A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 30

ACIM Text Reading for April 30

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

V. The Sane Curriculum

Only love is strong because it is undivided. The strong do not attack because they see no need to do so. Before the idea of attack can enter your mind, you must have perceived yourself as weak. Because you attacked yourself and believed that the attack was effective, you behold yourself as weakened. No longer perceiving yourself and your brothers as equal, and regarding yourself as weaker, you attempt to ‘equalise’ the situation you made. You use attack to do so because you believe that attack was successful in weakening you.

That is why the recognition of your own invulnerability is so important to the restoration of your sanity. For if you accept your invulnerability, you are recognising that attack has no effect. Although you have attacked yourself, you will be demonstrating that nothing really happened. Therefore, by attacking you have not done anything. Once you realise this you will no longer see any sense in attack, for it manifestly does not work and cannot protect you. Yet the recognition of your invulnerability has more than negative value. If your attacks on yourself have failed to weaken you, you are still strong. You therefore have no need to ‘equalise’ the situation to establish your strength.

You will never realise the utter uselessness of attack except by recognising that your attack on yourself has no effects. For others do react to attack if they perceive it, and if you are trying to attack them you will be unable to avoid interpreting this as reinforcement. The only place you can cancel out all reinforcement is in yourself. For you are always the first point of your attack, and if this has never been, it has no consequences.

The Holy Spirit’s Love is your strength, for yours is divided and therefore not real. You cannot trust your own love when you attack it. You cannot learn of perfect love with a split mind, because a split mind has made itself a poor learner. You tried to make the separation eternal, because you wanted to retain the characteristics of creation, but with your own content. Yet creation is not of you, and poor learners do need special teaching.

You have learning handicaps in a very literal sense. There are areas in your learning skills that are so impaired that you can progress only under constant, clear-cut direction, provided by a Teacher Who can transcend your limited resources. He becomes your Resource because of yourself you cannot learn. The learning situation in which you placed yourself is impossible, and in this situation you clearly require a special Teacher and a special curriculum. Poor learners are not good choices as teachers, either for themselves or for anyone else. You would hardly turn to them to establish the curriculum by which they can escape from their limitations. If they understood what is beyond them, they would not be handicapped.

You do not know the meaning of love, and that is your handicap. Do not attempt to teach yourself what you do not understand, and do not try to set up curriculum goals where yours have clearly failed. Your learning goal has been not to learn, and this cannot lead to successful learning. You cannot transfer what you have not learned, and the impairment of the ability to generalise is a crucial learning failure. Would you ask those who have failed to learn what learning aids are for They do not know. If they could interpret the aids correctly, they would have learned from them.

I have said that the ego’s rule is, ‘Seek and do not find’. Translated into curricular terms this means, ‘Try to learn but do not succeed’. The result of this curriculum goal is obvious. Every legitimate teaching aid, every real instruction, and every sensible guide to learning will be misinterpreted, since they are all for facilitating the learning this strange curriculum is against. If you are trying to learn how not to learn, and the aim of your teaching is to defeat itself, what can you expect but confusion? Such a curriculum does not make sense. This attempt at ‘learning’ has so weakened your mind that you cannot love, for the curriculum you have chosen is against love, and amounts to a course in how to attack yourself. A supplementary goal in this curriculum is learning how not to overcome the split that makes its primary aim believable. And you will not overcome the split in this curriculum, for all your learning will be on its behalf. Yet your mind speaks against your learning as your learning speaks against your mind, and so you fight against all learning and succeed, for that is what you want. But perhaps you do not realise, even yet, that there is something you want to learn, and that you can learn it because it is your choice to do so.

You who have tried to learn what you do not want should take heart, for although the curriculum you set yourself is depressing indeed, it is merely ridiculous if you look at it. Is it possible that the way to achieve a goal is not to attain it? Resign now as your own teacher. This resignation will not lead to depression. It is merely the result of an honest appraisal of what you have taught yourself, and of the learning outcomes that have resulted. Under the proper learning conditions, which you can neither provide nor understand, you will become an excellent learner and an excellent teacher. But it is not so yet, and will not be so until the whole learning situation as you have set it up is reversed.

Your learning potential, properly understood, is limitless because it will lead you to God. You can teach the way to Him and learn it, if you follow the Teacher Who knows the way to Him and understands His curriculum for learning it. The curriculum is totally unambiguous, because the goal is not divided and the means and the end are in complete accord. You need offer only undivided attention. Everything else will be given you. For you really want to learn aright, and nothing can oppose the decision of God’s Son. His learning is as unlimited as he is.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 30

Lesson 100

My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.

Just as God’s Son completes his Father, so your part in it completes your Father’s plan. Salvation must reverse the mad belief in separate thoughts and separate bodies, which lead separate lives and go their separate ways. One function shared by separate minds unites them in one purpose, for each one of them is equally essential to them all.

God’s Will for you is perfect happiness. Why should you choose to go against His Will? The part that He has saved for you to take in working out His plan is given you that you might be restored to what He wills. This part is as essential to His plan as to your happiness. Your joy must be complete to let His plan be understood by those to whom He sends you. They will see their function in your shining face, and hear God calling to them in your happy laugh.

You are indeed essential to God’s plan. Without your joy, His joy is incomplete. Without your smile, the world cannot be saved. While you are sad, the light that God Himself appointed as the means to save the world is dim and lusterless, and no one laughs because all laughter can but echo yours.

You are indeed essential to God’s plan. Just as your light increases every light that shines in Heaven, so your joy on earth calls to all minds to let their sorrows go, and take their place beside you in God’s plan. God’s messengers are joyous, and their joy heals sorrow and despair. They are the proof that God wills perfect happiness for all who will accept their Father’s gifts as theirs.

We will not let ourselves be sad today. For if we do, we fail to take the part that is essential to God’s plan, as well as to our vision. Sadness is the sign that you would play another part, instead of what has been assigned to you by God. Thus do you fail to show the world how great the happiness He wills for you. And so you do not recognize that it is yours.

Today we will attempt to understand joy is our function here. If you are sad, your part is unfulfilled, and all the world is thus deprived of joy, along with you. God asks you to be happy, so the world can see how much He loves His Son, and wills no sorrow rises to abate his joy; no fear besets him to disturb his peace. You are God’s messenger today. You bring His happiness to all you look upon; His peace to everyone who looks on you and sees His message in your happy face.

We will prepare ourselves for this today, in our five-minute practice periods, by feeling happiness arise in us according to our Father’s Will and ours. Begin the exercises with the thought today’s idea contains. Then realize your part is to be happy. Only this is asked of you or anyone who wants to take his place among God’s messengers. Think what this means. You have indeed been wrong in your belief that sacrifice is asked. You but receive according to God’s plan, and never lose or sacrifice or die.

Now let us try to find that joy that proves to us and all the world God’s Will for us. It is your function that you find it here, and that you find it now. For this you came. Let this one be the day that you succeed! Look deep within you, undismayed by all the little thoughts and foolish goals you pass as you ascend to meet the Christ in you.

He will be there. And you can reach Him now. What could you rather look upon in place of Him Who waits that you may look on Him? What little thought has power to hold you back? What foolish goal can keep you from success when He Who calls to you is God Himself?

He will be there. You are essential to His plan. You are His messenger today. And you must find what He would have you give. Do not forget the idea for today between your hourly practice periods. It is your Self Who calls to you today. And it is Him you answer, every time you tell yourself you are essential to God’s plan for the salvation of the world.

 

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #91-a: I have been watching a TV show called “Crossing Over” by John Edward. This fellow appears sincere and loving and able to communicate with the “dead.” How does this reconcile with the Course, or in other words how does the Course look at this. Just another illusion?

Q #91-b: Jesus talks about all Life as being part of God, and I can get a sense of that in humans, but what about dogs and cats for instance? They seem to have a soul and if you listen to people like Jonathan Edward he says that the people he contacts have old pets with them. Dogs and cats seem to be part of the Son of God. What about “lower” animals like a rat? I know that this is probably silly, but I’m curious about your thoughts.                                                                        

A: These questions deal with both metaphysical and worldly (dream) levels. From a metaphysical standpoint, Jesus makes the Course’s view of communication with the dead perfectly clear in the Laws of Chaos section:“There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion….Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere” (T.23.II.19:1,2,3,6). So there is only the illusion of life in this world.

Yet we who experience “life” in this world grapple daily with the “hierarchy of illusions” (T.23.II.2:3); life, death, animate, inanimate, human, animal, etc. There are people who communicate with the “dead,” with the “living” (from great distances), foresee the future, see the distant past, etc. These experiences, as well as innumerable others, are possible on this worldly level, or level of the dream, because they reflect the workings of the mind. And since we know the mind is one, then it should not be surprising that people can “connect” with each other. Just because we believe that we are separate and independent from everything else in this world does not mean that it is true. And having “forgotten” our origin, communicating in a way like Jonathan Edward does seems incredible to us. This type of communication however, reflects the property of the mind being one, and is our natural form of communication. So as you can see, there is no difference in communication between “live” bodies, “dead” bodies, or “live and dead” bodies. There are no bodies; only mind.

And questions about “higher” and “lower” are not silly, since we all want to know how the hierarchy of our world fits into the hierarchy of God’s world. And that word, “hierarchy,” should give us a clue as to the answer. The Course teaches that all forms of life here are the same; i.e., all are our projections of the ego thought of separation from God, and it also teaches that God’s world has no hierarchy, no levels, no differences. God, and His One Son, Christ, are totally unified, which is a concept we are unable to understand with a brain that has been made to only understand duality. But we can at least intellectually understand that the thought of separation in the mind is one of content, not form. And so the form that this thought of separation takes, — animate or inanimate, protozoan or mammal — is irrelevant.

And finally, remembering that this world is a “dream,” you undoubtedly know from your own experience that anything can happen in a dream. “Does not a world that seems quite real arise in dreams? Yet think what this world is. It is clearly not the world you saw before you slept….Dreams…are the best example you could have of how perception can be utilized to substitute illusions for truth. You do not take them seriously on awaking because the fact that reality is so outrageously violated in them becomes apparent. Yet they are a way of looking at the world, and changing it to suit the ego better” (T.18.II.1:1,2,3.2:1,2,3,4).

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 29

ACIM Text Reading for April 29

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

IV. Seeking and Finding

The ego is certain that love is dangerous, and this is always its central teaching. It never puts it this way; on the contrary, everyone who believes that the ego is salvation seems to be intensely engaged in the search for love. Yet the ego, though encouraging the search for love very actively, makes one proviso; do not find it. Its dictates, then, can be summed up simply as: ‘Seek and do not find’. This is the one promise the ego holds out to you, and the one promise it will keep. For the ego pursues its goal with fanatic insistence, and its judgement, though severely impaired, is completely consistent.

The search the ego undertakes is therefore bound to be defeated. And since it also teaches that it is your identification, its guidance leads you to a journey which must end in perceived self-defeat. For the ego cannot love, and in its frantic search for love it is seeking what it is afraid to find. The search is inevitable because the ego is part of your mind, and because of its source the ego is not wholly split off, or it could not be believed at all. For it is your mind that believes in it and gives existence to it. Yet it is also your mind that has the power to deny the ego’s existence, and you will surely do so when you realise exactly what the journey is on which the ego sets you.

It is surely obvious that no one wants to find what would utterly defeat him. Being unable to love, the ego would be totally inadequate in love’s presence, for it could not respond at all. Then, you would have to abandon the ego’s guidance, for it would be quite apparent that it had not taught you the response you need. The ego will therefore distort love, and teach you that love really calls forth the responses the ego can teach. Follow its teaching, then, and you will search for love, but will not recognise it.

Do you realise that the ego must set you on a journey which cannot but lead to a sense of futility and depression? To seek and not to find is hardly joyous. Is this the promise you would keep? The Holy Spirit offers you another promise, and one that will lead to joy. For His promise is always, ‘Seek and you will find’, and under His guidance you cannot be defeated. His is the journey to accomplishment, and the goal He sets before you He will give you. For He will never deceive God’s Son whom He loves with the Love of the Father.

You will undertake a journey because you are not at home in this world. And you will search for your home whether you realise where it is or not. If you believe it is outside you the search will be futile, for you will be seeking it where it is not. You do not remember how to look within for you do not believe your home is there. Yet the Holy Spirit remembers it for you, and He will guide you to your home because that is His mission. As He fulfils His mission He will teach you yours, for your mission is the same as His. By guiding your brothers home you are but following Him.

Behold the Guide your Father gave you, that you might learn you have eternal life. For death is not your Father’s Will nor yours, and whatever is true is the Will of the Father. You pay no price for life for that was given you, but you do pay a price for death, and a very heavy one. If death is your treasure, you will sell everything else to purchase it. And you will believe that you have purchased it, because you have sold everything else. Yet you cannot sell the Kingdom of Heaven. Your inheritance can neither be bought nor sold. There can be no disinherited parts of the Sonship, for God is whole and all His extensions are like Him.

The Atonement is not the price of your wholeness, but it is the price of your awareness of your wholeness. For what you chose to ‘sell’ had to be kept for you, since you could not ‘buy’ it back. Yet you must invest in it, not with money but with spirit. For spirit is will, and will is the ‘price’ of the Kingdom. Your inheritance awaits only the recognition that you have been redeemed. The Holy Spirit guides you into life eternal, but you must relinquish your investment in death, or you will not see life though it is all around you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 29

Lesson 99

Salvation is my only function here.

Salvation and forgiveness are the same. They both imply that something has gone wrong; something to be saved from, forgiven for; something amiss that needs corrective change; something apart or different from the Will of God. Thus do both terms imply a thing impossible but yet which has occurred, resulting in a state of conflict seen between what is and what could never be.

Truth and illusions both are equal now, for both have happened. The impossible becomes the thing you need forgiveness for, salvation from. Salvation now becomes the borderland between the truth and the illusion. It reflects the truth because it is the means by which you can escape illusions. Yet it is not yet the truth because it undoes what was never done.

How could there be a meeting place at all where earth and Heaven can be reconciled within a mind where both of them exist? The mind that sees illusions thinks them real. They have existence in that they are thoughts. And yet they are not real, because the mind that thinks these thoughts is separate from God.

What joins the separated mind and thoughts with Mind and Thought which are forever One? What plan could hold the truth inviolate, yet recognize the need illusions bring, and offer means by which they are undone without attack and with no touch of pain? What but a Thought of God could be this plan, by which the never done is overlooked, and sins forgotten which were never real?

The Holy Spirit holds this plan of God exactly as it was received of Him within the Mind of God and in your own. It is apart from time in that its Source is timeless. Yet it operates in time, because of your belief that time is real. Unshaken does the Holy Spirit look on what you see; on sin and pain and death, on grief and separation and on loss. Yet does He know one thing must still be true; God is still Love, and this is not His Will.

This is the Thought that brings illusions to the truth, and sees them as appearances behind which is the changeless and the sure. This is the Thought that saves and that forgives, because it lays no faith in what is not created by the only Source it knows. This is the Thought whose function is to save by giving you its function as your own. Salvation is your function, with the One to Whom the plan was given. Now are you entrusted with this plan, along with Him. He has one answer to appearances; regardless of their form, their size, their depth or any attribute they seem to have:

Salvation is my only function here.
God still is Love, and this is not His Will.

You who will yet work miracles, be sure you practice well the idea for today. Try to perceive the strength in what you say, for these are words in which your freedom lies. Your Father loves you. All the world of pain is not His Will. Forgive yourself the thought He wanted this for you. Then let the Thought with which He has replaced all your mistakes enter the darkened places of your mind that thought the thoughts that never were His Will.

This part belongs to God, as does the rest. It does not think its solitary thoughts, and make them real by hiding them from Him. Let in the light, and you will look upon no obstacle to what He wills for you. Open your secrets to His kindly light, and see how bright this light still shines in you.

