ACIM Text Reading for March 17
Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom
IV. Healing as the Recognition of Truth
Truth can only be recognised and need only be recognised. Inspiration is of the Holy Spirit, and certainty is of God according to His laws. Both, therefore, come from the same Source, since inspiration comes from the Voice for God and certainty comes from the laws of, God. Healing does not come directly from God, Who knows His creations as perfectly whole. Yet healing is still of God, because it proceeds from His Voice and from His laws. It is their result, in a state of mind that does not know Him. The state is unknown to Him and therefore does not exist, but those who sleep are unaware. Because they are unaware, they do not know.
The Holy Spirit must work through you to teach you He is in you. This is an intermediary step toward the knowledge that you are in God because you are part of Him. The miracles the Holy Spirit inspires can have no order of difficulty, because every part of creation is of one order. This is God’s Will and yours. The laws of God establish this, and the Holy Spirit reminds you of it. When you heal, you are remembering the laws of God and forgetting the laws of the ego. I said before that forgetting is merely a way of remembering better. It is therefore not the opposite of remembering when it is properly perceived. Perceived improperly, it induces a perception of conflict with something else, as all incorrect perception does. Properly perceived, it can be used as a way out of conflict, as all proper perception can.
The ego does not want to teach everyone all it has learned, because that would defeat its purpose. Therefore it does not really learn at all. The Holy Spirit teaches you to use what the ego has made, to teach the opposite of what the ego has ‘learned’. The kind of learning is as irrelevant as is the particular ability that was applied to the learning. All you need do is make the effort to learn, for the Holy Spirit has a unified goal for the effort. If different abilities are applied long enough to one goal, the abilities themselves become unified. This is because they are channelised in one direction, or in one way. Ultimately, then, they all contribute to one result, and by so doing, their similarity rather than their differences is emphasised.
All abilities should therefore be given over to the Holy Spirit, Who understands how to use them properly. He uses them only for healing, because He knows you only as whole. By healing you learn of wholeness, and by learning of wholeness you learn to remember God. You have forgotten Him, but the Holy Spirit understands that your forgetting must be translated into a way of remembering.
The ego’s goal is as unified as the Holy Spirit’s, and it is because of this that their goals can never be reconciled in any way or to any extent. The ego always seeks to divide and separate. The Holy Spirit always seeks to unify and heal. As you heal you are healed, because the Holy Spirit sees no order of difficulty in healing. Healing is the way to undo the belief in differences, being the only way of perceiving the Sonship as one. This perception is therefore in accord with the laws of God, even in a state of mind that is out of accord with His. The strength of right perception is so great that it brings the mind into accord with His, because it serves His Voice, Which is in all of you.
To think you can oppose the Will of God is a real delusion. The ego believes that it can, and that it can offer you its own ‘will’ as a gift. You do not want it. It is not a gift. It is nothing at all. God has given you a gift that you both have and are. When you do not use it, you forget that you have it. By not remembering it, you do not know what you are. Healing, then, is a way of approaching knowledge by thinking in accordance with the laws of God, and recognising their universality. Without this recognition, you have made the laws meaningless to you. Yet the laws are not meaningless, since all meaning is contained by them and in them.
Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, because that is where the laws of God operate truly, and they can operate only truly because they are the laws of truth. But seek this only, because you can find nothing else. There isnothing else. God is All in all in a very literal sense. All being is in Him Who is all Being. You are therefore in Him since your being is His. Healing is a way of forgetting the sense of danger the ego has induced in you, by not recognising its existence in your brother. This strengthens the Holy Spirit in both of you, because it is a refusal to acknowledge fear. Love needs only this invitation. It comes freely to all the Sonship, being what the Sonship is. By your awakening to it, you are merely forgetting what you are not. This enables you to remember what you are.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 17
Our review for today covers the following:
(26) My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.
How can I know who I am when I see myself as under constant attack? Pain, illness, loss, age and death seem to threaten me. All my hopes and wishes and plans appear to be at the mercy of a world I cannot control. Yet perfect security and complete fulfillment are my inheritance. I have tried to give my inheritance away in exchange for the world I see. But God has kept my inheritance safe for me. My own real thoughts will teach me what it is.
(27) Above all else I want to see.
Recognizing that what I see reflects what I think I am, I realize that vision is my greatest need. The world I see attests to the fearful nature of the self-image I have made. If I would remember who I am, it is essential that I let this image of myself go. As it is replaced by truth, vision will surely be given me. And with this vision, I will look upon the world and on myself with charity and love.
(28) Above all else I want to see differently.
The world I see holds my fearful self-image in place, and guarantees its continuance. While I see the world as I see it now, truth cannot enter my awareness. I would let the door behind this world be opened for me, that I may look past it to the world that reflects the Love of God.
(29) God is in everything I see.
Behind every image I have made, the truth remains unchanged. Behind every veil I have drawn across the face of love, its light remains undimmed. Beyond all my insane wishes is my will, united with the Will of my Father. God is still everywhere and in everything forever. And we who are part of Him will yet look past all appearances, and recognize the truth beyond them all.
(30) God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.
