ACIM Text Reading for April 16
Chapter 10 ~ The Idols of Sickness
V. The Denial of God
The rituals of the god of sickness are strange and very demanding. Joy is never permitted, for depression is the sign of allegiance to him. Depression means that you have forsworn God. Many are afraid of blasphemy, but they do not understand what it means. They do not realise that to deny God is to deny their own Identity, and in this sense the wages of sin is death. The sense is very literal; denial of life perceives its opposite, as all forms of denial replace what is with what is not. No one can really do this, but that you think you can and believe you have is beyond dispute.
Do not forget, however, that to deny God will inevitably result in projection, and you will believe that others and not yourself have done this to you. You must receive the message you give because it is the message you want. You may believe that you judge your brothers by the messages they give you, but you have judged them by the message you give to them. Do not attribute your denial of joy to them, or you cannot see the spark in them that would bring joy to you. It is the denial of the spark that brings depression, for whenever you see your brothers without it, you are denying God.
Allegiance to the denial of God is the ego’s religion. The god of sickness obviously demands the denial of health, because health is in direct opposition to its own survival. But consider what this means to you. Unless you are sick you cannot keep the gods you made, for only in sickness could you possibly want them. Blasphemy, then, is self-destructive, not God-destructive. It means that you are willing not to know yourself in order to be sick. This is the offering your god demands because, having made him out of your insanity, he is an insane idea. He has many forms, but although he may seem to be many different things he is but one idea;â€”the denial of God.
Sickness and death seemed to enter the mind of God’s Son against His Will. The ‘attack on God’ made His Son think he was fatherless, and out of his depression he made the god of depression. This was his alternative to joy, because he would not accept the fact that, although he was a creator, he had been created. Yet the Son is helpless without the Father, Who alone is his Help.
I said before that of yourself you can do nothing, but you are not of yourself. If you were, what you have made would be true, and you could never escape. It is because you did not make yourself that you need be troubled over nothing. Your gods are nothing, because your Father did not create them. You cannot make creators who are unlike your Creator, any more than He could have created a Son who was unlike Him. If creation is sharing, it cannot create what is unlike itself. It can share only what it is. Depression is isolation, and so it could not have been created.
Son of God, you have not sinned, but you have been much mistaken. Yet this can be corrected and God will help you, knowing that you could not sin against Him. You denied Him because you loved Him, knowing that if you recognised your love for Him, you could not deny Him. Your denial of Him therefore means that you love Him, and that you know He loves you. Remember that what you deny you must have once known. And if you accept denial, you can accept its undoing.
Your Father has not denied you. He does not retaliate, but He does call to you to return. When you think He has not answered your call, you have not answered His. He calls to you from every part of the Sonship, because of His Love for His Son. If you hear His message He has answered you, and you will learn of Him if you hear aright. The Love of God is in everything He created, for His Son is everywhere. Look with peace upon your brothers, and God will come rushing into your heart in gratitude for your gift to Him.
Do not look to the god of sickness for healing but only to the God of love, for healing is the acknowledgement of Him. When you acknowledge Him you will know that He has never ceased to acknowledge you, and that in His acknowledgement of you lies your being. You are not sick and you cannot die. But you can confuse yourself with things that do. Remember, though, that to do this is blasphemy, for it means that you are looking without love on God and His creation, from which He cannot be separated.
Only the eternal can be loved, for love does not die. What is of God is His forever, and you are of God. Would He allow Himself to suffer? And would He offer His Son anything that is not acceptable to Him? If you will accept yourself as God created you, you will be incapable of suffering. Yet to do this you must acknowledge Him as your Creator. This is not because you will be punished otherwise. It is merely because your acknowledgement of your Father is the acknowledgement of yourself as you are. Your Father created you wholly without sin, wholly without pain and wholly without suffering of any kind. If you deny Him you bring sin, pain and suffering into your own mind because of the power He gave it. Your mind is capable of creating worlds, but it can also deny what it creates because it is free.
You do not realise how much you have denied yourself, and how much God, in His Love, would not have it so. Yet He would not interfere with you, because He would not know His Son if he were not free. To interfere with you would be to attack Himself, and God is not insane. When you deny Him you are insane. Would you have Him share your insanity? God will never cease to love His Son, and His Son will never cease to love Him. That was the condition of His Son’s creation, fixed forever in the Mind of God. To know that is sanity. To deny it is insanity. God gave Himself to you in your creation, and His gifts are eternal. Would you deny yourself to Him?