Practice His Thought today, and let His light seek out and lighten up all darkened spots, and shine through them to join them to the rest. It is God’s Will your mind be one with His. It is God’s Will that He has but one Son. It is God’s Will that His one Son is you. Think of these things in practicing today, and start the lesson that we learn today with this instruction in the way of truth:

Salvation is my only function here.
Salvation and forgiveness are the same.

Then turn to Him Who shares your function here, and let Him teach you what you need to learn to lay all fear aside, and know your Self as Love which has no opposite in you.

Forgive all thoughts which would oppose the truth of your completion, unity and peace. You cannot lose the gifts your Father gave. You do not want to be another self. You have no function that is not of God. Forgive yourself the one you think you made. Forgiveness and salvation are the same. Forgive what you have made and you are saved.

There is a special message for today which has the power to remove all forms of doubt and fear forever from your mind. If you are tempted to believe them true, remember that appearances can not withstand the truth these mighty words contain:

Salvation is my only function here.
God still is Love, and this is not His Will.

Your only function tells you you are one. Remind yourself of this between the times you give five minutes to be shared with Him Who shares God’s plan with you. Remind yourself:

Salvation is my only function here.

Thus do you lay forgiveness on your mind and let all fear be gently laid aside, that love may find its rightful place in you and show you that you are the Son of God.

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1059Because of sexual abuse from several men, I have all my life experienced demonic “entities” in dreams, and also as a “presence” now and then as “awake.” They have a specific energetic radiation: the absence of love and good. Aware that I have to deal with this and not flee, I have used many ways to “combat” them. When I know they are not real, when I “see” them, they transform or disappear; but there are times when their appearance is so terrifying that the fear is stronger than my clarity of mind, and I just “run.” This terror from childhood seems to have become symbiotic with my ego-identity. I would like to know if the Course has any suggestions as to how these beings still are in my consciousness when I already have succeeded in “melting them” in the light of reality?

A: Entities such as the ones you describe are different aspects of the ego, and therefore can be let go of as you would any other aspect of the ego: through forgiveness. Forgiveness, in theory, means that we are forgiving an illusion of separation — one form of illusion is not harder to let go of than any other. The practice of this principle, however, must be directed to the level of our experience at any given point in our lives. In terms of our experience, in other words, some aspects of the ego dominate our thinking so intensely that it is necessary to turn to external sources of help that could get us to the level where we can then apply the principles of A Course in Miracles more meaningfully and effectively. This is most often the case when there have been years of fear and terror from abuse, whatever the form. We need to be able to accept help at the level at which we need it; otherwise it will not be truly helpful.

Early in the text Jesus teaches us about this important part of our process: “The value of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed. In fact, if it is used truly, it will inevitably expressed in whatever way is most helpful to the receiver. This means that a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language that the recipient can understand without fear. . . . The whole aim of the miracle is to raise the level of communication, not to lower it by increasing fear” (T.2.IV.5:1,2,3,6) . So just be sure that you are not skipping this crucial step in you work with the Course.

The ultimate lesson is that we can be at peace, regardless of what the world may have done to us. We need only remember that the world has no power over the mind; the dream no power over the dreamer — as we learn in this passage: “For you would not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that you were dreaming. Let them be as hateful and vicious as they may, they could have no effect on you unless you failed to recognize it is your dream” (T.27.VIII.10:5,6).


Q #1060Is it possible that once the “tiny, mad idea” of separation from God entered the mind of spirit, it produced an illusory Big Bang that we think led to the formation of the phenomenal universe with time and space as coordinates? In this way, the ego could “explain” the origins of the universe and therefore perpetuate the notion of separation. Is it also possible that a portion of the Sonship never entertained the idea of separation, never participated in the dream, and is able to maintain continuity of oneness with God despite the fact that another part of the Sonship is dreaming?

A: We always need to keep in mind when we engage in speculation that there never was, nor could be, any separation from God. That is the principle of the Atonement — separation from God is impossible. But in the context of the myth of separation and its undoing presented in A Course in Miracles , the Big Bang could be associated with the decision the Son of God made, once he believed the separation really happened, to heed the ego’s advice to deal with the resultant overwhelming guilt and terror in his mind by making up some other realm outside his mind in which he could exist as separate and also elude capture and punishment by what must now be a furious, wrathful God. The instant the Son decided he was not a mind by projecting himself outside it could be thought of as the instant the world came into being — the Big Bang. This occurred following the earlier stages of the ego’s dynamics that convinced the Son of the reality of sin, guilt, and fear. In this approach, the “tiny, mad idea” does not enter the Son’s mind at the level of spirit, which would be impossible.

The Course teaches that the Sonship “fell” as one — not in reality, of course. The continuity between God and His Son is eternal. It can never be ruptured. There is nothing in the Course that says part of the Sonship “never entertained the idea of separation, never participated in the dream.” But the clarification of terms states that Jesus “remains a Savior because he saw the false without accepting it as true. . . . In His complete identification with the Christ — the perfect Son of God, His one creation and His happiness, forever like Himself and one with Him — Jesus became what all of you must be” (C.5.2:5; 3:1) . This is a way of saying that Jesus accepted the Atonement for himself; however, there is no indication of when he did this. Perhaps it was in the very instant of the tiny, mad idea; so that in that sense it could be said that Jesus was one of the fragments that never took the idea seriously. There could have been others as well (C.5.6:1,2,3) . For us as students of this course, however, Jesus is the teacher in our minds who, at every instant, reminds us that we can make the same choice he did: to remember to laugh at the tiny, mad idea as it manifests in our lives. He reminds us, too, that we were with him when he arose (C.6.5:5) . Thus, always present in our minds, awaiting our acceptance of it, is the memory of our true Identity as Christ, forever one with His Source.

For further study of this aspect of the Course’s theory, we refer you to All Are Called , Volume 1 of The Message of A Course in Miracles , and our audio album, “Separation and Forgiveness: The Four Splits and Their Undoing.”

accept only love

 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 28

ACIM Text Reading for April 28

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

III. The Investment in Reality

I once asked you to sell all you have and give to the poor and follow me. This is what I meant: If you have no investment in anything in this world, you can teach the poor where their treasure is. The poor are merely those who have invested wrongly, and they are poor indeed! Because they are in need it is given you to help them, since you are among them. Consider how perfectly your lesson would be learned if you were unwilling to share their poverty. For poverty is lack, and there is but one lack since there is but one need.

Suppose a brother insists on having you do something you think you do not want to do. His very insistence should tell you that he believes salvation lies in it. If you insist on refusing and experience a quick response of opposition, you are believing that your salvation lies in not doing it. You, then, are making the same mistake he is, and are making his error real to both of you. Insistence means investment, and what you invest in is always related to your notion of salvation. The question is always twofold; first, what is to be saved? And second, how can it be saved?

Whenever you become angry with a brother, for whatever reason, you are believing that the ego is to be saved, and to be saved by attack. If he attacks, you are agreeing with this belief; and if you attack, you are reinforcing it. Remember that those who attack are poor. Their poverty asks for gifts, not for further impoverishment. You who could help them are surely acting destructively if you accept their poverty as yours. If you had not invested as they had, it would never occur to you to overlook their need.

Recognise what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something ‘outrageous’, do it because it does not matter. Refuse, and your opposition establishes that it does matter to you. It is only you, therefore, who have made the request outrageous, and every request of a brother is for you. Why would you insist in denying him? For to do so is to deny yourself and impoverish both. He is asking for salvation, as you are. Poverty is of the ego, and never of God. No ‘outrageous’ requests can be made of one who recognises what is valuable and wants to accept nothing else.

Salvation is for the mind, and it is attained through peace. This is the only thing that can be saved and the only way to save it. Any response other than love arises from a confusion about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of salvation, and this is the only answer. Never lose sight of this, and never allow yourself to believe, even for an instant, that there is another answer. For you will surely place yourself among the poor, who do not understand that they dwell in abundance and that salvation is come.

To identify with the ego is to attack yourself and make yourself poor. That is why everyone who identifies with the ego feels deprived. What he experiences then is depression or anger, because what he did was to exchange Self-love for self-hate, making him afraid of himself. He does not realise this. Even if he is fully aware of anxiety he does not perceive its source as his own ego identification, and he always tries to handle it by making some sort of insane ‘arrangement’ with the world. He always perceives this world as outside himself, for this is crucial to his adjustment. He does not realise that he makes this world, for there is no world outside of him.

If only the loving thoughts of God’s Son are the world’s reality, the real world must be in his mind. His insane thoughts, too, must be in his mind, but an internal conflict of this magnitude he cannot tolerate. A split mind is endangered, and the recognition that it encompasses completely opposed thoughts within itself is intolerable. Therefore the mind projects the split, not the reality. Everything you perceive as the outside world is merely your attempt to maintain your ego identification, for everyone believes that identification is salvation. Yet consider what has happened, for thoughts do have consequences to the thinker. You have become at odds with the world as you perceive it, because you think it is antagonistic to you. This is a necessary consequence of what you have done. You have projected outward what is antagonistic to what is inward, and therefore you would have to perceive it this way. That is why you must realise that your hatred is in your mind and not outside it before you can get rid of it; and why you must get rid of it before you can perceive the world as it really is.

I said before that God so loved the world that He gave it to His only begotten Son. God does love the real world, and those who perceive its reality cannot see the world of death. For death is not of the real world, in which everything reflects the eternal. God gave you the real world in exchange for the one you made out of your split mind, and which is the symbol of death. For if you could really separate yourself from the Mind of God you would die.

The world you perceive is a world of separation. Perhaps you are willing to accept even death to deny your Father. Yet He would not have it so, and so it is not so. You still cannot will against Him, and that is why you have no control over the world you made. It is not a world of will because it is governed by the desire to be unlike God, and this desire is not will. The world you made is therefore totally chaotic, governed by arbitrary and senseless ‘laws’, and without meaning of any kind. For it is made out of what you do not want, projected from your mind because you are afraid of it. Yet this world is only in the mind of its maker, along with his real salvation. Do not believe it is outside of yourself, for only by recognising where it is will you gain control over it. For you do have control over your mind, since the mind is the mechanism of decision.

If you will recognise that all the attack you perceive is in your own mind and nowhere else, you will at last have placed its source, and where it begins it must end. For in this same place also lies salvation. The altar of God where Christ abideth is there. You have defiled the altar, but not the world. Yet Christ has placed the Atonement on the altar for you. Bring your perceptions of the world to this altar, for it is the altar to truth. There you will see your vision changed, and there you will learn to see truly. From this place, where God and His Son dwell in peace and where you are welcome, you will look out in peace and behold the world truly. Yet to find the place, you must relinquish your investment in the world as you project it, allowing the Holy Spirit to extend the real world to you from the altar of God.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 28

Lesson 98

I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.

Today is a day of special dedication. We take a stand on but one side today. We side with truth and let illusions go. We will not vacillate between the two, but take a firm position with the One. We dedicate ourselves to truth today, and to salvation as God planned it be. We will not argue it is something else. We will not seek for it where it is not. In gladness we accept it as it is, and take the part assigned to us by God.

How happy to be certain! All our doubts we lay aside today, and take our stand with certainty of purpose, and with thanks that doubt is gone and surety has come. We have a mighty purpose to fulfill, and have been given everything we need with which to reach the goal. Not one mistake stands in our way. For we have been absolved from errors. All our sins are washed away by realizing they were but mistakes.

The guiltless have no fear, for they are safe and recognize their safety. They do not appeal to magic, nor invent escapes from fancied threats without reality. They rest in quiet certainty that they will do what it is given them to do. They do not doubt their own ability because they know their function will be filled completely in the perfect time and place. They took the stand which we will take today, that we may share their certainty and thus increase it by accepting it ourselves.

They will be with us; all who took the stand we take today will gladly offer us all that they learned and every gain they made. Those still uncertain, too, will join with us, and, borrowing our certainty, will make it stronger still. While those as yet unborn will hear the call we heard, and answer it when they have come to make their choice again. We do not choose but for ourselves today.

Is it not worth five minutes of your time each hour to be able to accept the happiness that God has given you? Is it not worth five minutes hourly to recognize your special function here? Is not five minutes but a small request to make in terms of gaining a reward so great it has no measure? You have made a thousand losing bargains at the least.

Here is an offer guaranteeing you your full release from pain of every kind, and joy the world does not contain. You can exchange a little of your time for peace of mind and certainty of purpose, with the promise of complete success. And since time has no meaning, you are being asked for nothing in return for everything. Here is a bargain that you cannot lose. And what you gain is limitless indeed!

Each hour today give Him your tiny gift of but five minutes. He will give the words you use in practicing today’s idea the deep conviction and the certainty you lack. His words will join with yours, and make each repetition of today’s idea a total dedication, made in faith as perfect and as sure as His in you. His confidence in you will bring the light to all the words you say, and you will go beyond their sound to what they really mean. Today you practice with Him, as you say:

I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.

In each five minutes that you spend with Him, He will accept your words and give them back to you all bright with faith and confidence so strong and steady they will light the world with hope and gladness. Do not lose one chance to be the glad receiver of His gifts, that you may give them to the world today.

Give Him the words, and He will do the rest. He will enable you to understand your special function. He will open up the way to happiness, and peace and trust will be His gifts; His answer to your words. He will respond with all His faith and joy and certainty that what you say is true. And you will have conviction then of Him Who knows the function that you have on earth as well as Heaven. He will be with you each practice period you share with Him, exchanging every instant of the time you offer Him for timelessness and peace.

Throughout the hour, let your time be spent in happy preparation for the next five minutes you will spend again with Him. Repeat today’s idea while you wait for the glad time to come to you again. Repeat it often, and do not forget each time you do so, you have let your mind be readied for the happy time to come.

And when the hour goes and He is there once more to spend a little time with you, be thankful and lay down all earthly tasks, all little thoughts and limited ideas, and spend a happy time again with Him. Tell Him once more that you accept the part that He would have you take and help you fill, and He will make you sure you want this choice, which He has made with you and you with Him.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #541: I’ve been having trouble with chapter 12, section III, The Investment In Reality. Jesus says that if someone asks something “outrageous” we should do it because it does not matter. This causes me great fear because all my life I’ve been unable to say no and this is something I need to do for my own mental health. I thought that we were under no laws but God’s and he never demands anything. This seems like a demand to me. It makes me feel like I am under anyone’s control if they feel like asking me to do something and get mad if I don’t. I must be interpreting this wrong because it causes fear in me unlike the rest of A Course in Miracles. How could God expect us to bow to others wishes like this. Does this not contradict all the rest?

A: Your confusion with this passage is a common one among Course students, because of our strong ego-based inclination to confuse form with content. Rest assured that Jesus is never talking about behavior but only our underlying thoughts and attitudes. Let’s look at the sentence in the larger context:

Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something ‘outrageous,’ do it because it does not matter. Refuse, and your opposition establishes that it does matter to you. It is only you, therefore, who have made the request outrageous, and every request of a brother is for you. Why would you insist in denying him? For to do so is to deny yourself and impoverish both. He is asking for salvation, as you are. Poverty is of the ego, and never of God. No ‘outrageous’ requests can be made of one who recognizes what is valuable and wants to accept nothing else.

Salvation is for the mind, and it is attained through peace. This is the only thing that can be saved and the only way to save it. Any response other than love arises from a confusion about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of salvation, and this is the only answer” (T.12.III.4:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8; 5:1,2,3).

In this particular passage, our tendency is to focus on the part of the statement “do it” although the words Jesus is emphasizing, indicated by the italics, are concerned with our interpretation of the request and our motivation. His focus is not on “do it” but on “because it does not matter.”

Jesus is asking us to look at our resistance to our brother’s request. If we are in our right mind, we will hear the real request that is beneath the specific words and we will be willing to respond, for, in the words of this passage, “he is asking for salvation.” Our response may or may not be in the form of what he is asking for — not refusing our brother’s request does not mean that we do exactly what he asks behaviorally. But our attitude will not be one of resistance or rejection but an openness to respond with what he is really asking for — the love he does not know is his.

