ACIM Text Reading for June 12
Chapter 16 ~ The Forgiveness of Illusions
III. The Reward of Teaching
We have already learned that everyone teaches, and teaches all the time. You may have taught well, and yet you may not have learned how to accept the comfort of your teaching. If you will consider what you have taught, and how alien it is to what you thought you knew, you will be compelled to realise that your Teacher came from beyond your thought system. Therefore He could look upon it fairly, and perceive it was untrue. He must have done so from the basis of a very different thought system, and one with nothing in common with yours. For certainly what He has taught, and what you have taught through Him, have nothing in common with what you taught before He came. And the results have been to bring peace where there was pain, and suffering has disappeared to be replaced by joy.
You may have taught freedom, but you have not learned how to be free. I said earlier, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them, and they shall know themselves’. For it is certain that you judge yourself according to your teaching. The ego’s teaching produces immediate results, because its decisions are immediately accepted as your choice. And this acceptance means that you are willing to judge yourself accordingly. Cause and effect are very clear in the ego’s thought system, because all your learning has been directed toward establishing the relationship between them. And would you not have faith in what you have so diligently taught yourself to believe? Yet remember how much care you have exerted in choosing its witnesses, and in avoiding those which spoke for the cause of truth and its effects.
Does not the fact that you have not learned what you have taught show you that you do not perceive the Sonship as one? And does it not also show you that you do not regard yourself as one? For it is impossible to teach successfully wholly without conviction, and it is equally impossible that conviction be outside of you. You could never have taught freedom unless you did believe in it. And it must be that what you taught came from yourself. Yet this Self you clearly do not know, and do not recognise It even though. It functions. What functions must be there. And it is only if you deny what It has done that you could possibly deny Its presence.
This is a course in how to know yourself. You have taught what you are, but have not let what you are teach you. You have been very careful to avoid the obvious, and not to see the real cause and effect relationship that is perfectly apparent. Yet within you is everything you taught. What can it be that has not learned it? It must be this part that is really outside yourself, not by your own projection, but in truth. And it is this part that you have taken in that is not you. What you accept into your mind does not really change it. Illusions are but beliefs in what is not there. And the seeming conflict between truth and illusion can only be resolved by separating yourself from the illusion and not from truth.
Your teaching has already done this, for the Holy Spirit is part of you. Created by God, He left neither God nor His creation. He is both God and you, as you are God and Him together. For God’s Answer to the separation added more to you than you tried to take away. He protected both your creations and you together, keeping one with you what you would exclude. And they will take the place of what you took in to replace them. They are quite real, as part of the Self you do not know. They communicate to you through the Holy Spirit, and their power and gratitude to you for their creation they offer gladly to your teaching of yourself, who is their home. You who are host to God are also host to them. For nothing real has ever left the mind of its creator. And what is not real was never there.
You are not two selves in conflict. What is beyond God? If you who hold Him and whom He holds are the universe, all else must be outside, where nothing is. You have taught this, and from far off in the universe, yet not beyond yourself, the witnesses to your teaching have gathered to help you learn. Their gratitude has joined with yours and God’s to strengthen your faith in what you taught. For what you taught is true. Alone, you stand outside your teaching and apart from it. But with them you must learn that you but taught yourself, and learned from the conviction you shared with them.
This year you will begin to learn, and make learning commensurate with teaching. You have chosen this by your own willingness to teach. Though you seemed to suffer for it, the joy of teaching will yet be yours. For the joy of teaching is in the learner, who offers it to the teacher in gratitude, and shares it with him. As you learn, your gratitude to your Self, Who teaches you what He is, will grow and help you honour Him. And you will learn His power and strength and purity, and love Him as His Father does. His Kingdom has no limits and no end, and there is nothing in Him that is not perfect and eternal. All this is you, and nothing outside of this is you.
To your most holy Self all praise is due for what you are, and for what He is Who created you as you are. Sooner or later must everyone bridge the gap he imagines exists between his selves. Each one builds this bridge, which carries him across the gap as soon as he is willing to expend some little effort on behalf of bridging it. His little efforts are powerfully supplemented by the strength of Heaven, and by the united will of all who make Heaven what it is, being joined within it. And so the one who would cross over is literally transported there.
Your bridge is builded stronger than you think, and your foot is planted firmly on it. Have no fear that the attraction of those who stand on the other side and wait for you will not draw you safely across. For you will come where you would be, and where your Self awaits you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 12
My mind holds only what I think with God.
(129) Beyond this world there is a world I want.
(130) It is impossible to see two worlds.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #312: I just finished a meditation on why I haven’t had an intimate relationship for so long. Most of the reasons that occurred to me were ego-based. The one I didn’t think was ego-based was that I’m just too lazy to put in all the effort it takes. I don’t know if this is an appropriate question to be asking, but I think about relationships a lot and I don’t seem to be able to help it. I know the Course says that special relationships are just a device to keep you away from the truth and I notice that the A Course in Miracles never addresses the issue of sex or sexuality directly, but I must ask for some guidance here. I have these desires and I don’t feel like they’re being met. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s wrong to have these feelings. I’m becoming very frustrated with my life and with this Course. Am I misinterpreting something? I think I must be missing something? Can you help?
