ACIM Text Reading for May 26
Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth
VIII. The Holy Meeting Place
In the darkness you have obscured the glory God gave you, and the power He bestowed upon His guiltless Son. All this lies hidden in every darkened place, shrouded in guilt and in the dark denial of innocence. Behind the dark doors you have closed lies nothing, because nothing can obscure the gift of God. It is the closing of the doors that interferes with recognition of the power of God that shines in you. Banish not power from your mind, but let all that would hide your glory be brought to the judgement of the Holy Spirit, and there undone. Whom He would save for glory is saved for it. He has promised the Father that through Him you would be released from littleness to glory. To what He promised God He is wholly faithful, for He shares with God the promise that was given Him to share with you.
He shares it still, for you. Everything that promises otherwise, great or small, however much or little valued, He will replace with the one promise given unto Him to lay upon the altar to your Father and His Son. No altar stands to God without His Son. And nothing brought there that is not equally worthy of both, but will be replaced by gifts wholly acceptable to Father and to Son. Can you offer guilt to God? You cannot, then, offer it to His Son. For they are not apart, and gifts to one are offered to the other. You know not God because you know not this. And yet you do know God and also this. All this is safe within you, where the Holy Spirit shines. He shines not in division, but in the meeting place where God, united with His Son, speaks to His Son through Him. Communication between what cannot be divided cannot cease. The holy meeting place of the un-separated Father and His Son lies in the Holy Spirit and in you. All interference in the communication that God Himself wills with His Son is quite impossible here. Unbroken and uninterrupted love flows constantly between the Father and the Son, as both would have it be. And so it is.
Let your mind wander not through darkened corridors, away from light’s centre. You and your brother may choose to lead yourselves astray, but you can be brought together only by the Guide appointed for you. He will surely lead you to where God and His Son await your recognition. They are joined in giving you the gift of oneness, before which all separation vanishes. Unite with what you are. You cannot join with anything except reality. God’s glory and His Son’s belong to you in truth. They have no opposite, and nothing else can you bestow upon yourself.
There is no substitute for truth. And truth will make this plain to you as you are brought into the place where you must meet with truth. And there you must be led, through gentle understanding which can lead you nowhere else. Where God is, there are you. Such is the truth. Nothing can change the knowledge, given you by God, into unknowingness. Everything God created knows its Creator. For this is how creation is accomplished by the Creator and by His creations. In the holy meeting place are joined the Father and His creations, and the creations of His Son with Them together. There is one link that joins them all together, holding them in the oneness out of which creation happens.
The link with which the Father joins Himself to those He gives the power to create can never be dissolved. Heaven itself is union with all of creation, and with its one Creator. And Heaven remains the Will of God for you. Lay no gifts other than this upon your altars, for nothing can coexist with it. Here your little offerings are brought together with the gift of God, and only what is worthy of the Father will be accepted by the Son, for whom it is intended. To whom God gives Himself, He is given. Your little gifts will vanish on the altar, where He has placed His Own.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 26
All that I give is given to myself.
Today’s idea, completely alien to the ego and the thinking of the world, is crucial to the thought reversal that this course will bring about. If you believed this statement, there would be no problem in complete forgiveness, certainty of goal, and sure direction. You would understand the means by which salvation comes to you, and would not hesitate to use it now.
Let us consider what you do believe, in place of this idea. It seems to you that other people are apart from you, and able to behave in ways which have no bearing on your thoughts, nor yours on theirs. Therefore, your attitudes have no effect on them, and their appeals for help are not in any way related to your own. You further think that they can sin without affecting your perception of yourself, while you can judge their sin, and yet remain apart from condemnation and at peace.
When you “forgive” a sin, there is no gain to you directly. You give charity to one unworthy, merely to point out that you are better, on a higher plane than he whom you forgive. He has not earned your charitable tolerance, which you bestow on one unworthy of the gift, because his sins have lowered him beneath a true equality with you. He has no claim on your forgiveness. It holds out a gift to him, but hardly to yourself.
Thus is forgiveness basically unsound; a charitable whim, benevolent yet undeserved, a gift bestowed at times, at other times withheld. Unmerited, withholding it is just, nor is it fair that you should suffer when it is withheld. The sin that you forgive is not your own. Someone apart from you committed it. And if you then are gracious unto him by giving him what he does not deserve, the gift is no more yours than was his sin.