Jesus knew we would misinterpret this passage through our ego confusion of form and content and so he adds a clarification several chapters later:

“I have said that if a brother asks a foolish thing of you to do it. But be certain that this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other. Foolish requests are foolish merely because they conflict, since they always contain some element of specialness. Only the Holy Spirit recognizes foolish needs as well as real ones. And He will teach you how to meet both without losing either” (T.16.I.6:4,5,6,7,8).

Once again, Jesus shifts the focus from the specific behavior to the underlying content and asks us to turn to the Holy Spirit for help, because our own interpretation will view our brother’s request as an attack rather than as a call for love. That’s why we need to ask for help for ourselves first before we can respond to our brother’s real request. So long as we see ourselves as limited and vulnerable, we will view our brother’s request as an unreasonable demand upon us and we will inevitably respond defensively, as if we can be diminished by our brother’s demands. But if we are in our right mind, we will be able to hear our brother’s request for what it really is — a fearful call for love from one who does not believe he deserves love. And we will know that the only response that is called for is love (T.12.I.3,4,5), of which we are not the source.

Through our willingness to be a channel for the love he is calling for, we are saying we are willing to experience the love ourselves. That is why, as Jesus says in the earlier passage, to refuse a brother’s request is to impoverish yourself as well. The anger and the resistance you feel are the cues that the ego is running the show. So while you feel that you may need to keep boundaries to protect yourself, Jesus is saying that it is still possible to respond to your brother’s underlying request for love. For Jesus would never ask us to do anything that we believe would hurt ourselves — we are always the ones who demand that of ourselves.

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Q #465: I always understood that in A Course in Miracles Jesus never asks us to do anything in the world, except in how to do the workbook lessons. Then I rediscover in Chapter 12: “Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something ‘outrageous,’ do it because it does not matter” (T.12.III.4:1). I have also read your question and answer #60. This does not answer why he is telling us to “do something in the world.” If there is no world, why do something that my brother wants me to do?

A: The context of this statement appears in the preceding two paragraphs, and it is essential to realize that Jesus is not talking about form or behavior, but about the content in our minds. Thus he explains that the other person’s “very insistence should tell you that he believes salvation lies in it. If you insist on refusing and experience a quick response of opposition, you are believing that your salvation lies in not doing it. You, then, are making the same mistake he is, and are making his error real to both of you” (T.12.III.2:2,3,4). The content Jesus is pointing out to us is the error of believing that what we do or do not do in the world is important and in some way related to our salvation: “Insistence means investment, and what you invest in is always related to your notion of salvation” (2:5). Even though he knows the world is not real, he shows us how to use our experiences in the world as a classroom so that we can discover the specific mistakes we are making in our thinking, why they occur, and what to do about them. He is always teaching us about the content in our minds, not our behavior. His teachings will always be misunderstood if this distinction is not recognized. Therefore in the context of adamantly refusing to do what another asks of us, Jesus is saying that what will help us undo the separation and learn that salvation has nothing to do with the world is to join with the other person by doing what seems “outrageous,” remembering of course that “this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other” (T.16.I.6:5).

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Q #692: Relating to Question #465 “If someone asks you to do something outrageous, do it because it does not matter.” Yet, “Do not do a foolish thing that would hurt either.” We are constantly bombarded by telemarketers and could almost literally change phone or other services daily at their request. This too wouldn’t matter though it may continue to disappoint yesterday’s salesman and induce unnecessary busyness into today’s buyer. Ultimately, neither the salesman nor I can be hurt no matter what the decision; so I guess I’m asking for clarification of the meaning of “hurt” in this context.

 

A: It probably is safe to say that when Jesus was talking about this issue to Helen, the scribe of A Course in Miracles, he did not have telemarketers or other solicitors in mind. Common sense dictates that we not respond to every request made by a salesperson. On the other hand, an egoless person may be guided to buy what has been offered because the interaction is helpful to the seller’s Atonement process, not because there is any need for the item. But that advanced state is not what Jesus is referring to in these passages. He is talking about an immediate, strong reaction of opposition — a stubborn refusal to even consider the request. That extreme reaction means something is going on beneath the surface that needs to be looked at. With telemarketers, we can quickly but kindly decline the call, and that would be the end of it, just as we might decline solicitors outside a supermarket or other kind of store. There is no issue.

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Q #695: This is about your answer to Question #465 regarding T.12.4. A Course in Miracles teaches us that the world is a reflection of your mind (“the outside picture of an inward condition” [T.21.in.1:51), why would someone ask a highly enlightened being to do something outrageous? Does that mean that someone like Sai Baba could never be asked an outrageous question? Second, if my mind is free from guilt then how could someone even ask for something “outrageous.” A guilt free mind wouldn’t reflect guilt even in the form of a question. I thought that when you “get it” it won’t even show up. That is why I find this to be contradictory of the teaching of love or fear, light or dark; if they are polarities then how could love and fear be present at the same time

A: First, Jesus is directing this teaching to unhealed minds, those that are still projecting guilt. A guilt-free mind, as you say, would never attack or feel attacked. Within the dream, a healed mind could be the object of an attack by someone else, as was the case with Jesus who perceived that others were attacking him, but did not himself experience it as an attack. It could be for a teaching purpose that a healed mind would choose to be in that kind of situation.

As an example of what Jesus is teaching, let us say that you insist that I go to the store to buy something you need. I immediately lash out at you and angrily refuse to go, saying, “That’s outrageous! The nerve of you to insist that I go to the store for you. Go yourself, and quit bothering me!” Jesus is talking about that kind of extreme reaction to another person’s request. If I had switched from my wrong mind to my right mind, I would not have judged your insistence that I go to the store for you as outrageous, and then attacked you in return, for I would have recognized what you were really asking for: to be saved from your self-hatred and fear of punishment by God for your “sin” of separating from Him. You were asking for love, and I would have responded with love to that request by my inner peace and non-opposition. The specific form that love would have taken would not be of concern to me; that is, I would do what you asked or not do it. There would have been no sense of being imposed on or deprived of my own needs. That is what Jesus means in saying “no ‘outrageous’ requests can be made of one who recognizes what is valuable and wants to accept nothing else” (4:8).

Jesus is helping us to become clear about “the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of salvation” (5:3). Your insistence that I go to the store means that you believe your salvation lies in getting what you want. My forceful opposition would mean that I believe salvation lies in my not giving you what you want. That is the problem Jesus is identifying in this kind of interaction. I, as an unhealed mind, have simply forgotten that my salvation as well as yours lies in the power of our minds to choose against the ego and for the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness.


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Q #889A person I socialize with is in the habit of reciting the rosary when someone travels with her and expects the other person to recite it with her. As a student of A Course in Miracles , would it be dishonest to recite “Hail Mary…pray for us sinners now….” or would it rather be a loving thing to do and in accordance with the Course teaching: “Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something ‘outrageous’, do it because it does not matter.” (T.12.III.4:1)? Would this exhortation apply to the situation I am talking about?

I am a non-practicing catholic and have been a student of the Course for the past 6 years. Some of the women I socialize with attend church on a regular basis. I have been asked what church I attend. I didn’t like being asked about that, as there is only one church in our parish. So, the first time I ignored the question. The second time, I spontaneously answered: “Good question!” I don’t feel like answering that my spiritual path is A Course in Miracles . What would be a loving, honest way to answer that question?

A: You have given yourself a very good answer to your question. It may certainly be a loving thing to say Hail Marys with your friend. There is nothing dishonest in being willing to meet your friend on her turf and on her terms. While your friend practices her beliefs, you can also practice yours by focusing on the content (the thoughts in your mind), not allowing the form (rosary) to come between you and your friend. This could make for a very relaxing ride.

Similarly, there is no need to tell anyone that you are a student of the Course. The important thing from the perspective of the Course, is to pay attention to the discomfort you experience with your friends’ inquiries, because it reflects the mind’s conflict. The goal of the Course is to help us become aware of just such discomfort, so that the beliefs and judgments that are hidden beneath it can be exposed. That is the only focus the Holy Spirit brings. If you are willing to look at whatever judgments you have regarding your friends’ catholic practice and your identity as a non- practicing catholic / student of the Course, you may be surprised to find beliefs you were not aware of. These beliefs and judgments are what make it difficult to discern what to say to your friends about church attendance. Every judgment is some form of unforgiveness and unforgiveness blocks communication. As Jesus tells us in the workbook: “ Certain it is that all distress does not appear to be but unforgiveness. Yet that is the content underneath the form” (W.pI.193.4:1, 2) . With this in mind, it is possible to find the way out of every dilemma: “…only forgiveness heals an unforgiveness, and only an unforgiveness can possibly give rise to sickness [distress, discomfort, uneasiness] of any kind” (P.2VI.5:5).

When forgiveness of one’s judgments becomes the goal in the relationship, the relationship changes, and on some level all who are involved perceive the shift. Questions and answers may change, but it is the change in content that truly matters. In some form, the message that your friends’ inquiries are not upsetting to you will be communicated to them. Releasing them of any responsibility for your feelings makes every interaction lighter. Whatever you say will be free of judgment. If you remain a kind and loving friend in this way they probably won’t care what church, if any, you are attending. If they do care, it won’t be an issue for you. You can’t lose.

be of good cheer

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 27

ACIM Text Reading for April 27

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

II. The Way to Remember God

Miracles are merely the translation of denial into truth. If to love oneself is to heal oneself, those who are sick do not love themselves. Therefore, they are asking for the love that would heal them, but which they are denying to themselves. If they knew the truth about themselves they could not be sick. The task of the miracle worker thus becomes to deny the denial of truth. The sick must heal themselves, for the truth is in them. Yet having obscured it, the light in another mind must shine into theirs because that light is theirs.

The light in them shines as brightly regardless of the density of the fog that obscures it. If you give no power to the fog to obscure the light, it has none. For it has power only if the Son of God gives power to it. He must himself withdraw that power, remembering that all power is of God. You can remember this for all the Sonship. Do not allow your brother not to remember, for his forgetfulness is yours. But your remembering is his, for God cannot be remembered alone. This is what you have forgotten. To perceive the healing of your brother as the healing of yourself is thus the way to remember God. For you forgot your brothers with Him, and God’s Answer to your forgetting is but the way to remember.

Perceive in sickness but another call for love, and offer your brother what he believes he cannot offer himself. Whatever the sickness, there is but one remedy. You will be made whole as you make whole, for to perceive in sickness the appeal for health is to recognise in hatred the call for love. And to give a brother what he really wants is to offer it unto yourself, for your Father wills you to know your brother as yourself. Answer his call for love, and yours is answered. Healing is the Love of Christ for His Father and for Himself.

Remember what was said about the frightening perceptions of little children, which terrify them because they do not understand them. If they ask for enlightenment and accept it, their fears vanish. But if they hide their nightmares they will keep them. It is easy to help an uncertain child, for he recognises that he does not understand what his perceptions mean. Yet you believe that you do understand yours. Little child, you are hiding your head under the cover of the heavy blankets you have laid upon yourself. You are hiding your nightmares in the darkness of your own false certainty, and refusing to open your eyes and look at them.

Let us not save nightmares, for they are not fitting offerings for Christ, and so they are not fit gifts for you. Take off the covers and look at what you are afraid of. Only the anticipation will frighten you, for the reality of nothingness cannot be frightening. Let us not delay this, for your dream of hatred will not leave you without help, and Help is here. Learn to be quiet in the midst of turmoil, for quietness is the end of strife and this is the journey to peace. Look straight at every image that rises to delay you, for the goal is inevitable because it is eternal. The goal of love is but your right, and it belongs to you despite your dreams.

You still want what God wills, and no nightmare can defeat a child of God in his purpose. For your purpose was given you by God, and you must accomplish it because it is His Will. Awake and remember your purpose, for it is your will to do so. What has been accomplished for you must be yours. Do not let your hatred stand in the way of love, for nothing can withstand the Love of Christ for His Father, or His Father’s Love for Him.

A little while and you will see me, for I am not hidden because you are hiding. I will awaken you as surely as I awakened myself, for I awoke for you. In my resurrection is your release. Our mission is to escape from crucifixion, not from redemption. Trust in my help, for I did not walk alone, and I will walk with you as our Father walked with me. Do you not know that I walked with Him in peace? And does not that mean that peace goes with us on the journey?

There is no fear in perfect love. We will but be making perfect to you what is already perfect in you. You do not fear the unknown but the known. You will not fail in your mission because I did not fail in mine. Give me but a little trust in the name of the complete trust I have in you, and we will easily accomplish the goal of perfection together. For perfection is, and cannot be denied. To deny the denial of perfection is not so difficult as to deny truth, and what we can accomplish together will be believed when you see it as accomplished.

You who have tried to banish love have not succeeded, but you who choose to banish fear must succeed. The Lord is with you, but you know it not. Yet your Redeemer liveth, and abideth in you in the peace out of which He was created. Would you not exchange this awareness for the awareness of fear? When we have overcome fear – not by hiding it, not by minimising it, and not by denying its full import in any way – this is what you will really see. You cannot lay aside the obstacles to real vision without looking upon them, for to lay aside means to judge against. If you will look, the Holy Spirit will judge, and He will judge truly. Yet He cannot shine away what you keep hidden, for you have not offered it to Him and He cannot take it from you.

We are therefore embarking on an organised, well-structured and carefully planned program aimed at learning how to offer to the Holy Spirit everything you do not want. He knows what to do with it. You do not understand how to use what He knows. Whatever is given Him that is not of God is gone. Yet you must look at it yourself in perfect willingness, for otherwise His knowledge remains useless to you. Surely He will not fail to help you, since help is His only purpose. Do you not have greater reason for fearing the world as you perceive it, than for looking at the cause of fear and letting it go forever?

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 27

Lesson 97

I am spirit.

Today’s idea identifies you with your one Self. It accepts no split identity, nor tries to weave opposing factors into unity. It simply states the truth. Practice this truth today as often as you can, for it will bring your mind from conflict to the quiet fields of peace. No chill of fear can enter, for your mind has been absolved from madness, letting go illusions of a split identity.

We state again the truth about your Self, the holy Son of God Who rests in you; whose mind has been restored to sanity. You are the spirit lovingly endowed with all your Father’s Love and peace and joy. You are the spirit which completes Himself, and shares His function as Creator. He is with you always, as you are with Him.

Today we try to bring reality still closer to your mind. Each time you practice, awareness is brought a little nearer at least; sometimes a thousand years or more are saved. The minutes which you give are multiplied over and over, for the miracle makes use of time, but is not ruled by it. Salvation is a miracle, the first and last; the first that is the last, for it is one.

You are the spirit in whose mind abides the miracle in which all time stands still; the miracle in which a minute spent in using these ideas becomes a time that has no limit and that has no end. Give, then, these minutes willingly, and count on Him Who promised to lay timelessness beside them. He will offer all His strength to every little effort that you make. Give Him the minutes which He needs today, to help you understand with Him you are the spirit that abides in Him, and that calls through His Voice to every living thing; offers His sight to everyone who asks; replaces error with the simple truth.

The Holy Spirit will be glad to take five minutes of each hour from your hands, and carry them around this aching world where pain and misery appear to rule. He will not overlook one open mind that will accept the healing gifts they bring, and He will lay them everywhere He knows they will be welcome. And they will increase in healing power each time someone accepts them as his thoughts, and uses them to heal.

Thus will each gift to Him be multiplied a thousandfold and tens of thousands more. And when it is returned to you, it will surpass in might the little gift you gave as much as does the radiance of the sun outshine the tiny gleam a firefly makes an uncertain moment and goes out. The steady brilliance of this light remains and leads you out of darkness, nor will you be able to forget the way again.

Begin these happy exercises with the words the Holy Spirit speaks to you, and let them echo round the world through Him:

Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and
healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world.

Expressed through you, the Holy Spirit will accept this gift that you received of Him, increase its power and give it back to you.

