A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 31

ACIM Text Reading for August 31

Chapter 26 ~ The Transition

I. The ‘Sacrifice’ of Oneness

In the ‘dynamics’ of attack is sacrifice a key idea. It is the pivot upon which all compromise, all desperate attempts to strike a bargain, and all conflicts achieve a seeming balance. It is the symbol of the central theme that somebody must lose. Its focus on the body is apparent, for it is always an attempt to limit loss. The body is itself a sacrifice; a giving up of power in the name of saving just a little for yourself. To see a brother in another body, separate from yours, is the expression of a wish to see a little part of him and sacrifice the rest. Look at the world, and you will see nothing attached to anything beyond itself. All seeming entities can come a little nearer, or go a little farther off, but cannot join.

The world you see is based on ‘sacrifice’ of oneness. It is a picture of complete disunity and total lack of joining. Around each entity is built a wall so seeming solid that it looks as if what is inside can never reach without, and what is out can never reach and join with what is locked away within the wall. Each part must sacrifice the other part, to keep itself complete. For if they joined each one would lose its own identity, and by their separation are their selves maintained.

The little that the body fences off becomes the self, preserved through sacrifice of all the rest. And all the rest must lose this little part, remaining incomplete to keep its own identity intact. In this perception of yourself the body’s loss would be a sacrifice indeed. For sight of bodies becomes the sign that sacrifice is limited, and something still remains for you alone. And for this little to belong to you are limits placed on everything outside, just as they are on everything you think is yours. For giving and receiving are the same. And to accept the limits of a body is to impose these limits on each brother whom you see. For you must see him as you see yourself.

The body is a loss, and can be made to sacrifice. And while you see your brother as a body, apart from you and separate in his cell, you are demanding sacrifice of him and you. What greater sacrifice could be demanded than that God’s Son perceive himself without his Father? And his Father be without His Son? Yet every sacrifice demands that they be separate and without the other. The memory of God must be denied if any sacrifice is asked of anyone. What witness to the wholeness of God’s Son is seen within a world of separate bodies, however much he witnesses to truth? He is invisible in such a world. Nor can his song of union and of love be heard at all. Yet is it given him to make the world recede before his song, and sight of him replace the body’s eyes.

Those who would see the witnesses to truth instead of to illusion merely ask that they might see a purpose in the world that gives it sense and makes it meaningful. Without your special function has this world no meaning for you. Yet it can become a treasure house as rich and limitless as Heaven itself. No instant passes here in which your brother’s holiness cannot be seen, to add a limitless supply to every meagre scrap and tiny crumb of happiness that you allot yourself.

You can lose sight of oneness, but can not make sacrifice of its reality. Nor can you lose what you would sacrifice, nor keep the Holy Spirit from His task of showing you that it has not been lost. Hear, then, the song your brother sings to you, and let the world recede, and take the rest his witness offers on behalf of peace. But judge him not, for you will hear no song of liberation for yourself, nor see what it is given him to witness to, that you may see it and rejoice with him. Make not his holiness a sacrifice to your belief in sin. You sacrifice your innocence with his, and die each time you see in him a sin deserving death.

Yet every instant can you be reborn, and given life again. His holiness gives life to you, who cannot die because his sinlessness is known to God; and can no more be sacrificed by you than can the light in you be blotted out because he sees it not. You who would make a sacrifice of life, and make your eyes and ears bear witness to the death of God and of His holy Son, think not that you have power to make of them what God willed not they be. In Heaven, God’s Son is not imprisoned in a body, nor is sacrificed in solitude to sin. And as he is in Heaven, so must he be eternally and everywhere. He is the same forever. Born again each instant, untouched by time, and far beyond the reach of any sacrifice of life or death. For neither did he make, and only one was given him by One Who knows His gifts can never suffer sacrifice and loss.

God’s justice rests in gentleness upon His Son, and keeps him safe from all injustice the world would lay upon him. Could it be that you could make his sins reality, and sacrifice his Father’s Will for him? Condemn him not by seeing him within the rotting prison where he sees himself. It is your special function to ensure the door be opened, that he may come forth to shine on you, and give you back the gift of freedom by receiving it of you. What is the Holy Spirit’s special function but to release the holy Son of God from the imprisonment he made to keep himself from justice? Could your function be a task apart and separate from His Own?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 31

Lesson 227

This is my holy instant of release.

Father, it is today that I am free, because my will is Yours. I thought to make another will. Yet nothing that I thought apart from You exists. And I am free because I was mistaken, and did not affect my own reality at all by my illusions. Now I give them up, and lay them down before the feet of truth, to be removed forever from my mind. This is my holy instant of release. Father, I know my will is one with Yours.

And so today we find our glad return to Heaven, which we never really left. The Son of God this day lays down his dreams. The Son of God this day comes home again, released from sin and clad in holiness, with his right mind restored to him at last.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) A Course in Miracles teaches that all has already happened. Isn’t  this the same as predestination? 

A) The traditional understanding of predestination, stemming from John Calvin, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, is that from the beginning of time God had chosen (predestined) those to be saved (the “elect”) and those to be punished (the “sinners”) in the future. And this decision was irrevocable and unchangeable. 

The view of A Course in Miracles is that yes, everything has already happened — and in that sense the drama of the world is irrevocable (“the script is written”) — but this includes both the ego’s script and the Holy Spirit’s correction for it. To re-quote an important passage:

God gave His Teacher to replace the one you made …. And what He would replace has been replaced. Time lasted but an instant in your mind, with no effect upon eternity.  And so is all time past, and everything exactly as it was before the way to nothingness was made.  The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that one, and all of them that came within the first 
(T-26.V.3:1-5).

Therefore, in A Course in Miracles, the agent of predestination is the “decision maker,” not God, for it is this aspect of the tri-partite or split mind that has authored the scripts of our lives in the physical universe. However, this same split mind has the capacity, through the “decision maker,” to choose at any given instant which teacher — the ego or Jesus — will guide us as we “review mentally” the scripts that have “already gone by.” The “we,” to make the point once again, is not the self we call ourselves by name, but rather the “decision maker” in our minds — outside time and space, and outside the ancient ego script.  And here the choice is certainly not predestined. It is thus clear that the Course’s statement “the script is written” is not to be understood temporally at all, while the traditional view of predestination is, for it is based upon a decision made by God in the past, which will inevitably be carried out in the future. 

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 30

ACIM Text Reading for August 30

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

IX. The Justice of Heaven

What can it be but arrogance to think your little errors cannot be undone by Heaven’s justice? And what could this mean except that they are sins and not mistakes, forever uncorrectable, and to be met with vengeance, not with justice? Are you willing to be released from all effects of sin? You cannot answer this until you see all that the answer must entail. For if you answer ‘yes’ it means you will forego all values of this world in favour of the peace of Heaven. Not one sin would you retain. And not one doubt that this is possible will you hold dear that sin be kept in place. You mean that truth has greater value now than all illusions. And you recognise that truth must be revealed to you, because you know not what it is.

To give reluctantly is not to gain the gift, because you are reluctant to accept it. It is saved for you until reluctance to receive it disappears, and you are willing it be given you. God’s justice warrants gratitude, not fear. Nothing you give is lost to you or anyone, but cherished and preserved in Heaven, where all of the treasures given to God’s Son are kept for him, and offered anyone who but holds out his hand in willingness they be received. Nor is the treasure less as it is given out. Each gift but adds to the supply. For God is fair. He does not fight against His Son’s reluctance to perceive salvation as a gift from Him. Yet would His justice not be satisfied until it is received by everyone.

Be certain any answer to a problem the Holy Spirit solves will always be one in which no one loses. And this must be true, because He asks no sacrifice of anyone. An answer which demands the slightest loss to anyone has not resolved the problem, but has added to it and made it greater, harder to resolve and more unfair. It is impossible the Holy Spirit could see unfairness as a resolution. To Him, what is unfair must be corrected because it is unfair. And every error is a perception in which one, at least, is seen unfairly. Thus is justice not accorded to the Son of God. When anyone is seen as losing, he has been condemned. And punishment becomes his due instead of justice.

The sight of innocence makes punishment impossible, and justice sure. The Holy Spirit’s perception leaves no ground for an attack. Only a loss could justify attack, and loss of any kind He cannot see. The world solves problems in another way. It sees a resolution as a state in which it is decided who shall win and who shall lose; how much the one shall take, and how much can the loser still defend. Yet does the problem still remain unsolved, for only justice can set up a state in which there is no loser; no one left unfairly treated and deprived, and thus with grounds for vengeance. Problem solving cannot be vengeance, which at best can bring another problem added to the first, in which the murder is not obvious.

The Holy Spirit’s problem solving is the way in which the problem ends. It has been solved because it has been met with justice. Until it has it will recur, because it has not yet been solved. The principle that justice means no one can lose is crucial to this course. For miracles depend on justice. Not as it is seen through this world’s eyes, but as God knows it and as knowledge is reflected in the sight the Holy Spirit gives.

No one deserves to lose. And what would be unjust to him cannot occur. Healing must be for everyone, because he does not merit an attack of any kind. What order can there be in miracles, unless someone deserves to suffer more and others less? And is this justice to the wholly innocent? A miracle is justice. It is not a special gift to some, to be withheld from others as less worthy, more condemned, and thus apart from healing. Who is there who can be separate from salvation, if its purpose is the end of specialness? Where is salvation’s justice if some errors are unforgivable, and warrant vengeance in place of healing and return of peace?

Salvation cannot seek to help God’s Son be more unfair than he has sought to be. If miracles, the Holy Spirit’s gift, were given specially to an elect and special group, and kept apart from others as less deserving, then is He ally to specialness. What He cannot perceive He bears no witness to. And everyone is equally entitled to His gift of healing and deliverance and peace. To give a problem to the Holy Spirit to solve for you means that you want it solved. To keep it for yourself to solve without His help is to decide it should remain unsettled, unresolved, and lasting in its power of injustice and attack. No one can be unjust to you, unless you have decided first to be unjust. And then must problems rise to block your way, and peace be scattered by the winds of hate.

