understand that forgiveness is the answer, and I feel I have forgiven; however, I don’t feel within my relationship with Jesus. It was not something that was deeply cultivated in my childhood, and I have no real basis for the feeling of a “return.”

A: Yes, forgiveness is the answer, as it is in any relationship. Try to bring to the surface the negative images you have of Jesus, any anger or resentment. He reminds us that “some bitter idols have been made of him who would be only brother to the world” (C.5.5:7) , and therefore we all need to become aware of what we are projecting onto Jesus, as these images and grievances prevent us from experiencing the positive elements in the relationship that are always present. Practically all formal religions of the world teach in some way that we are not worthy of God’s Love, and that we must sacrifice to purify ourselves of our sinfulness. The centerpiece of Christianity in particular has always been that Jesus, wholly pure and innocent, had to die because of our sins, and that his sacrificial death was part of God’s plan. And all of that has been presented as a supreme act of love. How could we not be mired in guilt and shame and highly conflicted in our relationship with Jesus?

Jesus comes to us through A Course in Miracles to tell us that sacrifice can never be part of love, and that it is only we (identified with the ego in our minds) who have convinced ourselves that we are sinful and guilty. The theologies that teach of sin and sacrifice are simply expressing the core principles of the ego thought system. Jesus is helping us to see the perversion of truth in that system, and he is asking us to allow him to help us undo our belief in it. This is what he means in saying of himself, “Forgive him your illusions, and behold how dear a brother he would be to you” (C.5.5:8). This is the basis for any relationship with Jesus, also well expressed in this passage: “We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. . . . We will undo this error quietly together, and then look beyond it to the truth” (T.11.V.1:3,6). This is a process of gradually developing trust in the non-judgmental presence in your mind that wants only to help you look within at all the ways in which you are keeping love away. He assures us, “You have very little trust in me as yet, but it will increase as you turn more and more often to me instead of to your ego for guidance. . . . My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way” (T.4.VI.3:1; 6:1). The love is always there. In looking without judgment at all of our unkind, unloving, judgmental thoughts, we are turning to Jesus for guidance and letting go of the interferences to our awareness of that ever-present love.

tiny mad idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 26

ACIM Text Reading for March 26

Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back

II. The Difference Between Imprisonment and Freedom

There is a rationale for choice. Only one Teacher knows what your reality is. If learning to remove the obstacles to that knowledge is the purpose of the curriculum, you must learn it of Him. The ego does not know what it is trying to teach. It is trying to teach you what you are without knowing what you are. It is expert only in confusion. It does not understand anything else. As a teacher, then, the ego is totally confused and totally confusing. Even if you could disregard the Holy Spirit entirely, which is impossible, you could still learn nothing from the ego, because the ego knows nothing.

Is there any possible reason for choosing a teacher such as this? Does the total disregard of anything it teaches make anything but sense? Is this the teacher to whom a Son of God should turn to find himself? The ego has never given you a sensible answer to anything. Simply on the grounds of your own experience with its teaching, should not this alone disqualify it as your future teacher? Yet the ego has done more harm to your learning than this alone. Learning is joyful if it leads you along your natural path, and facilitates the development of what you have. When you are taught against your nature, however, you will lose by your learning because your learning will imprison you. Your will is in your nature, and therefore cannot go against it.

The ego cannot teach you anything as long as your will is free, because you will not listen to it. It is not your will to be imprisoned because your will is free. That is why the ego is the denial of free will. It is never God Who coerces you, because He shares His Will with you. His Voice teaches only in accordance with His Will, but that is not the Holy Spirit’s lesson because that is what you are. The lesson is that your will and God’s cannot be out of accord because they are one. This is the undoing of everything the ego tries to teach. It is not, then, only the direction of the curriculum that must be unconflicted, but also the content.

The ego tries to teach that you want to oppose God’s Will. This unnatural lesson cannot be learned, and the attempt to learn it is a violation of your own freedom, making you afraid of your will because it is free. The Holy Spirit opposes any imprisoning of the will of a Son of God, knowing that the will of the Son is the Father’s. The Holy Spirit leads you steadily along the path of freedom, teaching you how to disregard or look beyond everything that would hold you back.

We have said that the Holy Spirit teaches you the difference between pain and joy. That is the same as saying He teaches you the difference between imprisonment and freedom. You cannot make this distinction without Him because you have taught yourself that imprisonment is freedom. Believing them to be the same, how can you tell them apart? Can you ask the part of your mind that taught you to believe they are the same, to teach you how they are different?

The Holy Spirit’s teaching takes only one direction and has only one goal. His direction is freedom and His goal is God. Yet He cannot conceive of God without you, because it is not God’s Will to be without you. When you have learned that your will is God’s, you could no more will to be without Him than He could will to be without you. This is freedom and this is joy. Deny yourself this and you are denying God His Kingdom, because He created you for this.

When I said, ‘All power and glory are yours because the Kingdom is His’, this is what I meant. The Will of God is without limit, and all power and glory lie within it. It is boundless in strength and in love and in peace. It has no boundaries because its extension is unlimited, and it encompasses all things because it created all things. By creating all things, it made them part of itself. You are the Will of God because that is how you were created. Because your Creator creates only like Himself, you are like Him. You are part of Him Who is all power and glory, and are therefore as unlimited as He is.

To what else except all power and glory can the Holy Spirit appeal to restore God’s Kingdom? His appeal, then, is merely to what the Kingdom is, and for its own acknowledgement of what it is. When you acknowledge this you bring the acknowledgement automatically to everyone, because you have acknowledged everyone. By your recognition you awaken theirs, and through theirs yours is extended. Awakening runs easily and gladly through the Kingdom; in answer to the Call for God. This is the natural response of every Son of God to the Voice for his Creator, because It is the Voice for his creations and for his own extension.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 26

Lesson 65

My only function is the one God gave me.

The idea for today reaffirms your commitment to salvation. It also reminds you that you have no function other than that. Both these thoughts are obviously necessary for a total commitment. Salvation cannot be the only purpose you hold while you still cherish others. The full acceptance of salvation as your only function necessarily entails two phases; the recognition of salvation as your function, and the relinquishment of all the other goals you have invented for yourself.

