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 The beginning phases of this reversal are often quite painful, for as blame is withdrawn from without, there is a strong tendency to harbour it within.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
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).