ACIM Text Reading for March 4
Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness
VI. Time and Eternity
God in His knowledge is not waiting, but His Kingdom is bereft while you wait. All the Sons of God are waiting for your return, just as you are waiting for theirs. Delay does not matter in eternity, but it is tragic in time. You have elected to be in time rather than eternity, and therefore believe you are in time. Yet your election is both free and alterable. You do not belong in time. Your place is only in eternity, where God Himself placed you forever.
Guilt feelings are the preservers of time. They induce fears of retaliation or abandonment, and thus ensure that the future will be like the past. This is the ego’s continuity. It gives the ego a false sense of security by believing that you cannot escape from it. But you can and must. God offers you the continuity of eternity in exchange. When you choose to make this exchange, you will simultaneously exchange guilt for joy, viciousness for love, and pain for peace. My role is only to unchain your will and set it free. Your ego cannot accept this freedom, and will oppose it at every possible moment and in every possible way. And as its maker, you recognise what it can do because you gave it the power to do it.
Remember the Kingdom always, and remember that you who are part of the Kingdom cannot be lost. The Mind that was in me isin you, for God creates with perfect fairness. Let the Holy Spirit remind you always of His fairness, and let me teach you how to share it with your brothers. How else can the chance to claim it for yourself be given you? The two voices speak for different interpretations of the same thing simultaneously; or almost simultaneously, for the ego always speaks first. Alternate interpretations were unnecessary until the first one was made.
The ego speaks in judgement, and the Holy Spirit reverses its decision, much as a higher court has the power to reverse a lower court’s decisions in this world. The ego’s decisions are always wrong, because they are based on the error they were made to uphold. Nothing the ego perceives is interpreted correctly. Not only does the ego cite Scripture for its purpose, but it even interprets Scripture as a witness for itself. The Bible is a fearful thing in the ego’s judgement. Perceiving it as frightening, it interprets it fearfully. Being afraid, you do not appeal to the Higher Court because you believe its judgement would also be against you.
There are many examples of how the ego’s interpretations are misleading, but a few will suffice to show how the Holy Spirit can reinterpret them in His Own Light.
‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap’ He interprets to mean what you consider worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself. Your judgement of what is worthy makes it worthy for you.
‘Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord’ is easily reinterpreted if you remember that ideas increase only by being shared. The statement emphasises that vengeance cannot be shared. Give it therefore to the Holy Spirit, Who will undo it in you because it does not belong in your mind, which is part of God.
‘I will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation’, as interpreted by the ego, is particularly vicious. It becomes merely an attempt to guarantee the ego’s own survival. To the Holy Spirit, the statement means that in later generations He can still reinterpret what former generations had misunderstood, and thus release the thoughts from the ability to produce fear.
‘The wicked shall perish’ becomes a statement of Atonement, if the word ‘perish’ is understood as ‘be undone’. Every loveless thought must be undone, a word the ego cannot even understand. To the ego, to be undone means to be destroyed. The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will be reinterpreted to release you from fear. The part of your mind that you have given to the ego will merely return to the Kingdom, where your whole mind belongs. You can delay the completion of the Kingdom, but you cannot introduce the concept of fear into it.
You need not fear the Higher Court will condemn you. It will merely dismiss the case against you. There can be no case against a child of God, and every witness to guilt in God’s creations is bearing false witness to God Himself. Appeal everything you believe gladly to God’s Own Higher Court, because it speaks for Him and therefore speaks truly. It will dismiss the case against you, however carefully you have built it up. The case may be fool-proof, but it is not God-proof. The Holy Spirit will not hear it, because He can only witness truly. His verdict will always be ‘thine is the Kingdom,’ because He was given to you to remind you of what you are.
When I said ‘I am come as a light into the world’, I meant that I came to share the light with you. Remember my reference to the ego’s dark glass, and remember also that I said, ‘Do not look there’. It is still true that where you look to find yourself is up to you. Your patience with your brother is your patience with yourself. Is not a child of God worth patience? I have shown you infinite patience because my will is that of our Father, from Whom I learned of infinite patience. His Voice was in me as It is in you, speaking for patience towards the Sonship in the Name of Its Creator.
