A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for June 1

ACIM Text Reading for June 1

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

III. Littleness versus Magnitude

Be not content with littleness. But be sure you understand what littleness is, and why you could never be content with it. Littleness is the offering you give yourself. You offer this in place of magnitude, and you accept it. Everything in this world is little because it is a world made out of littleness, in the strange belief that littleness can content you. When you strive for anything in this world in the belief that it will bring you peace, you are belittling yourself and blinding yourself to glory. Littleness and glory are the choices open to your striving and your vigilance. You will always choose one at the expense of the other.

Yet what you do not realise, each time you choose, is that your choice is your evaluation of yourself. Choose littleness and you will not have peace, for you will have judged yourself unworthy of it. And whatever you offer as a substitute is much too poor a gift to satisfy you. It is essential that you accept the fact, and accept it gladly, that there is no form of littleness that can ever content you. You are free to try as many as you wish, but all you will be doing is to delay your homecoming. For you will be content only in magnitude, which is your home.

There is a deep responsibility you owe yourself, and one you must learn to remember all the time. The lesson may seem hard at first, but you will learn to love it when you realise that it is true and is but a tribute to your power. You who have sought and found littleness, remember this: Every decision you make stems from what you think you are, and represents the value that you put upon yourself. Believe the little can content you, and by limiting yourself you will not be satisfied. For your function is not little, and it is only by finding your function and fulfilling it that you can escape from littleness.

There is no doubt about what your function is, for the Holy Spirit knows what it is. There is no doubt about its magnitude, for it reaches you through Him from Magnitude. You do not have to strive for it, because you have it. All striving must be directed against littleness, for it does require vigilance to protect your magnitude in this world. To hold your magnitude in perfect awareness in a world of littleness is a task the little cannot undertake. Yet it is asked of you, in tribute to your magnitude and not your littleness. Nor is it asked of you alone. The power of God will support every effort you make on behalf of His dear Son. Search for the little, and you deny yourself His power. God is not willing that His Son be content with less than everything. For He is not content without His Son, and His Son cannot be content with less than His Father has given him.

I asked you earlier, ‘Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God’? Let this question be asked you by the Holy Spirit every time you make a decision. For every decision you make does answer this, and invites sorrow or joy accordingly. When God gave Himself to you in your creation, He established you as host to Him forever. He has not left you, and you have not left Him. All your attempts to deny His magnitude, and make His Son hostage to the ego, cannot make little whom God has joined with Him. Every decision you make is for Heaven or for hell, and brings you the awareness of what you decided for.

The Holy Spirit can hold your magnitude, clean of all littleness, clearly and in perfect safety in your mind, untouched by every little gift the world of littleness would offer you. But for this, you cannot side against Him in what He wills for you. Decide for God through Him. For littleness, and the belief that you can be content with littleness, are decisions you make about yourself. The power and the glory that lie in you from God are for all who, like you, perceive themselves as little, and believe that littleness can be blown up into a sense of magnitude that can content them. Neither give littleness, nor accept it. All honour is due the host of God. Your littleness deceives you, but your magnitude is of Him Who dwells in you, and in Whom you dwell. Touch no one, then, with littleness in the Name of Christ, eternal Host unto His Father.

In this season (Christmas) which celebrates the birth of holiness into this world, join with me who decided for holiness for you. It is our task together to restore the awareness of magnitude to the host whom God appointed for Himself. It is beyond all your littleness to give the gift of God, but not beyond you. For God would give Himself through you. He reaches from you to everyone and beyond everyone to His Son’s creations, but without leaving you. Far beyond your little world but still in you, He extends forever. Yet He brings all His extensions to you, as host to Him.

Is it a sacrifice to leave littleness behind, and wander not in vain? It is not sacrifice to wake to glory. But it is sacrifice to accept anything less than glory. Learn that you must be worthy of the Prince of Peace, born in you in honour of Him Whose host you are. You know not what love means because you have sought to purchase it with little gifts, thus valuing it too little to understand its magnitude. Love is not little and love dwells in you, for you are host to Him. Before the greatness that lives in you, your poor appreciation of yourself and all the little offerings you give slip into nothingness.

Holy child of God, when will you learn that only holiness can content you and give you peace? Remember that you learn not for yourself alone, no more than I did. It is because I learned for you that you can learn of me. I would but teach you what is yours, so that together we can replace the shabby littleness that binds the host of God to guilt and weakness with the glad awareness of the glory that is in him. My birth in you is your awakening to grandeur. Welcome me not into a manger, but into the altar to holiness, where holiness abides in perfect peace. My Kingdom is not of this world because it is in you. And you are of your Father. Let us join in honouring you, who must remain forever beyond littleness.

Decide with me, who has decided to abide with you. I will as my Father wills, knowing His Will is constant and at peace forever with itself. You will be content with nothing but His Will. Accept no less, remembering that everything I learned is yours. What my Father loves I love as He does, and I can no more accept it as what it is not, than He can. And no more can you. When you have learned to accept what you are, you will make no more gifts to offer to yourself, for you will know you are complete, in need of nothing, and unable to accept anything for yourself. But you will gladly give, having received. The host of God needs not seek to find anything.

If you are wholly willing to leave salvation to the plan of God and unwilling to attempt to grasp for peace yourself, salvation will be given you. Yet think not you can substitute your plan for His. Rather, join with me in His, that we may release all those who would be bound, proclaiming together that the Son of God is host to Him. Thus will we let no one forget what you would remember. And thus will you remember it.

Call forth in everyone only the remembrance of God, and of the Heaven that is in him. For where you would have your brother be, there will you think you are. Hear not his appeal to hell and littleness, but only his call for Heaven and greatness. Forget not that his call is yours, and answer him with me. God’s power is forever on the side of His host, for it protects only the peace in which He dwells. Lay not littleness before His holy altar, which rises above the stars and reaches even to Heaven, because of what is given it.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 1

Lesson 133

I will not value what is valueless.

Sometimes in teaching there is benefit, particularly after you have gone through what seems theoretical and far from what the student has already learned, to bring him back to practical concerns. This we will do today. We will not speak of lofty, world-encompassing ideas, but dwell instead on benefits to you.

You do not ask too much of life, but far too little. When you let your mind be drawn to bodily concerns, to things you buy, to eminence as valued by the world, you ask for sorrow, not for happiness. This course does not attempt to take from you the little that you have. It does not try to substitute utopian ideas for satisfactions which the world contains. There are no satisfactions in the world.

Today we list the real criteria by which to test all things you think you want. Unless they meet these sound requirements, they are not worth desiring at all, for they can but replace what offers more. The laws that govern choice you cannot make, no more than you can make alternatives from which to choose. The choosing you can do; indeed, you must. But it is wise to learn the laws you set in motion when you choose, and what alternatives you choose between.

We have already stressed there are but two, however many there appear to be. The range is set, and this we cannot change. It would be most ungenerous to you to let alternatives be limitless, and thus delay your final choice until you had considered all of them in time; and not been brought so clearly to the place where there is but one choice that must be made.

Another kindly and related law is that there is no compromise in what your choice must bring. It cannot give you just a little, for there is no in between. Each choice you make brings everything to you or nothing. Therefore, if you learn the tests by which you can distinguish everything from nothing, you will make the better choice.

First, if you choose a thing that will not last forever, what you chose is valueless. A temporary value is without all value. Time can never take away a value that is real. What fades and dies was never there, and makes no offering to him who chooses it. He is deceived by nothing in a form he thinks he likes.

Next, if you choose to take a thing away from someone else, you will have nothing left. This is because, when you deny his right to everything, you have denied your own. You therefore will not recognize the things you really have, denying they are there. Who seeks to take away has been deceived by the illusion loss can offer gain. Yet loss must offer loss, and nothing more.

Your next consideration is the one on which the others rest. Why is the choice you make of value to you? What attracts your mind to it? What purpose does it serve? Here it is easiest of all to be deceived. For what the ego wants it fails to recognize. It does not even tell the truth as it perceives it, for it needs to keep the halo which it uses to protect its goals from tarnish and from rust, that you may see how “innocent” it is.

Yet is its camouflage a thin veneer, which could deceive but those who are content to be deceived. Its goals are obvious to anyone who cares to look for them. Here is deception doubled, for the one who is deceived will not perceive that he has merely failed to gain. He will believe that he has served the ego’s hidden goals.

Yet though he tries to keep its halo clear within his vision, still must he perceive its tarnished edges and its rusted core. His ineffectual mistakes appear as sins to him, because he looks upon the tarnish as his own; the rust a sign of deep unworthiness within himself. He who would still preserve the ego’s goals and serve them as his own makes no mistakes, according to the dictates of his guide. This guidance teaches it is error to believe that sins are but mistakes, for who would suffer for his sins if this were so?

And so we come to the criterion for choice that is the hardest to believe, because its obviousness is overlaid with many levels of obscurity. If you feel any guilt about your choice, you have allowed the ego’s goals to come between the real alternatives. And thus you do not realize there are but two, and the alternative you think you chose seems fearful, and too dangerous to be the nothingness it actually is.

All things are valuable or valueless, worthy or not of being sought at all, entirely desirable or not worth the slightest effort to obtain. Choosing is easy just because of this. Complexity is nothing but a screen of smoke, which hides the very simple fact that no decision can be difficult. What is the gain to you in learning this? It is far more than merely letting you make choices easily and without pain.

Heaven itself is reached with empty hands and open minds, which come with nothing to find everything and claim it as their own. We will attempt to reach this state today, with self-deception laid aside, and with an honest willingness to value but the truly valuable and the real. Our two extended practice periods of fifteen minutes each begin with this:

I will not value what is valueless,
and only what has value do I seek,
for only that do I desire to find.

And then receive what waits for everyone who reaches, unencumbered, to the gate of Heaven, which swings open as he comes. Should you begin to let yourself collect some needless burdens, or believe you see some difficult decisions facing you, be quick to answer with this simple thought:

I will not value what is valueless,
for what is valuable belongs to me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

 #1261If someone loves you, desires a special relationship with you, pledges their devotion and undying love, but you are still not attracted to that person in that way, and prefer to live alone, does that mean you are afraid of love? Should you consider a special relationship with that person? Ken says in “Living the Course” (audio album) that we should not abandon our special relationships, for they are opportunities for learning. Is it wrong to turn away love on the level of form? Are we not told to “give them what they want” when they seek love?

A: Frequently, students avoid their feelings of attraction to someone because they think that special relationships are bad and should never be entered into. And, just as frequently, students will leave special relationships for the same reason. Both attitudes seriously misconstrue what A Course in Miracles teaches. The point is that our relationships are the curriculum Jesus uses to help us get in touch with the choices we are making in our minds so that we can then shift the purpose for which we are using them from an unholy one (separation) to a holy one (the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness process).

This does not mean that you should start up a relationship with someone to whom you are not attracted, for the sole purpose of learning lessons. You already have many special relationship classrooms, by virtue of your being the child of parents (alive or deceased), a relative of other family members, a friend, a member of certain groups, an employee/employer, a neighbor, a pet owner possibly, a consumer, a citizen, etc. In other words, you are not deprived of classrooms because you prefer to live alone. Special relationships are in the mind, meaning the way we relate to others reflects the choice we have made in our mind to live out the ego’s thought system or the Holy Spirit’s thought system. The form or expression of this varies greatly, and is not limited to sexual and romantic partners. The holy relationship is simply the correction of our choice to identify with the ego, and the expression of that choice with others.

One of the defining characteristics of special love is that it excludes in some way. On the level of content , in other words, it singles out and separates — not everyone is included in your love. This is the core of specialness. On the other hand, you can spend most of your time with one person, but in content, be excluding no one — this is the nature of a holy relationship, which means you are centered in your right mind. Likewise, in form, you may live alone, but your love, compassion, and forgiveness would extend to everyone, without exception.

Since “love is content, and not form of any kind” (T.16.V.12:1) , you may not necessarily be rejecting love if someone “loves you, desires a special relationship with you, [and] pledges their devotion and undying love,” and you do not respond on that level. You need only look within your mind for ego complicity in your decision, some signs being fear, judgment, repulsion, selfishness, anger, vengeance. You can still enfold this person in your love and compassion (content) without being romantically involved with him or her (form). You just want to notice whether there is a “charge” to your preference to live alone — if so, then it would be a good idea to ask for help to look at the hidden content.

You answer a person’s call for love in content , by seeing him or her as one with you, sharing the same interests as God’s Son, as both an ego and the Self of Christ. The form of the relationship would then flow from this decision to undo whatever you have used to keep yourself separate from others and from God. That is why Jesus speaks of forgiveness as “an earthly form of love, which as it is in Heaven has no form” (W.pI.186.14:2) .


Q #1262 : In knowing that this world holds nothing for me, nothing that I want, and that beyond this world is the world I want (W.pI.128,129), should I be seeing God in everything, or is that validating what is not real?

A: Seeing God in everything means seeing His purpose in everything. This is not meant literally, of course, because God knows nothing of the world: “There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach” (W.pI.132.6:2,3). It means choosing to identify with the content in our right mind instead of the content in our wrong mind. The world then is seen as a classroom, and our interactions become the means of undoing our thoughts of separation from everyone else and from God. We learn to use the world for this purpose of correcting our thoughts, which replaces our former purpose of using the world to further our existence as separate, special, bodily selves. Our eyes will continue to see the same things, but our perception of what our eyes see will be vastly different, meaning we will “see” that we all share the same interests and the same split mind. A gradual reduction of tension and conflict and a growing sense of inner peace will flow from this new purpose.

Question #918 also discusses the meaning of these lessons.


 certain as god

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 31

ACIM Text Reading for May 31

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

II. The End of Doubt

The Atonement is in time, but not for time. Being in you, it is eternal. What holds remembrance of God cannot be bound by time. No more are you. For unless God is bound, you cannot be. An instant offered to the Holy Spirit is offered to God on your behalf, and in that instant you will awaken gently in Him. In the blessed instant you will let go all your past learning, and the Holy Spirit will quickly offer you the whole lesson of peace. What can take time, when all the obstacles to learning it have been removed? Truth is so far beyond time that all of it happens at once. For as it was created one, so its oneness depends not on time at all.

Do not be concerned with time, and fear not the instant of holiness that will remove all fear. For the instant of peace is eternal because it is without fear. It will come, being the lesson God gives you, through the Teacher He has appointed to translate time into eternity. Blessed is God’s Teacher, Whose joy it is to teach God’s holy Son his holiness. His joy is not contained in time. His teaching is for you because His joy is yours. Through Him you stand before God’s altar, where He gently translates hell into Heaven. For it is only in Heaven that God would have you be.

How long can it take to be where God would have you? For you are where you have forever been and will forever be. All that you have, you have forever. The blessed instant reaches out to encompass time, as God extends Himself to encompass you. You who have spent days, hours and even years in chaining your brothers to your ego in an attempt to support it and uphold its weakness, do not perceive the Source of strength. In this holy instant you will unchain all your brothers, and refuse to support either their weakness or your own.

You do not realise how much you have misused your brothers by seeing them as sources of ego support. As a result, they witness to the ego in your perception, and seem to provide reasons for not letting it go. Yet they are far stronger and much more compelling witnesses for the Holy Spirit. And they support His strength. It is, therefore, your choice whether they support the ego or the Holy Spirit in you. And you will recognise which you have chosen by their reactions. A Son of God who has been released through the Holy Spirit in a brother is always recognised. He cannot be denied. If you remain uncertain, it is only because you have not given complete release. And because of this, you have not given a single instant completely to the Holy Spirit. For when you have, you will be sure you have. You will be sure because the witness to Him will speak so clearly of Him that you will hear and understand. You will doubt until you hear one witness whom you have wholly released through the Holy Spirit. And then you will doubt no more.

The holy instant has not yet happened to you. Yet it will, and you will recognise it with perfect certainty. No gift of God is recognised in any other way. You can practise the mechanics of the holy instant, and will learn much from doing so. Yet its shining and glittering brilliance, which will literally blind you to this world by its own vision, you cannot supply. And here it is, all in this instant, complete, accomplished and given wholly.