This is the only way in which you can take your rightful place among the saviors of the world. This is the only way in which you can say and mean, “My only function is the one God gave me.” This is the only way in which you can find peace of mind.

Today, and for a number of days to follow, set aside ten to fifteen minutes for a more sustained practice period, in which you try to understand and accept what the idea for the day really means. Today’s idea offers you escape from all your perceived difficulties. It places the key to the door of peace, which you have closed upon yourself, in your own hands. It gives you the answer to all the searching you have done since time began.

Try, if possible, to undertake the daily extended practice periods at approximately the same time each day. Try, also, to determine this time in advance, and then adhere to it as closely as possible. The purpose of this is to arrange your day so that you have set apart the time for God, as well as for all the trivial purposes and goals you will pursue. This is part of the long-range disciplinary training your mind needs, so that the Holy Spirit can use it consistently for the purpose He shares with you.

For the longer practice period, begin by reviewing the idea for the day. Then close your eyes, repeat the idea to yourself once again, and watch your mind carefully to catch whatever thoughts cross it. At first, make no attempt to concentrate only on thoughts related to the idea for the day. Rather, try to uncover each thought that arises to interfere with it. Note each one as it comes to you, with as little involvement or concern as possible, dismissing each one by telling yourself:

This thought reflects a goal that is preventing me from
accepting my only function.

After a while, interfering thoughts will become harder to find. Try, however, to continue a minute or so longer, attempting to catch a few of the idle thoughts that escaped your attention before, but do not strain or make undue effort in doing this. Then tell yourself:

On this clean slate let my true function be written for me.

You need not use these exact words, but try to get the sense of being willing to have your illusions of purpose be replaced by truth.

Finally, repeat the idea for today once more, and devote the rest of the practice period to trying to focus on its importance to you, the relief its acceptance will bring you by resolving your conflicts once and for all, and the extent to which you really want salvation in spite of your own foolish ideas to the contrary.

In the shorter practice periods, which should be undertaken at least once an hour, use this form in applying today’s idea:

My only function is the one God gave me. I want no other
and I have no other.

Sometimes close your eyes as you practice this, and sometimes keep them open and look about you. It is what you see now that will be totally changed when you accept today’s idea completely.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #153: In “To Be Or Not To Be,” Ken stated that we all attempt to cheat death in various ways, only to preserve our individuality. Within the illusion doesn’t reincarnation do the same thing? We “live,” we “die,” only to “live” again, just to keep the ego alive and well. At some point we must choose the right-minded tape….Could you please comment on this.

A. Yes, reincarnation preserves our individuality, as well as the illusion of time. However, the purpose of multiple reincarnations — as traditionally defined in the different systems — is to have as many opportunities as are needed to complete one’s learning, so that the cycle of birth and death may be ended permanently. In A Course in Miracles, as you probably know, Jesus states that “in the ultimate sense, reincarnation is impossible. There is no past or future, and the idea of birth into a body has no meaning either once or many times. Reincarnation cannot, then, be true in any real sense. Our only question should be, ‘Is the concept helpful?’” (M.24.1:1,2,3,4). And in the discussion that follows, he concludes that any belief that leads to progress in accepting the Atonement for ourselves should be honored (M.24.6). Thus it comes down to form and content.


Q #154: After studying A Course in Miracles for 4 years, I am currently volunteering for a Catholic organization in the Philippines, living in a small religious community and working in the slums of Manila. I was conscious of the differences between the teachings of the Course and Christian Catholicism before going to Manila, from reading Ken Wapnick’s A Course in Miracles and Christianity: A Dialogue, and Forgiveness & Jesus. However my desire to join this Christian organization was strong and I thought that it would not prevent me from studying the Course and applying its principles on my own. However, I find that I am getting more and more disturbed by joining the prayers or readings when it is proclaimed that Jesus suffered and died for our sins, etc. Even though the teachings are so different, I don’t want to use the Course to separate myself from the Christians, and I am asking you how is it possible to be faithful to the Course and to my community and avoid compromise?

A: You have placed yourself in a very challenging situation, but one in which, if you are willing, there is much you can learn on your path of forgiveness. If you can remember that the Course is only concerned about content or purpose and not form or ritual, you can use your circumstances to deepen your understanding and practice of the Course’s principles. It is only your ego that would want to make the differences in beliefs and practices a matter of judgment in order to separate yourself from the rest of your community. You are already aware of this temptation in yourself, and that is very helpful, for that is an obstacle within your mind to the experience of the love that is already present within you. You can respect your friends’ choices for their spiritual path without having to accept and embrace those beliefs for yourself. At the same time, since the Course’s focus is only on your own inner thoughts and beliefs, there is no reason that you can’t ask for the Holy Spirit’s help in using all those rituals and forms in which you are expected to participate simply as opportunities to join with them in the form in which they can accept you. For once you are able to release the judgments about the differences in beliefs that you are holding on to, all that will remain is the love within your mind that you wish to share with them. You do not describe any external conflict with the others, but only an internal conflict, and there really is no need to make them aware of your differences in belief, unless you were to feel strongly guided to do so. For your goal is not to change them but simply to accept them as they are (T.9.III.6:4).

kingdom of god

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 25

ACIM Text Reading for March 25

Chapter 8

THE JOURNEY BACK

I. The Direction of the Curriculum

Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is. This is the prerequisite for knowledge only because those who are in conflict are not peaceful, and peace is the condition of knowledge because it is the condition of the Kingdom. Knowledge can be restored only when you meet its conditions. This is not a bargain made by God, Who makes no bargains. It is merely the result of your misuse of His laws on behalf of an imaginary will that is not His. Knowledge is His Will. If you are opposing His Will, how can you have knowledge? I have told you what knowledge offers you, but perhaps you do not yet regard this as wholly desirable. If you did you would not be so ready to throw it away when the ego asks for your allegiance.