Unless you think that all your brothers have an equal right to miracles with you, you will not claim your right to them because you were unjust to one with equal rights. Seek to deny and you will feel denied. Seek to deprive, and you have been deprived. A miracle can never be received because another could receive it not. Only forgiveness offers miracles. And pardon must be just to everyone.

The little problems that you keep and hide become your secret sins, because you did not choose to let them be removed for you. And so they gather dust and grow, until they cover everything that you perceive and leave you fair to no one. Not one right do you believe you have. And bitterness, with vengeance justified and mercy lost, condemns you as unworthy of forgiveness. The unforgiven have no mercy to bestow upon another. That is why your sole responsibility must be to take forgiveness for yourself.

The miracle that you receive, you give. Each one becomes an illustration of the law on which salvation rests; that justice must be done to all, if anyone is to be healed. No one can lose, and everyone must benefit. Each miracle is an example of what justice can accomplish when it is offered to everyone alike. It is received and given equally. It is awareness that giving and receiving are the same. Because it does not make the same unlike, it sees no differences where none exists. And thus it is the same for everyone, because it sees no differences in them. Its offering is universal, and it teaches but one message:

What is God’s belongs to everyone, and is his due.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 30

Lesson 226

My home awaits me. I will hasten there.

If I so choose, I can depart this world entirely. It is not death which makes this possible, but it is change of mind about the purpose of the world. If I believe it has a value as I see it now, so will it still remain for me. But if I see no value in the world as I behold it, nothing that I want to keep as mine or search for as a goal, it will depart from me. For I have not sought for illusions to replace the truth.

Father, my home awaits my glad return. Your Arms are open and I hear Your Voice. What need have I to linger in a place of vain desires and of shattered dreams, when Heaven can so easily be mine?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If all life here is an illusion, why does A Course in Miracles refer to “living things”? 

A) Here again, we must understand Jesus’ use of language. Passages in which that phrase appears, as in Lesson 195 for example, are written on the level of our experience and not Jesus’ reality. For it is within the dream of our individual existence in this world that we indeed do form relationships with “living things.” And therefore, as is the message of that lesson, we should feel grateful to those beings for the learning opportunities our relationships with them afford us; namely, that what we projected onto them is simply a mistaken belief in our own guilt. 

For Jesus to insist that we relate to him on his level would indeed make no sense, as we have already discussed, for our experience remains rooted within the dream. And so his purpose of expressing his truth on the level of our capacity to understand must be recognized by Course students lest they seriously misinterpret his message. Jesus specifically tells us that there is no life outside Heaven, as we saw in an earlier question, and so there can be no “living things” in the world. But since we believe we are alive here, relating to other beings we believe are alive here as well, it would be pointless for Jesus to demand that we accept a truth that our fear precludes us from accepting at this time. Therefore, reflecting his gentle love for us, he speaks about “living things,” even though on another level there is nothing living here at all. 

hostage or host

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 29

ACIM Text Reading for August 29

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

VIII. Justice Returned to Love

The Holy Spirit can use all that you give to Him for your salvation. But He cannot use what you withhold, for He cannot take it from you without your willingness. For if He did, you would believe He wrested it from you against your will. And so you would not learn it is your will to be without it. You need not give it to Him wholly willingly, for if you could you had no need of Him. But this He needs; that you prefer He take it than that you keep it for yourself alone, and recognise that what brings loss to no one you would not know. This much is necessary to add to the idea no one can lose for you to gain. And nothing more.

Here is the only principle salvation needs. Nor is it necessary that your faith in it be strong, unswerving, and without attack from all beliefs opposed to it. You have no fixed allegiance. But remember salvation is not needed by the saved. You are not called upon to do what one divided still against himself would find impossible. Have little faith that wisdom could be found in such a state of mind. But be you thankful that only little faith is asked of you. What but a little faith remains to those who still believe in sin? What could they know of Heaven and the justice of the saved?

There is a kind of justice in salvation of which the world knows nothing. To the world, justice and vengeance are the same, for sinners see justice only as their punishment, perhaps sustained by someone else, but not escaped. The laws of sin demand a victim. Who it may be makes little difference. But death must be the cost and must be paid. This is not justice, but insanity. Yet how could justice be defined without insanity where love means hate, and death is seen as victory and triumph over eternity and timelessness and life?

You who know not of justice still can ask, and learn the answer. Justice looks on all in the same way. It is not just that one should lack for what another has. For that is vengeance in whatever form it takes. Justice demands no sacrifice, for any sacrifice is made that sin may be preserved and kept. It is a payment offered for the cost of sin, but net the total cost. The rest is taken from another, to be laid beside your little payment, to ‘atone’ for all that you would keep, and not give up. So is the victim seen as partly you, with someone else by far the greater part. And in the total cost, the greater his the less is yours. And justice, being blind, is satisfied by being paid, it matters not by whom.

Can this be justice? God knows not of this. But justice does He know, and knows it well. For He is wholly fair to everyone. Vengeance is alien to God’s Mind because He knows of justice. To be just is to be fair, and not be vengeful. Fairness and vengeance are impossible, for each one contradicts the other and denies that it is real. It is impossible for you to share the Holy Spirit’s justice with a mind that can conceive of specialness at all. Yet how could He be just if He condemns a sinner for the crimes he did not do, but thinks he did? And where would justice be if He demanded of the ones obsessed with the idea of punishment that they lay it aside, unaided, and perceive it is not true?

It is extremely hard for those who still believe sin meaningful to understand the Holy Spirit’s justice. They must believe He shares their own confusion, and cannot avoid the vengeance that their own belief in justice must entail. And so they fear the Holy Spirit, and perceive the ‘wrath’ of God in Him. Nor can they trust Him not to strike them dead with lightning bolts torn from the ‘fires’ of Heaven by God’s Own angry Hand. They do believe that Heaven is hell, and are afraid of love. And deep suspicion and the chill of fear comes over them when they are told that they have never sinned. Their world depends on sin’s stability. And they perceive the ‘threat’ of what God knows as justice to be more destructive to themselves and to their world than vengeance, which they understand and love.

So do they think the loss of sin a curse. And flee the Holy Spirit as if He were a messenger from hell, sent from above, in treachery and guile, to work God’s vengeance on them in the guise of a deliverer and friend. What could He be to them except a devil, dressed to deceive within an angel’s cloak. And what escape has He for them except a door to hell that seems to look like Heaven’s gate?

Yet justice cannot punish those who ask for punishment, but have a Judge Who knows that they are wholly innocent in truth. In justice He is bound to set them free, and give them all the honour they deserve and have denied themselves because they are not fair, and cannot understand that they are innocent. Love is not understandable to sinners because they think that justice is split off from love, and stands for something else. And thus is love perceived as weak, and vengeance strong. For love has lost when judgement left its side, and is too weak to save from punishment. But vengeance without love has gained in strength by being separate and apart from love. And what but vengeance now can help and save, while love stands feebly by with helpless hands, bereft of justice and vitality, and powerless to save?

What can Love ask of you who think that all of this is true? Could He, in justice and in love, believe in your confusion you have much to give? You are not asked to trust Him far. No more than what you see He offers you, and what you recognise you could not give yourself. In God’s Own justice does He recognise all you deserve, but understands as well that you cannot accept it for yourself. It is His special function to hold out to you the gifts the innocent deserve. And every one that you accept brings joy to Him as well as you. He knows that Heaven is richer made by each one you accept. And God rejoices as His Son receives what loving justice knows to be his due. For love and justice are not different. Because they are the same does mercy stand at God’s right hand, and gives the Son of God the power to forgive himself of sin.

To him who merits everything, how can it be that anything be kept from him? For that would be injustice, and unfair indeed to all the holiness that is in him, however much he recognise it not. God knows of no injustice. He would not allow His Son be judged by those who seek his death, and could not see his worth at all. What honest witnesses could they call forth to speak on his behalf? And who would come to plead for him, and not against his life? No justice would be given him by you. Yet God ensured that justice would be done unto the Son He loves, and would protect from all unfairness you might seek to offer, believing vengeance is his proper due.

As specialness cares not who pays the cost of sin, so it be paid, the Holy Spirit heeds not who look’s on innocence at last, provided it is seen and recognised. For just one witness is enough, if he sees truly. Simple justice asks no more. Of each one does the Holy Spirit ask if he will be that one, so justice may return to love and there be satisfied. Each special function He allots is but for this; that each one learn that love and justice are not separate. And both are strengthened by their union with each other. Without love is justice prejudiced and weak. And love without justice is impossible. For love is fair, and cannot chasten without cause. What cause can be to warrant an attack upon the innocent? In justice, then, does love correct mistakes, but not in vengeance. For that would be unjust to innocence.

You can be perfect witness to the power of love and justice, if you understand it is impossible the Son of God could merit vengeance. You need not perceive, in every circumstance, that this is true. Nor need you look to your experience within the world, which is but shadows of all that is really happening within yourself. The understanding that you need comes not of you, but from a larger Self, so great and holy that He could not doubt His innocence. Your special function is a call to Him, that He may smile on you whose sinlessness He shares. His understanding will be yours. And so the Holy Spirit’s special function has been fulfilled. God’s Son has found a witness unto his sinlessness and not his sins. How little need you give the Holy Spirit that simple justice may be given you.

Without impartiality there is no justice. How can specialness be just? Judge not because you cannot, not because you are a miserable sinner too. How can the special really understand that justice is the same for everyone? To take from one to give another must be an injustice to them both, since they are equal in the Holy Spirit’s sight. Their Father gave the same inheritance to both. Who would have more or less is not aware that he has everything. He is no judge of what must be another’s due, because he thinks he is deprived. And so must he be envious, and try to take away from whom he judges. He is not impartial, and cannot fairly see another’s rights because his own have been obscured to him.

You have the right to all the universe; to perfect peace, complete deliverance from all effects of sin, and to the life eternal, joyous and complete in every way, as God appointed for His holy Son. This is the only justice Heaven knows, and all the Holy Spirit brings to earth. Your special function shows you nothing else but perfect justice can prevail for you. And you are safe from vengeance in all forms. The world deceives, but it cannot replace God’s justice with a version of its own. For only love is just, and can perceive what justice must accord the Son of God. Let love decide, and never fear that you, in your unfairness, will deprive yourself of what God’s justice has allotted you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 29

Lesson 225

God is my Father, and His Son loves Him.

