A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 30

ACIM Reading for October 30

Manual for Teachers

9. ARE CHANGES REQUIRED IN THE LIFE SITUATION OF GOD’S TEACHERS?

Changes are required in the minds of God’s teachers. This may or may not involve changes in the external situation. Remember that no one is where he is by accident, and chance plays no part in God’s plan. It is most unlikely that changes in attitudes would not be the first step in the newly-made teacher of God’s training. There is, however, no set pattern, since training is always highly individualised. There are those who are called upon to change their life situation almost immediately, but these are generally special cases. By far the majority are given a slowly-evolving training program, in which as many previous mistakes as possible are corrected. Relationships in particular must be properly perceived, and all dark cornerstones of unforgiveness removed. Otherwise the old thought system still has a basis for return.

As the teacher of God advances in his training, he learns one lesson with increasing thoroughness. He does not make his own decisions; he asks his Teacher for His answer, and it is this he follows as his guide for action. This becomes easier and easier, as the teacher of God learns to give up his own judgement. The giving up of judgement, the obvious prerequisite for hearing God’s Voice, is usually a fairly slow process, not because it is difficult, but because it is apt to be perceived as personally insulting. The world’s training is directed toward achieving a goal in direct opposition to that of our curriculum. The world trains for reliance on one’s judgement as the criterion for maturity and strength. Our curriculum trains for the relinquishment of judgement as the necessary condition of salvation.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 30

Lesson 270

I will not use the body’s eyes today.

Father, Christ’s vision is Your gift to me, and it has power to translate all that the body’s eyes behold into the sight of a forgiven world. How glorious and gracious is this world! Yet how much more will I perceive in it than sight can give. The world forgiven signifies Your Son acknowledges his Father, lets his dreams be brought to truth, and waits expectantly the one remaining instant more of time which ends forever, as Your memory returns to him. And now his will is one with Yours. His function now is but Your Own, and every thought except Your Own is gone.

The quiet of today will bless our hearts, and through them peace will come to everyone. Christ is our eyes today. And through His sight we offer healing to the world through Him, the holy Son whom God created whole; the holy Son whom God created One.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is meant by the Sonship, and who or what is included?

A) The term Sonship, or Son of God in the Course is used in two ways: to denote the states of reality and illusion. In Heaven, Sonship refers to God’s one creation, the Christ Who is God’s one Son. That Son, as we have already seen, is totally unified and at one with Himself and with His Creator. On the level of the dream, Sonship refers to all parts of the one split mind that believed it could accomplish the separation, wherein each fragment appears to have a form and “life” of its own. Thus, the so-called animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms are all as much a part of the Sonship as is homo sapiens. Distinctions of what is animate and inanimate were arbitrarily introduced by homo sapiens, following the ego’s teachings, in order to be able to categorize and control an illusory world and to have “dominion over every living thing” (Genesis, 1:26,28). Such a belief is what A Course in Miracles refers to as the first law of chaos, that there is a “hierarchy of illusions” (T-23.11.2:3) wherein some aspects of the illusion are considered to be higher, more evolved, or more spiritually inclined than others, as when scientists speak of the “chain of being,” for example, where, by implication, there is a range of life and non-life. In fact, however, all the forms of “life” are the same, because they all are equal in their being projections of the ego thought of life-apart-from-God. This is the defense against the thought (or memory) of Life that is held by the Holy Spirit in the minds of all the seeming fragments. This is what is meant by the following passage, given in the form of a prayer from Jesus to God our Father:

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 [through the Holy Spirit]. And they are joined because what is in one is in them all. How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized 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 (T-28.IV.9; italics ours).

The thought of the separated Son in the mind, therefore, is not form, but content. And this is the thought that one could be separate from one’s Creator, and independent of Him. The form this thought takes — animate or inanimate, a single-celled organism or mammal — is irrelevant, because the thought remains the same. And beyond each thought is the Thought of God, held in safekeeping by the Holy Spirit until the instant we return to it.

certain as god

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A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 29

ACIM Reading for October 29

Manual for Teachers

8. HOW CAN PERCEPTION OF ORDER OF DIFFICULTIES BE AVOIDED?

The belief in order of difficulties is the basis for the world’s perception. It rests on differences; on uneven background and shifting foreground, on unequal heights and diverse sizes, on varying degrees of darkness and light, and thousands of contrasts in which each thing seen competes with every other in order to be recognised. A larger object overshadows a smaller one. A brighter thing draws the attention from another with less intensity of appeal. And a more threatening idea, or one conceived of as more desirable by the world’s standards, completely upsets the mental balance. What the body’s eyes behold is only conflict. Look not to them for peace and understanding.

Illusions are always illusions of differences. How could it be otherwise? By definition, an illusion is an attempt to make something real that is regarded as of major importance, but is recognised as being untrue. The mind therefore seeks to make it true out of its intensity of desire to have it for itself. Illusions are travesties of creation; attempts to bring truth to lies. Finding truth unacceptable, the mind revolts against truth and gives itself an illusion of victory. Finding health a burden, it retreats into feverish dreams. And in these dreams the mind is separate, different from other minds, with different interests of its own, and able to gratify its needs at the expense of others.

Where do all these differences come from? Certainly they seem to be in the world outside. Yet it is surely the mind that judges what the eyes behold. It is the mind that interprets the eyes’ messages and gives them “meaning”. And this meaning does not exist in the world outside at all. What is seen as “reality” is simply what the mind prefers. Its hierarchy of values is projected outward, and it sends the body’s eyes to find it. The body’s eyes will never see except through differences. Yet it is not the messages they bring on which perception rests. Only the mind evaluates their messages, and so only the mind is responsible for seeing. It alone decides whether what is seen is real or illusory, desirable or undesirable, pleasurable or painful.

It is in the sorting out and categorising activities of the mind that errors in perception enter. And it is here correction must be made. The mind classifies what the body’s eyes bring to it according to its preconceived values, judging where each sense datum fits best. What basis could be faultier than this? Unrecognised by itself, it has itself asked to be given what will fit into these categories. And having done so, it concludes that the categories must be true. On this the judgement of all differences rests, because it is on this that judgements of the world depend. Can this confused and senseless “reasoning” be depended on for anything?