Now you must learn that only infinite patience produces immediate effects. This is the way in which time is exchanged for eternity. Infinite patience calls upon infinite love, and by producing results now it renders time unnecessary. We have repeatedly said that time is a learning device to be abolished when it is no longer useful. The Holy Spirit, who speaks for God in time, also knows that time is meaningless. He reminds you of this in every passing moment of time, because it is His special function to return you to eternity and remain to bless your creations there. He is the only blessing you can truly give, because He is truly blessed. Because He has been given you freely by God, you must give Him as you received Him.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 4
God is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him.
Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge. Yet He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge. Without this link with God, perception would have replaced knowledge forever in your mind. With this link with God, perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge. That is its function as the Holy Spirit sees it. Therefore, that is its function in truth.
In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God, and does not exist. Yet in salvation, which is the undoing of what never was, perception has a mighty purpose. Made by the Son of God for an unholy purpose, it must become the means for the restoration of his holiness to his awareness. Perception has no meaning. Yet does the Holy Spirit give it a meaning very close to God’s. Healed perception becomes the means by which the Son of God forgives his brother, and thus forgives himself.
You cannot see apart from God because you cannot be apart from God. Whatever you do you do in Him, because whatever you think, you think with His Mind. If vision is real, and it is real to the extent to which it shares the Holy Spirit’s purpose, then you cannot see apart from God.
Three five-minute practice periods are required today, one as early and one as late as possible in the day. The third may be undertaken at the most convenient and suitable time that circumstances and readiness permit. At the beginning of these practice periods, repeat the idea for today to yourself with eyes open. Then glance around you for a short time, applying the idea specifically to what you see. Four or five subjects for this phase of the practice period are sufficient. You might say, for example:
God is my Source. I cannot see this desk apart from Him.
God is my Source. I cannot see that picture apart from Him.
Although this part of the exercise period should be relatively short, be sure that you select the subjects for this phase of practice indiscriminately, without self-directed inclusion or exclusion. For the second and longer phase, close your eyes, repeat today’s idea again, and then let whatever relevant thoughts occur to you add to the idea in your own personal way. Thoughts such as:
I see through the eyes of forgiveness.
I see the world as blessed.
The world can show me myself.
I see my own thoughts, which are like God’s.
Any thought related more or less directly to today’s idea is suitable. The thoughts need not bear any obvious relationship to the idea, but they should not be in opposition to it.
If you find your mind wandering; if you begin to be aware of thoughts which are clearly out of accord with today’s idea, or if you seem to be unable to think of anything, open your eyes, repeat the first phase of the exercise period, and then attempt the second phase again. Do not allow any protracted period to occur in which you become preoccupied with irrelevant thoughts. Return to the first phase of the exercises as often as necessary to prevent this.
In applying today’s idea in the shorter practice periods, the form may vary according to the circumstances and situations in which you find yourself during the day. When you are with someone else, for example, try to remember to tell him silently:
God is my Source. I cannot see you apart from Him.
This form is equally applicable to strangers as it is to those you think are closer to you. In fact, try not to make distinctions of this kind at all.
Today’s idea should also be applied throughout the day to various situations and events that may occur, particularly to those which seem to distress you in any way. For this purpose, apply the idea in this form:
God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him.
If no particular subject presents itself to your awareness at the time, merely repeat the idea in its original form. Try today not to allow any long periods of time to slip by without remembering today’s idea, and thus remembering your function.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #354: It is my understanding that the ego is nothing more than an erroneous thought system, and is in actuality dead. I see it as a cast aside useless balloon that we choose to pick up, infuse it with the life of our magnificent minds and give it instructions to play havoc with our lives, bodies, relationships and circumstances. Is my assessment of the ego, and our total responsibility for its employment in our affairs correct and in keeping with the teachings of A Course in Miracles?
