ACIM Text Reading for July 10
Chapter 19 ~ The Attainment of Peace
B. The Second Obstacle: The Belief the Body is Valuable for What it Offers
We said that peace must first surmount the obstacle of your desire to get rid of it. Where the attraction of guilt holds sway, peace is not wanted. The second obstacle that peace must flow across, and closely related to the first, is the belief that the body is valuable for what it offers. For here is the attraction of guilt made manifest in the body, and seen in it.
This is the value that you think peace would rob you of. This is what you believe that it would dispossess, and leave you homeless. And it is this for which you would deny a home to peace. This ‘sacrifice’ you feel to be too great to make, too much to ask of you. Is it a sacrifice, or a release? What has the body really given you that justifies your strange belief that in it lies salvation? Do you not see that this is the belief in death? Here is the focus of the perception of atonement as murder. Here is the source of the idea that love is fear.
The Holy Spirit’s messengers are sent far beyond the body, calling the mind to join in holy communion and be at peace. Such is the message that I gave them for you. It is only the messengers of fear that see the body, for they look for what can suffer. Is it a sacrifice to be removed from what can suffer? The Holy Spirit does not demand you sacrifice the hope of the body’s pleasure; it hasno hope of pleasure. But neither can it bring you fear of pain. Pain is the only ‘sacrifice’ the Holy Spirit asks, and this He wouldremove.
Peace is extended from you only to the eternal, and it reaches out from the eternal in you. It flows across all else. The second obstacle is no more solid than the first. For you want neither to get rid of peace nor limit it. What are these obstacles that you would interpose between peace and its going forth but barriers you place between your will and its accomplishment? You want communion, not the feast of fear. You want salvation, not the pain of guilt. And you want your Father, not a little mound of clay, to be your home. In your holy relationship is your Father’s Son. He has not lost communion with Him, nor with himself. When you agreed to join your brother, you acknowledged this is so. This has no cost, but it has release from cost.
You have paid very dearly for your illusions, and nothing you have paid for brought you peace. Are you not glad that Heaven cannot be sacrificed, and sacrifice cannot be asked of you? There is no obstacle that you can place before our union, for in your holy relationship I am there already. We will surmount all obstacles together, for we stand within the gates and not outside. How easily the gates are opened from within, to let peace through to bless the tired world! Can it be difficult for us to walk past barriers together, when you have joined the limitless? The end of guilt is in your hands to give. Would you stop now to look for guilt in your brother?
Let me be to you the symbol of the end of guilt, and look upon your brother as you would look on me. Forgive me all the sins you think the Son of God committed. And in the light of your forgiveness he will remember who he is, and forget what never was. I ask for your forgiveness, for if you are guilty, so must I be. But if I surmounted guilt and overcame the world, you were with me. Would you see in me the symbol of guilt or the end of guilt, remembering that what I signify to you you see within yourself?
From your holy relationship truth proclaims the truth, and love looks on itself. Salvation flows from deep within the home you offered to my Father and to me. And we are there together, in the quiet communion in which the Father and the Son are joined. O come ye faithful to the holy union of the Father and the Son in you! And keep you not apart from what is offered you, in gratitude for giving peace its home in Heaven. Send forth to all the world the joyous message of the end of guilt, and all the world will answer. Think of your happiness as everyone offers you witness of the end of sin, and shows you that its power is gone forever. Where can guilt be, when the belief in sin is gone? And where is death, when its great advocate is heard no more?
Forgive me your illusions, and release me from punishment for what I have not done. So will you learn the freedom that I taught by teaching freedom to your brother, and so releasing me. I am within your holy relationship, yet you would imprison me behind the obstacles you raise to freedom, and bar my way to you. Yet it is not possible to keep away One Who is there already. And in Him it is possible that our communion, where we are joined already, will be the focus of the new perception that will bring light to all the world, contained in you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 10
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(157) Into His Presence would I enter now.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(158) Today I learn to give as I receive.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #238: I have been a student of A Course in Miracles since 1982. I have been experiencing insomnia for about 18 years. I read and reread the “Sickness is a defense against the Truth” lesson. I have so much extra information in the form of Excerpts and Ken Wapnick tapes. I am aware that the ego is doing this to keep me off balance and have me constantly identify with the body, making it very, very real. I wake so early and just lie there and try to stop the negative thoughts coming through. I ask the Holy Spirit to undo everything I have done to bring this on. I ask Jesus to take my hand and help me. But I always wind up falling in with the ego, and getting so angry that it makes my life much more difficult. It keeps me so worn out that it makes it difficult to remember to keep listening for the still, small voice. If only it were a big, booming voice.
A: You do not mention whether or not you are taking measures to help with your insomnia on the level of form. This is of course the place to start the healing process, since we do believe we are bodies and, as you say, we take the body very seriously by making it real. One can be faithful to the Course process of recognizing the ego at work, while using whatever remedies may help in treating the illness. As with so many of our problems the ego gets us coming and going. As you point out, your insomnia serves the ego in several ways — as an initial distraction, as a way of causing conflict, and as a great way to drown out “the still small voice,” not to mention the guilt at having engaged so vigorously with the ego in the whole process. It is indeed an exhausting situation which certainly exacerbates the effects of insomnia.
Have you tried listening to your ACIM tapes? If they don’t put you to sleep, this would then be a useful way of spending the time you are awake, and would defeat the ego’s goal of distraction and conflict. If, with this little willingness to hear the message of the Course during these early morning hours, you are no longer interested in trying to get to sleep, maybe the ego would give up using insomnia as a weapon. It is a particularly ingenious weapon since A Course in Miracles is teaching us how to awaken from the dream, and the ego chooses the “lack of sleep” as an attack device.
In the ego’s arsenal insomnia becomes the victimizer. Using the body in this way is the usual ego strategy designed to produce feelings of victimization, seemingly dissociated with the mind. The Course, on the other hand, tells us that the problem originates in the mind that made a choice to identify with the ego’s world of separation and specialness prior to the insomnia and the ensuing anger. Although magic works to bring the problem into the dream in form, it does not work to bring about the correction. The Holy Spirit’s help relies on our willingness to take responsibility for this choice in order to have the error undone. The negative thoughts you mention will not disappear without this willingness to take responsibility. Very often the honest recognition of saying; “I am in this predicament (insomnia, or whatever) because “I want to be an angry victim“, takes some of the punch out of it. At least it clears up some of the clutter in our confused minds and makes way for the beginning of healing.
Feeling guilty about it will only add to the ego’s scheme. What the Course advises with regards to the laws of chaos applies to the ego’s goals in your insomnia, as with all ego schemes: “Let us, then, look upon them calmly, that we may look beyond them, understanding what they are [ego lies that have no real effect], not what they would maintain [that the separation and the body are real]” (T.23.II.1:4). “Calmly” is a very important word here; it means looking without judgment, without adding more guilt to the ego’s fire. This process of looking honestly is how we wake up to the truth the Course is teaching us, and in this waking we find our rest: “Rest does not come from sleeping but from waking” (T.5.II.10:4).