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
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.
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.