ACIM Text Reading for May 1
Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum
VI. The Vision of Christ
The ego is trying to teach you how to gain the whole world and lose your own soul. The Holy Spirit teaches that you cannot lose your soul and there is no gain in the world, for of itself it profits nothing. To invest without profit is surely to impoverish yourself, and the overhead is high. Not only is there no profit in the investment, but the cost to you is enormous. For this investment costs you the world’s reality by denying yours, and gives you nothing in return. You cannot sell your soul, but you can sell your awareness of it. You cannot perceive your soul, but you will not know it while you perceive something else as more valuable.
The Holy Spirit is your strength because He knows nothing but the spirit as you. He is perfectly aware that you do not know yourself, and perfectly aware of how to teach you to remember what you are. Because He loves you, He will gladly teach you what He loves, for He wills to share it. Remembering you always, He cannot let you forget your worth. For the Father never ceases to remind Him of His Son, and He never ceases to remind His Son of the Father. God is in your memory because of Him. You chose to forget your Father but you do not really want to do so, and therefore you can decide otherwise. As it was my decision, so is it yours.
You do not want the world. The only thing of value in it is whatever part of it you look upon with love. This gives it the only reality it will ever have. Its value is not in itself, but yours is in you. As self-value comes from self-extension, so does the perception of self-value come from the extension of loving thoughts outward. Make the world real unto yourself, for the real world is the gift of the Holy Spirit, and so it belongs to you.
Correction is for all who cannot see. To open the eyes of the blind is the Holy Spirit’s mission, for He knows that they have not lost their vision, but merely sleep. He would awaken them from the sleep of forgetting to the remembering of God. Christ’s eyes are open, and He will look upon whatever you see with love if you accept His vision as yours. The Holy Spirit keeps the vision of Christ for every Son of God who sleeps. In His sight the Son of God is perfect, and He longs to share His vision with you. He will show you the real world because God gave you Heaven. Through Him your Father calls His Son to remember. The awakening of His Son begins with his investment in the real world, and by this he will learn to re-invest in himself. For reality is one with the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit blesses the real world in Their Name.
When you have seen this real world, as you will surely do, you will remember us. Yet you must learn the cost of sleeping, and refuse to pay it. Only then will you decide to awaken. And then the real world will spring to your sight, for Christ has never slept. He is waiting to be seen, for He has never lost sight of you. He looks quietly on the real world, which He would share with you because He knows of the Father’s Love for Him. And knowing this, He would give you what is yours. In perfect peace He waits for you at His Father’s altar, holding out the Father’s Love to you in the quiet light of the Holy Spirit’s blessing. For the Holy Spirit will lead everyone home to his Father, where Christ waits as His Self.
Every child of God is one in Christ, for his being is in Christ as Christ’s is in God. Christ’s Love for you is His Love for His Father, which He knows because He knows His Father’s Love for Him. When the Holy Spirit has at last led you to Christ at the altar to His Father, perception fuses into knowledge because perception has become so holy that its transfer to holiness is merely its natural extension. Love transfers to love without any interference, for the two are one. As you perceive more and more common elements in all situations, the transfer of training under the Holy Spirit’s guidance increases and becomes generalised. Gradually you learn to apply it to everyone and everything, for its applicability is universal. When this has been accomplished, perception and knowledge have become so similar that they share the unification of the laws of God.
What is one cannot be perceived as separate, and the denial of the separation is the reinstatement of knowledge. At the altar of God, the holy perception of God’s Son becomes so enlightened that light streams into it, and the spirit of God’s Son shines in the Mind of the Father and becomes one with it. Very gently does God shine upon Himself, loving the extension of Himself that is His Son. The world has no purpose as it blends into the Purpose of God. For the real world has slipped quietly into Heaven, where everything eternal in it has always been. There the Redeemer and the redeemed join in perfect love of God and of each other. Heaven is your home, and being in God it must also be in you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 1
God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
Today we will continue with the theme of happiness. This is a key idea in understanding what salvation means. You still believe it asks for suffering as penance for your “sins.” This is not so. Yet you must think it so while you believe that sin is real, and that God’s Son can sin.
If sin is real, then punishment is just and cannot be escaped. Salvation thus cannot be purchased but through suffering. If sin is real, then happiness must be illusion, for they cannot both be true. The sinful warrant only death and pain, and it is this they ask for. For they know it waits for them, and it will seek them out and find them somewhere, sometime, in some form that evens the account they owe to God. They would escape Him in their fear. And yet He will pursue, and they can not escape.
If sin is real, salvation must be pain. Pain is the cost of sin, and suffering can never be escaped, if sin is real. Salvation must be feared, for it will kill, but slowly, taking everything away before it grants the welcome boon of death to victims who are little more than bones before salvation is appeased. Its wrath is boundless, merciless, but wholly just.
