ACIM Text Reading for May 27
Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth
IX. The Reflection of Holiness
The Atonement does not make holy. You were created holy. It merely brings unholiness to holiness; or what you made to what you are. Bringing illusion to truth, or the ego to God, is the Holy Spirit’s only function. Keep not your making from your Father, for hiding it has cost you knowledge of Him and of yourself. The knowledge is safe, but where is your safety apart from it? The making of time to take the place of timelessness lay in the decision to be not as you are. Thus truth was made past, and the present was dedicated to illusion. And the past, too, was changed and interposed between what always was and now. The past that you remember never was, and represents only the denial of what always was.
Bringing the ego to God is but to bring error to truth, where it stands corrected because it is the opposite of what it meets. It is undone because the contradiction can no longer stand. How long can contradiction stand when its impossible nature is clearly revealed? What disappears in light is not attacked. It merely vanishes because it is not true. Different realities are meaningless, for reality must be one. It cannot change with time or mood or chance. Its changelessness is what makes it real. This cannot be undone. Undoing is for unreality. And this reality will do for you.
Merely by being what it is, does truth release you from everything that it is not. The Atonement is so gentle you need but whisper to it, and all its power will rush to your assistance and support. You are not frail with God beside you. Yet without Him you are nothing. The Atonement offers you God. The gift that you refused is held by Him in you. The Holy Spirit holds it there for you. God has not left His altar, though His worshippers placed other gods upon it. The temple still is holy, for the Presence that dwells within it is holiness.
In the temple, holiness waits quietly for the return of them that love it. The Presence knows they will return to purity and to grace. The graciousness of God will take them gently in, and cover all their sense of pain and loss with the immortal assurance of their Father’s Love. There, fear of death will be replaced with joy of life. For God is Life, and they abide in Life. Life is as holy as the Holiness by which it was created. The Presence of Holiness lives in everything that lives, for Holiness created life, and leaves not what it created holy as itself.
In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here. Yet no reflections of the images of other gods must dim the mirror that would hold God’s reflection in it. Earth can reflect Heaven or hell; God or the ego. You need but leave the mirror clean and clear of all the images of hidden darkness you have drawn upon it. God will shine upon it of Himself. Only the clear reflection of Himself can be perceived upon it.
Reflections are seen in light. In darkness they are obscure, and their meaning seems to lie only in shifting interpretations, rather than in themselves. The reflection of God needs no interpretation. It is clear. Clean but the mirror, and the message that shines forth from what the mirror holds out for everyone to see, no one can fail to understand. It is the message that the Holy Spirit is holding to the mirror that is in him. He recognises it because he has been taught his need for it, but knows not where to look to find it. Let him, then, see it in you and share it with you.
Could you but realise for a single instant the power of healing that the reflection of God, shining in you, can bring to all the world, you could not wait to make the mirror of your mind clean to receive the image of the holiness that heals the world. The image of holiness that shines in your mind is not obscure, and will not change. Its meaning to those who look upon it is not obscure, for everyone perceives it as the same. All bring their different problems to its healing light, and all their problems find but healing there.
The response of holiness to any form of error is always the same. There is no contradiction in what holiness calls forth. Its one response is healing, without regard for what is brought to it. Those who have learned to offer only healing, because of the reflection of holiness in them, are ready at last for Heaven. There, holiness is not a reflection, but rather the actual condition of what was but reflected to them here. God is no image, and His creations, as part of Him, hold Him in them in truth. They do not merely reflect truth, for they are truth.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 27
There is no love but God’s.
Perhaps you think that different kinds of love are possible. Perhaps you think there is a kind of love for this, a kind for that; a way of loving one, another way of loving still another. Love is one. It has no separate parts and no degrees; no kinds nor levels, no divergencies and no distinctions. It is like itself, unchanged throughout. It never alters with a person or a circumstance. It is the Heart of God, and also of His Son.
Love’s meaning is obscure to anyone who thinks that love can change. He does not see that changing love must be impossible. And thus he thinks that he can love at times, and hate at other times. He also thinks that love can be bestowed on one, and yet remain itself although it is withheld from others. To believe these things of love is not to understand it. If it could make such distinctions, it would have to judge between the righteous and the sinner, and perceive the Son of God in separate parts.
Love cannot judge. As it is one itself, it looks on all as one. Its meaning lies in oneness. And it must elude the mind that thinks of it as partial or in part. There is no love but God’s, and all of love is His. There is no other principle that rules where love is not. Love is a law without an opposite. Its wholeness is the power holding everything as one, the link between the Father and the Son which holds Them both forever as the same.
No course whose purpose is to teach you to remember what you really are could fail to emphasize that there can never be a difference in what you really are and what love is. Love’s meaning is your own, and shared by God Himself. For what you are is what He is. There is no love but His, and what He is, is everything there is. There is no limit placed upon Himself, and so are you unlimited as well.
