ACIM Text Reading for May 11
Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World
VII. Attainment of the Real World
Sit quietly and look upon the world you see, and tell yourself: ‘The real world is not like this. It has no buildings and there are no streets where people walk alone and separate. There are no stores where people buy an endless list of things they do not need. It is not lit with artificial light, and night comes not upon it. There is no day that brightens and grows dim. There is no loss. Nothing is there but shines, and shines forever’.
The world you see must be denied, for sight of it is costing you a different kind of vision. You cannot see both worlds, for each of them involves a different kind of seeing, and depends on what you cherish. The sight of one is possible because you have denied the other. Both are not true, yet either one will seem as real to you as the amount to which you hold it dear. And yet their power is not the same, because their real attraction to you is unequal.
You do not really want the world you see, for it has disappointed you since time began. The homes you built have never sheltered you. The roads you made have led you nowhere, and no city that you built has withstood the crumbling assault of time. Nothing you made but has the mark of death upon it. Hold it not dear, for it is old and tired and ready to return to dust even as you made it. This aching world has not the power to touch the living world at all. You could not give it that, and so although you turn in sadness from it, you cannot find in it the road that leads away from it into another world.
Yet the real world has the power to touch you even here, because you love it. And what you call with love will come to you. Love always answers, being unable to deny a call for help, or not to hear the cries of pain that rise to it from every part of this strange world you made but do not want. All that you need to give this world away in glad exchange for what you did not make is willingness to learn the one you made is false.
You have been wrong about the world because you have misjudged yourself. From such a twisted reference point, what could you see? All seeing starts with the perceiver, who judges what is true and what is false. And what he judges false he does not see. You who would judge reality cannot see it, for whenever judgement enters reality has slipped away. The out of mind is out of sight, because what is denied is there but is not recognised. Christ is still there, although you know Him not. His Being does not depend upon your recognition. He lives within you in the quiet present, and waits for you to leave the past behind and enter into the world He holds out to you in love.
No one in this distracted world but has seen some glimpses of the other world about him. Yet while he still lays value on his own, he will deny the vision of the other, maintaining that he loves what he loves not, and following not the road that love points out. Love leads so gladly! As you follow Him, you will rejoice that you have found His company, and learned of Him the joyful journey home. You wait but for yourself. To give this sad world over and exchange your errors for the peace of God is but your will. And Christ will always offer you the Will of God, in recognition that you share it with Him.
It is God’s Will that nothing touch His Son except Himself, and nothing else comes nigh unto him. He is as safe from pain as God Himself, Who watches over him in everything. The world about him shines with love because God placed him in Himself where pain is not, and love surrounds him without end or flaw. Disturbance of his peace can never be. In perfect sanity he looks on love, for it is all about him and within him. He must deny the world of pain the instant he perceives the arms of love around him. And from this point of safety he looks quietly about him and recognises that the world is one with him.
The peace of God passeth your understanding only in the past. Yet here it is, and you can understand it now. God loves His Son forever, and His Son returns his Father’s Love forever. The real world is the way that leads you to remembrance of the one thing that is wholly true and wholly yours. For all else you have lent yourself in time, and it will fade. But this one thing is always yours, being the gift of God unto His Son. Your one reality was given you, and by it God created you as one with Him.
You will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it. Your first exchange of what you made for what you want is the exchange of nightmares for the happy dreams of love. In these lie your true perceptions, for the Holy Spirit corrects the world of dreams, where all perception is. Knowledge needs no correction. Yet the dreams of love lead unto knowledge. In them you see nothing fearful, and because of this they are the welcome that you offer knowledge. Love waits on welcome, not on time, and the real world is but your welcome of what always was. Therefore the call of joy is in it, and your glad response is your awakening to what you have not lost.
Praise, then, the Father for the perfect sanity of His most holy Son. Your Father knoweth that you have need of nothing. In Heaven this is so, for what could you need in eternity? In your world you do need things. It is a world of scarcity in which you find yourselfbecause you are lacking. Yet can you find yourself in such a world? Without the Holy Spirit the answer would be no. Yet because of Him the answer is a joyous yes! As mediator between the two worlds, He knows what you have need of and what will not hurt you. Ownership is a dangerous concept if it is left to you. The ego wants to have things for salvation, for possession is its law. Possession for its own sake is the ego’s fundamental creed, a basic cornerstone in the churches it builds to itself. And at its altar it demands you lay all of the things it bids you get, leaving you no joy in them.