Who would seek out such savage punishment? Who would not flee salvation, and attempt in every way he can to drown the Voice which offers it to him? Why would he try to listen and accept Its offering? If sin is real, its offering is death, and meted out in cruel form to match the vicious wishes in which sin is born. If sin is real, salvation has become your bitter enemy, the curse of God upon you who have crucified His Son.
You need the practice periods today. The exercises teach sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin will never happen, for it has no cause. Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God’s Son. There is no sin. We practice with this thought as often as we can today, because it is the basis for today’s idea.
God’s Will for you is perfect happiness because there is no sin, and suffering is causeless. Joy is just, and pain is but the sign you have misunderstood yourself. Fear not the Will of God. But turn to it in confidence that it will set you free from all the consequences sin has wrought in feverish imagination. Say:
God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
There is no sin; it has no consequence.
So should you start your practice periods, and then attempt again to find the joy these thoughts will introduce into your mind.
Give these five minutes gladly, to remove the heavy load you lay upon yourself with the insane belief that sin is real. Today escape from madness. You are set on freedom’s road, and now today’s idea brings wings to speed you on, and hope to go still faster to the waiting goal of peace. There is no sin. Remember this today, and tell yourself as often as you can:
God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
This is the truth, because there is no sin.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #92: I have studied the Course for over 10 years and have done the workbook 2 1/2 times. I realized I did them very much as a ritual the first time. The second time was probably the best, and though I would sometimes fall into a routine/ritual, the awareness of what Jesus was saying really hit home. The third time was many years later. I only made it 1/2 way through before I gave up. The reason I really wanted to try the lessons again is because the text is more theoretical and over the years what I’ve learned from the practical application of the lessons seems to have lost some of its impact. This is probably normal. What I want to do is apply the Course to my everyday experiences and the workbook did this so well. I have been reading the Rules for Decision and trying to start my day this way, then remember my purpose for the day when I’ve lost my peace. This has been wonderful. My question is should the lessons be attempted again or should they just be read and applied as seen fit? What have people said about doing the lessons again?
A: We addressed part of your question in #64 (1/22/03) — whether the lessons should be done again. What you are experiencing is quite normal, as you have concluded. And since your practice of the Rules for Decisionmaterial is working for you so well, it makes sense to just stay with that. You just want to be sure that you are not caught in the ego trap of thinking you must apply the Course perfectly, 24 hours a day, or else you are not a good and faithful student. If there is any pressure or any sense of judgment at all, you can be sure that it is not coming from Jesus, and that you have attempted to direct your own process.
We all are resistant, or we would not need the Course at all. Looking more closely at your resistance might help put you in touch with the fear that must be present in your mind. Part of us recognizes the implications of our actually learning and fully implementing what the Course is teaching. Part of us knows that we have been wrong about absolutely everything and that absolutely everything about us would change, and that is very, very frightening. Part of us wants to go on, another part is terrified to continue.
Once you recognize the connection between your fear and your forgetting to apply the Course, the next step is to forgive yourself. Fear is not a sin. As you know from our answer to #64, the lessons are best practiced by doing them “poorly” and then forgiving yourself, as opposed to ritualizing them and focusing on the form rather than the content. The fact that you sincerely want to apply the Course to your everyday experiences is the content, and that is sufficient. The form this takes is not the point. You can then be grateful for having made the choice to undo your belief in the ego thought system, trusting that as your fear lessens, you will experience further shifts in your thinking and in your relationships. Just don’t try to evaluate your progress or try too hard to get results as you would define them. Trust the process.
Q #93: For several years of study I’ve tried to follow your thoughts about “looking within with Jesus” or “looking through his eyes.” I was never really able to visualize this occurring. Recently, I’ve come to accept that “looking with Jesus” means the application of his teachings in A Course in Miracles to my ego perceptions. In other words, believing the teachings also means believing and accepting the teacher. This has provided me with a better understanding of what it means to have Jesus with me. Is this a good way to visualize my relationship with Jesus or should it be something more personal?
A: The process you describe of applying the teachings of the Course to your ego perceptions is indeed a very appropriate practice of looking with Jesus. Since Jesus is a symbol of the content of the Course, he is present in our minds when its teachings are brought to awareness. This is especially true when we are willing to apply these teachings to our ego perceptions, and question their validity in the light of Jesus’ message. Because we identify with our perceptions, this is also a way of relating to Jesus in a very personal way. You have invited him to be with you in the form of the teachings of the Course, which can be symbolized as a lamp shedding new light on our darkened minds: “I give you the lamp and I will go with you. You will not take this journey alone. I will lead you to your true Father, Who hath need of you, as I have” (T.11.in.4:5,6,7).