ACIM Text Reading for May 7
Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World
III. The Fear of Redemption
You may wonder why it is so crucial that you look upon your hatred and realise its full extent. You may also think that it would be easy enough for the Holy Spirit to show it to you, and to dispel it without the need for you to raise it to awareness yourself. Yet there is one more obstacle you have interposed between yourself and the Atonement. We have said that no one will countenance fear if he recognises it. Yet in your disordered state of mind you are not afraid of fear. You do not like it, but it is not your desire to attack that really frightens you. You are not seriously disturbed by your hostility. You keep it hidden because you are more afraid of what it covers. You could look even upon the ego’s darkest cornerstone without fear if you did not believe that, without the ego, you would find within yourself something you fear even more. You are not really afraid of crucifixion. Your real terror is of redemption.
Under the ego’s dark foundation is the memory of God, and it is of this that you are really afraid. For this memory would instantly restore you to your proper place, and it is this place that you have sought to leave. Your fear of attack is nothing compared to your fear of love. You would be willing to look even upon your savage wish to kill God’s Son, if you did not believe that it saves you from love. For this wish caused the separation, and you have protected it because you do not want the separation healed. You realise that, by removing the dark cloud that obscures it, your love for your Father would impel you to answer His call and leap into Heaven. You believe that attack is salvation because it would prevent you from this. For still deeper than the ego’s foundation, and much stronger than it will ever be, is your intense and burning love of God, and His for you. This is what you really want to hide.
In honesty, is it not harder for you to say ‘I love’ than ‘I hate’? You associate love with weakness and hatred with strength, and your own real power seems to you as your real weakness. For you could not control your joyous response to the call of love if you heard it, and the whole world you thought you made would vanish. The Holy Spirit, then, seems to be attacking your fortress, for you would shut out God, and He does not will to be excluded.
You have built your whole insane belief system because you think you would be helpless in God’s Presence, and you would save yourself from His Love because you think it would crush you into nothingness. You are afraid it would sweep you away from yourself and make you little, because you believe that magnitude lies in defiance, and that attack is grandeur. You think you have made a world God would destroy; and by loving Him, which you do, you would throw this world away, which you would. Therefore, you have used the world to cover your love, and the deeper you go into the blackness of the ego’s foundation, the closer you come to the Love that is hidden there. And it is this that frightens you.
You can accept insanity because you made it, but you cannot accept love because you did not. You would rather be a slave of the crucifixion than a Son of God in redemption. Your individual death seems more valuable than your living oneness, for what is given you is not so dear as what you made. You are more afraid of God than of the ego, and love cannot enter where it is not welcome. But hatred can, for it enters of its own volition and cares not for yours.
You must look upon your illusions and not keep them hidden, because they do not rest on their own foundation. In concealment they appear to do so, and thus they seem to be self-sustained. This is the fundamental illusion on which the others rest. For beneath them, and concealed as long as they are hidden, is the loving mind that thought it made them in anger. And the pain in this mind is so apparent, when it is uncovered, that its need of healing cannot be denied. Not all the tricks and games you offer it can heal it, for here is the real crucifixion of God’s Son.
And yet he is not crucified. Here is both his pain and his healing, for the Holy Spirit’s vision is merciful and His remedy is quick. Do not hide suffering from His sight, but bring it gladly to Him. Lay before His eternal sanity all your hurt, and let Him heal you. Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from His Light, and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover. For He will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you and cleanse it of its littleness, restoring it to the magnitude of God.
Beneath all the grandiosity you hold so dear is your real call for help. For you call for love to your Father as your Father calls you to Himself. In that place which you have hidden, you will only to unite with the Father, in loving remembrance of Him. You will find this place of truth as you see it in your brothers, for though they may deceive themselves, like you they long for the grandeur that is in them. And perceiving it you will welcome it, and it will be yours. For grandeur is the right of God’s Son, and no illusions can satisfy him or save him from what he is. Only his love is real, and he will be content only with his reality.
Save him from his illusions that you may accept the magnitude of your Father in peace and joy. But exempt no one from your love, or you will be hiding a dark place in your mind where the Holy Spirit is not welcome. And thus you will exempt yourself from His healing power, for by not offering total love you will not be healed completely. Healing must be as complete as fear, for love cannot enter where there is one spot of fear to mar its welcome.
