ACIM Text Reading for May 22
Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth
IV. Your Function in the Atonement
When you accept a brother’s guiltlessness you will see the Atonement in him. For by proclaiming it in him you make it yours, and you will see what you sought. You will not see the symbol of your brother’s guiltlessness shining within him while you still believe it is not there. His guiltlessness is your Atonement. Grant it to him, and you will see the truth of what you have acknowledged. Yet truth is offered first to be received, even as God gave it first to His Son. The first in time means nothing, but the First in eternity is God the Father, Who is both First and One. Beyond the First there is no other, for there is no order, no second or third, and nothing but the First.
You who belong to the First Cause, created by Him like unto Himself and part of Him, are more than merely guiltless. The state of guiltlessness is only the condition in which what is not there has been removed from the disordered mind that thought it was. This state, and only this, must you attain, with God beside you. For until you do, you will still think that you are separate from Him. You can perhaps feel His Presence next to you, but cannot know that you are one with Him. This cannot be taught. Learning applies only to the condition in which it happens of itself.
When you have let all that obscured the truth in your most holy mind be undone for you, and therefore stand in grace before your Father, He will give Himself to you as He has always done. Giving Himself is all He knows, and so it is all knowledge. For what He knows not cannot be, and therefore cannot be given. Ask not to be forgiven, for this has already been accomplished. Ask, rather, to learn how to forgive, and to restore what always was to your unforgiving mind. Atonement becomes real and visible to those who use it. On earth this is your only function, and you must learn that it is all you want to learn. You will feel guilty till you learn this. For in the end, whatever form it takes, your guilt arises from your failure to fulfil your function in God’s Mind with all of yours. Can you escape this guilt by failing to fulfil your function here?
You need not understand creation to do what must be done before that knowledge would be meaningful to you. God breaks no barriers; neither did He make them. When you release them they are gone. God will not fail, nor ever has in anything. Decide that God is right and you are wrong about yourself. He created you out of Himself, but still within Him. He knows what you are. Remember that there is no second to Him. There cannot, therefore, be anyone without His Holiness, nor anyone unworthy of His perfect Love. Fail not in your function of loving in a loveless place made out of darkness and deceit, for thus are darkness and deceit undone. Fail not yourself, but instead offer to God and you His blameless Son. For this small gift of appreciation for His Love, God will Himself exchange your gift for His.
Before you make any decisions for yourself, remember that you have decided against your function in Heaven, and then consider carefully whether you want to make decisions here. Your function here is only to decide against deciding what you want, in recognition that you do not know. How, then, can you decide what you should do? Leave all decisions to the One Who speaks for God, and for your function as He knows it. So will He teach you to remove the awful burden you have laid upon yourself by loving not the Son of God, and trying to teach him guilt instead of love. Give up this frantic and insane attempt that cheats you of the joy of living with your God and Father, and of waking gladly to His Love and Holiness that join together as the truth in you, making you one with Him.
When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer. Only your own volition seems to make deciding hard. The Holy Spirit will not delay in answering your every question what to do. He knows. And He will tell you, and then do it for you. You who are tired will find this is more restful than sleep. For you can bring your guilt into sleeping, but not into this.
Unless you are guiltless you cannot know God, Whose Will is that you know Him. Therefore, you must be guiltless. Yet if you do not accept the necessary conditions for knowing Him, you have denied Him and do not recognise Him, though He is all around you. He cannot be known without His Son, whose guiltlessness is the condition for knowing Him. Accepting His Son as guilty is denial of the Father so complete, that knowledge is swept away from recognition in the very mind where God Himself has placed it. If you would but listen, and learn how impossible this is! Do not endow Him with attributes you understand. You made Him not, and anything you understand is not of Him.
Your task is not to make reality. It is here without your making, but not without you. You who have tried to throw yourself away and valued God so little, hear me speak for Him and for yourself. You cannot understand how much your Father loves you, for there is no parallel in your experience of the world to help you understand it. There is nothing on earth with which it can compare, and nothing you have ever felt apart from Him resembles it ever so faintly. You cannot even give a blessing in perfect gentleness. Would you know of One Who gives forever, and Who knows of nothing except giving?
The children of Heaven live in the light of the blessing of their Father, because they know that they are sinless. The Atonement was established as the means of restoring guiltlessness to minds that have denied it, and thus denied Heaven to itself. Atonement teaches you the true condition of the Son of God. It does not teach you what you are, or what your Father is. The Holy Spirit, who remembers this for you, merely teaches you how to remove the blocks that stand between you and what you know. His memory is yours. If you remember what you have made, you are remembering nothing. Remembrance of reality is in Him, and therefore in you.
The guiltless and the guilty are totally incapable of understanding one another. Each perceives the other as like himself, making both unable to communicate, because each sees the other unlike the way he sees himself. God can communicate only to the Holy Spirit in your mind, because only He shares the knowledge of what you are with God. And only the Holy Spirit can answer God for you, for only He knows what God is. Everything else that you have placed within your mind cannot exist, for what is not in communication with the Mind of God has never been. Communication with God is life. Nothing without it is at all.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 22
Forgiveness offers everything I want.
