ACIM Text Reading for March 28
Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back
IV. The Gift of Freedom
If God’s Will for you is complete peace and joy, unless you experience only this you must be refusing to acknowledge His Will. His Will does not vacillate, being changeless forever. When you are not at peace it can only be because you do not believe you are in Him. Yet He is All in all. His peace is complete, and you must be included in it. His laws govern you because they govern everything. You cannot exempt yourself from His laws, although you can disobey them. Yet if you do, and only if you do, you will feel lonely and helpless, because you are denying yourself everything.
I am come as a light into a world that does deny itself everything. It does this simply by dissociating itself from everything. It is therefore an illusion of isolation, maintained by fear of the same loneliness that is its illusion. I said that I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. That is why I am the light of the world. If I am with you in the loneliness of the world, the loneliness is gone. You cannot maintain the illusion of loneliness if you are not alone. My purpose, then, is still to overcome the world. I do not attack it, but my light must dispel it because of what it is. Light does not attack darkness, but it does shine it away. If my light goes with you everywhere, you shine it away with me. The light becomes ours, and you cannot abide in darkness any more than darkness can abide wherever you go. The remembrance of me is the remembrance of yourself, and of Him Who sent me to you.
You were in darkness until God’s Will was done completely by any part of the Sonship. When this was done, it was perfectly accomplished by all. How else could it be perfectly accomplished? My mission was simply to unite the will of the Sonship with the Will of the Father by being aware of the Father’s Will myself. This is the awareness I came to give you, and your problem in accepting it is the problem of this world. Dispelling it is salvation, and in this sense I am the salvation of the world. The world must therefore despise and reject me, because the world is the belief that love is impossible. If you will accept the fact that I am with you, you are denying the world and accepting God. My will is His, and your decision to hear me is the decision to hear His Voice and abide in His Will. As God sent me to you so will I send you to others. And I will go to them with you, so we can teach them peace and union.
Do you not think the world needs peace as much as you do? Do you not want to give it to the world as much as you want to receive it? For unless you do, you will not receive it. If you want to have it of me, you must give it. Healing does not come from anyone else. You must accept guidance from within. The guidance must be what you want, or it will be meaningless to you. That is why healing is a collaborative venture. I can tell you what to do, but you must collaborate by believing that I know what you should do. Only then will your mind choose to follow me. Without this choice you could not be healed because you would have decided against healing, and this rejection of my decision for you makes healing impossible.
Healing reflects our joint will. This is obvious when you consider what healing is for. Healing is the way in which the separation is overcome. Separation is overcome by union. It cannot be overcome by separating. The decision to unite must be unequivocal, or the mind itself is divided and not whole. Your mind is the means by which you determine your own condition, because mind is the mechanism of decision. It is the power by which you separate or join, and experience pain or joy accordingly. My decision cannot overcome yours, because yours is as powerful as mine. If it were not so the Sons of God would be unequal. All things are possible through our joint decision, but mine alone cannot help you. Your will is as free as mine, and God Himself would not go against it. I cannot will what God does not will. I can offer my strength to make yours invincible, but I cannot oppose your decision without competing with it and thereby violating God’s Will for you.
Nothing God created can oppose your decision, as nothing God created can oppose His Will. God gave your will its power, which I can only acknowledge in honour of His. If you want to be like me I will help you, knowing that we are alike. If you want to be different, I will wait until you change your mind. I can teach you, but only you can choose to listen to my teaching. How else can it be, if God’s Kingdom is freedom? Freedom cannot be learned by tyranny of any kind, and the perfect equality of all God’s Sons cannot be recognised through the dominion of one mind over another. God’s Sons are equal in will, all being the Will of their Father. This is the only lesson I came to teach.
If your will were not mine it would not be our Father’s. This would mean you have imprisoned yours, and have not let it be free. Of yourself you can do nothing, because of yourself you are nothing. I am nothing without the Father and you are nothing without me, because by denying the Father you deny yourself. I will always remember you, and in my remembrance of you lies your remembrance of yourself. In our remembrance of each other lies our remembrance of God. And in this remembrance lies your freedom because your freedom is in Him. Join, then, with me in praise of Him and you whom He created. This is our gift of gratitude to Him, which He will share with all His creations, to whom He gives equally whatever is acceptable to Him. Because it is acceptable to Him it is the gift of freedom, which is His Will for all His Sons. By offering freedom you will be free.