Offer each practice period today gladly to Him. And He will speak to you, reminding you that you are spirit, one with Him and God, your brothers and your Self. Listen for His assurance every time you speak the words He offers you today, and let Him tell your mind that they are true. Use them against temptation, and escape its sorry consequences if you yield to the belief that you are something else. The Holy Spirit gives you peace today. Receive His words, and offer them to Him.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1251I am having difficulty understanding how my interactions with other people who are going through the same process of learning that their thoughts are creating reality are able to coexist and not interfere with one another. If I believe and understand that reality is a manifestation of thought, does this not have an effect on other people? What if I have thoughts about another person? — how can my reality possibly make our two realities come together? If the situation has been decided by all involved beforehand, then I feel as though I am in a grand illusion that is no longer a good space to be in. It would be nice to get some validation that I’m not a puppet on someone’s string. I am giving 100% to learning how to relearn that the world, and this email for that matter, is only a thought and nothing more. I got the concept that we are all the same energy, but I don’t understand it when it relates to individuality.

A: No, you are not a “puppet on someone’s string”; and A Course in Miracles’ theory of time does not entail predestination. In fact, one of the major objectives of Jesus’ teaching is to have us realize that our decision to choose the ego or him as our teacher determines what our experience will be at every instant. But it would not be entirely accurate to say that we therefore “create our reality.”

If I choose the ego as my teacher, then my thoughts will emanate from the thought system of separation, and whatever is going on externally will be interpreted by me (my decision maker) accordingly. The ego thought system will be a kind of template, in terms of which my internal experience of the external will be “created.” When I interact with you, for instance, my ego needs will determine how I experience you. I do not create your reality; I “create” my perception of you based on my prior choice to listen to the ego rather than Jesus or the Holy Spirit. And my perception of you may not even square with the objective reality, because my ego needs could result in distorted perception — which is frequently the case.

It is next to impossible for us to jump from our experience of ourselves as physical/psychological individuals to an experience of ourselves as minds not bound by time or space. Even the intellectual understanding of mind is not easy for us, as you have found. One of the reasons for this difficulty is that we are far more invested in the ego thought system than we realize, and since the core of the ego’s strategy is to keep us mindless, attempting to perceive a realm beyond the body and specifics (the realm of mindlessness) would seem quite unnatural and frustrating to us, and almost impossible to attain. We would be fighting against ourselves to perceive everything as mind when, at the same time, we are upholding a decision to deny our identity as mind.

Therefore, what might help ease the pressure and confusion you are experiencing is to approach this issue from a different direction: shifting your focus to the purpose or the way you are using the world, your body, and your relationships, rather than trying so hard to relate to the world and everyone as thought. It is true that there is only mind and thoughts in the mind; but your experience of that will come more naturally if you focus first on becoming comfortable with recognizing the purpose in your mind that is motivating the way you relate and interact in the world. The practice of this would lead you eventually to see beyond the appearances of individuality to the decision-making mind that is “in charge.” Then you would see that no one is under anyone else’s control, unless that kind of experience is wanted; but then that choice could be changed at any instant.

For example, as long as we identify with the ego’s thought system of separation, it is a given that we will relate to each other in the context of specialness, which means we will judge some people as not deserving of our love, compassion, and forgiveness — even ourselves at times. Specialness and exclusion go hand in hand. We can thus learn to recognize how we use people to keep ourselves in the particular state of specialness we desire — to get what we want. Even further, the roots of specialness are hidden in the mind’s compulsion to see and judge differences; and so we can learn to recognize that dimension in our relationships as well.

As we continue this process of looking and observing, we will be shifting our attention more and more away from form to the content in our minds. And eventually we will relate to ourselves and everyone else primarily on that level, while at the same time we will be functioning normally in our day-to-day activities (form). Thus, when we realize how we make differences important, and then seek to correct that (we change teachers in our mind), our perception will shift to the interests we all share — that we all are suffering tremendous anguish and guilt over believing we selfishly separated from our Source, and that we all are longing to go back home to Heaven. As that becomes our abiding perception, then our investment in individuality will begin to weaken, without our even working on that directly.

The transition to the experience of everything as mind, thus, would be more natural, and certainly more gentle than trying to pressure ourselves to get beyond the body and form entirely. This is why Jesus reminds us often that we are involved in a process of undoing what we have made in error. We start where we are — with what we are most familiar with. Near the end of the text, Jesus tells us, “Salvation does not ask that you behold the spirit and perceive the body not. It merely asks that this should be your choice” (T.31.VI.3:1). Thus, our willingness to change from the ego’s purpose to the Holy Spirit’s purpose for the world and the body is what will facilitate the gentle transition to true perception, and to the vision we share with Jesus.


Q #1252If God is not aware of our illusion of separation, how did He know to send the Holy Spirit to help us? One thought that comes to me is that the Holy Spirit is a construct of, (or is?) our Christ Mind and so was in our mind, and remains so, even when we imagine that we are separate. Therefore, are Jesus, and the Christ Mind, and the Holy Spirit and the “Son of God” all the same? Is the idea of Trinity really a twosome (God and his Creation meaning all of the above terms?) I would be so grateful for your input.

A: We have already answered your first question, and refer you to Questions #459 and #616 for our response. The Holy Spirit, as presented in A Course in Miracles is not considered a construct of our Christ Mind. He symbolizes for us the memory of our true Self that resides in the sane part of our post-separation mind — an illusory split mind, of course, as the separation never truly happened. You might say that the Holy Spirit is in the Mind of God, not the Christ Mind, insofar as Jesus tells us that when the separation is completely undone, the Holy Spirit will no longer take form — as the Voice for God — but will return to the eternal formlessness of God (C.6.5:8) . Another discussion of this with additional references may be found in Question #1159.

Questions #625 and #626 pertain to your queries about the nature of God and Jesus. What always helps when trying to piece together a theology is to remember that we are dealing with symbols. Reality is pure oneness, which is incomprehensible to us as long as we experience ourselves as individuals consciously thinking about issues. This is the main point of Jesus’ discussion in the first section of Chapter 25 (T.25.I.5,6,7). He uses language and concepts that we can understand, but his purpose is to lead us beyond that level to the experience of God’s Love, which transcends all form and symbol. Jesus, as we describe in #626 above, reflects or symbolizes God’s Love in a form we can relate to, and in this sense he is not the Christ Mind. He is the Son of God, the same as we are in our separated state. In emphasizing our equality with him on this level, he corrects the biblical view that he alone is God’s Son, and we the adopted sons of God. The term Son of God is also used in the Course to refer to Christ, our true Self, the Second Person of the Trinity. Thus, the term is used for our true Self, Christ, as part of the Oneness of God’s Being, and it is also used for the post-separation self, or the decision maker that can choose to awaken from the dream of separation from God.


A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 26

ACIM Text Reading for April 26

Chapter 12

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S CURRICULUM

I. The Judgement of the Holy Spirit

You have been told not to make error real, and the way to do this is very simple. If you want to believe in error, you would have to make it real because it is not true. But truth is real in its own right, and to believe in truth you do not have to do anything. Understand that you do not respond to anything directly, but to your interpretation of it. Your interpretation thus becomes the justification for the response. That is why analysing the motives of others is hazardous to you. If you decide that someone is really trying to attack you or desert you or enslave you, you will respond as if he had actually done so, having made his error real to you. To interpret error is to give it power, and having done this you will overlook truth.

The analysis of ego-motivation is very complicated, very obscuring, and never without your own ego-involvement. The whole process represents a clear-cut attempt to demonstrate your own ability to understand what you perceive. This is shown by the fact that you react to your interpretations as if they were correct. You may then control your reactions behaviourally, but not emotionally. This would obviously be a split or an attack on the integrity of your mind, pitting one level within it against another.

There is but one interpretation of motivation that makes any sense. And because it is the Holy Spirit’s judgement it requires no effort at all on your part. Every loving thought is true. Everything else is an appeal for healing and help, regardless of the form it takes. Can anyone be justified in responding with anger to a brother’s plea for help? No response can be appropriate except the willingness to give it to him, for this and only this is what he is asking for. Offer him anything else, and you are assuming the right to attack his reality by interpreting it as you see fit. Perhaps the danger of this to your own mind is not yet fully apparent. If you believe that an appeal for help is something else you will react to something else. Your response will therefore be inappropriate to reality as it is, but not to your perception of it.

There is nothing to prevent you from recognising all calls for help as exactly what they are except your own imagined need to attack. It is only this that makes you willing to engage in endless ‘battles’ with reality, in which you deny the reality of the need for healing by making it unreal. You would not do this except for your unwillingness to accept reality as it is, and which you therefore withhold from yourself.

It is surely good advice to tell you not to judge what you do not understand. No one with a personal investment is a reliable witness, for truth to him has become what he wants it to be. If you are unwilling to perceive an appeal for help as what it is, it is because you are unwilling to give help and to receive it. To fail to recognise a call for help is to refuse help. Would you maintain that you do not need it? Yet this is what you are maintaining when you refuse to recognise a brother’s appeal, for only by answering his appeal can you be helped. Deny him your help and you will not recognise God’s Answer to you. The Holy Spirit does not need your help in interpreting motivation, but you do need His.

Only appreciation is an appropriate response to your brother. Gratitude is due him for both his loving thoughts and his appeals for help, for both are capable of bringing love into your awareness if you perceive them truly. And all your sense of strain comes from your attempts not to do just this. How simple, then, is God’s plan for salvation. There is but one response to reality, for reality evokes no conflict at all. There is but one Teacher of reality, Who understands what it is. He does not change His Mind about reality because reality does not change. Although your interpretations of reality are meaningless in your divided state, His remain consistently true. He gives them to you because they are for you. Do not attempt to ‘help’ a brother in your way, for you cannot help yourself. But hear his call for the Help of God, and you will recognise your own need for the Father.

Your interpretations of your brother’s needs are your interpretation of yours. By giving help you are asking for it, and if you perceive but one need in yourself you will be healed. For you will recognise God’s Answer as you want It to be, and if you want It in truth, It will be truly yours. Every appeal you answer in the Name of Christ brings the remembrance of your Father closer to your awareness. For the sake of your need, then, hear every call for help as what it is, so God can answer you.

By applying the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the reactions of others more and more consistently, you will gain an increasing awareness that His criteria are equally applicable to you. For to recognise fear is not enough to escape from it, although the recognition is necessary to demonstrate the need for escape. The Holy Spirit must still translate the fear into truth. If you were left with the fear, once you had recognised it, you would have taken a step away from reality, not towards it. Yet we have repeatedly emphasised the need to recognise fear and face it without disguise as a crucial step in the undoing of the ego. Consider how well the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the motives of others will serve you then. Having taught you to accept only loving thoughts in others and to regard everything else as an appeal for help, He has taught you that fear itself is an appeal for help. This is what recognising fear really means. If you do not protect it, He will reinterpret it. That is the ultimate value in learning to perceive attack as a call for love. We have already learned that fear and attack are inevitably associated. If only attack produces fear, and if you see attack as the call for help that it is, the unreality of fear must dawn on you. For fear is a call for love, in unconscious recognition of what has been denied.

Fear is a symptom of your own deep sense of loss. If when you perceive it in others you learn to supply the loss, the basic cause of fear is removed. Thereby you teach yourself that fear does not exist in you. The means for removing it is in yourself, and you have demonstrated this by giving it. Fear and love are the only emotions of which you are capable. One is false, for it was made out of denial; and denial depends on the belief in what is denied for its own existence. By interpreting fear correctly as a positive affirmation of the underlying belief it masks, you are undermining its perceived usefulness by rendering it useless. Defences that do not work at all are automatically discarded. If you raise what fear conceals to clear-cut unequivocal predominance, fear becomes meaningless. You have denied its power to conceal love, which was its only purpose. The veil that you have drawn across the face of love has disappeared.

If you would look upon love, which is the world’s reality, how could you do better than to recognise, in every defence against it, the underlying appeal for it? And how could you better learn of its reality than by answering the appeal for it by giving it? The Holy Spirit’s interpretation of fear does dispel it, for the awareness of truth cannot be denied. Thus does the Holy Spirit replace fear with love and translate error into truth. And thus will you learn of Him how to replace your dream of separation with the fact of unity. For the separation is only the denial of union, and correctly interpreted, attests to your eternal knowledge that union is true.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 26

Lesson 96

Salvation comes from my one Self.

Although you are one Self, you experience yourself as two; as both good and evil, loving and hating, mind and body. This sense of being split into opposites induces feelings of acute and constant conflict, and leads to frantic attempts to reconcile the contradictory aspects of this self-perception. You have sought many such solutions, and none of them has worked. The opposites you see in you will never be compatible. But one exists.

The fact that truth and illusion cannot be reconciled, no matter how you try, what means you use and where you see the problem, must be accepted if you would be saved. Until you have accepted this, you will attempt an endless list of goals you cannot reach; a senseless series of expenditures of time and effort, hopefulness and doubt, each one as futile as the one before, and failing as the next one surely will.

Problems that have no meaning cannot be resolved within the framework they are set. Two selves in conflict could not be resolved, and good and evil have no meeting place. The self you made can never be your Self, nor can your Self be split in two, and still be what It is and must forever be. A mind and body cannot both exist. Make no attempt to reconcile the two, for one denies the other can be real. If you are physical, your mind is gone from your self-concept, for it has no place in which it could be really part of you. If you are spirit, then the body must be meaningless to your reality.

Spirit makes use of mind as means to find its Self expression. And the mind which serves the spirit is at peace and filled with joy. Its power comes from spirit, and it is fulfilling happily its function here. Yet mind can also see itself divorced from spirit, and perceive itself within a body it confuses with itself. Without its function then it has no peace, and happiness is alien to its thoughts.

Yet mind apart from spirit cannot think. It has denied its Source of strength, and sees itself as helpless, limited and weak. Dissociated from its function now, it thinks it is alone and separate, attacked by armies massed against itself and hiding in the body’s frail support. Now must it reconcile unlike with like, for this is what it thinks that it is for.

Waste no more time on this. Who can resolve the senseless conflicts which a dream presents? What could the resolution mean in truth? What purpose could it serve? What is it for? Salvation cannot make illusions real, nor solve a problem that does not exist. Perhaps you hope it can. Yet would you have God’s plan for the release of His dear Son bring pain to him, and fail to set him free?

Your Self retains Its Thoughts, and they remain within your mind and in the Mind of God. The Holy Spirit holds salvation in your mind, and offers it the way to peace. Salvation is a thought you share with God, because His Voice accepted it for you and answered in your name that it was done. Thus is salvation kept among the Thoughts your Self holds dear and cherishes for you.

We will attempt today to find this thought, whose presence in your mind is guaranteed by Him Who speaks to you from your one Self. Our hourly five-minute practicing will be a search for Him within your mind. Salvation comes from this one Self through Him Who is the Bridge between your mind and It. Wait patiently, and let Him speak to you about your Self, and what your mind can do, restored to It and free to serve Its Will.

Begin with saying this:

Salvation comes from my one Self. Its Thoughts are mine to use.

Then seek Its Thoughts, and claim them as your own. These are your own real thoughts you have denied, and let your mind go wandering in a world of dreams, to find illusions in their place. Here are your thoughts, the only ones you have. Salvation is among them; find it there.

If you succeed, the thoughts that come to you will tell you you are saved, and that your mind has found the function that it sought to lose. Your Self will welcome it and give it peace. Restored in strength, it will again flow out from spirit to the spirit in all things created by the Spirit as Itself. Your mind will bless all things. Confusion done, you are restored, for you have found your Self.

Your Self knows that you cannot fail today. Perhaps your mind remains uncertain yet a little while. Be not dismayed by this. The joy your Self experiences It will save for you, and it will yet be yours in full awareness. Every time you spend five minutes of the hour seeking Him Who joins your mind and Self, you offer Him another treasure to be kept for you.