The distractions of the ego may seem to interfere with your learning, but the ego bas no power to distract you unless you give it the power to do so. The ego’s voice is an hallucination. You cannot expect it to say ‘I am not real’. Yet you are not asked to dispel your hallucinations alone. You are merely asked to evaluate them in terms of their results to you. If you do not want them on the basis of loss of peace, they will be removed from your mind for you.

Every response to the ego is a call to war, and war does deprive you of peace. Yet in this war there is no opponent. This is the reinterpretation of reality that you must make to secure peace, and the only one you need ever make. Those whom you perceive as opponents are part of your peace, which you are giving up by attacking them. How can you have what you give up? You share to have, but you do not give it up yourself. When you give up peace, you are excluding yourself from it. This is a condition so alien to the Kingdom that you cannot understand the state that prevails within it.

Your past learning must have taught you the wrong things, simply because it has not made you happy. On this basis alone its value should be questioned. If learning aims at change, and that is always its purpose, are you satisfied with the changes your learning has brought you? Dissatisfaction with learning outcomes is a sign of learning failure, since it means that you did not get what you wanted.

The curriculum of the Atonement is the opposite of the curriculum you have established for yourself, but so is its outcome. If the outcome of yours has made you unhappy, and if you want a different one, a change in the curriculum is obviously necessary. The first change to be introduced is a change in direction. A meaningful curriculum cannot be inconsistent. If it is planned by two teachers, each believing in diametrically opposed ideas, it cannot be integrated. If it is carried out by these two teachers simultaneously, each one merely interferes with the other. This leads to fluctuation, but not to change. The volatile have no direction. They cannot choose one because they cannot relinquish the other, even if it does not exist. Their conflicted curriculum teaches them that all directions exist, and gives them no rationale for choice.

The total senselessness of such a curriculum must be fully recognised before a real change in direction becomes possible. You cannot learn simultaneously from two teachers who are in total disagreement about everything. Their joint curriculum presents an impossible learning task. They are teaching you entirely different things in entirely different ways, which might be possible except that both are teaching you about yourself. Your reality is unaffected by both, but if you listen to both, your mind will be split about what your reality is.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 25

Lesson 64

Let me not forget my function.

Today’s idea is merely another way of saying “Let me not wander into temptation.” The purpose of the world you see is to obscure your function of forgiveness, and provide you with a justification for forgetting it. It is the temptation to abandon God and His Son by taking on a physical appearance. It is this the body’s eyes look upon.

Nothing the body’s eyes seem to see can be anything but a form of temptation, since this was the purpose of the body itself. Yet we have learned that the Holy Spirit has another use for all the illusions you have made, and therefore He sees another purpose in them. To the Holy Spirit, the world is a place where you learn to forgive yourself what you think of as your sins. In this perception, the physical appearance of temptation becomes the spiritual recognition of salvation.

To review our last few lessons, your function here is to be the light of the world, a function given you by God. It is only the arrogance of the ego that leads you to question this, and only the fear of the ego that induces you to regard yourself as unworthy of the task assigned to you by God Himself. The world’s salvation awaits your forgiveness, because through it does the Son of God escape from all illusions, and thus from all temptation. The Son of God is you.

Only by fulfilling the function given you by God will you be happy. That is because your function is to be happy by using the means by which happiness becomes inevitable. There is no other way. Therefore, every time you choose whether or not to fulfill your function, you are really choosing whether or not to be happy.

Let us remember this today. Let us remind ourselves of it in the morning and again at night, and all through the day as well. Prepare yourself in advance for all the decisions you will make today by remembering they are all really very simple. Each one will lead to happiness or unhappiness. Can such a simple decision really be difficult to make? Let not the form of the decision deceive you. Complexity of form does not imply complexity of content. It is impossible that any decision on earth can have a content different from just this one simple choice. That is the only choice the Holy Spirit sees. Therefore it is the only choice there is.

Today, then, let us practice with these thoughts:

Let me not forget my function.
Let me not try to substitute mine for God’s.
Let me forgive and be happy.

At least once devote ten or fifteen minutes today to reflecting on this with closed eyes. Related thoughts will come to help you, if you remember the crucial importance of your function to you and to the world.

In the frequent applications of today’s idea throughout the day, devote several minutes to reviewing these thoughts, and then thinking about them and about nothing else. This will be difficult, at first particularly, since you are not proficient in the mind discipline that it requires. You may need to repeat “Let me not forget my function” quite often to help you concentrate.

Two forms of shorter practice periods are required. At times, do the exercises with your eyes closed, trying to concentrate on the thoughts you are using. At other times, keep your eyes open after reviewing the thoughts, and then look slowly and unselectively around you, telling yourself:

This is the world it is my function to save.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #138: If it is inevitable that we will wake up, or at least remember our true Identity, then behaviorally would it be logical to do whatever one feels is most peaceful in the world? And so in many ways it doesn’t really matter what others do or say. In fact, A Course in Miracles itself is quite irrelevant, if the waking process is inevitable. I mean isn’t it just a matter of hanging around doing what one likes doing best and not being naive to the fact that the ego will jabber on nonsense regardless of our seemingly worldly activities?

A: While “the outcome is as certain as God” (T.2.III.3:10) and “the acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time” (T.2.III.3:1) — simply because we could never really separate ourselves from God — we are still making a deliberate choice right now to remain asleep in our dream of time. And for all of us, the pain of the thought of separation behind the dream will eventually become so intolerable that we will all at some point want to make a different choice, the choice to awaken (T.2.III.3). So the only question any of us needs to ask ourselves now is, how long do I want to remain in pain, asleep in time? If we do not want to be conscious of and accept responsibility for our choice to see ourselves as separate, Jesus tells us we can continue to temporize and procrastinate for a time period at least as long as the time across which the separation has already occurred, that is, “millions of years”! (T.2.VIII.2:5).