Start now to practise your little part in separating out the holy instant. You will receive very specific instructions as you go along. To learn to separate out this single second, and to experience it as timeless, is to begin to experience yourself as not separate. Fear not that you will not be given help in this. God’s Teacher and His lesson will support your strength. It is only your weakness that will depart from you in this practise, for it is the practise of the power of God in you. Use it but for one instant, and you will never deny it again. Who can deny the Presence of what the universe bows to, in appreciation and gladness? Before the recognition of the universe that witnesses to It, your doubts must disappear.

 

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 31

Lesson 131

No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.

Failure is all about you while you seek for goals that cannot be achieved. You look for permanence in the impermanent, for love where there is none, for safety in the midst of danger; immortality within the darkness of the dream of death. Who could succeed where contradiction is the setting of his searching, and the place to which he comes to find stability?

Goals that are meaningless are not attained. There is no way to reach them, for the means by which you strive for them are meaningless as they are. Who can use such senseless means, and hope through them to gain in anything? Where can they lead? And what could they achieve that offers any hope of being real? Pursuit of the imagined leads to death because it is the search for nothingness, and while you seek for life you ask for death. You look for safety and security, while in your heart you pray for danger and protection for the little dream you made.

Yet searching is inevitable here. For this you came, and you will surely do the thing you came for. But the world can not dictate the goal for which you search, unless you give it power to do so. Otherwise, you still are free to choose a goal that lies beyond the world and every worldly thought, and one that comes to you from an idea relinquished yet remembered, old yet new; an echo of a heritage forgot, yet holding everything you really want.

Be glad that search you must. Be glad as well to learn you search for Heaven, and must find the goal you really want. No one can fail to want this goal and reach it in the end. God’s Son can not seek vainly, though he try to force delay, deceive himself and think that it is hell he seeks. When he is wrong, he finds correction. When he wanders off, he is led back to his appointed task.

No one remains in hell, for no one can abandon his Creator, nor affect His perfect, timeless and unchanging Love. You will find Heaven. Everything you seek but this will fall away. Yet not because it has been taken from you. It will go because you do not want it. You will reach the goal you really want as certainly as God created you in sinlessness.

Why wait for Heaven? It is here today. Time is the great illusion it is past or in the future. Yet this cannot be, if it is where God wills His Son to be. How could the Will of God be in the past, or yet to happen? What He wills is now, without a past and wholly futureless. It is as far removed from time as is a tiny candle from a distant star, or what you chose from what you really want.

Heaven remains your one alternative to this strange world you made and all its ways; its shifting patterns and uncertain goals, its painful pleasures and its tragic joys. God made no contradictions. What denies its own existence and attacks itself is not of Him. He did not make two minds, with Heaven as the glad effect of one, and earth the other’s sorry outcome which is Heaven’s opposite in every way.

God does not suffer conflict. Nor is His creation split in two. How could it be His Son could be in hell, when God Himself established him in Heaven? Could he lose what the Eternal Will has given him to be his home forever? Let us not try longer to impose an alien will upon God’s single purpose. He is here because He wills to be, and what He wills is present now, beyond the reach of time.

Today we will not choose a paradox in place of truth. How could the Son of God make time to take away the Will of God? He thus denies himself, and contradicts what has no opposite. He thinks he made a hell opposing Heaven, and believes that he abides in what does not exist, while Heaven is the place he cannot find.

Leave foolish thoughts like these behind today, and turn your mind to true ideas instead. No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth, and it is truth we seek to reach today. We will devote ten minutes to this goal three times today, and we will ask to see the rising of the real world to replace the foolish images that we hold dear, with true ideas arising in the place of thoughts that have no meaning, no effect, and neither source nor substance in the truth.

This we acknowledge as we start upon our practice periods. Begin with this:

I ask to see a different world, and think a different kind of
thought from those I made. The world I seek I did not make
alone, the thoughts I want to think are not my own.

For several minutes watch your mind and see, although your eyes are closed, the senseless world you think is real. Review the thoughts as well which are compatible with such a world, and which you think are true. Then let them go, and sink below them to the holy place where they can enter not. There is a door beneath them in your mind, which you could not completely lock to hide what lies beyond.

Seek for that door and find it. But before you try to open it, remind yourself no one can fail who seeks to reach the truth. And it is this request you make today. Nothing but this has any meaning now; no other goal is valued now nor sought, nothing before this door you really want, and only what lies past it do you seek.

Put out your hand, and see how easily the door swings open with your one intent to go beyond it. Angels light the way, so that all darkness vanishes, and you are standing in a light so bright and clear that you can understand all things you see. A tiny moment of surprise, perhaps, will make you pause before you realize the world you see before you in the light reflects the truth you knew, and did not quite forget in wandering away in dreams.

You cannot fail today. There walks with you the Spirit Heaven sent you, that you might approach this door some day, and through His aid slip effortlessly past it, to the light. Today that day has come. Today God keeps His ancient promise to His holy Son, as does His Son remember his to Him. This is a day of gladness, for we come to the appointed time and place where you will find the goal of all your searching here, and all the seeking of the world, which end together as you pass beyond the door.

Remember often that today should be a time of special gladness, and refrain from dismal thoughts and meaningless laments. Salvation’s time has come. Today is set by Heaven itself to be a time of grace for you and for the world. If you forget this happy fact, remind yourself with this:

Today I seek and find all that I want.
My single purpose offers it to me.
No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #918I dabble with one line that we are supposed to repeat/meditate on: “The world I see holds nothing that I want” (W.pI.128). Of course, I know that this is not true. I live in a body and denying things I want/strive for seems to hold down my life energy and makes me feel depressed. Of course, the Course goes on with the additional statement, “Beyond this world there is a world I want” (W.pI.129) but I find that, as the Course also states, I want both worlds. Why do I have to decide between the two when true Heaven “holds no opposites”? I am somewhat puzzled by that. Also, in a channeled book by Doreen Virtue, the Angels advise not to worry too much about the “afterworld” but to go on enjoying our lives here in this world (of illusion). Now isn’t that a more direct path toward living a “happy dream” rather than rejecting this world, even if it is an illusion and transient and ending as it is? I can’t stop living in a body other than by just dying, can I? But dying is, according to A Course in Miracles , a sign of wrong-mindedness as well, just a way out by not deciding at all — is my understanding correct? I find the more I do the Course, the worse and more confusing things get.

A: Jesus knows that the world we see holds nothing that we truly want, but he’s not so naive as to think that we don’t believe there is value in the world. That is the reason he is presenting us this lesson, as he makes his case for encouraging us to accept and believe this thought, knowing all the while that we do not believe him. He challenges us to question the real value of all that we seek after in the world, knowing they are only projections of a thought of guilt and lack in the mind and could never truly satisfy us.

But it would be a misreading of these lessons to think that Jesus is asking us to reject the world or to deny ourselves anything we think we need or want. The world, once we have chosen it, is neutral, and can serve either the ego’s or the Holy Spirit’s purpose. What Jesus is inviting us to do is to reject the ego thought system and its purpose for the world, which is to reinforce our belief in lack and deprivation, all the while holding someone else responsible for how we feel. The world is nothing more than a projection of an inner choice of what we wish to see, and we will perceive it differently depending on which inner teacher we turn to — the ego or the Holy Spirit.

While it is true that Heaven has no opposite, it is apparent that we can believe that we have made an opposite to Heaven, as witnessed by our seeming experience here in the illusory world of time and space and bodies. And while we continue to believe in the reality of that thought of opposition and its effects — the tiny mad idea of separation and the world that came from it — Jesus will work with us within that system of opposites to help us recognize more clearly the consequences of our choice for separation, so that we will be more willing to accept his correction for that choice — the true perception of the Holy Spirit, acquired through forgiveness. Not that the world of true perception is any more real that the world of false perception, but it does reflect the reality of Heaven’s oneness, where there are no opposites.

These lessons are not comparing the world of our experience to an afterworld that comes after death — that would still be a part of the ego thought system according to the Course e.g., M.27.4:1,2) — but to a different way of perceiving the world now! And as we practice that new perception, through forgiving all of our judgments, we will come to recognize more and more clearly that we are not living in this body we have thought of as our self. And we will then know that the body and the world are not escaped by death, but merely by changing our mind about who we think we are.

You will almost certainly confuse yourself if you try to reconcile the Course’s teachings with other spiritual paths and channeled works, for they are based on different explicit or implicit theologies, using different sets of symbols, and the steps they will lead you on may very well contradict, at least at the level of form, the specific steps the Course would invite you to take. This does not make either of them wrong, only different. And if you are more drawn to another form of teaching, which makes more sense or is less confusing to you than the Course, then, by all means, follow it.


Q #919Are there still minds deciding to separate from God, thus making new splitoffs which appear here in this illusion where we think we are currently?

A: A question such as this makes sense from within the perspective of the illusion, where we all still believe we are, but it assumes aspects of the illusion, such as number and space and time, as well as the reality of the separation, which simply are not true. A Course in Miracles says that the separation seemed to happen in a single instant, and just as quickly was over (M.2.2,3) , and now we only seem to be “reviewing mentally what has [ already ] gone by” (W.pI.158.3,4) .

And so, the decision that seemed to be made once in an ancient past by one mind, and all the fragmenting that seemed to follow from that choice, only happened in a single unholy instant (T.20.VI.8:6,7,8,9) , and “in reality it never happened at all” (M.2.2:8). So there can be no new splitoffs, recently deciding to separate from God, because time is not real and the separation never happened in the first place!

tiny mad idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 30

ACIM Text Reading for May 30

Chapter 15

THE HOLY INSTANT

I. The Two Uses of Time

Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time? Yet that is what time is for; to learn just that and nothing more. God’s Teacher cannot be satisfied with His teaching until it constitutes all your learning. He has not fulfilled His teaching function until you have become such a consistent learner that you learn only of Him. When this has happened, you will no longer need a teacher or time in which to learn.

One source of perceived discouragement from which you may suffer is your belief that this takes time, and that the results of the Holy Spirit’s teaching are far in the future. This is not so. For the Holy Spirit uses time in His Own way, and is not bound by it. Time is His friend in teaching. It does not waste Him, as it does you. And all the waste that time seems to bring with it is due but to your identification with the ego, which uses time to support its belief in destruction. The ego, like the Holy Spirit, uses time to convince you of the inevitability of the goal and end of teaching. To the ego the goal is death, which is its end. But to the Holy Spirit the goal is life, which has no end.

The ego is an ally of time, but not a friend. For it is as mistrustful of death as it is of life, and what it wants for you it cannot tolerate. The ego wants you dead, but not itself. The outcome of its strange religion must therefore be the conviction that it can pursue you beyond the grave. And out of its unwillingness for you to find peace even in death, it offers you immortality in hell. It speaks to you of Heaven, but assures you that Heaven is not for you. How can the guilty hope for Heaven?

The belief in hell is inescapable to those who identify with the ego. Their nightmares and their fears are all associated with it. The ego teaches that hell is in the future, for this is what all its teaching is directed to. Hell is its goal. For although the ego aims at death and dissolution as an end, it does not believe it. The goal of death, which it craves for you, leaves it unsatisfied. No one who follows the ego’s teaching is without the fear of death. Yet if death were thought of merely as an end to pain, would it be feared? We have seen this strange paradox in the ego’s thought system before, but never so clearly as here. For the ego must seem to keep fear from you to hold your allegiance. Yet it must engender fear in order to maintain itself. Again the ego tries, and all too frequently succeeds, in doing both, by using dissociation for holding its contradictory aims together so that they seem to be reconciled. The ego teaches thus: Death is the end as far as hope of Heaven goes. Yet because you and the ego cannot be separated, and because it cannot conceive of its own death, it will pursue you still, because guilt is eternal. Such is the ego’s version of immortality. And it is this the ego’s version of time supports.

The ego teaches that Heaven is here and now because the future is hell. Even when it attacks so savagely that it tries to take the life of someone who thinks its is the only voice, it speaks of hell even to him. For it tells him hell is here as well, and bids him leap from hell into oblivion. The only time the ego allows anyone to look upon with equanimity is the past. And even there, its only value is that it is no more.

How bleak and despairing is the ego’s use of time! And how terrifying! For underneath its fanatical insistence that the past and future be the same is hidden a far more insidious threat to peace. The ego does not advertise its final threat, for it would have its worshippers still believe that it can offer them escape. But the belief in guilt must lead to the belief in hell, and always does. The only way in which the ego allows the fear of hell to be experienced is to bring hell here, but always as a foretaste of the future. For no one who considers himself as deserving of hell can believe that punishment will end in peace.

The Holy Spirit teaches thus: There is no hell. Hell is only what the ego has made of the present. The belief in hell is what prevents you from understanding the present, because you are afraid of it. The Holy Spirit leads as steadily to Heaven as the ego drives to hell. For the Holy Spirit, who knows only the present, uses it to undo the fear by which the ego would make the present useless. There is no escape from fear in the ego’s use of time. For time, according to its teaching, is nothing but a teaching device for compounding guilt until it becomes all-encompassing, demanding vengeance forever.

The Holy Spirit would undo all of this now. Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist. There is no fear in the present when each instant stands clear and separated from the past, without its shadow reaching out into the future. Each instant is a clean, untarnished birth, in which the Son of God emerges from the past into the present. And the present extends forever. It is so beautiful and so clean and free of guilt that nothing but happiness is there. No darkness is remembered, and immortality and joy are now.

This lesson takes no time. For what is time without a past and future? It has taken time to misguide you so completely, but it takes no time at all to be what you are. Begin to practise the Holy Spirit’s use of time as a teaching aid to happiness and peace. Take this very instant, now, and think of it as all there is of time. Nothing can reach you here out of the past, and it is here that you are completely absolved, completely free and wholly without condemnation. From this holy instant wherein holiness was born again you will go forth in time without fear, and with no sense of change with time.

Time is inconceivable without change, yet holiness does not change. Learn from this instant more than merely that hell does not exist. In this redeeming instant lies Heaven. And Heaven will not change, for the birth into the holy present is salvation from change. Change is an illusion, taught by those who cannot see themselves as guiltless. There is no change in Heaven because there is no change in God. In the holy instant, in which you see yourself as bright with freedom, you will remember God. For remembering Him is to remember freedom.

If you are tempted to be dispirited by thinking how long it would take to change your mind so completely, ask yourself, ‘How long is an instant?’ Could you not give so short a time to the Holy Spirit for your salvation? He asks no more, for He has no need of more. It takes far longer to teach you to be willing to give Him this than for Him to use this tiny instant to offer you the whole of Heaven. In exchange for this instant He stands ready to give you the remembrance of eternity.

You will never give this holy instant to the Holy Spirit on behalf of your release while you are unwilling to give it to your brothers on behalf of theirs. For the instant of holiness is shared, and cannot be yours alone. Remember, then, when you are tempted to attack a brother, that his instant of release is yours. Miracles are the instants of release you offer, and will receive. They attest to your willingness to be released, and to offer time to the Holy Spirit for His use of it.

How long is an instant? It is as short for your brother as it is for you. Practise giving this blessed instant of freedom to all who are enslaved by time, and thus make time their friend for them. The Holy Spirit gives their blessed instant to you through your giving it. As you give it, He offers it to you. Be not unwilling to give what you would receive of Him, for you join with Him in giving. In the crystal cleanness of the release you give is your instantaneous escape from guilt. You must be holy if you offer holiness.

How long is an instant? As long as it takes to re-establish perfect sanity, perfect peace and perfect love for everyone, for God and for yourself. As long as it takes to remember immortality, and your immortal creations who share it with you. As long as it takes to exchange hell for Heaven. Long enough to transcend all of the ego’s making, and ascend unto your Father.

