ACIM Text Reading for May 5
Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World
I. Guiltlessness and Invulnerability
Earlier, I said that the Holy Spirit shares the goal of all good teachers, whose ultimate aim is to make themselves unnecessary by teaching their pupils all they know. The Holy Spirit wants only this, for sharing the Father’s Love for His Son, He seeks to remove all guilt from his mind that he may remember his Father in peace. Peace and guilt are antithetical, and the Father can be remembered only in peace. Love and guilt cannot coexist, and to accept one is to deny the other. Guilt hides Christ from your sight, for it is the denial of the blamelessness of God’s Son.
In the strange world that you have made the Son of God has sinned. How could you see him, then? By making him invisible, the world of retribution rose in the black cloud of guilt that you accepted, and you hold it dear. For the blamelessness of Christ is the proof that the ego never was, and can never be. Without guilt the ego has no life, and God’s Son is without guilt.
As you look upon yourself and judge what you do honestly, you may be tempted to wonder how you can be guiltless. Yet consider this: You are not guiltless in time, but in eternity. You have ‘sinned’ in the past, but there is no past. Always has no direction. Time seems to go in one direction, but when you reach its end it will roll up like a long carpet spread along the past behind you, and will disappear. As long as you believe the Son of God is guilty you will walk along this carpet, believing that it leads to death. And the journey will seem long and cruel and senseless, for so it is.
The journey the Son of God has set himself is useless indeed, but the journey on which his Father sets him is one of release and joy. The Father is not cruel, and His Son cannot hurt himself. The retaliation that he fears and that he sees will never touch him, for although he believes in it the Holy Spirit knows it is not true. The Holy Spirit stands at the end of time, where you must be because He is with you. He has already undone everything unworthy of the Son of God, for such was His mission, given Him by God. And what God gives has always been.
You will see me as you learn the Son of God is guiltless. He has always sought his guiltlessness, and he has found it. For everyone is seeking to escape from the prison he has made, and the way to find release is not denied him. Being in him, he has found it. When he finds it is only a matter of time, and time is but an illusion. For the Son of God is guiltless now, and the brightness of his purity shines untouched forever in God’s Mind. God’s Son will always be as he was created. Deny your world and judge him not, for his eternal guiltlessness is in the Mind of his Father, and protects him forever.
When you have accepted the Atonement for yourself, you will realise there is no guilt in God’s Son. And only as you look upon him as guiltless can you understand his oneness. For the idea of guilt brings a belief in condemnation of one by another, projecting separation in place of unity. You can condemn only yourself, and by so doing you cannot know that you are God’s Son. You have denied the condition of his being, which is his perfect blamelessness. Out of love he was created, and in love he abides. Goodness and mercy have always followed him, for he has always extended the Love of his Father.
As you perceive the holy companions who travel with you, you will realise that there is no journey, but only an awakening. The Son of God, who sleepeth not, has kept faith with his Father for you. There is no road to travel on, and no time to travel through. For God waits not for His Son in time, being forever unwilling to be without him. And so it has always been. Let the holiness of God’s Son shine away the cloud of guilt that darkens your mind, and by accepting his purity as yours, learn of him that it isyours.
You are invulnerable because you are guiltless. You can hold on to the past only through guilt. For guilt establishes that you will be punished for what you have done, and thus depends on one-dimensional time, proceeding from past to future. No one who believes this can understand what ‘always’ means, and therefore guilt must deprive you of the appreciation of eternity. You are immortal because you are eternal, and ‘always’ must be now. Guilt, then, is a way of holding past and future in your mind to ensure the ego’s continuity. For if what has been will be punished, the ego’s continuity is guaranteed. Yet the guarantee of your continuity is God’s, not the ego’s. And immortality is the opposite of time, for time passes away, while immortality is constant.
Accepting the Atonement teaches you what immortality is, for by accepting your guiltlessness you learn that the past has never been, and so the future is needless and will not be. The future, in time, is always associated with expiation, and only guilt could induce a sense of a need for expiation. Accepting the guiltlessness of the Son of God as yours is therefore God’s way of reminding you of His Son, and what he is in truth. For God has never condemned His Son, and being guiltless he is eternal.
You cannot dispel guilt by making it real, and then atoning for it. This is the ego’s plan, which it offers instead of dispelling it. The ego believes in atonement through attack, being fully committed to the insane notion that attack is salvation. And you who cherish guilt must also believe it, for how else but by identifying with the ego could you hold dear what you do not want?
The ego teaches you to attack yourself because you are guilty, and this must increase the guilt, for guilt is the result of attack. In the ego’s teaching, then, there is no escape from guilt. For attack makes guilt real, and if it is real there is no way to overcome it. The Holy Spirit dispels it simply through the calm recognition that it has never been. As He looks upon the guiltless Son of God, He knows that this is true. And being true for you, you cannot attack yourself, for without guilt attack is impossible. You, then, are saved because God’s Son is guiltless. And being wholly pure, you are invulnerable.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 5
God’s peace and joy are mine.