Granted, all of this is illusory, and, from Jesus’ perspective outside of time, it matters little: “Nothing is ever lost but time, which in the end is meaningless. For it is but a little hindrance to eternity, quite meaningless to the real Teacher of the world”(T.26.V.2:1,2). But Jesus also recognizes that this is not our experience here in time: “Yet since you do believe in it [time], why should you waste it going nowhere, when it can be used to reach a goal as high as learning can achieve?…it is hard indeed to wander off, alone and miserable, down a road that leads to nothing and that has no purpose” (T.26.V.2:3,6).

So we have a choice about how we want to use time and how long we want to remain in the experience of time. Yes, in the end, it won’t matter, for we will have to remember who we really are — that has never really changed. But while we still believe all of this is real, Jesus in his Course is telling us that the length of our time in time can be “greatly shortened by miracles, the device for shortening but not abolishing time” (T.2.VIII.2:6). But this means, if the Course is our path, that our relationships with our brothers are of central importance, for it is upon others that each of us has projected all the guilt and responsibility for the pain of separation that we don’t want to see within ourselves. And so, as students of the Course, we will care what others do or say, not because we want to change them, but because our reactions to them can direct us to the unhealed places within our own mind. To avoid looking at our reactions to others, dismissing them as irrelevant to our waking process, would be to engage in denial, which is just another way of saying we are refusing to accept responsibility for our own decision to be separate. In the end, we will all see this, but the choice we have now is whether we want to acknowledge any of these projections now.

As difficult as looking at our brother to see our own “secret sins and hidden hates” (T.31.VIII.9:2)may seem to be, Jesus wants us to understand that not looking leads to even greater pain, for there is no hope for healing then. And so he encourages us, reminding us that this is a path we take with our brother: “Think not the way to Heaven’s gate is difficult at all. Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping step to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do” (T.26.V.2:4,5; italics added).

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 24

ACIM Text Reading for March 24

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

XI. The State of Grace

The Holy Spirit will always guide you truly, because your joy is His. This is His Will for everyone because He speaks for the Kingdom of God, which is joy. Following Him is therefore the easiest thing in the world, and the only thing that is easy, because it is not of the world. It is therefore natural. The world goes against your nature, being out of accord with God’s laws. The world perceives orders of difficulty in everything. This is because the ego perceives nothing as wholly desirable. By demonstrating to yourself there is no order of difficulty in miracles, you will convince yourself that, in your natural state, there is no difficulty at all because it is a state of grace.

Grace is the natural state of every Son of God. When he is not in a state of grace, he is out of his natural environment and does not function well. Everything he does becomes a strain, because he was not created for the environment that he has made. He therefore cannot adapt to it, nor can he adapt it to him. There is no point in trying. A Son of God is happy only when he knows he is with God. That is the only environment in which he will not experience strain, because that is where he belongs. It is also the only environment that is worthy of him, because his own worth is beyond anything he can make.

Consider the kingdom you have made and judge its worth fairly. Is it worthy to be a home for a child of God? Does it protect his peace and shine love upon him? Does it keep his heart untouched by fear, and allow him to give always, without any sense of loss? Does it teach him that this giving is his joy, and that God Himself thanks him for his giving? That is the only environment in which you can be happy. You cannot make it, any more than you can make yourself. It has been created for you, as you were created for it. God watches over His children and denies them nothing. Yet when they deny Him they do not know this, because they deny themselves everything. You who could give the Love of God to everything you see and touch and remember, are literally denying Heaven to yourself.

I call upon you to remember that I have chosen you to teach the Kingdom to the Kingdom. There are no exceptions to this lesson, because the lack of exceptions is the lesson. Every Son who returns to the Kingdom with this lesson in his heart has healed the Sonship and given thanks to God. Everyone who learns this lesson has become the perfect teacher, because he has learned it of the Holy Spirit.

When a mind has only light, it knows only light. Its own radiance shines all around it, and extends out into the darkness of other minds, transforming them into majesty. The Majesty of God is there, for you to recognise and appreciate and know. Recognising the Majesty of God as your brother is to accept your own inheritance. God gives only equally. If you recognise His gift in anyone, you have acknowledged what He has given you. Nothing is so easy to recognise as truth. This is the recognition that is immediate, clear and natural. You have trained yourself not to recognise it, and this has been very difficult for you.

Out of your natural environment you may well ask, ‘What is truth?’ since truth is the environment by which and for which you were created. You do not know yourself, because you do not know your Creator. You do not know your creations because you do not know your brothers, who created them with you. I have already said that only the whole Sonship is worthy to be co-creator with God, because only the whole Sonship can create like Him. Whenever you heal a brother by recognising his worth, you are acknowledging his power to create and yours. He cannot have lost what you recognise, and you must have the glory you see in him. He is a co-creator with God with you. Deny his creative power, and you are denying yours and that of God Who created you.

You cannot deny part of truth. You do not know your creations because you do not know their creator. You do not know yourself because you do not know yours. Your creations cannot establish your reality, any more than you can establish God’s. But you can know both. Being is known by sharing. Because God shared His Being with you, you can know Him. But you must also know all He created, to know what they have shared. Without your Father you will not know your fatherhood. The Kingdom of God includes all His Sons and their children, who are as like the Sons as they are like the Father. Know, then, the Sons of God, and you will know all creation.


***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 24

Lesson 63

The light of the world brings peace to every mind
through my forgiveness.

How holy are you who have the power to bring peace to every mind! How blessed are you who can learn to recognize the means for letting this be done through you! What purpose could you have that would bring you greater happiness?

You are indeed the light of the world with such a function. The Son of God looks to you for his redemption. It is yours to give him, for it belongs to you. Accept no trivial purpose or meaningless desire in its place, or you will forget your function and leave the Son of God in hell. This is no idle request that is being asked of you. You are being asked to accept salvation that it may be yours to give.

Recognizing the importance of this function, we will be happy to remember it very often today. We will begin the day by acknowledging it, and close the day with the thought of it in our awareness. And throughout the day we will repeat this as often as we can:

The light of the world brings peace to every mind
through my forgiveness. I am the means God has
appointed for the salvation of the world.

