ACIM Text Reading for May 14
Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World
X. Release from Guilt
You are accustomed to the notion that the mind can see the source of pain where it is not. The doubtful service of such displacement is to hide the real source of guilt, and keep from your awareness the full perception that it is insane. Displacement always is maintained by the illusion that the source of guilt, from which attention is diverted, must be true; and must be fearful, or you would not have displaced the guilt onto what you believed to be less fearful. You are therefore willing to look upon all kinds of ‘sources’, provided they are not the deeper source to which they bear no real relationship at all.
Insane ideas have no real relationships, for that is why they are insane. No real relationship can rest on guilt, or even hold one spot of it to mar its purity. For all relationships that guilt has touched are used but to avoid the person and the guilt. What strange relationships you have made for this strange purpose! And you forgot that real relationships are holy, and cannot be used by you at all. They are used only by the Holy Spirit, and it is that which makes them pure. If you displace your guilt upon them, the Holy Spirit cannot use them. For, by pre-empting for your own ends what you should have given Him, He cannot use it for your release. No one who would unite in any way with anyone for his individual salvation will find it in that strange relationship. It is not shared, and so it is not real.
In any union with a brother in which you seek to lay your guilt upon him, or share it with him or perceive his own, you will feel guilty. Nor will you find satisfaction and peace with him, because your union with him is not real. You will see guilt in that relationship because you put it there. It is inevitable that those who suffer guilt will attempt to displace it, because they do believe in it. Yet though they suffer, they will not look within and let it go. They cannot know they love, and cannot understand what loving is. Their main concern is to perceive the source of guilt outside themselves, beyond their own control.
When you maintain that you are guilty but the source of your guilt lies in the past, you are not looking inward. The past is not inyou. Your weird associations to it have no meaning in the present. Yet you let them stand between you and your brothers, with whom you find no real relationships at all. Can you expect to use your brothers as a means to ‘solve’ the past, and still to see them as they really are? Salvation is not found by those who use their brothers to resolve problems that are not there. You wanted not salvation in the past. Would you impose your idle wishes on the present, and hope to find salvation now?
Determine, then, to be not as you were. Use no relationship to hold you to the past, but with each one each day be born again. A minute, even less, will be enough to free you from the past, and give your mind in peace over to the Atonement. When everyone is welcome to you as you would have yourself be welcome to your Father, you will see no guilt in you. For you will have accepted the Atonement, which shone within you all the while you dreamed of guilt, and would not look within and see it.
As long as you believe that guilt is justified in any way, in anyone, whatever he may do, you will not look within, where you would always find Atonement. The end of guilt will never come as long as you believe there is a reason for it. For you must learn that guilt is always totally insane, and has no reason. The Holy Spirit seeks not to dispel reality. If guilt were real, Atonement would not be. The purpose of Atonement is to dispel illusions, not to establish them as real and then forgive them.
The Holy Spirit does not keep illusions in your mind to frighten you, and show them to you fearfully to demonstrate what He has saved you from. What He has saved you from is gone. Give no reality to guilt, and see no reason for it. The Holy Spirit does what God would have Him do, and has always done so. He has seen separation, but knows of union. He teaches healing, but He also knows of creation. He would have you see and teach as He does, and through Him. Yet what He knows you do not know, though it is yours.
Now it is given you to heal and teach, to make what will be now. As yet it is not now. The Son of God believes that he is lost in guilt, alone in a dark world where pain is pressing everywhere upon him from without. When he has looked within and seen the radiance there, he will remember how much his Father loves him. And it will seem incredible that he ever thought his Father loved him not, and looked upon him as condemned. The moment that you realise guilt is insane, wholly unjustified and wholly without reason, you will not fear to look upon the Atonement and accept it wholly.
You who have been unmerciful to yourself do not remember your Father’s Love. And looking without mercy upon your brothers, you do not remember how much you love Him. Yet it is forever true. In shining peace within you is the perfect purity in which you were created. Fear not to look upon the lovely truth in you. Look through the cloud of guilt that dims your vision, and look past darkness to the holy place where you will see the light. The altar to your Father is as pure as He Who raised it to Himself. Nothing can keep from you what Christ would have you see. His will is like His Father’s, and He offers mercy to every child of God, as He would have you do.
