ACIM Text Reading for June 1
Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant
III. Littleness versus Magnitude
Be not content with littleness. But be sure you understand what littleness is, and why you could never be content with it. Littleness is the offering you give yourself. You offer this in place of magnitude, and you accept it. Everything in this world is little because it is a world made out of littleness, in the strange belief that littleness can content you. When you strive for anything in this world in the belief that it will bring you peace, you are belittling yourself and blinding yourself to glory. Littleness and glory are the choices open to your striving and your vigilance. You will always choose one at the expense of the other.
Yet what you do not realise, each time you choose, is that your choice is your evaluation of yourself. Choose littleness and you will not have peace, for you will have judged yourself unworthy of it. And whatever you offer as a substitute is much too poor a gift to satisfy you. It is essential that you accept the fact, and accept it gladly, that there is no form of littleness that can ever content you. You are free to try as many as you wish, but all you will be doing is to delay your homecoming. For you will be content only in magnitude, which is your home.
There is a deep responsibility you owe yourself, and one you must learn to remember all the time. The lesson may seem hard at first, but you will learn to love it when you realise that it is true and is but a tribute to your power. You who have sought and found littleness, remember this: Every decision you make stems from what you think you are, and represents the value that you put upon yourself. Believe the little can content you, and by limiting yourself you will not be satisfied. For your function is not little, and it is only by finding your function and fulfilling it that you can escape from littleness.
There is no doubt about what your function is, for the Holy Spirit knows what it is. There is no doubt about its magnitude, for it reaches you through Him from Magnitude. You do not have to strive for it, because you have it. All striving must be directed against littleness, for it does require vigilance to protect your magnitude in this world. To hold your magnitude in perfect awareness in a world of littleness is a task the little cannot undertake. Yet it is asked of you, in tribute to your magnitude and not your littleness. Nor is it asked of you alone. The power of God will support every effort you make on behalf of His dear Son. Search for the little, and you deny yourself His power. God is not willing that His Son be content with less than everything. For He is not content without His Son, and His Son cannot be content with less than His Father has given him.
I asked you earlier, ‘Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God’? Let this question be asked you by the Holy Spirit every time you make a decision. For every decision you make does answer this, and invites sorrow or joy accordingly. When God gave Himself to you in your creation, He established you as host to Him forever. He has not left you, and you have not left Him. All your attempts to deny His magnitude, and make His Son hostage to the ego, cannot make little whom God has joined with Him. Every decision you make is for Heaven or for hell, and brings you the awareness of what you decided for.
The Holy Spirit can hold your magnitude, clean of all littleness, clearly and in perfect safety in your mind, untouched by every little gift the world of littleness would offer you. But for this, you cannot side against Him in what He wills for you. Decide for God through Him. For littleness, and the belief that you can be content with littleness, are decisions you make about yourself. The power and the glory that lie in you from God are for all who, like you, perceive themselves as little, and believe that littleness can be blown up into a sense of magnitude that can content them. Neither give littleness, nor accept it. All honour is due the host of God. Your littleness deceives you, but your magnitude is of Him Who dwells in you, and in Whom you dwell. Touch no one, then, with littleness in the Name of Christ, eternal Host unto His Father.
In this season (Christmas) which celebrates the birth of holiness into this world, join with me who decided for holiness for you. It is our task together to restore the awareness of magnitude to the host whom God appointed for Himself. It is beyond all your littleness to give the gift of God, but not beyond you. For God would give Himself through you. He reaches from you to everyone and beyond everyone to His Son’s creations, but without leaving you. Far beyond your little world but still in you, He extends forever. Yet He brings all His extensions to you, as host to Him.
Is it a sacrifice to leave littleness behind, and wander not in vain? It is not sacrifice to wake to glory. But it is sacrifice to accept anything less than glory. Learn that you must be worthy of the Prince of Peace, born in you in honour of Him Whose host you are. You know not what love means because you have sought to purchase it with little gifts, thus valuing it too little to understand its magnitude. Love is not little and love dwells in you, for you are host to Him. Before the greatness that lives in you, your poor appreciation of yourself and all the little offerings you give slip into nothingness.
Holy child of God, when will you learn that only holiness can content you and give you peace? Remember that you learn not for yourself alone, no more than I did. It is because I learned for you that you can learn of me. I would but teach you what is yours, so that together we can replace the shabby littleness that binds the host of God to guilt and weakness with the glad awareness of the glory that is in him. My birth in you is your awakening to grandeur. Welcome me not into a manger, but into the altar to holiness, where holiness abides in perfect peace. My Kingdom is not of this world because it is in you. And you are of your Father. Let us join in honouring you, who must remain forever beyond littleness.
