ACIM Text Reading for May 29
Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth
XI. The Test of Truth
Yet the essential thing is learning that you do not know. Knowledge is power, and all power is of God. You who have tried to keep power for yourself have ‘lost’ it. You still have the power, but you have interposed so much between it and your awareness of it that you cannot use it. Everything you have taught yourself has made your power more and more obscure to you. You know not what it is, nor where. You have made a semblance of power and a show of strength so pitiful that it must fail you. For power is not a seeming strength, and truth is beyond semblance of any kind. Yet all that stands between you and the power of God in you is but your learning of the false, and of your attempts to undo the true.
Be willing, then, for all of it to be undone, and be glad that you are not bound to it forever. For you have taught yourself how to imprison the Son of God, a lesson so unthinkable that only the insane, in deepest sleep, could even dream of it. Can God learn how not to be God? And can His Son, given all power by Him, learn to be powerless? What have you taught yourself that you can possibly prefer to keep, in place of what you have and what you are?
Atonement teaches you how to escape forever from everything that you have taught yourself in the past, by showing you only what you are now. Learning has been accomplished before its effects are manifest. Learning is therefore in the past, but its influence determines the present by giving it whatever meaning it holds for you. Your learning gives the present no meaning at all. Nothing you have ever learned can help you understand the present, or teach you how to undo the past. Your past is what you have taught yourself. Let it all go. Do not attempt to understand any event or anything or anyone in its ‘light’, for the darkness in which you try to see can only obscure. Put no confidence at all in darkness to illuminate your understanding, for if you do you contradict the light, and thereby think you see the darkness. Yet darkness cannot be seen, for it is nothing more than a condition in which seeing becomes impossible.
You who have not yet brought all of the darkness you have taught yourself into the light in you, can hardly judge the truth and value of this course. Yet God did not abandon you. And so you have another lesson sent from Him, already learned for every child of light by Him to Whom God gave it. This lesson shines with God’s glory, for in it lies His power, which He shares so gladly with His Son. Learn of His happiness, which is yours. But to accomplish this, all your dark lessons must be brought willingly to truth, and joyously laid down by hands open to receive, not closed to take. Every dark lesson that you bring to Him Who teaches light He will accept from you, because you do not want it. And He will gladly exchange each one for the bright lesson He has learned for you. Never believe that any lesson you have learned apart from Him means anything.
You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognise 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. Unless all this is true, there are dark lessons in your mind that hurt and hinder you, and everyone around you. The absence of perfect peace means but one thing: You think you do not will for God’s Son what his Father wills for him. Every dark lesson teaches this, in one form or another. And each bright lesson with which the Holy Spirit will replace the dark ones you do not accept, teaches you that you will with the Father and His Son.
Do not be concerned about how you can learn a lesson so completely different from everything that you have taught yourself. How would you know? Your part is very simple. You need only recognise that everything you learned you do not want. Ask to be taught, and do not use your experiences to confirm what you have learned. When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself,
By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you will speak to you. He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it, and offer it to Him.
You cannot be your guide to miracles, for it is you who made them necessary. And because you did, the means on which you can depend for miracles has been provided for you. God’s Son can make no needs His Father will not meet, if he but turn to Him ever so little. Yet He cannot compel His Son to turn to Him and remain Himself. It is impossible that God lose His Identity, for if He did, you would lose yours. And being yours He cannot change Himself, for your Identity is changeless. The miracle acknowledges His changelessness by seeing His Son as he always was, and not as he would make himself. The miracle brings the effects that only guiltlessness can bring, and thus establishes the fact that guiltlessness must be.
How can you, so firmly bound to guilt and committed so to remain, establish for yourself your guiltlessness? That is impossible. But be sure that you are willing to acknowledge that it is impossible. It is only because you think that you can run some little part, or deal with certain aspects of your life alone, that the guidance of the Holy Spirit is limited. Thus would you make Him undependable, and use this fancied undependability as an excuse for keeping certain dark lessons from Him. And by so limiting the guidance that you would accept, you are unable to depend on miracles to answer all your problems for you.
Do you think that what the Holy Spirit would have you give, He would withhold from you? You have no problems that He cannot solve by offering you a miracle. Miracles are for you. And every fear or pain or trial you have has been undone. He has brought all of them to light, having accepted them instead of you, and recognised they never were. There are no dark lessons He has not already lightened for you. The lessons you would teach yourself He has corrected already. They do not exist in His Mind at all. For the past binds Him not, and therefore binds not you. He does not see time as you do. And each miracle He offers you corrects your use of time, and makes it His.
He Who has freed you from the past would teach you are free of it. He would but have you accept His accomplishments as yours, because He did them for you. And because He did, they are yours. He has made you free of what you made. You can deny Him, but you cannot call on Him in vain. He always gives His gifts in place of yours. He would establish His bright teaching so firmly in your mind, that no dark lesson of guilt can abide in what He has established as holy by His Presence. Thank God that He is there and works through you. And all His works are yours. He offers you a miracle with every one you let Him do through you.