Out of your gifts to Him the Kingdom will be restored to His Son. His Son removed himself from His gift by refusing to accept what had been created for him, and what he had created in the Name of his Father. Heaven waits for his return, for it was created as the dwelling place of God’s Son. You are not at home anywhere else, or in any other condition. Do not deny yourself the joy that was created for you for the misery you have made for yourself. God has given you the means for undoing what you have made. Listen, and you will learn how to remember what you are.
If God knows His children as wholly sinless, it is blasphemous to perceive them as guilty. If God knows His children as wholly without pain, it is blasphemous to perceive suffering anywhere. If God knows His children to be wholly joyous, it is blasphemous to feel depressed. All of these illusions, and the many other forms that blasphemy may take, are refusals to accept creation as it is. If God created His Son perfect, that is how you must learn to see him to learn of his reality. And as part of the Sonship, that is how you must see yourself to learn of yours.
Do not perceive anything God did not create or you are denying Him. His is the only Fatherhood, and it is yours only because He has given it to you. Your gifts to yourself are meaningless, but your gifts to your creations are like His, because they are given in His Name. That is why your creations are as real as His. Yet the real Fatherhood must be acknowledged if the real Son is to be known. You believe that the sick things you have made are your real creations, because you believe that the sick images you perceive are the sons of God. Only if you accept the Fatherhood of God will you have anything, because His Fatherhood gave you everything. That is why to deny Him is to deny yourself.
Arrogance is the denial of love, because love shares and arrogance withholds. As long as both appear to you to be desirable the concept of choice, which is not of God, will remain with you. While this is not true in eternity it is true in time, so that while time lasts in your mind there will be choices. Time itself is your choice. If you would remember eternity, you must look only on the eternal. If you allow yourself to become preoccupied with the temporal, you are living in time. As always, your choice is determined by what you value. Time and eternity cannot both be real, because they contradict each other. If you will accept only what is timeless as real, you will begin to understand eternity and make it yours.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 16
These ideas are for review today:
(71) Only God’s plan for salvation will work.
It is senseless for me to search wildly about for salvation. I have seen it in many people and in many things, but when I reached for it, it was not there. I was mistaken about where it is. I was mistaken about what it is. I will undertake no more idle seeking. Only God’s plan for salvation will work. And I will rejoice because His plan can never fail.
These are some suggested forms for applying this idea specifically:
God’s plan for salvation will save me from my perception of this.
This is no exception in God’s plan for my salvation.
Let me perceive this only in the light of God’s plan for salvation.
(72) Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.
Holding grievances is an attempt to prove that God’s plan for salvation will not work. Yet only His plan will work. By holding grievances, I am therefore excluding my only hope of salvation from my awareness. I would no longer defeat my own best interests in this insane way. I would accept God’s plan for salvation, and be happy.
Specific applications for this idea might be in these forms:
I am choosing between misperception and salvation as I look on this.
If I see grounds for grievances in this, I will not see the grounds for my salvation.
This calls for salvation, not attack.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #768: I have been advised by a magistrate and a lawyer to request that a psychological evaluation be done on my ex-husband because his anger over our divorce continues to escalate. We are not able to communicate regarding our daughter and have been through domestic violence court, and through several hearings where my ex-husband continues to try increase his visitation to the point where she would eventually live with him. In studying A Course in Miracles , I have learned to pray for myself, to recognize that we are all children of God, that there is a divine spirit within all of us, and yet I am fearful for myself and my daughter and my ex because of his volatile anger. Is taking legal action against him the right thing to do?
