ACIM Text Reading for July 9
Chapter 19 ~ The Attainment of Peace
i. The Attraction of Guilt
The attraction of guilt produces fear of love, for love would never look on guilt at all. It is the nature of love to look upon only the truth, for there it sees itself, with which it would unite in holy union and completion. As love must look past fear, so must fear see love not. For love contains the end of guilt, as surely as fear depends on it. Love is attracted only to love. Overlooking guilt completely, it sees no fear. Being wholly without attack, it could not be afraid. Fear is attracted to what love sees not, and each believes that what the other looks upon does not exist. Fear looks on guilt with just the same devotion that love looks on itself. And each has messengers which it sends forth, and which return to it with messages written in the language in which their going forth was asked.
Love’s messengers are gently sent, and return with messages of love and gentleness. The messengers of fear are harshly ordered to seek out guilt, and cherish every scrap of evil and of sin that they can find, losing none of them on pain of death, and laying them respectfully before their lord and master. Perception cannot obey two masters, each asking for messages of different things in different languages. What fear would feed upon, love overlooks. What fear demands, love cannot even see. The fierce attraction that guilt holds for fear is wholly absent from love’s gentle perception. What love would look upon is meaningless to fear, and quite invisible.
Relationships in this world are the result of how the world is seen. And this depends on which emotion was called on to send its messengers to look upon it, and return with word of what they saw. Fear’s messengers are trained through terror, and they tremble when their master calls on them to serve him. For fear is merciless even to its friends. Its messengers steal guiltily away in hungry search of guilt, for they are kept cold and starving and made very vicious by their master, who allows them to feast only upon what they return to him. No little shred of guilt escapes their hungry eyes. And in their savage search for sin they pounce on any living thing they see, and carry it screaming to their master, to be devoured.
Send not these savage messengers into the world, to feast upon it and to prey upon reality. For they will bring you word of bones and skin and flesh. They have been taught to seek for the corruptible, and to return with gorges filled with things decayed and rotted. To them such things are beautiful, because they seem to allay their savage pangs of hunger. For they are frantic with the pain of fear, and would avert the punishment of him who sends them forth by offering him what they hold dear.
The Holy Spirit has given you love’s messengers to send instead of those you trained through fear. They are as eager to return to you what they hold dear as are the others. If you send them forth, they will see only the blameless and the beautiful, the gentle and the kind. They will be as careful to let no little act of charity, no tiny expression of forgiveness, no little breath of love escape their notice. And they will return with all the happy things they found, to share them lovingly with you. Be not afraid of them. They offer you salvation. Theirs are the messages of safety, for they see the world as kind.
If you send forth only the messengers the Holy Spirit gives you, wanting no messages but theirs, you will see fear no more. The world will be transformed before your sight, cleansed of all guilt and softly brushed with beauty. The world contains no fear that you laid not upon it. And none you cannot ask love’s messengers to remove from it, and see it still. The Holy Spirit has given you His messengers to send to your brother and return to you with what love sees. They have been given to replace the hungry dogs of fear you sent instead. And they go forth to signify the end of fear.
Love, too, would set a feast before you, on a table covered with a spotless cloth, set in a quiet garden where no sound but singing and a softly joyous whispering is ever heard. This is a feast that honours your holy relationship, and at which everyone is welcomed as an honoured guest. And in a holy instant grace is said by everyone together, as they join in gentleness before the table of communion. And I will join you there, as long ago I promised and promise still. For in your new relationship am I made welcome. And where I am made welcome, there I am.
I am made welcome in the state of grace, which means you have at last forgiven me. For I became the symbol of your sin, and so I had to die instead of you. To the ego sin means death, and so atonement is achieved through murder. Salvation is looked upon as a way by which the Son of God was killed instead of you. Yet would I offer you my body, you whom I love, knowing its littleness? Or would I teach that bodies cannot keep us apart? Mine was of no greater value than yours; no better means for communication of salvation, but not its Source. No one can die for anyone, and death does not atone for sin. But you can live to show it is not real. The body does appear to be the symbol of sin while you believe that it can get you what you want. While you believe that it can give you pleasure, you will also believe that it can bring you pain. To think you could be satisfied and happy with so little is to hurt yourself, and to limit the happiness that you would have calls upon pain to fill your meagre store and make your life complete. This is completion as the ego sees it. For guilt creeps in where happiness has been removed, and substitutes for it. Communion is another kind of completion, which goes beyond guilt, because it goes beyond the body.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 9
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(155) I will step back and let Him lead the way.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(156) I walk with God in perfect holiness.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #308: I’m not sure how to present this question, because anything I say will most likely be projection and/or an area of my own unrecognized guilt, some unconscious need for drama, to be a victim or martyr, some call for help in me. But please elaborate the Course’s position as to why there is hatred and often times cruelty from others when the A Course in Miracles becomes one’s path. This has been my path since 1986 and I don’t thrust it upon others. If I am asked, I will talk about it. When I ask for help I often don’t hear the answer or I’m too upset and caught up in fear.