If this be true, forgiveness has no grounds on which to rest dependably and sure. It is an eccentricity, in which you sometimes choose to give indulgently an undeserved reprieve. Yet it remains your right to let the sinner not escape the justified repayment for his sin. Think you the Lord of Heaven would allow the world’s salvation to depend on this? Would not His care for you be small indeed, if your salvation rested on a whim?
You do not understand forgiveness. As you see it, it is but a check upon overt attack, without requiring correction in your mind. It cannot give you peace as you perceive it. It is not a means for your release from what you see in someone other than yourself. It has no power to restore your unity with him to your awareness. It is not what God intended it to be for you.
Not having given Him the gift He asks of you, you cannot recognize His gifts, and think He has not given them to you. Yet would He ask you for a gift unless it was for you? Could He be satisfied with empty gestures, and evaluate such petty gifts as worthy of His Son? Salvation is a better gift than this. And true forgiveness, as the means by which it is attained, must heal the mind that gives, for giving is receiving. What remains as unreceived has not been given, but what has been given must have been received.
Today we try to understand the truth that giver and receiver are the same. You will need help to make this meaningful, because it is so alien to the thoughts to which you are accustomed. But the Help you need is there. Give Him your faith today, and ask Him that He share your practicing in truth today. And if you only catch a tiny glimpse of the release that lies in the idea we practice for today, this is a day of glory for the world.
Give fifteen minutes twice today to the attempt to understand today’s idea. It is the thought by which forgiveness takes its proper place in your priorities. It is the thought that will release your mind from every bar to what forgiveness means, and let you realize its worth to you.
In silence, close your eyes upon the world that does not understand forgiveness, and seek sanctuary in the quiet place where thoughts are changed and false beliefs laid by. Repeat today’s idea, and ask for help in understanding what it really means. Be willing to be taught. Be glad to hear the Voice of truth and healing speak to you, and you will understand the words He speaks, and recognize He speaks your words to you.
As often as you can, remind yourself you have a goal today; an aim which makes this day of special value to yourself and all your brothers. Do not let your mind forget this goal for long, but tell yourself:
All that I give is given to myself. The Help I need to learn
that this is true is with me now. And I will trust in Him.
Then spend a quiet moment, opening your mind to His correction and His Love. And what you hear of Him you will believe, for what He gives will be received by you.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #618: My sister was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago and was given six months to live. At that point my husband and I joined in helping her with alternative therapy. She could not work so she has become financially dependent on us for help. She has obviously had some success but continues to look for negative signs of health conditions. We feel she could do more for herself in that she continues to smoke, not exercise, and depends on magic too much. Her dependency on us keeps growing and we feel she is losing sight of her own power. How can she become independent of us while we are still helping her? Can we have expectations of her?
A: In A Course in Miracles, Jesus tells us, “It is not up to you to change your brother, but merely to accept him as he is” (T.9.III.6:4). And his words apply equally to sisters! Now, before you decide you don’t want to read any further, know that these words are not speaking about what you should or should not do with your sister, but only about your attitude toward her. The point is, and the section on “The Correction of Error” from which the above line is taken clarifies this, we can do nothing but reinforce our own ego and the egos of those with whom we are in relationship if we make our decisions on our own. For in situations such as you are experiencing with your sister, we will inevitably feel put upon, taken advantage of, and used. And those simply are not right-minded feelings. Any action we take based on them will not be loving to anyone.
It may very well be that the most helpful thing for your sister is for her to become more independent of you. But so long as you have a personal investment in her becoming independent, anything you do will be an attack, not only on her but on yourselves as well. And it could also be that the most helpful thing would be for her to remain dependent on you. You are in no position to judge what will be most helpful for her, because you do not know what is most helpful for yourselves. These may seem like strong words, but that is Jesus’ point when he asks each of us to consider, in the very earliest workbook lessons, that “I do not understand anything I see” (W.pI.3) — notice he doesn’t simply say we don’t understand a lot of what we see! — or “I am never upset for the reason I think” (W.pI.5), and “I do not perceive my own best interests” (W.p.I.24). He means all of these statements quite literally, although our egos have their rationalizations and justifications for what would simply have to be unreasonable extensions of these principles!
