ACIM Text Reading for May 3
Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum
VIII. The Attraction of Love for Love
Do you really believe that you can kill the Son of God? The Father has hidden His Son safely within Himself, and kept him far away from your destructive thoughts, but you know neither the Father nor the Son because of them. You attack the real world every day and every hour and minute, and yet you are surprised that you cannot see it. If you seek love in order to attack it, you will never find it. For if love is sharing, how can you find it except through itself? Offer it and it will come to you, because it is drawn to itself. But offer attack and love will remain hidden, for it can live only in peace.
God’s Son is as safe as his Father, for the Son knows his Father’s protection and cannot fear. His Father’s Love holds him in perfect peace, and needing nothing, he asks for nothing. Yet he is far from you whose Self he is, for you chose to attack him and he disappeared from your sight into his Father. He did not change, but you did. For a split mind and all its works were not created by the Father, and could not live in the knowledge of Him.
When you made visible what is not true, what is true became invisible to you. Yet it cannot be invisible in itself, for the Holy Spirit sees it with perfect clarity. It is invisible to you because you are looking at something else. Yet it is no more up to you to decide what is visible and what is invisible, than it is up to you to decide what reality is. What can be seen is what the Holy Spirit sees. The definition of reality is God’s, not yours. He created it, and He knows what it is. You who knew have forgotten, and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourself to oblivion.
Because of your Father’s Love you can never forget Him, for no one can forget what God Himself placed in his memory. You can deny it, but you cannot lose it. A Voice will answer every question you ask, and a vision will correct the perception of everything you see. For what you have made invisible is the only truth, and what you have not heard is the only Answer. God would reunite you with yourself, and did not abandon you in your distress. You are waiting only for Him, and do not know it. Yet His memory shines in your mind and cannot be obliterated. It is no more past than future, being forever always.
You have but to ask for this memory, and you will remember. Yet the memory of God cannot shine in a mind that has obliterated it and wants to keep it so. For the memory of God can dawn only in a mind that chooses to remember, and that has relinquished the insane desire to control reality. You who cannot even control yourself should hardly aspire to control the universe. But look upon what you have made of it, and rejoice that it is not so.
Son of God, be not content with nothing! What is not real cannot be seen and has no value. God could not offer His Son what has no value, nor could His Son receive it. You were redeemed the instant you thought you had deserted Him. Everything you made has never been, and is invisible because the Holy Spirit does not see it. Yet what He does see is yours to behold, and through His vision your perception is healed. You have made invisible the only truth that this world holds. Valuing nothing, you have sought nothing. By making nothing real to you, you have seen it. But it is not there. And Christ is invisible to you because of what you have made visible to yourself.
Yet it does not matter how much distance you have tried to interpose between your awareness and truth. God’s Son can be seen because his vision is shared. The Holy Spirit looks upon him, and sees nothing else in you. What is invisible to you is perfect in His sight, and encompasses all of it. He has remembered you because He forgot not the Father. You looked upon the unreal and found despair. Yet by seeking the unreal, what else could you find? The unreal world is a thing of despair, for it can never be. And you who share God’s Being with Him could never be content without reality. What God did not give you has no power over you, and the attraction of love for love remains irresistible. For it is the function of love to unite all things unto itself, and to hold all things together by extending its wholeness.
The real world was given you by God in loving exchange for the world you made and the world you see. Only take it from the hand of Christ and look upon it. Its reality will make everything else invisible, for beholding it is total perception. And as you look upon it you will remember that it was always so. Nothingness will become invisible, for you will at last have seen truly. Redeemed perception is easily translated into knowledge, for only perception is capable of error and perception has never been. Being corrected it gives place to knowledge, which is forever the only reality. The Atonement is but the way back to what was never lost. Your Father could not cease to love His Son.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 3
God, being Love, is also happiness.
Happiness is an attribute of love. It cannot be apart from it. Nor can it be experienced where love is not. Love has no limits, being everywhere. And therefore joy is everywhere as well. Yet can the mind deny that this is so, believing there are gaps in love where sin can enter, bringing pain instead of joy. This strange belief would limit happiness by redefining love as limited, and introducing opposition in what has no limit and no opposite.
Fear is associated then with love, and its results become the heritage of minds that think what they have made is real. These images, with no reality in truth, bear witness to the fear of God, forgetting being Love, He must be joy. This basic error we will try again to bring to truth today, and teach ourselves:
God, being Love, is also happiness.
To fear Him is to be afraid of joy.
Begin your periods of practicing today with this association, which corrects the false belief that God is fear. It also emphasizes happiness belongs to you, because of what He is.