Father, I must return Your Love for me, for giving and receiving are the same, and You have given all Your Love to me. I must return it, for I want it mine in full awareness, blazing in my mind and keeping it within its kindly light, inviolate, beloved, with fear behind and only peace ahead. How still the way Your loving Son is led along to You!

Brother, we find that stillness now. The way is open. Now we follow it in peace together. You have reached your hand to me, and I will never leave you. We are one, and it is but this oneness that we seek, as we accomplish these few final steps which end a journey that was not begun.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Is learning cumulative? That is, do I take what I have learned with me when I die, so that when I “come back” I do not 
have to begin all over again? 

A) The premise of this question is that time is linear, and therefore one’s learning can be measured within an evolving linear dimension. However, as we learn in A Course in Miracles, also discussed in the previous chapter, time is not linear since everything within the dream of time and space occurred within the original instant. And so learning does not really occur within the seemingly linear-based dream figure we call ourselves.  Rather, our learning is simply the acceptance of the correction of forgiveness within our minds. This correction, held for us by the Holy Spirit, undoes — or unlearns — the ego’s thought system of separation. It existed before the world of time and space was made, and it still remains in our minds. Our ability to choose this correction is also in our minds. And so it is what we have referred to as the decision maker — the part of our tripartite minds that chooses — that learns the difference between the ego’s lies and the Holy Spirit’s truth. The physical and psychological self with which we identify, and which we believe does the learning, is simply the reflection in a world of time and space of the decision maker, whose choosing occurs outside the temporal and spatial dimensions. 

This of course is not understandable to a brain that has been programmed to think only within the dimension of time and space, life and death. But we are assured by Jesus that our understanding is not necessary: 

You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little, to receive so much. And it is very hard for you to realize it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit’s are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing (T-18.IV.7:3-6).

And so, even if we cannot truly understand how we learn the lessons of the Holy Spirit, we can at least understand how we do not learn them. 

Into Christ's Presence

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 28

ACIM Text Reading for August 28

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

VII. The Rock of Salvation

Yet if the Holy Spirit can commute each sentence that you laid upon yourself into a blessing, then it cannot be a sin. Sin is the only thing in all the world that cannot change. It is immutable. And on its changelessness the world depends. The magic of the world can seem to hide the pain of sin from sinners, and deceive with glitter and with guile. Yet each one knows the cost of sin is death. And so it is. For sin is a request for death, a wish to make this world’s foundation sure as love, dependable as Heaven, and as strong as God Himself. The world is safe from love to everyone who thinks sin possible. Nor will it change. Yet is it possible what God created not should share the attributes of His creation, when it opposes it in every way?

It cannot be the ‘sinner’s’ wish for death is just as strong as is God’s Will for life. Nor can the basis of a world He did not make be firm and sure as Heaven. How could it be that hell and Heaven are the same? And is it possible that what He did not will cannot be changed? What is immutable besides His Will? And what can share its attributes except itself? What wish can rise against His Will, and be immutable? If you could realise nothing is changeless but the Will of God, this course would not be difficult for you. For it is this that you do not believe. Yet there is nothing else you could believe, if you but looked at what it really is.

Let us go back to what we said before, and think of it more carefully. It must be so that either God is mad, or is this world a place of madness. Not one Thought of His makes any sense at all within this world. And nothing that the world believes as true has any meaning in His Mind at all. What makes no sense and has no meaning is insanity. And what is madness cannot be the truth. If one belief so deeply valued here were true, then every Thought God ever had is an illusion. And if but one Thought of His is true, then all beliefs the world gives any meaning to are false, and make no sense at all. This is the choice you make. Do not attempt to see it differently, nor twist it into something it is not. For only this decision can you make. The rest is up to God, and not to you.

To justify one value that the world upholds is to deny your Father’s sanity and yours. For God and His beloved Son do not think differently. And it is the agreement of their thought that makes the Son a co-creator with the Mind whose Thought created him. So if he chooses to believe one thought opposed to truth, he has decided he is not his Father’s Son because the Son is mad, and sanity must lie apart from both the Father and the Son. This you believe. Think not that this belief depends upon the form it takes. Who thinks the world is sane in any way, is justified in anything it thinks, or is maintained by any form of reason, believes this to be true. Sin is not real because the Father and the Son are not insane. This world is meaningless because it rests on sin. Who could create the changeless if it does not rest on truth?

The Holy Spirit has the power to change the whole foundation of the world you see to something else; a basis not insane, on which a sane perception can be based, another world perceived. And one in which nothing is contradicted that would lead the Son of God to sanity and joy. Nothing attests to death and cruelty; to separation and to differences. For here is everything perceived as one, and no one loses that each one may gain.

Test everything that you believe against this one requirement, and understand that everything that meets this one demand is worthy of your faith. But nothing else. What is not love is sin, and either one perceives the other as insane and meaningless. Love is the basis for a world perceived as wholly mad to sinners, who believe theirs is the way to sanity. But sin is equally insane within the sight of love, whose gentle eyes would look beyond the madness and rest peacefully on truth. Each sees a world immutable, as each defines the changeless and eternal truth of what you are. And each reflects a view of what the Father and the Son must be, to make that viewpoint meaningful and sane.

Your special function is the special form in which the fact that God is not insane appears most sensible and meaningful to you. The content is the same. The form is suited to your special needs, and to the special time and place in which you think you find yourself, and where you can be free of place and time, and all that you believe must limit you. The Son of God cannot be bound by time nor place nor anything God did not will. Yet if His Will is seen as madness, then the form of sanity which makes it most acceptable to those who are insane requires special choice. Nor can this choice be made by the insane, whose problem is their choices are not free, and made, with reason in the light of sense.

It would be madness to entrust salvation to the insane. Because He is not mad has God appointed One as sane as He to raise a saner world to meet the sight of everyone who chose insanity as his salvation. To this One is given the choice of form most suitable to him; one which will not attack the world he sees, but enter into it in quietness and show him he is mad. This One but points to an alternative, another way of looking at what he has seen before, and recognises as the world in which he lives, and thought he understood before.

Now must he question this, because the form of the alternative is one which he cannot deny, nor overlook, nor fail completely to perceive at all. To each his special function is designed to be perceived as possible, and more and more desired, as it proves to him that it is an alternative he really wants. From this position does his sinfulness, and all the sin he sees within the world, offer him less and less. Until he comes to understand it cost him his sanity, and stands between him and whatever hope he has of being sane. Nor is he left without escape from madness, for he has a special part in everyone’s escape. He can no more be left outside, without a special function in the hope of peace, than could the Father overlook His Son, and pass him by in careless thoughtlessness.

What is dependable except God’s Love? And where does sanity abide except in Him? The One Who speaks for Him can show you this, in the alternative He chose especially for you. It is God’s Will that you remember this, and so emerge from deepest mourning into perfect joy. Accept the function that has been assigned to you in God’s Own plan to show His Son that hell and Heaven are different, not the same. And that in Heaven they are all the same, without the differences which would have made a hell of Heaven and a heaven of hell, had such insanity been possible.

The whole belief that someone loses but reflects the underlying tenet God must be insane. For in this world it seems that one must gain because another lost. If this were true, then God is mad indeed! But what is this belief except a form of the more basic tenet, ‘Sin is real, and rules the world’? For every little gain must someone lose, and pay exact amount in blood and suffering. For otherwise would evil triumph, and destruction be the total cost of any gain at all. You who believe that God is mad, look carefully at this, and understand that it must be either God or this must be insane, but hardly both.

Salvation is rebirth of the idea no one can lose for anyone to gain. And everyone must gain, if anyone would be a gainer. Here is sanity restored. And on this single rock of truth can faith in God’s eternal saneness rest in perfect confidence and perfect peace. Reason satisfied, for all insane beliefs can be corrected here. And sin must be impossible, if this is true. This is the rock on which salvation rests, the vantage point from which the Holy Spirit gives meaning and direction to the plan in which your special function has a part. For here your special function is made whole, because it shares the function of the whole.

Remember all temptation is but this; a mad belief that God’s insanity would make you sane and give you what you want; that either God or you must lose to madness because your aims can not be reconciled. Death demands life, but life is not maintained at any cost. No one can suffer for the Will of God to be fulfilled. Salvation is His Will because you share it. Not for you alone, but for the Self That is the Son of God. He cannot lose, for if he could the loss would be his Father’s, and in Him no loss is possible. And this is sane because it is the truth.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 28

Lesson 224

God is my Father, and He loves His Son.

My true Identity is so secure, so lofty, sinless, glorious and great, wholly beneficent and free from guilt, that Heaven looks to It to give it light. It lights the world as well. It is the gift my Father gave to me; the one as well I give the world. There is no gift but this that can be either given or received. This is reality, and only this. This is illusion’s end. It is the truth.

My Name, O Father, still is known to You. I have forgotten It, and do not know where I am going, who I am, or what it is I do. Remind me, Father, now, for I am weary of the world I see. Reveal what You would have me see instead.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) A Course in Miracles teaches that anger is never justified. Does this mean I should never get angry, and that if I do, I am not being a good Course student or am not being spiritual enough? 

A) Jesus does in fact explicitly state in two places that anger (or attack) is never justified. In the introduction to his discussion of the crucifixion, he states: 

Anger always involves projection of separation, which must ultimately be accepted as one’s own responsibility, rather than being blamed on others …. You cannot beattacked, attack has no justification, and you are responsible for what you believe (T-6.in.1:2,7).

And later in the text, discussing why forgiveness is always justified, Jesus teaches: 

Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation. It is here escape from fear begins, and will be made complete. Here is the real world given in exchange for dreams of terror.  For it is on this forgiveness rests, and is but natural (T-30.VI.1:1-5).

