ACIM Text Reading for September 17
Chapter 27 ~ The Healing of the Dream
VII. The Dreamer of the Dream
Suffering is an emphasis upon all that the world has done to injure you. Here is the world’s demented version of salvation clearly shown. Like to a dream of punishment, in which the dreamer is unconscious of what brought on the attack against himself, he sees himself attacked unjustly and by something not himself. He is the victim of this ‘something else’, a thing outside himself, for which he has no reason to be held responsible. He must be innocent because he knows not what he does, but what is done to him. Yet is his own attack upon himself apparent still, for it is he who bears the suffering. And he cannot escape because its source is seen outside himself.
Now you are being shown you can escape. All that is needed is you look upon the problem as it is, and not the way that you have set it up. How could there be another way to solve a problem that is very simple, but has been obscured by heavy clouds of complication, which were made to keep the problem unresolved? Without the clouds the problem will emerge in all its primitive simplicity. The choice will not be difficult, because the problem is absurd when clearly seen. No one has difficulty making up his mind to let a simple problem be resolved if it is seen as hurting him, and also very easily removed.
The ‘reasoning’ by which the world is made, on which it rests, by which it is maintained, is simply this: ‘You are the cause of what I do. Your presence justifies my wrath, and you exist and think apart from me. While you attack I must be innocent. And what I suffer from is your attack’. No one who looks upon this ‘reasoning’ exactly as it is could fail to see it does not follow and it makes no sense. Yet it seems sensible, because it looks as if the world were hurting you. And so it seems as if there is no need to go beyond the obvious in terms of cause.
There is indeed a need. The world’s escape from condemnation is a need which those within the world are joined in sharing. Yet they do not recognise their common need. For each one thinks that if he does his part, the condemnation of the world will rest on him. And it is this that he perceives to be his part in its deliverance. Vengeance must have a focus. Otherwise is the avenger’s knife in his own hand, and pointed to himself. And he must see it in another’s and, if he would be a victim of attack he did not choose. And thus he suffers from the wounds a knife he does not hold has made upon himself.
This is the purpose of the world he sees. And looked at thus, the world provides the means by which this purpose seems to be fulfilled. The means attest the purpose, but are not themselves a cause. Nor will the cause be changed by seeing it apart from its effects. The cause produces the effects, which then bear witness to the cause, and not themselves. Look, then, beyond effects. It is not here the cause of suffering and sin must lie. And dwell not on the suffering and sin, for they are but reflections of their cause.
The part you play in salvaging the world from condemnation is your own escape. Forget not that the witness to the world of evil cannot speak except for what has seen a need for evil in the world. And this is where your guilt was first beheld. In separation from your brother was the first attack upon yourself begun. And it is this the world bears witness to. Seek not another cause, nor look among the mighty legions of its witnesses for its undoing. They support its claim on your allegiance. What conceals the truth is not where you should look to find the truth.
The witnesses to sin all stand within one little space. And it is here you find the cause of your perspective on the world. Once you were unaware of what the cause of everything the world appeared to thrust upon you, uninvited and unasked, must really be. Of one thing you were sure: of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them. Nor did you in any way request them for yourself. This is how all illusions came about. The one who makes them does not see himself as making them, and their reality does not depend on him. Whatever cause they have is something quite apart from him, and what he sees is separate from his mind. He cannot doubt his dreams’ reality, because he does not see the part he plays in making them and making them seem real.
No one can waken from a dream the world is dreaming for him. He becomes a part of someone else’s dream. He cannot choose to waken from a dream he did not make. Helpless he stands, a victim to a dream conceived and cherished by a separate mind. Careless indeed of him this mind must be, as thoughtless of his peace and happiness as is the weather or the time of day. It loves him not, but casts him as it will in any role that satisfies its dream. So little is his worth that he is but a dancing shadow, leaping up and down according to a senseless plot conceived within the idle dreaming of the world.