What could you want forgiveness cannot give? Do you want peace? Forgiveness offers it. Do you want happiness, a quiet mind, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth and beauty that transcends the world? Do you want care and safety, and the warmth of sure protection always? Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that never can be hurt, a deep, abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect it can never be upset?
All this forgiveness offers you, and more. It sparkles on your eyes as you awake, and gives you joy with which to meet the day. It soothes your forehead while you sleep, and rests upon your eyelids so you see no dreams of fear and evil, malice and attack. And when you wake again, it offers you another day of happiness and peace. All this forgiveness offers you, and more.
Forgiveness lets the veil be lifted up that hides the face of Christ from those who look with unforgiving eyes upon the world. It lets you recognize the Son of God, and clears your memory of all dead thoughts so that remembrance of your Father can arise across the threshold of your mind. What would you want forgiveness cannot give? What gifts but these are worthy to be sought? What fancied value, trivial effect or transient promise, never to be kept, can hold more hope than what forgiveness brings?
Why would you seek an answer other than the answer that will answer everything? Here is the perfect answer, given to imperfect questions, meaningless requests, halfhearted willingness to hear, and less than halfway diligence and partial trust. Here is the answer! Seek for it no more. You will not find another one instead.
God’s plan for your salvation cannot change, nor can it fail. Be thankful it remains exactly as He planned it. Changelessly it stands before you like an open door, with warmth and welcome calling from beyond the doorway, bidding you to enter in and make yourself at home, where you belong.
Here is the answer! Would you stand outside while all of Heaven waits for you within? Forgive and be forgiven. As you give you will receive. There is no plan but this for the salvation of the Son of God. Let us today rejoice that this is so, for here we have an answer, clear and plain, beyond deceit in its simplicity. All the complexities the world has spun of fragile cobwebs disappear before the power and the majesty of this extremely simple statement of the truth.
Here is the answer! Do not turn away in aimless wandering again. Accept salvation now. It is the gift of God, and not the world. The world can give no gifts of any value to a mind that has received what God has given as its own. God wills salvation be received today, and that the intricacies of your dreams no longer hide their nothingness from you.
Open your eyes today and look upon a happy world of safety and of peace. Forgiveness is the means by which it comes to take the place of hell. In quietness it rises up to greet your open eyes, and fill your heart with deep tranquility as ancient truths, forever newly born, arise in your awareness. What you will remember then can never be described. Yet your forgiveness offers it to you.
Remembering the gifts forgiveness gives, we undertake our practicing today with hope and faith that this will be the day salvation will be ours. Earnestly and gladly will we seek for it today, aware we hold the key within our hands, accepting Heaven’s answer to the hell we made, but where we would remain no more.
Morning and evening do we gladly give a quarter of an hour to the search in which the end of hell is guaranteed. Begin in hopefulness, for we have reached the turning point at which the road becomes far easier. And now the way is short that yet we travel. We are close indeed to the appointed ending of the dream.
Sink into happiness as you begin these practice periods, for they hold out the sure rewards of questions answered and what your acceptance of the answer brings. Today it will be given you to feel the peace forgiveness offers, and the joy the lifting of the veil holds out to you.
Before the light you will receive today the world will fade until it disappears, and you will see another world arise you have no words to picture. Now we walk directly into light, and we receive the gifts that have been held in store for us since time began, kept waiting for today.
Forgiveness offers everything you want. Today all things you want are given you. Let not your gifts recede throughout the day, as you return again to meet a world of shifting change and bleak appearances. Retain your gifts in clear awareness as you see the changeless in the heart of change; the light of truth behind appearances.
Be tempted not to let your gifts slip by and drift into forgetfulness, but hold them firmly in your mind by your attempts to think of them at least a minute as each quarter of an hour passes by. Remind yourself how precious are these gifts with this reminder, which has power to hold your gifts in your awareness through the day:
Forgiveness offers everything I want.
Today I have accepted this as true.
Today I have received the gifts of God.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #523: i. If I can convince you in my surety of being sinless or communicate to you that you are sinless, and that in no way do I see you other than perfect, then, a healing of the mind is assured and forgiveness is the outcome. Both of us are healed. Is this true?
ii. “I am as God created me” is a fact. This means that I am an Effect of God’s creation. Therefore the self that claims to be me could not be real. If an effect can make a cause then it may be possible. But what is an effect cannot produce a cause if the cause is not real, and if the cause is over long ago. I may believe that I exist and am conscious of my self, but how can “self-consciousness” make the Self? For example, there’s on the one hand self and on the other, awareness of self (consciousness). The self, cause, produces the effect, awareness of self. BUT, the self in truth is an Effect of God’s creation, being an effect it cannot become a cause.
Therefore, my consciousness is an effect and not a cause. To make it cause would be thinking in circles. If the ego is self conscious then it cannot be real. It is impossible. What is an effect cannot become a cause, therefore my self-consciousness must be an illusion and not real. Is that correct?
