ACIM Text Reading for May 6
Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World
II. The Guiltless Son of God
The ultimate purpose of projection is always to get rid of guilt. Yet, characteristically, the ego attempts to get rid of guilt from its viewpoint only, for much as the ego wants to retain guilt you find it intolerable, since guilt stands in the way of your remembering God, Whose pull is so strong that you cannot resist it. On this issue, then, the deepest split of all occurs, for if you are to retain guilt, as the ego insists, you cannot be you. Only by persuading you that it is you could the ego possibly induce you to project guilt, and thereby keep it in your mind.
Yet consider how strange a solution the ego’s arrangement is. You project guilt to get rid of it, but you are actually merely concealing it. You do experience the guilt, but you have no idea why. On the contrary, you associate it with a weird assortment of ‘ego ideals’, which the ego claims you have failed. Yet you have no idea that you are failing the Son of God by seeing him as guilty. Believing you are no longer you, you do not realise that you are failing yourself.
The darkest of your hidden cornerstones holds your belief in guilt from your awareness. For in that dark and secret place is the realisation that you have betrayed God’s Son by condemning him to death. You do not even suspect this murderous but insane idea lies hidden there, for the ego’s destructive urge is so intense that nothing short of the crucifixion of God’s Son can ultimately satisfy it. It does not know who the Son of God is because it is blind. Yet let it perceive guiltlessness anywhere, and it will try to destroy it because it is afraid.
Much of the ego’s strange behaviour is directly attributable to its definition of guilt. To the ego, the guiltless are guilty. Those who do not attack are its ‘enemies’ because, by not valuing its interpretation of salvation, they are in an excellent position to let it go. They have approached the darkest and deepest cornerstone in the ego’s foundation, and while the ego can withstand your raising all else to question, it guards this one secret with its life, for its existence depends on keeping this secret. So it is this secret that we must look upon, for the ego cannot protect you against truth, and in its presence the ego is dispelled.
In the calm light of truth, let us recognise that you believe you have crucified God’s Son. You have not admitted to this ‘terrible’ secret because you would still wish to crucify him if you could find him. Yet the wish has hidden him from you because it is very fearful, and so you are afraid to find him. You have handled this wish to kill yourself by not knowing who you are, and identifying with something else. You have projected guilt blindly and indiscriminately, but you have not uncovered its source. For the ego does want to kill you, and if you identify with it you must believe its goal is yours.
I have said that the crucifixion is the symbol of the ego. When it was confronted with the real guiltlessness of God’s Son it did attempt to kill him, and the reason it gave was that guiltlessness is blasphemous to God. To the ego, the ego is God, and guiltlessness must be interpreted as the final guilt that fully justifies murder. You do not yet understand that any fear you may experience in connection with this course stems ultimately from this interpretation, but if you will consider your reactions to it you will become increasingly convinced that this is so.
This course has explicitly stated that its goal for you is happiness and peace. Yet you are afraid of it. You have been told again and again that it will set you free, yet you sometimes react as if it is trying to imprison you. You often dismiss it more readily than you dismiss the ego’s thought system. To some extent, then, you must believe that by not learning the course you are protecting yourself. And you do not realise that it is only your guiltlessness that can protect you.
The Atonement has always been interpreted as the release from guilt, and this is correct if it is understood. Yet even when I interpret it for you, you may reject it and do not accept it for yourself. You have perhaps recognised the futility of the ego and its offerings, but though you do not want them, you may not yet look upon the alternative with gladness. In the extreme, you are afraid of redemption and you believe it will kill you. Make no mistake about the depth of this fear. For you believe that, in the presence of truth you might turn on yourself and destroy yourself.
Little child, this is not so. Your ‘guilty secret’ is nothing, and if you will but bring it to the light, the Light will dispel it. And then no dark cloud will remain between you and the remembrance of your Father, for you will remember His guiltless Son, who did not die because he is immortal. And you will see that you were redeemed with him, and have never been separated from him. In this understanding lies your remembering, for it is the recognition of love without fear. There will be great joy in Heaven on your homecoming, and the joy will be yours. For the redeemed son of man is the guiltless Son of God, and to recognise him is your redemption.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 6
Let me be still and listen to the truth.
If you will lay aside the ego’s voice, however loudly it may seem to call; if you will not accept its petty gifts that give you nothing that you really want; if you will listen with an open mind, that has not told you what salvation is; then you will hear the mighty Voice of truth, quiet in power, strong in stillness, and completely certain in Its messages.
Listen, and hear your Father speak to you through His appointed Voice, which silences the thunder of the meaningless, and shows the way to peace to those who cannot see. Be still today and listen to the truth. Be not deceived by voices of the dead, which tell you they have found the source of life and offer it to you for your belief. Attend them not, but listen to the truth.
Be not afraid today to circumvent the voices of the world. Walk lightly past their meaningless persuasion. Hear them not. Be still today and listen to the truth. Go past all things which do not speak of Him Who holds your happiness within His Hand, held out to you in welcome and in love. Hear only Him today, and do not wait to reach Him longer. Hear one Voice today.
Today the promise of God’s Word is kept. Hear and be silent. He would speak to you. He comes with miracles a thousand times as happy and as wonderful as those you ever dreamed or wished for in your dreams. His miracles are true. They will not fade when dreaming ends. They end the dream instead; and last forever, for they come from God to His dear Son, whose other name is you. Prepare yourself for miracles today. Today allow your Father’s ancient pledge to you and all your brothers to be kept.
Hear Him today, and listen to the Word which lifts the veil that lies upon the earth, and wakes all those who sleep and cannot see. God calls to them through you. He needs your voice to speak to them, for who could reach God’s Son except his Father, calling through your Self? Hear Him today, and offer Him your voice to speak to all the multitude who wait to hear the Word that He will speak today.