There can be no order of difficulty in healing merely because all sickness is illusion. Is it harder to dispel the belief of the insane in a larger hallucination as opposed to a smaller one? Will he agree more quickly to the unreality of a louder voice he hears than to that of a softer one? Will he dismiss more easily a whispered demand to kill than a shout? And do the number of pitchforks the devils he sees carrying affect their credibility in his perception? His mind has categorised them all as real, and so they are all real to him. When he realises they are all illusions they will disappear. And so it is with healing. The properties of illusions which seem to make them different are really irrelevant, for their properties are as illusory as they are.

The body’s eyes will continue to see differences. But the mind that has let itself be healed will no longer acknowledge them. There will be those who seem to be “sicker” than others, and the body’s eyes will report their changed appearances as before. But the healed mind will put them all in one category; they are unreal. This is the gift of its Teacher; the understanding that only two categories are meaningful in sorting out the messages the mind receives from what appears to be the outside world. And of these two, but one is real. Just as reality is wholly real, apart from size and shape and time and place—for differences cannot exist within it—so too are illusions without distinctions. The one answer to sickness of any kind is healing. The one answer to all illusions is truth.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 29

Lesson 269

My sight goes forth to look upon Christ’s face.

I ask Your blessing on my sight today. It is the means which You have chosen to become the way to show me my mistakes, and look beyond them. It is given me to find a new perception through the Guide You gave to me, and through His lessons to surpass perception and return to truth. I ask for the illusion which transcends all those I made. Today I choose to see a world forgiven, in which everyone shows me the face of Christ, and teaches me that what I look upon belongs to me; that nothing is, except Your holy Son.

Today our sight is blessed indeed. We share one vision, as we look upon the face of Him Whose Self is ours. We are one because of Him Who is the Son of God; of Him Who is our own Identity.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) How can one access the mind so that the mind can be changed?

A) In a sense, the purpose of A Course in Miracles is to help us do just that. The cornerstone on which the ego thought system rests is our unforgiven guilt. This roots us in our physical and psychological experience as a body and an individual personality. Thus, the ego’s goal is to “protect” the guilt in our minds from being undone. As it is this guilt in our minds that is the programmer of our individual lives, so it is this guilt that must be undone through forgiveness, the Course’s central teaching.

As forgiveness removes this unconscious guilt and we shift from wrong-mindedness to right-mindedness, we allow the Holy Spirit to be our programmer. Thus, His Love and peace are mediated through our minds and become our guides, instead of the ego’s thought system of fear and hatred. The ego always strives to have us adopt some new system it has invented, such as the contemporary self-help techniques, to reprogram our “minds,” so that our brains would then function to “Fix up” and reprogram our lives. In this way, we become further enmeshed in the grip of the ego thought system, even though we are not aware consciously that this is what we are doing. However, we should note that it was just this belief that we are self-created and on our own, and could accomplish things by ourselves, that led to the separation in the first place. Moreover, all thought would have this as its basic pattern and goal.

The important Course principle of “a little willingness” to ask the Holy Spirit for help in order for our perceptions of ourselves and others to be corrected, imbues us with a sense of humility. This culminates in the realization that we do not know our own best interests, regardless of what the ego thought system propounds and teaches us. Thus, it is one’s own responsibility to acknowledge that in order to become right-minded and remain that way, one must always access the Holy Spirit.

Even more specific is Jesus’ injunction in A Course in Miracles that his students look at their egos without judgment. This is the way to access the mind. If students, with Jesus’ love beside them, can look without judgment and guilt at their egos in action, then who is doing the looking? It cannot be the ego itself, but the mind — or better, the decision maker in our minds — that is not in the body and therefore, again, is not the ego. The following passage from the text provides a very clear description of this process and how central Jesus believes it is to the practice of his Course:

No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous. We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth. The “dynamics” of the ego will be our lesson for a while, for we must look first at this to see beyond it, since you have made it real. We will undo this error quietly together, and then look beyond it to truth.  What is healing but the removal of all that stands in the way of knowledge? And how else can one dispel illusions except by looking at them directly, without protecting them? (T-11.V.1:1-2:2)

And in this succinct sentence, also from the text, we find the goal of this process clearly enunciated:

This is a crucial period in this course, for here the separation of you and the ego must be made complete (T-22.II.6:1).

The “you” is the decision maker, the part of our split minds that chooses, which has now shifted its identification from the ego (the wrong mind) to the Holy Spirit (the right mind).

you have no idea


 

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 28

ACIM Text Reading for October 28

Manual for Teachers

7. SHOULD HEALING BE REPEATED?

This question really answers itself. Healing cannot be repeated. If the patient is healed, what remains to heal him from? And if the healing is certain, as we have already said it is, what is there to repeat? For a teacher of God to remain concerned about the result of healing is to limit the healing. It is now the teacher of God himself whose mind needs to be healed. And it is this he must facilitate. He is now the patient, and he must so regard himself. He has made a mistake, and must be willing to change his mind about it. He lacked the trust that makes for giving truly, and so he has not received the benefit of his gift.

Whenever a teacher of God has tried to be a channel for healing he has succeeded. Should he be tempted to doubt this, he should not repeat his previous effort. That was already maximal, because the Holy Spirit so accepted it and so used it. Now the teacher of God has only one course to follow. He must use his reason to tell himself that he has given the problem to One Who cannot fail, and must recognise that his own uncertainty is not love but fear, and therefore hate. His position has thus become untenable, for he is offering hate to one to whom he offered love. This is impossible. Having offered love, only love can be received.

It is in this that the teacher of God must trust. This is what is really meant by the statement that the one responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself. The teacher of God is a miracle worker because he gives the gifts he has received. Yet he must first accept them. He need do no more, nor is there more that he could do. By accepting healing he can give it. If he doubts this, let him remember Who gave the gift and Who received it. Thus is his doubt corrected. He thought the gifts of God could be withdrawn. That was a mistake, but hardly one to stay with. And so the teacher of God can only recognise it for what it is, and let it be corrected for him.

One of the most difficult temptations to recognise is that to doubt a healing because of the appearance of continuing symptoms is a mistake in the form of lack of trust. As such it is an attack. Usually it seems to be just the opposite. It does appear unreasonable at first to be told that continued concern is attack. It has all the appearances of love. Yet love without trust is impossible, and doubt and trust cannot coexist. And hate must be the opposite of love, regardless of the form it takes. Doubt not the gift and it is impossible to doubt its result. This is the certainty that gives God’s teachers the power to be miracle workers, for they have put their trust in Him.