Our answer here directly follows the discussion of the previous question, and goes to the heart of one’s practice of A Course in Miracles. Jesus is not asking his students to be perfect; if they were, or even wanted to be, then they would have remained in Heaven — the only home of perfection — or would already have returned. The fact that students have need of A Course in Miracles is witnessing to their belief in the reality of imperfection. And imperfect people become angry and seek to avoid responsibility for their own choices. One can indeed say that the core thought of everyone’s ego is to keep the individuality and specialness it believed it stole from God, but to avoid responsibility for it. Therefore, this avoidance can only occur by people blaming another for what they secretly believe they did, and thus attacking someone else for their sin. 

Jesus’ purpose in the Course is to help his students accept responsibility for their projections onto others.  It would be most unrealistic of him to expect his students to have no attack thoughts, but it is a most reasonable goal to ask that students at least be aware of their egos’ attempts to deny responsibility for being upset. Therefore, becoming angry does not mean one is not a good Course student, but becoming a “good” one means learning — or even being willing to learn — to be responsible for one’s angry perceptions of others, and to be aware of one’s own guilt over separation from the Love of God and the loving guidance of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. “Good” students thus would never seek to justify their angry thoughts or feelings; at the same time they would not be denying that they have them. This honesty allows Jesus or the Holy Spirit to help them change their minds, if they so choose. This is the gentle and loving way of understanding Jesus’ statements in the text that we quoted above. 

infinite patience

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 27

ACIM Text Reading for August 27

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

VI. The Special Function

T-25.VI.1. The grace of God rests gently on forgiving eyes, and everything they look on speaks of Him to the beholder. 2 He can see no evil; nothing in the world to fear, and no one who is different from himself. 3 And as he loves them, so he looks upon himself with love and gentleness. 4 He would no more condemn himself for his mistakes than damn another. 5 He is not an arbiter of vengeance, nor a punisher of sin. 6 The kindness of his sight rests on himself with all the tenderness it offers others. 7 For he would only heal and only bless. 8 And being in accord with what God wills, he has the power to heal and bless all those he looks on with the grace of God upon his sight.

T-25.VI.2. Eyes become used to darkness, and the light of brilliant day seems painful to the eyes grown long accustomed to the dim effects perceived at twilight. 2 And they turn away from sunlight and the clarity it brings to what they look upon. 3 Dimness seems better; easier to see, and better recognized. 4 Somehow the vague and more obscure seems easier to look upon; less painful to the eyes than what is wholly clear and unambiguous. 5 Yet this is not what eyes are for, and who can say that he prefers the darkness and maintain he wants to see?

T-25.VI.3. The wish to see calls down the grace of God upon your eyes, and brings the gift of light that makes sight possible. 2 Would you behold your brother? 3 God is glad to have you look on him. 4 He does not will your savior be unrecognized by you. 5 Nor does He will that he remain without the function that He gave to him. 6 Let him no more be lonely, for the lonely ones are those who see no function in the world for them to fill; no place where they are needed, and no aim which only they can perfectly fulfill.

T-25.VI.4. Such is the Holy Spirit’s kind perception of specialness; His use of what you made, to heal instead of harm. 2 To each He gives a special function in salvation he alone can fill; a part for only him. 3 Nor is the plan complete until he finds his special function, and fulfills the part assigned to him, to make himself complete within a world where incompletion rules.

T-25.VI.5. Here, where the laws of God do not prevail in perfect form, can he yet do one perfect thing and make oneperfect choice. 2 And by this act of special faithfulness to one perceived as other than himself, he learns the gift was given to himself, and so they must be one. 3 Forgiveness is the only function meaningful in time. 4 It is the means the Holy Spirit uses to translate specialness from sin into salvation. 5 Forgiveness is for all. 6 But when it rests on all it is complete, and every function of this world completed with it. 7 Then is time no more. 8 Yet while in time, there is still much to do. 9 And each must do what is allotted him, for on his part does all the plan depend. 10 He has a special part in time for so he chose, and choosing it, he made it for himself. 11 His wish was not denied but changed in form, to let it serve his brother and himself, and thus become a means to save instead of lose.

T-25.VI.6. Salvation is no more than a reminder this world is not your home. 2 Its laws are not imposed on you, its values are not yours. 3 And nothing that you think you see in it is really there at all. 4 This is seen and understood as each one takes his part in its undoing, as he did in making it. 5 He has the means for either, as he always did. 6 The specialness he chose to hurt himself did God appoint to be the means for his salvation, from the very instant that the choice was made. 7 His special sin was made his special grace. 8 His special hate became his special love.

T-25.VI.7. The Holy Spirit needs your special function, that His may be fulfilled. 2 Think not you lack a special value here. 3 You wanted it, and it is given you. 4 All that you made can serve salvation easily and well. 5 The Son of God can make no choice the Holy Spirit cannot employ on his behalf, and not against himself. 6 Only in darkness does your specialness appear to be attack. 7 In light, you see it as your special function in the plan to save the Son of God from all attack, and let him understand that he is safe, as he has always been, and will remain in time and in eternity alike. 8 This is the function given you for your brother. 9 Take it gently, then, from your brother’s hand, and let salvation be perfectly fulfilled in you. 10 Do this one thing, that everything be given you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 27

Lesson 223

God is my life. I have no life but His.

I was mistaken when I thought I lived apart from God, a separate entity that moved in isolation, unattached, and housed within a body. Now I know my life is God’s, I have no other home, and I do not exist apart from Him. He has no Thoughts that are not part of me, and I have none but those which are of Him.

Our Father, let us see the face of Christ instead of our mistakes. For we who are Your holy Son are sinless. We would look upon our sinlessness, for guilt proclaims that we are not Your Son. And we would not forget You longer. We are lonely here, and long for Heaven, where we are at home. Today we would return. Our Name is Yours, and we acknowledge that we are Your Son.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Can one be a student of A Course in Miracles and serve on a jury (be a doctor, lawyer, etc.) or remain with a partner who is not a student of the Course? Or should one be with a partner at all?  Isn’t that simply a form of specialness? 
A) These questions reflect the level confusion we have already considered, for they suggest that there are certain activities, occupations, or relationships that are more or less spiritual than others. For example, the underlying assumptions are that it is holier to become a teacher of A Course in Miracles than it is to serve in government or the armed forces. In other words, this assumption makes the error real, something Jesus distinctly cautions his students against doing. Indeed, the first law of chaos described in Chapter 23, and already referred to, explicitly states the ego’s principle that there “is a hierarchy of illusions” (T-23.II.2:3). 

As we have frequently stated in this book, the focus of the Course student should never be on specific behavior, but only on which voice is chosen as a guide for this behavior. Everything else is meaningless. Very often, difficult occupations provide the best classrooms in which to learn and practice the principle of forgiveness, which is based on the premise that nothing outside us can affect us in any way. It is only our minds’ choices for the ego that can bring us pain. Many years ago we were giving a workshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A man stood up and spoke of his work at Los Alamos, site of some of this country’s most significant nuclear weapons research and production. Several of the participants began to attack him for being a student of A Course in Miracles at the same time that he was involved in what they felt was bellicose and obviously ego-based activity. They clearly missed the whole point. What better classroom could there be for someone than to operate in the midst of such a blatant example of the ego thought system, and learn how to see it differently through the eyes of forgiveness, and especially how to see oneself differently. And is working on a nuclear bomb really any different from participation in any institution in the world, all of which deal with separation, specialness, and the perpetuation of the ego thought system? 

As for partners in relationships, the same principles and cautions apply. Over the years, we have heard many stories of couples who have broken up because one of the partners was not a Course student, as if that external condition were a prerequisite for a happy life together. The issue, naturally, is not that every couple should remain together, or that they should separate. However, using A Course in Miracles as an excuse for breaking up, or a reason for remaining together misses the whole point again. Very often, in fact, remaining with someone who is not a student of the Course may be the perfect classroom in which to learn that the heart of A Course in Miracles is its content of forgiveness, not the form in which that teaching comes. We shall return to this issue in the final chapter. 

The same mistakes occur on the “other side” of relationships; i.e., the belief that students of the Course should not be involved in any romantic or sexual relationships at all, not to mention getting married and having children, since that would clearly reflect special relationships. However, it has been forgotten that specialness exists not in a relationship between two people, but in the thoughts of a person who has preferred the ego’s individuality or specialness to the Holy Spirit’s Love. The lack that inevitably follows such a decision must lead to seeking outside oneself for help in filling that lack, what the Course would describe as the scarcity principle. That filling up the perceived inner lack is what A Course in Miracles means by special relationships. 

It is impossible to be born into this world without specialness, and it is simply denial that would lead students to believe that they are without this belief system. One of the core definitions the Course uses for specialness is substitution, and simply leaving Heaven — as all people in the world believe they have done — expresses the belief that the ego’s specialness is a worthy and worthwhile substitute for the Love of God. Therefore, the special relationship is the rule of the separated world, and rather than deny it, students of A Course in Miracles should accept this perceptual fact, and turn to Jesus or the Holy Spirit for help in learning the lessons of forgiveness that this valuable classroom offers under Their guidance. 

In other words, as we frequently remind students during our workshops and classes, when studying A Course in Miracles, students should above all not forget to be normal. And normal people serve on juries, become involved in litigation, carry insurance, get sick, become angry, laugh, cry, mourn the deaths of loved ones, have relationships, families, circles of friends, etc., etc., etc. The challenge is to be involved in all these normal human activities, but to do so differently — with Jesus instead of without him. Thus Jesus encourages his students to be like everyone else, but to be happy and peaceful: 

There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet (W-pI.155.1:1-3; italics ours).

Therefore, as we cautioned in our discussion of the previous question, students of A Course in Miracles should watch for their ego’s vigilance in judging other people’s responses or behaviors, or their own for that matter. Jesus’ loving judgment is always and only in terms of content — i.e., the inner teacher that is chosen — and never the form.And unless one has the egoless wisdom of the Holy Spirit, how can an observer possibly know which teacher has been chosen? 

tiny mad idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 26

ACIM Text Reading for August 26

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

V. The State of Sinlessness

The state of sinlessness is merely this: The whole desire to attack is gone, and so there is no reason to perceive the Son of God as other than he is. The need for guilt is gone because it has no purpose, and is meaningless without the goal of sin. Attack and sin are bound as one illusion, each the cause and aim and justifier of the other. Each is meaningless alone, but seems to draw a meaning from the other. Each depends upon the other for whatever sense it seems to have. And no one could believe in one unless the other were the truth, for each attests the other must be true.