Allow this one correction to be placed within your mind each waking hour today. Then welcome all the happiness it brings as truth replaces fear, and joy becomes what you expect to take the place of pain. God, being Love, it will be given you. Bolster this expectation frequently throughout the day, and quiet all your fears with this assurance, kind and wholly true:
God, being Love, is also happiness.
And it is happiness I seek today.
I cannot fail, because I seek the truth.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #680: Jesus often says in A Course in Miracles that I am only to trust in my willingness. At various times I thought I couldn’t have been more willing, but instead it seems I took the route of choosing a more vicious ego. I have understood since then, with your helpful service, that references like these refer to my mind (outside time/space). The same goes for Jesus’ comment about the Course not offering practical advice — what could be more straightforward than being told to ask for help. So again, since I thought I had asked for help before reading that, the only calm way I can understand it is that it is referring to metaphysical me. I need clarification, though, that waiting in faith that the answers will come is not ego-based itself. I have tried to make it in the world while having faith that my trying would come to be replaced with following the Holy Spirit. Obviously I wasn’t willing enough, and now I can’t even make it in the world. I have tried professional help, but it seems I would need Guidance to make that worldly decision now too as much as any other decision. To ask here is difficult, too, because the answers I know are simply to observe myself and to see what smokescreen my ego dynamics are serving and to turn them over.Your service has been helpfully calming, though, so I ask, Do I (try to) try again in my own way (I would probably pick somewhere to volunteer), or would this be interfering (and lead to another “failure”)?
A: Jesus is always talking about the decision maker in the mind. This is not the Mind (capital M) of Christ, though, if that is what you mean by the “metaphysical me.” It is the part of the split mind that can decide for or against the ego. Our experience is the direct result of that choice, which is why Jesus is always addressing the decision maker; there is no independent self in the world apart from the mind. That self is simply the projection of the decision maker; Jesus would not be talking to a projection.
The “little willingness” that he asks of us is the willingness to be proven wrong — that our experience of separation, attack, and separate interests — even our self-concepts — are really misperceptions. When we side with the ego, we are saying: I am not as God created me! We do that by identifying with a self that is limited, imperfect, and always struggling to survive in a world of victims and victimizers. So Jesus tells us that “to learn his course requires willingness to question every value that you hold” (T.24.in.2:1). We need to bring our misperceptions to his truth, our darkness to his light, where they can be replaced with true perception. But we must first be willing to acknowledge that we have been wrong in how we have been perceiving everything. Then authentic change can occur. The change, though, would be in our choice of teachers in our mind, not necessarily in circumstances in the world. And that willingness need not be perfect, he assures us: “…be not disturbed by the shadows that surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them you would not need the holy instant” (T.18.IV.2:4,5,6).
In view of this, how your life is going in the world cannot be used as a measure of your willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit or Jesus. The content of one’s mind cannot be judged by the form of one’s life. Jesus’ life in the world did not go all that well in the world’s terms; yet he tells us that his internal experience of peace never changed, and he asks that we follow his example in the trying circumstances of our own lives (T.6.I). Our lives, then, become classrooms in which Jesus as our chosen teacher can help us use all relationships and circumstances to get in touch with the blocks to that peace in our minds. They mirror back to us the thought system or teacher we have chosen in our minds, not by what is going on, but by how we perceive what is going on — our internal reactions. Thus, as you commented, problems in our bodies and the world are “smokescreens” concealing the real conflict in our minds. They are a means of proving that we are right about ourselves and reality. That is what we must get in touch with, and why Jesus places so much emphasis on purpose. That is what he helps us with.
Professional help can be supportive of the process of letting go of your ego. A kind therapist could help you get in touch with some of the specific expressions in your life of the ego’s dynamics of separation, even though that vocabulary may never be used. It is not an easy process because of the layers of defenses we usually all have, and so a skilled therapist can be quite helpful in that regard.
Finally, do whatever you feel you would like to do; if assisting as a volunteer is appealing to you, then why not follow that? That is not the central issue. Your focus should be internal — your willingness to be proven wrong about your self-perception, so that the truth about you can emerge from concealment. When you are joined with Jesus or the Holy Spirit in your mind, any situation or interaction (regardless of the form) can be a joyful one in terms of its purpose: another opportunity to release the pain of separation and accept the peace of an identity of love shared by us all. As that remains your focus more and more, you will depend less and less on things going well externally in order to be happy and peaceful. And that in turn means that your (your mind’s) identification with the body will lessen as well — even as you continue to attend responsibly and maturely to its normal needs.