The real basis for doubt about the outcome of any problem that has been given to God’s Teacher for resolution is always self-doubt. And that necessarily implies that trust has been placed in an illusory self, for only such a self can be doubted. This illusion can take many forms. Perhaps there is a fear of weakness and vulnerability. Perhaps there is a fear of failure and shame associated with a sense of inadequacy. Perhaps there is a guilty embarrassment stemming from false humility. The form of the mistake is not important. What is important is only the recognition of a mistake as a mistake.

The mistake is always some form of concern with the self to the exclusion of the patient. It is a failure to recognise him as part of the Self, and thus represents a confusion in identity. Conflict about what you are has entered your mind, and you have become deceived about yourself. And you are deceived about yourself because you have denied the Source of your creation. If you are offering only healing, you cannot doubt. Doubt is the result of conflicting wishes. Be sure of what you want, and doubt becomes impossible.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 28

Lesson 268

Let all things be exactly as they are.

Let me not be Your critic, Lord, today, and judge against You. Let me not attempt to interfere with Your creation, and distort it into sickly forms. Let me be willing to withdraw my wishes from its unity, and thus to let it be as You created it. For thus will I be able, too, to recognize my Self as You created me. In love was I created, and in love will I remain forever. What can frighten me, when I let all things be exactly as they are?

Let not our sight be blasphemous today, nor let our ears attend to lying tongues. Only reality is free of pain. Only reality is free of loss. Only reality is wholly safe. And it is only this we seek today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Where is the mind? 

A) Mind, as taught in A Course in Miracles and as we have just seen, is non-corporeal or non-material, unlike the brain. Therefore it is invisible and intangible. Since it is also non-spatial and non-temporal, it is impossible to answer this question, which rests on the assumption that time and space are real. The very word where connotes a spatial dimension, which is unknown to the mind. Therefore, to answer this question would be to deny the very nature of the mind, and reinforce the belief that the body is real and independent of the mind which projected it and is its true cause. 

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A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 27

ACIM Reading for October 27

Manual for Teachers

6. IS HEALING CERTAIN?

Healing is always certain. It is impossible to let illusions be brought to truth and keep the illusions. Truth demonstrates illusions have no value. The teacher of God has seen the correction of his errors in the mind of the patient, recognising it for what it is. Having accepted the Atonement for himself, he has also accepted it for the patient. Yet what if the patient uses sickness as a way of life, believing healing is the way to death? When this is so, a sudden healing might precipitate intense depression, and a sense of loss so deep that the patient might even try to destroy himself. Having nothing to live for, he may ask for death. Healing must wait, for his protection.

Healing will always stand aside when it would be seen as threat. The instant it is welcome it is there. Where healing has been given it will be received. And what is time before the gifts of God? We have referred many times in the text to the storehouse of treasures laid up equally for the giver and the receiver of God’s gifts. Not one is lost, for they can but increase. No teacher of God should feel disappointed if he has offered healing and it does not appear to have been received. It is not up to him to judge when his gift should be accepted. Let him be certain it has been received, and trust that it will be accepted when it is recognised as a blessing and not a curse.

It is not the function of God’s teachers to evaluate the outcome of their gifts. It is merely their function to give them. Once they have done that they have also given the outcome, for that is part of the gift. No one can give if he is concerned with the result of giving. That is a limitation on the giving itself, and neither the giver nor the receiver would have the gift. Trust is an essential part of giving; in fact, it is the part that makes sharing possible, the part that guarantees the giver will not lose, but only gain. Who gives a gift and then remains with it, to be sure it is used as the giver deems appropriate? Such is not giving but imprisoning.

It is the relinquishing of all concern about the gift that makes it truly given. And it is trust that makes true giving possible. Healing is the change of mind that the Holy Spirit in the patient’s mind is seeking for him. And it is the Holy Spirit in the mind of the giver Who gives the gift to him. How can it be lost? How can it be ineffectual? How can it be wasted? God’s treasure house can never be empty. And if one gift is missing, it would not be full. Yet is its fullness guaranteed by God. What concern, then, can a teacher of God have about what becomes of his gifts? Given by God to God, who in this holy exchange can receive less than everything?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 27

Lesson 267

My heart is beating in the peace of God.

Surrounding me is all the life that God created in His Love. It calls to me in every heartbeat and in every breath; in every action and in every thought. Peace fills my heart, and floods my body with the purpose of forgiveness. Now my mind is healed, and all I need to save the world is given me. Each heartbeat brings me peace; each breath infuses me with strength. I am a messenger of God, directed by His Voice, sustained by Him in love, and held forever quiet and at peace within His loving Arms. Each heartbeat calls His Name, and every one is answered by His Voice, assuring me I am at home in Him.

Let me attend Your Answer, not my own. Father, my heart is beating in the peace the Heart of Love created. It is there and only there that I can be at home.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Can the ego mind be equated with the human brain? 

A) No. The mind is non-physical and non-tangible; i.e., it cannot be dissected in a laboratory, photographed by a camera, or analyzed by any empirical method. The brain, on the other hand, is a physical organ that is quite tangible, and can be dissected and studied readily in a laboratory. It is the “computer” that seems to run the body, organizing the sensory data that enter it into seemingly meaningful patterns, and directing all the bodily systems and functions to adjust to the body’s place in the physical universe. In truth, however, it is the mind that is the programmer and directs the brain to function as it sees fit, just as a computer does what the operator tells it to do. The mind is the command center from which all directives emanate, as they instruct the brain to establish as an experiential reality the world of time and space that is already over, and which in truth never even existed! 

In and of itself, therefore, the brain can do nothing, because it is nothing but the receptor-organ of the mind. This insane belief that the brain can function independently of the mind — which is crucial to the ego’s strategy of protecting the split mind and therefore itself — is reflected in this passage from the workbook: 

You … believe the body’s brain can think. If you but understood the nature of thought, you could but laugh at this insane idea. it is as if you thought you held the match that lights the sun and gives it all its warmth; or that you held the world within your hand, securely bound until you let it go. Yet this is no more foolish that to believe the body’s eyes can see; the brain can think (W-pI.92.2).

The relationship of the brain to the mind, of effect to cause, is stated here in the text: 

The brain cannot interpret what your vision sees [based upon reason, or the Holy Spirit’s Presence in the mind]…. The brain interprets [only] to the body, of which it is a part (T-22.1.2:7,9).

