ACIM Text Reading for June 28
Chapter 18 ~ The Passing of the Dream
III. Light in the Dream
You who have spent your life in bringing truth to illusion, reality to fantasy, have walked the way of dreams. For you have gone from waking to sleeping, and on and on to a yet deeper sleep. Each dream has led to other dreams, and every fantasy that seemed to bring a light into the darkness but made the darkness deeper. Your goal was darkness, in which no ray of light could enter. And you sought a blackness so complete that you could hide from truth forever, in complete insanity. What you forgot was simply that God cannot destroy Himself. The light is in you. Darkness can cover it, but cannot put it out.
As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear, and sometimes to stark terror. But you will advance, because your goal is the advance from fear to truth. The goal you accepted is the goal of knowledge, for which you signified your willingness. Fear seems to live in darkness, and when you are afraid you have stepped back. Let us then join quickly in an instant of light, and it will be enough to remind you that your goal is light.
Truth has rushed to meet you since you called upon it. If you knew Who walks beside you on the way that you have chosen, fear would be impossible. You do not know because the journey into darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it. A little flicker of your eyelids, closed so long, has not yet been sufficient to give you confidence in yourself, so long despised. You go toward love still hating it, and terribly afraid of its judgement upon you. And you do not realise that you are not afraid of love, but only of what you have made of it. You are advancing to love’s meaning, and away from all illusions in which you have surrounded it. When. you retreat to the illusion your fear increases, for there is little doubt that what you think it means is fearful. Yet what is that to us who travel surely and very swiftly away from fear?
You who hold your brother’s hand also hold mine, for when you joined each other you were not alone. Do you believe that I would leave you in the darkness that you agreed to leave with me? In your relationship is this world’s light. And fear must disappear before you now. Be tempted not to snatch away the gift of faith you offered to your brother. You will succeed only in frightening yourself. The gift is given forever, for God Himself received it. You cannot take it back. You have accepted God. The holiness of your relationship is established in Heaven. You do not understand what you accepted, but remember that your understanding is not necessary. All that was necessary was merely the wish to understand. That wish was the desire to be holy. The Will of God is granted you. For you desire the only thing you ever had, or ever were.
Each instant that we spend together will teach you that this goal is possible, and will strengthen your desire to reach it. And in your desire lies its accomplishment. Your desire is now in complete accord with all the power of the Holy Spirit’s Will. No little, faltering footsteps that you may take can separate your desire from His Will and from His strength. I hold your hand as surely as you agreed to take your brother’s. You will not separate, for I stand with you and walk with you in your advance to truth. And where we go we carry God with us.
In your relationship you have joined with me in bringing Heaven to the Son of God, who hid in darkness. You have been willing to bring the darkness to light, and this willingness has given strength to everyone who would remain in darkness. Those who would see will see. And they will join with me in carrying their light into the darkness, when the darkness in them is offered to the light, and is removed forever. My need for you, joined with me in the holy light of your relationship, is your need for salvation. Would I not give you what you gave to me? For when you joined your brother, you answered me.
You who are now the bringer of salvation have the function of bringing light to darkness. The darkness in you has been brought to light. Carry it back to darkness, from the holy instant to which you brought it. We are made whole in our desire to make whole. Let not time worry you, for all the fear that you and your brother experience is really past. Time has been readjusted to help us do, together, what your separate pasts would hinder. You have gone past fear, for no two minds can join in the desire for love without love’s joining them.
Not one light in Heaven but goes with you. Not one ray that shines forever in the Mind of God but shines on you. Heaven is joined with you in your advance to Heaven. When such great lights have joined with you to give the little spark of your desire the power of God Himself, can you remain in darkness? You and your brother are coming home together, after a long and meaningless journey that you undertook apart, and that led nowhere. You have found your brother, and you will light each other’s way. And from this light will the Great Rays extend back into darkness and forward unto God, to shine away the past and so make room for His eternal Presence, in which everything is radiant in the light.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 28
Give me your blessing, holy Son of God.
Today we practice differently, and take a stand against our anger, that our fears may disappear and offer room to love. Here is salvation in the simple words in which we practice with today’s idea. Here is the answer to temptation which can never fail to welcome in the Christ where fear and anger had prevailed before. Here is Atonement made complete, the world passed safely by and Heaven now restored. Here is the answer of the Voice for God.
Complete abstraction is the natural condition of the mind. But part of it is now unnatural. It does not look on everything as one. It sees instead but fragments of the whole, for only thus could it invent the partial world you see. The purpose of all seeing is to show you what you wish to see. All hearing but brings to your mind the sounds it wants to hear.
Thus were specifics made. And now it is specifics we must use in practicing. We give them to the Holy Spirit, that He may employ them for a purpose which is different from the one we gave to them. Yet He can use but what we made, to teach us from a different point of view, so we can see a different use in everything.
One brother is all brothers. Every mind contains all minds, for every mind is one. Such is the truth. Yet do these thoughts make clear the meaning of creation? Do these words bring perfect clarity with them to you? What can they seem to be but empty sounds; pretty, perhaps, correct in sentiment, yet fundamentally not understood nor understandable. The mind that taught itself to think specifically can no longer grasp abstraction in the sense that it is all-encompassing. We need to see a little, that we learn a lot.
It seems to be the body that we feel limits our freedom, makes us suffer, and at last puts out our life. Yet bodies are but symbols for a concrete form of fear. Fear without symbols calls for no response, for symbols can stand for the meaningless. Love needs no symbols, being true. But fear attaches to specifics, being false.