Attack makes Christ your enemy, and God along with Him. Must you not be afraid with ‘enemies’ like these? And must you not be fearful of yourself? For you have hurt yourself, and made your Self your ‘enemy’. And now you must believe you are not you, but something alien to yourself and ‘something else’, a ‘something’ to be feared instead of loved. Who would attack whatever he perceives as wholly innocent? And who, because he wishes to attack, can fail to think he must be guilty to maintain the wish, while wanting innocence? For who could see the Son of God as innocent and wish him dead? Christ stands before you, each time you look upon your brother. He has not gone because your eyes are closed. But what is there to see by searching for your Saviour, seeing Him through sightless eyes?

It is not Christ you see by looking thus. It is the ‘enemy’, confused with Christ, you look upon. And hate because there is no sin in him for you to see. Nor do you hear his plaintive call, unchanged in content in whatever form the call is made, that you unite with him, and join with him in innocence and peace. And yet, beneath the ego’s senseless shrieks, such is the call that God has given him, that you might hear in him His Call to you, and answer by returning unto God what is His Own.

The Son of God asks only this of you; that you return to him what is his due, that you may share in it with him. Alone does neither have it. So must it remain useless to both. Together, it will give to each an equal strength to save the other, and save himself along with him. Forgiven by you, your saviour offers you salvation. Condemned by you, he offers death to you. In everyone you see but the reflection of what you choose to have him be to you. If you decide against his proper function, the only one he has in truth, you are depriving him of all the joy he would have found if he fulfilled the role God gave to him. But think not Heaven is lost to him alone. Nor can it be regained unless the way is shown to him through you, that you may find it, walking by his side.

It is no sacrifice that he be saved, for by his freedom will you gain your own. To let his function be fulfilled is but the means to let yours be. And so you walk toward Heaven or toward hell, but not alone. How beautiful his sinlessness will be when you perceive it! And how great will be your joy, when he is free to offer you the gift of sight God gave to him for you! He has no need but this; that you allow him freedom to complete the task God gave to him. Remembering but this; that what he does you do, along with him. And as you see him, so do you define the function he will have for you, until you see him differently and let him be what God appointed that he be to you.

Against the hatred that the Son of God may cherish toward himself, is God believed to be without the power to save what He created from the pain of hell. But in the love he shows himself is God made free to let His Will be done. In your brother you see the picture of your own belief in what the Will of God must be for you. In your forgiveness will you understand His Love for you; through your attack believe He hates you, thinking Heaven must be hell. Look once again upon your brother, not without the understanding that he is the way to Heaven or to hell, as you perceive him. But forget not this; the role you give to him is given you, and you will walk the way you pointed out to him because it is your judgement on yourself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 26

Lesson 222

God is with me. I live and move in Him.

God is with me. He is my Source of life, the life within, the air I breathe, the food by which I am sustained, the water which renews and cleanses me. He is my home, wherein I live and move; the Spirit which directs my actions, offers me Its Thoughts, and guarantees my safety from all pain. He covers me with kindness and with care, and holds in love the Son He shines upon, who also shines on Him. How still is he who knows the truth of what He speaks today!

Father, we have no words except Your Name upon our lips and in our minds, as we come quietly into Your Presence now, and ask to rest with You in peace a while.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does being defenseless mean I should let someone kill or rape me, or stand by while violence is committed against loved ones or others? 

A) We begin by stating that defenselessness is a thought of the right mind, an attitude based upon the Holy Spirit’s thought system that the Son of God is innocent and sinless, and therefore invulnerable. If there is no sin there can be no guilt. And without guilt there can be no projection, which means there can be no fear of being attacked. Guilt, as the Course teaches, demands punishment: if no guilt exists, fear of punishment is also non-existent. Finally, without fear of Punishment from without, there is no need for defenses within, and so the true state of defenselessness is the thought of innocence and invulnerability. 

This does not then mean that a right-minded person’s behavior is necessarily what the world thinks of as defenseless. The meaning of spiritual defenselessness is often distorted, so that people think they must be totally passive, like doormats, to be defenseless. To let others do violence to oneself, a loved one, or anyone else, very often is allowing those persons to act in a manner that would not only be harmful to their “victims,” but to themselves as well by reinforcing their own guilt over their separation from God and from the rest of the Sonship. Acting behaviorally to “protect” oneself can actually then be following the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the mind to be loving. It is not the formof the behavior that reflects defenselessness, but the content of the mind’s thought. 

Both our professional experiences offered examples of this principle. My (Kenneth’s) first employment as a psychologist was working with disturbed children in a special school. These were children ranging from ages five to thirteen, many of whom had severe behavioral problems which often manifested in their acting violently towards themselves and others. I devised a way that I could control their behavior by getting them to the floor, wrapping my legs and arms around them in such manner that they were not hurt, but were unable to kick, punch, bite, scratch, or harm anyone. Thus by preventing their attempts at behavioral violence, I was able eventually to calm them down. My behavior could have looked to an observer as defensive, although obviously its purpose was only to help. 

During my tenure as teacher and dean in a New York City high school, I (Gloria) many times had to have teens suspended from school or arrested for various kinds of violent behavior and use of weapons. My intervention, too, could have been interpreted by an observer as defensive. Yet, checking out my responses as best I could with Jesus as to how I should proceed, resulted in — paraphrasing from the text — setting a limit on the teenagers’ ability to miscreate (T-2.III.3:3). Thus they were prevented from acting out more murderous thoughts which would have resulted in a greater reinforcement of their guilt. I always felt it was my responsibility as dean, which was a dream role I scripted, to get myself out of the way to the best of my ability so that I could access the correction script of the Holy Spirit in these difficult circumstances. I had the little willingness A Course in Miracles speaks about, but I sometimes wondered in my early days with the Course, why I scripted such seemingly difficult situations! 

For us to have acted otherwise — i.e., to have been behaviorally passive or “defenseless” in the face of such aggressive actions — would have been as unloving as it would be to let a rapist brutally assault your wife or daughter while you are standing by mouthing Course “platitudes” about not being a body, how love does not defend itself, etc. As with everything related to the teachings of A Course in Miracles, it is the content or purpose that supplies the meaning to our actions, and the only true meaning comes from Jesus or the Holy Spirit in our minds. Their love is abstract and non-specific, and always the same. Yet this love is expressed through the specific expressions of our individuality, and therefore differs from one person to the next. Thus, only one with the wisdom of Jesus would be in a position to justly and fairly evaluate another’s actions. For anyone else it would be foolhardy and arrogant to make such judgments. As he instructs us in the manual for teachers: 

In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come…. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgment would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself… Make then but one more judgment. It is this: There is Someone with you Whose judgment  is perfect (M-10.3:3,5-7; 4:6-7).

And so the bottom line is always to ask Jesus or the Holy Spirit for help before we respond to a difficult situation, as well as to ask Their help before attempting to judge another’s response in a difficult situation. 

the mind that serves spirit

 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 25

ACIM Text Reading for August 25

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

IV. The Light You Bring

Minds that are joined and recognise they are, can feel no guilt. For they cannot attack, and they rejoice that this is so, seeing their safety in this happy fact. Their joy is in the innocence they see. And thus they seek for it, because it is their purpose to behold it and rejoice. Everyone seeks for what will bring him joy as he defines it. It is not the aim, as such, that varies. Yet it is the way in which the aim is seen that makes the choice of means inevitable, and beyond the hope of change unless the aim is changed. And then the means are chosen once again, as what will bring rejoicing is defined another way and sought for differently.

Perception’s basic law could thus be said, ‘You will rejoice at what you see because you see it to rejoice’. And while you think that suffering and sin will bring you joy, so long will they be there for you to see. Nothing is harmful or beneficent apart from what you wish. It is your wish that makes it what it is in its effects on you. Because you chose it as a means to gain these same effects, believing them to be the bringers of rejoicing and of joy. Even in Heaven does this law obtain. The Son of God creates to bring him joy, sharing his Father’s purpose in his own creation, that this joy might be increased, and God’s along with his.

You maker of a world that is not so, take rest and comfort in another world where peace abides. This world you bring with you to all the weary eyes and tired hearts that look on sin and beat its sad refrain. From you can come their rest. From you can rise a world they will rejoice to look upon, and where their hearts are glad. In you there is a vision that extends to all of them, and covers them in gentleness and light. And in this widening world of light the darkness that they thought was there is pushed away, until it is but distant shadows, far away, not long to be remembered as the sun shines them to nothingness. And all their ‘evil’ thoughts and ‘sinful’ hopes, their dreams of guilt and merciless revenge, and every wish to hurt and kill and die, will disappear before the sun you bring.

Would you not do this for the Love of God? And for yourself? For think what it would do for you. Your ‘evil’ thoughts that haunt you now will seem increasingly remote and far away from you. And they go farther and farther off, because the sun in you has risen that they may be pushed away before the light. They linger for a while, a little while, in twisted forms too far away for recognition, and are gone forever. And in the sunlight you will stand in quiet, in innocence and wholly unafraid. And from you will the rest you found extend, so that your peace can never fall away and leave you homeless. Those who offer peace to everyone have found a home in Heaven the world cannot destroy. For it is large enough to hold the world within its peace.

In you is all of Heaven. Every leaf that falls is given life in you. Each bird that ever sang will sing again in you. And every flower that ever bloomed has saved its perfume and its loveliness for you. What aim can supersede the Will of God and of His Son, that Heaven be restored to him for whom it was created as his only home? Nothing before and nothing after it. No other place; no other state nor time. Nothing beyond nor nearer. Nothing else. In any form. This can you bring to all the world, and all the thoughts that entered it and were mistaken for a little while. How better could your own mistakes be brought to truth than by your willingness to bring the light of Heaven with you, as you walk beyond the world of darkness into light?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 25

Lesson 221

PART II

Introduction

Words will mean little now. We use them but as guides on which we do not now depend. For now we seek direct experience of truth alone. The lessons that remain are merely introductions to the times in which we leave the world of pain, and go to enter peace. Now we begin to reach the goal this course has set, and find the end toward which our practicing was always geared.