Clearly then, it is the mind that does the true interpreting, not the brain. This is underscored in this passage from the manual for teachers, where the cause of perception is seen to be the mind, not the eyes nor, by implication, the brain. This passage, incidentally, is not found in the first edition of the Course: 

Yet it is surely the mind that judges what the eyes behold [not the brain]. It is the mind that interprets the eyes’ messages and gives them “meaning.”… Its hierarchy of values is projected outward, and it sends the body’s eyes to find it …. Yet it is not the messages they bring on which perception rests.  Only the mind evaluates their messages, and so only the mind is responsible for seeing. It alone decides whether what is seen is real or illusory, desirable or undesirable, pleasurable or painful (M-8.3:3-4,7,9-11).

you have no idea

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 26

ACIM Reading for October 26

Manual for Teachers

5. HOW IS HEALING ACCOMPLISHED?

Healing involves an understanding of what the illusion of sickness is for. Healing is impossible without this.

 

I. The Perceived Purpose of Sickness

Healing is accomplished the instant the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain. Who would choose suffering unless he thought it brought him something, and something of value to him? He must think it is a small price to pay for something of greater worth. For sickness is an election; a decision. It is the choice of weakness, in the mistaken conviction that it is strength. When this occurs, real strength is seen as threat and health as danger. Sickness is a method, conceived in madness, for placing God’s Son on his Father’s throne. God is seen as outside, fierce and powerful, eager to keep all power for Himself. Only by His death can He be conquered by His Son.

And what, in this insane conviction, does healing stand for? It symbolises the defeat of God’s Son and the triumph of his Father over him. It represents the ultimate defiance in a direct form which the Son of God is forced to recognise. It stands for all that he would hide from himself to protect his “life”. If he is healed, he is responsible for his thoughts. And if he is responsible for his thoughts, he will be killed to prove to him how weak and pitiful he is. But if he chooses death himself, his weakness is his strength. Now has he given himself what God would give to him, and thus entirely usurped the throne of his Creator.

 

II. The Shift in Perception

Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognised. One need but say, “There is no gain at all to me in this” and he is healed. But to say this, one first must recognise certain facts. First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. If sickness is but a faulty problem-solving approach, it is a decision. And if it is a decision, it is the mind and not the body that makes it. The resistance to recognising this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision-maker. Terms like “instincts”, “reflexes” and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem. They do not answer it.

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 them 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.

What is the single requisite for this shift in perception? It is simply this; the recognition that sickness is of the mind, and has nothing to do with the body. What does this recognition “cost”? It costs the whole world you see, for the world will never again appear to rule the mind. For with this recognition is responsibility placed where it belongs; not with the world, but on him who looks on the world and sees it as it is not. He looks on what he chooses to see. No more and no less. The world does nothing to him. He only thought it did. Nor does he do anything to the world, because he was mistaken about what it is. Herein is the release from guilt and sickness both, for they are one. Yet to accept this release, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea.

With this idea is pain forever gone. But with this idea goes also all confusion about creation. Does not this follow of necessity? Place cause and effect in their true sequence in one respect, and the learning will generalise and transform the world. The transfer value of one true idea has no end or limit. The final outcome of this lesson is the remembrance of God. What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone. And with them also go all the effects they seemed to cause. Cause and effect but replicate creation. Seen in their proper perspective, without distortion and without fear, they re-establish Heaven.

 

III. The Function of the Teacher of God

If the patient must change his mind in order to be healed, what does the teacher of God do? Can he change the patient’s mind for him? Certainly not. For those already willing to change their minds he has no function except to rejoice with them, for they have become teachers of God with him. He has, however, a more specific function for those who do not understand what healing is. These patients do not realise they have chosen sickness. On the contrary, they believe that sickness has chosen them. Nor are they open-minded on this point. The body tells them what to do and they obey. They have no idea how insane this concept is. If they even suspected it, they would be healed. Yet they suspect nothing. To them the separation is quite real.

To them God’s teachers come, to represent another choice which they had forgotten. The simple presence of a teacher of God is a reminder. His thoughts ask for the right to question what the patient has accepted as true. As God’s messengers, His teachers are the symbols of salvation. They ask the patient for forgiveness for God’s Son in his own Name. They stand for the Alternative. With God’s Word in their minds they come in benediction, not to heal the sick but to remind them of the remedy God has already given them. It is not their hands that heal. It is not their voice that speaks the Word of God. They merely give what has been given them. Very gently they call to their brothers to turn away from death. Behold, you Son of God, what life can offer you. Would you choose sickness in place of this?

Not once do the advanced teachers of God consider the forms of sickness in which their brother believes. To do this is to forget that all of them have the same purpose, and therefore are not really different. They seek for God’s Voice in this brother who would so deceive himself as to believe God’s Son can suffer. And they remind him that he did not make himself, and must remain as God created him. They recognise illusions can have no effect. The truth in their minds reaches out to the truth in the minds of their brothers, so that illusions are not reinforced. They are thus brought to truth; truth is not brought to them. So are they dispelled, not by the will of another, but by the One Will with itself. And this is the function of God’s teachers; to see no will as separate from their own, nor theirs as separate from God’s.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 26

Lesson 266

My holy Self abides in you, God’s Son.

Father, You gave me all Your Sons, to be my saviors and my counselors in sight; the bearers of Your holy Voice to me. In them are You reflected, and in them does Christ look back upon me from my Self. Let not Your Son forget Your holy Name. Let not Your Son forget his holy Source. Let not Your Son forget his Name is Yours.

This day we enter into Paradise, calling upon God’s Name and on our own, acknowledging our Self in each of us; united in the holy Love of God. How many saviors God has given us! How can we lose the way to Him, when He has filled the world with those who point to Him, and given us the sight to look on them?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is A Course in Miracles’ view of time?

A) Answer Part 1:  From the perspective of A Course in Miracles, all of time has already occurred, even though “it seems to have a future still unknown to us” (W-pl.158.3:7). In order to understand the Course, it is vital to get a glimpse of the view of time that Jesus is presenting. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to understand the metaphysics and its application. As he clearly states in this passage from the manual for teachers:

In order to understand the teaching-learning plan of salvation [the plan of the Atonement], it is necessary to grasp the concept of time that the course sets forth (M-2.2:1).