A: Yes, your assessment is very much in keeping with the Course’s teachings. It is very simple, not complicated at all. As Kenneth once said: we keep betting on a horse that dropped dead at the starting gate. The problem is that we have constructed many layers of defenses to prevent ourselves from ever getting to this point of clarity, and especially of remembering that there is an alternative for us to choose. A major thrust of the Course, therefore, is to help us identify the nature of those defenses and how they operate in our lives. The purpose of our choosing the ego thought system is also a key consideration; and that purpose, of course, is so that we can have our own special lives, apart from perfect oneness. “By definition, an illusion is an attempt to make something real that is regarded as of major importance, but is recognized as being untrue. The mind therefore seeks to make it true out of its intensity of desire to have it for itself. Illusions are travesties of creation; attempts to bring truth to lies. Finding truth unacceptable, the mind revolts against truth and gives itself an illusion of victory” (M.8.2:3,4,5,6).
Knowing intellectually that it is erroneous and totally illusory is a major step; but the integration of that understanding into our experience is where the hard work comes in, because integral to this thought system that we have allowed to program our thinking and behavior is the terrifying threat of annihilation if we change our minds about its validity and then choose a different thought system. That is why we need to develop a relationship with an internal Teacher who stands outside that entire thought system and who sees us as we truly are. That is why there is A Course in Miracles.
Q #355: I have been a devoted student of A Course in Miracles (as well as Ken Wapnick) for the past 10 years; I truly try to live my life by its principles. For the past 4-5 years I have been living in what I can only describe as “mental hell”. My mind is constantly filled with terror, a fear of impending doom and extreme anxiety. Since my external world is relatively problem-free, I do not even have anything onto which to project this terror. How do I deal with living in this “circle of fear”?
A: The terror, when it has us in its grip, can seem almost palpable. And it is in the ego’s complete self-interest to convince us that the terror is inescapable, no matter what we may know intellectually about its origins and the process of release. Not to underestimate or minimize the intensity of what has been your experience for the past four or five years, but the ego would prefer nothing more than to have you believe that terror has been your onlyexperience. In other words, the ego is invested in the denial of any right-minded experiences you may have been having during this seemingly bleak period. Discouragement and despair are just as effective weapons in the ego’s arsenal as anger and hate, for they are all simply various forms of the same underlying content of guilt, screeching that the separation is real.
While it is certainly true that our responsibility is to uncover and acknowledge the darkness within our minds so it can be released, that does not mean we should overlook or negate the experiences of light that offer the correction for the darkness, brief as they may at times seem. Do not deny them, for it is in their acknowledgment that the lifeline to peace is reinforced in your awareness. It may at first seem like the most fragile thread, barely to be trusted to bear the weight of your heavy guilt as you try to climb out of your self-imposed quagmire. But as you recognize and accept those fleeting episodes of peace, the thread becomes a string, the string a cord, the cord a rope, and the rope a ladder of forgiveness that you can climb, confidently and sure-footedly, one step at a time, until you reach the top, rising above the “circle of fear,” the quicksand of guilt, and the abyss of despair. And never forget the gentle hand that is always outstretched to help you with each step, for this is a climb you need not make on your own, nor can you. And that hand may come in a form you least expect, as a brother who offers you another opportunity to remember the truth about the both of you.
You do not indicate that the anxiety and terror are so disabling that they disrupt your functioning in the world. Nevertheless, there is nothing in the Course that says you should not seek help from outside yourself, in the form of a kind and supportive therapist who can help you uncover any of the symbols of terror that are buried in your mind, still exerting a strong unconscious effect on your recognition that you deserve to be happy and at peace. The journey is not an easy one through the heart of darkness, but your vigilance and perseverance will be paid off increasingly in a light-heartedness that will surprise you. You need only be open to it and it willbe yours. Do not forget that although patience may be a characteristic of an advanced teacher of God (M.4.VIII), it nevertheless is a quality we can all begin to acquire now.