Time is your friend, if you leave it to the Holy Spirit to use. He needs but very little to restore God’s whole power to you. He Who transcends time for you understands what time is for. Holiness lies not in time, but in eternity. There never was an instant in which God’s Son could lose his purity. His changeless state is beyond time, for his purity remains forever beyond attack and without variability. Time stands still in his holiness, and changes not. And so it is no longer time at all. For caught in the single instant of the eternal sanctity of God’s creation, it is transformed into forever. Give the eternal instant, that eternity may be remembered for you, in that shining instant of perfect release. Offer the miracle of the holy instant through the Holy Spirit, and leave His giving it to you to Him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 30

Lesson 130

It is impossible to see two worlds.

Perception is consistent. What you see reflects your thinking. And your thinking but reflects your choice of what you want to see. Your values are determiners of this, for what you value you must want to see, believing what you see is really there. No one can see a world his mind has not accorded value. And no one can fail to look upon what he believes he wants.

Yet who can really hate and love at once? Who can desire what he does not want to have reality? And who can choose to see a world of which he is afraid? Fear must make blind, for this its weapon is: That which you fear to see you cannot see. Love and perception thus go hand in hand, but fear obscures in darkness what is there.

What, then, can fear project upon the world? What can be seen in darkness that is real? Truth is eclipsed by fear, and what remains is but imagined. Yet what can be real in blind imaginings of panic born? What would you want that this is shown to you? What would you wish to keep in such a dream?

Fear has made everything you think you see. All separation, all distinctions, and the multitude of differences you believe make up the world. They are not there. Love’s enemy has made them up. Yet love can have no enemy, and so they have no cause, no being and no consequence. They can be valued, but remain unreal. They can be sought, but they can not be found. Today we will not seek for them, nor waste this day in seeking what can not be found.

It is impossible to see two worlds which have no overlap of any kind. Seek for the one; the other disappears. But one remains. They are the range of choice beyond which your decision cannot go. The real and the unreal are all there are to choose between, and nothing more than these.

Today we will attempt no compromise where none is possible. The world you see is proof you have already made a choice as all-embracing as its opposite. What we would learn today is more than just the lesson that you cannot see two worlds. It also teaches that the one you see is quite consistent from the point of view from which you see it. It is all a piece because it stems from one emotion, and reflects its source in everything you see.

Six times today, in thanks and gratitude, we gladly give five minutes to the thought that ends all compromise and doubt, and go beyond them all as one. We will not make a thousand meaningless distinctions, nor attempt to bring with us a little part of unreality, as we devote our minds to finding only what is real.

Begin your searching for the other world by asking for a strength beyond your own, and recognizing what it is you seek. You do not want illusions. And you come to these five minutes emptying your hands of all the petty treasures of this world. You wait for God to help you, as you say:

It is impossible to see two worlds. Let me accept the
strength God offers me and see no value in this world,
that I may find my freedom and deliverance.

God will be there. For you have called upon the great unfailing power which will take this giant step with you in gratitude. Nor will you fail to see His thanks expressed in tangible perception and in truth. You will not doubt what you will look upon, for though it is perception, it is not the kind of seeing that your eyes alone have ever seen before. And you will know God’s strength upheld you as you made this choice.

Dismiss temptation easily today whenever it arises, merely by remembering the limits of your choice. The unreal or the real, the false or true is what you see and only what you see. Perception is consistent with your choice, and hell or Heaven comes to you as one.

Accept a little part of hell as real, and you have damned your eyes and cursed your sight, and what you will behold is hell indeed. Yet the release of Heaven still remains within your range of choice, to take the place of everything that hell would show to you. All you need say to any part of hell, whatever form it takes, is simply this:

It is impossible to see two worlds.
I seek my freedom and deliverance,
and this is not a part of what I want.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #561: My question is: who is the “me” that the ego wants dead but not itself (T.15.I.4:3)? My own understanding is that it is the real me, the Christ, that the ego wants dead. And my understanding of the idea that the ego pursues us even after death (T.15.I.4:4) is that our desire to be different, to be an individual, to be special is still with us after death if we have not consciously changed our mind and let it go and that this is the meaning of our ego not wanting itself dead.

A: A little background on the nature and “reality” of the ego before answering your question: The ego is nothing more than a mistaken belief about ourselves in the separated state that we seem to have given inordinate power to dictate our options and experiences (T.7.VIII.4:6,7). It is a choice to see ourselves as limited, alone, sinful, guilty and in pain. And it is a thought that is totally focused on self preservation (T.7.VI.3:1) at any price, including death. To protect it, we must deny that it is merely our choice and that we could just as easily make a different choice. This is such a tremendous threat to its continued existence that we must deny the power of our mind to have chosen it (T.7.VI.3). So when we are identified with the ego thought, we wish to deny or kill off the decision-making part of our split mind.

A Course in Miracles speaks of the ego as a separate entity acting on its own as part of the myth to explain how we find ourselves trapped in illusion, but it also serves the purpose of helping us not minimize how pervasive the ego is in our thinking (T.4.VI.1:2,3,4). And it also enables us to begin to take steps to disidentify from it and reclaim the power of our mind to have chosen it. For we are not our egos.

So, in the context of the ego myth, the “you” that the ego wants dead is the decision-making self, still a part of the split mind, and not the Christ. The ego self can not be aware of either God or Christ, for Limitlessness is beyond its finite grasp (T.4.VI.4).

And yes, since physical “death” is merely a symbol in the dream of separation and has no effect on either the thought of separation or our choice for it as a decision-maker, both aspects of the split self seem to continue on after death (T.15.I.4:13,14). And so the same dynamic of guilt and attack must continue to play itself out in the split mind, until we make the choice to awaken from the dream of death. For at least unconsciously, we are aware that physical death is an illusion and ends nothing (T.15.I.4:5), and so denial of the decision-making part of our mind — seeking its death — must be pursued down every corridor and through every dimension of the split mind. That its death is never accomplished is irrelevant to the ego goal, for so long as running from death remains such an obsession and preoccupation, we will not stop to question whether it is real. And the ego thought’s continued existence is assured, at least for the time being.

*

Q #217: Given that the prose of A Course in Miracles is not always logical, as in a scientific text, and that the reader must be willing to “decipher” so to speak intentional ambiguity — even apparent contradictions — in its message, I have problems sometimes even understanding basic tenets of its teachings. To wit, Lesson 128, “The world I see holds nothing that I want.” Should I take this literally or not? If so, should I take this to mean that I have nothing to learn or benefit from existing on this plane? Do I not benefit from seeing kindness, humility, compassion in fellow Sons of God? If, as is stated in paragraph 2, sent. 3 “The only purpose worthy of your mind this world contains is that you pass it by, without delaying to perceive some hope where there is none” why don’t we all just commit mass suicide and “move on” to His palace, so to speak? If not taken literally, it appears there is a built-in conundrum of being told to “move on,” yet being trapped in this three-dimensional existence. Could you kindly elaborate?

A: This is one of those statements that Jesus means quite literally. When he says that passing the world by is the only purpose worthy of our minds, he is simply stating a fact, because he holds our minds in much higher esteem than we ourselves do. And when he says there is no hope in the world, he again is simply stating a fact — we are setting ourselves up for repeated failure and depression if we continue to try to find our happiness in the world. None of this is intended to coerce us or shame us into giving up the world, although the ego would want us to perceive his statements in that light. It is that Jesus simply can offer us no compromise that in any way honors or validates the ego and its effects, when he sees through all its duplicitous deceptions and knows the desolate and desperate outcome that following its dictates must bring to us. That is only kindness on his part, even if we don’t perceive it that way yet. Jesus points to the truth, but he always acknowledges the power of our minds to decide for ourselves whether or not to accept his words. And he does not judge us if we do not (T.8.IV.6).

So Jesus is not telling us that we must give up the world — he knows we’re not yet ready to let it go, although not for the reasons we think we still want it. It’s just that from his perspective, which he is trying gently to lead us toward, the world, as an illusory projection of an illusory thought of guilt and attack in the mind, can have no value in itself. Its only value comes from the purpose that we give to it. And so while we believe our reality is on this illusory plane of existence, the world can serve the purpose of providing us our lessons in forgiveness, for it is made of the projected guilt in our minds, now seen outside ourselves.

You have suggested there is value in seeing a brother’s acts of kindness, humility and compassion, and that is consistent with the Course’s view that, while we think we are bodies, they are the means we seem to have for communication with each other. But nevertheless, seeing your brother’s acts as kind or humble or compassionate is an interpretation you give to his intentions and not anything intrinsic in the behaviors themselves. Someone else may observe the same behaviors and perceive them in a completely different light — the point being that it is our intentions that affect how we see the world. The only real communication occurs between minds, contrary to what our experience seems to tell us (T.8.VII.2,3,4). Always, Jesus’ goal is to lead us away from a focus on the world and back to the mind, where everything is happening, since ideas do not leave their source (T.26.VII.4:7,8,9; W.pI.132.10:3).

As for mass suicide as a way to leave the world, the Course makes it clear that death is not an answer, since “life” in the body in the world is not the problem — guilt in the mind is (see Question #135 for a much more in depth discussion of suicide from the Course’s perspective). And so it always to the mind and its beliefs that Jesus attempts to direct our attention. For there is no trap except the one we have set and ensnared ourselves in, by our own false beliefs about who we are. And by practicing forgiveness — of the world and of ourselves — we can, over time, release ourselves from the chains of guilt we seem to have made to imprison ourselves.

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 29

ACIM Text Reading for May 29

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

XI. The Test of Truth

Yet the essential thing is learning that you do not know. Knowledge is power, and all power is of God. You who have tried to keep power for yourself have ‘lost’ it. You still have the power, but you have interposed so much between it and your awareness of it that you cannot use it. Everything you have taught yourself has made your power more and more obscure to you. You know not what it is, nor where. You have made a semblance of power and a show of strength so pitiful that it must fail you. For power is not a seeming strength, and truth is beyond semblance of any kind. Yet all that stands between you and the power of God in you is but your learning of the false, and of your attempts to undo the true.

Be willing, then, for all of it to be undone, and be glad that you are not bound to it forever. For you have taught yourself how to imprison the Son of God, a lesson so unthinkable that only the insane, in deepest sleep, could even dream of it. Can God learn how not to be God? And can His Son, given all power by Him, learn to be powerless? What have you taught yourself that you can possibly prefer to keep, in place of what you have and what you are?

Atonement teaches you how to escape forever from everything that you have taught yourself in the past, by showing you only what you are now. Learning has been accomplished before its effects are manifest. Learning is therefore in the past, but its influence determines the present by giving it whatever meaning it holds for you. Your learning gives the present no meaning at all. Nothing you have ever learned can help you understand the present, or teach you how to undo the past. Your past is what you have taught yourself. Let it all go. Do not attempt to understand any event or anything or anyone in its ‘light’, for the darkness in which you try to see can only obscure. Put no confidence at all in darkness to illuminate your understanding, for if you do you contradict the light, and thereby think you see the darkness. Yet darkness cannot be seen, for it is nothing more than a condition in which seeing becomes impossible.

You who have not yet brought all of the darkness you have taught yourself into the light in you, can hardly judge the truth and value of this course. Yet God did not abandon you. And so you have another lesson sent from Him, already learned for every child of light by Him to Whom God gave it. This lesson shines with God’s glory, for in it lies His power, which He shares so gladly with His Son. Learn of His happiness, which is yours. But to accomplish this, all your dark lessons must be brought willingly to truth, and joyously laid down by hands open to receive, not closed to take. Every dark lesson that you bring to Him Who teaches light He will accept from you, because you do not want it. And He will gladly exchange each one for the bright lesson He has learned for you. Never believe that any lesson you have learned apart from Him means anything.

You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognise if what you learned is true. If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson, and not your own. Unless all this is true, there are dark lessons in your mind that hurt and hinder you, and everyone around you. The absence of perfect peace means but one thing: You think you do not will for God’s Son what his Father wills for him. Every dark lesson teaches this, in one form or another. And each bright lesson with which the Holy Spirit will replace the dark ones you do not accept, teaches you that you will with the Father and His Son.

Do not be concerned about how you can learn a lesson so completely different from everything that you have taught yourself. How would you know? Your part is very simple. You need only recognise that everything you learned you do not want. Ask to be taught, and do not use your experiences to confirm what you have learned. When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself,

I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.

By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you will speak to you. He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it, and offer it to Him.

You cannot be your guide to miracles, for it is you who made them necessary. And because you did, the means on which you can depend for miracles has been provided for you. God’s Son can make no needs His Father will not meet, if he but turn to Him ever so little. Yet He cannot compel His Son to turn to Him and remain Himself. It is impossible that God lose His Identity, for if He did, you would lose yours. And being yours He cannot change Himself, for your Identity is changeless. The miracle acknowledges His changelessness by seeing His Son as he always was, and not as he would make himself. The miracle brings the effects that only guiltlessness can bring, and thus establishes the fact that guiltlessness must be.

How can you, so firmly bound to guilt and committed so to remain, establish for yourself your guiltlessness? That is impossible. But be sure that you are willing to acknowledge that it is impossible. It is only because you think that you can run some little part, or deal with certain aspects of your life alone, that the guidance of the Holy Spirit is limited. Thus would you make Him undependable, and use this fancied undependability as an excuse for keeping certain dark lessons from Him. And by so limiting the guidance that you would accept, you are unable to depend on miracles to answer all your problems for you.

Do you think that what the Holy Spirit would have you give, He would withhold from you? You have no problems that He cannot solve by offering you a miracle. Miracles are for you. And every fear or pain or trial you have has been undone. He has brought all of them to light, having accepted them instead of you, and recognised they never were. There are no dark lessons He has not already lightened for you. The lessons you would teach yourself He has corrected already. They do not exist in His Mind at all. For the past binds Him not, and therefore binds not you. He does not see time as you do. And each miracle He offers you corrects your use of time, and makes it His.

He Who has freed you from the past would teach you are free of it. He would but have you accept His accomplishments as yours, because He did them for you. And because He did, they are yours. He has made you free of what you made. You can deny Him, but you cannot call on Him in vain. He always gives His gifts in place of yours. He would establish His bright teaching so firmly in your mind, that no dark lesson of guilt can abide in what He has established as holy by His Presence. Thank God that He is there and works through you. And all His works are yours. He offers you a miracle with every one you let Him do through you.

God’s Son will always be indivisible. As we are held as one in God, so do we learn as one in Him. God’s Teacher is as like to His Creator as is His Son, and through His Teacher does God proclaim His Oneness and His Son’s. Listen in silence, and do not raise your voice against Him. For He teaches the miracle of oneness, and before His lesson division disappears. Teach like Him here, and you will remember that you have always created like your Father. The miracle of creation has never ceased, having the holy stamp of immortality upon it. This is the Will of God for all creation, and all creation joins in willing this.

Those who remember always that they know nothing, and who have become willing to learn everything, will learn it. But whenever they trust themselves, they will not learn. They have destroyed their motivation for learning by thinking they already know. Think not you understand anything until you pass the test of perfect peace, for peace and understanding go together and never can be found alone. Each brings the other with it, for it is the law of God they be not separate. They are cause and effect, each to the other, so where one is absent the other cannot be.

Only those who recognise they cannot know unless the effects of understanding are with them, can really learn at all. For this it must be peace they want, and nothing else. Whenever you think you know, peace will depart from you, because you have abandoned the Teacher of peace. Whenever you fully realise that you know not, peace will return, for you will have invited Him to do so by abandoning the ego on behalf of Him. Call not upon the ego for anything; it is only this that you need do. The Holy Spirit will, of Himself, fill every mind that so makes room for Him.

If you want peace you must abandon the teacher of attack. The Teacher of peace will never abandon you. You can desert Him but He will never reciprocate, for His faith in you is His understanding. It is as firm as is His faith in His Creator, and He knows that faith in His Creator must encompass faith in His creation. In this consistency lies His holiness which He cannot abandon, for it is not His will to do so. With your perfection ever in His sight, He gives the gift of peace to everyone who perceives the need for peace, and who would have it. Make way for peace, and it will come. For understanding is in you, and from it peace must come.