Decide with me, who has decided to abide with you. I will as my Father wills, knowing His Will is constant and at peace forever with itself. You will be content with nothing but His Will. Accept no less, remembering that everything I learned is yours. What my Father loves I love as He does, and I can no more accept it as what it is not, than He can. And no more can you. When you have learned to accept what you are, you will make no more gifts to offer to yourself, for you will know you are complete, in need of nothing, and unable to accept anything for yourself. But you will gladly give, having received. The host of God needs not seek to find anything.
If you are wholly willing to leave salvation to the plan of God and unwilling to attempt to grasp for peace yourself, salvation will be given you. Yet think not you can substitute your plan for His. Rather, join with me in His, that we may release all those who would be bound, proclaiming together that the Son of God is host to Him. Thus will we let no one forget what you would remember. And thus will you remember it.
Call forth in everyone only the remembrance of God, and of the Heaven that is in him. For where you would have your brother be, there will you think you are. Hear not his appeal to hell and littleness, but only his call for Heaven and greatness. Forget not that his call is yours, and answer him with me. God’s power is forever on the side of His host, for it protects only the peace in which He dwells. Lay not littleness before His holy altar, which rises above the stars and reaches even to Heaven, because of what is given it.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 1
I will not value what is valueless.
Sometimes in teaching there is benefit, particularly after you have gone through what seems theoretical and far from what the student has already learned, to bring him back to practical concerns. This we will do today. We will not speak of lofty, world-encompassing ideas, but dwell instead on benefits to you.
You do not ask too much of life, but far too little. When you let your mind be drawn to bodily concerns, to things you buy, to eminence as valued by the world, you ask for sorrow, not for happiness. This course does not attempt to take from you the little that you have. It does not try to substitute utopian ideas for satisfactions which the world contains. There are no satisfactions in the world.
Today we list the real criteria by which to test all things you think you want. Unless they meet these sound requirements, they are not worth desiring at all, for they can but replace what offers more. The laws that govern choice you cannot make, no more than you can make alternatives from which to choose. The choosing you can do; indeed, you must. But it is wise to learn the laws you set in motion when you choose, and what alternatives you choose between.
We have already stressed there are but two, however many there appear to be. The range is set, and this we cannot change. It would be most ungenerous to you to let alternatives be limitless, and thus delay your final choice until you had considered all of them in time; and not been brought so clearly to the place where there is but one choice that must be made.
Another kindly and related law is that there is no compromise in what your choice must bring. It cannot give you just a little, for there is no in between. Each choice you make brings everything to you or nothing. Therefore, if you learn the tests by which you can distinguish everything from nothing, you will make the better choice.
First, if you choose a thing that will not last forever, what you chose is valueless. A temporary value is without all value. Time can never take away a value that is real. What fades and dies was never there, and makes no offering to him who chooses it. He is deceived by nothing in a form he thinks he likes.
Next, if you choose to take a thing away from someone else, you will have nothing left. This is because, when you deny his right to everything, you have denied your own. You therefore will not recognize the things you really have, denying they are there. Who seeks to take away has been deceived by the illusion loss can offer gain. Yet loss must offer loss, and nothing more.
Your next consideration is the one on which the others rest. Why is the choice you make of value to you? What attracts your mind to it? What purpose does it serve? Here it is easiest of all to be deceived. For what the ego wants it fails to recognize. It does not even tell the truth as it perceives it, for it needs to keep the halo which it uses to protect its goals from tarnish and from rust, that you may see how “innocent” it is.
Yet is its camouflage a thin veneer, which could deceive but those who are content to be deceived. Its goals are obvious to anyone who cares to look for them. Here is deception doubled, for the one who is deceived will not perceive that he has merely failed to gain. He will believe that he has served the ego’s hidden goals.
Yet though he tries to keep its halo clear within his vision, still must he perceive its tarnished edges and its rusted core. His ineffectual mistakes appear as sins to him, because he looks upon the tarnish as his own; the rust a sign of deep unworthiness within himself. He who would still preserve the ego’s goals and serve them as his own makes no mistakes, according to the dictates of his guide. This guidance teaches it is error to believe that sins are but mistakes, for who would suffer for his sins if this were so?
And so we come to the criterion for choice that is the hardest to believe, because its obviousness is overlaid with many levels of obscurity. If you feel any guilt about your choice, you have allowed the ego’s goals to come between the real alternatives. And thus you do not realize there are but two, and the alternative you think you chose seems fearful, and too dangerous to be the nothingness it actually is.
