ACIM Text Reading for September 22
Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear
IV. The Greater Joining
Accepting the Atonement for yourself means not to give support to someone’s dream of sickness and of death. It means that you share not his wish to separate, and let him turn illusions on himself. Nor do you wish that they be turned, instead, on you. Thus have they no effects. And you are free of dreams of pain because you let him be. Unless you help him, you will suffer pain with him because that is your wish. And you become a figure in his dream of pain, as he in yours. So do you and your brother both become illusions, and without identity. You could be anyone or anything, depending on whose evil dream you share. You can be sure of just one thing; that you are evil, for you share in dreams of fear.
There is a way of finding certainty right here and now. Refuse to be a part of fearful dreams whatever form they take, for you will lose identity in them. You find yourself by not accepting them as causing you, and giving you effects. You stand apart from them, but not apart from him who dreams them. Thus you separate the dreamer from the dream, and join in one, but let the other go. The dream is but illusion in the mind. And with the mind you would unite, but never with the dream. It is the dream you fear, and not the mind. You see them as the same, because you think that you are but a dream. And what is real and what is but illusion in yourself you do not know and cannot tell apart.
Like you, your brother thinks he is a dream. Share not in his illusion of himself, for your identity depends on his reality. Think, rather, of him as a mind in which illusions still persist, but as a mind which brother is to you. He is not brother made by what he dreams, nor is his body, ‘hero’ of the dream, your brother. It is his reality that is your brother, as is yours to him. Your mind and his are joined in brotherhood. His body and his dreams but seem to make a little gap, where yours have joined with his.
And yet, between your minds there is no gap. To join his dreams is thus to meet him not, because his dreams would separate from you. Therefore release him, merely by your claim on brotherhood, and not on dreams of fear. Let him acknowledge who he is, by not supporting his illusions by your faith, for if you do, you will have faith in yours. With faith in yours, he will not be released, and you are kept in bondage to his dreams. And dreams of fear will haunt the little gap, inhabited but by illusions which you have supported in your brother’s mind.
Be certain, if you do your part, he will do his, for he will join you where you stand. Call not to him to meet you in the gap between you, or you must believe that it is your reality as well as his. You cannot do his part, but this you do when you become a passive figure in his dreams, instead of dreamer of your own. Identity in dreams is meaningless because the dreamer and the dream are one. Who shares a dream must be the dream he shares, because by sharing is a cause produced.
You share confusion and you are confused, for in the gap no stable self exists. What is the same seems different, because what is the same appears to be unlike. His dreams are yours because you let them be. But if you took your own away would he be free of them, and of his own as well. Your dreams are witnesses to his, and his attest the truth of yours. Yet if you see there is no truth in yours, his dreams will go, and he will understand what made the dream.
The Holy Spirit is in both your minds, and He is One because there is no gap that separates His Oneness from Itself. The gap between your bodies matters not, for what is joined in Him is always one. No one is sick if someone else accepts his union with him. His desire to be a sick and separated mind can not remain without a witness or a cause. And both are gone if someone wills to be united with him. He has dreams that he was separated from his brother who, by sharing not his dream, has left the space between them vacant. And the Father comes to join His Son the Holy Spirit joined.
The Holy Spirit’s function is to take the broken picture of the Son of God and put the pieces into place again. This holy picture, healed entirely, does He hold out to every separate piece that thinks it is a picture in itself. To each he offers his Identity, Which the whole picture represents, instead of just a little, broken bit that he insisted was himself. And when he sees this picture he will recognise himself. If you share not your brother’s evil dream, this is the picture that the miracle will place within the little gap, left clean of all the seeds of sickness and of sin. And here the Father will receive His Son, because His Son was gracious to himself.
I thank You, Father, knowing You will come to close each little gap that lies between the broken pieces of Your holy Son. Your holiness, complete and perfect, lies in every one of them. And they are joined because what is in one is in them all. How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognised as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son! The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing. For the whole is in each one. And every aspect of the Son of God is just the same as every other part.
Join not your brother’s dreams but join with him, and where you join His Son the Father is. Who seeks for substitutes when he perceives he has lost nothing? Who would want to have the ‘benefits’ of sickness when he has received the simple happiness of health? What God has given cannot be a loss, and what is not of Him has no effects. What, then, would you perceive within the gap? The seeds of sickness come from the belief that there is joy in separation, and its giving up would be a sacrifice. But miracles are the result when you do not insist on seeing in the gap what is not there. Your willingness to let illusions go is all the Healer of God’s Son requires. He will place the miracle of healing where the seeds of sickness were. And there will be no loss, but only gain.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 22
Whatever suffers is not part of me.
I have disowned the truth. Now let me be as faithful in disowning falsity. Whatever suffers is not part of me. What grieves is not myself. What is in pain is but illusion in my mind. What dies was never living in reality, and did but mock the truth about myself. Now I disown self-concepts and deceits and lies about the holy Son of God. Now am I ready to accept him back as God created him, and as he is.