No law the world obeys can help you grasp love’s meaning. What the world believes was made to hide love’s meaning, and to keep it dark and secret. There is not one principle the world upholds but violates the truth of what love is, and what you are as well.
Seek not within the world to find your Self. Love is not found in darkness and in death. Yet it is perfectly apparent to the eyes that see and ears that hear love’s Voice. Today we practice making free your mind of all the laws you think you must obey; of all the limits under which you live, and all the changes that you think are part of human destiny. Today we take the largest single step this course requests in your advance towards its established goal.
If you achieve the faintest glimmering of what love means today, you have advanced in distance without measure and in time beyond the count of years to your release. Let us together, then, be glad to give some time to God today, and understand there is no better use for time than this.
For fifteen minutes twice today escape from every law in which you now believe. Open your mind and rest. The world that seems to hold you prisoner can be escaped by anyone who does not hold it dear. Withdraw all value you have placed upon its meager offerings and senseless gifts, and let the gift of God replace them all.
Call to your Father, certain that His Voice will answer. He Himself has promised this. And He Himself will place a spark of truth within your mind wherever you give up a false belief, a dark illusion of your own reality and what love means. He will shine through your idle thoughts today, and help you understand the truth of love. In loving gentleness He will abide with you, as you allow His Voice to teach love’s meaning to your clean and open mind. And He will bless the lesson with His Love.
Today the legion of the future years of waiting for salvation disappears before the timelessness of what you learn. Let us give thanks today that we are spared a future like the past. Today we leave the past behind us, nevermore to be remembered. And we raise our eyes upon a different present, where a future dawns unlike the past in every attribute.
The world in infancy is newly born. And we will watch it grow in health and strength, to shed its blessing upon all who come to learn to cast aside the world they thought was made in hate to be love’s enemy. Now are they all made free, along with us. Now are they all our brothers in God’s Love.
We will remember them throughout the day, because we cannot leave a part of us outside our love if we would know our Self. At least three times an hour think of one who makes the journey with you, and who came to learn what you must learn. And as he comes to mind, give him this message from your Self:
I bless you, brother, with the Love of God, which I would
share with you. For I would learn the joyous lesson that
there is no love but God’s and yours and mine and everyone’s.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #337: What are errors and mistakes? Are they physical actions or ways of looking? Why does the ego always remind us of how we hurt people or ourselves, or if something wasn’t fair. Why does the ego seem right and why does it seem logical? Is it the ego or the Holy Spirit pointing out my faults? If the Holy Spirit helps one correct the error does that mean the ego is right in its judgment of the so-called “error”? How do you know if it’s an error and why does the ego demand “correction” of it as well? Also it states a few times about how a Son of God will not murder yet animals murder all the time to live. Is nature wrong and how are we exempt from it?
A: It could take a book to answer your litany of questions satisfactorily, but we will try to suggest a few ideas here that will hopefully point you in the right direction. Since, from the perspective of A Course in Miracles, there is only mind, errors or mistakes can be only of the mind. Jesus clarifies this very early in the text when he explains that “only the mind is capable of error. The body can act wrongly only when it is responding to misthought” (T.2.IV.2:4,5). And, as you suggest, errors are really mistaken ways of looking or, to be more specific, mistaken ways of looking at the world, our brothers, and ourselves with the ego as our guide rather than with Jesus or the Holy Spirit. And ego-directed looking is always judgmental. It is only the ego that points out our faults. The Holy Spirit will gently invite us to recognize how our thinking is misguided when we listen to the ego, but His purpose would never be to accuse us or to induce guilt in us over our mistakes (T.9.III.1).
Now our original error was the thought that we could separate ourselves from God and that we have in fact succeeded in establishing a separate identity for ourselves independent of Him. Every error that has followed since in our thinking comes from that initial thought of separation. But we have deliberately compounded the errors in our mind in such a way that we have quite intentionally confused ourselves and lost sight of that original error. So all of our errors since the initial one are really subterfuges that keep us unaware of the original mistake and focused instead on addressing all the other seeming mistakes and problems in our life. And so that is why the ego, as you observe, is always reminding us of how we hurt others or have been hurt ourselves — this is the cover for the real problem, so that we never call the belief in separation into question.
Just because the ego is based on a mistaken thought, an insane premise — that we could separate from God — does not mean that the thought system built on that premise does not have a very definite and persuasive internal logic to it, once we accept its premise. Jesus in the Course says, “The ego’s logic is as impeccable as that of the Holy Spirit, because your mind has the means at its disposal to side with Heaven or earth, as it elects” (T.5.V.1:4). And in fact, logic has its origins in the ego thought system, for there is nothing to decide or deduce or prove in Heaven. But having once accepted the ego’s logic, which seems to condemn us to hell for eternity, the good news is that we can let go of our guilt-reinforcing use for it and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in its application, with very different results: “The Holy Spirit uses logic as easily and as well as does the ego, except that His conclusions are not insane. They take a direction exactly opposite, pointing as clearly to Heaven as the ego points to darkness and to death. We have followed much of the ego’s logic, and have seen its logical conclusions. And having seen them, we have realized that they cannot be seen except in illusions, for there alone their seeming clearness seems to be clearly seen. Let us now turn away from them, and follow the simple logic by which the Holy Spirit teaches the simple conclusions that speak for truth, and only truth” (T.14.in.1:4,5,6,7,8).
