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
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!