A: First of all, it will be helpful to distinguish others’ feelings and reactions from your own. For your own reactions are all that you ever really need to be concerned with. Any thought system which so uncompromisingly threatens the ego thought system, as the Course does, will have to be perceived as threatening to anyone who is still identified with the ego. So, as you work with the Course, whether you speak to others of its principles or not, they at some level will have to recognize the difference in you in those moments when you are practicing forgiveness and are identified with your right mind. And if they are threatened by that, then hatred and cruelty — among a variety of ego reactions — are “natural” and not unexpected responses to protect their ego identity. As Jesus points out, “frightened people can be vicious” (T.3.I.4:2).
None of this really has anything to do with you or your own lessons in forgiveness, unless you in turn react to their reactions to you. For you are now in your wrong mind and are identifying with the guilt there over separation and attack on God that you believe is real. But this is nothing to feel embarrassed or apologetic about. All of us who still believe we are here in this world in the body have unhealed minds that believe in the reality of our own guilt. And any experience that allows us to get in touch with that guilt — which will automatically be projected outward onto others if we are not aware of its origin in our own mind — can be very helpful. So bless your brothers for being the screens for your own projections, for when you react to them with upset and fear, feeling like a victim or a martyr, you are uncovering what your ego has wanted to keep hidden from you, if you are willing to look at it that way. And whenever you remember and are ready, you can look at the no-longer-buried guilt with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, who will remind you that it is all made-up. You may initially be unable to access this help when you are in the middle of the confrontation with someone else, but the only thing that matters is that, at some point in time, you remember you have a different choice about how you can perceive that interaction. And that opens the door to the help that is always available to us.
Q #309: It keeps being emphasized in the answers here that we need to bring our ego thoughts to the love of Jesus in our right minds. How do we know we are doing that? What I mean is that it’s not like talking to someone in human form where you can see them and hear them and speak directly with them and know you are doing it.
A: Although we can never be certain in any moment if we have turned our minds away from the ego and joined with Jesus, one of the clearer indications is when we feel a release from the heaviness and strain of the judgments we have been holding onto. For that in the end is all that forgiveness is and, whether or not we are conscious of joining with Jesus, we have when we let go of our thoughts of condemnation and attack. When we are honest with ourselves, we can always be aware of the tension we are holding (in our minds, projected onto our bodies) when we are judging, whether it is the negative judgment of hatred and repulsion or the so-called positive judgment of desire and attraction — the feeling that someone or something outside of us is what we want and need. Tension in all its myriad manifestations is always a signal of conflict and separation, whether we interpret it as good or bad.
Jesus is not really a separate entity or being like your mother or a best friend, but rather is simply a presence we can experience, whom we can relate to in our minds, at a personal level, while we still believe we are persons. You perhaps have had the experience as you read his words in A Course in Miracles that Jesus is there with you and that he really is speaking to you. Don’t let your ego fool you into believing that is only your imagination. That experience is more real than all the experiences with other bodies that we seek after to stave off our loneliness. Joining and peace occur in the mind, and not between bodies. That is why we can feel very lonely despite being surrounded by others, if our thoughts are of separation and isolation. And we can feel quite content and complete just thinking of someone who is not physically present whose love and acceptance we are sure of. Jesus wants us to know that, no matter the vagaries and vacillations of worldly love, his love is always constant, always there. In those moments when we doubt it, we can simply pick up his book and read his words and his promises. There are many, but consider this one passage from the very end of the workbook: “You do not walk alone. God’s angels hover near and all about. His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure; that I will never leave you comfortless” (W.ep.6:6,7,8).