ACIM Text Reading for July 23
REASON AND PERCEPTION
Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything. And where there is no meaning, there is chaos.
Damnation is your judgement on yourself, and this you will project upon the world. See it as damned, and all you see is what you did to hurt the Son of God. If you behold disaster and catastrophe, you tried to crucify him. If you see holiness and hope, you joined the Will of God to set him free. There is no choice that lies between these two decisions. And you will see the witness to the choice you made, and learn from this to recognise which one you chose. The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you, and to accept as yours. And, if this is its meaning, then the power to give it joy must lie within you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 23
The peace of God is shining in me now.
Why wait for Heaven? Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home.
This light can not be lost. Why wait to find it in the future, or believe it has been lost already, or was never there? It can so easily be looked upon that arguments which prove it is not there become ridiculous. Who can deny the presence of what he beholds in him? It is not difficult to look within, for there all vision starts. There is no sight, be it of dreams or from a truer Source, that is not but the shadow of the seen through inward vision. There perception starts, and there it ends. It has no source but this.
The peace of God is shining in you now, and from your heart extends around the world. It pauses to caress each living thing, and leaves a blessing with it that remains forever and forever. What it gives must be eternal. It removes all thoughts of the ephemeral and valueless. It brings renewal to all tired hearts, and lights all vision as it passes by. All of its gifts are given everyone, and everyone unites in giving thanks to you who give, and you who have received.
The shining in your mind reminds the world of what it has forgotten, and the world restores the memory to you as well. From you salvation radiates with gifts beyond all measure, given and returned. To you, the giver of the gift, does God Himself give thanks. And in His blessing does the light in you shine brighter, adding to the gifts you have to offer to the world.
The peace of God can never be contained. Who recognizes it within himself must give it. And the means for giving it are in his understanding. He forgives because he recognized the truth in him. The peace of God is shining in you now, and in all living things. In quietness is it acknowledged universally. For what your inward vision looks upon is your perception of the universe.
Sit quietly and close your eyes. The light within you is sufficient. It alone has power to give the gift of sight to you. Exclude the outer world, and let your thoughts fly to the peace within. They know the way. For honest thoughts, untainted by the dream of worldly things outside yourself, become the holy messengers of God Himself.
These thoughts you think with Him. They recognize their home. And they point surely to their Source, Where God the Father and the Son are One. God’s peace is shining on them, but they must remain with you as well, for they were born within your mind, as yours was born in God’s. They lead you back to peace, from where they came but to remind you how you must return.
They heed your Father’s Voice when you refuse to listen. And they urge you gently to accept His Word for what you are, instead of fantasies and shadows. They remind you that you are the co-creator of all things that live. For as the peace of God is shining in you, it must shine on them.
We practice coming nearer to the light in us today. We take our wandering thoughts, and gently bring them back to where they fall in line with all the thoughts we share with God. We will not let them stray. We let the light within our minds direct them to come home. We have betrayed them, ordering that they depart from us. But now we call them back, and wash them clean of strange desires and disordered wishes. We restore to them the holiness of their inheritance.
Thus are our minds restored with them, and we acknowledge that the peace of God still shines in us, and from us to all living things that share our life. We will forgive them all, absolving all the world from what we thought it did to us. For it is we who make the world as we would have it. Now we choose that it be innocent, devoid of sin and open to salvation. And we lay our saving blessing on it, as we say:
The peace of God is shining in me now.
Let all things shine upon me in that peace,
And let me bless them with the light in me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1191: My inclination has been for years to feel that I have enough work to do in personal encounters and relationships, and that I do not have to look for more issues coming from the media. I am convinced that the world will not become a better place, and so, not in resignation, but happily, I turn to the only place to go in seriousness, which is inside, and do the work there. I am asking about this because I remember thinking that the world will change some day because of our inner work, and then we will see happy headlines instead of catastrophic headlines.