All things are valuable or valueless, worthy or not of being sought at all, entirely desirable or not worth the slightest effort to obtain. Choosing is easy just because of this. Complexity is nothing but a screen of smoke, which hides the very simple fact that no decision can be difficult. What is the gain to you in learning this? It is far more than merely letting you make choices easily and without pain.
Heaven itself is reached with empty hands and open minds, which come with nothing to find everything and claim it as their own. We will attempt to reach this state today, with self-deception laid aside, and with an honest willingness to value but the truly valuable and the real. Our two extended practice periods of fifteen minutes each begin with this:
I will not value what is valueless,
and only what has value do I seek,
for only that do I desire to find.
And then receive what waits for everyone who reaches, unencumbered, to the gate of Heaven, which swings open as he comes. Should you begin to let yourself collect some needless burdens, or believe you see some difficult decisions facing you, be quick to answer with this simple thought:
I will not value what is valueless,
for what is valuable belongs to me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
#1261: If someone loves you, desires a special relationship with you, pledges their devotion and undying love, but you are still not attracted to that person in that way, and prefer to live alone, does that mean you are afraid of love? Should you consider a special relationship with that person? Ken says in “Living the Course” (audio album) that we should not abandon our special relationships, for they are opportunities for learning. Is it wrong to turn away love on the level of form? Are we not told to “give them what they want” when they seek love?
A: Frequently, students avoid their feelings of attraction to someone because they think that special relationships are bad and should never be entered into. And, just as frequently, students will leave special relationships for the same reason. Both attitudes seriously misconstrue what A Course in Miracles teaches. The point is that our relationships are the curriculum Jesus uses to help us get in touch with the choices we are making in our minds so that we can then shift the purpose for which we are using them from an unholy one (separation) to a holy one (the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness process).
This does not mean that you should start up a relationship with someone to whom you are not attracted, for the sole purpose of learning lessons. You already have many special relationship classrooms, by virtue of your being the child of parents (alive or deceased), a relative of other family members, a friend, a member of certain groups, an employee/employer, a neighbor, a pet owner possibly, a consumer, a citizen, etc. In other words, you are not deprived of classrooms because you prefer to live alone. Special relationships are in the mind, meaning the way we relate to others reflects the choice we have made in our mind to live out the ego’s thought system or the Holy Spirit’s thought system. The form or expression of this varies greatly, and is not limited to sexual and romantic partners. The holy relationship is simply the correction of our choice to identify with the ego, and the expression of that choice with others.
One of the defining characteristics of special love is that it excludes in some way. On the level of content , in other words, it singles out and separates — not everyone is included in your love. This is the core of specialness. On the other hand, you can spend most of your time with one person, but in content, be excluding no one — this is the nature of a holy relationship, which means you are centered in your right mind. Likewise, in form, you may live alone, but your love, compassion, and forgiveness would extend to everyone, without exception.
Since “love is content, and not form of any kind” (T.16.V.12:1) , you may not necessarily be rejecting love if someone “loves you, desires a special relationship with you, [and] pledges their devotion and undying love,” and you do not respond on that level. You need only look within your mind for ego complicity in your decision, some signs being fear, judgment, repulsion, selfishness, anger, vengeance. You can still enfold this person in your love and compassion (content) without being romantically involved with him or her (form). You just want to notice whether there is a “charge” to your preference to live alone — if so, then it would be a good idea to ask for help to look at the hidden content.
You answer a person’s call for love in content , by seeing him or her as one with you, sharing the same interests as God’s Son, as both an ego and the Self of Christ. The form of the relationship would then flow from this decision to undo whatever you have used to keep yourself separate from others and from God. That is why Jesus speaks of forgiveness as “an earthly form of love, which as it is in Heaven has no form” (W.pI.186.14:2) .
Q #1262 : In knowing that this world holds nothing for me, nothing that I want, and that beyond this world is the world I want (W.pI.128,129), should I be seeing God in everything, or is that validating what is not real?
A: Seeing God in everything means seeing His purpose in everything. This is not meant literally, of course, because God knows nothing of the world: “There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach” (W.pI.132.6:2,3). It means choosing to identify with the content in our right mind instead of the content in our wrong mind. The world then is seen as a classroom, and our interactions become the means of undoing our thoughts of separation from everyone else and from God. We learn to use the world for this purpose of correcting our thoughts, which replaces our former purpose of using the world to further our existence as separate, special, bodily selves. Our eyes will continue to see the same things, but our perception of what our eyes see will be vastly different, meaning we will “see” that we all share the same interests and the same split mind. A gradual reduction of tension and conflict and a growing sense of inner peace will flow from this new purpose.
Question #918 also discusses the meaning of these lessons.