If you close your eyes, you will probably find it easier to let the related thoughts come to you in the minute or two that you should devote to considering this. Do not, however, wait for such an opportunity. No chance should be lost for reinforcing today’s idea. Remember that God’s Son looks to you for his salvation. And Who but your Self must be His Son?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1320Several years ago I experienced a bout of depression basically because of my struggle with the idea that “there must be something more,” and there have been several occasions when it occurred to me that maybe this life is all a dream. I have read many of the questions regarding people’s reluctance to awaken. I want more than anything to awaken from this dream, so in my mind I have more than “a little willingness.” If that is what Jesus and the Holy Spirit want for us also, why can’t I awaken since I want to so badly? There is certainly nothing in this world that could possibly outdo Heaven and Oneness. I’m ready to wake up, why don’t I?

A: We cannot determine from your question whether this is the case with you or not, but many times an intense desire to return home is accompanied by an abhorrence or fear of the world, though this may not be apparent. Wanting to return home so badly, in other words, can reflect an underlying feeling that the world is such an awful place and that it is such a painful burden to be here that we would give anything to be released from it. This can actually be an interference to awakening, as it would indicate that the world is still regarded as real: we cannot abhor or fear what we know to be unreal. There must, then, be a sense of sinfulness and guilt still hidden in the mind that gets projected onto the world. That is why so much of our work with A Course in Miracles centers on recognizing how we are “making the error real” — that is, how our reactions and perceptions reveal an underlying belief that we are separate from God and feel guilty because of that. Once we make that connection, we can ask for help to choose to see everything differently.

Real deliverance from the world comes in the recognition that the world is the source of neither suffering or happiness, but is simply the projection of the mind caught in the illusory belief it is separate from God (W.pI.132; W.pII.226). We get to that stage by first becoming aware of how much we do see the world as the cause of both suffering and happiness. This is why Jesus teaches us that “Forgiveness is the key to happiness” and “Forgiveness offers me everything I want” (W.pI.121, 122) . This is the “real alternative” that Jesus discusses in the final chapter of the text (T.31.IV) , where he talks about the state of mind known as the real world, which precedes our awakening from the dream entirely.

As we continue on the path of forgiveness with Jesus as our teacher, we becomes less and less identified with life in the world, which actually makes living here easier, in the sense of relieving the pressure most of us feel from taking what goes on in our lives so seriously. As we choose the ego less often, the love in our right mind begins to direct our every thought and action, and our investment in being an individual special self diminishes greatly. We continue to fulfill our roles responsibly, but without pressure and conflict. In this state, there would be not be a feeling of urgency to awaken as quickly as possible because you would not experience yourself as separate from love. Being present to all things and all people with Jesus would be a source of security and quiet joy and peace. Peace, really, is the goal of our work with the Course, not knowledge (Heaven) (T.8.I.1; T.24.in.1:1) . And we are assured of peace by choosing the teacher of peace more and more often, who would help us experience our oneness with everyone. Patience and gentleness with yourself will help you through this process, as will trust in the process of forgiveness.

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 23

ACIM Text Reading for March 23

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

X. The Confusion of Pain and Joy

The Kingdom is the result of premises, just as this world is. You may have carried the ego’s reasoning to its logical conclusion, which is total confusion about everything. If you really saw this result you could not want it. The only reason you could possibly want any part of it is because you do not see the whole of it. You are willing to look at the ego’s premises, but not at their logical outcome. Is it not possible that you have done the same thing with the premises of God? Your creations are the logical outcome of His premises. His thinking has established them for you. They are exactly where they belong. They belong in your mind as part of your identification with His, but your state of mind and your recognition of what is in it depend on what you believe about your mind. Whatever these beliefs may be, they are the premises that will determine what you accept into your mind.

It is surely clear that you can both accept into your mind what is not there, and deny what is. Yet the function God Himself gave your mind through His you may deny, but you cannot prevent. It is the logical outcome of what you are. The ability to see a logical outcome depends on the willingness to see it, but its truth has nothing to do with your willingness. Truth is God’s Will. Share His Will and you share what He knows. Deny His Will as yours, and you are denying His Kingdom and yours.

The Holy Spirit will direct you only so as to avoid pain. Surely no one would object to this goal if he recognised it. The problem is not whether what the Holy Spirit says is true, but whether you want to listen to what He says. You no more recognise what is painful than you know what is joyful, and are, in fact, very apt to confuse the two. The Holy Spirit’s main function is to teach you to tell them apart. What is joyful to you is painful to the ego, and as long as you are in doubt about what you are, you will be confused about joy and pain. This confusion is the cause of the whole idea of sacrifice. Obey the Holy Spirit, and you will be giving up the ego. But you will be sacrificing nothing. On the contrary, you will be gaining everything. If you believed this, there would be no conflict.

That is why you need to demonstrate the obvious to yourself. It is not obvious to you. You believe that doing the opposite of God’s Will can be better for you. You also believe that it is possible to do the opposite of God’s Will. Therefore, you believe that an impossible choice is open to you, and one which is both fearful and desirable. Yet God wills. He does not wish. Your will is as powerful as His because it is His. The ego’s wishes do not mean anything, because the ego wishes for the impossible. You can wish for the impossible, but you can will only with God. This is the ego’s weakness and your strength.

The Holy Spirit always sides with you and with your strength. As long as you avoid His guidance in any way, you want to be weak. Yet weakness is frightening. What else, then, can this decision mean except that you want to be fearful? The Holy Spirit never asks for sacrifice, but the ego always does. When you are confused about this distinction in motivation, it can only be due to projection. Projection is a confusion in motivation, and given this confusion, trust becomes impossible. No one gladly obeys a guide he does not trust, but this does not mean that the guide is untrustworthy. In this case, it always means that the follower is. However, this, too, is merely a matter of his own belief. Believing that he can betray, he believes that everything can betray him. Yet this is only because he has elected to follow false guidance. Unable to follow this guidance without fear, he associates fear with guidance, and refuses to follow any guidance at all. If the result of this decision is confusion, this is hardly surprising.