God’s Son will always be indivisible. As we are held as one in God, so do we learn as one in Him. God’s Teacher is as like to His Creator as is His Son, and through His Teacher does God proclaim His Oneness and His Son’s. Listen in silence, and do not raise your voice against Him. For He teaches the miracle of oneness, and before His lesson division disappears. Teach like Him here, and you will remember that you have always created like your Father. The miracle of creation has never ceased, having the holy stamp of immortality upon it. This is the Will of God for all creation, and all creation joins in willing this.
Those who remember always that they know nothing, and who have become willing to learn everything, will learn it. But whenever they trust themselves, they will not learn. They have destroyed their motivation for learning by thinking they already know. Think not you understand anything until you pass the test of perfect peace, for peace and understanding go together and never can be found alone. Each brings the other with it, for it is the law of God they be not separate. They are cause and effect, each to the other, so where one is absent the other cannot be.
Only those who recognise they cannot know unless the effects of understanding are with them, can really learn at all. For this it must be peace they want, and nothing else. Whenever you think you know, peace will depart from you, because you have abandoned the Teacher of peace. Whenever you fully realise that you know not, peace will return, for you will have invited Him to do so by abandoning the ego on behalf of Him. Call not upon the ego for anything; it is only this that you need do. The Holy Spirit will, of Himself, fill every mind that so makes room for Him.
If you want peace you must abandon the teacher of attack. The Teacher of peace will never abandon you. You can desert Him but He will never reciprocate, for His faith in you is His understanding. It is as firm as is His faith in His Creator, and He knows that faith in His Creator must encompass faith in His creation. In this consistency lies His holiness which He cannot abandon, for it is not His will to do so. With your perfection ever in His sight, He gives the gift of peace to everyone who perceives the need for peace, and who would have it. Make way for peace, and it will come. For understanding is in you, and from it peace must come.
The power of God, from which they both arise, is yours as surely as it is His. You think you know Him not, only because, alone, it is impossible to know Him. Yet see the mighty works that He will do through you, and you must be convinced you did them through Him. It is impossible to deny the Source of effects so powerful they could not be of you. Leave room for Him, and you will find yourself so filled with power that nothing will prevail against your peace. And this will be the test by which you recognise that you have understood.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 29
Beyond this world there is a world I want.
This is the thought that follows from the one we practiced yesterday. You cannot stop with the idea the world is worthless, for unless you see that there is something else to hope for, you will only be depressed. Our emphasis is not on giving up the world, but on exchanging it for what is far more satisfying, filled with joy, and capable of offering you peace. Think you this world can offer that to you?
It might be worth a little time to think once more about the value of this world. Perhaps you will concede there is no loss in letting go all thought of value here. The world you see is merciless indeed, unstable, cruel, unconcerned with you, quick to avenge and pitiless with hate. It gives but to rescind, and takes away all things that you have cherished for a while. No lasting love is found, for none is here. This is the world of time, where all things end.
Is it a loss to find a world instead where losing is impossible; where love endures forever, hate cannot exist and vengeance has no meaning? Is it loss to find all things you really want, and know they have no ending and they will remain exactly as you want them throughout time? Yet even they will be exchanged at last for what we cannot speak of, for you go from there to where words fail entirely, into a silence where the language is unspoken and yet surely understood.
Communication, unambiguous and plain as day, remains unlimited for all eternity. And God Himself speaks to His Son, as His Son speaks to Him. Their language has no words, for what They say cannot be symbolized. Their knowledge is direct and wholly shared and wholly one. How far away from this are you who stay bound to this world. And yet how near are you, when you exchange it for the world you want.
Now is the last step certain; now you stand an instant’s space away from timelessness. Here can you but look forward, never back to see again the world you do not want. Here is the world that comes to take its place, as you unbind your mind from little things the world sets forth to keep you prisoner. Value them not, and they will disappear. Esteem them, and they will seem real to you.
Such is the choice. What loss can be for you in choosing not to value nothingness? This world holds nothing that you really want, but what you choose instead you want indeed! Let it be given you today. It waits but for your choosing it, to take the place of all the things you seek but do not want.
Practice your willingness to make this change ten minutes in the morning and at night, and once more in between. Begin with this:
Beyond this world there is a world I want.
I choose to see that world instead of this,
for here is nothing that I really want.
Then close your eyes upon the world you see, and in the silent darkness watch the lights that are not of this world light one by one, until where one begins another ends loses all meaning as they blend in one.
Today the lights of Heaven bend to you, to shine upon your eyelids as you rest beyond the world of darkness. Here is light your eyes can not behold. And yet your mind can see it plainly, and can understand. A day of grace is given you today, and we give thanks. This day we realize that what you feared to lose was only loss.
Now do we understand there is no loss. For we have seen its opposite at last, and we are grateful that the choice is made. Remember your decision hourly, and take a moment to confirm your choice by laying by whatever thoughts you have, and dwelling briefly only upon this:
The world I see holds nothing that I want.
