ACIM Text Reading for March 9
Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love
III. The Relinquishment of Attack
As we have already emphasised, every idea begins in the mind of the thinker. Therefore, what extends from the mind is still in it, and from what it extends it knows itself. The word ‘knows’ is correct here, because the Holy Spirit still holds knowledge safe in your mind through His impartial perception. By attacking nothing, He presents no barrier to the communication of God. Therefore, being is never threatened. Your Godlike mind can never be defiled. The ego never was and never will be part of it, but through the ego you can hear and teach and learn what is not true. You have taught yourself to believe that you are not what you are. You cannot teach what you have not learned, and what you teach you strengthen in yourself because you are sharing it. Every lesson you teach you are learning.
That is why you must teach only one lesson. If you are to be conflict-free yourself, you must learn only from the Holy Spirit and teach only by Him. You are only love, but when you deny this, you make what you are something you must learn to remember. I said before that the message of the crucifixion was, ‘Teach only love, for that is what you are’. This is the one lesson that is perfectly unified, because it is the only lesson that is one. Only by teaching it can you learn it. ‘As you teach so will you learn’. If that is true, and it is true indeed, do not forget that what you teach is teaching you. And what you project or extend you believe.
The only safety lies in extending the Holy Spirit, because as you see His gentleness in others your own mind perceives itself as totally harmless. Once it can accept this fully, it sees no need to protect itself. The protection of God then dawns upon it, assuring it that it is perfectly safe forever. The perfectly safe are wholly benign. They bless because they know that they are blessed. Without anxiety the mind is wholly kind, and because it extends beneficence it is beneficent. Safety is the complete relinquishment of attack. No compromise is possible in this. Teach attack in any form and you have learned it, and it will hurt you. Yet this learning is not immortal, and you can unlearn it by not teaching it.
Since you cannot not teach, your salvation lies in teaching the exact opposite of everything the ego believes. This is how you will learn the truth that will set you free, and will keep you free as others learn it of you. The only way to have peace is to teach peace. By teaching peace you must learn it yourself, because you cannot teach what you still dissociate. Only thus can you win back the knowledge that you threw away. An idea that you share you must have. It awakens in your mind through the conviction of teaching it. Everything you teach you are learning. Teach only love, and learn that love is yours and you are love.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 9
There is nothing to fear.
The idea for today simply states a fact. It is not a fact to those who believe in illusions, but illusions are not facts. In truth there is nothing to fear. It is very easy to recognize this. But it is very difficult to recognize it for those who want illusions to be true.
Today’s practice periods will be very short, very simple and very frequent. Merely repeat the idea as often as possible. You can use it with your eyes open at any time and in any situation. It is strongly recommended, however, that you take a minute or so whenever possible to close your eyes and repeat the idea slowly to yourself several times. It is particularly important that you use the idea immediately, should anything disturb your peace of mind.
The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God, and let His strength take the place of your weakness. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #878: Ever since starting to practice the workbook more seriously I seem to have become increasingly more aggressive, outspoken in situations where I should keep my mouth shut, unable to put my thoughts together properly, especially in written form, and all kinds of other “horrible” if not even frightening things for the ego. Is this a normal process of “breaking loose” and could you advise on how to proceed with the workbook to make the process more smooth and less hurting to other people? Frankly speaking, since A Course in Miracles arrived in my life “hell broke loose” so to speak, although I can laugh about it every now and then. But this leaves me somewhat puzzled, annoyed and frankly speaking helpless. Could you advise?
A: Something must be working, since it sounds like the lid that concealed the ego’s can of worms is off. Although it is frightening, it is a good thing, because healing cannot occur if the sickness is denied or concealed. Having made a decision to study the workbook more seriously means you have chosen the Holy Spirit as your Teacher, which is the most loving thing you could do for yourself and everyone else. It is also the most terrifying thing for the ego. Therein lies the explanation for all hell breaking loose. The choice for the Holy Spirit is a choice for the ego’s undoing, which means hell is indeed breaking loose. Jesus describes this dynamic in the text: “The ego is deceived by everything you do, especially when you respond to the Holy Spirit, because at such times its confusion increases. The ego is, therefore, particularly likely to attack you when you react lovingly, because it has evaluated you as unloving and you are going against its judgment. The ego will attack your motives as soon as they become clearly out of accord with its perception of you. This is when it will shift abruptly from suspiciousness to viciousness, since its uncertainty is increased” (T.9.VII.4:4,5,6,7). The ego knows it is no longer ruling at the head of the class and naturally feels threatened. Thus, the part of you that identifies with the ego feels threatened and is striking out. Although the ego does not have the power to truly hurt anyone, your aggressions against others have the unhappy result of adding to your discomfort and increasing guilt. This is not the purpose of the workbook, nor the goal of your decision to practice it more seriously. While it is not necessary to change your behavior, understanding the ego’s confusion and revolt takes some of the heat off, and may lessen the impulse to attack. More importantly, appreciating the significance of having chosen the Holy Spirit takes the focus off the attack behavior that has ensued. Seen in this light, the ego’s reaction is not such a big deal, which will probably make you feel better and attack less.
An appreciation of the intensity of the ego’s resistance also helps keep a clear perspective on the process. Earlier in chapter 9, Jesus tells us: “The ego believes that all functions belong to it, even though it has no idea what they are. This is more than mere confusion. It is a particularly dangerous combination of grandiosity and confusion that makes the ego likely to attack anyone and anything for no reason at all. This is exactly what the ego does. It is unpredictable in its responses, because it has no idea of what it perceives” (T.9.IV.7:2,3,4,5,6). No wonder practicing the workbook seriously sends the ego into a tizzy. Obviously, Jesus knows the full intensity of his students’ fear and resistance, which is why the lessons proceed gently, one day and one small step at a time. For good reason we are told: “Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality. Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition” (T.16VI.8:1,2).
The urge to attack can be viewed as a reminder of the decision you have made to choose the Holy Spirit, with the ego responding as “…a frightened mouse that would attack the universe” (T.22.V.4:3). It is then your choice whose guidance you will follow. Be grateful when you choose the Holy Spirit, and forgive yourself when you decide to be a roaring mouse.