Each time today you tell your frantic mind salvation comes from your one Self, you lay another treasure in your growing store. And all of it is given everyone who asks for it, and will accept the gift. Think, then, how much is given unto you to give this day, that it be given you!

 

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #655: I have discovered that my form of attacking the Sonship is overeating. I felt that I was ready through reducing what I eat to look at the guilt and hopefully reduce the fear of God’s Love and not use that particular form of attack any more. What I have found is that it is INCREDIBLY difficult to do this, even though I know exactly what purpose my overeating serves — to attack God’s Son and keep God’s Love away, or to reinforce separation.

I was hoping you could help me with this process. When I reduce what I eat, there is a very strong feeling of “hunger” that overwhelms me. I think at that point I want to turn to the Holy Spirit and “look” at the guilt in my mind so that I can see that it is not real. When I do this I am not getting any clear thoughts about how to do this. The strong thought is the hunger and need to eat a bunch of junk so the feeling will go away. What does it mean to “look at the guilt”? Do you have any suggestions for how I can get past this block that I have to the awareness of love’s presence? What are some of the “truths” I can use to help me become less afraid and get past this form of attack?

A: You’ve got part of it right, but there’s an important aspect of your current approach to food that you may want to reconsider, in light of the teachings of A Course in Miracles. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get a guilt-based, addictive behavior, such as overeating — or drinking, or gambling, etc. — under control, and that can sometimes be a very helpful first step. But if that is your primary goal, even if you acknowledge that it is a form or symbol for your attack on the Sonship, you’ve put the cart before the horse, from the Course’s perspective! That puts you in good company, since most students want to try to change their behavior rather than their minds. And this is only a “natural” desire, while we are more identified with the body in time and space than with the mind outside of time and space. But it’s playing right into the ego’s grand design of keeping our attention focused on effect (the body) and relegating cause (the mind) to a secondary role.

An alternative approach, which reflects the Course’s emphasis on thought rather than behavior, would be to shift your goal from reducing your food intake to merely watching the thoughts that accompany your cravings and your eating binges. We believe the problem is our destructive behavior, but Jesus says that the behavior is only ever a symptom of the underlying destructive thought of guilt in the mind (T.2.VI.3). The behavior helps us recognize that the guilt is there in the mind, but our purpose, believe it or not, is not to change either the behavior or the guilt, but merely to acknowledge the guilt and ask for help in seeing ourselves differently. You see, the overeating in itself is not the attack. The thought that motivates the overeating is the attack — and that thought is not real. And if our goal is to change either, we are saying both the thought and its effect — the overeating — are real. Obviously, since both feel very real to us, we cannot be the ones to undo them.

The thought of guilt may be experienced as anxiety, fear, neediness, scarcity, inadequacy, self- loathing, etc. The ego wants us to make the specific interpretation — that we are hungry and craving food and the way to address the problem is to eat. The Course invites us to dissociate the thought from the specific context and recognize that the underlying thought is really a statement we are making about ourselves, that we are empty and missing something inside — the love we unconsciously believe we have thrown away (T.30.III.1,2,3). And this thought is the source of our guilt. Whether we eat something or not is irrelevant as we allow ourselves to get in touch with the underlying thought, which may bring up both fear and pain. We don’t want to minimize this step, but we also don’t want to stop with it.

And so the Course process of looking with the Holy Spirit or Jesus means that we take what seems very real and powerful to us — our guilt, in whatever form it seems real for us — and look at it with Their gentle, nonjudgmental presence beside us. If we are successful in joining with Their love in this process of looking, we will experience some level of reduction in the intensity of our guilt-based feelings. Our continuing investment in the ego and the self we think we are, which are protected by the guilt, will determine how willing we are to release the guilt in any particular moment. So we do not want to judge ourselves if the feelings do not seem to diminish, but just continue to look as honestly as we can and ask for the help to see ourselves in a different light. For what we believe about ourselves — that we are sinful, guilty, weak, limited creatures — is an ego- based lie. And the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our minds is proof that it is a lie, for our minds could not be home to Their gentle presence if we were the limited selves we have up until now insisted we are. This process of looking at and releasing our guilt is likely to take time so it is important that we be patient with ourselves. Over time, the need to use food to push away those unpleasant, even terrifying thoughts, may also diminish, and food itself will recede in importance as a focus of concern.

A more in-depth discussion of this process and these issues can be found in “Overeating: A Dialogue” (published in both a small book and a single tape format), which presents a discussion Ken Wapnick held with three students around issues of food addiction and preoccupation with weight.

you cannot lose your soul

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 25

ACIM Text Reading for April 25

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

VIII. The Problem and the Answer

This is a very simple course. Perhaps you do not feel you need a course which, in the end, teaches that only reality is true. But do you believe it? When you perceive the real world, you will recognise that you did not believe it. Yet the swiftness with which your new and only real perception will be translated into knowledge will leave you but an instant to realise that this alone is true. And then everything you made will be forgotten; the good and the bad, the false and the true. For as Heaven and earth become one, even the real world will vanish from your sight. The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into Heaven. The reinterpretation of the world is the transfer of all perception to knowledge.

The Bible tells you to become as little children. Little children recognise that they do not understand what they perceive, and so they ask what it means. Do not make the mistake of believing that you understand what you perceive, for its meaning is lost to you. Yet the Holy Spirit has saved its meaning for you, and if you will let Him interpret it, He will restore to you what you have thrown away. Yet while you think you know its meaning, you will see no need to ask it of Him.

You do not know the meaning of anything you perceive. Not one thought you hold is wholly true. The recognition of this is your firm beginning. You are not misguided; you have accepted no guide at all. Instruction in perception is your great need, for you understand nothing. Recognise this but do not accept it, for understanding is your inheritance. Perceptions are learned, and you are not without a Teacher. Yet your willingness to learn of Him depends on your willingness to question everything you learned of yourself, for you who learned amiss should not be your own teacher.

No one can withhold truth except from himself. Yet God will not refuse you the Answer He gave. Ask, then, for what is yours, but which you did not make, and do not defend yourself against truth. You made the problem God has answered. Ask yourself, therefore, but one simple question:

Do I want the problem or do I want the answer?

Decide for the answer and you will have it, for you will see it as it is, and it is yours already.

You may complain that this course is not sufficiently specific for you to understand and use. Yet perhaps you have not done what it specifically advocates. This is not a course in the play of ideas, but in their practical application. Nothing could be more specific than to be told that if you ask you will receive. The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific. His answer is both many and one, as long as you believe that the One is many. You may be afraid of His specificity, for fear of what you think it will demand of you. Yet only by asking will you learn that nothing of God demands anything of you. God gives; He does not take. When you refuse to ask, it is because you believe that asking is taking rather than sharing.

The Holy Spirit will give you only what is yours, and will take nothing in return. For what is yours is everything, and you share it with God. That is its reality. Would the Holy Spirit, Who wills only to restore, be capable of misinterpreting the question you must ask to learn His answer? You have heard the answer, but you have misunderstood the question. You believe that to ask for guidance of the Holy Spirit is to ask for deprivation.

Little child of God, you do not understand your Father. You believe in a world that takes, because you believe that you can get by taking. And by that perception you have lost sight of the real world. You are afraid of the world as you see it, but the real world is still yours for the asking. Do not deny it to yourself, for it can only free you. Nothing of God will enslave His Son whom He created free and whose freedom is protected by His Being. Blessed are you who are willing to ask the truth of God without fear, for only thus can you learn that His answer is the release from fear.

Beautiful child of God, you are asking only for what I promised you. Do you believe I would deceive you? The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. Believe that the truth is in me, for I know that it is in you. God’s Sons have nothing they do not share. Ask for truth of any Son of God, and you have asked it of me. Not one of us but has the answer in him, to give to anyone who asks it of him.

Ask anything of God’s Son and his Father will answer you, for Christ is not deceived in His Father and His Father is not deceived in Him. Do not, then, be deceived in your brother, and see only his loving thoughts as his reality, for by denying that his mind is split you will heal yours. Accept him as his Father accepts him and heal him unto Christ, for Christ is his healing and yours. Christ is the Son of God Who is in no way separate from His Father, Whose every thought is as loving as the Thought of His Father by which He was created. Be not deceived in God’s Son, for thereby you must be deceived in yourself. And being deceived in yourself you are deceived in your Father, in Whom no deceit is possible.

In the real world there is no sickness, for there is no separation and no division. Only loving thoughts are recognised, and because no one is without your help, the Help of God goes with you everywhere. As you become willing to accept this Help by asking for It, you will give It because you want It. Nothing will be beyond your healing power, because nothing will be denied your simple request. What problems will not disappear in the presence of God’s Answer? Ask, then, to learn of the reality of your brother, because this is what you will perceive in him, and you will see your beauty reflected in his.

Do not accept your brother’s variable perception of himself for his split mind is yours, and you will not accept your healing without his. For you share the real world as you share Heaven, and his healing is yours. To love yourself is to heal yourself, and you cannot perceive part of you as sick and achieve your goal. Brother, we heal together as we live together and love together. Be not deceived in God’s Son, for he is one with himself and one with his Father. Love him who is beloved of his Father, and you will learn of the Father’s Love for you.

If you perceive offence in a brother pluck the offence from your mind, for you are offended by Christ and are deceived in Him. Heal in Christ and be not offended by Him, for there is no offence in Him. If what you perceive offends you, you are offended in yourself and are condemning God’s Son whom God condemneth not. Let the Holy Spirit remove all offences of God’s Son against himself and perceive no one but through His guidance, for He would save you from all condemnation. Accept His healing power and use it for all He sends you, for He wills to heal the Son of God, in whom He is not deceived.

Children perceive frightening ghosts and monsters and dragons, and they are terrified. Yet if they ask someone they trust for the meaning of what they perceive, and are willing to let their own interpretations go in favour of reality, their fear goes with them. When a child is helped to translate his ‘ghost’ into a curtain, his ‘monster’ into a shadow, and his ‘dragon’ into a dream he is no longer afraid, and laughs happily at his own fear.

You, my child, are afraid of your brothers and of your Father and of yourself. But you are merely deceived in them. Ask what they are of the Teacher of Reality, and hearing His answer, you too will laugh at your fears and replace them with peace. For fear lies not in reality, but in the minds of children who do not understand reality. It is only their lack of understanding that frightens them, and when they learn to perceive truly they are not afraid. And because of this they will ask for truth again when they are frightened. It is not the reality of your brothers or your Father or yourself that frightens you. You do not know what they are, and so you perceive them as ghosts and monsters and dragons. Ask what their reality is from the One Who knows it, and He will tell you what they are. For you do not understand them, and because you are deceived by what you see you need reality to dispel your fears.

Would you not exchange your fears for truth, if the exchange is yours for the asking? For if God is not deceived in you, you can be deceived only in yourself. Yet you can learn the truth about yourself from the Holy Spirit, Who will teach you that, as part of God, deceit in you is impossible. When you perceive yourself without deceit, you will accept the real world in place of the false one you have made. And then your Father will lean down to you and take the last step for you, by raising you unto Himself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 25

Lesson 95

I am one Self, united with my Creator.

Today’s idea accurately describes you as God created you. You are one within yourself, and one with Him. Yours is the unity of all creation. Your perfect unity makes change in you impossible. You do not accept this, and you fail to realize it must be so, only because you believe that you have changed yourself already.

You see yourself as a ridiculous parody on God’s creation; weak, vicious, ugly and sinful, miserable and beset with pain. Such is your version of yourself; a self divided into many warring parts, separate from God, and tenuously held together by its erratic and capricious maker, to which you pray. It does not hear your prayers, for it is deaf. It does not see the oneness in you, for it is blind. It does not understand you are the Son of God, for it is senseless and understands nothing.

We will attempt today to be aware only of what can hear and see, and what makes perfect sense. We will again direct our exercises towards reaching your one Self, which is united with Its Creator. In patience and in hope we try again today.

The use of the first five minutes of every waking hour for practicing the idea for the day has special advantages at the stage of learning in which you are at present. It is difficult at this point not to allow your mind to wander, if it undertakes extended practice. You have surely realized this by now. You have seen the extent of your lack of mental discipline, and of your need for mind training. It is necessary that you be aware of this, for it is indeed a hindrance to your advance.

Frequent but shorter practice periods have other advantages for you at this time. In addition to recognizing your difficulties with sustained attention, you must also have noticed that, unless you are reminded of your purpose frequently, you tend to forget about it for long periods of time. You often fail to remember the short applications of the idea for the day, and you have not yet formed the habit of using the idea as an automatic response to temptation.

Structure, then, is necessary for you at this time, planned to include frequent reminders of your goal and regular attempts to reach it. Regularity in terms of time is not the ideal requirement for the most beneficial form of practice in salvation. It is advantageous, however, for those whose motivation is inconsistent, and who remain heavily defended against learning.

We will, therefore, keep to the five-minutes-an-hour practice periods for a while, and urge you to omit as few as possible. Using the first five minutes of the hour will be particularly helpful, since it imposes firmer structure. Do not, however, use your lapses from this schedule as an excuse not to return to it again as soon as you can. There may well be a temptation to regard the day as lost because you have already failed to do what is required. This should, however, merely be recognized as what it is; a refusal to let your mistake be corrected, and an unwillingness to try again.

The Holy Spirit is not delayed in His teaching by your mistakes. He can be held back only by your unwillingness to let them go. Let us therefore be determined, particularly for the next week or so, to be willing to forgive ourselves for our lapses in diligence, and our failures to follow the instructions for practicing the day’s idea. This tolerance for weakness will enable us to overlook it, rather than give it power to delay our learning. If we give it power to do this, we are regarding it as strength, and are confusing strength with weakness.

When you fail to comply with the requirements of this course, you have merely made a mistake. This calls for correction, and for nothing else. To allow a mistake to continue is to make additional mistakes, based on the first and reinforcing it. It is this process that must be laid aside, for it is but another way in which you would defend illusions against the truth.

Let all these errors go by recognizing them for what they are. They are attempts to keep you unaware you are one Self, united with your Creator, at one with every aspect of creation, and limitless in power and in peace. This is the truth, and nothing else is true. Today we will affirm this truth again, and try to reach the place in you in which there is no doubt that only this is true.

Begin the practice periods today with this assurance, offered to your mind with all the certainty that you can give:

I am one Self, united with my Creator, at one with every
aspect of creation, and limitless in power and in peace.

Then close your eyes and tell yourself again, slowly and thoughtfully, attempting to allow the meaning of the words to sink into your mind, replacing false ideas:

I am one Self.

Repeat this several times, and then attempt to feel the meaning that the words convey.

You are one Self, united and secure in light and joy and peace. You are God’s Son, one Self, with one Creator and one goal; to bring awareness of this oneness to all minds, that true creation may extend the allness and the unity of God. You are one Self, complete and healed and whole, with power to lift the veil of darkness from the world, and let the light in you come through to teach the world the truth about yourself.

You are one Self, in perfect harmony with all there is, and all that there will be. You are one Self, the holy Son of God, united with your brothers in that Self; united with your Father in His Will. Feel this one Self in you, and let It shine away all your illusions and your doubts. This is your Self, the Son of God Himself, sinless as Its Creator, with His strength within you and His Love forever yours. You are one Self, and it is given you to feel this Self within you, and to cast all your illusions out of the one Mind that is this Self, the holy truth in you.

Do not forget today. We need your help; your little part in bringing happiness to all the world. And Heaven looks to you in confidence that you will try today. Share, then, its surety, for it is yours. Be vigilant. Do not forget today. Throughout the day do not forget your goal. Repeat today’s idea as frequently as possible, and understand each time you do so, someone hears the voice of hope, the stirring of the truth within his mind, the gentle rustling of the wings of peace.