The power of God, from which they both arise, is yours as surely as it is His. You think you know Him not, only because, alone, it is impossible to know Him. Yet see the mighty works that He will do through you, and you must be convinced you did them through Him. It is impossible to deny the Source of effects so powerful they could not be of you. Leave room for Him, and you will find yourself so filled with power that nothing will prevail against your peace. And this will be the test by which you recognise that you have understood.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 29

Lesson 129

Beyond this world there is a world I want.

This is the thought that follows from the one we practiced yesterday. You cannot stop with the idea the world is worthless, for unless you see that there is something else to hope for, you will only be depressed. Our emphasis is not on giving up the world, but on exchanging it for what is far more satisfying, filled with joy, and capable of offering you peace. Think you this world can offer that to you?

It might be worth a little time to think once more about the value of this world. Perhaps you will concede there is no loss in letting go all thought of value here. The world you see is merciless indeed, unstable, cruel, unconcerned with you, quick to avenge and pitiless with hate. It gives but to rescind, and takes away all things that you have cherished for a while. No lasting love is found, for none is here. This is the world of time, where all things end.

Is it a loss to find a world instead where losing is impossible; where love endures forever, hate cannot exist and vengeance has no meaning? Is it loss to find all things you really want, and know they have no ending and they will remain exactly as you want them throughout time? Yet even they will be exchanged at last for what we cannot speak of, for you go from there to where words fail entirely, into a silence where the language is unspoken and yet surely understood.

Communication, unambiguous and plain as day, remains unlimited for all eternity. And God Himself speaks to His Son, as His Son speaks to Him. Their language has no words, for what They say cannot be symbolized. Their knowledge is direct and wholly shared and wholly one. How far away from this are you who stay bound to this world. And yet how near are you, when you exchange it for the world you want.

Now is the last step certain; now you stand an instant’s space away from timelessness. Here can you but look forward, never back to see again the world you do not want. Here is the world that comes to take its place, as you unbind your mind from little things the world sets forth to keep you prisoner. Value them not, and they will disappear. Esteem them, and they will seem real to you.

Such is the choice. What loss can be for you in choosing not to value nothingness? This world holds nothing that you really want, but what you choose instead you want indeed! Let it be given you today. It waits but for your choosing it, to take the place of all the things you seek but do not want.

Practice your willingness to make this change ten minutes in the morning and at night, and once more in between. Begin with this:

Beyond this world there is a world I want.
I choose to see that world instead of this,
for here is nothing that I really want.

Then close your eyes upon the world you see, and in the silent darkness watch the lights that are not of this world light one by one, until where one begins another ends loses all meaning as they blend in one.

Today the lights of Heaven bend to you, to shine upon your eyelids as you rest beyond the world of darkness. Here is light your eyes can not behold. And yet your mind can see it plainly, and can understand. A day of grace is given you today, and we give thanks. This day we realize that what you feared to lose was only loss.

Now do we understand there is no loss. For we have seen its opposite at last, and we are grateful that the choice is made. Remember your decision hourly, and take a moment to confirm your choice by laying by whatever thoughts you have, and dwelling briefly only upon this:

The world I see holds nothing that I want.
Beyond this world there is a world I want.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #659: A Course in Miracles is a self-study course by its own definition. What would be your view about Course-based psychotherapy?

A: Although the Course has been written as a self-study course, there would be nothing in its teachings that would preclude seeking out therapy for help along the way. Every relationship provides the opportunity to practice forgiveness and the therapist-patient relationship is no exception. Now it is true that nearly all the world’s forms of psychotherapy are concerned only with helping us make better ego-based adjustments to our life circumstances (P.2.in; I). And some may reinforce the belief in the dynamic of victim and victimizer, as experiences of abuse from the past may be uncovered or focused on. Nevertheless, therapy with a non-judgmental, accepting therapist can provide a useful context for identifying ego patterns and feelings that may be difficult to recognize on one’s own.

That Jesus is not opposed to psychotherapy as a supplement and support for his teachings is apparent from the pamphlet, Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process, and Practice, scribed by Helen Schucman from Jesus in a manner similar to how she took down the Course. However, a study of the pamphlet also makes it clear that, as a form of therapy, there is really no such thing as Course- based therapy. Jesus’ focus is only on the thoughts and attitudes in the mind of the therapist in relationship to the patient. He never makes any specific suggestions or recommendations about what the therapist should say or do with the patient — that is not his concern for that is not what brings about true healing. Healing only occurs when the therapist releases every judgment being held about the patient, recognizing that the two of them are really the same, walking together on the same path back home, with the same problem and the same need, to release the insane belief in the reality of separation.

For more extensive discussion of these issues, please look at Question #45 and #102.


Q #660: I have this ongoing pattern in my life that I was hoping you could comment on. If you asked two different friends to define their relationship in separate rooms they would probably describe the relationship the same way — “We are good friends or acquaintances, etc.” But I have this pattern of seeing my relationships with other people differently from how they do. It seems that I think that I am better friends with people than they see me to them. Can you comment on this?

A: Without knowing more about how you experience these differences between yourself and others in perceiving your relationships, we can only offer you some general points to consider. From the Course’s perspective, the only question we need ask of anything is, “What is it for?” (T.24.VII.6:1,2,3). So for the pattern you have identified, you need only ask yourself what purpose it is serving in your life. And to answer that, you will want to look honestly at how these differences between yourself and others in valuing the relationships seem to make you feel.

Now if you don’t have much reaction one way or another, then you can just chalk it up as further support for the ego’s first law of chaos, “that the truth is different for everyone” (T.23.II.2:1). In this world of differences we all see through our own special set of filters and so differences in perception are inevitable and unavoidable. However, since the pattern has gained your attention sufficiently that you are inquiring about its significance, it seems more likely that you are having some reaction to the difference. We can suggest a few possible reactions and their implications, but you will have to decide for yourself what is going on for you.

You may feel disappointed, perhaps even taken advantage of, that your feelings are not being returned. Jesus speaks of the “‘laws’ of friendship, of ‘good’ relationships and reciprocity” (W.76.8:3) that we believe must be obeyed, which are all part of the ego’s deliberate plan to keep us looking outside ourselves to have our needs met and find happiness through our special love bargains (e.g., T.7.I.4, T.21.III.1). And these rules also allow us to gather the ammunition we need to demonstrate that we are victims of others’ lack of appreciation and care and concern. Of course, these defenses are merely the smokescreens that keep us from looking within ourselves to the guilt that is the real cause of all of our feelings of unhappiness and lack.

Or perhaps you feel that you are just not good enough and that, despite your best efforts, others will simply not be interested in getting to know you better. This may seem to be a step closer to acknowledging the guilt within yourself than the previous reaction, which blames the other. But so long as we are still harboring blame against anyone, including ourselves, Jesus tells us (T.11.IV.4,5), we are still trapped in the throes of the ego thought system. For it is not the self in the world that we each believe we are that is the problem, but the mind that thinks it needs this self as a defense against the guilt it is holding onto.

On the other hand, you could perhaps feel a certain sense of superiority because you are more open to experiencing intimacy and are not afraid of getting more involved and caring more deeply about others than they do towards you. If this is your reaction, it would be helpful to acknowledge the specialness that necessarily underlies this feeling. And then to recognize that this too is a defense against the guilt in your own mind for choosing against the loving Intimacy that we have all turned away from when we sought to be on our own, independent and autonomous, not needing Anyone else. For we always accuse others of what we have first accused ourselves (T.31.III.1,2).

Now there may be other reactions you are having to this pattern in your relationships, but perhaps it is clear from the three examples just described that the path will always bring us back to our own guilt, if we’re willing to take it where it leads. And while the ego purpose for all of our relationships is to reinforce unconsciously our own guilt while trying to see it outside of ourselves, our relationships can all be given another purpose when we are willing to recognize them as the vehicles for getting in touch with our belief in our own guilt. For it is only when we can acknowledge that guilt within our own mind that we can make a different choice about it, with the Holy Spirit or Jesus as our Guide for looking rather than the ego.

For further discussion on issues related to reciprocity in relationships, see Questions #66 and #398.

certain as god

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 28

ACIM Text Reading for May 28

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

X. The Equality of Miracles

When no perception stands between God and His creations, or between His children and their own, the knowledge of creation must continue forever. The reflections you accept into the mirror of your mind in time but bring eternity nearer or farther. But eternity itself is beyond all time. Reach out of time and touch it, with the help of its reflection in you. And you will turn from time to holiness, as surely as the reflection of holiness calls everyone to lay all guilt aside. Reflect the peace of Heaven here, and bring this world to Heaven. For the reflection of truth draws everyone to truth, and as they enter into it they leave all reflections behind.

In Heaven reality is shared and not reflected. By sharing its reflection here, its truth becomes the only perception the Son of God accepts. And thus, remembrance of his Father dawns on him, and he can no longer be satisfied with anything but his own reality. You on earth have no conception of limitlessness, for the world you seem to live in is a world of limits. In this world, it is not true that anything without order of difficulty can occur. The miracle, therefore, has a unique function, and is motivated by a unique Teacher Who brings the laws of another world to this one. The miracle is the one thing you can do that transcends order, being based not on differences but on equality.

Miracles are not in competition, and the number of them that you can do is limitless. They can be simultaneous and legion. This is not difficult to understand, once you conceive of them as possible at all. What is more difficult to grasp is the lack of order of difficulty that stamps the miracle as something that must come from elsewhere, not from here. From the world’s viewpoint, this is impossible.

Perhaps you have been aware of lack of competition among your thoughts, which even though they may conflict, can occur together and in great numbers. You may indeed be so used to this that it causes you little surprise. Yet you are also used to classifying some of your thoughts as more important, larger or better, wiser, or more productive and valuable than others. This is true of the thoughts that cross the mind of those who think they live apart. For some are reflections of Heaven, while others are motivated by the ego, which but seems to think.

The result is a weaving, changing pattern that never rests and is never still. It shifts unceasingly across the mirror of your mind, and the reflections of Heaven last but a moment and grow dim, as darkness blots them out. Where there was light, darkness removes it in an instant, and alternating patterns of light and darkness sweep constantly across your mind. The little sanity that still remains is held together by a sense of order that you establish. Yet the very fact that you can do this, and bring any order into chaos shows you that you are not an ego, and that more than an ego must be in you. For the ego is chaos, and if it were all of you, no order at all would be possible. Yet though the order you impose upon your mind limits the ego, it also limits you. To order is to judge, and to arrange by judgement. Therefore it is not your function, but the Holy Spirit’s.

It will seem difficult for you to learn that you have no basis at all for ordering your thoughts. This lesson the Holy Spirit teaches by giving you the shining examples of miracles to show you that your way of ordering is wrong, but that a better way is offered you. The miracle offers exactly the same response to every call for help. It does not judge the call. It merely recognises what it is, and answers accordingly. It does not consider which call is louder or greater or more important. You may wonder how you who are still bound to judgement can be asked to do that which requires no judgement of your own. The answer is very simple. The power of God, and not of you, engenders miracles. The miracle itself is but the witness that you have the power of God in you. That is the reason why the miracle gives equal blessing to all who share in it, and that is also why everyone shares in it. The power of God is limitless. And being always maximal, it offers everything to every call from anyone. There is no order of difficulty here. A call for help is given help.

The only judgement involved is the Holy Spirit’s one division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love. You cannot safely make this division, for you are much too confused either to recognise love, or to believe that everything else is nothing but a call for love. You are too bound to form, and not to content. What you consider content is not content at all. It is merely form, and nothing else. For you do not respond to what a brother really offers you, but only to the particular perception of his offering by which the ego judges it.

The ego is incapable of understanding content, and is totally unconcerned with it. To the ego, if the form is acceptable the content must be. Otherwise it will attack the form. If you believe you understand something of the ‘dynamics’ of the ego, let me assure you that you understand nothing of it. For of yourself you could not understand it. The study of the ego is not the study of the mind. In fact, the ego enjoys studying itself, and thoroughly approves the undertakings of students who would ‘analyse’ it, thus approving its importance. Yet they but study form with meaningless content. For their teacher is senseless, though careful to conceal this fact behind impressive sounding words, but which lack any consistent sense when they are put together.

This is characteristic of the ego’s judgements. Separately, they seem to hold, but put them together and the system of thought that arises from joining them is incoherent and utterly chaotic. For form is not enough for meaning, and the underlying lack of content makes a cohesive system impossible. Separation therefore remains the ego’s chosen condition. For no one alone can judge the ego truly. Yet when two or more join together in searching for truth, the ego can no longer defend its lack of content. The fact of union tells them it is not true.

It is impossible to remember God in secret and alone. For remembering Him means you are not alone, and are willing to remember it. Take no thought for yourself, for no thought you hold is for yourself. If you would remember your Father, let the Holy Spirit order your thoughts and give only the answer with which He answers you. Everyone seeks for love as you do, but knows it not unless he joins with you in seeking it. If you undertake the search together, you bring with you a light so powerful that what you see is given meaning. The lonely journey fails because it has excluded what it would find.

As God communicates to the Holy Spirit in you, so does the Holy Spirit translate His communications through you, so you can understand them. God has no secret communications, for everything of Him is perfectly open and freely accessible to all, being for all. Nothing lives in secret, and what you would hide from the Holy Spirit is nothing. Every interpretation you would lay upon a brother is senseless. Let the Holy Spirit show him to you, and teach you both his love and his call for love. Neither his mind nor yours holds more than these two orders of thought.

The miracle is the recognition that this is true. Where there is love, your brother must give it to you because of what it is. But where there is a call for love, you must give it because of what you are. Earlier I said this course will teach you how to remember what you are, restoring to you your Identity. We have already learned that this Identity is shared. The miracle becomes the means of sharing It. By supplying your Identity wherever It is not recognised, you will recognise It. And God Himself, Who wills to be with His Son forever, will bless each recognition of His Son with all the Love He holds for him. Nor will the power of all His Love be absent from any miracle you offer to His Son. How, then, can there be any order of difficulty among them?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 28

Lesson 128

The world I see holds nothing that I want.

The world you see holds nothing that you need to offer you; nothing that you can use in any way, nor anything at all that serves to give you joy. Believe this thought, and you are saved from years of misery, from countless disappointments, and from hopes that turn to bitter ashes of despair. No one but must accept this thought as true, if he would leave the world behind and soar beyond its petty scope and little ways.

Each thing you value here is but a chain that binds you to the world, and it will serve no other end but this. For everything must serve the purpose you have given it, until you see a different purpose there. The only purpose worthy of your mind this world contains is that you pass it by, without delaying to perceive some hope where there is none. Be you deceived no more. The world you see holds nothing that you want.

Escape today the chains you place upon your mind when you perceive salvation here. For what you value you make part of you as you perceive yourself. All things you seek to make your value greater in your sight limit you further, hide your worth from you, and add another bar across the door that leads to true awareness of your Self.

Let nothing that relates to body thoughts delay your progress to salvation, nor permit temptation to believe the world holds anything you want to hold you back. Nothing is here to cherish. Nothing here is worth one instant of delay and pain; one moment of uncertainty and doubt. The worthless offer nothing. Certainty of worth can not be found in worthlessness.

Today we practice letting go all thought of values we have given to the world. We leave it free of purposes we gave its aspects and its phases and its dreams. We hold it purposeless within our minds, and loosen it from all we wish it were. Thus do we lift the chains that bar the door to freedom from the world, and go beyond all little values and diminished goals.

Pause and be still a little while, and see how far you rise above the world, when you release your mind from chains and let it seek the level where it finds itself at home. It will be grateful to be free a while. It knows where it belongs. But free its wings, and it will fly in sureness and in joy to join its holy purpose. Let it rest in its Creator, there to be restored to sanity, to freedom and to love.

