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:
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
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!