A: Yes, it does sound like you’re doing some misinterpreting. By the way, you don’t say what the other thoughts were that came to you in your meditation about having an intimate relationship, but the one you mention still sounds ego-based — like someone’s mother making a judgment! Rest assured, Jesus or the Holy Spirit do not sound like our mothers’ nagging! And the truth is that fear is more likely the reason you’re not experiencing an intimate relationship, whatever answers you think you heard.
It’s true special relationships were made by the ego to distract us from the Holy Spirit’s answer — the Course refers to them as “the ego’s most boasted gift” (T.16.V.3:1) — for they hold out the hope that we can find in someone else the special love that God could never give us (T.16.V.4). But once we seem to find ourselves in the world of separation, the Course does not teach that special relationships are to be avoided or given up. On the contrary, they become the necessary classrooms in which we learn our forgiveness lessons. In Jesus’ own words, “I have said repeatedly that the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships, but would transform them (T.17.IV.2:3).
So while the Course is telling us that our special relationships — and that would include ones involving sex and physical intimacy — won’t bring us the joy of Heaven, nowhere in the Course does Jesus say that those feelings are wrong or bad or sinful. And furthermore, through our participation in those relationships, we have the opportunity to heal the guilt in our minds that we have projected on to them. It could be that we feel victimized either by the special relationships we are in or have been in, or by the fact that we are not now in the ones we believe we want. In the end, the different forms are all the same, but along the way, our part is merely to be willing to be open to the relationships that are already a part of our lives. For each one, whether or not it involves physical intimacy, will offer us an opportunity to find the love that has always been ours, just buried and hidden beneath the guilt and sin in our own minds.
You may wish to ask then, not for a specific relationship, but for help in releasing the guilt and the fear that seem to be preventing you from experiencing love. You may be surprised at what opportunities show up in your life when you have that willingness, but don’t make the mistake of deciding and defining in advance what those opportunities should look like. Trust that we always find what we need to practice our forgiveness lessons, as we are ready to take our next steps.
You may find Ken Wapnick’s recent tape on “Form vs Content: Sex and Money” of value in thinking about your issues around relationships. You may also wish to take a look at Question #184 for a related discussion.
Q #313: I have just realized, with somewhat of a shock, that a series of events that happened in my life — loss of friends, my job, my home — about five years ago seems to be playing itself out again in the same way, under similar circumstances. Everything seems to be falling apart.
I don’t want to repeat this because what followed five years ago was the bleakest, loneliest, poverty-stricken period of my life. I feel like I’m the victim of some big reality con and there seems to be nothing I can do to stop it and I’m terrified. It seems that my ego is trying to protect itself by massively intensifying its attack in order to stop me from letting it go by creating bad circumstances in my life. Is there anything I can do to stop what is happening? A friend has suggested that the first time this happened, maybe I should have chosen to go in a particular life direction but didn’t and so now circumstances are repeating themselves so I can make the right choice this time. Maybe I’m getting carried away over nothing but if things do fall apart again and I can’t change them, it would be nice to have some inner peace with what is happening.
A: You do not say whether you are a student of A Course in Miracles, but your hunch as to what your ego may be up to suggests you have more than a passing knowledge of the Course’s principles. The Course itself says that “trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you” (T.31.VIII.3:1). But it is always and only ever talking about the content of our own perceptions of others, and the pain those judgments bring, and not the specific form of events as they seem to play out in our lives. And there is nothing in the Course that says you must repeat the cycle of pain and suffering until you get it right, as if there were some kind of karmic debt to be paid. This may be true within the ego thought system, but the whole purpose of the Course is to expose the insanity of the ego so we can make a choice for sanity against that thought system.
So what is to be done? What we all must learn to do is to make conscious our own inner decision to see ourselves as guilty sinners who deserve to be punished for all of our transgressions, beginning with our supposed attack on our Father Who only extends His Love to us. That we believe down deep that we have attacked love is true, but we need to bring that belief into our awareness so we can question its validity, as well as the suffering and pain we believe it calls for. For there is no inevitability to the events of our lives. And even more to the point, there is no inevitability to the interpretation we give to the events of our lives. In other words, we may feel victimized by what seems to be happening to us in our lives, but that interpretation of victimization is nothing but that — an interpretation. And if we’re willing to accept our role in giving that interpretation to external events, then we can join with Jesus and allow him to offer a different interpretation in which no one is guilty, including, and especially, ourselves.
So if you can begin to recognize that it is your ego that is fanning your fears about the future, based on a faulty premise about yourself, you can begin to question whether you want to continue to listen to that voice. For that voice never wishes any of us well (T.15.VII.4:3). But there is another Voice, once you dismiss the ego’s, that only ever wills your perfect happiness (W.pI.101).