ACIM Text Reading for March 22
Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom
IX. The Extension of the Kingdom
Only you can limit your creative power, but God wills to release it. He no more wills you to deprive yourself of your creations than He wills to deprive Himself of His. Do not withhold your gifts to the Sonship, or you withhold yourself from God! Selfishness is of the ego, but Self-fullness is of spirit because that is how God created it. The Holy Spirit is in the part of the mind that lies between the ego and the spirit, mediating between them always in favour of the spirit. To the ego this is partiality, and it responds as if it were being sided against. To spirit this is truth, because it knows its fullness and cannot conceive of any part from which it is excluded.
Spirit knows that the awareness of all its brothers is included in its own, as it is included in God. The power of the whole Sonship and of its Creator is therefore spirit’s own fullness, rendering its creations equally whole and equal in perfection. The ego cannot prevail against a totality that includes God, and any totality must include God. Everything He created is given all His power, because it is part of Him and shares His Being with Him. Creating is the opposite of loss, as blessing is the opposite of sacrifice. Being must be extended. That is how it retains the knowledge of itself. Spirit yearns to share its being as its Creator did. Created by sharing, its will is to create. It does not wish to contain God, but wills to extend His Being.
The extension of God’s Being is spirit’s only function. Its fullness cannot be contained, any more than can the fullness of its Creator Fullness is extension. The ego’s whole thought system blocks extension, and thus blocks your only function. It therefore blocks your joy, so that you perceive yourself as unfulfilled. Unless you create you are unfulfilled, but God does not know unfulfillment and therefore you must create. You may not know your own creations, but this can no more interfere with their reality than your unawareness of your spirit can interfere with its being.
The Kingdom is forever extending because it is in the Mind of God. You do not know your joy because you do not know your own Self-fullness. Exclude any part of the Kingdom from yourself and you are not whole. A split mind cannot perceive its fullness, and needs the miracle of its wholeness to dawn upon it and heal it This reawakens the wholeness in it, and restores it to the Kingdom because of its acceptance of wholeness. The full appreciation of the mind’s Self-fullness makes selfishness impossible and extension inevitable. That is why there is perfect peace in the Kingdom. Spirit is fulfilling its function, and only complete fulfilment is peace.
Your creations are protected for you because the Holy Spirit Who is in your mind, knows of them and can bring them into your awareness whenever you will let Him. They are there as part of your own being, because your fulfilment includes them. The creations of every Son of God are yours, since every creation belongs to everyone, being created for the Sonship as a whole.
You have not failed to increase the inheritance of the Sons of God, and thus have not failed to secure it for yourself. Since it was the Will of God to give it to you, He gave it forever. Since it was His Will that you have it forever, He gave you the means for keeping it. And you have done so. Disobeying God’s Will is meaningful only to the insane. In truth it is impossible. Your Self-fullness is as boundless as God’s. Like His, It extends forever and in perfect peace. Its radiance is so intense that It creates in perfect joy, and only the whole can be born of Its wholeness.
Be confident that you have never lost your Identity and the extensions which maintain It in wholeness and peace. Miracles are an expression of this confidence. They are reflections of both your proper identification with your brothers, and of your awareness that your identification is maintained by extension. The miracle is a lesson in total perception. By including any part of totality in the lesson, you have included the whole.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 22
I am the light of the world.
Who is the light of the world except God’s Son? This, then, is merely a statement of the truth about yourself. It is the opposite of a statement of pride, of arrogance, or of self-deception. It does not describe the self-concept you have made. It does not refer to any of the characteristics with which you have endowed your idols. It refers to you as you were created by God. It simply states the truth.
To the ego, today’s idea is the epitome of self-glorification. But the ego does not understand humility, mistaking it for self-debasement. Humility consists of accepting your role in salvation and in taking no other. It is not humility to insist you cannot be the light of the world if that is the function God assigned to you. It is only arrogance that would assert this function cannot be for you, and arrogance is always of the ego.
True humility requires that you accept today’s idea because it is God’s Voice which tells you it is true. This is a beginning step in accepting your real function on earth. It is a giant stride toward taking your rightful place in salvation. It is a positive assertion of your right to be saved, and an acknowledgment of the power that is given you to save others.
You will want to think about this idea as often as possible today. It is the perfect answer to all illusions, and therefore to all temptation. It brings all the images you have made about yourself to the truth, and helps you depart in peace, unburdened and certain of your purpose.
As many practice periods as possible should be undertaken today, although each one need not exceed a minute or two. They should begin with telling yourself:
I am the light of the world. That is my only function.
That is why I am here.
Then think about these statements for a short while, preferably with your eyes closed if the situation permits. Let a few related thoughts come to you, and repeat the idea to yourself if your mind wanders away from the central thought.