Give it ten minutes rest three times today. And when your eyes are opened afterwards, you will not value anything you see as much as when you looked at it before. Your whole perspective on the world will shift by just a little, every time you let your mind escape its chains. The world is not where it belongs. And you belong where it would be, and where it goes to rest when you release it from the world. Your Guide is sure. Open your mind to Him. Be still and rest.

Protect your mind throughout the day as well. And when you think you see some value in an aspect or an image of the world, refuse to lay this chain upon your mind, but tell yourself with quiet certainty:

This will not tempt me to delay myself.
The world I see holds nothing that I want.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #340: I am very confused about something. This idea of “pets” being part of the Sonship really has me. You mean a pet, my dog for example, has a Self just like I do and is capable of accepting a miracle? If one leaves this body and comes back to learn his or her forgiveness lessons, we can come back and learn this as a dog or a cat? Is that really so?

A: The simple and direct answer to your question is that neither you nor your dog accept a miracle. Nothing happens on the level of form in the dream. It is in the mind of the sleeping Son that a miracle is accepted and lessons are learned. Neither human beings in bodies, nor cats, nor dogs learn lessons. The mind that projects itself into the illusion gives form to all aspects of the physical universe, including dogs and human bodies, none of which has any ability to choose a miracle (T.28.IV.9). The world and everything in it takes form as a result of the mind of the Sonship choosing to believe that separation from God is possible, thus denying its true identity as spirit. That single thought in the mind is projected outward, giving rise to the world of form. However, one of the most important metaphysical principles of A Course in Miracles tells us: “Ideas leave not their source” (T.26.VII.4:7; see also W.pI.132). Therefore nothing happens outside of the mind. What we think is solid and real is an illusion (W.pI.155.2:1), which is why human bodies, dogs, and cats do not accept miracles, forgive, or learn lessons. It is not that your dog has a Self, it is that the separated self denies its truth as spirit. It then splits off into the billions and billions of forms that make up the illusory world, and then identifies with that world. “There is no world!” (W.pI.132.6:2).

The Son remains asleep, dreaming about human bodies, dogs, trees and oceans, and believing that the dream is real. In truth there is only the mind and nothing else. Part of the dream is that bodies die and return in different form. This dream continues as long as the mind continues to choose to believe in the separation. None of this has any effect on the truth, however, and will end when the mind chooses to forgive every form of mistaken identity in every aspect of the dream. Meanwhile, our task is to recognize all the ways we seek to make our mistaken identity real through unforgiveness, so we can then bring them to the Holy Spirit to be corrected through forgiveness.


Q #341: What does A Course in Miracles mean when it says that all who have met before will meet again?

A: All the separated fragments of the Sonship, seemingly dispersed when the thought of separation was taken seriously will, through forgiveness, return to full awareness of the Oneness that was never truly shattered.

We perceive ourselves as separate from each other, housed in bodies that interact and communicate through bodies. The Course tells us that this perception is the result of a choice in the mind to be separate: “The gap between you and your brother is not one of space between two separate bodies. And this but seems to be dividing off your separate minds. It is the symbol of a promise made to meet when you prefer, and separate till you and he elect to meet again. And then your bodies seem to get in touch, and thereby signify a meeting place to join. But always is it possible for you and him to go your separate ways. Conditional upon the “right” to separate will you and he agree to meet from time to time, and keep apart in intervals of separation” (T.29.I.4:1,2,3,4,5,6). The “‘right’ to separate” refers to the choice we make when we identify with the body. We meet when we accept the Holy Spirit’s correction for this mistaken belief, thereby acknowledging our oneness with all our brothers. Although this takes place in the mind, it may be reflected in the dream when “bodies seem to get in touch.”

teach not that i died in vain

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 27

ACIM Text Reading for May 27

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

IX. The Reflection of Holiness

The Atonement does not make holy. You were created holy. It merely brings unholiness to holiness; or what you made to what you are. Bringing illusion to truth, or the ego to God, is the Holy Spirit’s only function. Keep not your making from your Father, for hiding it has cost you knowledge of Him and of yourself. The knowledge is safe, but where is your safety apart from it? The making of time to take the place of timelessness lay in the decision to be not as you are. Thus truth was made past, and the present was dedicated to illusion. And the past, too, was changed and interposed between what always was and now. The past that you remember never was, and represents only the denial of what always was.

Bringing the ego to God is but to bring error to truth, where it stands corrected because it is the opposite of what it meets. It is undone because the contradiction can no longer stand. How long can contradiction stand when its impossible nature is clearly revealed? What disappears in light is not attacked. It merely vanishes because it is not true. Different realities are meaningless, for reality must be one. It cannot change with time or mood or chance. Its changelessness is what makes it real. This cannot be undone. Undoing is for unreality. And this reality will do for you.

Merely by being what it is, does truth release you from everything that it is not. The Atonement is so gentle you need but whisper to it, and all its power will rush to your assistance and support. You are not frail with God beside you. Yet without Him you are nothing. The Atonement offers you God. The gift that you refused is held by Him in you. The Holy Spirit holds it there for you. God has not left His altar, though His worshippers placed other gods upon it. The temple still is holy, for the Presence that dwells within it is holiness.

In the temple, holiness waits quietly for the return of them that love it. The Presence knows they will return to purity and to grace. The graciousness of God will take them gently in, and cover all their sense of pain and loss with the immortal assurance of their Father’s Love. There, fear of death will be replaced with joy of life. For God is Life, and they abide in Life. Life is as holy as the Holiness by which it was created. The Presence of Holiness lives in everything that lives, for Holiness created life, and leaves not what it created holy as itself.

In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here. Yet no reflections of the images of other gods must dim the mirror that would hold God’s reflection in it. Earth can reflect Heaven or hell; God or the ego. You need but leave the mirror clean and clear of all the images of hidden darkness you have drawn upon it. God will shine upon it of Himself. Only the clear reflection of Himself can be perceived upon it.

Reflections are seen in light. In darkness they are obscure, and their meaning seems to lie only in shifting interpretations, rather than in themselves. The reflection of God needs no interpretation. It is clear. Clean but the mirror, and the message that shines forth from what the mirror holds out for everyone to see, no one can fail to understand. It is the message that the Holy Spirit is holding to the mirror that is in him. He recognises it because he has been taught his need for it, but knows not where to look to find it. Let him, then, see it in you and share it with you.

Could you but realise for a single instant the power of healing that the reflection of God, shining in you, can bring to all the world, you could not wait to make the mirror of your mind clean to receive the image of the holiness that heals the world. The image of holiness that shines in your mind is not obscure, and will not change. Its meaning to those who look upon it is not obscure, for everyone perceives it as the same. All bring their different problems to its healing light, and all their problems find but healing there.

The response of holiness to any form of error is always the same. There is no contradiction in what holiness calls forth. Its one response is healing, without regard for what is brought to it. Those who have learned to offer only healing, because of the reflection of holiness in them, are ready at last for Heaven. There, holiness is not a reflection, but rather the actual condition of what was but reflected to them here. God is no image, and His creations, as part of Him, hold Him in them in truth. They do not merely reflect truth, for they are truth.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 27

Lesson 127

There is no love but God’s.

Perhaps you think that different kinds of love are possible. Perhaps you think there is a kind of love for this, a kind for that; a way of loving one, another way of loving still another. Love is one. It has no separate parts and no degrees; no kinds nor levels, no divergencies and no distinctions. It is like itself, unchanged throughout. It never alters with a person or a circumstance. It is the Heart of God, and also of His Son.

Love’s meaning is obscure to anyone who thinks that love can change. He does not see that changing love must be impossible. And thus he thinks that he can love at times, and hate at other times. He also thinks that love can be bestowed on one, and yet remain itself although it is withheld from others. To believe these things of love is not to understand it. If it could make such distinctions, it would have to judge between the righteous and the sinner, and perceive the Son of God in separate parts.

Love cannot judge. As it is one itself, it looks on all as one. Its meaning lies in oneness. And it must elude the mind that thinks of it as partial or in part. There is no love but God’s, and all of love is His. There is no other principle that rules where love is not. Love is a law without an opposite. Its wholeness is the power holding everything as one, the link between the Father and the Son which holds Them both forever as the same.

No course whose purpose is to teach you to remember what you really are could fail to emphasize that there can never be a difference in what you really are and what love is. Love’s meaning is your own, and shared by God Himself. For what you are is what He is. There is no love but His, and what He is, is everything there is. There is no limit placed upon Himself, and so are you unlimited as well.

No law the world obeys can help you grasp love’s meaning. What the world believes was made to hide love’s meaning, and to keep it dark and secret. There is not one principle the world upholds but violates the truth of what love is, and what you are as well.

Seek not within the world to find your Self. Love is not found in darkness and in death. Yet it is perfectly apparent to the eyes that see and ears that hear love’s Voice. Today we practice making free your mind of all the laws you think you must obey; of all the limits under which you live, and all the changes that you think are part of human destiny. Today we take the largest single step this course requests in your advance towards its established goal.

If you achieve the faintest glimmering of what love means today, you have advanced in distance without measure and in time beyond the count of years to your release. Let us together, then, be glad to give some time to God today, and understand there is no better use for time than this.

For fifteen minutes twice today escape from every law in which you now believe. Open your mind and rest. The world that seems to hold you prisoner can be escaped by anyone who does not hold it dear. Withdraw all value you have placed upon its meager offerings and senseless gifts, and let the gift of God replace them all.

Call to your Father, certain that His Voice will answer. He Himself has promised this. And He Himself will place a spark of truth within your mind wherever you give up a false belief, a dark illusion of your own reality and what love means. He will shine through your idle thoughts today, and help you understand the truth of love. In loving gentleness He will abide with you, as you allow His Voice to teach love’s meaning to your clean and open mind. And He will bless the lesson with His Love.

Today the legion of the future years of waiting for salvation disappears before the timelessness of what you learn. Let us give thanks today that we are spared a future like the past. Today we leave the past behind us, nevermore to be remembered. And we raise our eyes upon a different present, where a future dawns unlike the past in every attribute.

The world in infancy is newly born. And we will watch it grow in health and strength, to shed its blessing upon all who come to learn to cast aside the world they thought was made in hate to be love’s enemy. Now are they all made free, along with us. Now are they all our brothers in God’s Love.

We will remember them throughout the day, because we cannot leave a part of us outside our love if we would know our Self. At least three times an hour think of one who makes the journey with you, and who came to learn what you must learn. And as he comes to mind, give him this message from your Self:

I bless you, brother, with the Love of God, which I would
share with you. For I would learn the joyous lesson that
there is no love but God’s and yours and mine and everyone’s.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #337: What are errors and mistakes? Are they physical actions or ways of looking? Why does the ego always remind us of how we hurt people or ourselves, or if something wasn’t fair. Why does the ego seem right and why does it seem logical? Is it the ego or the Holy Spirit pointing out my faults? If the Holy Spirit helps one correct the error does that mean the ego is right in its judgment of the so-called “error”? How do you know if it’s an error and why does the ego demand “correction” of it as well? Also it states a few times about how a Son of God will not murder yet animals murder all the time to live. Is nature wrong and how are we exempt from it?

A: It could take a book to answer your litany of questions satisfactorily, but we will try to suggest a few ideas here that will hopefully point you in the right direction. Since, from the perspective of A Course in Miracles, there is only mind, errors or mistakes can be only of the mind. Jesus clarifies this very early in the text when he explains that “only the mind is capable of error. The body can act wrongly only when it is responding to misthought” (T.2.IV.2:4,5). And, as you suggest, errors are really mistaken ways of looking or, to be more specific, mistaken ways of looking at the world, our brothers, and ourselves with the ego as our guide rather than with Jesus or the Holy Spirit. And ego-directed looking is always judgmental. It is only the ego that points out our faults. The Holy Spirit will gently invite us to recognize how our thinking is misguided when we listen to the ego, but His purpose would never be to accuse us or to induce guilt in us over our mistakes (T.9.III.1).

Now our original error was the thought that we could separate ourselves from God and that we have in fact succeeded in establishing a separate identity for ourselves independent of Him. Every error that has followed since in our thinking comes from that initial thought of separation. But we have deliberately compounded the errors in our mind in such a way that we have quite intentionally confused ourselves and lost sight of that original error. So all of our errors since the initial one are really subterfuges that keep us unaware of the original mistake and focused instead on addressing all the other seeming mistakes and problems in our life. And so that is why the ego, as you observe, is always reminding us of how we hurt others or have been hurt ourselves — this is the cover for the real problem, so that we never call the belief in separation into question.

Just because the ego is based on a mistaken thought, an insane premise — that we could separate from God — does not mean that the thought system built on that premise does not have a very definite and persuasive internal logic to it, once we accept its premise. Jesus in the Course says, “The ego’s logic is as impeccable as that of the Holy Spirit, because your mind has the means at its disposal to side with Heaven or earth, as it elects” (T.5.V.1:4). And in fact, logic has its origins in the ego thought system, for there is nothing to decide or deduce or prove in Heaven. But having once accepted the ego’s logic, which seems to condemn us to hell for eternity, the good news is that we can let go of our guilt-reinforcing use for it and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in its application, with very different results: “The Holy Spirit uses logic as easily and as well as does the ego, except that His conclusions are not insane. They take a direction exactly opposite, pointing as clearly to Heaven as the ego points to darkness and to death. We have followed much of the ego’s logic, and have seen its logical conclusions. And having seen them, we have realized that they cannot be seen except in illusions, for there alone their seeming clearness seems to be clearly seen. Let us now turn away from them, and follow the simple logic by which the Holy Spirit teaches the simple conclusions that speak for truth, and only truth” (T.14.in.1:4,5,6,7,8).

Correction in the Holy Spirit’s thought system is different in every way, including purpose, from the ego’s. The ego sees error as sin to prove its own existence and to convince us that we can see the guilt we have made real over that error in others rather than in ourselves. In contrast, the only error the Holy Spirit corrects is our belief in the ego. Clearly this is an error the ego cannot correct, since its own existence depends on our belief in separation. The ego corrects through attack and punishment, the Holy Spirit through the gentle process of forgiveness. And the Holy Spirit begins to undo our belief in separation by leading us toward a recognition of shared rather than separate interests with our brothers. For more on the contrast between the Holy Spirit’s and the ego’s correction of error, you may wish to look at “The Correction of Error” in the text (T.9.III).

The Son of God cannot attack or murder in reality. But that he can believe he can is apparent when you pick up a newspaper or watch the news on TV, or simply examine your own thoughts when you are angry. It is not nature that leads humans or other animals to kill. Nature is just an aspect of the illusory world, which is an effect of our mistaken choice in the mind for separation. It is the desire to protect our individual illusory self at any cost that leads to murder first in thought and then in action. And yet, contrary to what the ego, the world and our senses may tell us, correction is not needed at the level of behavior, but only in our feverish imaginations that believe that all of this is real. “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this? And would you see it?” (T.20.VIII.7:3,4,5,6,7).This does not mean that we are asked to deny what our eyes seem to show us, but rather to be open to a different interpretation of what we see, through the miracle. The miracle brings our focus back from the world to our minds, where we can acknowledge the purpose we have given the world — to be the projection of our error outward, so blame rests elsewhere. Having taken this step, we can then invite the Holy Spirit to give the world His purpose — the recognition that the error in truth never really happened and our guilt is not real.


Q #338: I know that if I attack another I will feel guilty and I should ask the Holy Spirit for help if I feel I’ve been attacked. Would this apply equally if I have a behavior such as an addiction that I feel guilty about? If I continue with the behavior I am sure to feel guilty. If I stop the behavior I may not feel guilty, but I really haven’t fixed the problem. What would be the best way to handle this situation? The specific problem I am talking about is overeating.

A: Yes, whether I am attacking another, feeling attacked by another, or attacking myself — which is what an addiction represents — the only appropriate response is to ask the Holy Spirit for help. An addiction is an attack on myself because it says, over and over again, that I am incomplete and must seek outside myself for my completion, a repeated denial that I am the Christ, forever one with Its Source (T.29.VII.2,3,4,6).