Freedom is the only gift you can offer to God’s Sons, being an acknowledgement of what they are and what He is. Freedom is creation, because it is love. Whom you seek to imprison you do not love. Therefore, when you seek to imprison anyone, including yourself, you do not love him and you cannot identify with him. When you imprison yourself you are losing sight of your true identification with me and with the Father. Your identification is with the Father and with the Son. It cannot be with one and not the other. If you are part of one you must be part of the other, because they are one. The Holy Trinity is holy because It is One. If you exclude yourself from this union, you are perceiving the Holy Trinity as separated. You must be included in It, because It is everything. Unless you take your place in It and fulfil your function as part of It, the Holy Trinity is as bereft as you are. No part of It can be imprisoned if Its truth is to be known.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 28
Love created me like itself.
Today’s idea is a complete and accurate statement of what you are. This is why you are the light of the world. This is why God appointed you as the world’s savior. This is why the Son of God looks to you for his salvation. He is saved by what you are. We will make every effort today to reach this truth about you, and to realize fully, if only for a moment, that it is the truth.
In the longer practice period, we will think about your reality and its wholly unchanged and unchangeable nature. We will begin by repeating this truth about you, and then spend a few minutes adding some relevant thoughts, such as:
Holiness created me holy.
Kindness created me kind.
Helpfulness created me helpful.
Perfection created me perfect.
Any attribute which is in accord with God as He defines Himself is appropriate for use. We are trying today to undo your definition of God and replace it with His Own. We are also trying to emphasize that you are part of His definition of Himself.
After you have gone over several such related thoughts, try to let all thoughts drop away for a brief preparatory interval, and then try to reach past all your images and preconceptions about yourself to the truth in you. If love created you like itself, this Self must be in you. And somewhere in your mind It is there for you to find.
You may find it necessary to repeat the idea for today from time to time to replace distracting thoughts. You may also find that this is not sufficient, and that you need to continue adding other thoughts related to the truth about yourself. Yet perhaps you will succeed in going past that, and through the interval of thoughtlessness to the awareness of a blazing light in which you recognize yourself as love created you. Be confident that you will do much today to bring that awareness nearer, whether you feel you have succeeded or not.
It will be particularly helpful today to practice the idea for the day as often as you can. You need to hear the truth about yourself as frequently as possible, because your mind is so preoccupied with false self-images. Four or five times an hour, and perhaps even more, it would be most beneficial to remind yourself that love created you like itself. Hear the truth about yourself in this.
Try to realize in the shorter practice periods that this is not your tiny, solitary voice that tells you this. This is the Voice for God, reminding you of your Father and of your Self. This is the Voice of truth, replacing everything that the ego tells you about yourself with the simple truth about the Son of God. You were created by love like itself.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #837: My daughter’s father abandoned us when I was three and a half months pregnant. He has offered no financial or emotional support since this time. He has had no contact with his daughter either. He has chosen to turn his back on the both of us. His family however continued to be interested in our lives. I found this situation extremely frustrating as his family would continually bring up my daughter’s father (as if reminding me he had chosen to abandon us).
I since cut communication with the family, as I was overwhelmed with the situation. Over six months has passed and I am asking to see everyone involved in this situation differently (i.e., without judgment). I would like to heal the relationship with the family and my daughter’s father. However, when I go to call or write a note or make some contact with them, I am reminded of all the pain I went through while I was in contact with them. I don’t know how to heal this situation. It doesn’t seem to go away.
However I just can’t bring myself to swallow my pride and try again at having a relationship with my daughter’s side of the family. Can I find peace with this situation without physically making contact with these people again? How do I know that I did the right thing in severing the relationship with the family? I still feel somewhat haunted by my decision, but really don’t know how to move on and find lasting peace in my mind with all of the above mentioned people. How can I look at a man that abandoned his/our child in a “different light.”
A: Perhaps one of the hardest lessons to accept and learn as a student of A Course in Miracles is that our upset and pain, regardless of what our experience seems to be, is never the result of what someone else has or has not done to us (W.pI.5). Everything in our experience seems to shout otherwise, and it is usually not difficult to find allies who will support us in our perception of ourselves as victims. But if we genuinely want to heal our relationships and release ourselves from the conflict and hurt and anger, the Course asks us to shift our focus from the external situation to our own inner decision to invest in the belief in sin and guilt and attack and abandonment. For that is the only source of our pain (W.pI.23).