Release from guilt as you would be released. There is no other way to look within and see the light of love, shining as steadily and as surely as God Himself has always loved His Son. And as His Son loves Him. There is no fear in love, for love is guiltless. You who have always loved your Father can have no fear, for any reason, to look within and see your holiness. You cannot be as you believed you were. Your guilt is without reason because it is not in the Mind of God, where you are. And this is reason, which the Holy Spirit would restore to you. He would remove only illusions. All else He would have you see. And in Christ’s vision He would show you the perfect purity that is forever within God’s Son.
You cannot enter into real relationships with any of God’s Sons unless you love them all and equally. Love is not special. If you single out part of the Sonship for your love, you are imposing guilt on all your relationships and making them unreal. You can love only as God loves. Seek not to love unlike Him, for there is no love apart from His. Until you recognise that this is true, you will have no idea what love is like. No one who condemns a brother can see himself as guiltless and in the peace of God. If he is guiltless and in peace and sees it not, he is delusional, and has not looked upon himself. To him I say,
No illusion that you have ever held against him has touched his innocence in any way. His shining purity, wholly untouched by guilt and wholly loving, is bright within you. Let us look upon him together and love him. For in love of him is your guiltlessness. But look upon yourself, and gladness and appreciation for what you see will banish guilt forever. I thank You, Father, for the purity of Your most holy Son, whom You have created guiltless forever.
Like you, my faith and my belief are centred on what I treasure. The difference is that I love only what God loves with me, and because of this I treasure you beyond the value that you set on yourself, even unto the worth that God has placed upon you. I love all that He created, and all my faith and my belief I offer unto it. My faith in you is as strong as all the love I give my Father. My trust in you is without limit, and without the fear that you will hear me not. I thank the Father for your loveliness, and for the many gifts that you will let me offer to the Kingdom in honour of its wholeness that is of God.
Praise be to you who make the Father one with His Own Son. Alone we are all lowly, but together we shine with brightness so intense that none of us alone can even think of it. Before the glorious radiance of the Kingdom guilt melts away, and transformed into kindness will never more be what it was. Every reaction you experience will be so purified that it is fitting as a hymn of praise unto your Father. See only praise of Him in what He has created, for He will never cease His praise of you. United in this praise we stand before the gates of Heaven where we will surely enter in our sinless-ness. God loves you. Could I, then, lack faith in you and love Him perfectly?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 14
For morning and evening review:
(97) I am spirit.
I am the Son of God. No body can contain my spirit,
nor impose on me a limitation God created not.
(98) I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.
What can my function be but to accept the Word of God,
Who has created me for what I am and will forever be?
On the hour:
I am spirit.
On the half hour:
I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #121: It has been said that we created the body after the separation. With all of the beauty that is of this earth that can be seen, as well as the incredible variety of life that thrives here, did God create the physical earth, or did we?
A: Before answering your question, we must clarify that in A Course in Miracles, the term “create” is used only in reference to God’s ability to create. His creation is His Son who abides with Him in Heaven. When speaking about the physical world in the dream illusion, including the body, the Course uses the term “made” or “miscreate.” It is unmistakable in its teaching regarding the origin of the physical world: “The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself” (C.4.1:1,2). Thus, neither the world nor the body exists in reality. Since our experience of being physical bodies living in a physical world seems so real to us, it is important to keep in mind, as we speak of the world, that none of this could ever actually occur.
In this dream of separation the world is the place where the sleeping son, consumed with guilt at having seemingly separated from God, comes to hide from the imagined wrath of a punishing God. A Course in Miracles teaches that the ego, gone mad with guilt, made the world, along with the body, not only to hide from God, but to keep God out of awareness: “The world was made as an attack on God. It symbolizes fear. And what is fear except love’s absence? Thus the world was meant to be a place where God could enter not, and where His Son could be apart from Him” (W.pII.3:1,2,3,4). Clearly then, according to the thought system of the Course, God did not make the world. It is the effect of the thought of separation, and is maintained by the ongoing guilt of that thought: “The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that.…It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition” (T21.in.1:2,5). This does not mean that we should seek to see the good and the beautiful in the world, as opposed to the evil and the ugly. It refers to the choice we have of seeing the ego’s interpretation of the world, or the Holy Spirit’s.
The ego looks at the beauty and variety in the world as proof that the world is real, that God “created” it, and that our pursuit of enjoyment in this world is blessed by Him. In accord with this thinking, God also made the devastating natural disasters that afflict the world, the so called “acts of God” found in our insurance policies. God must then be cruel indeed. The ego’s thinking makes God responsible not only for the beauty, but for all the various forms of physical, psychological and emotional suffering we find in this world. The apparent beauty of the world captures our attention as a ploy of the ego to keep us engaged in its lie — that happiness is possible outside of Heaven. For further thoughts on our experience of beauty in the world, please see our answer to question #70.