Be ready for salvation. It is here, and will today be given unto you. And you will learn your function from the One Who chose it in your Father’s Name for you. Listen today, and you will hear a Voice which will resound throughout the world through you. The bringer of all miracles has need that you receive them first, and thus become the joyous giver of what you received.
Thus does salvation start and thus it ends; when everything is yours and everything is given away, it will remain with you forever. And the lesson has been learned. Today we practice giving, not the way you understand it now, but as it is. Each hour’s exercises should begin with this request for your enlightenment:
I will be still and listen to the truth.
What does it mean to give and to receive?
Ask and expect an answer. Your request is one whose answer has been waiting long to be received by you. It will begin the ministry for which you came, and which will free the world from thinking giving is a way to lose. And so the world becomes ready to understand and to receive.
Be still and listen to the truth today. For each five minutes spent in listening, a thousand minds are opened to the truth and they will hear the holy Word you hear. And when the hour is past, you will again release a thousand more who pause to ask that truth be given them, along with you.
Today the holy Word of God is kept through your receiving it to give away, so you can teach the world what giving means by listening and learning it of Him. Do not forget today to reinforce your choice to hear and to receive the Word by this reminder, given to yourself as often as is possible today:
Let me be still and listen to the truth.
I am the messenger of God today,
My voice is His, to give what I receive.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: As real as it seems to us, our unique individual consciousness is in fact part of the ego’s bag of illusions. In fact, consciousness is the first trick the ego pulled out of that illusory bag. A Course in Miracles tells us early in the text that “consciousness, the level of perception” is in fact within the illusory ego realm, and that it is “the first split introduced into the mind after the separation.” If you think of the fact that perception necessarily involves a self that is perceiving and an other that is perceived, you may be able to understand why the Course says that consciousness necessarily involves a separated mind and so can’t be real. In Heaven, the realm of knowledge or One-mindedness, on the other hand, there is no separation and so there can be no perception, that is, no self to perceive an other (T.3.IV.1,2,3).
Near the end of the book, the Course refers to the illusory nature of individual consciousness, observing that “in this world, because the mind is split, the Sons of God appear to be separate. Nor do their minds seem to be joined. In this illusory state, the concept of an ‘individual mind’ seems to be meaningful” (C.1.2:1,2,3). And in case we have still not gotten the point, it adds that “consciousness has levels and awareness can shift quite dramatically, but it cannot transcend the perceptual realm. At its highest it becomes aware of the real world [totally healed perception], and can be trained to do so increasingly. Yet the very fact that it has levels and can be trained demonstrates that it cannot reach knowledge” (C.1.7:4,5,6).
So consciousness will be left behind, or transcended, when our mind is completely healed of the mistaken thought of separation and returns to the realm of knowledge or One-mindedness. It is this seeming loss of individual, unique consciousness that is at the root of all the fear we ultimately associate with the practice of forgiveness. Yet we will never be called upon to relinquish this false self and will let it go only when it no longer has any value or meaning for us. So the ego’s fear of annihilation is just one further trick it pulls from its illusory bag to keep us rooted in its thought system.
For further discussions of mind and consciousness, you may wish to review Questions #27, 32, and 65.
Q #128: I have struggled with clinical depression for the last five years or so. When I do not take medication I become very tired and am not able to concentrate. I find this condition difficult to live with. However, when I do take the medication I am able to concentrate and I do not feel tired. My question is: A Course in Miracles says that we are not bodies. Our bodies are projections made by the ego. If there is something wrong with the body, the ego caused it. What do I have to do to heal this depression on a spiritual level so that I will not have to take this medication anymore?
A: Forgive. That’s all you have to do.
In case that answer seems too flip, a few more words may be helpful. Everything we do here in the world to address our bodily limits and needs is what the Course calls magic (for a further discussion of magic, in the context of addictions and 12-step programs, see Question #57). It’s all magic because we are not addressing the real problem and source of all of our symptoms, including experiencing ourselves as a body. The real problem is always and only the guilt in our ego mind. And the only way to address that problem is through practicing forgiveness, which means learning, with the help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit, not to judge the projections of our ego so that they can be withdrawn and healed in the mind where they originated.
Now there may be a stigma associated in your mind with taking medication for depression and that may in fact be where you want to begin with your forgiveness process. The fact is, eating and sleeping are also forms of magic we use to cope with what otherwise would be unpleasant or dysfunctional states. But most of us do not ask what we would have to do to heal our hunger or weariness on a spiritual level so that we would no longer need to take food or to sleep anymore. And the Course tells us that all illusions are the same — there is no hierarchy in reality (T.26.VII.6).So you may first want to learn to forgive yourself for your limitations, that is, learn not to judge yourself for the fact that you perceive yourself as a body, with all the needs that accompany seeing yourself in a bodily state, including taking medication for depression. Jesus gently reminds us, “Do not despair, then, because of limitations. It is your function to escape from them, but not to be without them” (M.26.4:1,2).
Then, rather than attempting to find a spiritual means to wean yourself from your antidepressant, it may be much more beneficial to ask for help in getting in touch with the underlying guilt that is triggering the symptoms of depression, so that can be healed. All symptoms are simply signals that we still want the separation and all its ramifications to be real. But that desire has a cost and that cost is what we want to begin to get more in touch with. Seeing ourselves as eternally separate from love, with no way home, is the most depressing state we could possibly experience.
But the good news is that the separation is not really true. As we see the cost of believing in the separation — which includes depression over the perceived hopelessness of our present “reality” – – the desire for a different way of seeing will gradually grow within us, until that becomes all that we want. For we will have learned that the only place of real hope is in our mind, where the presence of love is always available to us to lead us back home.