Correction in the Holy Spirit’s thought system is different in every way, including purpose, from the ego’s. The ego sees error as sin to prove its own existence and to convince us that we can see the guilt we have made real over that error in others rather than in ourselves. In contrast, the only error the Holy Spirit corrects is our belief in the ego. Clearly this is an error the ego cannot correct, since its own existence depends on our belief in separation. The ego corrects through attack and punishment, the Holy Spirit through the gentle process of forgiveness. And the Holy Spirit begins to undo our belief in separation by leading us toward a recognition of shared rather than separate interests with our brothers. For more on the contrast between the Holy Spirit’s and the ego’s correction of error, you may wish to look at “The Correction of Error” in the text (T.9.III).
The Son of God cannot attack or murder in reality. But that he can believe he can is apparent when you pick up a newspaper or watch the news on TV, or simply examine your own thoughts when you are angry. It is not nature that leads humans or other animals to kill. Nature is just an aspect of the illusory world, which is an effect of our mistaken choice in the mind for separation. It is the desire to protect our individual illusory self at any cost that leads to murder first in thought and then in action. And yet, contrary to what the ego, the world and our senses may tell us, correction is not needed at the level of behavior, but only in our feverish imaginations that believe that all of this is real. “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this? And would you see it?” (T.20.VIII.7:3,4,5,6,7).This does not mean that we are asked to deny what our eyes seem to show us, but rather to be open to a different interpretation of what we see, through the miracle. The miracle brings our focus back from the world to our minds, where we can acknowledge the purpose we have given the world — to be the projection of our error outward, so blame rests elsewhere. Having taken this step, we can then invite the Holy Spirit to give the world His purpose — the recognition that the error in truth never really happened and our guilt is not real.
Q #338: I know that if I attack another I will feel guilty and I should ask the Holy Spirit for help if I feel I’ve been attacked. Would this apply equally if I have a behavior such as an addiction that I feel guilty about? If I continue with the behavior I am sure to feel guilty. If I stop the behavior I may not feel guilty, but I really haven’t fixed the problem. What would be the best way to handle this situation? The specific problem I am talking about is overeating.
A: Yes, whether I am attacking another, feeling attacked by another, or attacking myself — which is what an addiction represents — the only appropriate response is to ask the Holy Spirit for help. An addiction is an attack on myself because it says, over and over again, that I am incomplete and must seek outside myself for my completion, a repeated denial that I am the Christ, forever one with Its Source (T.29.VII.2,3,4,6).
All attack, no matter how it is expressed, is nothing more than the projection of the hidden guilt in our minds that the ego insists we must bear because of our (imagined) attack on God at the moment of separation, when we denied our reality as Christ. We’ve convinced ourselves that our guilt is real, but then have attempted to avoid responsibility for it. And so we seek to project the guilt outside our mind so that it seems to reside instead in bodies, our own and others. We keep this dynamic hidden from ourselves, so that the guilt remains protected. But when we ask for help from Jesus or the Holy Spirit, we are really indicating a willingness to accept responsibility (but not blame!) for the way we feel, seeing the external situation now, not as the problem, but rather as an indicator of the guilt that would otherwise remain unconscious in the mind.
And so, as you observe, focusing on changing or controlling the behavior, such as overeating, does not address the real problem. For we are only modifying an external symptom, or effect, of the guilt without addressing the cause, the guilt itself, which, remaining unexamined, we will continue to believe is real. Consequently, we will look to project the unbearable but nevertheless illusory guilt onto some other external form, perhaps another addiction. Early in A Course in Miracles Jesus speaks of how controlling or changing behavior, without addressing the mind, simply produces strain, which is intolerable, leading usually to rage and further projection (T.2.VI.5).
Now this does not mean that there is no value in developing some discipline and bringing out-of- control behavior under control, especially if the addiction is physically or emotionally damaging to us, thereby reinforcing the guilt in our minds. And the choice to bring about a helpful external shift may certainly reflect a real but still perhaps unconscious desire for an inner shift from the ego to the Holy Spirit as our teacher. But at some stage in our learning, we will come to recognize that guilt in the mind is always the only problem. Only through recognizing its inevitable projection out onto the world of form do we begin to become aware of it in our mind, where we can make a meaningful choice for its release.
A single tape by Kenneth Wapnick, as well as a small book transcribed and edited from the tape, both titled Overeating: A Dialogue, explore the issue of overeating in greater depth. The material, while addressing food addictions, can be applied to any addiction, since the content is always the same. There is also additional discussion of addictions from the Course’s perspective in Questions #30 and #57.