When we accepted the belief in our minds (before there were bodies) that we could be our own creator — i.e., self-created — we set into motion a series of cause and effect relationships. The easiest way to understand this is to consider that if we entertained the thought that we could make an opposite to Heaven, one of the effects of this thought would be the beginning of a dream world of time and space, and all the ways that we would manifest the effects of that thought; for example, all the many scripts of our various so-called lifetimes.

Another analogy is that an effect of that insane thought produced a dream-hologram of hatred, which has time and space as its template. Therefore, it is important to recognize that once the mind of the Sonship seemed to fall asleep, it entertained thoughts that were opposite to what truly is. For example:

  

REALITY ILLUSION
eternity time
life  death
changelessness  change
perfection  imperfection
love hate
limitlessness limitation
spirit  body
formlessness form

this is practical course

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 25

ACIM Reading for October 25

Manual for Teachers

4. WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD’S TEACHERS?

The surface traits of God’s teachers are not at all alike. They do not look alike to the body’s eyes, they come from vastly different backgrounds, their experiences of the world vary greatly, and their superficial “personalities” are quite distinct. Nor, at the beginning stages of their functioning as teachers of God, have they as yet acquired the deeper characteristics that will establish them as what they are. God gives special gifts to His teachers, because they have a special role in His plan for Atonement. Their specialness is, of course, only temporary; set in time as a means of leading out of time. These special gifts, born in the holy relationship toward which the teaching-learning situation is geared, become characteristic of all teachers of God who have advanced in their own learning. In this respect they are all alike.

All differences among the Sons of God are temporary. Nevertheless, in time it can be said that the advanced teachers of God have the following characteristics:

 

I. Trust

This is the foundation on which their ability to fulfil their function rests. Perception is the result of learning. In fact, perception is learning, because cause and effect are never separated. The teachers of God have trust in the world, because they have learned it is not governed by the laws the world made up. It is governed by a power that is in them but not of them. It is this power that keeps all things safe. It is through this power that the teachers of God look on a forgiven world.

When this Power has once been experienced, it is impossible to trust one’s own petty strength again. Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him? And who would place his faith in the shabby offerings of the ego when the gifts of God are laid before him? What is it that induces them to make the shift?

 

A. Development of Trust

First, they must go through what might be called “a period of undoing”. This need not be painful, but it usually is so experienced. It seems as if things are being taken away, and it is rarely understood initially that their lack of value is merely being recognised. How can lack of value be perceived unless the perceiver is in a position where he must see things in a different light? He is not yet at a point at which he can make the shift entirely internally. And so the plan will sometimes call for changes in what seem to be external circumstances. These changes are always helpful. When the teacher of God has learned that much, he goes on to the second stage.

Next, the teacher of God must go through “a period of sorting out”. This is always somewhat difficult because, having learned that the changes in his life are always helpful, he must now decide all things on the basis of whether they increase the helpfulness or hamper it. He will find that many, if not most of the things he valued before will merely hinder his ability to transfer what he has learned to new situations as they arise. Because he has valued what is really valueless, he will not generalise the lesson for fear of loss and sacrifice. It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters and circumstances are helpful. It is only to the extent to which they are helpful that any degree of reality should be accorded them in this world of illusion. The word “value” can apply to nothing else.

The third stage through which the teacher of God must go can be called “a period of relinquishment”. If this is interpreted as giving up the desirable, it will engender enormous conflict. Few teachers of God escape this distress entirely. There is, however, no point in sorting out the valuable from the valueless unless the next obvious step is taken. Therefore, the period of overlap is apt to be one in which the teacher of God feels called upon to sacrifice his own best interests on behalf of truth. He has not realised as yet how wholly impossible such a demand would be. He can learn this only as he actually does give up the valueless. Through this, he learns that where he anticipated grief, he finds a happy light-heartedness instead; where he thought something was asked of him, he finds a gift bestowed on him.

Now comes “a period of settling down”. This is a quiet time, in which the teacher of God rests a while in reasonable peace. Now he consolidates his learning. Now he begins to see the transfer value of what he has learned. Its potential is literally staggering, and the teacher of God is now at the point in his progress at which he sees in it his whole way out. “Give up what you do not want, and keep what you do”. How simple is the obvious! And how easy to do! The teacher of God needs this period of respite. He has not yet come as far as he thinks. Yet when he is ready to go on, he goes with mighty companions beside him. Now he rests a while, and gathers them before going on. He will not go on from here alone.

The next stage is indeed “a period of unsettling”. Now must the teacher of God understand that he did not really know what was valuable and what was valueless. All that he really learned so far was that he did not want the valueless, and that he did want the valuable. Yet his own sorting out was meaningless in teaching him the difference. The idea of sacrifice, so central to his own thought system, had made it impossible for him to judge. He thought he learned willingness, but now he sees that he does not know what the willingness is for. And now he must attain a state that may remain impossible to reach for a long, long time. He must learn to lay all judgement aside, and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance. Were not each step in this direction so heavily reinforced, it would be hard indeed!

And finally, there is “a period of achievement”. It is here that learning is consolidated. Now what was seen as merely shadows before become solid gains, to be counted on in all “emergencies” as well as tranquil times. Indeed, the tranquillity is their result; the outcome of honest learning, consistency of thought and full transfer. This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven’s state fully reflected. From here, the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here. Who would “go” anywhere, if peace of mind is already complete? And who would seek to change tranquillity for something more desirable? What could be more desirable than this?

 

II. Honesty

All other traits of God’s teachers rest on trust. Once that has been achieved, the others cannot fail to follow. Only the trusting can afford honesty, for only they can see its value. Honesty does not apply only to what you say. The term actually means consistency. There is nothing you say that contradicts what you think or do; no thought opposes any other thought; no act belies your word; and no word lacks agreement with another. Such are the truly honest. At no level are they in conflict with themselves. Therefore it is impossible for them to be in conflict with anyone or anything.

The peace of mind which the advanced teachers of God experience is largely due to their perfect honesty. It is only the wish to deceive that makes for war. No one at one with himself can even conceive of conflict. Conflict is the inevitable result of self-deception, and self-deception is dishonesty. There is no challenge to a teacher of God. Challenge implies doubt, and the trust on which God’s teachers rest secure makes doubt impossible. Therefore they can only succeed. In this, as in all things, they are honest. They can only succeed, because they never do their will alone. They choose for all mankind; for all the world and all things in it; for the unchanging and unchangeable beyond appearances; and for the Son of God and his Creator. How could they not succeed? They choose in perfect honesty, sure of their choice as of themselves.