You who prefer separation to sanity cannot obtain it in your right mind. You were at peace until you asked for special favour. And God did not give it for the request was alien to Him, and you could not ask this of a Father Who truly loved His Son. Therefore you made of Him an unloving father, demanding of Him what only such a father could give. And the peace of God’s Son was shattered, for he no longer understood his Father. He feared what he had made, but still more did he fear his real Father, having attacked his own glorious equality with Him.
In peace he needed nothing and asked for nothing. In war he demanded everything and found nothing. For how could the gentleness of love respond to his demands, except by departing in peace and returning to the Father? If the Son did not wish to remain in peace, he could not remain at all. For a darkened mind cannot live in the light, and it must seek a place of darkness where it can believe it is where it is not. God did not allow this to happen. Yet you demanded that it happen, and therefore believed that it was so.
To ‘single out’ is to ‘make alone’, and thus make lonely. God did not do this to you. Could He set you apart, knowing that your peace lies in His Oneness? He denied you only your request for pain, for suffering is not of His creation. Having given you creation, He could not take it from you. He could but answer your insane request with a sane answer that would abide with you in your insanity. And this He did. No one who hears His answer but will give up insanity. For His answer is the reference point beyond illusions, from which you can look back on them and see them as insane. But seek this place and you will find it, for Love is in you and will lead you there.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 7
Truth will correct all errors in my mind.
What can correct illusions but the truth? And what are errors but illusions that remain unrecognized for what they are? Where truth has entered errors disappear. They merely vanish, leaving not a trace by which to be remembered. They are gone because, without belief, they have no life. And so they disappear to nothingness, returning whence they came. From dust to dust they come and go, for only truth remains.
Can you imagine what a state of mind without illusions is? How it would feel? Try to remember when there was a time,–perhaps a minute, maybe even less–when nothing came to interrupt your peace; when you were certain you were loved and safe. Then try to picture what it would be like to have that moment be extended to the end of time and to eternity. Then let the sense of quiet that you felt be multiplied a hundred times, and then be multiplied another hundred more.
And now you have a hint, not more than just the faintest intimation of the state your mind will rest in when the truth has come. Without illusions there could be no fear, no doubt and no attack. When truth has come all pain is over, for there is no room for transitory thoughts and dead ideas to linger in your mind. Truth occupies your mind completely, liberating you from all beliefs in the ephemeral. They have no place because the truth has come, and they are nowhere. They can not be found, for truth is everywhere forever, now.
When truth has come it does not stay a while, to disappear or change to something else. It does not shift and alter in its form, nor come and go and go and come again. It stays exactly as it always was, to be depended on in every need, and trusted with a perfect trust in all the seeming difficulties and the doubts that the appearances the world presents engender. They will merely blow away, when truth corrects the errors in your mind.
When truth has come it harbors in its wings the gift of perfect constancy, and love which does not falter in the face of pain, but looks beyond it, steadily and sure. Here is the gift of healing, for the truth needs no defense, and therefore no attack is possible. Illusions can be brought to truth to be corrected. But the truth stands far beyond illusions, and can not be brought to them to turn them into truth.
Truth does not come and go nor shift nor change, in this appearance now and then in that, evading capture and escaping grasp. It does not hide. It stands in open light, in obvious accessibility. It is impossible that anyone could seek it truly, and would not succeed. Today belongs to truth. Give truth its due, and it will give you yours. You were not meant to suffer and to die. Your Father wills these dreams be gone. Let truth correct them all.
We do not ask for what we do not have. We merely ask for what belongs to us, that we may recognize it as our own. Today we practice on the happy note of certainty that has been born of truth. The shaky and unsteady footsteps of illusion are not our approach today. We are as certain of success as we are sure we live and hope and breathe and think. We do not doubt we walk with truth today, and count on it to enter into all the exercises that we do this day.
Begin by asking Him Who goes with you upon this undertaking that He be in your awareness as you go with Him. You are not made of flesh and blood and bone, but were created by the selfsame Thought which gave the gift of life to Him as well. He is your Brother, and so like to you your Father knows that You are both the same. It is your Self you ask to go with you, and how could He be absent where you are?
Truth will correct all errors in your mind which tell you you could be apart from Him. You speak to Him today, and make your pledge to let His function be fulfilled through you. To share His function is to share His joy. His confidence is with you, as you say:
Truth will correct all errors in my mind,
And I will rest in Him Who is my Self.