Beyond this world there is a world I want.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: Although the Course has been written as a self-study course, there would be nothing in its teachings that would preclude seeking out therapy for help along the way. Every relationship provides the opportunity to practice forgiveness and the therapist-patient relationship is no exception. Now it is true that nearly all the world’s forms of psychotherapy are concerned only with helping us make better ego-based adjustments to our life circumstances (P.2.in; I). And some may reinforce the belief in the dynamic of victim and victimizer, as experiences of abuse from the past may be uncovered or focused on. Nevertheless, therapy with a non-judgmental, accepting therapist can provide a useful context for identifying ego patterns and feelings that may be difficult to recognize on one’s own.
That Jesus is not opposed to psychotherapy as a supplement and support for his teachings is apparent from the pamphlet, Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process, and Practice, scribed by Helen Schucman from Jesus in a manner similar to how she took down the Course. However, a study of the pamphlet also makes it clear that, as a form of therapy, there is really no such thing as Course- based therapy. Jesus’ focus is only on the thoughts and attitudes in the mind of the therapist in relationship to the patient. He never makes any specific suggestions or recommendations about what the therapist should say or do with the patient — that is not his concern for that is not what brings about true healing. Healing only occurs when the therapist releases every judgment being held about the patient, recognizing that the two of them are really the same, walking together on the same path back home, with the same problem and the same need, to release the insane belief in the reality of separation.
Q #660: I have this ongoing pattern in my life that I was hoping you could comment on. If you asked two different friends to define their relationship in separate rooms they would probably describe the relationship the same way — “We are good friends or acquaintances, etc.” But I have this pattern of seeing my relationships with other people differently from how they do. It seems that I think that I am better friends with people than they see me to them. Can you comment on this?
A: Without knowing more about how you experience these differences between yourself and others in perceiving your relationships, we can only offer you some general points to consider. From the Course’s perspective, the only question we need ask of anything is, “What is it for?” (T.24.VII.6:1,2,3). So for the pattern you have identified, you need only ask yourself what purpose it is serving in your life. And to answer that, you will want to look honestly at how these differences between yourself and others in valuing the relationships seem to make you feel.
Now if you don’t have much reaction one way or another, then you can just chalk it up as further support for the ego’s first law of chaos, “that the truth is different for everyone” (T.23.II.2:1). In this world of differences we all see through our own special set of filters and so differences in perception are inevitable and unavoidable. However, since the pattern has gained your attention sufficiently that you are inquiring about its significance, it seems more likely that you are having some reaction to the difference. We can suggest a few possible reactions and their implications, but you will have to decide for yourself what is going on for you.
You may feel disappointed, perhaps even taken advantage of, that your feelings are not being returned. Jesus speaks of the “‘laws’ of friendship, of ‘good’ relationships and reciprocity” (W.76.8:3) that we believe must be obeyed, which are all part of the ego’s deliberate plan to keep us looking outside ourselves to have our needs met and find happiness through our special love bargains (e.g., T.7.I.4, T.21.III.1). And these rules also allow us to gather the ammunition we need to demonstrate that we are victims of others’ lack of appreciation and care and concern. Of course, these defenses are merely the smokescreens that keep us from looking within ourselves to the guilt that is the real cause of all of our feelings of unhappiness and lack.
Or perhaps you feel that you are just not good enough and that, despite your best efforts, others will simply not be interested in getting to know you better. This may seem to be a step closer to acknowledging the guilt within yourself than the previous reaction, which blames the other. But so long as we are still harboring blame against anyone, including ourselves, Jesus tells us (T.11.IV.4,5), we are still trapped in the throes of the ego thought system. For it is not the self in the world that we each believe we are that is the problem, but the mind that thinks it needs this self as a defense against the guilt it is holding onto.
On the other hand, you could perhaps feel a certain sense of superiority because you are more open to experiencing intimacy and are not afraid of getting more involved and caring more deeply about others than they do towards you. If this is your reaction, it would be helpful to acknowledge the specialness that necessarily underlies this feeling. And then to recognize that this too is a defense against the guilt in your own mind for choosing against the loving Intimacy that we have all turned away from when we sought to be on our own, independent and autonomous, not needing Anyone else. For we always accuse others of what we have first accused ourselves (T.31.III.1,2).
Now there may be other reactions you are having to this pattern in your relationships, but perhaps it is clear from the three examples just described that the path will always bring us back to our own guilt, if we’re willing to take it where it leads. And while the ego purpose for all of our relationships is to reinforce unconsciously our own guilt while trying to see it outside of ourselves, our relationships can all be given another purpose when we are willing to recognize them as the vehicles for getting in touch with our belief in our own guilt. For it is only when we can acknowledge that guilt within our own mind that we can make a different choice about it, with the Holy Spirit or Jesus as our Guide for looking rather than the ego.