 

III. Tolerance

God’s teachers do not judge. To judge is to be dishonest, for to judge is to assume a position you do not have. Judgement without self-deception is impossible. Judgement implies that you have been deceived in your brothers. How, then, could you not have been deceived in yourself? Judgement implies a lack of trust, and trust remains the bedrock of the teacher of God’s whole thought system. Let this be lost, and all his learning goes. Without judgement are all things equally acceptable, for who could judge otherwise? Without judgement are all men brothers, for who is there who stands apart? Judgement destroys honesty and shatters trust. No teacher of God can judge and hope to learn.

 

IV. Gentleness

Harm is impossible for God’s teachers. They can neither harm nor be harmed. Harm is the outcome of judgement. It is the dishonest act that follows a dishonest thought. It is a verdict of guilt upon a brother, and therefore on oneself. It is the end of peace and the denial of learning. It demonstrates the absence of God’s curriculum, and its replacement by insanity. No teacher of God but must learn,—and fairly early in his training,—that harmfulness completely obliterates his function from his awareness. It will make him confused, fearful, angry and suspicious. It will make the Holy Spirit’s lessons impossible to learn. Nor can God’s Teacher be heard at all, except by those who realise that harm can actually achieve nothing. No gain can come of it.

Therefore, God’s teachers are wholly gentle. They need the strength of gentleness, for it is in this that the function of salvation becomes easy. To those who would do harm, it is impossible. To those to whom harm has no meaning, it is merely natural. What choice but this has meaning to the sane? Who chooses hell when he perceives a way to Heaven? And who would choose the weakness that must come from harm in place of the unfailing, all-encompassing and limitless strength of gentleness? The might of God’s teachers lies in their gentleness, for they have understood their evil thoughts came neither from God’s Son nor his Creator. Thus did they join their thoughts with Him Who is their Source. And so their will, which always was His Own, is free to be itself.

 

V. Joy

Joy is the inevitable result of gentleness. Gentleness means that fear is now impossible, and what could come to interfere with joy? The open hands of gentleness are always filled. The gentle have no pain. They cannot suffer. Why would they not be joyous? They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. Joy is their song of thanks. And Christ looks down on them in thanks as well. His need of them is just as great as theirs of Him. How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation!

 

VI. defenselessness

God’s teachers have learned how to be simple. They have no dreams that need defense against the truth. They do not try to make themselves. Their joy comes from their understanding Who created them. And does what God created need defense? No one can become an advanced teacher of God until he fully understands that defenses are but foolish guardians of mad illusions. The more grotesque the dream, the fiercer and more powerful its defenses seem to be. Yet when the teacher of God finally agrees to look past them, he finds that nothing was there. Slowly at first he lets himself be undeceived. But he learns faster as his trust increases. It is not danger that comes when defenses are laid down. It is safety. It is peace. It is joy. And it is God.

 

VII. Generosity

The term generosity has special meaning to the teacher of God. It is not the usual meaning of the word; in fact, it is a meaning that must be learned and learned very carefully. Like all the other attributes of God’s teachers this one rests ultimately on trust, for without trust no one can be generous in the true sense. To the world, generosity means “giving away” in the sense of “giving up”. To the teachers of God, it means giving away in order to keep. This has been emphasised throughout the text and the workbook, but it is perhaps more alien to the thinking of the world than many other ideas in our curriculum. Its greater strangeness lies merely in the obviousness of its reversal of the world’s thinking. In the clearest way possible, and at the simplest of levels, the word means the exact opposite to the teachers of God and to the world.

The teacher of God is generous out of Self interest. This does not refer, however, to the self of which the world speaks. The teacher of God does not want anything he cannot give away, because he realises it would be valueless to him by definition. What would he want it for? He could only lose because of it. He could not gain. Therefore he does not seek what only he could keep, because that is a guarantee of loss. He does not want to suffer. Why should he ensure himself pain? But he does want to keep for himself all things that are of God, and therefore for His Son. These are the things that belong to him. These he can give away in true generosity, protecting them forever for himself.

 

VIII. Patience

Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety. Patience is natural to the teacher of God. All he sees is certain outcome, at a time perhaps unknown to him as yet, but not in doubt. The time will be as right as is the answer. And this is true for everything that happens now or in the future. The past as well held no mistakes; nothing that did not serve to benefit the world, as well as him to whom it seemed to happen. Perhaps it was not understood at the time. Even so, the teacher of God is willing to reconsider all his past decisions, if they are causing pain to anyone. Patience is natural to those who trust. Sure of the ultimate interpretation of all things in time, no outcome already seen or yet to come can cause them fear.

 

IX. Faithfulness

The extent of the teacher of God’s faithfulness is the measure of his advancement in the curriculum. Does he still select some aspects of his life to bring to his learning, while keeping others apart? If so, his advancement is limited, and his trust not yet firmly established. Faithfulness is the teacher of God’s trust in the Word of God to set all things right; not some, but all. Generally, his faithfulness begins by resting on just some problems, remaining carefully limited for a time. To give up all problems to one Answer is to reverse the thinking of the world entirely. And that alone is faithfulness. Nothing but that really deserves the name. Yet each degree, however small is worth achieving. Readiness, as the text notes, is not mastery.

True faithfulness, however, does not deviate. Being consistent, it is wholly honest. Being unswerving, it is full of trust. Being based on fearlessness, it is gentle. Being certain, it is joyous. And being confident, it is tolerant. Faithfulness, then, combines in itself the other attributes of God’s teachers. It implies acceptance of the Word of God and His definition of His Son. It is to Them that faithfulness in the true sense is always directed. Toward Them it looks, seeking until it finds. And having found, it rests in quiet certainty on that alone to which all faithfulness is due.

 

X. Open-Mindedness

The centrality of open-mindedness, perhaps the last of the attributes the teacher of God acquires, is easily understood when its relation to forgiveness is recognised. Open-mindedness comes with lack of judgement. As judgement shuts the mind against God’s Teacher, so open-mindedness invites Him to come in. As condemnation judges the Son of God as evil, so open-mindedness permits him to be judged by the Voice for God on His behalf. As the projection of guilt upon him would send him to hell, so open-mindedness lets Christ’s image be extended to him. Only the open-minded can be at peace, for they alone see reason for it.