Everything the ego tells you that you need will hurt you. For although the ego urges you again and again to get, it leaves you nothing, for what you get it will demand of you. And even from the very hands that grasped it, it will be wrenched and hurled into the dust. For where the ego sees salvation it sees separation, and so you lose whatever you have gotten in its name. Therefore ask not of yourself what you need, for you do not know, and your advice to yourself will hurt you. For what you think you need will merely serve to tighten up your world against the light, and render you unwilling to question the value that this world can really hold for you.
Only the Holy Spirit knows what you need. For He will give you all things that do not block the way to light. And what else could you need? In time, He gives you all the things that you need have, and will renew them as long as you have need of them. He will take nothing from you as long as you have any need of it. And yet He knows that everything you need is temporary, and will but last until you step aside from all your needs and realise that all of them have been fulfilled. Therefore He has no investment in the things that He supplies, except to make certain that you will not use them on behalf of lingering in time. He knows that you are not at home there, and He wills no delay to wait upon your joyous homecoming.
Leave, then, your needs to Him. He will supply them with no emphasis at all upon them. What comes to you of Him comes safely, for He will ensure it never can become a dark spot, hidden in your mind and kept to hurt you. Under His guidance you will travel light and journey lightly, for His sight is ever on the journey’s end, which is His goal. God’s Son is not a traveller through outer worlds. However holy his perception may become, no world outside himself holds his inheritance. Within himself he has no needs, for light needs nothing but to shine in peace, and from itself to let the rays extend in quiet to infinity.
Whenever you are tempted to undertake a useless journey that would lead away from light, remember what you really want, and say:
Then follow Him in joy, with faith that He will lead you safely through all dangers to your peace of mind this world may set before you. Kneel not before the altars to sacrifice, and seek not what you will surely lose. Content yourself with what you will as surely keep, and be not restless, for you undertake a quiet journey to the peace of God, where He would have you be in quietness.
In me you have already overcome every temptation that would hold you back. We walk together on the way to quietness that is the gift of God. Hold me dear, for what except your brothers can you need? We will restore to you the peace of mind that we must find together. The Holy Spirit will teach you to awaken unto us and to yourself. This is the only real need to be fulfilled in time. Salvation from the world lies only here. My peace I give you. Take it of me in glad exchange for all the world has offered but to take away. And we will spread it like a veil of light across the world’s sad face, in which we hide our brothers from the world, and it from them.
We cannot sing redemption’s hymn alone. My task is not completed until I have lifted every voice with mine. And yet it is not mine, for as it is my gift to you, so was it the Father’s gift to me, given me through His Spirit. The sound of it will banish sorrow from the mind of God’s most holy Son, where it cannot abide. Healing in time is needed, for joy cannot establish its eternal reign where sorrow dwells. You dwell not here, but in eternity. You travel but in dreams, while safe at home. Give thanks to every part of you that you have taught how to remember you. Thus does the Son of God give thanks unto his Father for his purity.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 11
Our next review begins today. We will review two recent lessons every day for ten successive days of practicing. We will observe a special format for these practice periods, that you are urged to follow just as closely as you can.
We understand, of course, that it may be impossible for you to undertake what is suggested here as optimal each day and every hour of the day. Learning will not be hampered when you miss a practice period because it is impossible at the appointed time. Nor is it necessary that you make excessive efforts to be sure that you catch up in terms of numbers. Rituals are not our aim, and would defeat our goal.
But learning will be hampered when you skip a practice period because you are unwilling to devote the time to it that you are asked to give. Do not deceive yourself in this. Unwillingness can be most carefully concealed behind a cloak of situations you cannot control. Learn to distinguish situations that are poorly suited to your practicing from those that you establish to uphold a camouflage for your unwillingness.
Those practice periods that you have lost because you did not want to do them, for whatever reason, should be done as soon as you have changed your mind about your goal. You are unwilling to cooperate in practicing salvation only if it interferes with goals you hold more dear. When you withdraw the value given them, allow your practice periods to be replacements for your litanies to them. They gave you nothing. But your practicing can offer everything to you. And so accept their offering and be at peace.
The format you should use for these reviews is this: Devote five minutes twice a day, or longer if you would prefer it, to considering the thoughts that are assigned. Read over the ideas and comments that are written down for each day’s exercise. And then begin to think about them, while letting your mind relate them to your needs, your seeming problems and all your concerns.