A: With respect to your first point — that by your convincing me of our sinlessness and perfection, forgiveness and healing will result — A Course in Miracles’ position would actually be the reverse. Our sinlessness and perfection are beyond convincing but we don’t believe it. Forgiveness is the process that allows us to remove all the obstacles to this conviction — remembering our sinlessness and perfection is the result. If we had to convince each other that we are sinless, starting as we do from the perspective that we are separate and that there is someone outside ourselves whom we need to convince, we would be placing ourselves in charge of the Atonement. The outcome likely would be no more auspicious than the seeming results of the ego’s tiny mad idea.
With respect to your second point, if I am understanding your statement correctly that an effect can not be a cause, the Course again would disagree. In fact, Jesus asserts that God as our Source and Cause has shared all of His power with His Son, giving him the same ability to create (i.e., to be a cause) that He has — God would withhold nothing from His Son. And so the Son, as the Effect of God Who is his Cause, in turn causes his own effects or creations through the extension of the love that God had extended to him in his creation (T.8.III.3; T.8.VI.6; T.28.II.1; W.pII.326.1). The only difference is that the Son can not be the first Cause. And it is God’s primacy as the Source of all to which the ego objects (T.11.in.1,2).
Your conclusion — that nothing is real in the realm of consciousness and the self that we believe we are — is true, but not for the reasons you present. The cause of consciousness is the ego, but the ego — the thought of separation — is not real, and so therefore anything that seems to follow from a cause that is not real — causelessness — cannot be real either (T.28.II.3:1,2,3,4,5).
And one final point of clarification may be helpful. Whenever the Course refers to the self, it is referring to illusion. The true Self that we are (always capitalized in the Course) is the Christ, continuous with Its Source and knowing nothing of consciousness or individuality. The self (always lower case in the Course) refers to the fictional individual, conscious identity that has seemed to emerge simultaneously with the thought of separation. It is illusory and, although originating in wrong-mindedness (the ego), can be trained to achieve a right-minded level of perception culminating in what the Course calls the real world — a reflection of the One- mindedness of Heaven (C.1.5,6,7). But it has no reality and no relationship to our true Self in Heaven.
Q #524: I have been unemployed for almost a year now and am not having much luck finding a job. A Course in Miracles says that everything happens as a result of thought and not action. I believe that my true work is in something that I have always loved and it has never left me! Could it be because I haven’t found a “regular job” that I am supposed to go do my dream work? That if I just start doing it and trusting in the Holy Spirit for guidance that it will manifest? I am feeling rather lost and frustrated and like a loser because nothing has come about yet, but many small things regarding what I really want to do have shown up. Lesson 64 states that God just wants me to be happy because that is my function. I guess the question is, if I keep thinking about what I want, will it actually manifest itself?
A: The Course does teach that “all thinking produces form at some level” (T.2.VI.9:14). But its purpose is not to teach us how to use our thinking to control or produce the forms we think we want. Rather, the Course’s goal is to help us learn that we can find no real happiness in anything of the world (T.31.IV). Now if you feel drawn to a certain type of work, and events seem to support your heading in that direction, by all means go for it, for there is nothing to be lost by pursuing your dreams. However, what is to be gained may not be quite what you’re thinking it is. Contrary to most people’s beliefs about their experience in the world, the Course’s position is that nothing in the world can make us either happy or unhappy. And whatever dreams we are drawn to more than likely represent some form of specialness that will allow us to cover over, at least temporarily, the guilt we all carry buried in our minds over our belief in separation, so that it can’t be healed. But such situations also provide valuable opportunities to learn our lessons of forgiveness if we accept the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
This does not mean you should not take whatever joy or pleasure you may find in following what you believe to be your true work. But as a student of the Course, you want at least to be aware that all things of the world are double-edged; that is, they can seem to be the cause of pain as well as pleasure. And this is where the Holy Spirit’s guidance can be most helpful. For His role is not to direct us in our life’s decisions but rather to help us learn how to use whatever our life circumstances are to practice forgiveness. This is what Lesson 64 means when it says “that the Holy Spirit has another use for all the illusions you have made, and therefore He sees another purpose in them. To the Holy Spirit, the world is a place where you learn to forgive yourself what you think of as your sins. In this perception, the physical appearance of temptation becomes the spiritual recognition of salvation” (W.pI.64.2:2,3,4). In other words, His purpose is to help us awaken from the dream, not make it a happier dream, by using what we have made for separation and specialness as a means for healing.
So when you say that God wants us to be happy, it is important to be clear that this lesson is saying we can be truly happy only if we forgive and do not seek for happiness in situations and circumstances outside ourselves. As Lesson 64 clearly states, “The purpose of the world you see is to obscure your function of forgiveness. …Only by fulfilling the function given you by God will you be happy. That is because your function is to be happy by using the means [forgiveness] by which happiness becomes inevitable. There is no other way. Therefore, every time you choose whether or not to fulfill your function, you are really choosing whether or not to be happy.” (W.pI.64.1:2, 4:1,2,34, italics added).