Be sure both to begin and end the day with a practice period. Thus you will awaken with an acknowledgment of the truth about yourself, reinforce it throughout the day, and turn to sleep as you reaffirm your function and your only purpose here. These two practice periods may be longer than the rest, if you find them helpful and want to extend them.
Today’s idea goes far beyond the ego’s petty views of what you are and what your purpose is. As a bringer of salvation, this is obviously necessary. This is the first of a number of giant steps we will take in the next few weeks. Try today to begin to build a firm foundation for these advances. You are the light of the world. God has built His plan for the salvation of His Son on you.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #516: For years I studied about reincarnation, past lives, hypnotic regression, soul mates, communication with spirit guides, guardian angels, and deceased loved one, etc. I learned how divine friends help us plan each lifetime — selecting our family, country, trials and tribulations, etc. — in order to balance our karma and progress spiritually by overcoming our problems here. Now A Course in Miracles tells me that the ego has set up our lives, not to experience spiritual growth, but to continue to be victimized and victimize others. If all these guides and helpers are miscreations of our egos, can they serve a holy purpose? Are past life memories stored in the brain or are they in the ego mind? I also studied the power of thought to attract all the worldly things we may want. Is this the brain or just our ego mind miscreating by wanting something? I learned through religion to pray to God through Jesus for help and received many, many answers, for which I thanked them. Now the Course tells me they weren’t listening. So how were all those prayers answered — the ego mind again, or the brain?
I see now what a distraction all this was for me. Some of what I was sure was the “gospel truth” (according to the ego) certainly kept me from looking elsewhere. But through it all many truths showed up that prepared me for the Course. So how should I look at all this?
A: Perhaps it would be most helpful simply to remind you that everything, including A Course in Miracles, comes within an ego framework (C.in.3:1). And the only criterion for evaluating anything in the world of form (which includes everything you’ve listed in your question) is to ask whether it has been helpful in learning to forgive ourselves and our brothers and sisters. And what is helpful depends on where we are in our process of remembering who we are (M.25).
It is only the ego that would want to judge whether the manner in which we have spent our time in the past has been helpful or not. If what we have done has prepared us for accepting the truth of who we are at a deeper level, that is surely enough. And if it has provided us comfort in knowing that we are loved and that guilt serves no useful purpose, it has been a reflection of the one Love that joins us all, in a form that our fearful minds could accept.
Yes, if we remain stuck in any particular form, it is likely that we will fall into the trap of using it to reinforce specialness and separation. But anything that leads us to recognize that there is more to us than the limited reality of our meager lives in this world of conflict and pain is helpful. And anyone or anything, although appearing separate from us — be it angels or guides or ascended masters or whatever — that helps us learn that we deserve to escape from our limitations has served a holy purpose.
No matter what the form of our lives as we have set them up, they always have two possible purposes, depending on which teacher we choose to learn from. The Holy Spirit, in contrast to the ego, will never direct us to do anything that will deliberately cause us pain. Rather He will support our choice to learn from our experiences that there is an alternative to pain and suffering. And so guidance from the Holy Spirit, whether it seems to occur prior to or during a specific lifetime, may direct us to participate in certain relationships — not to be victimized again, but to heal them by learning that victimization is impossible.
It is the mind — and never the brain, which only follows the programing of the mind — which determines what our experiences will be. And the mind, not the brain, holds all the memories that it can choose to access as either past, present, or future lifetimes. In the “reality” of the split mind, they are all simultaneous.
No doubt more questions will continue to arise in our minds, curious to know how this illusory world and the self that we made and still seem to love work. And yet, in the end, all of our questioning will cease and our need for all forms, including the Course itself, will subside. And then we will be ready to accept Jesus’ gentle suggestion:
Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God (W.pI.189.7).
Q #517: i. Would something like mathematics be a language of God, or would it be what would seem a faultless creation of the ego in order to prove that the world and everything in it does indeed have a sensible and coherent structure and thus is real?
A: The view of reality as presented in A Course in Miracles is that it is non-dualistic, a perfect Oneness, and therefore anything pertaining to form cannot be of God. The “beauty” of mathematics may indeed be used as a reminder of the beauty of oneness, but as a language of quantity, mathematics can only have come from the ego. The concept of coherence, for example, implies duality: parts sticking together. The language of God could never be understood by minds that believe they are individualized, which Jesus tells us many times in his Course, most notably and eloquently in Chapter 25 and Lesson 169: “. . . for while you think that part of you is separate, the concept of a Oneness joined as One is meaningless” (T.25.I.7:1); “We say ‘God is,’ and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless” (W.pI.169.5:4).