Your own acknowledgment you are one Self, united with your Father, is a call to all the world to be at one with you. To everyone you meet today, be sure to give the promise of today’s idea and tell him this:

You are one Self with me, united with our Creator in this Self.
I honor you because of What I am, and What He is,
Who loves us both as One.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #11: In seeking the “Voice” of the Holy Spirit is there any particular method or practice that facilitates the hearing of this Voice? A Course in Miracles seems to say that few ever even hear it and this seems to inhibit the practice of forgiveness.

A: The greatest obstacle to hearing the Voice of the Holy Spirit is the ego’s raucous shrieking. The Course tells us the Holy Spirit is “a still small Voice” (T.21.V.1:6). Rather than seeking this Voice (which is always with us) we can practice forgiveness by paying attention to the thoughts giving voice to the shrieking in our minds, which is drowning out the Voice of the Holy Spirit. The thoughts of separation, judgment, and attack can be seen for what they are; attempts to defend our ego identity, prove that we are right and God is wrong, guilt is justified, just to name a few. Recognizing these thoughts and accepting responsibility for having chosen them for the specific purpose of nothearing the Holy Spirit’s Voice is the beginning of the practice of forgiveness and of hearing His Voice. If we want to, we then have the opportunity to choose to listen to the Holy Spirit’s Voice, which may not actually be a voice, but perhaps the recognition that I am wrong about how I see a situation, person or event, and being willing to see it differently. In this moment then, the recognition, the willingness and the seeing differently is the Voice of the Holy Spirit. Everyone is called to hear the Holy Spirit in this way. Few may hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit as an actual voice, which is not necessary for the practice of forgiveness. 


Q #12: I have been studying the Course for some years now, and being a psychologist would like to establish a workshop and/or a support group for people trying to live according to its principles. My idea is basically to help people see their projections on others and then make a group effort of asking for help to the Holy Spirit. Would this type of work be in accordance to the principles of the Course and do you have any more suggestions or opinions? I know I have to teach what I need to learn.

A: The bottom line answer to your question is that there are no guidelines in A Course in Miracles for behavior; i.e., “What should I do?” Jesus reminds us that his is a course in cause (the mind), and not in effect (the body, or behavior) (T.21.VII.7:8). Thus, our only function is to ask for help in getting our egos out of the way so that we may be free to be guided in whatever action (or non- action) would be most helpful and loving to all people involved in the situation. The following statement is representative of this all-important Course teaching: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T.16.IV.6:1,2). And so, before knowing how you should (or should not) proceed with your thought of starting a group, bring to the Holy Spirit any ego investment you might have in having such a group. When you are reasonably sure your ego is safely out of the way, then simply follow His guidance.

One other point: a temptation in any group, especially the kind that you envision, is to circumvent the difficult individual effort students are asked to make in order to bring their egos to the Holy Spirit , by diluting the process and displacing the “work” onto the group. At best, groups facilitate this individual work we are all asked to do; at worst, they depreciate the power of our minds to change our decisions and misperceptions, not to mention reinforce the ego’s specialness. Good luck!

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 24

ACIM Text Reading for April 24

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

VII. The Condition of Reality

The world as you perceive it cannot have been created by the Father, for the world is not as you see it. God created only the eternal, and everything you see is perishable. Therefore, there must be another world that you do not see. The Bible speaks of a new Heaven and a new earth, yet this cannot be literally true, for the eternal are not re-created. To perceive anew is merely to perceive again, implying that before, or in the interval between, you were not perceiving at all. What, then, is the world that awaits your perception when you see it?

Every loving thought that the Son of God ever had is eternal. The loving thoughts his mind perceives in this world are the world’s only reality. They are still perceptions, because he still believes that he is separate. Yet they are eternal because they are loving. And being loving they are like the Father, and therefore cannot die. The real world can actually be perceived. All that is necessary is a willingness to perceive nothing else. For if you perceive both good and evil, you are accepting both the false and the true and making no distinction between them.

The ego may see some good, but never only good. That is why its perceptions are so variable. It does not reject goodness entirely, for that you could not accept. But it always adds something that is not real to the real, thus confusing illusion and reality. For perceptions cannot be partly true. If you believe in truth and illusion, you cannot tell which is true. To establish your personal autonomy you tried to create unlike your Father, believing that what you made is capable of being unlike Him. Yet everything true is like Him. Perceiving only the real world will lead you to the real Heaven, because it will make you capable of understanding it.

The perception of goodness is not knowledge, but the denial of the opposite of goodness enables you to recognise a condition in which opposites do not exist. And this is the condition of knowledge. Without this awareness you have not met its conditions, and until you do you will not know it is yours already. You have made many ideas that you have placed between yourself and your Creator, and these beliefs are the world as you perceive it. Truth is not absent here, but it is obscure. You do not know the difference between what you have made and what God created, and so you do not know the difference between what you have made and what you have created. To believe that you can perceive the real world is to believe that you can know yourself. You can know God because it is His Will to be known. The real world is all that the Holy Spirit has saved for you out of what you have made, and to perceive only this is salvation, because it is the recognition that reality is only what is true.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 24

Lesson 94

I am as God created me.

Today we continue with the one idea which brings complete salvation; the one statement which makes all forms of temptation powerless; the one thought which renders the ego silent and entirely undone. You are as God created you. The sounds of this world are still, the sights of this world disappear, and all the thoughts that this world ever held are wiped away forever by this one idea. Here is salvation accomplished. Here is sanity restored.

True light is strength, and strength is sinlessness. If you remain as God created you, you must be strong and light must be in you. He Who ensured your sinlessness must be the guarantee of strength and light as well. You are as God created you. Darkness cannot obscure the glory of God’s Son. You stand in light, strong in the sinlessness in which you were created, and in which you will remain throughout eternity.

Today we will again devote the first five minutes of each waking hour to the attempt to feel the truth in you. Begin these times of searching with these words:

I am as God created me.
I am His Son eternally.

Now try to reach the Son of God in you. This is the Self that never sinned, nor made an image to replace reality. This is the Self that never left Its home in God to walk the world uncertainly. This is the Self that knows no fear, nor could conceive of loss or suffering or death.

Nothing is required of you to reach this goal except to lay all idols and self-images aside; go past the list of attributes, both good and bad, you have ascribed to yourself; and wait in silent expectancy for the truth. God has Himself promised that it will be revealed to all who ask for it. You are asking now. You cannot fail because He cannot fail.

If you do not meet the requirement of practicing for the first five minutes of every hour, at least remind yourself hourly:

I am as God created me.
I am His Son eternally.

Tell yourself frequently today that you are as God created you. And be sure to respond to anyone who seems to irritate you with these words:

You are as God created you.
You are His Son eternally.

Make every effort to do the hourly exercises today. Each one you do will be a giant stride toward your release, and a milestone in learning the thought system which this course sets forth.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #815Two different questions from the same questioner, with a combined answer: a) Every time I read info related to A Course in Miracles I seem to get agitated. I love the words but always come away with “so what in the hell am I supposed to do?” b) With the illusory nature of this world how is one to function? I post the quote “you are asked to act as if you had no ego.” But to live a life free of judgment seems to be a blissninny way to go.

A: The agitation you experience when you read the Course is probably not coming from not understanding what it is saying, but fromunderstanding. You are not alone in feeling agitated by its message, and with good reason. The goal of the Course is the undoing of the ego’s thought system, which ultimately means undoing all belief in the world, the body, and separation. It is not an easy message for the ego to hear, considering its investment in keeping us rooted in the world, its treasured home. The first thing to do is not to try not to be agitated, but to understand where the agitation is coming from: a choice in the mind to believe the separation is real, and resistance to learning a thought system that teaches that it is not. In this regard, Jesus offers us clear advice: “ Do not fight yourself ” (T.30.I.1:7). What we are supposed to do is follow his instructions to look calmly at the ego in operation without fear, and without judgment: “No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous. We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth” (T.11.V.1:1,2,3,4).

Since the introduction to the text tells us our goal in studying this course is to remove “…the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence” (T.in.1:7) , it is reasonable to conclude that the blocks must be seen before they can be removed. That is why we are asked to look for them: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T.16.IV.6:1,2). That is what we are supposed to do . The instruction to look is repeated frequently in the Course, because it is the correction for the ego’s strategy of defending its thought system by keeping its origin (the mind), its goal (mindlessness), and its effects (pain) hidden. When we find the blocks (e.g., any judgment, all forms of specialness), we then are asked not to be deceived by their disguises, but to see in them the mind’s choice to collude with the ego’s scheme to keep the world real.

To no longer identify with the ego’s judgment is the ultimate goal of the Course. That is how we will eventually live “as if we had no ego.” Daily practice of the Course will lead us there, but it is not yet fully accomplished. We can easily avoid the blissninny approach through vigilant observation of the many judgments that flood into awareness during the course of the day. The ones we catch are enough to keep us humble, not to mention those we miss. Since blissninny’s mother is denial, not denying our judgments and feelings keeps us focused and headed in the right direction. The Holy Spirit is here to tell us there is another way of looking at everything in our lives. As we are told in the introduction to the workbook: “The purpose of the workbook is to train your mind in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world” (W.in.4:1) . This “different perception” is not the ego’s. So, as we develop this new way of thinking and learn to live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we “live as if we had no ego.” It does not mean the ego disappears, nor that it is denied. It means that when the ego makes an appearance, it does not have to be given the best seat in the house. When it is recognized, and its secret agenda is exposed, it no longer carries the weight it previously did. Even the simple fact of knowing there is another Guest to Whom we can turn diminishes the ego’s hold Yes, in truth the world is an illusion, but as long as we believe it is real we continue to function normally. The only difference is we learn to interpret everything in the light of the Course’s teaching of forgiveness, and its goal of removing the blocks to love’s awareness. When resistance in the form of agitation presents itself, it may be helpful to remember only a “little willingness” is required, and it “…need not be perfect, because His [Holy Spirit] is. If you will merely offer Him a little place, He will lighten it so much that you will gladly let it be increased. And by this increase, you will begin to remember creation”(T.11.II.6:6,7,8).


Q #816If it’s true that we are all one then why is not Jesus’ return to God ours as well?

A: It is. We are with him at home in God. The only difference between Jesus (as well as others who have awakened) and the rest of us is that he is aware only of his oneness with God’s Love. We have chosen to forget it, dream of separation, and only catch a glimpse of love’s reflection when we are willing to forget the dream for an instant. Knowing we perceive him as different from us, Jesus explains the seeming difference in the first chapter of the text: “ 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. This leaves me in a state which is only potential in you” (T.1.II.3:10,11,12,13).

What we have, that he does not, are all our illusions of specialness that keep us separate from him, from one another, and from our Selves. By choosing the “tiny mad idea” (T.27.VIII.6:2) of separation, we keep awareness of our oneness with God blocked. This insane thought did not truly shatter our oneness; it is only our choosing it that makes it real in our experience: “The tiny instant you would keep and make eternal, passed away in Heaven too soon for anything to notice it had come …Yet in each unforgiving act or thought, in every judgment and in all belief in sin, is that one instant still called back, as if it could be made again in time. You keep an ancient memory [the thought of separation] before your eyes. And he who lives in memories alone is unaware of where he is” (T.26.V.5:1,5,6). We do not know where we are; Jesus knows where he is. We dream of being bodies in a world of form, which literally takes us out of our minds.

Our hope lies in the fact that we cannot completely obliterate all memory of the truth of our oneness from our minds. This is witnessed to by the very fact of having Jesus come to us in the form of A Course in Miracles to awaken us from the nightmare of exile. His message of forgiveness reflects the part of our minds that remembers oneness. The practice of forgiveness that he teaches gently wakens us by leading us back to the mind; the source of every experience. Each step in forgiveness strengthens our identity with Jesus and weakens identity with the body. Eventually, his identity and his experience will become ours because we will have accepted what was always there.

certain as god

 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 23

ACIM Text Reading for April 23

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

VI. Waking to Redemption

It is impossible not to believe what you see, but it is equally impossible to see what you do not believe. Perceptions are built up on the basis of experience, and experience leads to beliefs. It is not until beliefs are fixed that perceptions stabilise. In effect, then, what you believe you do see. That is what I meant when I said, ‘Blessed are ye who have not seen and still believe’, for those who believe in the resurrection will see it. The resurrection is the complete triumph of Christ over the ego, not by attack but by transcendence. For Christ does rise above the ego and all its works, and ascends to the Father and His Kingdom.

Would you join in the resurrection or the crucifixion? Would you condemn your brothers or free them? Would you transcend your prison and ascend to the Father? These questions are all the same, and are answered together. There has been much confusion about what perception means, because the word is used both for awareness and for the interpretation of awareness. Yet you cannot be aware without interpretation, for what you perceive is your interpretation.

This course is perfectly clear. If you do not see it clearly, it is because you are interpreting against it, and therefore do not believe it. And since belief determines perception, you do not perceive what it means and therefore do not accept it. Yet different experiences lead to different beliefs, and with them different perceptions. For perceptions are learned with beliefs, and experience does teach. I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny. Learning of Christ is easy, for to perceive with Him involves no strain at all. His perceptions are your natural awareness, and it is only the distortions you introduce that tire you. Let the Christ in you interpret for you, and do not try to limit what you see by narrow little beliefs that are unworthy of God’s Son. For until Christ comes into His Own, the Son of God will see himself as Fatherless.

I am your resurrection and your life. You live in me because you live in God. And everyone lives in you, as you live in everyone. Can you, then, perceive unworthiness in a brother and not perceive it in yourself? And can you perceive it in yourself and not perceive it in God? Believe in the resurrection because it has been accomplished, and it has been accomplished in you. This is as true now as it will ever be, for the resurrection is the Will of God, which knows no time and no exceptions. But make no exceptions yourself, or you will not perceive what has been accomplished for you. For we ascend unto the Father together, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, for such is the nature of God’s Son as his Father created him.

Do not underestimate the power of the devotion of God’s Son, nor the power the god he worships has over him. For he places himself at the altar of his god, whether it be the god he made or the God Who created him. That is why his slavery is as complete as his freedom, for he will obey only the god he accepts. The god of crucifixion demands that he crucify, and his worshippers obey. In his name they crucify themselves, believing that the power of the Son of God is born of sacrifice and pain. The God of resurrection demands nothing, for He does not will to take away. He does not require obedience, for obedience implies submission. He would only have you learn your will and follow it, not in the spirit of sacrifice and submission, but in the gladness of freedom.

Resurrection must compel your allegiance gladly, because it is the symbol of joy. Its whole compelling power lies in the fact that it represents what you want to be. The freedom to leave behind everything that hurts you and humbles you and frightens you cannot be thrust upon you, but it can be offered you through the grace of God. And you can accept it by His grace, for God is gracious to His Son, accepting him without question as His Own. Who, then, is your own? The Father has given you all that is His, and He Himself is yours with them. Guard them in their resurrection, for otherwise you will not awake in God, safely surrounded by what is yours forever.

You will not find peace until you have removed the nails from the hands of God’s Son, and taken the last thorn from his forehead. The Love of God surrounds His Son whom the god of crucifixion condemns. Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you. For the undoing of the crucifixion of God’s Son is the work of the redemption, in which everyone has a part of equal value. God does not judge His guiltless Son. Having given Himself to him, how could it be otherwise?

You have nailed yourself to a cross, and placed a crown of thorns upon your own head. Yet you cannot crucify God’s Son, for the Will of God cannot die. His Son has been redeemed from his own crucifixion, and you cannot assign to death whom God has given eternal life. The dream of crucifixion still lies heavy on your eyes, but what you see in dreams is not reality. While you perceive the Son of God as crucified, you are asleep. And as long as you believe that you can crucify him, you are only having nightmares. You who are beginning to wake are still aware of dreams, and have not yet forgotten them. The forgetting of dreams and the awareness of Christ come with the awakening of others to share your redemption.

You will awaken to your own call, for the Call to awake is within you. If I live in you, you are awake. Yet you must see the works I do through you, or you will not perceive that I have done them unto you. Do not set limits on what you believe I can do through you, or you will not accept what I can do for you. Yet it is done already, and unless you give all that you have received you will not know that your Redeemer liveth, and that you have awakened with Him. Redemption is recognised only by sharing it.