All attack, no matter how it is expressed, is nothing more than the projection of the hidden guilt in our minds that the ego insists we must bear because of our (imagined) attack on God at the moment of separation, when we denied our reality as Christ. We’ve convinced ourselves that our guilt is real, but then have attempted to avoid responsibility for it. And so we seek to project the guilt outside our mind so that it seems to reside instead in bodies, our own and others. We keep this dynamic hidden from ourselves, so that the guilt remains protected. But when we ask for help from Jesus or the Holy Spirit, we are really indicating a willingness to accept responsibility (but not blame!) for the way we feel, seeing the external situation now, not as the problem, but rather as an indicator of the guilt that would otherwise remain unconscious in the mind.

And so, as you observe, focusing on changing or controlling the behavior, such as overeating, does not address the real problem. For we are only modifying an external symptom, or effect, of the guilt without addressing the cause, the guilt itself, which, remaining unexamined, we will continue to believe is real. Consequently, we will look to project the unbearable but nevertheless illusory guilt onto some other external form, perhaps another addiction. Early in A Course in Miracles Jesus speaks of how controlling or changing behavior, without addressing the mind, simply produces strain, which is intolerable, leading usually to rage and further projection (T.2.VI.5).

Now this does not mean that there is no value in developing some discipline and bringing out-of- control behavior under control, especially if the addiction is physically or emotionally damaging to us, thereby reinforcing the guilt in our minds. And the choice to bring about a helpful external shift may certainly reflect a real but still perhaps unconscious desire for an inner shift from the ego to the Holy Spirit as our teacher. But at some stage in our learning, we will come to recognize that guilt in the mind is always the only problem. Only through recognizing its inevitable projection out onto the world of form do we begin to become aware of it in our mind, where we can make a meaningful choice for its release.

A single tape by Kenneth Wapnick, as well as a small book transcribed and edited from the tape, both titled Overeating: A Dialogue, explore the issue of overeating in greater depth. The material, while addressing food addictions, can be applied to any addiction, since the content is always the same. There is also additional discussion of addictions from the Course’s perspective in Questions #30 and #57.


teach not that i died in vain

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 26

ACIM Text Reading for May 26

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

VIII. The Holy Meeting Place

In the darkness you have obscured the glory God gave you, and the power He bestowed upon His guiltless Son. All this lies hidden in every darkened place, shrouded in guilt and in the dark denial of innocence. Behind the dark doors you have closed lies nothing, because nothing can obscure the gift of God. It is the closing of the doors that interferes with recognition of the power of God that shines in you. Banish not power from your mind, but let all that would hide your glory be brought to the judgement of the Holy Spirit, and there undone. Whom He would save for glory is saved for it. He has promised the Father that through Him you would be released from littleness to glory. To what He promised God He is wholly faithful, for He shares with God the promise that was given Him to share with you.

He shares it still, for you. Everything that promises otherwise, great or small, however much or little valued, He will replace with the one promise given unto Him to lay upon the altar to your Father and His Son. No altar stands to God without His Son. And nothing brought there that is not equally worthy of both, but will be replaced by gifts wholly acceptable to Father and to Son. Can you offer guilt to God? You cannot, then, offer it to His Son. For they are not apart, and gifts to one are offered to the other. You know not God because you know not this. And yet you do know God and also this. All this is safe within you, where the Holy Spirit shines. He shines not in division, but in the meeting place where God, united with His Son, speaks to His Son through Him. Communication between what cannot be divided cannot cease. The holy meeting place of the un-separated Father and His Son lies in the Holy Spirit and in you. All interference in the communication that God Himself wills with His Son is quite impossible here. Unbroken and uninterrupted love flows constantly between the Father and the Son, as both would have it be. And so it is.

Let your mind wander not through darkened corridors, away from light’s centre. You and your brother may choose to lead yourselves astray, but you can be brought together only by the Guide appointed for you. He will surely lead you to where God and His Son await your recognition. They are joined in giving you the gift of oneness, before which all separation vanishes. Unite with what you are. You cannot join with anything except reality. God’s glory and His Son’s belong to you in truth. They have no opposite, and nothing else can you bestow upon yourself.

There is no substitute for truth. And truth will make this plain to you as you are brought into the place where you must meet with truth. And there you must be led, through gentle understanding which can lead you nowhere else. Where God is, there are you. Such is the truth. Nothing can change the knowledge, given you by God, into unknowingness. Everything God created knows its Creator. For this is how creation is accomplished by the Creator and by His creations. In the holy meeting place are joined the Father and His creations, and the creations of His Son with Them together. There is one link that joins them all together, holding them in the oneness out of which creation happens.

The link with which the Father joins Himself to those He gives the power to create can never be dissolved. Heaven itself is union with all of creation, and with its one Creator. And Heaven remains the Will of God for you. Lay no gifts other than this upon your altars, for nothing can coexist with it. Here your little offerings are brought together with the gift of God, and only what is worthy of the Father will be accepted by the Son, for whom it is intended. To whom God gives Himself, He is given. Your little gifts will vanish on the altar, where He has placed His Own.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 26

Lesson 126

All that I give is given to myself.

Today’s idea, completely alien to the ego and the thinking of the world, is crucial to the thought reversal that this course will bring about. If you believed this statement, there would be no problem in complete forgiveness, certainty of goal, and sure direction. You would understand the means by which salvation comes to you, and would not hesitate to use it now.

Let us consider what you do believe, in place of this idea. It seems to you that other people are apart from you, and able to behave in ways which have no bearing on your thoughts, nor yours on theirs. Therefore, your attitudes have no effect on them, and their appeals for help are not in any way related to your own. You further think that they can sin without affecting your perception of yourself, while you can judge their sin, and yet remain apart from condemnation and at peace.

When you “forgive” a sin, there is no gain to you directly. You give charity to one unworthy, merely to point out that you are better, on a higher plane than he whom you forgive. He has not earned your charitable tolerance, which you bestow on one unworthy of the gift, because his sins have lowered him beneath a true equality with you. He has no claim on your forgiveness. It holds out a gift to him, but hardly to yourself.

Thus is forgiveness basically unsound; a charitable whim, benevolent yet undeserved, a gift bestowed at times, at other times withheld. Unmerited, withholding it is just, nor is it fair that you should suffer when it is withheld. The sin that you forgive is not your own. Someone apart from you committed it. And if you then are gracious unto him by giving him what he does not deserve, the gift is no more yours than was his sin.

If this be true, forgiveness has no grounds on which to rest dependably and sure. It is an eccentricity, in which you sometimes choose to give indulgently an undeserved reprieve. Yet it remains your right to let the sinner not escape the justified repayment for his sin. Think you the Lord of Heaven would allow the world’s salvation to depend on this? Would not His care for you be small indeed, if your salvation rested on a whim?

You do not understand forgiveness. As you see it, it is but a check upon overt attack, without requiring correction in your mind. It cannot give you peace as you perceive it. It is not a means for your release from what you see in someone other than yourself. It has no power to restore your unity with him to your awareness. It is not what God intended it to be for you.

Not having given Him the gift He asks of you, you cannot recognize His gifts, and think He has not given them to you. Yet would He ask you for a gift unless it was for you? Could He be satisfied with empty gestures, and evaluate such petty gifts as worthy of His Son? Salvation is a better gift than this. And true forgiveness, as the means by which it is attained, must heal the mind that gives, for giving is receiving. What remains as unreceived has not been given, but what has been given must have been received.

Today we try to understand the truth that giver and receiver are the same. You will need help to make this meaningful, because it is so alien to the thoughts to which you are accustomed. But the Help you need is there. Give Him your faith today, and ask Him that He share your practicing in truth today. And if you only catch a tiny glimpse of the release that lies in the idea we practice for today, this is a day of glory for the world.

Give fifteen minutes twice today to the attempt to understand today’s idea. It is the thought by which forgiveness takes its proper place in your priorities. It is the thought that will release your mind from every bar to what forgiveness means, and let you realize its worth to you.

In silence, close your eyes upon the world that does not understand forgiveness, and seek sanctuary in the quiet place where thoughts are changed and false beliefs laid by. Repeat today’s idea, and ask for help in understanding what it really means. Be willing to be taught. Be glad to hear the Voice of truth and healing speak to you, and you will understand the words He speaks, and recognize He speaks your words to you.

As often as you can, remind yourself you have a goal today; an aim which makes this day of special value to yourself and all your brothers. Do not let your mind forget this goal for long, but tell yourself:

All that I give is given to myself. The Help I need to learn
that this is true is with me now. And I will trust in Him.

Then spend a quiet moment, opening your mind to His correction and His Love. And what you hear of Him you will believe, for what He gives will be received by you.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #618: My sister was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago and was given six months to live. At that point my husband and I joined in helping her with alternative therapy. She could not work so she has become financially dependent on us for help. She has obviously had some success but continues to look for negative signs of health conditions. We feel she could do more for herself in that she continues to smoke, not exercise, and depends on magic too much. Her dependency on us keeps growing and we feel she is losing sight of her own power. How can she become independent of us while we are still helping her? Can we have expectations of her?

A: In A Course in Miracles, Jesus tells us, “It is not up to you to change your brother, but merely to accept him as he is” (T.9.III.6:4). And his words apply equally to sisters! Now, before you decide you don’t want to read any further, know that these words are not speaking about what you should or should not do with your sister, but only about your attitude toward her. The point is, and the section on “The Correction of Error” from which the above line is taken clarifies this, we can do nothing but reinforce our own ego and the egos of those with whom we are in relationship if we make our decisions on our own. For in situations such as you are experiencing with your sister, we will inevitably feel put upon, taken advantage of, and used. And those simply are not right-minded feelings. Any action we take based on them will not be loving to anyone.

It may very well be that the most helpful thing for your sister is for her to become more independent of you. But so long as you have a personal investment in her becoming independent, anything you do will be an attack, not only on her but on yourselves as well. And it could also be that the most helpful thing would be for her to remain dependent on you. You are in no position to judge what will be most helpful for her, because you do not know what is most helpful for yourselves. These may seem like strong words, but that is Jesus’ point when he asks each of us to consider, in the very earliest workbook lessons, that “I do not understand anything I see” (W.pI.3) — notice he doesn’t simply say we don’t understand a lot of what we see! — or “I am never upset for the reason I think” (W.pI.5), and “I do not perceive my own best interests” (W.p.I.24). He means all of these statements quite literally, although our egos have their rationalizations and justifications for what would simply have to be unreasonable extensions of these principles!

Now you may simply find yourselves unwilling to tolerate your sister’s apparent manipulations any further and you may feel compelled to establish some limits or set up some conditions with her for your continued support. Although such feel   ings and actions may not be without your own ego investment, it is still possible at least to acknowledge how far along the path you are willing to go with Jesus at this point, and where you feel you need to take over in the decision-making process. For if, on the other hand, you proceed to “tolerate” your sister, seemingly against your will, and end up feeling self-sacrificing and resentful towards her, that also is not loving to any of you. The key would be to be aware of whatever guilt you may feel in the situation, which could be projected as anger toward your sister, and bring that to Jesus to release before proceeding.

Identified with our egos, we are always concerned about what others are doing and what we should or should not do about it. And Jesus is not asking us to release our egos but for an instant. For in that moment we can find the clarity we are looking for, which has nothing to do with what we do and everything to do with how we see — ourselves and others. Remember, he only ever asks of us a “little willingness” and he promises the rest will be provided (T.18.IV; V.2).


Q #619: I have been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. And I know A Course in Miracles would say that’s a perfect way for the ego to get you. There is no cure as of yet. But I am doing other things to help in my healing, alternative things, praying for my highest good, asking what the lesson is I am supposed to learn in all this. Does it all go back to guilt? I ask Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help me see this differently. My father died four months after I was diagnosed. My brother gives me no emotional support. I have prayed for a healing between my brother and myself, and it only seems to get worse. Sometimes I just can’t take it anymore.I have been sober for 16 years. Have I not learned anything? I feel so alone sometimes. But the cancer has taught me compassion, that I already thought I had. I want to be a channel for God’s Love. I have my skin-care license. That’s what I love, and wanted to use that as my way of giving back. How can I be a channel if I am sick?

A: Compassion is the key word in what you have said. But you must apply it to yourself, which means being more gentle: specifically, lightening up on the judgmental thoughts against yourself, such as “Have I not learned anything?” I am sure you would never say that to another person with a serious problem. Why be so hard on yourself? Our perception is too limited to know why this condition is in your script, but it need not be looked upon as totally negative. The lesson you can learn is that the only important aspect of it now is which teacher you will choose to help you through it: the ego or Jesus. The ego would “guide” you in such a way that you would wind up feeling alone and guilty for somehow failing this Course. Jesus would help you see this differently by guiding you to the peace deep within you that is untouched by anything of the body or the world. Surely, a difficult lesson, but Jesus and the Holy Spirit would help you approach your condition as a classroom in which you can begin to recover a sense of your true Identity outside the dream of separation.

This does not entail denial of your physical and emotional pain. And it does not mean that you should not pursue whatever treatment you want to, including psychological counseling for your intense feelings. There are truly kind counselors available for people who, like yourself, are undergoing a life-threatening illness. The kind, gentle approach of the Course combines both levels: doing whatever is helpful to alleviate the physical/emotional condition, and doing the inner work of bringing all your anger and grievances to the loving presence in your right mind, where you will feel that you are not being judged, but only loved. Your interaction with doctors and other medical people would then be an opportunity to choose against the ego’s goal of separate, conflicting interests, and for the Holy Spirit’s goal of shared interests. Our guilt prevents us from experiencing that love, so that is the importance of being open and honest about unforgiveness toward yourself and others. Learning how to look with Jesus — which means non-judgmentally — at the contents of our wrong mind puts us on the right path to healing and peace.

Finally, resuming skin-care work could very well be an expression of kindness toward yourself, since that is what you love to do. But rather than doing it “as a way of giving back,” which sounds a little sacrificial, you might consider approaching it as a wonderful classroom — a means of joining with others through sharing a common interest. That would help you gradually to go to a deeper level of joining, where you recognize more and more that you and your clients are joined both as the separated Son of God journeying back to your true home in Heaven as God’s eternally innocent Son. Your work then, combined with your “little willingness,” would be the means the Holy Spirit could use to heal your mind of all thoughts of separation. So it is a matter of doing whatever you can for your body, and at the same time in some part of your mind knowing that the cancer in your body is not really the problem. Your belief that you are separate from the Love and peace of God is the problem.


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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 25

ACIM Text Reading for May 25

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

VII. Sharing Perception with the Holy Spirit

What do you want? Light or darkness, knowledge or ignorance are yours, but not both. Opposites must be brought together, not kept apart. For their separation is only in your mind, and they are reconciled by union, as you are. In union, everything that is not real must disappear, for truth is union. As darkness disappears in light, so ignorance fades away when knowledge dawns. Perception is the medium by which ignorance is brought to knowledge. Yet the perception must be without deceit, for otherwise it becomes the messenger of ignorance rather than a helper in the search for truth.

The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth. Truth is. It can neither be lost nor sought nor found. It is there, wherever you are, being within you. Yet it can be recognised or unrecognised, real or false to you. If you hide it, it becomes unreal to you because you hid it and surrounded it with fear. Under each cornerstone of fear on which you have erected your insane system of belief, the truth lies hidden. Yet you cannot know this, for by hiding truth in fear, you see no reason to believe that the more you look at fear the less you see it, and the clearer what it conceals becomes.

It is not possible to convince the unknowing that they know. From their point of view it is not true. Yet it is true because God knows it. These are clearly opposite viewpoints on what the ‘unknowing’ are. To God, unknowing is impossible. It is therefore not a point of view at all, but merely a belief in something that does not exist. It is only this belief that the unknowing have, and by it they are wrong about themselves. They have defined themselves as they were not created. Their creation was not a point of view, but rather a certainty. Uncertainty brought to certainty does not retain any conviction of reality.