How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world, and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone. No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. It paves the way for what goes far beyond all learning. The curriculum makes no effort to exceed its legitimate goal. Forgiveness is its single aim, at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough.

You may have noticed that the list of attributes of God’s teachers does not include things that are the Son of God’s inheritance. Terms like love, sinlessness, perfection, knowledge and eternal truth do not appear in this context. They would be most inappropriate here. What God has given is so far beyond our curriculum that learning but disappears in its presence. Yet while its presence is obscured, the focus properly belongs on the curriculum. It is the function of God’s teachers to bring true learning to the world. Properly speaking it is unlearning that they bring, for that is “true learning” in the world. It is given to the teachers of God to bring the glad tidings of complete forgiveness to the world. Blessed indeed are they, for they are the bringers of salvation.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 25

Lesson 265

Creation’s gentleness is all I see.

I have indeed misunderstood the world, because I laid my sins on it and saw them looking back at me. How fierce they seemed! And how deceived was I to think that what I feared was in the world, instead of in my mind alone. Today I see the world in the celestial gentleness with which creation shines. There is no fear in it. Let no appearance of my sins obscure the light of Heaven shining on the world. What is reflected there is in God’s Mind. The images I see reflect my thoughts. Yet is my mind at one with God’s. And so I can perceive creation’s gentleness.

In quiet would I look upon the world, which but reflects Your Thoughts, and mine as well. Let me remember that they are the same, and I will see creation’s gentleness.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Since we have made ourselves separate, how come we all seem to perceive the same attributes of matter, and agree on its basic characteristics and experience its laws?

A) When the thought of separation seemed to occur, it was a single thought in a single split mind. As the thought process of separation proceeded, culminating in the making of the physical universe, this one thought appeared to divide into billions and billions of fragments. Each of these fragments contains all aspects of the original thought of separation.  Therefore, each seeming fragment would experience all the effects from that illusory thought of separation, i.e., all the so-called laws of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, etc., that are an inherent part of the making of the universe. Thus the one ego thought appears as many.  This accounts for the paradox of people on the one hand sharing a common perception of the world, while on the other having very personal and individualized tastes, perceptions, and experiences. In the end, all seemingly separated minds are one — one thought of separation — yet each fragment appears to be separate, and believes itself to be unique and independent of the others.

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 24

ACIM Reading for October 24

Manual for Teachers

3. WHAT ARE THE LEVELS OF TEACHING?

The teachers of God have no set teaching level. Each teaching-learning situation involves a different relationship at the beginning, although the ultimate goal is always the same; to make of the relationship a holy relationship, in which both can look upon the Son of God as sinless. There is no one from whom a teacher of God cannot learn, so there is no one whom he cannot teach. However, from a practical point of view he cannot meet everyone, nor can everyone find him. Therefore, the plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God. There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship. They are ready for each other.

The simplest level of teaching appears to be quite superficial. It consists of what seem to be very casual encounters; a “chance” meeting of two apparent strangers in an elevator, a child who is not looking where he is going running into an adult “by chance”, two students “happening” to walk home together. These are not chance encounters. Each of them has the potential for becoming a teaching-learning situation. Perhaps the seeming strangers in the elevator will smile to one another; perhaps the adult will not scold the child for bumping into him; perhaps the students will become friends. Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment. That moment will be enough. Salvation has come.

It is difficult to understand that levels of teaching the universal course is a concept as meaningless in reality as is time. The illusion of one permits the illusion of the other. In time, the teacher of God seems to begin to change his mind about the world with a single decision, and then learns more and more about the new direction as he teaches it. We have covered the illusion of time already, but the illusion of levels of teaching seems to be something different. Perhaps the best way to demonstrate that these levels cannot exist is simply to say that any level of the teaching-learning situation is part of God’s plan for Atonement, and His plan can have no levels, being a reflection of His Will. Salvation is always ready and always there. God’s teachers work at different levels, but the result is always the same.

Each teaching-learning situation is maximal in the sense that each person involved will learn the most that he can from the other person at that time. In this sense, and in this sense only, we can speak of levels of teaching. Using the term in this way, the second level of teaching is a more sustained relationship, in which, for a time, two people enter into a fairly intense teaching-learning situation and then appear to separate. As with the first level, these meetings are not accidental, nor is what appears to be the end of the relationship a real end. Again, each has learned the most he can at the time. Yet all who meet will someday meet again, for it is the destiny of all relationships to become holy. God is not mistaken in His Son.

The third level of teaching occurs in relationships which, once they are formed, are lifelong. These are teaching-learning situations in which each person is given a chosen learning partner who presents him with unlimited opportunities for learning. These relationships are generally few, because their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect. This does not mean that they necessarily recognise this; in fact, they generally do not. They may even be quite hostile to each other for some time, and perhaps for life. Yet should they decide to learn it, the perfect lesson is before them and can be learned. And if they decide to learn that lesson, they become the saviours of the teachers who falter and may even seem to fail. No teacher of God can fail to find the Help he needs.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 24

Lesson 264

I am surrounded by the Love of God.

Father, You stand before me and behind, beside me, in the place I see myself, and everywhere I go. You are in all the things I look upon, the sounds I hear, and every hand that reaches for my own. In You time disappears, and place becomes a meaningless belief. For what surrounds Your Son and keeps him safe is Love itself. There is no source but this, and nothing is that does not share its holiness; that stands beyond Your one creation, or without the Love which holds all things within itself. Father, Your Son is like Yourself. We come to You in Your Own Name today, to be at peace within Your everlasting Love.

My brothers, join with me in this today. This is salvation’s prayer. Must we not join in what will save the world, along with us?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What about the beauty and goodness in the world?

A) Following the above answer, we can see that the so-called positive aspects of our world are equally as illusory as the negative ones. They are both aspects of a dualistic perceptual universe, which but reflect the dualistic split in the mind of the Sonship. The famous statement “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ is also applicable here, since what one deems as beauty, another may find to be aesthetically displeasing, and vice versa. Similarly, what one society judges as good, another may judge as bad and against the common good.  This can be evidenced by a careful study of history, sociology, and cultural anthropology. Therefore, using the criterion for reality of eternal changelessness that Jesus employs in the Course, we can conclude that nothing that the world deems beautiful or good is real, and so it cannot have been created by God.