God’s Son is saved. Bring only this awareness to the Sonship, and you will have a part in the redemption as valuable as mine. For your part must be like mine if you learn it of me. If you believe that yours is limited, you are limiting mine. There is no order of difficulty in miracles because all of God’s Sons are of equal value, and their equality is their oneness. The whole power of God is in every part of Him, and nothing contradictory to His Will is either great or small. What does not exist has no size and no measure. To God all things are possible. And to Christ it is given to be like the Father.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 23

Lesson 93

Light and joy and peace abide in me.

You think you are the home of evil, darkness and sin. You think if anyone could see the truth about you he would be repelled, recoiling from you as if from a poisonous snake. You think if what is true about you were revealed to you, you would be struck with horror so intense that you would rush to death by your own hand, living on after seeing this being impossible.

These are beliefs so firmly fixed that it is difficult to help you see that they are based on nothing. That you have made mistakes is obvious. That you have sought salvation in strange ways; have been deceived, deceiving and afraid of foolish fantasies and savage dreams; and have bowed down to idols made of dust,–all this is true by what you now believe.

Today we question this, not from the point of view of what you think, but from a very different reference point, from which such idle thoughts are meaningless. These thoughts are not according to God’s Will. These weird beliefs He does not share with you. This is enough to prove that they are wrong, but you do not perceive that this is so.

Why would you not be overjoyed to be assured that all the evil that you think you did was never done, that all your sins are nothing, that you are as pure and holy as you were created, and that light and joy and peace abide in you? Your image of yourself cannot withstand the Will of God. You think that this is death, but it is life. You think you are destroyed, but you are saved.

The self you made is not the Son of God. Therefore, this self does not exist at all. And anything it seems to do and think means nothing. It is neither bad nor good. It is unreal, and nothing more than that. It does not battle with the Son of God. It does not hurt him, nor attack his peace. It has not changed creation, nor reduced eternal sinlessness to sin, and love to hate. What power can this self you made possess, when it would contradict the Will of God?

Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. Over and over this must be repeated, until it is accepted. It is true. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. Nothing can touch it, or change what God created as eternal. The self you made, evil and full of sin, is meaningless. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God, and light and joy and peace abide in you.

Salvation requires the acceptance of but one thought;–you are as God created you, not what you made of yourself. Whatever evil you may think you did, you are as God created you. Whatever mistakes you made, the truth about you is unchanged. Creation is eternal and unalterable. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. You are and will forever be exactly as you were created. Light and joy and peace abide in you because God put them there.

In our longer exercise periods today, which would be most profitable if done for the first five minutes of every waking hour, begin by stating the truth about your creation:

Light and joy and peace abide in me.
My sinlessness is guaranteed by God.

Then put away your foolish self-images, and spend the rest of the practice period in trying to experience what God has given you, in place of what you have decreed for yourself.

You are what God created or what you made. One Self is true; the other is not there. Try to experience the unity of your one Self. Try to appreciate Its Holiness and the love from which It was created. Try not to interfere with the Self which God created as you, by hiding Its majesty behind the tiny idols of evil and sinfulness you have made to replace It. Let It come into Its Own. Here you are; This is You. And light and joy and peace abide in you because this is so.

You may not be willing or even able to use the first five minutes of each hour for these exercises. Try, however, to do so when you can. At least remember to repeat these thoughts each hour:

Light and joy and peace abide in me.
My sinlessness is guaranteed by God.

Then try to devote at least a minute or so to closing your eyes and realizing that this is a statement of the truth about you.

If a situation arises that seems to be disturbing, quickly dispel the illusion of fear by repeating these thoughts again. Should you be tempted to become angry with someone, tell him silently:

Light and joy and peace abide in you.
Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God.

You can do much for the world’s salvation today. You can do much today to bring you closer to the part in salvation that God has assigned to you. And you can do much today to bring the conviction to your mind that the idea for the day is true indeed.

***

ACIM Q & A for today

 #160: Is there a difference between waking and sleeping dreams as an indication of which thought system and teacher you’ve really chosen, the ego or the Holy Spirit? During my waking dream, I study the principles of A Course in Miracles for hours each day, and try to be in my right mind, willing not to judge myself and others or judge that the world and the body still seem real to me. And so I very often find peace, or the willingness to find peace. But once I go into the sleeping dream, it seems like the ego’s home turf. None of the mind training I’ve been studying and practicing shows up. The dreams are nonsensical, crazy, scary, and have no reflection of any holiness in them. So are my night time dreams really defining what beliefs are in my mind? Do these dreams negate and override my waking dreams? When my mind is healed will the content of both my day and night dreams be the same? Also, would listening to Course-related audio tapes prior to falling asleep and while asleep allow ideas to penetrate into your mind more easily than while awake?

A: If you can remember that the ego’s purpose is always to make differences seem real, you can begin to recognize that your question of differences between your waking and sleeping states is merely another arena in which the ego is attempting to confuse you so it can maintain a grip on your mind. And all the better if it can lead you to question the value and validity of what shifts you are already experiencing in some aspects of your life.

It will be more helpful, rather than believing that there is a qualitative difference between waking and sleeping dreams, to recognize that in some circumstances you remember that you have a choice and in others you forget that you do. For some people, this may be reflected in differences in the intensity of their reactions and their willingness to forgive between their relationships at home and those at work. For others it may be differences in how strong their ego reaction is with one parent in comparison to the other. And in your case, it is a difference between remembering the Holy Spirit during your waking state and your sleeping state. Regardless of the specific circumstances in which the ego seems to have the upper hand, the solution will always be the same. As soon as you recognize that the ego has taken over and that you also have a choice of teachers – – no matter whether it’s in the middle of an ego reaction or sometime later — all you need do is ask for the help that the Holy Spirit offers. And so in your case, whether you remember while you are still asleep or only after you wake up does not matter. All you need to do is recognize that it’s your ego and you can now make a different choice.

Over time, we learn to generalize our lessons of forgiveness to more and more relationships and situations and states of mind. But we need not concern ourselves with why there are differences along the way. Our only concern is to recognize where we are still holding back and then, when we are ready and willing, apply the principles of forgiveness to those thoughts. Clearly, with your sleeping dreams, after you awaken, you know you are only talking about thoughts in your mind and not events that seem to have any reality and long term consequences. The fact that they can still seem to have power simply demonstrates the desire for the ego to be real. So generalizing after you are awake should become easier and easier, and in time you may find yourself beginning to remember the choice you have during your sleeping dreams as well. But whether you remember during the dream itself is not a critical concern, except in your ego’s view. For further discussion of waking vs. sleeping dreams, you may wish to read Question #41.

As to whether there is more of a willingness to learn Course principles when falling asleep or during sleep, there can be no definitive answer, individual differences being what they are. Some students in fact find listening to tapes a great way to help themselves fall asleep!

hostage or host

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 22

ACIM Text Reading for April 22

Chapter 11 ~ God of the Ego

V. The ‘Dynamics’ of the Ego

No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous. We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realise you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth. The ‘dynamics’ of the ego will be our lesson for a while, for we must look first at this to see beyond it, since you have made it real. We will undo this error quietly together, and then look beyond it to truth.

What is healing but the removal of all that stands in the way of knowledge? And how else can one dispel illusions except by looking at them directly, without protecting them? Be not afraid, therefore, for what you will be looking at is the source of fear, and you are beginning to learn that fear is not real. You are also learning that its effects can be dispelled merely by denying their reality. The next step is obviously to recognise that what has no effects does not exist. Laws do not operate in a vacuum, and what leads to nothing has not happened. If reality is recognised by its extension, what leads to nothing could not be real. Do not be afraid, then, to look upon fear, for it cannot be seen. Clarity undoes confusion by definition, and to look upon darkness through light must dispel it.

Let us begin this lesson in ‘ego dynamics’ by understanding that the term itself does not mean anything. It contains the very contradiction in terms that makes it meaningless. ‘Dynamics’ implies the power to do something, and the whole separation fallacy lies in the belief that the ego has the power to do anything. The ego is fearful to you because you believe this. Yet the truth is very simple:

All power is of God.
What is not of Him has no power to do anything.

When we look at the ego, then, we are not considering dynamics but delusions. You can surely regard a delusional system without fear, for it cannot have any effects if its source is not real. Fear becomes more obviously inappropriate if you recognise the ego’s goal, which is so clearly senseless that any effort on its behalf is necessarily expended on nothing. The ego’s goal is quite explicitly ego autonomy. From the beginning, then, its purpose is to be separate, sufficient unto itself and independent of any power except its own. This is why it is the symbol of separation.

Every idea has a purpose, and its purpose is always the natural outcome of what it is. Everything that stems from the ego is the natural outcome of its central belief, and the way to undo its results is merely to recognise that their source is not natural, being out of accord with your true nature. I said before that to will contrary to God is wishful thinking and not real willing. His Will is one because the extension of His Will cannot be unlike itself. The real conflict you experience, then, is between the ego’s idle wishes and the Will of God, which you share. Can this be a real conflict?

Yours is the independence of creation, not of autonomy. Your whole creative function lies in your complete dependence on God, Whose function He shares with you. By His willingness to share it, He became as dependent on you as you are on Him. Do not ascribe the ego’s arrogance to Him Who wills not to be independent of you. He has included you in His Autonomy. Can you believe that autonomy is meaningful apart from Him? The belief in ego autonomy is costing you the knowledge of your dependence on God, in which your freedom lies. The ego sees all dependency as threatening, and has twisted even your longing for God into a means of establishing itself. But do not be deceived by its interpretation of your conflict.

The ego always attacks on behalf of separation. Believing it has the power to do this it does nothing else, because its goal of autonomy is nothing else. The ego is totally confused about reality, but it does not lose sight of its goal. It is much more vigilant than you are, because it is perfectly certain of its purpose. You are confused because you do not recognise yours.

You must recognise that the last thing the ego wishes you to realise is that you are afraid of it. For if the ego could give rise to fear, it would diminish your independence and weaken your power. Yet its one claim to your allegiance is that it can give power to you. Without this belief you would not listen to it at all. How, then, can its existence continue if you realise that, by accepting it, you are belittling yourself and depriving yourself of power?

The ego can and does allow you to regard yourself as supercilious, unbelieving, ‘light-hearted’, distant, emotionally shallow, callous, uninvolved and even desperate, but not really afraid. Minimising fear, but not its undoing, is the ego’s constant effort, and is indeed a skill at which it is very ingenious. How can it preach separation without upholding it through fear, and would you listen to it if you recognised this is what it is doing?

Your recognition that whatever seems to separate you from God is only fear, regardless of the form it takes and quite apart from how the ego wants you to experience it, is therefore the basic ego threat. Its dream of autonomy is shaken to its foundation by this awareness. For though you may countenance a false idea of independence, you will not accept the cost of fear if you recognise it. Yet this is the cost, and the ego cannot minimise it. If you overlook love you are overlooking yourself, and you must fear unreality because you have denied yourself. By believing that you have successfully attacked truth, you are believing that attack has power. Very simply, then, you have become afraid of yourself. And no one wants to find what he believes would destroy him.

If the ego’s goal of autonomy could be accomplished God’s purpose could be defeated, and this is impossible. Only by learning what fear is can you finally learn to distinguish the possible from the impossible and the false from the true. According to the ego’s teaching, its goal can be accomplished and God’s purpose can not. According to the Holy Spirit’s teaching, only God’s purpose can be accomplished, and it is accomplished already.

God is as dependent on you as you are on Him, because His Autonomy encompasses yours, and is therefore incomplete without it. You can only establish your autonomy by identifying with Him, and fulfilling your function as it exists in truth. The ego believes that to accomplish its goal is happiness. But it is given you to know that God’s function is yours, and happiness cannot be found apart from your joint will. Recognise only that the ego’s goal, which you have pursued so diligently, has merely brought you fear, and it becomes difficult to maintain that fear is happiness. Upheld by fear, this is what the ego would have you believe. Yet God’s Son is not insane, and cannot believe it. Let him but recognise it and he will not accept it. For only the insane would choose fear in place of love, and only the insane could believe that love can be gained by attack. But the sane realise that only attack could produce fear, from which the Love of God completely protects them.

The ego analyses; the Holy Spirit accepts. The appreciation of wholeness comes only through acceptance, for to analyse means to break down or to separate out. The attempt to understand totality by breaking it down is clearly the characteristically contradictory approach of the ego to everything. The ego believes that power, understanding and truth lie in separation, and to establish this belief it must attack. Unaware that the belief cannot be established, and obsessed with the conviction that separation is salvation, the ego attacks everything it perceives by breaking it into small, disconnected parts, without meaningful relationships and therefore without meaning. The ego will always substitute chaos for meaning, for if separation is salvation, harmony is threat.

The ego’s interpretation of the laws of perception are, and would have to be, the exact opposite of the Holy Spirit’s. The ego focuses on error and overlooks truth. It makes real every mistake it perceives, and with characteristically circular reasoning concludes that because of the mistake consistent truth must be meaningless. The next step, then, is obvious. If consistent truth is meaningless, inconsistency must be true. Holding error clearly in mind, and protecting what it has made real, the ego proceeds to the next step in its thought system: Error is real and truth is error.

The ego makes no attempt to understand this, and it is clearly not understandable, but the ego does make every attempt to demonstrate it, and this it does constantly. Analysing to attack meaning the ego succeeds in overlooking it, and is left with a series of fragmented perceptions which it unifies on behalf of itself. This, then, becomes the universe it perceives. And it is this universe which, in turn, becomes its demonstration of its own reality.

Do not underestimate the appeal of the ego’s demonstrations to those who would listen. Selective perception chooses its witnesses carefully, and its witnesses are consistent. The case for insanity is strong to the insane. For reasoning ends at its beginning, and no thought system transcends its source. Yet reasoning without meaning cannot demonstrate anything, and those who are convinced by it must be deluded. Can the ego teach truly when it overlooks truth? Can it perceive what it has denied? Its witnesses do attest to its denial, but hardly to what it has denied. The ego looks straight at the Father and does not see Him, for it has denied His Son.

Would you remember the Father? Accept His Son and you will remember Him. Nothing can demonstrate that His Son is unworthy, for nothing can prove that a lie is true. What you see of His Son through the eyes of the ego is a demonstration that His Son does not exist, yet where the Son is the Father must be. Accept what God does not deny, and it will demonstrate its truth. The witnesses for God stand in His Light and behold what He created. Their silence is the sign that they have beheld God’s Son, and in the Presence of Christ they need demonstrate nothing, for Christ speaks to them of Himself and of His Father. They are silent because Christ speaks to them, and it is His words they speak.

Every brother you meet becomes a witness for Christ or for the ego, depending on what you perceive in him. Everyone convinces you of what you want to perceive, and of the reality of the kingdom you have chosen for your vigilance. Everything you perceive is a witness to the thought system you want to be true. Every brother has the power to release you, if you choose to be free. You cannot accept false witness of him unless you have evoked false witnesses against him. If he speaks not of Christ to you, you spoke not of Christ to him. You hear but your own voice, and if Christ speaks through you, you will hear Him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 22

Lesson 92

Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.

The idea for today is an extension of the previous one. You do not think of light in terms of strength, and darkness in terms of weakness. That is because your idea of what seeing means is tied up with the body and its eyes and brain. Thus you believe that you can change what you see by putting little bits of glass before your eyes. This is among the many magical beliefs that come from the conviction you are a body, and the body’s eyes can see.

You also believe the body’s brain can think. If you but understood the nature of thought, you could but laugh at this insane idea. It is as if you thought you held the match that lights the sun and gives it all its warmth; or that you held the world within your hand, securely bound until you let it go. Yet this is no more foolish than to believe the body’s eyes can see; the brain can think.