Place the ideas within your mind, and let it use them as it chooses. Give it faith that it will use them wisely, being helped in its decisions by the One Who gave the thoughts to you. What can you trust but what is in your mind? Have faith, in these reviews, the means the Holy Spirit uses will not fail. The wisdom of your mind will come to your assistance. Give direction at the outset; then lean back in quiet faith, and let the mind employ the thoughts you gave as they were given you for it to use.
You have been given them in perfect trust; in perfect confidence that you would use them well; in perfect faith that you would see their messages and use them for yourself. Offer them to your mind in that same trust and confidence and faith. It will not fail. It is the Holy Spirit’s chosen means for your salvation. Since it has His trust, His means must surely merit yours as well.
We emphasize the benefits to you if you devote the first five minutes of the day to your reviews, and also give the last five minutes of your waking day to them. If this cannot be done, at least try to divide them so you undertake one in the morning, and the other in the hour just before you go to sleep.
The exercises to be done throughout the day are equally important, and perhaps of even greater value. You have been inclined to practice only at appointed times, and then go on your way to other things, without applying what you learned to them. As a result, you have gained little reinforcement, and have not given your learning a fair chance to prove how great are its potential gifts to you. Here is another chance to use it well.
In these reviews, we stress the need to let your learning not lie idly by between your longer practice periods. Attempt to give your daily two ideas a brief but serious review each hour. Use one on the hour, and the other one a half an hour later. You need not give more than just a moment to each one. Repeat it, and allow your mind to rest a little time in silence and in peace. Then turn to other things, but try to keep the thought with you, and let it serve to help you keep your peace throughout the day as well.
If you are shaken, think of it again. These practice periods are planned to help you form the habit of applying what you learn each day to everything you do. Do not repeat the thought and lay it down. Its usefulness is limitless to you. And it is meant to serve you in all ways, all times and places, and whenever you need help of any kind. Try, then, to take it with you in the business of the day and make it holy, worthy of God’s Son, acceptable to God and to your Self.
Each day’s review assignments will conclude with a restatement of the thought to use each hour, and the one to be applied on each half hour as well. Forget them not. This second chance with each of these ideas will bring such large advances that we come from these reviews with learning gains so great we will continue on more solid ground, with firmer footsteps and with stronger faith.
Do not forget how little you have learned.
Do not forget how much you can learn now.
Do not forget your Father’s need of you,
As you review these thoughts He gave to you.
For morning and evening review:
(91) Miracles are seen in light.
I cannot see in darkness. Let the light of holiness and
truth light up my mind, and let me see the innocence
(92) Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.
I see through strength, the gift of God to me.
My weakness is the dark His gift dispels, by giving
me His strength to take its place.
On the hour:
Miracles are seen in light.
On the half hour:
Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #168: I have tremendous guilt over a relationship with a loved one who passed away recently. I feel I need his forgiveness. I know A Course in Miracles says that he has “gone” nowhere. But for all practical purposes, in this world that I perceive, I will never see him again. At times, the thought of this is unbearable. How do I deal with this? Also, his death brought up all kinds of guilt and self-hatred that doesn’t even seem to be related to him. Why is this?
A: Our experience of the grieving process is indeed a complex one, whether or not one is a student of the Course — perhaps especially if one is a student of the Course. The process brings on the feelings you describe, and more, because death is one of the ego’s most important defenses — if not the most important defense. It inevitably brings up feelings, all of which are related to what we have projected onto our loved ones. A deep sense of loss is normal and it is very important to be gentle with yourself in the process of dealing with your loss. Denying your feelings, or using the principles of the Course to invalidate them, will not help, and may hinder your progress in accepting the loss of your loved one. At the same time, much of what the Course teaches is applicable to the situation you describe and can be very helpful. Since you are in the midst of experiencing grief at this time it may be wise to review these considerations at a slow pace, coming to them when you feel you need to see beyond your sense of loss, setting them aside for the times when your normal feelings can rise.