The Holy Spirit is perfectly trustworthy, as you are. God Himself trusts you, and therefore your trustworthiness is beyond question. It will always remain beyond question, however much you may question it. I said before that you are the Will of God. His Will is not an idle wish, and your identification with His Will is not optional, since it is what you are. Sharing His Will with me is not really open to choice, though it may seem to be. The whole separation lies in this error. The only way out of the error is to decide that you do not have to decide anything. Everything has been given you by God’s decision. That is His Will, and you cannot undo it.

Even the relinquishment of your false decision-making prerogative, which the ego guards so jealously, is not accomplished by your wish. It was accomplished for you by the Will of God, Who has not left you comfortless. His Voice will teach you how to distinguish between pain and joy, and will lead you out of the confusion you have made. There is no confusion in the mind of a Son of God, whose will must be the Will of the Father, because the Father’s Will is His Son.

Miracles are in accord with the Will of God, Whose Will you do not know because you are confused about what you will. This means that you are confused about what you are. If you are God’s Will and do not accept His Will, you are denying joy. The miracle is therefore a lesson in what joy is. Being a lesson in sharing it is a lesson in love, which is joy. Every miracle is thus a lesson in truth, and by offering truth you are learning the difference between pain and joy.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 23

Lesson 62

Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.

It is your forgiveness that will bring the world of darkness to the light. It is your forgiveness that lets you recognize the light in which you see. Forgiveness is the demonstration that you are the light of the world. Through your forgiveness does the truth about yourself return to your memory. Therefore, in your forgiveness lies your salvation.

Illusions about yourself and the world are one. That is why all forgiveness is a gift to yourself. Your goal is to find out who you are, having denied your Identity by attacking creation and its Creator. Now you are learning how to remember the truth. For this attack must be replaced by forgiveness, so that thoughts of life may replace thoughts of death.

Remember that in every attack you call upon your own weakness, while each time you forgive you call upon the strength of Christ in you. Do you not then begin to understand what forgiveness will do for you? It will remove all sense of weakness, strain and fatigue from your mind. It will take away all fear and guilt and pain. It will restore the invulnerability and power God gave His Son to your awareness.

Let us be glad to begin and end this day by practicing today’s idea, and to use it as frequently as possible throughout the day. It will help to make the day as happy for you as God wants you to be. And it will help those around you, as well as those who seem to be far away in space and time, to share this happiness with you.

As often as you can, closing your eyes if possible, say to yourself today:

Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.
I would fulfill my function that I may be happy.

Then devote a minute or two to considering your function and the happiness and release it will bring you. Let related thoughts come freely, for your heart will recognize these words, and in your mind is the awareness they are true. Should your attention wander, repeat the idea and add:

I would remember this because I want to be happy.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #594: I realize that content is more important than form, yet in this dream of form, I have to have some form in which I appear; thus since duality is meaningless — sickness/health, abundance/poverty, happiness/unhappiness, etc. — is it wrong to desire one over the other while I’m on the road to awakening? While five years ago I was at the bottom of the barrel grovelling around with emotional sickness and also serious financial lack, the last thing I had time for was spiritual contemplation, but in the last three years I’ve found myself in a relationship where I didn’t have to work, and consequently found A Course in Miracles and could spend five or six hours a day devoted to learning it. So choosing abundance and health has helped to speed me up the Atonement ladder. But now I’m wondering if I should stop consciously desiring these conditions and just focus on content of mind and not even concern myself with my body, my lifestyle, etc., and just know that as I heal my mind more and more, everything for my highest good will manifest anyway. Are we supposed to get to the point where not one thought we have is about anything concerning who we think we are in this body?

A: At the very top of the ladder, you know you are not a body, and you know the body is nothing; therefore, as nothing, the body would have no appeal to you at all. As you make your way up to that level, though, you never want to deny the physical and psychological needs you experience as real. On these intervening levels, duality is not experienced as meaningless, though intellectually you believe that it is. Therefore it is important to be honest about that, accept where you are in that respect, and not fight it. It would not be spiritually helpful to simply stop yourself from wanting your life in the world to be a certain way. That would lead you into sacrifice, which Jesus helps us realize is never loving. The concealed guilt in your mind is the problem, not your body or your lifestyle. That guilt would not go away just because you give up the desire to have a healthy body and financial security. It would not be reinforced either by your continuing to desire them, as long as you are willing to learn that they cannot give you the peace of God. You might also think of the abundance and health that came into your life as a reflection of a decision you made not to attack yourself any further. That would help you get in touch with the content in your mind and you would be less inclined then to regard health and abundance as something meaningful in themselves. As you make your way towards the top of the ladder, you would experience peace as who you are as God’s creation, and that that inner state has nothing to do with external conditions. But in the meantime it’s okay to still desire them. Judging yourself for desiring a healthy body and financial security is the only mistake you can make; and you can avoid that ego temptation by learning to smile at yourself and not making your Atonement path into something so serious. Gentleness and kindness towards yourself is always the best approach to take.


Q #595: As I get more and more into A Course in Miracles I find so many things meaning less and less: like being popular, being noticed for some achievement, being appreciated, or just being in other people’s company. I truly enjoy being by myself, studying the Course, working on healing my relationships in my mind rather than actually being with these people physically, with whom I need to work on forgiveness. Is this wrong and is it also wrong to want to be around certain people in the flesh, with whom I have more of a spiritual mind set, while at the same time knowing that I am one with everyone whether I connect with them on the physical level or not? I sometimes feel guilty, since I’m wanting to exclude certain people and situations from my physical space, and then I try to feel innocent again when I know that I’m one with everyone and everything in my mind space.

A: The key word in your question is exclude, and the key principle in solving your dilemma is the distinction between form and content. The defining characteristic of authentic love as Jesus presents it in the Course is that it is “all-inclusive.” This is in sharp contrast to the special love of the ego that singles out certain people or groups as deserving of our love and forgiveness, as opposed to others who are not. But Jesus is always talking about the content in our minds, our attitude. He is not talking about form: what our bodies do, our behavior. You cannot be with everyone all the time; but you can be clear within your mind whether or not you are withholding love from specific people or groups, or are judging that spiritual people are better than those who are completely focused on things of the world. If you are judging some as better than others, then you no longer believe that the Sonship is one and are furthering the ego’s cause of making separation reality. You would also be caught in the trap of believing there is a hierarchy of illusions: that there is a meaningful difference between spiritually advanced people and non- spiritual people. A person on the top rungs of the ladder is just as illusory as a person on the lower rungs, because the ladder itself is illusory.