Now we attempt to let the exercise be merely a beginning. For we wait in quiet expectation for our God and Father. He has promised He will take the final step Himself. And we are sure His promises are kept. We have come far along the road, and now we wait for Him. We will continue spending time with Him each morning and at night, as long as makes us happy. We will not consider time a matter of duration now. We use as much as we will need for the result that we desire. Nor will we forget our hourly remembrance in between, calling to God when we have need of Him as we are tempted to forget our goal.

We will continue with a central thought for all the days to come, and we will use that thought to introduce our times of rest, and calm our minds at need. Yet we will not content ourselves with simple practicing in the remaining holy instants which conclude the year that we have given God. We say some simple words of welcome, and expect our Father to reveal Himself, as He has promised. We have called on Him, and He has promised that His Son will not remain unanswered when he calls His Name.

Now do we come to Him with but His Word upon our minds and hearts, and wait for Him to take the step to us that He has told us, through His Voice, He would not fail to take when we invited Him. He has not left His Son in all his madness, nor betrayed his trust in Him. Has not His faithfulness earned Him the invitation that He seeks to make us happy? We will offer it, and it will be accepted. So our times with Him will now be spent. We say the words of invitation that His Voice suggests, and then we wait for Him to come to us.

Now is the time of prophecy fulfilled. Now are all ancient promises upheld and fully kept. No step remains for time to separate from its accomplishment. For now we cannot fail. Sit silently and wait upon your Father. He has willed to come to you when you have recognized it is your will He do so. And you could have never come this far unless you saw, however dimly, that it is your will.

I am so close to you we cannot fail. Father, we give these holy times to You, in gratitude to Him Who taught us how to leave the world of sorrow in exchange for its replacement, given us by You. We look not backward now. We look ahead, and fix our eyes upon the journey’s end. Accept these little gifts of thanks from us, as through Christ’s vision we behold a world beyond the one we made, and take that world to be the full replacement of our own.

And now we wait in silence, unafraid and certain of Your coming. We have sought to find our way by following the Guide You sent to us. We did not know the way, but You did not forget us. And we know that You will not forget us now. We ask but that Your ancient promises be kept which are Your Will to keep. We will with You in asking this. The Father and the Son, Whose holy Will created all that is, can fail in nothing. In this certainty, we undertake these last few steps to You, and rest in confidence upon Your Love, which will not fail the Son who calls to You.

And so we start upon the final part of this one holy year, which we have spent together in the search for truth and God, Who is its one Creator. We have found the way He chose for us, and made the choice to follow it as He would have us go. His Hand has held us up. His Thoughts have lit the darkness of our minds. His Love has called to us unceasingly since time began.

We had a wish that God would fail to have the Son whom He created for Himself. We wanted God to change Himself, and be what we would make of Him. And we believed that our insane desires were the truth. Now we are glad that this is all undone, and we no longer think illusions true. The memory of God is shimmering across the wide horizons of our minds. A moment more, and it will rise again. A moment more, and we who are God’s Sons are safely home, where He would have us be.

Now is the need for practice almost done. For in this final section, we will come to understand that we need only call to God, and all temptations disappear. Instead of words, we need but feel His Love. Instead of prayers, we need but call His Name. Instead of judging, we need but be still and let all things be healed. We will accept the way God’s plan will end, as we received the way it started. Now it is complete. This year has brought us to eternity.

One further use for words we still retain. From time to time, instructions on a theme of special relevance will intersperse our daily lessons and the periods of wordless, deep experience which should come afterwards. These special thoughts should be reviewed each day, each one of them to be continued till the next is given you. They should be slowly read and thought about a little while, preceding one of the holy and blessed instants in the day. We give the first of these instructions now.


1. What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven. What is sin, except a false idea about God’s Son? Forgiveness merely sees its falsity, and therefore lets it go. What then is free to take its place is now the Will of God.

An unforgiving thought is one which makes a judgment that it will not raise to doubt, although it is not true. The mind is closed, and will not be released. The thought protects projection, tightening its chains, so that distortions are more veiled and more obscure; less easily accessible to doubt, and further kept from reason. What can come between a fixed projection and the aim that it has chosen as its wanted goal?

An unforgiving thought does many things. In frantic action it pursues its goal, twisting and overturning what it sees as interfering with its chosen path. Distortion is its purpose, and the means by which it would accomplish it as well. It sets about its furious attempts to smash reality, without concern for anything that would appear to pose a contradiction to its point of view.

Forgiveness, on the other hand, is still, and quietly does nothing. It offends no aspect of reality, nor seeks to twist it to appearances it likes. It merely looks, and waits, and judges not. He who would not forgive must judge, for he must justify his failure to forgive. But he who would forgive himself must learn to welcome truth exactly as it is.

Do nothing, then, and let forgiveness show you what to do, through Him Who is your Guide, your Savior and Protector, strong in hope, and certain of your ultimate success. He has forgiven you already, for such is His function, given Him by God. Now must you share His function, and forgive whom He has saved, whose sinlessness He sees, and whom He honors as the Son of God.


Lesson 221

Peace to my mind.  Let all my thoughts be still.

Father, I come to You today to seek the peace that You alone can give. I come in silence. In the quiet of my heart, the deep recesses of my mind, I wait and listen for Your Voice. My Father, speak to me today. I come to hear Your Voice in silence and in certainty and love, sure You will hear my call and answer me.

Now do we wait in quiet. God is here, because we wait together. I am sure that He will speak to you, and you will hear. Accept my confidence, for it is yours. Our minds are joined. We wait with one intent; to hear our Father’s answer to our call, to let our thoughts be still and find His peace, to hear Him speak to us of what we are, and to reveal Himself unto His Son.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Since all sickness is a projection of the mind’s guilt, does this mean that it is wrong to take medicine for physical pain? 

A) Absolutely not. As we have just explained, the Course’s “morality”– whether any particular behavior is “right” or ” wrong”– depends only on which voice we choose to listen to. And there certainly could be instances when the guidance of Jesus would be to take medication or pain-killers. Above all, as is seen throughout A Course in Miracles, his teaching and guidance is gentle and loving, which is exemplified in an extremely important passage near the beginning of the text. It specifically addresses this issue of taking medicine, a form of what the Course refers to as magic. The passage is particularly important because of the tendency for students of A Course in Miracles to judgmentally use its teachings against themselves or others. It is also an excellent example of the integration of what we have frequently referred to as the two levels of the Course: Level I — the metaphysical foundation of the Course’s teachings that contrasts the reality of God and Christ with the ego’s illusory world; and Level II — the part of the Course’s teachings that focuses only on the world of illusion, the dream. On this level, the truth is the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the world as a classroom in which we learn forgiveness, contrasted with the illusion that is the ego’s vicious use of the world to advance its own specialness. The passage begins with a metaphysical statement about the illusory nature of the body, and then Jesus gently shifts the focus to the experience of his students when they are gripped with fear: 

All material means that you accept as remedies for bodily ills are restatements of magic principles. This is the first step in believing that the body makes its own illness. It is a second misstep to attempt to heal it through non-creative agents. It does not follow, however, that the use of such agents for corrective purposes is evil. Sometimes the illness has a sufficiently strong hold over the mind to render a person temporarily inaccessible to the Atonement. In this case it may be wise to utilize a compromise approach to mind and body, in which something from the outside is temporarily given healing belief. This is because the last thing that can help the non-right-minded, or the sick, is an increase in fear.  They are already in a fear-weakened state. If they are prematurely exposed to a miracle, they may be precipitated into panic. This is likely to occur when upside-down perception has induced the belief that miracles are frightening (T-2.IV.4; italics ours).

From a reading of other passages in the Course, it is apparent that since the origin and content of all dreams is fear, everyone in this world is in a fear state. Moreover, there is an inherent fear of the power of the miracle to release us from all defenses that “protect” us from the “threat” of God’s Love. Sickness and pain constitute essential aspects of the ego’s plan of protection, since they rivet our attention on our bodies and away from our Identity as spirit, the memory of which is held for us by the Holy Spirit in our right minds (see workbook Lesson 136, “Sickness is a defense against the truth”). Therefore we usually need the “compromise approach” Jesus mentions above. And so very often, a decision to ask the Holy Spirit for help instead of the ego — because of our fear — needs to be expressed in material form, as Jesus explains in this passage from the manual: 

The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of  healing. And this is so for healing in all forms. A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers. If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed. Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself. The outcome is what he decides that it is. Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice. He chooses then in order to bring tangible form to his desires. And it is this they do, and nothing else. They are not actually needed at all. The patient could merely rise up without their aid and say, “I have no use for this.”  There is no form of sickness that would not be cured at once (M-5.II.2; italics ours).

Therefore, taking medicine can actually be an expression of students’ asking Jesus for help, and accepting that help in the form that does not reinforce their fear of the power of their minds to heal. The fear is exacerbated because the ego’s thought of attacking God and usurping His role as First Cause is also found in the mind. And so returning to the mind its power to decide for God, also calls forth the memory of its misuse of that power to choose against Him. The guilt acts almost as an electric grid that emits a shock whenever it is approached, recoiling us from our goal. And so often our asking Jesus for help in our minds needs to be “compromised” by mediating that help through the body. This dynamic is reflected in the following paragraph, part of which we quoted earlier: 

The value of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed.  In fact, if it is used truly, it will inevitably be expressed in whatever way is most helpful to the receiver. This means that a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language that the recipient can understand without fear. This does not necessarily mean that this is the highest level of communication of which he is capable. It does mean, however, that it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable now. The whole aim of the miracle is to raise the level of communication, not to lower it by increasing fear (T-2.IV.5).