Father, my ancient love for You returns, and lets me love Your Son again as well. Father, I am as You created me. Now is Your Love remembered, and my own. Now do I understand that they are one.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) What is the relationship of A Course in Miracles to other spiritual paths, and specifically to the Bible?
A) This is an extremely important question, because the incorrect understanding of the answer inevitably leads to serious distortion of what A Course in Miracles actually teaches and how it is meant to be practiced. We live in an age where many followers of spiritual paths — usually grouped together in what is termed the “new age” — emphasize unity instead of diversity. While this is an admirable spiritual goal, certainly, it does serve to deny the “fact” of our separated world; namely, that we are all different, and that different spiritual paths are thus required. Once this is accepted, then it is clear that different paths will be different. This is clearly obvious on one level, but is frequently obscured by the need to blur differences for the sake of a spurious unity. This does every spiritual path a disservice, and Jesus always made it clear to Helen personally, as well as in A Course in Miracles itself, how different his Course was from other paths. This does not necessarily mean it is better, but it does mean that it is unique.
Near the beginning of the manual for teachers, Jesus says of A Course in Miracles:
This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome (M-1.4:1-2).
And we have already examined Jesus’ special message to Helen — “I Need Do Nothing” — where Jesus contrasts his Course with other spiritualities that emphasize meditation and contemplation.
Therefore, on the one hand, the Course’s relationship to other spiritual paths is that it shares the same goal of returning home to God. It is different, however, because its theology and practice are different. Jesus summarizes this relationship in his pithy comment:
A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary (C-in.2:5).
As we have already seen, A Course in Miracles is a non-dualistic spirituality, while almost all others are dualistic. Confusing the Course with other spiritual thought systems, saying “the Course is just like … (fill in your favorite spirituality)” is simply in the end a subtle ego ploy for changing A Course in Miracles so that its teachings will be less threatening. We, of course, have seen in our Western history a notable example of this ego device when the Christian world made Jesus and his teachings into an extension of Judaism and the Old Testament, rather than accepting him and his message as the radical gift it was, independent of all that preceded it. Students of A Course in Miraclesshould profit from this mistake of the past, and grow into the Course, rather than attempting to scale it down to their own level of understanding.
Another form of this mistake is the common practice of including A Course in Miracles with what Aldous Huxley termed “the perennial philosophy,” a catch-all phrase used to embrace the major mystical traditions of the world. Again, this does the Course a profound disservice, because it blurs what is its distinctive contribution to the world’s spiritualities: the idea that not only was the physical universe an illusion that God did not create, but that it was also “made as an attack” on Him (W-pII.3.2:1). This profound and sophisticated psychological principle, integrated with a pure non-dualistic metaphysics is what renders A Course in Miracles unique among the spiritual and religious thought systems of the world.
Comparing A Course in Miracles specifically with the Bible, we can see four major areas of differences, making these two spiritual paths totally incompatible. We quote from the introduction to A Course in Miracles and Christianity: A Dialogue by Kenneth and the Jesuit philosopher Father Norris Clarke, which explores these differences in greater depth:
1) A Course in Miracles teaches that God did not create the physical universe, which includes all matter, form, and the body; the Bible states that He did.2) The God of A Course in Miracles does not even know about the sin of separation (since to know about it would make it real), let alone react to it; the God of the Bible perceives sin directly, as is portrayed in the Garden of Eden story … and His responses to it are vigorous, dramatic, and at times
punitive, to say the very least.
3) A Course in Miracles‘ Jesus is equal to everyone else, a part of God’s one Son or Christ; the Bible’s Jesus is seen as special, apart, and therefore ontologically different from everyone else, being God’s only begotten Son, the second person of the Trinity.
4) The Jesus of A Course in Miracles is not sent by God to suffer and die on the cross in a sacrificial act of atonement for sin, but rather teaches that there is no sin by demonstrating that nothing happened to him in reality, for sin has no effect on the Love of God; the Jesus of the Bible agonizes, suffers, and dies for the sins of the world in an act that brings vicarious salvation to humanity, thereby establishing sin and death as real, and moreover clearly reflecting that God has been affected by Adam’s sin and must respond to its actual presence in the world by sacrificing His beloved Son. (pp. 2-3 from the Dialogue)
While our answer has focused on the Bible, the same basic message can be given regarding any other spiritual path. While there certainly can be nothing wrong with reading other spiritualities or being interested in learning more about them, nor in attending religious services, spiritual meetings, etc., a student of A Course in Miracles should at least be cautious — to make the point again — about attempting to blend together theologies or spiritual approaches that ultimately do not mix. Some spiritualities lend themselves to such “blending together”; A Course in Miracles does not.
INTERESTED READERS WILL FIND EXCERPTS FROM A COURSE IN MIRACLES AND CHRISTIANITY: A DIALOGUE
BEGINNING AT http://www.miraclestudies.net/Dialogue_Pref.html