ACIM Text Reading for March 29
Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back
V. The Undivided Will of the Sonship
Can you be separated from your identification and be at peace? Dissociation is not a solution; it is a delusion. The delusional believe that truth will assail them, and they do not recognise it because they prefer the delusion. Judging truth as something they do not want, they perceive their illusions which block knowledge. Help them by offering them your unified mind on their behalf, as I am offering you mine on behalf of yours. Alone we can do nothing, but together our minds fuse into something whose power is far beyond the power of its separate parts. By not being separate, the Mind of God is established in ours and as ours. This Mind is invincible because it is undivided.
The undivided will of the Sonship is the perfect creator, being wholly in the likeness of God, Whose Will it is. You cannot be exempt from it if you are to understand what it is and what you are. By the belief that your will is separate from mine, you are exempting yourself from the Will of God which is yourself. Yet to heal is still to make whole. Therefore, to heal is to unite with those who are like you, because perceiving this likeness is to recognise the Father. If your perfection is in Him and only in Him, how can you know it without recognising Him? The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself. There is no separation of God and His creation. You will realise this when you understand that there is no separation between your will and mine. Let the Love of God shine upon you by your acceptance of me. My reality is yours and His. By joining your mind with mine you are signifying your awareness that the Will of God is one.
God’s Oneness and ours are not separate, because His Oneness encompasses ours. To join with me is to restore His power to you because we are sharing it. I offer you only the recognition of His power in you, but in that lies all truth. As we unite, we unite with Him. Glory be to the union of God and His holy Sons! All glory lies in Them because They are united. The miracles we do bear witness to the Will of the Father for His Son, and to our joy in uniting with His Will for us.
When you unite with me you are uniting without the ego, because I have renounced the ego in myself and therefore cannot unite with yours. Our union is therefore the way to renounce the ego in you. The truth in both of us is beyond the ego. Our success in transcending the ego is guaranteed by God, and I share this confidence for both of us and all of us. I bring God’s peace back to all His children because I received it of Him for us all. Nothing can prevail against our united wills because nothing can prevail against God’s.
Would you know the Will of God for you? Ask it of me who knows it for you and you will find it. I will deny you nothing, as God denies me nothing. Ours is simply the journey back to God Who is our home. Whenever fear intrudes anywhere along the road to peace, it is because the ego has attempted to join the journey with us and cannot do so. Sensing defeat and angered by it, the ego regards itself as rejected and becomes retaliative. You are invulnerable to its retaliation because I am with you. On this journey you have chosen me as your companion instead of the ego. Do not attempt to hold on to both, or you will try to go in different directions, and will lose the way.
The ego’s way is not mine, but it is also not yours. The Holy Spirit has one direction for all minds, and the one He taught me is yours. Let us not lose sight of His direction through illusions, for only illusions of another direction can obscure the one for which God’s Voice speaks in all of us. Never accord the ego the power to interfere with the journey. It has none, because the journey is the way to what is true. Leave all illusions behind, and reach beyond all attempts of the ego to hold you back. I go before you because I am beyond the ego. Reach, therefore, for my hand because you want to transcend the ego. My strength will never be wanting, and if you choose to share it you will do so. I give it willingly and gladly, because I need you as much as you need me.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 29
Love holds no grievances.
You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death. Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind. It seems to split you off from your Source and make you unlike Him. It makes you believe that He is like what you think you have become, for no one can conceive of his Creator as unlike himself.
Shut off from your Self, which remains aware of Its likeness to Its Creator, your Self seems to sleep, while the part of your mind that weaves illusions in its sleep appears to be awake. Can all this arise from holding grievances? Oh, yes! For he who holds grievances denies he was created by love, and his Creator has become fearful to him in his dream of hate. Who can dream of hatred and not fear God?
It is as sure that those who hold grievances will redefine God in their own image, as it is certain that God created them like Himself, and defined them as part of Him. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will suffer guilt, as it is certain that those who forgive will find peace. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will forget who they are, as it is certain that those who forgive will remember.
Would you not be willing to relinquish your grievances if you believed all this were so? Perhaps you do not think you can let your grievances go. That, however, is simply a matter of motivation. Today we will try to find out how you would feel without them. If you succeed even by ever so little, there will never be a problem in motivation ever again.
Begin today’s extended practice period by searching your mind for those against whom you hold what you regard as major grievances. Some of these will be quite easy to find. Then think of the seemingly minor grievances you hold against those you like and even think you love. It will quickly become apparent that there is no one against whom you do not cherish grievances of some sort. This has left you alone in all the universe in your perception of yourself.
Determine now to see all these people as friends. Say to them all, thinking of each one in turn as you do so:
I would see you as my friend, that I may remember you
are part of me and come to know myself.
Spend the remainder of the practice period trying to think of yourself as completely at peace with everyone and everything, safe in a world that protects you and loves you, and that you love in return. Try to feel safety surrounding you, hovering over you and holding you up. Try to believe, however briefly, that nothing can harm you in any way. At the end of the practice period tell yourself:
Love holds no grievances. When I let all my grievances
go I will know I am perfectly safe.
The short practice periods should include a quick application of today’s idea in this form, whenever any thought of grievance arises against anyone, physically present or not:
Love holds no grievances. Let me not betray my Self.
