ACIM Text Reading for April 10
Nothing beyond yourself can make you fearful or loving, because nothing is beyond you. Time and eternity are both in your mind, and will conflict until you perceive time solely as a means to regain eternity. You cannot do this as long as you believe that anything happening to you is caused by factors outside yourself. You must learn that time is solely at your disposal, and that nothing in the world can take this responsibility from you. You can violate God’s laws in your imagination, but you cannot escape from them. They were established for your protection and are as inviolate as your safety.
God created nothing beside you and nothing beside you exists, for you are part of Him. What except Him can exist? Nothing beyond Him can happen, because nothing except Him is real. Your creations add to Him as you do, but nothing is added that is different because everything has always been. What can upset you except the ephemeral, and how can the ephemeral be real if you are God’s only creation and He created you eternal? Your holy mind establishes everything that happens to you. Every response you make to everything you perceive is up to you, because your mind determines your perception of it.
God does not change His Mind about you, for He is not uncertain of Himself. And what He knows can be known, because He does not know it only for Himself. He created you for Himself, but He gave you the power to create for yourself so you would be like Him. That is why your mind is holy. Can anything exceed the Love of God? Can anything, then, exceed your will? Nothing can reach you from beyond it because, being in God, you encompass everything. Believe this, and you will realise how much is up to you. When anything threatens your peace of mind, ask yourself, ‘Has God changed His Mind about me?’ Then accept His decision, for it is indeed changeless, and refuse to change your mind about yourself. God will never decide against you, or He would be deciding against Himself.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 10
We are now ready for another review. We will begin where our last review left off, and cover two ideas each day. The earlier part of each day will be devoted to one of these ideas, and the latter part of the day to the other. We will have one longer exercise period, and frequent shorter ones in which we practice each of them.
The longer practice periods will follow this general form: Take about fifteen minutes for each of them, and begin by thinking about the ideas for the day, and the comments that are included in the assignments. Devote some three or four minutes to reading them over slowly, several times if you wish, and then close your eyes and listen.
Repeat the first phase of the exercise period if you find your mind wandering, but try to spend the major part of the time listening quietly but attentively. There is a message waiting for you. Be confident that you will receive it. Remember that it belongs to you, and that you want it.
Do not allow your intent to waver in the face of distracting thoughts. Realize that, whatever form such thoughts may take, they have no meaning and no power. Replace them with your determination to succeed. Do not forget that your will has power over all fantasies and dreams. Trust it to see you through, and carry you beyond them all.
Regard these practice periods as dedications to the way, the truth and the life. Refuse to be sidetracked into detours, illusions and thoughts of death. You are dedicated to salvation. Be determined each day not to leave your function unfulfilled.
Reaffirm your determination in the shorter practice periods as well, using the original form of the idea for general applications, and more specific forms when needed. Some specific forms are included in the comments which follow the statement of the ideas. These, however, are merely suggestions. It is not the particular words you use that matter.
Our ideas for review today are:
(61) I am the light of the world.
How holy am I, who have been given the function of lighting up the world! Let me be still before my holiness. In its calm light let all my conflicts disappear. In its peace let me remember Who I am.
Some specific forms for applying this idea when special difficulties seem to arise might be:
Let me not obscure the light of the world in me.
Let the light of the world shine through this appearance.
This shadow will vanish before the light.
(62) Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.
It is through accepting my function that I will see the light in me. And in this light will my function stand clear and perfectly unambiguous before my sight. My acceptance does not depend on my recognizing what my function is, for I do not yet understand forgiveness. Yet I will trust that, in the light, I will see it as it is.
Specific forms for using this idea might include:
Let this help me learn what forgiveness means.
Let me not separate my function from my will.
I will not use this for an alien purpose.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #19: The Course, as I understand it, says that at the base of all our suffering lies guilt, and that this guilt is repressed. The Course then seems to suggest that this guilt be dealt with through forgiveness of the external world (rather than by means of a process of uncovering it such as psychoanalysis). If so, of what use at all is the idea of guilt, if it appears to remain at a purely theoretical level?
A: The guilt the Course is talking about is an ontological guilt that comes from believing that we could separate from God but in so doing He had to be destroyed — separate individual existence and total Oneness are mutually exclusive states that can not coexist. Since the separation from God is only an illusion, and a fragile one at that, a seemingly powerful defense was needed to maintain its seeming reality. All-consuming guilt over our lethal attack upon the All became that defense, burying the question of whether in reality we had or could have attacked. But this guilt is not simply a theoretical construct according to the Course. The Course says that the external world was literally made from that ontological guilt, as a seeming projection outward of what was too horrible to maintain within the mind. So when we practice the process of forgiveness with our external relationships in the world, we are actually addressing, albeit in a piecemeal fashion, aspects of that original ontological guilt. It is an indirect approach with a practical and direct effect on the underlying problem. By seeing what we have made real in our external world as a projection of what is buried in our unconscious, we are actually making that buried guilt, over time, conscious. This undoes the ego strategy of distracting us from the guilt in our mind with the problems and associated guilt in the world. And it allows us to begin to recognize that the underlying premise, that we are separate and Love has been destroyed, from which that basic guilt has been generated, is simply not true.
The process of uncovering guilt within psychoanalysis, as generally practiced, actually plays into the ego’s defensive game plan, although it could be directed to the same end as the Course’s. The guilt it is seeking to uncover is still part of the external smokescreen of the world that the ego mind has constructed to keep us from getting back to the real problem in the mind. It is guilt still related to the body and its relationships to other bodies, and this guilt is still an effect and not the underlying ontological cause that the Course is addressing.
Q #20: I would like to understand why many of my relationships with men begin with a notion of romance but do not sustain themselves as friendships. I value the people I meet and I would like to develop and grow to the point where I can express brotherly love for women and men. As a single woman, I meet men who are often attracted to me, then we date or whatever, and then it ends. I’m responsible for what and how I am communicating. Is there a way to communicate “let’s be friends” when something more was expected or desired and disappointment has set in?
A: Our egos are not proud and will use whatever forms of specialness work to get us involved in relationships that in the end do not meet our needs. Although we are usually not aware of this, we have an underlying goal of demonstrating that love can only fail us and that we are the unwitting victim of others’ misleading and confusing overtures. The Course is unique — and for this reason probably also not that popular — among spiritual paths in identifying this underlying intent behind all our relationships in the world, no matter how good we believe our intentions may be at the start, until they are given over to the Holy Spirit for healing.
And, often to our disappointment, the Holy Spirit only works with content and not form, so that there can be no guarantee of what will happen in our relationships except that we will be given another opportunity to get in touch with our own buried guilt and feelings of unworthiness and self-hatred so that they can be healed. But if we are able to put the Course’s principles of forgiveness into practice, we will find that over time we experience a sense of peace and joy in our relationships, regardless of whether our brothers or sisters reciprocate in any way on the level of form. And we will know that we are truly “friends” who have a shared purpose of healing the pain buried in our minds. But this is a process that can take time to achieve. So, in the meantime, just know that you are doing the best that you can and don’t stop trying. Jesus needs our special relationships to teach us the other way. It is only fear that ever stops any of us from allowing ourselves to experience greater intimacy in any form.