Now you may simply find yourselves unwilling to tolerate your sister’s apparent manipulations any further and you may feel compelled to establish some limits or set up some conditions with her for your continued support. Although such feel ings and actions may not be without your own ego investment, it is still possible at least to acknowledge how far along the path you are willing to go with Jesus at this point, and where you feel you need to take over in the decision-making process. For if, on the other hand, you proceed to “tolerate” your sister, seemingly against your will, and end up feeling self-sacrificing and resentful towards her, that also is not loving to any of you. The key would be to be aware of whatever guilt you may feel in the situation, which could be projected as anger toward your sister, and bring that to Jesus to release before proceeding.
Identified with our egos, we are always concerned about what others are doing and what we should or should not do about it. And Jesus is not asking us to release our egos but for an instant. For in that moment we can find the clarity we are looking for, which has nothing to do with what we do and everything to do with how we see — ourselves and others. Remember, he only ever asks of us a “little willingness” and he promises the rest will be provided (T.18.IV; V.2).
Q #619: I have been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. And I know A Course in Miracles would say that’s a perfect way for the ego to get you. There is no cure as of yet. But I am doing other things to help in my healing, alternative things, praying for my highest good, asking what the lesson is I am supposed to learn in all this. Does it all go back to guilt? I ask Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help me see this differently. My father died four months after I was diagnosed. My brother gives me no emotional support. I have prayed for a healing between my brother and myself, and it only seems to get worse. Sometimes I just can’t take it anymore.I have been sober for 16 years. Have I not learned anything? I feel so alone sometimes. But the cancer has taught me compassion, that I already thought I had. I want to be a channel for God’s Love. I have my skin-care license. That’s what I love, and wanted to use that as my way of giving back. How can I be a channel if I am sick?
A: Compassion is the key word in what you have said. But you must apply it to yourself, which means being more gentle: specifically, lightening up on the judgmental thoughts against yourself, such as “Have I not learned anything?” I am sure you would never say that to another person with a serious problem. Why be so hard on yourself? Our perception is too limited to know why this condition is in your script, but it need not be looked upon as totally negative. The lesson you can learn is that the only important aspect of it now is which teacher you will choose to help you through it: the ego or Jesus. The ego would “guide” you in such a way that you would wind up feeling alone and guilty for somehow failing this Course. Jesus would help you see this differently by guiding you to the peace deep within you that is untouched by anything of the body or the world. Surely, a difficult lesson, but Jesus and the Holy Spirit would help you approach your condition as a classroom in which you can begin to recover a sense of your true Identity outside the dream of separation.
This does not entail denial of your physical and emotional pain. And it does not mean that you should not pursue whatever treatment you want to, including psychological counseling for your intense feelings. There are truly kind counselors available for people who, like yourself, are undergoing a life-threatening illness. The kind, gentle approach of the Course combines both levels: doing whatever is helpful to alleviate the physical/emotional condition, and doing the inner work of bringing all your anger and grievances to the loving presence in your right mind, where you will feel that you are not being judged, but only loved. Your interaction with doctors and other medical people would then be an opportunity to choose against the ego’s goal of separate, conflicting interests, and for the Holy Spirit’s goal of shared interests. Our guilt prevents us from experiencing that love, so that is the importance of being open and honest about unforgiveness toward yourself and others. Learning how to look with Jesus — which means non-judgmentally — at the contents of our wrong mind puts us on the right path to healing and peace.
Finally, resuming skin-care work could very well be an expression of kindness toward yourself, since that is what you love to do. But rather than doing it “as a way of giving back,” which sounds a little sacrificial, you might consider approaching it as a wonderful classroom — a means of joining with others through sharing a common interest. That would help you gradually to go to a deeper level of joining, where you recognize more and more that you and your clients are joined both as the separated Son of God journeying back to your true home in Heaven as God’s eternally innocent Son. Your work then, combined with your “little willingness,” would be the means the Holy Spirit could use to heal your mind of all thoughts of separation. So it is a matter of doing whatever you can for your body, and at the same time in some part of your mind knowing that the cancer in your body is not really the problem. Your belief that you are separate from the Love and peace of God is the problem.