One of the most comforting aspects of the forgiveness that the Course teaches is that we never lose the opportunity to forgive. That is because what we perceive as an unforgiveness in a relationship is actually a projection of some form of unforgiveness of ourselves, since “All attack is Self attack”(T.10.II.5:1). Therefore, it is never too late for the forgiveness process, and it does not matter that the person we seem to need forgiveness from is no longer with us. Whatever the specific circumstances in the relationship may have been, it is the judgment that some “sin” was committed against the other that needs to be viewed differently. The Course tells us that through our special relationships we seek to assuage the guilt and self-hatred we feel for having separated from God. These relationships are based on the projection of this guilt and self-hatred, no matter how this is camouflaged. What seems to be vicious hatred perpetrated against another in some form of attack, is only a projected version of our own self-hatred. That is all it ever is. This self- hatred was underlying the interaction in the relationship in the first place. The attacks, seemingly directed outward toward others, are attacks on ourselves. This explains why you would experience the guilt and self-hatred directly, now that your loved one is no longer with you. For now they are being projected onto yourself. What the Course is teaches us is that an attack directed toward ourselves or toward another does not matter, since every part of the Sonship including ourselves remains inviolate regardless of our attacks. “The betrayal of the Son of God lies only in illusions, and all his “sins” are but his own imagining. His reality is forever sinless. He need not be forgiven but awakened. In his dreams he has betrayed himself, his brothers and his God. Yet what is done in dreams has not been really done” (T.17.I.1:1,2,3,4,5). The only thing remaining is to forgive yourself for thinking that you could have truly hurt your loved one, or that your feelings of self-hatred in any way diminish the truth about yourself. They have no effect. The mistake is to believe the ego’s interpretation — you have done something sinful that is deserving of punishment, you should feel guilty about it, and your self-hatred is justified because of it. When the Course tells us “to forgive the Son of God for what he did not do” (T.17.III.1:5), it refers to ourselves, as well as to our brothers.
Again, it is very normal to miss the person you love, and the Course is very clear that we should not deny our feelings. Even after death, the Holy Spirit can transform a special relationship into a holy relationship. We need only be willing to recognize the unholy self interest we acted out in the relationship, forgive ourselves for it, and allow the Holy Spirit to reinterpret the relationship in our minds. The relationship can thus be healed. It is this healing that will alleviate the sense of loss and grief. This may be easier to practice than to try to convince yourself that death does not exist, when in fact you are feeling intense loss. It is the thought of separation that causes pain in our relationships, not the actual physical presence or absence of another person. Forgiveness of yourself for what you did not do to your brother, and acceptance of both his and your sinlessness, brings the peace that will replace your grief and loss.
Q #169: In the past, I have had problems in gaining employment. I used to think life was too short to work, or money is not worth the time involved. I came to realize my excuses had to do with my inferiority complexes, shyness, inequality, etc., and I could not handle the expectations of an employer or social pressure within the workplace. Although I have made great advances with A Course in Miracles, and with forgiveness, I can’t seem to distinguish between ego or Holy Spirit with regard to employment. It seems that there is no point in working, and I could devote my time to forgiveness. Or maybe by working I could learn my Biggest lesson in forgiveness. Which is ego? Which is Holy Spirit?
A: Discerning between the ego and the Holy Spirit can be a daunting task at times, and yet one of the most important, if not the most important, to master in your study of A Course in Miracles. Until such time comes as your certainty that all your thoughts and actions come from the Holy Spirit (the real world), the best one can do is do the best one can do, and then observe the “fruits of one’s labor,” or as the Course would call it, “The Test of Truth”: “You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true. If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson, and not your own” (T.14.XI.5:1,2).
While you have experienced forgiveness in various areas of your life, it seems incomplete with regard to employment due in part to your seeming ambivalence toward it. Before you can become aware of what the Holy Spirit would have you do (or not do), you must be willing to hide nothing: “You will not be able to accept perfect communication as long as you would hide it from yourself. For what you would hide is hidden from you. In your practice, then, try only to be vigilant against deception, and seek not to protect the thoughts you would keep to yourself. Let the Holy Spirit’s purity shine them away, and bring all your awareness to the readiness for purity He offers you.” (T.15.IV.9:6,7,8,9). In other words, examine all of the thoughts you hold in your mind regarding employment. Make a list of “good and bad,” “for and against” — just let whatever is there come into your conscious awareness. Once all of the “chatter” about this topic has been voiced, then you are more able to hear the Voice which will guide you. You will find that your focus on the answer in form will recede as the content of being with or without guilt becomes more important. An exercise such as mentioned above will help you practice shifting your focus from the form to the content, from the effect to the cause. And remember too the important lesson Jesus teaches us about purpose: “In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is “What do I want to come of this? What is it <for?”> The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this which will determine the outcome. In the ego’s procedure this is reversed. The situation becomes the determiner of the outcome, which can be anything. The reason for this disorganized approach is evident. The ego does not know what it wants to come of the situation. It is aware of what it does not want, but only that. It has no positive goal at all” (T.17.VI.2). But now you have a definite goal, and by making room within your mind to hear the gentle guidance of the Holy Spirit, you are ensured of reaching that goal.