Even though taking medicine is, on one level, expressing the “misstep to attempt to heal … through non-creative agents,” on another level — as we have already discussed — it reflects turning to Jesus for help and accepting it on the only level that does not reinforce fear. To exclude such behavior in the name of the teachings of A Course in Miracles is subtly to make the body real by stating that certain behaviors are “evil” or “wrong.” In the words of Hamlet: “There is nothing right or wrong, but thinking makes it so.” And our thinking can express either the “wrong” thought system of the ego, or the “right” one of the Holy Spirit. Our actions simply mirror the decision our minds have made. However, as we shall discuss in the next question, it is a mistake to attempt to understand which teacher has been chosen based upon observable actions. 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 24

ACIM Text Reading for August 24

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

III. Perception and Choice

To the extent to which you value guilt, to that extent will you perceive a world in which attack is justified. To the extent to which you recognise that guilt is meaningless, to that extent you will perceive attack cannot be justified. This is in accord with perception’s fundamental law: You see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you want it there. Perception has no other law than this. The rest but stems from this, to hold it up and offer it support. This is perception’s form, adapted to this world, of God’s more basic law; that love creates itself, and nothing but itself.

God’s laws do not obtain directly to a world perception rules, for such a world could not have been created by the Mind to which perception has no meaning. Yet are His laws reflected everywhere. Not that the world where this reflection is, is real at all. Only because His Son believes it is, and from His Son’s belief He could not let Himself be separate entirely. He could not enter His Son’s insanity with him, but He could be sure His sanity went there with him, so he could not be lost forever in the madness of his wish.

Perception rests on choosing; knowledge does not. Knowledge has but one law because it has but one Creator. But this world has two who made it, and they do not see it as the same. To each it has a different purpose, and to each it is a perfect means to serve the goal for which it is perceived. For specialness, it is the perfect frame to set it off; the perfect battleground to wage its wars, the perfect shelter for illusions which it would make real. Not one but it upholds in its perception; not one but can be fully justified.

There is another Maker of the world, the simultaneous Corrector of the mad belief that anything could be established and maintained without some link that kept it still within the laws of God; not as the law itself upholds the universe as God created it, but in some form adapted to the need the Son of God believes he has. Corrected error is the error’s end. And thus has God protected still His Son, even in error.

There is another purpose in the world that error made, because it has another Maker Who can reconcile its goal with His Creator’s purpose. In His perception of the world, nothing is seen but justifies forgiveness and the sight of perfect sinlessness. Nothing arises but is met with instant and complete forgiveness. Nothing remains an instant, to obscure the sinlessness that shines unchanged, beyond the pitiful attempts of specialness to put it out of mind, where it must be, and light the body up instead of it. The lamps of Heaven are not for mind to choose to see them where it will. If it elects to see them elsewhere from their home, as if they lit a place where they could never be, then must the Maker of the world correct your error, lest you remain in darkness where the lamps are not.

Everyone here has entered darkness, yet no one has entered it alone. Nor need he stay more than an instant. For he has come with Heaven’s Help within him, ready to lead him out of darkness into light at any time. The time he chooses can be any time, for help is there, awaiting but his choice. And when he chooses to avail himself of what is given him, then will he see each situation that he thought before was means to justify his anger turned to an event which justifies his love. He will hear plainly that the calls to war he heard before are really calls to peace. He will perceive that where he gave attack is but another altar where he can, with equal ease and far more happiness, bestow forgiveness. And he will reinterpret all temptation as just another chance to bring him joy.

How can a misperception be a sin? Let all your brother’s errors be to you nothing except a chance for you to see the workings of the Helper given you to see the world He made instead of yours. What, then, is justified? What do you want? For these two questions are the same. And when you see them as the same, your choice is made. For it is seeing them as one that brings release from the belief there are two ways to see. This world has much to offer to your peace, and many chances to extend your own forgiveness. Such its purpose is, to those who want to see peace and forgiveness descend on them, and offer them the light.

The Maker of the world of gentleness has perfect power to offset the world of violence and hate that seems to stand between you and His gentleness. It is not there in His forgiving eyes. And therefore it need not be there in yours. Sin is the fixed belief perception cannot change. What has been damned is damned and damned forever, being forever unforgivable. If, then, it is forgiven sin’s perception must have been wrong. And thus is change made possible. The Holy Spirit, too, sees what He sees as far beyond the chance of change. But on His vision sin cannot encroach, for sin has been corrected by His sight. And thus it must have been an error, not a sin. For what it claimed could never be, has been. Sin is attacked by punishment, and so preserved. But to forgive it is to change its state from error into truth.

The Son of God could never sin, but he can wish for what would hurt him. And he has the power to think he can be hurt. What could this be except a misperception of himself? Is this a sin or a mistake, forgivable or not? Does he need help or condemnation? Is it your purpose that he be saved or damned? Forgetting not that what he is to you will make this choice your future? For you make it now, the instant when all time becomes a means to reach a goal. Make, then, your choice. But recognise that in this choice the purpose of the world you see is chosen, and will be justified.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 24

Lesson 220

I am not a body. I am free,
For I am still as God created me.

(200) There is no peace except the peace of God.

Let me not wander from the way of peace, for I am lost on
other roads than this. But let me follow Him Who leads me
home, and peace is certain as the Love of God.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

 Q) Does A Course in Miracles have a morality, or a code of ethics? 

A) The answer to this question depends on how morality is defined. The dictionary defines the term as a set of rules or principles of conduct; a system of morals or ethics that defines what is right and what is wrong.  Looking at the first part of the definition, A Course in Miracles does not present a set of rules on how one should act in the world, but it most definitely presents a schemata of the post-separation split mind divided into a wrong and right mind, the respective domains of the ego and the Holy Spirit. 

From a historical point of view, homo sapiens’ sojourn on this planet has been anything but moral, even though civilization after civilization has enacted moral codes that govern the affairs of the everyday life of its citizens. If the inhabitants of any society, nation-state, or civilization are operating from the belief in scarcity, the principle of lack which governs the entire thought system of the ego, the moral codes and laws will inevitably reflect this choice. And the blood-drenched events of history are witnesses to the ego’s thought system of “kill or be killed” that is the unconscious underpinning of all the moralities of the world. 

Therefore, even though a system of morality might espouse noble ideals, if its origin were the wrong mind, it could never bring about a correction for what is deemed immoral or amoral. Furthermore, how is a society to determine what is right or wrong, and who should be the ones to make such decisions?  If one studies the cultures of the past and present, amazement will result when one objectively looks at what is considered right or wrong by any group of people throughout the span of time. For example, during the Inquisition it was considered the highest morality to seek, find, and punish those who did not agree with the Roman Catholic Church, whose teachings were believed to have come from God and Jesus. So, in Their Names, heretics were tortured and killed. Basically then, the group that holds religious, economic, or political power in any society, depending on whether it is a theocratic or secular state, determines what is right and wrong. 

A Course in Miracles presents us with a new mode of being in this dream world that is far beyond any morality or rules of conduct to which the world pays homage. This new mode of being asks us to become aware of the thoughts of our wrong minds, and then to ask for help in switching to a correction that already exists in our right minds. In order to accomplish this, we must get our ego selves out of the way and let go of any moral values, desires, or investments in any outcomes, whether they involve conduct, rules, or expectations. The following exhortation from the workbook clearly summarizes this approach of undoing all that we had believed before, so that the Wisdom of God can speak to us and guide our thoughts, words, and behavior: 

Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is;  all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself.  Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of  every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto  nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you  ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come  with wholly empty hands unto your God. Is it not He Who knows the way to you? You need not know the way to Him. Your  part is simply to allow all obstacles that you have interposed between the Son and  God the Father to be quietly removed forever. God will do His part in joyful and  immediate response (W-pI.189.7:1-8:4).

Therefore, from the perspective of A Course in Miracles, what is “right” is accessing the right mind and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit or Jesus; while what is “wrong” is choosing the wrong mind and listening to the insane voice of the ego’s thought system of specialness. We could thus coin a new term — non-normative ethics — to denote the Course’s unique code for living in this world. What fosters this morality is the daily practice of forgiveness, which undoes the blocks to the presence of the Holy Spirit’s Love and wisdom that can flow through our minds to guide our behavior. As Jesus so movingly writes in the workbook: 

For this alone I need; that you will hear the words I speak, and give them to the world.  You are my voice, my eyes, my feet, my hands through which I save the world (W-pI.rV.in.9:2-3).

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 23

ACIM Text Reading for August 23

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

II. The Saviour from the Dark

Is it not evident that what the body’s eyes perceive fills you with fear? Perhaps you think you find a hope of satisfaction there. Perhaps you fancy to attain some peace and satisfaction in the world as you perceive it. Yet it must be evident the outcome does not change. Despite your hopes and fancies, always does despair result. And there is no exception, nor will there ever be. The only value that the past can hold is that you learn it gave you no rewards which you would want to keep. For only thus will you be willing to relinquish it, and have it gone forever.

Is it not strange that you should cherish still some hope of satisfaction from the world you see? In no respect, at any time or place, has anything but fear and guilt been your reward. How long is needed for you to realise the chance of change in this respect is hardly worth delaying change that might result in better outcome? For one thing is sure; the way you see, and long have seen, gives no support to base your future hopes, and no suggestions of success at all. To place your hopes where no hope lies must make you hopeless. Yet is this hopelessness your choice, while you would seek for hope where none is ever found.

Is it not also true that you have found some hope apart from this; some glimmering—inconstant, wavering, yet dimly seen —that hopefulness is warranted on grounds that are not in this world? And yet your hope that they may still be here prevents you still from giving up the hopeless and unrewarding task you set yourself. Can it make sense to hold the fixed belief that there is reason to uphold pursuit of what has always failed, on grounds that it will suddenly succeed and bring what it has never brought before?

Its past has failed. Be glad that it is gone within your mind, to darken what is there. Take not the form for content, for the form is but a means for content. And the frame is but a means to hold the picture up, so that it can be seen. A frame that hides the picture has no purpose. It cannot be a frame if it is what you see. Without the picture is the frame without its meaning. Its purpose is to set the picture off, and not itself.

Who hangs an empty frame upon a wall and stands before it, deep in reverence, as if a masterpiece were there to see? Yet if you see your brother as a body, it is but this you do. The masterpiece that God has set within this frame is all there is to see. The body holds it for a while, without obscuring it in any way. Yet what God has created needs no frame, for what He has created He supports and frames within Himself. His masterpiece He offers you to see. And would you rather see the frame instead of this? And see the picture not at all?