A: The teachings of A Course in Miracles are focused on changing our minds, and therefore do not provide specific guidelines for behavior. Although Jesus invites us to leave behind the ego’s perspective and allow it to be replaced by the Holy Spirit’s, he does not tell us to deny our experience on the level of form. We therefore take care of our bodies in the normal way, keeping them healthy and safe. This often means taking steps to keep someone from hurting themselves and/or others, which can sometimes be accomplished through legal action. It is certainly possible to practice forgiveness as the Course teaches while initiating legal proceedings, if that is what you think you should do. Since the foundation of the world is the belief in the ego’s thought system of attack and counter-attack, everything and everyone in it engage in destructive behavior to some degree. That is the inevitable expression of the separated Son’s desperate call for help. What we are asked to do is look at any judgments we may have toward the person, seeing in them the projection of our own desperate call for help. Once we recognize how our fears are mirrored in the other person, we have the opportunity to forgive ourselves, asking the Holy Spirit to replace our judgments against ourselves and our brother with His. This process establishes that whatever we do or don’t do with regard to another’s behavior will be guided by the Holy Spirit rather than by the ego. Taking legal action is appropriate in certain circumstances; it does not mean, however, that the other party is a guilty sinner, worthy of God’s punishment, as the ego would have us believe. The choice is not what course of action to pursue, but whose counsel we seek: the ego’s or the Holy Spirit’s. In this light we may paraphrase the oft quoted line from the text : “seek not to change your brother, but choose to change your mind about your brother” (T.21.in.1:7).
Recognizing someone’s volatile behavior as a call for help does not mean not paying attention to the form the call takes. This is true for everyone involved in your family’s crisis. As Jesus tells us in the text: “…frightened people can be vicious” (T.3.I.4:2). While steps are taken to protect yourself, your child, and your husband on the level of form, you may remember that these steps are the expression of your call to the Holy Spirit for help. It is important not to deny the fear that underlies the perceived need for protection, or any other need. What is not denied can be transformed by the Holy Spirit, so that whatever happens you will experience peace in your mind. It is to this peace, rather than any specific behavior, that the Holy Spirit guides us.
Q #769: A Course in Miracles states that all creations of us are protected by God “and kept for us” until we return (where we never left; i.e., when we wake up). My question is: i. Has anyone ever returned after they did?; ii. If the ego is but a branch of our Soul-tree then is it not protected as well, and all our attempts to counteract / undo it are all in vain? Should we pay attention to it, and thus give it “energy” and “reality”?
A: i. We do not have an answer to your first question, as there is no way of knowing this. Our creations are only in Heaven; they are the eternal extension of the Love shared by the Father and the Son, and are “protected” in the sense that they are eternal and can never be other than they are. This, of course, is not understandable to us in our separated state, as Jesus tells us in one place in the workbook: “Creation cannot even be conceived of in the world. It has no meaning here” (W.pI.192.3:1,2) . In the manual for teachers, however, he refers to “those who have reached God directly, retaining no trace of worldly limits and remembering their own Identity perfectly. These might be called the Teachers of teachers because, although they are no longer visible, their image can yet be called upon” (M.26.2:1,2) . Jesus also speaks of the “real world,” which is the state of mind reached by those with the clear awareness that the world and all bodily states are illusory. They no longer go back and forth between the ego thought system and the Holy Spirit’s. These states, perhaps, are what you were referring to in your question.
ii. The Course does not speak of the ego as “a branch of our Soul-tree”; that is from a different spiritual system. The ego, in fact, is not even an entity. It is “nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself. . . . the part of the mind that believes your existence is defined by separation” (T.4.VI.1:6; T.4.VII.1:5) . Therefore “undoing the ego” simply means changing your mind about the ego’s reality; you accept the truth that the separation from God is not real; it is totally illusory. When you accept the truth about yourself without any reservations — namely, that “I am as God created me” — then the ego just disappears: “This terrible mistake about yourself the miracle corrects as gently as a loving mother sings her child to rest” (C.2.8:2) . A miracle in the Course is this shift in our perception of who we are; it is the light that dispels the darkness of the ego, as Jesus explains in the clarification of terms: “Where there was darkness now we see the light. What is the ego? What the darkness was. Where is the ego? Where the darkness was. What is it now and where can it be found? Nothing and nowhere” (C.2.6:1,2,3,4,5,6,7) . Thus, we give reality to the ego only when we fear it, fight against it, or deny it. We need to pay attention to it only so that we can bring it out of the dark hiding place we provided for it and into the light of Jesus’ love in our minds, where it simply is no more. That is why he emphasizes that the miracle “looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false” (W.pII.13.1:3) ; and in the text he also makes the point that the only way to get past the ego is to look at it with him: “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 . . .” (T.11.V.1:1,2,3) .