From another perspective, we all have preferences and limitations. That is normal within the dream of separation. It is not wrong or unspiritual to have preferences. Preferring to spend time with certain people is no different from having food preferences, music preferences, decorating preferences, and so on. As long as these preferences do not become a big deal, that is! If you have not made your preference into a big deal, you would not feel guilty. The key factor is what is going on in your mind: whether you are judging against certain people because they do not meet your criterion of “spiritual.” If you are kind in your mind toward everyone, you would never experience conflict about whom you are spending time with.

Other students of the Course have had similar experiences — see Questions #433 and #480.

There are many comforting passages in which Jesus reassures us that he is always available to us, awaiting only our invitation (e.g., T.19.IV.A.16:3,4,5,6; T.31.VIII.7,8,9,10,11; M.23). We leave you with passages from chapter 12 of the text and the epilogue from the manual for teachers:

Remember what was said about the frightening perceptions of little children, which terrify them because they do not understand them. If they ask for enlightenment and accept it, their fears vanish. But if they hide their nightmares they will keep them. It is easy to help an uncertain child, for he recognizes that he does not understand what his perceptions mean. Yet you believe that you do understand yours. Little child, you are hiding your head under the cover of the heavy blankets you have laid upon yourself. You are hiding your nightmares in the darkness of your own false certainty, and refusing to open your eyes and look at them.

Let us not save nightmares, for they are not fitting offerings for Christ, and so they are not fit gifts for you. Take off the covers and look at what you are afraid of. Only the anticipation will frighten you, for the reality of nothingness cannot be frightening. Let us not delay this, for your dream of hatred will not leave you without help, and Help is here. Learn to be quiet in the midst of turmoil, for quietness is the end of strife and this is the journey to peace. Look straight at every image that rises to delay you, for the goal is inevitable because it is eternal. The goal of love is but your right, and it belongs to you despite your dreams…

A little while and you will see me, for I am not hidden because you are hiding. I will awaken you as surely as I awakened myself, for I awoke for you. In my resurrection is your release. Our mission is to escape from crucifixion, not from redemption. Trust in my help, for I did not walk alone, and I will walk with you as our Father walked with me. Do you not know that I walked with Him in peace? And does not that mean that peace goes with us on the journey?…You do not walk alone. God’s angels hover near and all about. His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure; that I will never leave you comfortless (T.12.II.4,5,7; W.ep.6:6,7,8).


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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 22

ACIM Text Reading for March 22

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

IX. The Extension of the Kingdom

Only you can limit your creative power, but God wills to release it. He no more wills you to deprive yourself of your creations than He wills to deprive Himself of His. Do not withhold your gifts to the Sonship, or you withhold yourself from God! Selfishness is of the ego, but Self-fullness is of spirit because that is how God created it. The Holy Spirit is in the part of the mind that lies between the ego and the spirit, mediating between them always in favour of the spirit. To the ego this is partiality, and it responds as if it were being sided against. To spirit this is truth, because it knows its fullness and cannot conceive of any part from which it is excluded.

Spirit knows that the awareness of all its brothers is included in its own, as it is included in God. The power of the whole Sonship and of its Creator is therefore spirit’s own fullness, rendering its creations equally whole and equal in perfection. The ego cannot prevail against a totality that includes God, and any totality must include God. Everything He created is given all His power, because it is part of Him and shares His Being with Him. Creating is the opposite of loss, as blessing is the opposite of sacrifice. Being must be extended. That is how it retains the knowledge of itself. Spirit yearns to share its being as its Creator did. Created by sharing, its will is to create. It does not wish to contain God, but wills to extend His Being.

The extension of God’s Being is spirit’s only function. Its fullness cannot be contained, any more than can the fullness of its Creator Fullness is extension. The ego’s whole thought system blocks extension, and thus blocks your only function. It therefore blocks your joy, so that you perceive yourself as unfulfilled. Unless you create you are unfulfilled, but God does not know unfulfillment and therefore you must create. You may not know your own creations, but this can no more interfere with their reality than your unawareness of your spirit can interfere with its being.

The Kingdom is forever extending because it is in the Mind of God. You do not know your joy because you do not know your own Self-fullness. Exclude any part of the Kingdom from yourself and you are not whole. A split mind cannot perceive its fullness, and needs the miracle of its wholeness to dawn upon it and heal it This reawakens the wholeness in it, and restores it to the Kingdom because of its acceptance of wholeness. The full appreciation of the mind’s Self-fullness makes selfishness impossible and extension inevitable. That is why there is perfect peace in the Kingdom. Spirit is fulfilling its function, and only complete fulfilment is peace.

Your creations are protected for you because the Holy Spirit Who is in your mind, knows of them and can bring them into your awareness whenever you will let Him. They are there as part of your own being, because your fulfilment includes them. The creations of every Son of God are yours, since every creation belongs to everyone, being created for the Sonship as a whole.

You have not failed to increase the inheritance of the Sons of God, and thus have not failed to secure it for yourself. Since it was the Will of God to give it to you, He gave it forever. Since it was His Will that you have it forever, He gave you the means for keeping it. And you have done so. Disobeying God’s Will is meaningful only to the insane. In truth it is impossible. Your Self-fullness is as boundless as God’s. Like His, It extends forever and in perfect peace. Its radiance is so intense that It creates in perfect joy, and only the whole can be born of Its wholeness.

Be confident that you have never lost your Identity and the extensions which maintain It in wholeness and peace. Miracles are an expression of this confidence. They are reflections of both your proper identification with your brothers, and of your awareness that your identification is maintained by extension. The miracle is a lesson in total perception. By including any part of totality in the lesson, you have included the whole.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 22

Lesson 61

I am the light of the world.