A: It seems as if you are reflecting the important principle of A Course in Miracles : “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world” (T.21.in.1:7) . It is essential to understand this passage as pertaining only to content, not form. The opening statement of the paragraph in which this quote appears provides its context: “Projection makes perception” (T.21.in.1:1) . This is the thrust of Jesus’ teaching and his training of us. He wants us to learn how to perceive correctly, which means learning to make a connection between our perception and the prior choice we made in our minds to identify with the ego thought system or the Holy Spirit’s thought system. Our interpretation of what our eyes see follows directly from that choice. If we identify with the thought system of forgiveness, we can look on scenes of overwhelming devastation and know that devastation has nothing to do with reality (W.pII.13.1:3) . We will not be indifferent to the suffering of others; we will be at peace as we deal with the situations in our lives and the world because we will know that pain and suffering do not define our reality. We will be in the world but not of it.
The origin of the world is a thought of attack (W.pII.3.2:1) , and therefore it is not surprising that headlines constantly scream of disaster and catastrophe. That will continue until the mind of God’s Son no longer is attracted to separation. When we are unwilling to pay the high price of being separate, we will ask for help to change our minds about our purpose for being here, and then the world will take on a different purpose: “It becomes a home in which forgiveness is born, and where it grows and becomes stronger and more all-embracing. Here is it nourished, for here it is needed” (M.14.2:2,3) . When every seemingly separate mind has at last accepted the Atonement, the world will not become a better place with “happy headlines”; “It will merely cease to seem to be” (M.14.2:12) . There will be no need for a world when there no longer is any guilt in our minds that needs to be projected. But we needn’t fear that the world will disappear before we are ready to leave it behind: “Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality. Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition. The urgency is only in dislodging your mind from its fixed position here” (T.16.VI.8:1,2,3) .
In the section “I Need Do Nothing,” Jesus teaches us how to walk his unique path of forgiveness, a path that has us quietly peaceful in our minds while busily active in the world. It is not a path of indifference or escapism. One way of describing this approach is to say that we learn to become passive to the ego but not to the Holy Spirit. Our peace is sustained by our choice to identify with the Holy Spirit’s thought system, because then whatever we do will be done through us, with no effort or strain on our part. That is the essence of Jesus’ message in this section: “To do nothing is to rest, and make a place within you where the activity of the body ceases to demand attention. . . . This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. For from this center will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly. It is this center, from which the body is absent, that will keep it so in your awareness of it” (T.18.VII.7:7; 8:3,4,5).
Q #1192: What is beyond the physical? Someone defined insanity as doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. I believe the way the majority of us live is possibly a better definition of insanity: we hunt for food, we eat, sleep, and reproduce. The approaches we have developed to maintain this cycle differ, but with some variation, produce the same results regardless of one’s status in society. Can this cycle be a valid reason for our existence?
A: To be technically accurate, we would have to say there is nothing beyond the physical because the physical does not exist. To say that there is something beyond it is to say it is real somehow. However, to start with our experience of the physical as real, we can then say that one of the principal purposes of A Course in Miracles is to help us realize that that experience is a defense against the truth. The truth is that only spirit in a state of perfect Oneness is real. Jesus thus is teaching us how we came to believe that the physical world and body are real and how to undo that erroneous belief. “It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this course aims at a complete reversal of thought” (M.24.4:1). Through our study of the text and our practice of the workbook exercises we will gradually make the shifts in our thinking that will lead us beyond the body (T.18.VI) and beyond all the idols (T.30.III) we made as substitutes for our true Identity as spirit, one with God’s Love.
Insanity, from the Course’s perspective, is thinking that we really exist apart from God as separate individuals. God is totality. There cannot be anything outside totality, and to think there can be is insanity, for we would then wind up seeing what is not there! Jesus thus instructs us: “There is one life. That life you share with Him. Nothing can be apart from Him and live” (W.pI.156.2:7,8,9); “Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere” (T.23.II.19:6). Our work as students of this course, thus, is to ask our inner Teacher to help us learn how to use the world and the body to undo our belief that we are separate from God, our Source. We thus will be able to live more peacefully, with less guilt, anger, and judgment.