Our emphasis has been on bringing what is undesirable to the desirable; what you do not want to what you do. You will realise that salvation must come to you this way, if you consider what dissociation is. Dissociation is a distorted process of thinking whereby two systems of belief which cannot coexist are both maintained. If they are brought together, their joint acceptance becomes impossible. But if one is kept in darkness from the other, their separation seems to keep them both alive and equal in their reality. Their joining thus becomes the source of fear, for if they meet, acceptance must be withdrawn from one of them. You cannot have them both, for each denies the other. Apart, this fact is lost from sight, for each in a separate place can be endowed with firm belief. Bring them together, and the fact of their complete incompatibility is instantly apparent. One will go, because the other is seen in the same place.

Light cannot enter darkness when a mind believes in darkness, and will not let it go. Truth does not struggle against ignorance, and love does not attack fear. What needs no protection does not defend itself. Defence is of your making. God knows it not. The Holy Spirit uses defences on behalf of truth only because you made them against it. His perception of them, according to His purpose, merely changes them into a call for what you have attacked with them. Defences, like everything you made, must be gently turned to your own good, translated by the Holy Spirit from means of self- destruction to means of preservation and release. His task is mighty, but the power of God is with Him. Therefore, to Him it is so easy that it was accomplished the instant it was given Him for you. Do not delay in your return to peace by wondering how He can fulfil what God has given Him to do. Leave that to Him Who knows. You are not asked to do mighty tasks yourself. You are merely asked to do the little He suggests you do, trusting Him only to the small extent of believing that, if He asks it, you can do it. You will see how easily all that He asks can be accomplished.

The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him. Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon. He sees for you, and unless you look with Him He cannot see. The vision of Christ is not for Him alone, but for Him with you. Bring, therefore, all your dark and secret thoughts to Him, and look upon them with Him. He holds the light, and you the darkness. They cannot coexist when both of you together look on them. His judgement must prevail, and He will give it to you as you join your perception to His.

Joining with Him in seeing is the way in which you learn to share with Him the interpretation of perception that leads to knowledge. You cannot see alone. Sharing perception with Him Whom God has given you teaches you how to recognise what you see. It is the recognition that nothing you see means anything alone. Seeing with Him will show you that all meaning, including yours, comes not from double vision, but from the gentle fusing of everything into one meaning, one emotion and one purpose. God has one Purpose which He shares with you. The single vision which the Holy Spirit offers you will bring this oneness to your mind with clarity and brightness so intense you could not wish, for all the world, not to accept what God would have you have. Behold your will, accepting it as His, with all His Love as yours. All honour to you through Him, and through Him unto God.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 25

Lesson 125

In quiet I receive God’s Word today.

Let this day be a day of stillness and of quiet listening. Your Father wills you hear His Word today. He calls to you from deep within your mind where He abides. Hear Him today. No peace is possible until His Word is heard around the world; until your mind, in quiet listening, accepts the message that the world must hear to usher in the quiet time of peace.

This world will change through you. No other means can save it, for God’s plan is simply this: The Son of God is free to save himself, given the Word of God to be his Guide, forever in his mind and at his side to lead him surely to his Father’s house by his own will, forever free as God’s. He is not led by force, but only love. He is not judged, but only sanctified.

In stillness we will hear God’s Voice today without intrusion of our petty thoughts, without our personal desires, and without all judgment of His holy Word. We will not judge ourselves today, for what we are can not be judged. We stand apart from all the judgments which the world has laid upon the Son of God. It knows him not. Today we will not listen to the world, but wait in silence for the Word of God.

Hear, holy Son of God, your Father speak. His Voice would give to you His holy Word, to spread across the world the tidings of salvation and the holy time of peace. We gather at the throne of God today, the quiet place within the mind where He abides forever, in the holiness that He created and will never leave.

He has not waited until you return your mind to Him to give His Word to you. He has not hid Himself from you, while you have wandered off a little while from Him. He does not cherish the illusions which you hold about yourself. He knows His Son, and wills that he remain as part of Him regardless of his dreams; regardless of his madness that his will is not his own.

Today He speaks to you. His Voice awaits your silence, for His Word can not be heard until your mind is quiet for a while, and meaningless desires have been stilled. Await His Word in quiet. There is peace within you to be called upon today, to help make ready your most holy mind to hear the Voice for its Creator speak.

Three times today, at times most suitable for silence, give ten minutes set apart from listening to the world, and choose instead a gentle listening to the Word of God. He speaks from nearer than your heart to you. His Voice is closer than your hand. His Love is everything you are and that He is; the same as you, and you the same as He.

It is your voice to which you listen as He speaks to you. It is your word He speaks. It is the Word of freedom and of peace, of unity of will and purpose, with no separation nor division in the single Mind of Father and of Son. In quiet listen to your Self today, and let Him tell you God has never left His Son, and you have never left your Self.

Only be quiet. You will need no rule but this, to let your practicing today lift you above the thinking of the world, and free your vision from the body’s eyes. Only be still and listen. You will hear the Word in which the Will of God the Son joins in his Father’s Will, at one with it, with no illusions interposed between the wholly indivisible and true. As every hour passes by today, be still a moment and remind yourself you have a special purpose for this day; in quiet to receive the Word of God.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for today

Q #103: What does Jesus mean when He refers to our “creations”?

A: Our creations exist only on the level of spirit. They are not things or beings, and are not part of the illusory world of form. The term is used in the Course to refer to the love that is present in the mind of the Sonship. Our creations are the loving thoughts in the Christ Mind. The term is used as a symbol to help us understand that in truth we are the Father’s creation, and like Him we “create” by the Thoughts of love that extend throughout the Sonship and return to the Father. They are “the extensions of our spirit…as extensions of Christ, our creations are part of the Second Person of the Trinity; creation is ongoing in Heaven, beyond time and space, and independent of the son’s lack of awareness of it in the world” (Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles, Kenneth Wapnick). When we fully let go of our ego identity, and accept who we really are as God created us, we will know and accept our creations. This occurs outside of the dream, where we are at home in God. That is where we find our creations. The Course uses this beautiful image to encourage us to seek our truth; “Heaven waits silently, and your creations are holding out their hands to help you cross and welcome them. For it is they you seek. You seek but for your own completion, and it is they who render you complete…Acceptance of your creations is the acceptance of the Oneness of creation, without which you could never be complete” (T.16.IV.8:1,2,3,6).


Q #104: A question about “to forgive” or “to give over.” I am studying A Course in Miracles in German, my native tongue, but am also using the English version as a cross reference. An identical semantic problem arises in both German and English. In the Text I found three places where Jesus is using “to give over” instead of “to forgive.” They are T.3.VI.9.1; T.13.VII.6.6 and T.15.IV.4.2.

I have been studying the Course for nearly 10 years and always had a difficulty with “to forgive” because the dictionary definition for it is “to give up,” while “to give over” seems much more to the point particularly when we come to the place where Jesus is asking us to forgive him. This is something I can only understand in the sense that we should give over to him our critical thoughts we have about him. Could you please explain why “to give over” is hardly ever used, and “to forgive” so frequently?

A: It is always helpful to remember that the Course has come as a correction — first as a correction for our ego, but then also as a correction for some of the ego’s specific expressions, including its distortion within traditional Christianity of Jesus’ original message of love and forgiveness. So the Course uses the words of traditional Christianity, such as crucifixion and resurrection, Atonementmiracle and forgiveness, but gives them a different meaning. This reflects the Course’s basic approach to all of our special relationships — keeping the same form but providing it a different content, as a reminder that the problem is not the form (in this case, the word) but the ego content we have given it. It is our ego that always focuses on form so that we overlook the content.

So it is important to develop an understanding of how Jesus is using these concepts in the Course and not rely on our prior understanding of their meaning or dictionary definitions, which will reflect the meaning our egos have given those terms. In the case of forgiveness, the ego has told us that to forgive means to give up our need to right the wrongs of others through punishing them or extracting some kind of payment from them, all the time holding on to the reality of their transgressions, or sins. Contrast this with the Course’s use of the term: “Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven. What is sin, except a false idea about God’s Son. Forgiveness merely sees its falsity, and therefore lets it go” (W.pII.1.1:6; italics added).

In the Course’s use of the word, we are not really talking about anyone else when we are speaking of forgiveness. We are speaking of releasing ourselves from the very same judgments that we had projected on to our brothers, including Jesus, believing that we had relieved ourselves of that burden of guilt by placing it on them. The Course teaches us that blame can not be gotten rid of by seeing it elsewhere (T.11.IV.5:3). It must be undone at its source, in our own mind. And that involves simply a letting go, a releasing, a giving over, or a giving up, to the light of forgiveness, in which the unreality of sin and guilt becomes apparent.

Holy Encounter copy


 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 24

ACIM Text Reading for May 24

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

VI. The Light of Communication

The journey that we undertake together is the exchange of dark for light, of ignorance for understanding. Nothing you understand is fearful. It is only in darkness and in ignorance that you perceive the frightening, and shrink away from it to further darkness. And yet it is only the hidden that can terrify, not for what it is, but for its hidden-ness. The obscure is frightening because you do not understand its meaning. If you did, it would be clear and you would be no longer in the dark. Nothing has hidden value, for what is hidden cannot be shared, and so its value is unknown. The hidden is kept apart, but value always lies in joint appreciation. What is concealed cannot be loved, and so it must be feared.

The quiet light in which the Holy Spirit dwells within you is merely perfect openness, in which nothing is hidden and therefore nothing is fearful. Attack will always yield to love if it is brought to love, not hidden from it. There is no darkness that the light of love will not dispel, unless it is concealed from love’s beneficence. What is kept apart from love cannot share its healing power, because it has been separated off and kept in darkness. The sentinels of darkness watch over it carefully, and you who made these guardians of illusion out of nothing are now afraid of them.

Would you continue to give imagined power to these strange ideas of safety? They are neither safe nor unsafe. They do not protect; neither do they attack. They do nothing at all, being nothing at all. As guardians of darkness and of ignorance look to them only for fear, for what they keep obscure is fearful. But let them go, and what was fearful will be so no longer. Without protection of obscurity only the light of love remains, for only this has meaning and can live in light. Everything else must disappear.

Death yields to life simply because destruction is not true. The light of guiltlessness shines guilt away because, when they are brought together, the truth of one must make the falsity of its opposite perfectly clear. Keep not guilt and guiltlessness apart, for your belief that you can have them both is meaningless. All you have done by keeping them apart is lose their meaning by confusing them with each other. And so you do not realise that only one means anything. The other is wholly without sense of any kind.

You have regarded the separation as a means for breaking your communication with your Father. The Holy Spirit reinterprets it as a means of re-establishing what was not broken, but has been made obscure. All things you made have use to Him, for His most holy purpose. He knows you are not separate from God, but He perceives much in your mind that lets you think you are. All this and nothing else would He separate from you. The power of decision, which you made in place of the power of creation, He would teach you how to use on your behalf. You who made it to crucify yourself must learn of Him how to apply it to the holy cause of restoration.

You who speak in dark and devious symbols do not understand the language you have made. It has no meaning, for its purpose is not communication, but rather the disruption of communication. If the purpose of language is communication, how can this tongue mean anything? Yet even this strange and twisted effort to communicate through not communicating holds enough of love to make it meaningful if its interpreter is not its maker. You who made it are but expressing conflict, from which the Holy Spirit would release you. Leave what you would communicate to Him. He will interpret it to you with perfect clarity, for He knows with Whom you are in perfect communication.

You know not what you say, and so you know not what is said to you. Yet your Interpreter perceives the meaning in your alien language. He will not attempt to communicate the meaningless. But He will separate out all that has meaning, dropping off the rest and offering your true communication to those who would communicate, as truly with you. You speak two languages at once, and this must lead to unintelligibility. Yet if one means nothing and the other everything, only that one is possible for purposes of communication. The other but interferes with it.

The Holy Spirit’s function is entirely communication. He therefore must remove whatever interferes with communication in order to restore it. Therefore, keep no source of interference from His sight, for He will not attack your sentinels. But bring them to Him and let His gentleness teach you that, in the light, they are not fearful, and cannot serve to guard the dark doors behind which nothing at all is carefully concealed. We must open all doors and let the light come streaming through. There are no hidden chambers in God’s temple. Its gates are open wide to greet His Son. No one can fail to come where God has called him, if he close not the door himself upon his Father’s welcome.

***

 


ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 24

Lesson 124

Let me remember I am one with God.

Today we will again give thanks for our Identity in God. Our home is safe, protection guaranteed in all we do, power and strength available to us in all our undertakings. We can fail in nothing. Everything we touch takes on a shining light that blesses and that heals. At one with God and with the universe we go our way rejoicing, with the thought that God Himself goes everywhere with us.

How holy are our minds! And everything we see reflects the holiness within the mind at one with God and with itself. How easily do errors disappear, and death give place to everlasting life. Our shining footprints point the way to truth, for God is our Companion as we walk the world a little while. And those who come to follow us will recognize the way because the light we carry stays behind, yet still remains with us as we walk on.

What we receive is our eternal gift to those who follow after, and to those who went before or stayed with us a while. And God, Who loves us with the equal love in which we were created, smiles on us and offers us the happiness we gave.

Today we will not doubt His Love for us, nor question His protection and His care. No meaningless anxieties can come between our faith and our awareness of His Presence. We are one with Him today in recognition and remembrance. We feel Him in our hearts. Our minds contain His Thoughts; our eyes behold His loveliness in all we look upon. Today we see only the loving and the lovable.

We see it in appearances of pain, and pain gives way to peace. We see it in the frantic, in the sad and the distressed, the lonely and afraid, who are restored to the tranquility and peace of mind in which they were created. And we see it in the dying and the dead as well, restoring them to life. All this we see because we saw it first within ourselves.

No miracle can ever be denied to those who know that they are one with God. No thought of theirs but has the power to heal all forms of suffering in anyone, in times gone by and times as yet to come, as easily as in the ones who walk beside them now. Their thoughts are timeless, and apart from distance as apart from time.

We join in this awareness as we say that we are one with God. For in these words we say as well that we are saved and healed; that we can save and heal accordingly. We have accepted, and we now would give. For we would keep the gifts our Father gave. Today we would experience ourselves at one with Him, so that the world may share our recognition of reality. In our experience the world is freed. As we deny our separation from our Father, it is healed along with us.

Peace be to you today. Secure your peace by practicing awareness you are one with your Creator, as He is with you. Sometime today, whenever it seems best, devote a half an hour to the thought that you are one with God. This is our first attempt at an extended period for which we give no rules nor special words to guide your meditation. We will trust God’s Voice to speak as He sees fit today, certain He will not fail. Abide with Him this half an hour. He will do the rest.

Your benefit will not be less if you believe that nothing happens. You may not be ready to accept the gain today. Yet sometime, somewhere, it will come to you, nor will you fail to recognize it when it dawns with certainty upon your mind. This half an hour will be framed in gold, with every minute like a diamond set around the mirror that this exercise will offer you. And you will see Christ’s face upon it, in reflection of your own.

Perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow, you will see your own transfiguration in the glass this holy half an hour will hold out to you, to look upon yourself. When you are ready you will find it there, within your mind and waiting to be found. You will remember then the thought to which you gave this half an hour, thankfully aware no time was ever better spent.

Perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow, you will look into this glass, and understand the sinless light you see belongs to you; the loveliness you look on is your own. Count this half hour as your gift to God, in certainty that His return will be a sense of love you cannot understand, a joy too deep for you to comprehend, a sight too holy for the body’s eyes to see. And yet you can be sure someday, perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow, you will understand and comprehend and see.

Add further jewels to the golden frame that holds the mirror offered you today, by hourly repeating to yourself:

Let me remember I am one with God, at one with all my
brothers and my Self, in everlasting holiness and peace.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q#101: I would like to know if anyone who has practiced A Course in Miracles has become enlightened. Do you know of anyone who feels/knows that they are in absolute connection with God and therefore, never out of a state of peace?