This is the only picture you can see; the one alternative that you can choose, the other possibility of cause, if you be not the dreamer of your dreams. And this is what you choose if you deny the cause of suffering is in your mind. Be glad indeed it is, for thus are you the one decider of your destiny in time. The choice is yours to make between a sleeping death and dreams of evil or a happy wakening and joy of life.
What could you choose between but life or death, waking or sleeping, peace or war, your dreams or your reality? There is a risk of thinking death is peace, because the world equates the body with the Self Which God created. Yet a thing can never be its opposite. And death is opposite to peace, because it is the opposite of life. And life is peace. Awaken and forget all thoughts of death, and you will find you have the peace of God. Yet if the choice is really given you, then you must see the causes of the things you choose between exactly as they are and where they are.
What choices can be made between two states, but one of which is clearly recognised? Who could be free to choose between effects, when only one is seen as up to him? An honest choice could never be perceived as one in which the choice is split between a tiny you and an enormous world, with different dreams about the truth in you. The gap between reality and dreams lies not between the dreaming of the world and what you dream in secret. They are one. The dreaming of the world is but a part of your own dream you gave away, and saw as if it were its start and ending, both. Yet was it started by your secret dream, which you do not perceive although it caused the part you see and do not doubt is real. How could you doubt it while you lie asleep, and dream in secret that its cause is real?
A brother separated from yourself, an ancient enemy, a murderer who stalks you in the night and plots your death, yet plans that it be lingering and slow; of this you dream. Yet underneath this dream is yet another, in which you become the murderer, the secret enemy, the scavenger and the destroyer of your brother and the world alike. Here is the cause of suffering, the space between your little dreams and your reality. The little gap you do not even see, the birthplace of illusions and of fear, the time of terror and of ancient hate, the instant of disaster, all are here. Here is the cause of unreality. And it is here that it will be undone.
You are the dreamer of the world of dreams. No other cause it has, nor ever will. Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God’s Son, and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself. So fearful is the dream, so seeming real, he could not waken to reality without the sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear, unless a gentler dream preceded his awaking, and allowed his calmer mind to welcome, not to fear, the Voice That calls with love to waken him; a gentler dream, in which his suffering was healed and where his brother was his friend. God willed he waken gently and with joy, and gave him means to waken without fear.
Accept the dream He gave instead of yours. It is not difficult to change a dream when once the dreamer has been recognised. Rest in the Holy Spirit, and allow His gentle dreams to take the place of those you dreamed in terror and in fear of death. He brings forgiving dreams, in which the choice is not who is the murderer and who shall be the victim. In the dreams He brings there is no murder and there is no death. The dream of guilt is fading from your sight, although your eyes are closed. A smile has come to lighten up your sleeping face. The sleep is peaceful now, for these are happy dreams.
Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence. And from this dream the Lord of Heaven will Himself awaken His beloved Son. Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams. He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you.
Brother, He gives but life. Yet what you see as gifts your brother offers represent the gifts you dream your Father gives to you. Let all your brother’s gifts be seen in light of charity and kindness offered you. And let no pain disturb your dream of deep appreciation for his gifts to you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 17
Today I will judge nothing that occurs.
I will be honest with myself today. I will not think that I already know what must remain beyond my present grasp. I will not think I understand the whole from bits of my perception, which are all that I can see. Today I recognize that this is so. And so I am relieved of judgments that I cannot make. Thus do I free myself and what I look upon, to be in peace as God created us.
Father, today I leave creation free to be itself. I honor all its parts, in which I am included. We are one because each part contains Your memory, and truth must shine in all of us as one.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) If, as A Course in Miracles suggests, the world totally misunderstood Jesus’ message two thousand years ago, why did he wait so long to correct it?
A) Again, this thoughtful question is based upon a linear view of time, in which two thousand years appear to be an inordinately long period of time for the error to be corrected. Clearly, the ones asking such a question are projecting onto Jesus their own impatience and, most likely, their unforgiveness of the various Christian Churches that have superimposed the ego thought system onto the ego-free teachings of the true Jesus.