Who is the light of the world except God’s Son? This, then, is merely a statement of the truth about yourself. It is the opposite of a statement of pride, of arrogance, or of self-deception. It does not describe the self-concept you have made. It does not refer to any of the characteristics with which you have endowed your idols. It refers to you as you were created by God. It simply states the truth.

To the ego, today’s idea is the epitome of self-glorification. But the ego does not understand humility, mistaking it for self-debasement. Humility consists of accepting your role in salvation and in taking no other. It is not humility to insist you cannot be the light of the world if that is the function God assigned to you. It is only arrogance that would assert this function cannot be for you, and arrogance is always of the ego.

True humility requires that you accept today’s idea because it is God’s Voice which tells you it is true. This is a beginning step in accepting your real function on earth. It is a giant stride toward taking your rightful place in salvation. It is a positive assertion of your right to be saved, and an acknowledgment of the power that is given you to save others.

You will want to think about this idea as often as possible today. It is the perfect answer to all illusions, and therefore to all temptation. It brings all the images you have made about yourself to the truth, and helps you depart in peace, unburdened and certain of your purpose.

As many practice periods as possible should be undertaken today, although each one need not exceed a minute or two. They should begin with telling yourself:

I am the light of the world. That is my only function.
That is why I am here.

Then think about these statements for a short while, preferably with your eyes closed if the situation permits. Let a few related thoughts come to you, and repeat the idea to yourself if your mind wanders away from the central thought.

Be sure both to begin and end the day with a practice period. Thus you will awaken with an acknowledgment of the truth about yourself, reinforce it throughout the day, and turn to sleep as you reaffirm your function and your only purpose here. These two practice periods may be longer than the rest, if you find them helpful and want to extend them.

Today’s idea goes far beyond the ego’s petty views of what you are and what your purpose is. As a bringer of salvation, this is obviously necessary. This is the first of a number of giant steps we will take in the next few weeks. Try today to begin to build a firm foundation for these advances. You are the light of the world. God has built His plan for the salvation of His Son on you.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #516: For years I studied about reincarnation, past lives, hypnotic regression, soul mates, communication with spirit guides, guardian angels, and deceased loved one, etc. I learned how divine friends help us plan each lifetime — selecting our family, country, trials and tribulations, etc. — in order to balance our karma and progress spiritually by overcoming our problems here. Now A Course in Miracles tells me that the ego has set up our lives, not to experience spiritual growth, but to continue to be victimized and victimize others. If all these guides and helpers are miscreations of our egos, can they serve a holy purpose? Are past life memories stored in the brain or are they in the ego mind? I also studied the power of thought to attract all the worldly things we may want. Is this the brain or just our ego mind miscreating by wanting something? I learned through religion to pray to God through Jesus for help and received many, many answers, for which I thanked them. Now the Course tells me they weren’t listening. So how were all those prayers answered — the ego mind again, or the brain?

I see now what a distraction all this was for me. Some of what I was sure was the “gospel truth” (according to the ego) certainly kept me from looking elsewhere. But through it all many truths showed up that prepared me for the Course. So how should I look at all this?

A: Perhaps it would be most helpful simply to remind you that everything, including A Course in Miracles, comes within an ego framework (C.in.3:1). And the only criterion for evaluating anything in the world of form (which includes everything you’ve listed in your question) is to ask whether it has been helpful in learning to forgive ourselves and our brothers and sisters. And what is helpful depends on where we are in our process of remembering who we are (M.25).

It is only the ego that would want to judge whether the manner in which we have spent our time in the past has been helpful or not. If what we have done has prepared us for accepting the truth of who we are at a deeper level, that is surely enough. And if it has provided us comfort in knowing that we are loved and that guilt serves no useful purpose, it has been a reflection of the one Love that joins us all, in a form that our fearful minds could accept.

Yes, if we remain stuck in any particular form, it is likely that we will fall into the trap of using it to reinforce specialness and separation. But anything that leads us to recognize that there is more to us than the limited reality of our meager lives in this world of conflict and pain is helpful. And anyone or anything, although appearing separate from us — be it angels or guides or ascended masters or whatever — that helps us learn that we deserve to escape from our limitations has served a holy purpose.

No matter what the form of our lives as we have set them up, they always have two possible purposes, depending on which teacher we choose to learn from. The Holy Spirit, in contrast to the ego, will never direct us to do anything that will deliberately cause us pain. Rather He will support our choice to learn from our experiences that there is an alternative to pain and suffering. And so guidance from the Holy Spirit, whether it seems to occur prior to or during a specific lifetime, may direct us to participate in certain relationships — not to be victimized again, but to heal them by learning that victimization is impossible.

It is the mind — and never the brain, which only follows the programing of the mind — which determines what our experiences will be. And the mind, not the brain, holds all the memories that it can choose to access as either past, present, or future lifetimes. In the “reality” of the split mind, they are all simultaneous.

No doubt more questions will continue to arise in our minds, curious to know how this illusory world and the self that we made and still seem to love work. And yet, in the end, all of our questioning will cease and our need for all forms, including the Course itself, will subside. And then we will be ready to accept Jesus’ gentle suggestion:

Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God (W.pI.189.7).


Q #517: i. Would something like mathematics be a language of God, or would it be what would seem a faultless creation of the ego in order to prove that the world and everything in it does indeed have a sensible and coherent structure and thus is real?

A: The view of reality as presented in A Course in Miracles is that it is non-dualistic, a perfect Oneness, and therefore anything pertaining to form cannot be of God. The “beauty” of mathematics may indeed be used as a reminder of the beauty of oneness, but as a language of quantity, mathematics can only have come from the ego. The concept of coherence, for example, implies duality: parts sticking together. The language of God could never be understood by minds that believe they are individualized, which Jesus tells us many times in his Course, most notably and eloquently in Chapter 25 and Lesson 169: “. . . for while you think that part of you is separate, the concept of a Oneness joined as One is meaningless” (T.25.I.7:1); “We say ‘God is,’ and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless” (W.pI.169.5:4).

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