A: We don’t have any reports of this nature, but that does not mean anything. A truly enlightened person would have no need to let others know of his or her having totally transcended the ego. In fact, that might be a helpful way of evaluating someone’s claim to having achieved enlightenment. If such a person goes around announcing it, that is almost a sure sign that there is still some ego left. As the Course portrays the state, there is basically only one characteristic that might stand out, which is that the person would smile more frequently: “There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet. And the ones who walk the world as you do recognize their own” (W.pI.155.1:1,2,3,4).

There are numerous accounts of students, though, who have experienced significant shifts in their thinking and in their reactions, so that what formerly had “pushed all their buttons,” for example, no longer evokes the same reaction. Forgiveness works, in other words, and so that should be the focus of each day.

Finally, with reference to someone being in “absolute connection with God,” we refer you to the section in the manual, “Can God Be Reached Directly?” (M.26). There Jesus tells us: “Sometimes a teacher of God may have a brief experience of direct union with God. In this world, it is almost impossible that this endure. It can, perhaps, be won after much devotion and dedication, and then be maintained for much of the time on earth. But this is so rare that it cannot be considered a realistic goal. If it happens, so be it. If it does not happen, so be it as well. All worldly states must be illusory. If God were reached directly in sustained awareness, the body would not be long maintained” (M.26.3:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8).

Thus, direct union with God is not the goal of the Course’s curriculum. Reaching a state of peace is its goal, where we rise above the battleground with Jesus and look back down with compassion for everyone. “This Course will lead to knowledge, but knowledge itself is still beyond the scope of our curriculum. Nor is there any need for us to try to speak of what must forever lie beyond words.…It is not for us to dwell on what cannot be attained. There is too much to learn. The readiness for knowledge still must be attained” (T.18.IX.11:1,2,5,6,7).


Q #102: I am really into self-help books. I have read that psychotherapy and counseling can be helpful for the student of A Course In Miracles because it can help reveal the ego’s blocks to the awareness of love’s presence. Is this the case for self-help as well? Or do self-help materials hold more potential than formalized counseling to enmesh readers in their own problems?

A: An advantage of psychotherapy and counseling over self-help books is that there is someone else to observe your ego, hopefully in a non-judgmental way, and point out its dynamics in areas you may be very effectively keeping hidden from yourself. It is usually easier to recognize someone else’s defenses rather than our own. But self-help books still can be of value in helping you identify your own maladaptive patterns of behavior and underlying thoughts, if you’re willing to be honest with yourself.

For any self-improvement tool that you’re considering, including therapy, you may want to ask yourself the following questions in evaluating its usefulness:

Is this helping me to take more responsibility for my thoughts and feelings and actions or is it reinforcing the ego dynamic of seeing and holding others responsible for my dysfunction and unhappiness (although uncovering a dynamic of blaming others can be an important first step in the healing process if we have not allowed ourselves to be in touch with that before)?

Is this likely to help me uncover my hidden motivations or is it more likely to help me keep them buried in an emphasis on changing form, such as behavior and appearance, rather than underlying content, such as thought and purpose (although sometimes an important early step that indicates a willingness to change at a deeper level is to modify maladaptive and destructive behavior, such as addictions)?

One of the limitations of nearly every therapeutic approach in the world, regardless of whether it involves a therapist or work on your own, is that its purpose is to make the dream better, rather than to lead you along the path of awakening, which is the Course’s goal. And self-help is really about helping make a better ego self. Not that there is anything bad about that, but it won’t take you where the Course is leading you and it could end up leading you in the opposite direction. The only truly healing practice is forgiveness, and we may find clever ways to avoid it for as long as we can stand the pain. But in the end, we will find that releasing our judgments to the Help of the only real Therapist is the only way to find the Self we are really looking for.

the way to god

 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 23

ACIM Text Reading for May 23

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

V. The Circle of Atonement

The only part of your mind that has reality is the part that links you still with God. Would you have all of it transformed into a radiant message of God’s Love, to share with all the lonely ones who have denied Him? God makes this possible. Would you deny His yearning to be known? You yearn for Him, as He for you. This is forever changeless. Accept, then, the immutable. Leave the world of death behind, and return quietly to Heaven. There is nothing of value here, and everything of value there. Listen to the Holy Spirit, and to God through Him. He speaks of you to you. There is no guilt in you, for God is blessed in His Son as the Son is blessed in Him.

Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless. Each one teaches the message differently, and learns it differently. Yet until he teaches it and learns it, he will suffer the pain of dim awareness that his true function remains unfulfilled in him. The burden of guilt is heavy, but God would not have you bound by it. His plan for your awaking is as perfect as yours is fallible. You know not what you do, but He Who knows is with you. His gentleness is yours, and all the love you share with God He holds in trust for you. He would teach you nothing except how to be happy.

Blessed Son of a wholly blessing Father, joy was created for you. Who can condemn whom God has blessed? There is nothing in the Mind of God that does not share His shining innocence. Creation is the natural extension of perfect purity. Your only calling here is to devote yourself, with active willingness, to the denial of guilt in all its forms. To accuse is not to understand. The happy learners of the Atonement become the teachers of the innocence that is the right of all that God created. Deny them not what is their due, for you will not withhold it from them alone.

The inheritance of the Kingdom is the right of God’s Son, given him in his creation. Do not try to steal it from him, or you will ask for guilt and will experience it. Protect his purity from every thought that would steal it away and keep it from his sight. Bring innocence to light, in answer to the call of the Atonement. Never allow purity to remain hidden, but shine away the heavy veils of guilt within which the Son of God has hidden himself from his own sight.

We are all joined in the Atonement here, and nothing else can unite us in this world. So will the world of separation slip away, and full communication be restored between the Father and the Son. The miracle acknowledges the guiltlessness that must have been denied to produce the need of healing. Do not withhold this glad acknowledgement, for hope of happiness and release from suffering of every kind lie in it. Who is there but wishes to be free of pain? He may not yet have learned how to exchange guilt for innocence, nor realise that only in this exchange can freedom from pain be his. Yet those who have failed to learn need teaching, not attack. To attack those who have need of teaching is to fail to learn from them.

Teachers of innocence, each in his own way, have joined together, taking their part in the unified curriculum of the Atonement. There is no unity of learning goals apart from this. There is no conflict in this curriculum, which has one aim however it is taught. Each effort made on its behalf is offered for the single purpose of release from guilt, to the eternal glory of God and His creation. And every teaching that points to this points straight to Heaven, and the peace of God. There is no pain, no trial, no fear that teaching this can fail to overcome. The power of God Himself supports this teaching, and guarantees its limitless results.

Join your own efforts to the power that cannot fail and must result in peace. No one can be untouched by teaching such as this. You will not see yourself beyond the power of God if you teach only this. You will not be exempt from the effects of this most holy lesson, which seeks but to restore what is the right of God’s creation. From everyone whom you accord release from guilt you will inevitably learn your innocence. The circle of Atonement has no end. And you will find ever-increasing confidence in your safe inclusion in the circle with everyone you bring within its safety and its perfect peace.

Peace, then, be unto everyone who becomes a teacher of peace. For peace is the acknowledgement of perfect purity, from which no one is excluded. Within its holy circle is everyone whom God created as His Son. Joy is its unifying attribute, with no one left outside to suffer guilt alone. The power of God draws everyone to its safe embrace of love and union. Stand quietly within this circle, and attract all tortured minds to join with you in the safety of its peace and holiness. Abide with me within it, as teachers of Atonement, not of guilt.

Blessed are you who teach with me. Our power comes not of us, but of our Father. In guiltlessness we know Him, as He knows us guiltless. I stand within the circle, calling you to peace. Teach peace with me, and stand with me on holy ground. Remember for everyone your Father’s power that He has given him. Believe not that you cannot teach His perfect peace. Stand not outside, but join with me within. Fail not the only purpose to which my teaching calls you. Restore to God His Son as He created him, by teaching him his innocence.

The crucifixion had no part in the Atonement. Only the resurrection became my part in it. That is the symbol of the release from guilt by guiltlessness. Whom you perceive as guilty you would crucify. Yet you restore guiltlessness to whomever you see as guiltless. Crucifixion is always the ego’s aim. It sees everyone as guilty, and by its condemnation it would kill. The Holy Spirit sees only guiltlessness, and in His gentleness He would release from fear and re-establish the reign of love. The power of love is in His gentleness, which is of God and therefore cannot crucify nor suffer crucifixion. The temple you restore becomes your altar, for it was rebuilt through you. And everything you give to God is yours. Thus He creates, and thus must you restore.

Each one you see you place within the holy circle of Atonement or leave outside, judging him fit for crucifixion or for redemption. If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without, you join him there. Judge not except in quietness which is not of you. Refuse to accept anyone as without the blessing of Atonement, and bring him into it by blessing him. Holiness must be shared, for therein lies everything that makes it holy. Come gladly to the holy circle, and look out in peace on all who think they are outside. Cast no one out, for here is what he seeks along with you. Come, let us join him in the holy place of peace which is for all of us, united as one within the Cause of peace.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 23

Lesson 123

I thank my Father for His gifts to me.

Today let us be thankful. We have come to gentler pathways and to smoother roads. There is no thought of turning back, and no implacable resistance to the truth. A bit of wavering remains, some small objections and a little hesitance, but you can well be grateful for your gains, which are far greater than you realize.

A day devoted now to gratitude will add the benefit of some insight into the real extent of all the gains which you have made; the gifts you have received. Be glad today, in loving thankfulness, your Father has not left you to yourself, nor let you wander in the dark alone. Be grateful He has saved you from the self you thought you made to take the place of Him and His creation. Give Him thanks today.

Give thanks that He has not abandoned you, and that His Love forever will remain shining on you, forever without change. Give thanks as well that you are changeless, for the Son He loves is changeless as Himself. Be grateful you are saved. Be glad you have a function in salvation to fulfill. Be thankful that your value far transcends your meager gifts and petty judgments of the one whom God established as His Son.

Today in gratitude we lift our hearts above despair, and raise our thankful eyes, no longer looking downward to the dust. We sing the song of thankfulness today, in honor of the Self that God has willed to be our true Identity in Him. Today we smile on everyone we see, and walk with lightened footsteps as we go to do what is appointed us to do.

We do not go alone. And we give thanks that in our solitude a Friend has come to speak the saving Word of God to us. And thanks to you for listening to Him. His Word is soundless if it be not heard. In thanking Him the thanks are yours as well. An unheard message will not save the world, however mighty be the Voice that speaks, however loving may the message be.

Thanks be to you who heard, for you become the messenger who brings His Voice with you, and lets It echo round and round the world. Receive the thanks of God today, as you give thanks to Him. For He would offer you the thanks you give, since He receives your gifts in loving gratitude, and gives them back a thousand and a hundred thousand more than they were given. He will bless your gifts by sharing them with you. And so they grow in power and in strength, until they fill the world with gladness and with gratitude.

Receive His thanks and offer yours to Him for fifteen minutes twice today. And you will realize to Whom you offer thanks, and Whom He thanks as you are thanking Him. This holy half an hour given Him will be returned to you in terms of years for every second; power to save the world eons more quickly for your thanks to Him.

Receive His thanks, and you will understand how lovingly He holds you in His Mind, how deep and limitless His care for you, how perfect is His gratitude to you. Remember hourly to think of Him, and give Him thanks for everything He gave His Son, that he might rise above the world, remembering his Father and his Self.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #525: Recently a friend of mine did something that really hurt my feelings. I’ve been trying to forgive him but I can’t seem to get the incident out of my mind. So I went to the workbook section that begins with “What is Forgiveness” for a remedy. I didn’t get beyond the first sentence: “Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred.” Would you please try to clarify what is meant by “never occurred” or “what didn’t happen”?

A: Whatever occurred in form between you and your friend did take place. The workbook is not advocating denial of our experience in the dream. What your friend did not do is take your peace away, nor cause the feelings you may have. That can happen only as the result of a choice in the mind to choose against peace, by choosing to believe the separation is real. This means choosing the ego as teacher, accepting the ego’s interpretation of what occurs in the dream of separation. Basic to the ego thought system is the belief that external circumstances are the cause of internal conflict. A Course in Miracles calls this magic and upside-down thinking. The miracle, on the other hand, is recognizing that nothing external has any effect on our peace.

One of the most important goals of the Course, if not the most important goal, is to teach us that we have a mind with the power to choose. It is this power to choose that is the foundation of the cause and effect principle. The line you quote from the workbook is one of the many ways the Course teaches this principle. You thought your brother caused you to be upset, by hurting you. That is not what happened. What did happen is that prior to any external event with your friend, you made a choice in your mind to identify with the ego by believing you are a separate individual in a body, rather than an innocent Son of God who is spirit, as God created you. That is where you really were. Guilt at having made this choice is projected outside of the mind in the form of reactions to all the upsetting situations encountered in relationships and the world.

When we attack our true Identity as the Son of God by identifying with the ego, we cannot but be hurt by everyone and everything in the dream. We are literally “under attack,” but it is our own attack, as Jesus tells us in the text: “All attack is Self attack. It cannot be anything else. Arising from your own decision not to be what you are, it is an attack on your identification. Attack is thus the way in which your identification is lost, because when you attack, you must have forgotten what you are” (T.10.II.5:1,2,3,4). If a choice in the mind is the cause of how we feel, then we cannot be the victim of people or circumstances outside of the mind (W.pI.31); we cannot be hurt by anything external.Therefore: “There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt the Son of God”(T.14.III.7:5, 6). Forgiveness begins with the willingness to recognize this process and see the mind as the true cause of your hurt, not your brother. Accepting that you cannot be hurt is the kindness of forgiveness offered to yourself, as well as to your friend.

(webmaster note: see also questions 272  472 )


Q #526: I recently read a book in which the author, a revered yogi, says that God told him that He (God) is projecting the world for His own purposes. Yet in A Course in Miracles Jesus says that we are projecting the world. With so many people, past and present, claiming to “hear God” or “channel Jesus” how can we know who to believe, especially when, in spite of their apparent sincerity and good will, they say diametrically opposite things, as cited above?

A: It is always a mistake to look for consistency at the level of form or symbol across various spiritualities. Only content can be consistent, and that has nothing to do with theology or metaphysics. Even Jesus is inconsistent through his Course in the things that he says about forgiveness, healing and the miracle, and about the body and the mind. But his content is unwaveringly pure. And he acknowledges that those seeking controversy within the Course’s teachings will find it (C.in.2,3).

So a spiritual teacher, coming from a tradition and a set of symbols and myths very different from the Course’s, inevitably will assert things inconsistent with or even contradictory to the Course’s teachings. And what are we to do about these seemingly paradoxical assertions? The answer lies not within an analysis of the various forms of the teachings but rather with an honest assessment of your own response to the teachings, recognizing that not everyone will have the same response. The ego thought system is one of fragmentation and differentiation. Since the Holy Spirit uses for healing what the ego has made for separation, we will each work within the set of differentiated symbols that are personally most meaningful to us. Jesus recognizes this at the beginning of the manual when he observes that “this is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome” (M.1.4:1,2)

For the key in one’s search for a spiritual path is not to find the truth out there — it’s not out there (with apologies to X-files aficionados) — but to be open to finding and following the path to which you personally resonate, that speaks to you in the symbols and metaphors that make sense to you. None of them is real, so all that matters is that you recognize the path that will serve you as a means ultimately to move beyond all form and symbols, even if you do not recognize that purpose when you first come to the teaching. For this reason, it makes no sense to try to persuade anyone else of the truth or falsity of any spiritual teaching. In the end, the only thing that can be true is that which transcends all symbols, all theologies, all metaphysical systems. Many paths lead to the same experience of oneness, but that does not mean that they are interchangeable for the individual. So respect rather than judge other paths, but don’t forget that your goal is to find what will serve you best and then follow it. Anything else, including debating different theologies, is “a defense against the truth in the form of a delaying maneuver” (C.in.2:3).

I Have Nothing Else