ACIM Text Reading for March 21
Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom
VIII. The Unbelievable Belief
We have said that without projection there can be no anger, but it is also true that without extension there can be no love. These reflect a fundamental law of the mind, and therefore one that always operates. It is the law by which you create and were created. It is the law that unifies the Kingdom, and keeps it in the Mind of God. To the ego, the law is perceived as a means of getting rid of something it does not want. To the Holy Spirit, it is the fundamental law of sharing, by which you give what you value in order to keep it in your mind. To the Holy Spirit it is the law of extension. To the ego it is the law of deprivation. It therefore produces abundance or scarcity, depending on how you choose to apply it. This choice is up to you, but it is not up to you to decide whether or not you will utilise the law. Every mind must project or extend, because that is how it lives, and every mind is life.
The ego’s use of projection must be fully understood before the inevitable association between projection and anger can be finally undone. The ego always tries to preserve conflict. It is very ingenious in devising ways that seem to diminish conflict, because it does not want you to find conflict so intolerable that you will insist on giving it up. The ego therefore tries to persuade you that it can free you of conflict, lest you give the ego up and free yourself. Using its own warped version of the laws of God, the ego utilises the power of the mind only to defeat the mind’s real purpose. It projects conflict from your mind to other minds, in an attempt to persuade you that you have gotten rid of the problem.
There are two major errors involved in this attempt. First, strictly speaking, conflict cannot be projected because it cannot be shared. Any attempt to keep part of it and get rid of another part does not really mean anything. Remember that a conflicted teacher is a poor teacher and a poor learner. His lessons are confused, and their transfer value is limited by his confusion. The second error is the idea that you can get rid of something you do not want by giving it away. Giving it is how you keep it. The belief that by seeing it outside you have excluded it from within is a complete distortion of the power of extension. That is why those who project are vigilant for their own safety. They are afraid that their projections will return and hurt them. Believing they have blotted their projections from their own minds, they also believe their projections are trying to creep back in. Since the projections have not left their minds, they are forced to engage in constant activity in order not to recognise this.
You cannot perpetuate an illusion about another without perpetuating it about yourself. There is no way out of this, because it is impossible to fragment the mind. To fragment is to break into pieces, and mind cannot attack or be attacked. The belief that it can, an error the ego always makes, underlies its whole use of projection. It does not understand what mind is, and therefore does not understand what you are. Yet its existence is dependent on your mind, because the ego is your belief. The ego is a confusion in identification. Never having had a consistent model, it never developed consistently. It is the product of the misapplication of the laws of God by distorted minds that are misusing their power.
Do not be afraid of the ego. It depends on your mind, and as you made it by believing in it, so you can dispel it by withdrawing belief from it. Do not project the responsibility for your belief in it onto anyone else, or you will preserve the belief. When you are willing to accept sole responsibility for the ego’s existence you will have laid aside all anger and all attack, because they come from an attempt to project responsibility for your own errors. But having accepted the errors as yours, do not keep them. Give them over quickly to the Holy Spirit to be undone completely, so that all their effects will vanish from your mind and from the Sonship as a whole.
The Holy Spirit will teach you to perceive beyond your belief, because truth is beyond belief and His perception is true. The ego can be completely forgotten at any time, because it is a totally incredible belief, and no one can keep a belief he has judged to be unbelievable. The more you learn about the ego, the more you realise that it cannot be believed. The incredible cannot be understood because it is unbelievable. The meaninglessness of perception based on the unbelievable is apparent, but it may not be recognised as being beyond belief, because it is made by belief.
The whole purpose of this course is to teach you that the ego is unbelievable and will forever be unbelievable. You who made the ego by believing the unbelievable cannot make this judgement alone. By accepting the Atonement for yourself, you are deciding against the belief that you can be alone, thus dispelling the idea of separation and affirming your true identification with the whole Kingdom as literally part of you. This identification is as beyond doubt as it is beyond belief. Your wholeness has no limits because being is infinity.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 21
These ideas are for today’s review:
(46) God is the Love in which I forgive.
God does not forgive because He has never condemned. The blameless cannot blame, and those who have accepted their innocence see nothing to forgive. Yet forgiveness is the means by which I will recognize my innocence. It is the reflection of God’s Love on earth. It will bring me near enough to Heaven that the Love of God can reach down to me and raise me up to Him.
(47) God is the strength in which I trust.
It is not my own strength through which I forgive. It is through the strength of God in me, which I am remembering as I forgive. As I begin to see, I recognize His reflection on earth. I forgive all things because I feel the stirring of His strength in me. And I begin to remember the Love I chose to forget, but which has not forgotten me.