In my own mind, behind all my insane thoughts of separation and attack, is the knowledge that all is one forever. I have not lost the knowledge of Who I am because I have forgotten it. It has been kept for me in the Mind of God, Who has not left His Thoughts. And I, who am among them, am one with them and one with Him.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #334: One the most common questions students of A Course in Miracles ask is about forgiving Jesus. For many of us it’s a lifetime challenge to forgive ourselves for every dark thought that, still uncovered, rules our mind. So, how would you best encourage us to forgive Jesus?
A: We must clarify first of all that your question implies that the Course asks us to forgive the negative thoughts we have, i.e., “dark thoughts,” as opposed to other “good thoughts.” This would mean that we have some unacceptable thoughts that are “sinful” and need to be forgiven in the traditional sense. This is not the meaning the Course gives to forgiveness. What the Course asks us to do is to uncover all our “dark thoughts,” meaning any thought that has the one thought of separation as its source. This basically means any ego thought about anything. These thoughts have our specialness at their root — the same specialness that we bring to our relationship with Jesus, and it is this that needs to be forgiven, not because it is a sin, but because it makes the separation real. The specific form the specialness takes may vary, but in the end it is always based on the belief that Jesus (and everyone else, for that matter) is separate from us, and in Jesus’ case, he is not only separate but “better” than us.
Just as in all our relationships, our relationship with Jesus is marked by the dynamics that inevitably follow our choice to identify with the ego thought system. One of these is the belief that for someone to gain someone else must lose: “All choices in the world depend on this; you choose between your brother (including Jesus) and yourself, and you will gain as much as he will lose, and what you lose is what is given him” (T.31.IV.8:4). This is referred to as the scarcity principle. Some very common thoughts about Jesus are based on this principle, i.e., if Jesus has something we don’t have, such as holiness, Atonement, etc., it must be because he stole it from us, and we hate him for it. This often takes the form of believing that Jesus has a special place of privilege in the Sonship, and so God must love him more than He loves the rest of us. What he has can never be ours. Most of us share this believe, yet it is in direct opposition to what Jesus is teaching us in the Course: “There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God. The difference between us now is that I have nothing else” (T.1.II.3:10,11,12). Our forgiveness of Jesus lies in learning this, as does the goal of the Course. It is not that we lack anything that he has, it is that we have given ourselves the burden of all our thoughts and judgments against him, which also means against ourselves. We are asked to learn that we, with Jesus, are the innocent Son of the Father. Our practice of forgiving Jesus then, begins with the uncovering of all the hidden thoughts and beliefs we have that separate us from him, making him and us special. This is how we do what he asks: “Forgive me your illusions, and release me from punishment for what I have not done” (T.19.IV.B.8:1). Our thoughts and beliefs about him are our illusions, made up for the purpose of making the separation real and proving we are right about who we are, and God is wrong. What Jesus did not do is make himself separate from us, nor does he share our mistaken belief about ourselves. He is forgiven, therefore, as we learn the truth about ourselves.
Q #335: When I have unkind and attacking thoughts and do not immediately catch them, is it necessary that I recall those thoughts in detail before I can release them to the Holy Spirit or Jesus to cleanse and reinterpret them for me? Most of the time, I realize only afterwards that my thoughts were unkind and I cannot remember the specific thoughts anymore. So I tell the Holy Spirit or Jesus that those thoughts reflect a goal that prevents me from accepting my true function. This approach has given me a tool that I can generalize to almost all the selfish, ego-based thoughts I have most of the time. They all seem to pass rapidly by and sometimes I just put them all in one bunch and offer them. Can you help me here?
A: In the end, it does not really matter what specific form our attack thoughts take. It is their purpose, or goal, that we are concerned about, and that purpose is always to reinforce our own guilt and sense of separation. And so it is the purpose in our mind and not the particular thoughts and words and actions we’ve employed for that purpose that we want to be in touch with.
However, before we can reach that level of generalization of our lessons, it is important that we not skip over any of the specific steps that lead us to the recognition of the sameness of all of our ego judgments. And so you would want to ask yourself as honestly as you can whether your difficulty in remembering the specifics may be the result of a sense of fear and guilt about those thoughts that is saying to you, “Don’t look! These judgments and attack thoughts are too awful to look at. Just accept that you’ve sinned and then get rid of it by offering the heavy burden to Jesus or the Holy Spirit.” This is not quite what Jesus is asking us to do (T.13.III.1:1,2)! But only you can answer for yourself whether it is your own fear that is keeping the specific thoughts out of your awareness.
Now if this is in fact the case, you don’t want to make a big deal about it. So you’re afraid, but who isn’t? All you want to do then is to begin to develop a willingness to look at your ego and perhaps at first begin to remember how it has trapped you in its shenanigans in your recent past. And over time, with practice, you will learn to recognize your choice for the ego while you’re in the middle of it. The value of this is that you will then know you have a different choice in the moment when you’ve chosen to identify with your ego and you won’t have to prolong the suffering and pain that accompanies identifying with your ego. So don’t try to force anything or make yourself remember, but simply offer that little willingness to look at your ego together with Jesus or the Holy Spirit (T.12.II.10) so that you can see its nothingness.