It is God’s strength in you that is the light in which you see, as it is His Mind with which you think. His strength denies your weakness. It is your weakness that sees through the body’s eyes, peering about in darkness to behold the likeness of itself; the small, the weak, the sickly and the dying, those in need, the helpless and afraid, the sad, the poor, the starving and the joyless. These are seen through eyes that cannot see and cannot bless.

Strength overlooks these things by seeing past appearances. It keeps its steady gaze upon the light that lies beyond them. It unites with light, of which it is a part. It sees itself. It brings the light in which your Self appears. In darkness you perceive a self that is not there. Strength is the truth about you; weakness is an idol falsely worshipped and adored that strength may be dispelled, and darkness rule where God appointed that there should be light.

Strength comes from truth, and shines with light its Source has given it; weakness reflects the darkness of its maker. It is sick and looks on sickness, which is like itself. Truth is a savior and can only will for happiness and peace for everyone. It gives its strength to everyone who asks, in limitless supply. It sees that lack in anyone would be a lack in all. And so it gives its light that all may see and benefit as one. Its strength is shared, that it may bring to all the miracle in which they will unite in purpose and forgiveness and in love.

Weakness, which looks in darkness, cannot see a purpose in forgiveness and in love. It sees all others different from itself, and nothing in the world that it would share. It judges and condemns, but does not love. In darkness it remains to hide itself, and dreams that it is strong and conquering, a victor over limitations that but grow in darkness to enormous size.

It fears and it attacks and hates itself, and darkness covers everything it sees, leaving its dreams as fearful as itself. No miracles are here, but only hate. It separates itself from what it sees, while light and strength perceive themselves as one. The light of strength is not the light you see. It does not change and flicker and go out. It does not shift from night to day, and back to darkness till the morning comes again.

The light of strength is constant, sure as love, forever glad to give itself away, because it cannot give but to itself. No one can ask in vain to share its sight, and none who enters its abode can leave without a miracle before his eyes, and strength and light abiding in his heart.

The strength in you will offer you the light, and guide your seeing so you do not dwell on idle shadows that the body’s eyes provide for self-deception. Strength and light unite in you, and where they meet, your Self stands ready to embrace you as Its Own. Such is the meeting place we try today to find and rest in, for the peace of God is where your Self, His Son, is waiting now to meet Itself again, and be as One.

Let us give twenty minutes twice today to join this meeting. Let yourself be brought unto your Self. Its strength will be the light in which the gift of sight is given you. Leave, then, the dark a little while today, and we will practice seeing in the light, closing the body’s eyes and asking truth to show us how to find the meeting place of self and Self, where light and strength are one.

Morning and evening we will practice thus. After the morning meeting, we will use the day in preparation for the time at night when we will meet again in trust. Let us repeat as often as we can the idea for today, and recognize that we are being introduced to sight, and led away from darkness to the light where only miracles can be perceived.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1311Please explain what Jesus means when he says in A Course in Miracles : “If you are willing to renounce the role as guardian of your thought system and open it up to me, I will correct it very gently and lead you back to God” (T.4.I.4:7). Does this mean that I should not censor my thoughts, or that I should open my thoughts to others even when they are not pure?

A: What we as decision-making minds are “guarding” is the decision to see ourselves as innocent and helpless victims of a world we are sure is outside us: the world’s thought system imposes itself on us; we are not its origin. We (as minds) are carefully protecting ourselves from any incursion into this heavily defended secret. This is the role Jesus is asking us to renounce. He wants us to be willing to open our minds to him, meaning being willing to go within and uncover what we have been hiding from ourselves and from him. In a later chapter he tells us that “together we have the lamp that will dispel [the ego thought system] (T.11.V.1:3). That really is the essence of our practice: to bring the darkness of the ego to the light of Jesus’ love, where we will finally see there was only the illusion of darkness and therefore no need for defenses. And we can do this only when we are willing to look with Jesus at our investment in sustaining the ego thought system in our minds. That role of sustaining the ego thought system is what Jesus want us to give up in favor of our joining with him in all our thinking and perception.


Q #1312On some of Ken’s tapes he says this is not a course on peace and love. Then on others he says it is about peace and love. He is driving me crazy. So which is it?

A: Sorry about your confusion! The context of the statement — the point being made — should clarify its meaning. If the point being emphasized is that A Course in Miracles is about the hard work of looking at our ego and the terrible price we pay for choosing it, then one could underscore that by saying it is not simply a course on peace and love. In the same vein, many people just stay with all the “nice” parts of the Course and skip over all of the more threatening parts — the sometimes gory descriptions of guilt and specialness, for example. While it is not wrong to do that if that is all a person can handle, it is not what the Course is about; and to make that point one could again say that this is not a course on peace and love — reflecting this important principle: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T.16.IV.6:1,2).

When might one say this is a course about peace and love? Well, you could be talking about how Course students fall into judgment, for example, or specialness. Thus, “Here we have a course about peace and love, and yet its students go around ruthlessly hitting each other over the head with it.” The point is that Jesus is teaching us to get beyond our self-centered approach to relationships and see instead that we all share the same interests; but then we wind up doing the exact opposite by using these very teachings to make ourselves spiritually superior to others, or to denounce those who fail to live up to them. In this context, again, one might say, “Jesus has give us this wonderful course about peace and love, and people use it to exclude others from their peace and love.”

the mind that serves spirit

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 21

ACIM Text Reading for April 21

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

IV. The Inheritance of God’s Son

Never forget that the Sonship is your salvation, for the Sonship is your Self. As God’s creation It is yours, and belonging to you It is His. Your Self does not need salvation, but your mind needs to learn what salvation is. You are not saved from anything, but you are saved for glory. Glory is your inheritance, given you by your Creator that you might extend it. Yet if you hate part of your Self all your understanding is lost, because you are looking on what God created as yourself without love. And since what He created is part of Him, you are denying Him His place in His Own altar.

Could you try to make God homeless and know that you are at home? Can the Son deny the Father without believing that the Father has denied him? God’s laws hold only for your protection, and they never hold in vain. What you experience when you deny your Father is still for your protection, for the power of your will cannot be lessened without the intervention of God against it, and any limitation on your power is not the Will of God. Therefore, look only to the power that God gave to save you, remembering that it is yours because it is His, and join with your brothers in His peace.

Your peace lies in its limitlessness. Limit the peace you share, and your Self must be unknown to you. Every altar to God is part of you, because the light He created is one with Him. Would you cut off a brother from the light that is yours? You would not do so if you realised that you can darken only your own mind. As you bring him back, so will you return. That is the law of God, for the protection of the wholeness of His Son.

Only you can deprive yourself of anything. Do not oppose this realisation, for it is truly the beginning of the dawn of light. Remember also that the denial of this simple fact takes many forms, and these you must learn to recognise and to oppose steadfastly, without exception. This is a crucial step in the reawakening. The beginning phases of this reversal are often quite painful, for as blame is withdrawn from without, there is a strong tendency to harbour it within. It is difficult at first to realise that this is exactly the same thing, for there is no distinction between within and without.

If your brothers are part of you and you blame them for your deprivation, you are blaming yourself. And you cannot blame yourself without blaming them. That is why blame must be undone, not seen elsewhere. Lay it to yourself and you cannot know yourself, for only the ego blames at all. Self-blame is therefore ego identification, and as much an ego defence as blaming others. You cannot enter God’s Presence if you attack His Son. When His Son lifts his voice in praise of his Creator, he will hear the Voice for his Father. Yet the Creator cannot be praised without His Son, for their glory is shared and they are glorified together.

Christ is at God’s altar, waiting to welcome His Son. But come wholly without condemnation, for otherwise you will believe that the door is barred and you cannot enter. The door is not barred, and it is impossible that you cannot enter the place where God would have you be. But love yourself with the Love of Christ, for so does your Father love you. You can refuse to enter, but you cannot bar the door that Christ holds open. Come unto me who holds it open for you, for while I live it cannot be shut, and I live forever. God is my life and yours, and nothing is denied by God to His Son.

At God’s altar Christ waits for the restoration of Himself in you. God knows His Son as wholly blameless as Himself, and He is approached through the appreciation of His Son. Christ waits for your acceptance of Him as yourself, and of His Wholeness as yours. For Christ is the Son of God, who lives in his Creator and shines with His glory. Christ is the extension of the Love and the Loveliness of God, as perfect as His Creator and at peace with Him.

Blessed is the Son of God whose radiance is of his Father, and whose glory he wills to share as his Father shares it with him. There is no condemnation in the Son, for there is no condemnation in the Father. Sharing the perfect Love of the Father the Son must share what belongs to Him, for otherwise he will not know the Father or the Son. Peace be unto you who rest in God, and in whom the whole Sonship rests.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 21

Lesson 91

Miracles are seen in light.

It is important to remember that miracles and vision necessarily go together. This needs repeating, and frequent repeating. It is a central idea in your new thought system, and the perception that it produces. The miracle is always there. Its presence is not caused by your vision; its absence is not the result of your failure to see. It is only your awareness of miracles that is affected. You will see them in the light; you will not see them in the dark.

To you, then, light is crucial. While you remain in darkness, the miracle remains unseen. Thus you are convinced it is not there. This follows from the premises from which the darkness comes. Denial of light leads to failure to perceive it. Failure to perceive light is to perceive darkness. The light is useless to you then, even though it is there. You cannot use it because its presence is unknown to you. And the seeming reality of the darkness makes the idea of light meaningless.

To be told that what you do not see is there sounds like insanity. It is very difficult to become convinced that it is insanity not to see what is there, and to see what is not there instead. You do not doubt that the body’s eyes can see. You do not doubt the images they show you are reality. Your faith lies in the darkness, not the light. How can this be reversed? For you it is impossible, but you are not alone in this.

Your efforts, however little they may be, have strong support. Did you but realize how great this strength, your doubts would vanish. Today we will devote ourselves to the attempt to let you feel this strength. When you have felt the strength in you, which makes all miracles within your easy reach, you will not doubt. The miracles your sense of weakness hides will leap into awareness as you feel the strength in you.

Three times today, set aside about ten minutes for a quiet time in which you try to leave your weakness behind. This is accomplished very simply, as you instruct yourself that you are not a body. Faith goes to what you want, and you instruct your mind accordingly. Your will remains your teacher, and your will has all the strength to do what it desires. You can escape the body if you choose. You can experience the strength in you.

Begin the longer practice periods with this statement of true cause and effect relationships:

Miracles are seen in light.
The body’s eyes do not perceive the light.
But I am not a body. What am I?

The question with which this statement ends is needed for our exercises today. What you think you are is a belief to be undone. But what you really are must be revealed to you. The belief you are a body calls for correction, being a mistake. The truth of what you are calls on the strength in you to bring to your awareness what the mistake conceals.

If you are not a body, what are you? You need to be aware of what the Holy Spirit uses to replace the image of a body in your mind. You need to feel something to put your faith in, as you lift it from the body. You need a real experience of something else, something more solid and more sure; more worthy of your faith, and really there.

If you are not a body, what are you? Ask this in honesty, and then devote several minutes to allowing your mistaken thoughts about your attributes to be corrected, and their opposites to take their place. Say, for example:

I am not weak, but strong.
I am not helpless, but all powerful.
I am not limited, but unlimited.
I am not doubtful, but certain.
I am not an illusion, but a reality.
I cannot see in darkness, but in light.

In the second phase of the exercise period, try to experience these truths about yourself. Concentrate particularly on the experience of strength. Remember that all sense of weakness is associated with the belief you are a body, a belief that is mistaken and deserves no faith. Try to remove your faith from it, if only for a moment. You will be accustomed to keeping faith with the more worthy in you as we go along.

Relax for the rest of the practice period, confident that your efforts, however meager, are fully supported by the strength of God and all His Thoughts. It is from Them that your strength will come. It is through Their strong support that you will feel the strength in you. They are united with you in this practice period, in which you share a purpose like Their Own. Theirs is the light in which you will see miracles, because Their strength is yours. Their strength becomes your eyes, that you may see.

Five or six times an hour, at reasonably regular intervals, remind yourself that miracles are seen in light. Also, be sure to meet temptation with today’s idea. This form would be helpful for this special purpose:

Miracles are seen in light. Let me not close my eyes because of this.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today


Q #543: Would you kindly elaborate on the potential meanings and implications of these sentences from the text of A Course in Miracles: “God’s laws hold only for your protection, and they never hold in vain. What you experience when you deny your Father is still for your protection, for the power of your will cannot be lessened without the intervention of God against it, and any limitation on your power is not the Will of God” (T.11.IV.2:3,4).

A: When we identify with the ego thought system we will experience ourselves as separate beings, with interests that conflict and compete with others. This is not the truth, but if we acknowledge that everything we experience here is a consequence of that choice for the ego, we can at any time change that decision and choose against the ego, thereby regaining awareness of the oneness of the Sonship. In the paragraphs preceding and following the one you cite, this is what Jesus is talking about. He thus says explicitly, “Never forget that the Sonship is your salvation, for the Sonship is your Self” (1:1). And in speaking of our choice to judge certain people as not worthy of sharing the gifts God gave His Son, Jesus teaches us that we are thereby diminishing our own participation in these gifts, and it is the law of God that they be shared without limit: “Would you cut off a brother from the light that is yours? You would not do so if you realized that you can darken only your own mind. As you bring him back, so will you return. That is the law of God, for the protection of the Wholeness of His Son” (3:4,5,6,7).

God’s Son is One — that is His law. So even if in our delusional state we experience ourselves as separate, God’s law still holds. Nothing can prevail against it. Our obstinacy in maintaining that we are right is therefore futile, and all of our attempts to abdicate responsibility for our separated state by blaming others for our suffering and problems are futile as well. If it is God’s Will that the Sonship be whole, then it is our will too. That is the principle of the Atonement, which is represented in our right minds. Thus, in the next chapter (T.12.I), Jesus teaches that our denial of our Identity as part of God is a call for help, which means that if we are denying something, it must be there. That is our protection; the Atonement is our protection. We can never truly separate ourselves from our Source, nor from the oneness in which God created us.


Q #544: A comment about Question #328, which asked: If everything is illusion, how can A Course in Miracles exist?

The Course does not exist. It is part of our illusion. The Holy Spirit’s job is to use various aspects of our illusions to guide us gently back to reality. So the Holy Spirit has used not only paper and ink (illusion) but also our concept that “something is wrong and needs to be corrected” (illusion) and has turned them to a holy purpose, that of gently guiding us back to reality. The Holy Spirit is manipulating part of our dream to guide us to a happy awakening. Is this a correct understanding?

A: At a very practical level, your understanding is quite correct. The Course teaches us that the Holy Spirit can use everything the ego has made for separation as a means for healing (e.g., T.6.V.A.2:4,5; T.7.IV.3:3), if we will offer it to Him for His purpose. And this is a very helpful way to see our Guide and Comforter — the part of our split mind that remembers both God and Who we are — while we remain trapped in the illusions of our own making. For it offers a correction to how the ego would have us view God and His Representative within the dream — as the vengeful enemy.

But there is another level of understanding that, as we progress with the Course, will lead us beyond even this very helpful mythology. Not only is the Course illusion, but the Holy Spirit, as a separate Helper Who manipulates illusory ego symbols, is illusion as well.

Speaking of the Holy Spirit near the end of the book, the Course explains, “His is the Voice for God, and has therefore taken form. This form is not His reality, which God alone knows along with Christ, His real Son, Who is part of Him….He seems to be a Voice, for in that form He speaks God’s Word to you. He seems to be a Guide through a far country, for you need that form of help. He seems to be whatever meets the needs you think you have (C.6.1:4,5; 4:5,6,7).

All of these and the other many functions ascribed to the Holy Spirit are useful fictions while we believe we are separate and alone. But when time is over and we have awakened from the dream, we will no longer have need for such helpful symbols: “And then the Voice is gone, no longer to take form but to return to the eternal formlessness of God” (C.6.5:8).

Holy Encounter copy