(48) There is nothing to fear.
How safe the world will look to me when I can see it! It will not look anything like what I imagine I see now. Everyone and everything I see will lean toward me to bless me. I will recognize in everyone my dearest Friend. What could there be to fear in a world that I have forgiven, and that has forgiven me?
(49) God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.
There is not a moment in which God’s Voice ceases to call on my forgiveness to save me. There is not a moment in which His Voice fails to direct my thoughts, guide my actions and lead my feet. I am walking steadily on toward truth. There is nowhere else I can go, because God’s Voice is the only Voice and the only Guide that has been given to His Son.
(50) I am sustained by the Love of God.
As I listen to God’s Voice, I am sustained by His Love. As I open my eyes, His Love lights up the world for me to see. As I forgive, His Love reminds me that His Son is sinless. And as I look upon the world with the vision He has given me, I remember that I am His Son.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: Our creations exist only on the level of spirit. They are not things or beings, and are not part of the illusory world of form. The term is used in the Course to refer to the love that is present in the mind of the Sonship. Our creations are the loving thoughts in the Christ Mind. The term is used as a symbol to help us understand that in truth we are the Father’s creation, and like Him we “create” by the Thoughts of love that extend throughout the Sonship and return to the Father. They are “the extensions of our spirit…as extensions of Christ, our creations are part of the Second Person of the Trinity; creation is ongoing in Heaven, beyond time and space, and independent of the son’s lack of awareness of it in the world” (Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles, Kenneth Wapnick). When we fully let go of our ego identity, and accept who we really are as God created us, we will know and accept our creations. This occurs outside of the dream, where we are at home in God. That is where we find our creations. The Course uses this beautiful image to encourage us to seek our truth; “Heaven waits silently, and your creations are holding out their hands to help you cross and welcome them. For it is they you seek. You seek but for your own completion, and it is they who render you complete…Acceptance of your creations is the acceptance of the Oneness of creation, without which you could never be complete” (T.16.IV.8:1,2,3,6).
Q #104: A question about “to forgive” or “to give over.” I am studying A Course in Miracles in German, my native tongue, but am also using the English version as a cross reference. An identical semantic problem arises in both German and English. In the Text I found three places where Jesus is using “to give over” instead of “to forgive.” They are T.3.VI.9.1; T.13.VII.6.6 and T.15.IV.4.2.
I have been studying the Course for nearly 10 years and always had a difficulty with “to forgive” because the dictionary definition for it is “to give up,” while “to give over” seems much more to the point particularly when we come to the place where Jesus is asking us to forgive him. This is something I can only understand in the sense that we should give over to him our critical thoughts we have about him. Could you please explain why “to give over” is hardly ever used, and “to forgive” so frequently?
A: It is always helpful to remember that the Course has come as a correction — first as a correction for our ego, but then also as a correction for some of the ego’s specific expressions, including its distortion within traditional Christianity of Jesus’ original message of love and forgiveness. So the Course uses the words of traditional Christianity, such as crucifixion and resurrection, Atonement, miracle and forgiveness, but gives them a different meaning. This reflects the Course’s basic approach to all of our special relationships — keeping the same form but providing it a different content, as a reminder that the problem is not the form (in this case, the word) but the ego content we have given it. It is our ego that always focuses on form so that we overlook the content.
So it is important to develop an understanding of how Jesus is using these concepts in the Course and not rely on our prior understanding of their meaning or dictionary definitions, which will reflect the meaning our egos have given those terms. In the case of forgiveness, the ego has told us that to forgive means to give up our need to right the wrongs of others through punishing them or extracting some kind of payment from them, all the time holding on to the reality of their transgressions, or sins. Contrast this with the Course’s use of the term: “Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven. What is sin, except a false idea about God’s Son. Forgiveness merely sees its falsity, and therefore lets it go” (W.pII.1.1:6; italics added).
In the Course’s use of the word, we are not really talking about anyone else when we are speaking of forgiveness. We are speaking of releasing ourselves from the very same judgments that we had projected on to our brothers, including Jesus, believing that we had relieved ourselves of that burden of guilt by placing it on them. The Course teaches us that blame can not be gotten rid of by seeing it elsewhere (T.11.IV.5:3). It must be undone at its source, in our own mind. And that involves simply a letting go, a releasing, a giving over, or a giving up, to the light of forgiveness, in which the unreality of sin and guilt becomes apparent.