Bodies attack, but minds do not. This thought is surely reminiscent of our text, where it is often emphasized. This is the reason bodies easily become fear’s symbols. You have many times been urged to look beyond the body, for its sight presents the symbol of love’s “enemy” Christ’s vision does not see. The body is the target for attack, for no one thinks he hates a mind. Yet what but mind directs the body to attack? What else could be the seat of fear except what thinks of fear?
Hate is specific. There must be a thing to be attacked. An enemy must be perceived in such a form he can be touched and seen and heard, and ultimately killed. When hatred rests upon a thing, it calls for death as surely as God’s Voice proclaims there is no death. Fear is insatiable, consuming everything its eyes behold, seeing itself in everything, compelled to turn upon itself and to destroy.
Who sees a brother as a body sees him as fear’s symbol. And he will attack, because what he beholds is his own fear external to himself, poised to attack, and howling to unite with him again. Mistake not the intensity of rage projected fear must spawn. It shrieks in wrath, and claws the air in frantic hope it can reach to its maker and devour him.
This do the body’s eyes behold in one whom Heaven cherishes, the angels love and God created perfect. This is his reality. And in Christ’s vision is his loveliness reflected in a form so holy and so beautiful that you could scarce refrain from kneeling at his feet. Yet you will take his hand instead, for you are like him in the sight that sees him thus. Attack on him is enemy to you, for you will not perceive that in his hands is your salvation. Ask him but for this, and he will give it to you. Ask him not to symbolize your fear. Would you request that love destroy itself? Or would you have it be revealed to you and set you free?
Today we practice in a form we have attempted earlier. Your readiness is closer now, and you will come today nearer Christ’s vision. If you are intent on reaching it, you will succeed today. And once you have succeeded, you will not be willing to accept the witnesses your body’s eyes call forth. What you will see will sing to you of ancient melodies you will remember. You are not forgot in Heaven. Would you not remember it?
Select one brother, symbol of the rest, and ask salvation of him. See him first as clearly as you can, in that same form to which you are accustomed. See his face, his hands and feet, his clothing. Watch him smile, and see familiar gestures which he makes so frequently. Then think of this: What you are seeing now conceals from you the sight of one who can forgive you all your sins; whose sacred hands can take away the nails which pierce your own, and lift the crown of thorns which you have placed upon your bleeding head. Ask this of him, that he may set you free:
Give me your blessing, holy Son of God.
I would behold you with the eyes of Christ,
and see my perfect sinlessness in you.
And He will answer Whom you called upon. For He will hear the Voice for God in you, and answer in your own. Behold him now, whom you have seen as merely flesh and bone, and recognize that Christ has come to you. Today’s idea is your safe escape from anger and from fear. Be sure you use it instantly, should you be tempted to attack a brother and perceive in him the symbol of your fear. And you will see him suddenly transformed from enemy to savior; from the devil into Christ.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: At-onement is not a term used in A Course in Miracles to define Atonement. Neither does Atonement have any of the meaning traditional Christianity applies to it, which is reparation for sin. In one word the Course gives a new meaning to the term Atonement: sinlessness. As simple as this is, it is in fact a very strong message to the ego whose thought system rests entirely on the belief that the Son of God is guilty for having taken the separation thought seriously. Accepting the Atonement means listening to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, Who speaks for God and tells us that the separation thought is not only not a sin, it never even happened. This is the heart of the Holy Spirit’s teaching of Atonement in the Course. Accepting this truth is a process by which guilt is relinquished through forgiveness; the Holy Spirit’s correction for the mistaken belief in separation. In the “Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles, ” Kenneth Wapnick defines the Atonement as “the Holy Spirit’s plan of correction to undo the ego and heal the belief is separation.” Our function in this plan, and what makes it meaningful in our daily lives, is the practice of forgiveness: “Forgiveness is the only function meaningful in time” (T.25.VI.5:3) .
Atonement, therefore, is not just an intellectual concept to be understood. It has life and becomes our life, to whatever extent we are willing to apply the principle of forgiveness in our relationships. This means seeing in every judgment the projection of our guilt for the mind’s choice for separation. That is our only responsibility in the Atonement process: “ The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself [learn complete forgiveness] ” (T.2.V.5:1) . Since the choice for separation in the mind is the cause of what we feel, no one/nothing external to the mind can be blamed. Releasing others in this way is how we learn that we, too, are sinless. In that recognition is the Atonement accomplished.
What makes the Atonement a process are the heavy layers of guilt that accompany the choice for the ego and block the Holy Spirit’s light. “It [Atonement] is perfectly clear because it exists in light. Only the attempts to shroud it in darkness have made it inaccessible to those who do not choose to see (T.3.I.6:6,7). In the ego’s twisted thinking, guilt is the justification for not accepting the Atonement. It would have us believe that we are not worthy to be God’s innocent Son, and are thus doomed to remain cut off form our Source. What the ego does not tell us is that this is the means by which the separation thought is maintained, the ego is protected and guilt is perpetuated. This vicious circle of the ego is undone only by the mind’s decision to choose the Holy Spirit, Whose message is that the belief in the separation has had no effect and the Son of God is innocent. This is stated very simply in the text: “Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement [accepting it for himself] , but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless ” (T.14.V.2:1). Every encounter is an opportunity to choose between judgment or forgiveness. As forgiveness becomes the goal in every relationship the Holy Spirit’s inclusive circle of Atonement gradually replaces the ego’s vicious guilt circle of separation and exclusion. Jesus puts the choice before us in the section “The Circle of Atonement:” “Each one you see you place within the holy circle of Atonement or leave outside, judging him fit for crucifixion or for redemption. If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without, you join him there” (T.14.V.11:1,2,3).