This is not to justify what anyone else does or fails to do, but rather to clarify that we have always first made a decision within our own mind to perceive ourselves as a victim in order to defend against the pain of our own choice for guilt, or we could not be affected by what the other person does. This of course contradicts all the counsel the world offers, but that is simply because the Course is offering us a radically different way of perceiving ourselves, our lives, our relationships, and our world — one that affirms that we alone are the rulers of our universe and our destiny (W.pII.253). How loudly and vehemently does the world — and our ego mind — protest this acceptance of total responsibility for our experiences (T.21.II.1,2,3,4,5).
The Course will not advise you on the particulars of your situation, such as whether you should or should not have cut off contact with his family, or whether you should re-establish it. Helpful answers to those questions are only possible after you have addressed your own need to see yourself unfairly treated (T.26.X.3,4,5), a need by the way which you share, regardless of the form it expresses itself in your life, with everyone else who seems to walk this earth. So you don’t want to judge yourself for choosing the victim role — all of us who find ourselves here, in our own specific ways, have made the same choice.
And so until you are able to release the judgments of unworthiness that you hold against yourself for abandoning your true Self, everyone else will only continue to be a symbol of that inner choice, and contact with them will necessarily continue to be painful. As inadequate as it may seem to us to be, the truth is we are all only ever doing the best we can, given our belief in our limitations and the guilt that naturally accompanies those perceptions. And that blanket generalization applies to the father of your daughter as well.
Are you aware that you do not refer anywhere in your question to the nature of your relationship with this man, other than to identify him as the father of your daughter? It appears that you so want to avoid acknowledging his relationship to you that you even refer to his family as your daughter’s side of the family. Perhaps he has been your husband or lover, but the real nature of the relationship that you want to deny is that he is your brother, a brother who is just as self-accusing and guilt-ridden as you may feel, regardless of what face he presents to the world. But you will only come to such a forgiven perception of him by first recognizing the mirror to your own self that he is holding up to you (T.7.VII.3:9; T.24.VI.8). And so to release him from judgment is only to release yourself. And in that release you will necessarily perceive the both of you in a “different light.”
Q #838: I would like to know if you think A Course in Miracles and Transcendental Meditation are compatible spiritual disciplines? I am studying the Course but enjoy the centeredness from my meditation time. I am asking about TM in particular and not meditation in general.
A: If you find Transcendental Meditation useful as a technique for helping you relax and become more peaceful and centered, by all means, continue to use it in your life. But if you want to use it as a spiritual discipline, integrating it with the practice of the Course, you may be introducing some confusion and potential conflict into your life. Now there is some disagreement as to whether Transcendental Meditation is simply a meditation technique or an actual spiritual discipline. Its proponents generally present TM in a non-spiritual framework in an effort to make it accessible to people of all ages, cultures, and religious backgrounds. But it has been developed by the movement’s founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, from principles of the ancient Hindu Vedic tradition of India.
The expressed purpose of the practice of TM is to achieve a state of consciousness called transcendental consciousness, which through repeated practice leads one towards what Maharishi calls enlightenment. However, enlightenment as defined within TM circles would not be considered a spiritual state from the perspective of the Course. For example, in a 1998 interview, Maharishi is quoted as saying: “‘Enlightenment’ means lack of darkness, absence of darkness. And ‘absence of darkness’ means no mistake, no weakness, no shortcoming—success everywhere, fulfillment of desire everywhere—that is enlightenment. One is living in full accord with Natural Law” (italics added).
While the Course does provide a kind of mind training that leads to higher levels of consciousness (e.g., C.1.7:4,5,6), its purpose is to lead us ultimately beyond any perceptual-based consciousness and beyond any concern with the quality of our lives here within the world. In other words, from the Course’s perspective, enlightenment involves a process of gradually awakening from the dream and not simply making the dream better. So the two paths, to the degree that there is an intended spiritual direction implicit in TM, have very different purposes. From the Course’s perspective, TM would be like any technique or practice that provides some relief from the tensions and anxieties of seeming life in the body. The Course teaches that only the practice of forgiveness leads to the undoing of the guilt over separation buried deep in the mind that is the real cause of all tension and anxiety (e.g., W.pI.41.1:2,3; W.pI.194.2:1).