Then let Him lead you gently to the truth, which will envelop you and give you peace so deep and tranquil that you will return to the familiar world reluctantly.
And yet you will be glad to look again upon this world. For you will bring with you the promise of the changes which the truth that goes with you will carry to the world. They will increase with every gift you give of five small minutes, and the errors that surround the world will be corrected as you let them be corrected in your mind.
Do not forget your function for today. Each time you tell yourself with confidence, “Truth will correct all errors in my mind,” you speak for all the world and Him Who would release the world, as He would set you free.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #129: I have been a student of A Course in Miracles for over 20 years, and in that time I have noticed that my active involvement waxes and wanes significantly. I find that my ego is once again getting the upper hand, and apart from some very useful self-insight, I’m more or less back to where I started. I sometimes wonder if my little willingness perhaps is a bit too little. I understand that our investment in our egos is far greater than we realize, but I sometimes get frustrated that after all these years my mind still wanders so easily after so much effort to train it. In the end, I’m still looking for even an inkling of the peace of God. Do you have any comments, or advice, or encouragement to help me (and perhaps other students like me) see this from a broader perspective, and maybe get back on track?
A: There are several thoughts that might help you “get back on track” and put your experience in a positive perspective. First of all, you are not alone in this experience, it is “normal,” and the process of forgiveness is difficult. It may not seem particularly comforting, but we are clearly told that we are learning impaired, and so we should not be surprised when we have difficulty in our Course practice. “You have learning handicaps in a very literal sense. There are areas in your learning skills that are so impaired that you can progress only under constant, clear-cut direction, provided by a Teacher Who can transcend your limited resources. He becomes your Resource because of yourself you cannot learn. The learning situation in which you placed yourself is impossible, and in this situation you clearly require a special Teacher and a special curriculum” (T.12.V.5:1,2,3,4). Please remember that this message applies to all students of the Course, and the obvious implication is that the training program the Course teaches is difficult for us. It is simple and clear, but it is not easy. The Course teaching ultimately leads to the undoing of everything we believe about everything, including, and especially, about ourselves. It is very understandable that we would be inconsistent, and even quite resistant, in applying its principles to our lives. As has been stated on many occasions, if the Course were easy we wouldn’t need it. It is designed by a very wise Teacher as a life-long study, with good reason. In the process, it is very important not to judge yourself for apparent “failures,” as this will certainly result in more guilt, and would accomplish the ego’s plan to defend itself against the learning of the Course.
It might be helpful to consider all the thoughts you have about the degree of your willingness, and your feelings of frustration, as typical ego ploys to keep you off track (or off course, if you’ll pardon the pun). If you think it would be helpful, you might introduce some structure into your study, either by using the guidelines in the Workbook Lessons, or setting aside a specific time of the day to read a passage of the Course. Sometimes it is helpful to make a practice of reviewing the day before going to bed — to identify the thoughts that caused any discomfort, or often stronger emotions. These thoughts and feelings represent the judgments that are making peace impossible. The review also seems to help keep us in tune with ourselves, and keep us more vigilant the next day. Any attempt is worth the effort, as it will rekindle the tiny spark of willingness.
Another important thing to remember is that our usual understanding of time does not apply to our practice of the Course. Since all there is is the present moment in which I choose either to listen to the Holy Spirit or the ego, in one sense we are always at the starting place. Furthermore, whenever we apply any of the Course teaching to our lives, or to our relationships, however “little” it may seem to be, time becomes irrelevant. It may be heartening to realize that whether 20 years, or 20 minutes have passed since the last practical application, the time lag has no effect on the efficacy of our learning. No doubt you are aware that the entire thought system of the ego can be undone in an instant. And when you make the mistake of turning again to the ego, it is possible to start over, free of judgment, and confident that One goes with you as you wax and wane, unconcerned with your detours or meanderings.
When the ego proffers its interpretation and evaluation of our progress it is helpful to remember that the Course does not qualify “little willingness.” No willingness is too little, and we are not equipped to judge our progress in the first place. We do well to remember: “Your little effort and small determination call on the power of the universe to help you, and God Himself will raise you from darkness into light. You are in accord with His Will. You cannot fail because your will is His” (W.pI.69.7:2,3,4).