The Holy Spirit is the frame God set around the part of Him that you would see as separate. Yet its frame is joined to its Creator, one with Him and with His masterpiece. This is its purpose, and you do not make the frame into the picture when you choose to see it in its place. The frame that God has given it but serves His purpose, not yours apart from His. It is your separate purpose that obscures the picture, and cherishes the frame instead of it. Yet God has set His masterpiece within a frame that will endure forever, when yours has crumbled into dust. But think you not the picture is destroyed in any way. What God creates is safe from all corruption, unchanged and perfect in eternity.

Accept God’s frame instead of yours, and you will see the masterpiece. Look at its loveliness, and understand the Mind that thought it, not in flesh and bones, but in a frame as lovely as Itself. Its holiness lights up the sinlessness the frame of darkness hides, and casts a veil of light across the picture’s face which but reflects the light that shines from it to its Creator. Think not this face was ever, darkened because you saw it in a frame of death. God kept it safe that you might look on it, and see the holiness that He has given it.

Within the darkness see the saviour from the dark, and understand your brother as his Father’s Mind shows him to you. He will step forth from darkness as you look on him, and you will see the dark no more. The darkness touched him not, nor you who brought him forth for you to look upon. His sinlessness but pictures yours. His gentleness becomes your strength, and both will gladly look within, and see the holiness that must be there because of what you looked upon in him. He is the frame in which your holiness is set, and what God gave him must be given you. However much he overlooks the masterpiece in him and sees only a frame of darkness, it is still your only function to behold in him what he sees not. And in this seeing is the vision shared that looks on Christ instead of seeing death.

How could the Lord of Heaven not be glad if you appreciate His masterpiece? What could He do but offer thanks to you who love His Son as He does? Would He not make known to you His Love, if you but share His praise of what He loves? God cherishes creation as the perfect Father that He is. And so His joy is made complete when any part of Him joins in His praise, to share His joy. This brother is His perfect gift to you. And He is glad and thankful when you thank His perfect Son for being what he is. And all His thanks and gladness shine on you who would complete His joy, along with Him. And thus is yours completed. Not one ray of darkness can be seen by those who will to make their Father’s happiness complete, and theirs along with His. The gratitude of God Himself is freely offered to everyone who shares His purpose. It is not His Will to be alone. And neither is it yours.

Forgive your brother, and you cannot separate yourself from him nor from his Father. You need no forgiveness, for the wholly pure have never sinned. Give, then, what He has given you, that you may see His Son as one, and thank his Father as He thanks you. Nor believe that all His praise is given not to you. For what you give is His, and giving it, you learn to understand His gift to you. And give the Holy Spirit what He offers unto the Father and the Son alike. Nothing has power over you except His Will and yours, which but extends His Will. It was for this you were created, and your brother with you and at one with you.

You and your brother are the same as God Himself is One, and not divided in His Will. And you must have one purpose, since He gave the same to both of you. His Will is brought together as you join in will, that you be made complete by offering completion to your brother. See not in him the sinfulness he sees, but give him honour that you may esteem yourself and him. To you and your brother is given the power of salvation, that escape from darkness into light be yours to share; that you may see as one what never has been separate, nor apart from all God’s Love as given equally.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 23

Lesson 219

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(199) I am not a body. I am free.

I am God’s Son. Be still, my mind, and think a moment
upon this. And then return to earth, without confusion
as to what my Father loves forever as His Son.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Are babies born innocent? 

A) The only true state of innocence is in Heaven, the real home of God’s Son. With very, very few exceptions — the Teachers of teachers referred to in the manual for teachers (M-26.2) — only those who retain guilt in their minds “come here” and are born. Workbook Lesson 182 provides a poignant portrait of all inhabitants of this world: 

We speak today for everyone who walks this world, for he is not at home. He goes uncertainly about in endless search, seeking in darkness what he cannot find; not recognizing what it is he seeks. A thousand homes he makes, yet none contents his restless mind. He does not understand he builds in vain. The home he seeks can not be made by him. There is no substitute for Heaven. All he ever made was hell (W-pI.182.3).

And yet it is this very belief that there is a substitute for Heaven that constitutes sin, and the resultant and inevitable guilt continually propels the separated Son to review mentally the thought of separation and its effects that have already gone by. Thus all who come here share this guilt over their lost innocence. Moreover, their egos’ purpose for their manifestation in the world is the reinforcement of this guilt. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit’s purpose once people believe they are here, is the unlearning of this guilt through the practice of forgiveness that undoes the belief in victimization. This eventually restores to all the separated ones their awareness of the innocence that is rightly and eternally theirs as God’s one Son, the Christ He created as One with Him. 

In this context, one can understand that the popular view that babies are born innocent and are corrupted by society — Rousseau’s “noble savage” thesis — falls very nicely within the ego’s strategic plan to convince us that the world is real and has victimizing effects on us. The ego thought system upholds the idea that we are not the dreamer of the dream that is the world, but that rather the dream is dreaming us. Therefore, it is the world that is responsible for the loss of my innocence. It was not that I gave it away by my thoughts, but rather that it was taken from me, the innocent victim of a world I did not make or choose. This fundamental ego principle is the subject of the following passage from “The Hero of the Dream”: 

The body’s serial adventures, from the time of birth to dying are the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The “hero” of this dream will never change, nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms, and seems to show a great variety of places and events wherein its “hero” finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways. This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more; that it is cause and not effect, And you are its effect, and cannot be its cause. Thus are you not the dreamer, but the dream. And so you wander idly in and out of places and events that it contrives. That this is all the body does is true, for it is but a figure in a dream (T-27.VIII.3:1-4:3; italics ours).

Since ultimately our lives are our dreams — the outpicturing of the thoughts in our minds — only we can be responsible for the loss of innocence that is the central theme of everyone’s dream. No one is born innocent; only Christ is innocent, and He was never born. But through the process of forgiveness and accepting the correction for our mistaken thoughts, we can remember that we never truly sinned. In truth, therefore, we are innocent of any belief that we separated ourselves from Innocence Itself. 

secret of salvation

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 22

ACIM Text Reading for August 22

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

I. The Link to Truth

It cannot be that it is hard to do the task that Christ appointed you to do, since it is He Who does it. And in the doing of it will you learn the body merely seems to be the means to do it. For the Mind is His. And so it must be yours. His holiness directs the body through the mind at one with Him. And you are manifest unto your holy brother, as he to you. Here is the meeting of the holy Christ unto Himself; nor any differences perceived to stand between the aspects of His holiness, which meet and join and raise Him to His Father, whole and pure and worthy of His everlasting Love.

How can you manifest the Christ in you except to look on holiness and see Him there? Perception tells you, you are manifest in what you see. Behold the body, and you will believe that you are there. And every body that you look upon reminds you of yourself; your sinfulness, your evil and, above all, your death. And would you not despise the one who tells you this, and seek his death instead? The message and the messenger are one. And you must see your brother as yourself. Framed in his body you will see your sinfulness, wherein you stand condemned. Set in his holiness, the Christ in him proclaims Himself as you.

Perception is a choice of what you want yourself to be; the world you want to live in, and the state in which you think your mind will be content and satisfied. It chooses where you think your safety lies, at your decision. It reveals yourself to you as you would have you be. And always is it faithful to your purpose, from which it never separates, nor gives the slightest witness unto anything the purpose in your mind upholdeth not. Perception is a part of what it is your purpose to behold, for means and end are never separate. And thus you learn what seems to have a life apart has none.

You are the means for God; not separate, nor with a life apart from His. His Life is manifest in you who are His Son. Each aspect of Himself is framed in holiness and perfect purity, in love celestial and so complete it wishes only that it may release all that it looks upon unto itself. Its radiance shines through each body that it looks upon, and brushes all its darkness into light merely by looking past it to the light. The veil is lifted through its gentleness, and nothing hides the face of Christ from its beholders. You and your brother stand before Him now, to let Him draw aside the veil that seems to keep you separate and apart.

Since you believe that you are separate, Heaven presents itself to you as separate, too. Not that it is in truth, but that the link that has been given you to join the truth may reach to you through what you understand. Father and Son and Holy Spirit are as One, as all your brothers join as one in truth. Christ and His Father never have been separate, and Christ abides within your understanding, in the part of you that shares His Father’s Will. The Holy Spirit links the other part—the tiny mad desire to be separate, different and special—to the Christ, to make the oneness clear to what is really one. In this world this is not understood, but can be taught.

The Holy Spirit serves Christ’s purpose in your mind, so that the aim of specialness can be corrected where the error lies. Because His purpose still is one with both the Father and the Son, He knows the Will of God and what you really will. But this is understood by mind perceived as one, aware that it is one, and so experienced. It is the Holy Spirit’s function to teach you how this oneness is experienced, what you must do that it can be experienced, and where you should go to do it.

All this takes note of time and place as if they were discrete, for while you think that part of you is separate, the concept of a oneness joined as one is meaningless. It is apparent that a mind so split could never be the teacher of a Oneness Which unites all things within Itself. And so What is within this mind, and does unite all things together, must be its Teacher. Yet must It use the language that this mind can understand, in the condition in which it thinks it is. And It must use all learning to transfer illusions to the truth, taking all false ideas of what you are, and leading you beyond them to the truth that is beyond them. All this can very simply be reduced to this:

What is the same can not be different, and what is one can not have separate parts.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 22

Lesson 218

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(198) Only my condemnation injures me.

My condemnation keeps my vision dark, and through my
sightless eyes I cannot see the vision of my glory.
Yet today I can behold this glory and be glad.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What about congenital defects or infant deaths? Are these chosen also? 

A) A congenital defect, as well as an infant’s death, is not chosen by the brain of the baby, but by the mind that projected a figure in a dream that was born deformed or died at a very early age. Please refer to the diagram for question 16 (http://www.miraclestudies.net/Question16p2.html), and recall that the split mind projects out many thoughts that take form throughout the hologram of time and space. Therefore, if a thought of imperfection or death is entertained by the separated mind, it can be experienced as a congenital defect or an infant death in what is perceived to be the life of an individual.  If one returns to our earlier analogy of the body (and brain) as a puppet, carrying out the wishes of the non-human mind, answers to questions like the above will make perfect sense. 

The Journey to God