ACIM Text Reading for March 15
Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom
III. The Reality of the Kingdom
The Holy Spirit teaches one lesson, and applies it to all individuals in all situations. Being conflict-free, He maximises all efforts and all results. By teaching the power of the Kingdom of God Himself, He teaches you that all power is yours. Its application does not matter. It is always maximal. Your vigilance does not establish it as yours, but it does enable you to use it always and in all ways. When I said ‘I am with you always’, I meant it literally. I am not absent to anyone in any situation, Because I am always with you, you are the way, the truth and the life. You did not make this power, any more than I did. It was created to be shared, and therefore cannot be meaningfully perceived as belonging to anyone at the expense of another. Such a perception makes it meaningless by eliminating or overlooking its real and only meaning.
God’s meaning waits in the Kingdom, because that is where He placed it. It does not wait in time. It merely rests in the Kingdom because it belongs there, as you do. How can you who are God’s meaning perceive yourself as absent from it? You can see yourself as separated from your meaning only by experiencing yourself as unreal. This is why the ego is insane; it teaches that you are not what you are. That is so contradictory it is clearly impossible. It is therefore a lesson you cannot really learn, and therefore cannot really teach. Yet you are always teaching. You must, therefore, be teaching something else, even though the ego does not know what it is. The ego, then, is always being undone, and does suspect your motives. Your mind cannot be unified in allegiance to the ego, because the mind does not belong to it. Yet what is ‘treacherous’ to the ego is faithful to peace. The ego’s ‘enemy’ is therefore your friend.
I said before that the ego’s friend is not part of you, because the ego perceives itself at war and therefore in need of allies. You who are not at war must look for brothers and recognise all whom you see as brothers, because only equals are at peace. Because God’s equal Sons have everything, they cannot compete. Yet if they perceive any of their brothers as anything other than their perfect equals, the idea of competition has entered their minds. Do not underestimate your need to be vigilant against this idea, because all your conflicts come from it. It is the belief that conflicting interests are possible, and therefore you have accepted the impossible as true. Is that different from saying you perceive yourself as unreal?
To be in the Kingdom is merely to focus your full attention on it. As long as you believe you can attend to what is not true, you are accepting conflict as your choice. Is it really a choice? It seems to be, but seeming and reality are hardly the same. You who are the Kingdom are not concerned with seeming. Reality is yours because you are reality. This is how having and being are ultimately reconciled, not in the Kingdom, but in your mind. The altar there is the only reality. The altar is perfectly clear in thought, because it is a reflection of perfect Thought. Your right mind sees only brothers, because it sees only in its own light.
God has lit your mind Himself, and keeps your mind lit by His Light because His Light is what your mind is. This is totally beyond question, and when you question it you are answered. The Answer merely undoes the question by establishing the fact that to question reality is to question meaninglessly. That is why the Holy Spirit never questions. His sole function is to undo the questionable and thus lead to certainty. The certain are perfectly calm, because they are not in doubt. They do not raise questions, because nothing questionable enters their minds. This holds them in perfect serenity, because this is what they share, knowing what they are.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 15
Today’s review includes the following:
(21) I am determined to see things differently.
What I see now are but signs of disease, disaster and death. This cannot be what God created for His beloved Son. The very fact that I see such things is proof that I do not understand God. Therefore I also do not understand His Son. What I see tells me that I do not know who I am. I am determined to see the witnesses to the truth in me, rather than those which show me an illusion of myself.
(22) What I see is a form of vengeance.
The world I see is hardly the representation of loving thoughts. It is a picture of attack on everything by everything. It is anything but a reflection of the Love of God and the Love of His Son. It is my own attack thoughts that give rise to this picture. My loving thoughts will save me from this perception of the world, and give me the peace God intended me to have.
(23) I can escape from this world by giving up attack thoughts.
Herein lies salvation, and nowhere else. Without attack thoughts I could not see a world of attack. As forgiveness allows love to return to my awareness, I will see a world of peace and safety and joy. And it is this I choose to see, in place of what I look on now.
(24) I do not perceive my own best interests.
How could I recognize my own best interests when I do not know who I am? What I think are my best interests would merely bind me closer to the world of illusions. I am willing to follow the Guide God has given me to find out what my own best interests are, recognizing that I cannot perceive them by myself.
(25) I do not know what anything is for.
To me, the purpose of everything is to prove that my illusions about myself are real. It is for this purpose that I attempt to use everyone and everything. It is for this that I believe the world is for. Therefore I do not recognize its real purpose. The purpose I have given the world has led to a frightening picture of it. Let me open my mind to the world’s real purpose by withdrawing the one I have given it, and learning the truth about it.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: Question #203 discussed the topic of competition. Competition permeates every aspect of our lives in this world because that is the ego’s DNA, you might say. “The ego literally lives by comparisons” (T.4.II.7:1). Its very existence is rooted in the competition for ultimate authority over life, and it senses itself always in constant competition with a rival force that is determined to defeat it. As fragments of the ego, we thus share in those properties. The world that emerged from the ego is inherently a world of competition, comparison, and conquest (M.8.1). It is fairly common to hear people say that they thrive on competition and would find life pretty boring without it. As “offspring” of the ego, how could it be otherwise, unless we are aware of “another way”?
Purpose is one of the most important concepts in the Course. Our lives can serve either the purpose of the ego or the purpose of the Holy Spirit. There are no other choices for us to make. If we choose to share the Holy Spirit’s perception of ourselves and everyone else, we will be focused on seeing our interests and needs as the same as everyone else’s. That would allow us to carry out our roles conscientiously and competently — as an athlete, business person, speaker, etc. — but without ego-based motivations. We thus can learn how to compete without being vicious or cruel or intent solely on destroying the other person, team, or company. The world is set up so that one team/business wins and the other loses, but that does not have to be our focus or motivation, or the reason for our happiness or unhappiness.
We can always ask Jesus for help to identify how we support the ego’s thought system of divisiveness and kill-or-be-killed. We can become aware of how we delight in watching another individual, team, or company go down to defeat, for example. Then we can bring those thoughts and feelings to the love of Jesus in our minds, understand where they come from, and then choose to follow him instead of the ego. We can then go back into the same situation, but with a new motivation.
It is interesting to note that our effectiveness in our roles often is enhanced when we let go of the ego’s thirst for victory at the cost of another’s defeat. The guilt-attack cycle that is the inevitable consequence of following the ego’s kill-or-be-killed approach is a tremendous mental and emotional burden that affects all of our perceptions and judgments. Objectivity is impossible when our minds are caught up in those dynamics. When we are free of that burden, we often function more effectively. Thus you can be skillful and mentally keen in a business deal or on a basketball court, for instance, while at the same time the intent in your mind is recognizing the meaninglessness of all that seems to separate you from the person on the other side of the desk or the other team. The Holy Spirit can use all of our skills — made originally to act out the ego thought system — to teach us about the oneness we share with each other.
The following teaching of Jesus can be helpful in redirecting our motivation before we engage in activities that, in form, are competitive.
I said before that the ego’s friend is not part of you, because the ego perceives itself at war and therefore in need of allies. You who are not at war must look for brothers and recognize all whom you see as brothers, because only equals are at peace. Because God’s equal Sons have everything, they cannot compete. Yet if they perceive any of their brothers as anything other than their perfect equals, the idea of competition has entered their minds. Do not underestimate your need to be vigilant against this idea, because all your conflicts come from it. It is the belief that conflicting interests are possible, and therefore you have accepted the impossible as true. Is that different from saying you perceive yourself as unreal? (T.7.III.4)