A more profound way of addressing this question is to consider that being ego-free, anyone in the real world — as is Jesus — does not really choose to do anything. Having chosen the Holy Spirit once and for all, there is nothing more to choose. Therefore, there is no longer a decision maker in the mind that activates the body and interacts with the world, as is the ego’s very important need. Truly advanced teachers of God — Teachers of teachers — God do not do; they are. They do not plan, choose, deliberate, or behave as does a person who believes in the reality of the ego thought system. Their simple presence of love takes its shape around the needs of those who still identify with a world of form, much as water takes its shape according to the container in which it has been put, or the bed of the river shapes the flow of the water coursing through it.
In this context, therefore, we can understand that the appearance of Jesus within the world’s dream two thousand years ago was the result of the Son’s readiness to experience the Love of God within his dream. It is as if the mind of the Son — the only true sphere of experience there is — partially opened the door of his mind that had screened out the presence of the Holy Spirit. The mind, previously darkened by guilt, thus allowed some light in, and this light took the form of Jesus, the Son of Light, whose presence within the ego’s world of darkness reminds us all that we too are children of the Light.
The fear that this light engendered — for it constitutes a grave threat to the ego’s thought system of darkness — led to the Son’s closing the door to protect his individual self, and this took the form of seeking to destroy Jesus and then his message, as the history of Christianity attests. This is why the gospel writers changed the entire message of Jesus and rooted it in the crucifixion, which reflected the ego’s underlying plan to perpetuate its own thought system of betrayal, suffering, and death. Jesus comments on this dynamic in the Course in several places. We look at two such passages; one general to the dynamics of the Son’s mind, and the other specific to Jesus himself.
As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear and sometimes to stark terror (T- 1 8.111.2: 1).All who believe in separation have a basic fear of retaliation and abandonment. They believe in attack and rejection, so that is what they perceive and leach and learn. These insane ideas are clearly the result of dissociation and projection. What you teach you are, but it is quite apparent that you can teach wrongly, and can therefore teach yourself wrong. Many thought I was attacking them, even though it was apparent I was not. An insane learner learns strange lessons. What you must recognize is that when you do not share a thought system, you are weakening it. Those who believe in it therefore perceive this as an attack on them. This is because everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are (T-6.V-B.1:1-9).
The reader should also consult “Atonement without Sacrifice” and “The Message of the Crucifixion,” the opening sections of Chapters 3 and 6 in the text, for even more specific comments by Jesus about the misunderstanding of his message, and how and why it happened.
And now, two thousand years later, we see that the door to the Son’s closed mind opened again to allow in the light of truth, and the result is the original message of Jesus, presented in a contemporary twentieth (soon to be twenty-first) century form. Needless to say, there have been other expressions of this light in the Christian (and non-Christian) world, but, again, we shall remain only within the context of A Course in Miracles.
The advantage of answering the question in this way is that one is able to avoid the anthropomorphizing of Jesus — making him think, plan, and behave the way we would — which would only once again foster the belief that we have captured him within the ego’s dream, making him one of us, instead of our becoming like him. Above all, it is always essential to keep in mind that God has no true response to the thought of separation, even though, as we have already seen, the metaphoric language of A Course in Miraclesoften portrays it so. First and foremost, if God knew about the “tiny, mad idea,” it would have had to be real. Therefore, the Holy Spirit and Jesus — as messengers of God within the dream, and being the Voices of the plan of the Atonement which states that the dream of separation never happened — would also have to share in this non-response to error. It is Their simple light-filled presence within our minds — darkened by thoughts of sin, guilt, and fear — that help us. They do nothing; it is only our egos that act and react. And as long as we experience this thought of separation in the specific forms of specialness that comprise our individual lives, we must experience this Help in specific forms as well. But these forms are determined by our ego scripts, not by any specific intervention of the divine.