God’s peace and joy are yours. Today we will accept them, knowing they belong to us. And we will try to understand these gifts increase as we receive them. They are not like to the gifts the world can give, in which the giver loses as he gives the gift; the taker is the richer by his loss. Such are not gifts, but bargains made with guilt. The truly given gift entails no loss. It is impossible that one can gain because another loses. This implies a limit and an insufficiency.
No gift is given thus. Such “gifts” are but a bid for a more valuable return; a loan with interest to be paid in full; a temporary lending, meant to be a pledge of debt to be repaid with more than was received by him who took the gift. This strange distortion of what giving means pervades all levels of the world you see. It strips all meaning from the gifts you give, and leaves you nothing in the ones you take.
A major learning goal this course has set is to reverse your view of giving, so you can receive. For giving has become a source of fear, and so you would avoid the only means by which you can receive. Accept God’s peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift. God’s gifts will never lessen when they are given away. They but increase thereby.
As Heaven’s peace and joy intensify when you accept them as God’s gift to you, so does the joy of your Creator grow when you accept His joy and peace as yours. True giving is creation. It extends the limitless to the unlimited, eternity to timelessness, and love unto itself. It adds to all that is complete already, not in simple terms of adding more, for that implies that it was less before. It adds by letting what cannot contain itself fulfill its aim of giving everything it has away, securing it forever for itself.
Today accept God’s peace and joy as yours. Let Him complete Himself as He defines completion. You will understand that what completes Him must complete His Son as well. He cannot give through loss. No more can you. Receive His gift of joy and peace today, and He will thank you for your gift to Him.
Today our practice periods will start a little differently. Begin today by thinking of those brothers who have been denied by you the peace and joy that are their right under the equal laws of God. Here you denied them to yourself. And here you must return to claim them as your own.
Think of your “enemies” a little while, and tell each one, as he occurs to you:
My brother, peace and joy I offer you,
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.
Thus you prepare yourself to recognize God’s gifts to you, and let your mind be free of all that would prevent success today. Now are you ready to accept the gift of peace and joy that God has given you. Now are you ready to experience the joy and peace you have denied yourself. Now you can say, “God’s peace and joy are mine,” for you have given what you would receive.
You must succeed today, if you prepare your mind as we suggest. For you have let all bars to peace and joy be lifted up, and what is yours can come to you at last. So tell yourself, “God’s peace and joy are mine,” and close your eyes a while, and let His Voice assure you that the words you speak are true.
Spend your five minutes thus with Him each time you can today, but do not think that less is worthless when you cannot give Him more. At least remember hourly to say the words which call to Him to give you what He wills to give, and wills you to receive. Determine not to interfere today with what He wills. And if a brother seems to tempt you to deny God’s gift to him, see it as but another chance to let yourself receive the gifts of God as yours. Then bless your brother thankfully, and say:
My brother, peace and joy I offer you,
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #17: I heard that in the real world the separation is seen, but separate interests are not. Is that true? What does that actually mean? Which came first the separation or the guilt? (I imagine the separation) Can the guilt be undone without undoing the separation or are they all tied together? You see I’d quite like to get rid of the guilt…and seeing my brothers interests as my own sounds good since it ends the terrible sense of conflict and competition…but losing my individuality does not feel like a price I am willing to pay. I would rather be a non-guilty non-conflicted non-competitive, non-frightened, happy, individual. Is that possible?
A: First, you are correct in concluding that the separation came before guilt — guilt is simply the psychological experience of sin — the feeling that results from being sinful.
Most students reach this same impasse that you have described. What you are feeling is quite normal and understandable, given the strength of our identification with our existence as specific individuals. For the most part, we know no other way of being and find it quite difficult — to put it mildly — to integrate Jesus’ teaching that this identity is a replacement for our true Identity as God created us. So Jesus emphasizes throughout the Course, that this is a gradual, gentle process, and we can take as long as we would like to complete it with him. He comforts us by saying: “Do not fear that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality” (T.16.VI.8:1), because he knows well that we are terrified of letting go of this identity.
As we choose to forgive more and more — to let go of grievances — we will feel better about ourselves, and therefore we will want to do that more and more. And as that process continues, we will begin to identify more and more with Jesus’ way of thinking and approaching our lives, which means that our point of reference for our lives will gradually shift from simply having our needs met to realizing that we all share a common interest, both in our wrong minds and in our right minds. As we become less and less preoccupied with using the world and other people to meet our needs — i.e., as we see the purpose of our lives differently — our self-concept will begin to shift, without our even having focused directly on that.
When we become totally identified with Jesus’ way of thinking, our only attraction will be to his love. And when all of our thinking and perceptions flow from that love, our sense of individuality will be meaningful only to the extent that it can be a means of extending Jesus’ healing love to other minds that are calling out for it. That is the state of mind known as “the real world.” It is the natural outcome of the practice of forgiveness. So when we reach that advanced stage, we will no longer be thinking of ourselves as persons with needs and goals that have to be fulfilled. We will perceive from a vantage point “above the battleground” only people who are calling out for love, not knowing they are simply figures in a dream that they themselves are dreaming.