Q #122: In the book Absence from Felicity, Jesus told Helen to purchase a gold star pendant as a gift from Him. Did Jesus explain the significance of the star, and was it a five or six pointed star? Jesus mentioned the star(s) a few times in A Course in Miracles, but never went into detail. Would you be kind enough to give me your interpretation of the meaning of the Star.
A: Since for Helen a five pointed star was a symbol of Jesus, there was no need for him to discuss its significance with her. As is explained in Absence from Felicity (and the page numbers are 96 and 433 in the second edition; 107 and 453 in the first), Helen experienced Jesus’ suggestion that she buy the gold star (five pointed) as a personal gift from him to her. It meant a great deal to her, and she wore it often as a symbol of their love for each other.
Incidentally, in the Christian tradition Jesus is also symbolized by a star, as in the morning star mentioned in The Book of Revelation and cited at the end of the epilogue to the Clarification of Terms.
Q #123: I’d really appreciate elaboration on P.2.VI.5.1,2,3. My specific question is: will the body part I am presently projecting my unforgiveness onto give me an insight into the particular issue that I need to undo at this time? How will analyzing the form of my sickness enable me to better understand what issue is at the “tip of the iceberg”?
A: To begin, let’s take a look at the full passage, the first three sentences of which you refer to:
“Sickness takes many forms, and so does unforgiveness. The forms of one but reproduce the forms of the other, for they are the same illusion. So closely is one translated into the other, that a careful study of the form a sickness takes will point quite clearly to the form of unforgiveness that it represents. Yet seeing this will not effect a cure. That is achieved by only one recognition; that only forgiveness heals an unforgiveness, and only an unforgiveness can possibly give rise to sickness of any kind” (P.2.VI.1,2,3,4,5).
As this asserts, there should be a clear correspondence between the specific thought of guilt in the mind and its shadow — the symptom — in the world. Freud made a similar kind of claim in his analyses of hysterical symptoms. However, your conclusion can only be as good as the honesty of your introspection and as accurate as your willingness to uncover what anger, fear and judgments may be buried in your unconscious. And there is no set of fixed rules that leads inexorably from specific thought to specific symptom.
For example, a sprained ankle may reflect a real ambivalence about stepping forward on a certain fearful career or relationship path for one person. But for another person or for the same person at another time, the sprain may be evidence of guilt over the desire to kick someone else when he is down. And for someone else, the fear of going forward could be manifested in laryngitis — losing one’s voice — rather than in spraining an ankle. There may even be some kind of so-called past life associations to the present symptom which are even more difficult to uncover. Nevertheless, there will be times when the correspondence is quite apparent.
Seeing such links between an unforgiving thought and a specific symptom can be especially helpful as you first begin your work with A Course in Miracles, for it reinforces the recognition the Course is attempting to develop in our awareness of the true cause-effect relationship between mind and body. We incorrectly see a false relationship between external agents or events as causes and bodily changes as effects (e.g., a virus and flu symptoms), rather than the true relationship between the thoughts of the mind as cause and changes in the body as effects (e.g., guilt and flu symptoms).
But, as the above passage from the Psychotherapy pamphlet points out, seeing such connections is not enough in itself to bring about true healing. Only forgiveness can do that. And as you continue with your study of the Course, the good news is that you do not need to uncover the link between a specific form of guilt and a specific symptom. Any symptom of disease or dis-ease in the body is a projection of the guilt in the mind that is the self-hatred we all carry inside ourselves over our belief that we attacked and destroyed love when we chose the thought of separation. And every symptom, regardless of its form, represents nothing other than the ego’s attempt to persuade you that your problems are in the world and in your body, and not in your mind. So once the ego’s ruse is recognized and the real association between the guilt in the mind and effects on the body is acknowledged, most of your work is completed. The next step is simply to turn to your internal Teacher for help in undoing your belief in that guilt. Your part in the forgiveness process is now complete. External symptoms may or may not shift at this point, but they will no longer concern you, as you have identified the real source of your discomfort and pain. As Jesus observes in the manual in the section on healing, “What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone. And with them also go all the effects they seemed to cause. Cause and effect but replicate creation. Seen in their proper perspective, without distortion and without fear, they re-establish Heaven” (M.5.II.4:7,8,9,10,11).