In addition, repeat the idea several times an hour in this form:
Love holds no grievances. I would wake to my Self by
laying all my grievances aside and wakening in Him.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: The first place the Course asks us to look in a relationship is at ourselves. Our feelings, judgments, and thoughts show us the unconscious content of the mind, i.e., the forgotten choice to deny the Self that God created and to identify with the ego instead. Guilt, along with feelings of emptiness, vulnerability, and unworthiness, are the inevitable result of that choice. When the guilt is projected out, it is experienced in relationships characterized by victimization scripts. Although victim/abused and victimizer/abuser have different roles in the relationship, both are acting out the fear that innocence has been irretrievably lost by the mind’s attack on the Self. And so, motivated by a deep feeling of worthlessness, the victimizer feels compelled to attack in some form such as verbal abuse. The distorted thinking is that making another look bad makes the attacker look better. Thus, someone else’s loss is his gain This is an expression of the fourth law of chaos found in chapter 23 of the text: “This seeming law is the belief you have what you have taken. By this, another’s loss becomes your gain, and thus it fails to recognize that you can never take away save from yourself” (23.II.9:3,4). The victimizer convinces himself that his accusations are truly justified. The underlying belief is that he has taken the other’s innocence and now has it for himself. The victim believes the victimizer is to blame for his loss of peace and for his feeling unfairly treated. He is the innocent victim and many witnesses can be found to support this view. The true source of this feeling, however, is the mind that chose to throw peace and innocence away by identifying with the ego. The victim-victimizer plot is an ideal scenario for the ego to keep the mind’s power to choose from awareness, by focusing attention on the external dynamics of the relationship.
As with every relationship, peace is found in forgiveness. It begins with willingness to apply the above mentioned principles of the Course’s teaching to the example you give, which releases it from the ego’s interpretation of every victim/victimizer situation. It is now seen in a different light and for a different purpose. While the feeling of victimization may remain and should not be denied, the source is no longer seen as another’s attack, but as the mind that chose to deny its true Identity as God’s innocent Son. The attack then becomes an opportunity to see the guilt engendered by this choice in its projected form. Early in the text, Jesus gives us a process to help us practice forgiveness in any situation: “…. the first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise… Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation: I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise. I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him. I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me” (T.5.VII.6:3,5,6,7,8,9,10,11). Because the true source of victimization is a decision in the mind, this format addresses the problem with no mention of the “attacker.” The important thing is taking responsibility for the mind’s choice without judging this mistaken choice as a sin. When this occurs, peace is possible no matter what kind of attacks may be hurled at us. Then, with the Holy Spirit’s help, you may choose to take steps to improve the relationship in some way or discontinue it altogether. When the Holy Spirit has been chosen, whatever follows will be loving for both you and the other person.
Q #840: If the world I see is the guilt in my mind projected outwards, then does that not make me responsible for the suffering I see in this world? Jesus healed the sick with his right perception, so how can I practically apply that to the suffering I see in this world?
A: We do not know whether or not the historical Jesus healed the sick. There are no historical documents of his life, besides the gospel accounts, which were written many years after his death and whose factual accuracy is disputed by scripture scholars. The Course does not teach that Jesus heals our minds or our bodies. The healing Jesus teaches in the Course is accomplished by a choice in the mind. The mind that chose to identify with the ego thought system is sick, and is healed as it learns to choose against the ego by choosing the Holy Spirit. Neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit makes that choice for us. As Jesus tells us in the text: “I cannot choose for you, but I can help you make your own right choice” (T.3.IV.7:11). That is the ultimate healing goal of A Course in Miracles. It is achieved through a process of exposing the sickness of the ego’s thought system: its dynamics, purpose, goal, and painful effects. Since the ego’s greatest defense is denial, its exposure is the beginning of its undoing/healing. Exposing the ego weakens it, just as some forms of bacteria cannot survive in the dry warmth of sunlight. Thus, bringing the darkness of the ego’s sickness to the light of forgiveness is the healing Jesus teaches in the Course.
What we are directly responsible for is the mind’s choice for separation, which is the source of guilt and the world’s suffering (including our own). The suffering we perceive is the reflection of our own pain, perception is interpretation. The problem lies not in seeing suffering in the world, but in seeing those who suffer as different from ourselves. We are taught in the Course that everyone who chooses separation is sick and in need of healing: “A sick person perceives himself as separate from God” (M.22.6:5). Sickness is thus equated with separation, and so healing is the undoing of separation. Everyone who identifies with the body is suffering, whether the pain is obvious, or camouflaged as pleasure. In the insanity of the ego’s plan for “life” apart from God in the body, pleasure and pain are the same: “Pain compels attention, drawing it away from Him (the Holy Spirit) and focusing upon itself. Its purpose is the same as pleasure, for they both are means to make the body real. What shares a common purpose is the same”(T.27.VI.1:3,4,5 italics added). It is not our responsibility to determine who is in need of help, not to mention the fact that we could not make the distinction if we wanted to. In the ego’s upside- down thinking we are confused about everything, especially pain and pleasure. Sin [separation/ sickness] shifts from pain to pleasure, and again to pain. For either witness is the same, and carries but one message: ‘You are here, within this body, and you can be hurt. You can have pleasure, too, but only at the cost of pain’” (T27.VI.2:1,2,3). Given this predicament, our only responsibility is to allow the Holy Spirit to heal our minds through the practice of forgiveness. Whenever we find ourselves upset about anything in the world, Jesus would have us see an opportunity to remember that we have chosen to believe the ego’s message that the body is real and, reminiscent of Pogo’s claim, we are “it.” The healing Jesus offers in the Course is focused on this belief , which is the true source of everyone’s pain. The ego’s lie has made us sick, and the Holy Spirit’s truth will heal us.
If you choose to do something to alleviate a specific form of suffering in the world, the real goal remains allowing the Holy Spirit to heal your mind of the thought of separation. Choosing this as the purpose of your work is a truly meaningful contribution to the Sonship. At the end of the text, Jesus’ healing message to all of us is the same: “In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, ‘My brother, choose again.’ He would not leave one source of pain unhealed, nor any image left to veil the truth” (T.31.VIII.3:2,3).