Therefore, given that both beauty and goodness are relative concepts and thus are illusory, we should follow Jesus’ injunction to always ask ourselves: “What is the meaning of what I behold?” (T-3I.VII.13:5).  In other words, even though something beautiful is illusory, it remains neutral, like everything else in the world. Given to the ego, it serves its unholy purpose of reinforcing separation, specialness, and guilt. Given to the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, it serves the holy purpose of leading us to an experience of truth that lies beyond perception. For example, a sunset can reinforce the belief that I can find peace and well-being only while in its presence, or it can help remind me that the true beauty of Christ is my Identity, and that this beauty is internal, within my mind and independent of anything outside it.

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A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 23

ACIM Reading for October 23

Manual for Teachers

2. WHO ARE THEIR PUPILS?

Certain pupils have been assigned to each of God’s teachers, and they will begin to look for him as soon as he has answered the Call. They were chosen for him because the form of the universal curriculum that he will teach is best for them in view of their level of understanding. His pupils have been waiting for him, for his coming is certain. Again, it is only a matter of time. Once he has chosen to fulfil his role, they are ready to fulfil theirs. Time waits on his choice, but not on whom he will serve. When he is ready to learn, the opportunities to teach will be provided for him.

In order to understand the teaching-learning plan of salvation, it is necessary to grasp the concept of time that the course sets forth. Atonement corrects illusions, not truth. Therefore, it corrects what never was. Further, the plan for this correction was established and completed simultaneously, for the Will of God is entirely apart from time. So is all reality, being of Him. The instant the idea of separation entered the mind of God’s Son, in that same instant was God’s Answer given. In time this happened very long ago. In reality it never happened at all.

The world of time is the world of illusion. What happened long ago seems to be happening now. Choices made long since appear to be open; yet to be made. What has been learned and understood and long ago passed by is looked upon as a new thought, a fresh idea, a different approach. Because your will is free you can accept what has already happened at any time you choose, and only then will you realise that it was always there. As the course emphasises, you are not free to choose the curriculum, or even the form in which you will learn it. You are free, however, to decide when you want to learn it. And as you accept it, it is already learned.

Time really, then, goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering. Yet because it is an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now. And thus it is that pupil and teacher seem to come together in the present, finding each other as if they had not met before. The pupil comes at the right time to the right place. This is inevitable, because he made the right choice in that ancient instant which he now relives. So has the teacher, too, made an inevitable choice out of an ancient past. God’s Will in everything but seems to take time in the working-out. What could delay the power of eternity?

When pupil and teacher come together, a teaching-learning situation begins. For the teacher is not really the one who does the teaching. God’s Teacher speaks to any two who join together for learning purposes. The relationship is holy because of that purpose, and God has promised to send His Spirit into any holy relationship. In the teaching-learning situation, each one learns that giving and receiving are the same. The demarcations they have drawn between their roles, their minds, their bodies, their needs, their interests, and all the differences they thought separated them from one another, fade and grow dim and disappear. Those who would learn the same course share one interest and one goal. And thus he who was the learner becomes a teacher of God himself, for he has made the one decision that gave his teacher to him. He has seen in another person the same interests as his own.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 23

Lesson 263

My holy vision sees all things as pure.

Father, Your Mind created all that is, Your Spirit entered into it, Your Love gave life to it. And would I look upon what You created as if it could be made sinful? I would not perceive such dark and fearful images. A madman’s dream is hardly fit to be my choice, instead of all the loveliness with which You blessed creation; all its purity, its joy, and its eternal, quiet home in You.

And while we still remain outside the gate of Heaven, let us look on all we see through holy vision and the eyes of Christ. Let all appearances seem pure to us, that we may pass them by in innocence, and walk together to our Father’s house as brothers and the holy Sons of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does A Course in Miracles really mean that God did not create the entire physical universe?

A) We answer this question with a resounding affirmative! Since nothing of form, matter, or substance can be of God, then nothing of the physical universe can be real, and there is no exception to this. Workbook Lesson 43 states, in the context of perception, which is the realm of duality and separation:

Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge….In God you cannot see.  Perception has no function in God, and does not exist (W-pI.43.1:1-2; 2:1-2).

In the clarification of terms we find the following crystal clear statement about the illusory nature of the world of perception, which God did not create:

The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself. Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever. Some things will last in time a little while longer than others [e.g., the greater cosmos, as we shall see below in a passage from the text). But the time will come when all things visible will have an end (C-4. 1).

And finally, a similar statement in the text:

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 [through the Holy Spirit]. 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 insanity with him … (T-25.111.2; italics ours).

These passages are important, because they clarify a source of misunderstanding for many students of A Course in Miracles who maintain that Jesus is teaching that God did in fact create the world. They assert that all the Course is teaching is that he did not create our misperceptions of it. Statements which contain the phrase “the world you see,” as in the above passage from the manual for teachers, do not apply simply to the world we perceive through our wrong-minded lens, but rather to the fact that we see at all. Again, the entire physical universe, the world of perception and form, is illusory and outside the Mind of God.

Therefore, nothing that can be observed — nothing that has form, physicality, moves, changes, deteriorates, and ultimately dies — is of God. A Course in Miracles is unequivocal about this, which is why we speak of it as being a perfect non-dualistic thought system: It contains no exceptions. And so the seeming majesty of the cosmos and perceived glory of nature are all expressions of the ego’s thought system of separation, as we see in this wonderful passage from the text:

What seems eternal all will have an end. The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is (T-29.VI.2:7- I0).

To attempt to make an exception to this fact is to attempt a compromise with truth, exactly what the ego wants in order to establish its own existence. As Jesus states in the workbook: “What is false is false, and what is true has never changed” (W-pII.10.1:1). And again in the text:

How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now, and never will be.  The impossible has not occurred, and can have no effects. And that is all (T-31.1.1:1-4).

In conclusion, therefore, no aspect of the illusion can be accorded truth, which means that absolutely nothing in the material universe has come from God, or is even known by Him. His reality is totally outside the world of dreams.

you have no idea

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

ACIM Text Reading for October 22

Manual for Teachers

1. WHO ARE GOD’S TEACHERS?

A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s. Once he has done that, his road is established and his direction is sure. A light has entered the darkness. It may be a single light, but that is enough. He has entered an agreement with God even if he does not yet believe in Him. He has become a bringer of salvation. He has become a teacher of God.

They come from all over the world. They come from all religions and from no religion. They are the ones who have answered. The Call is universal. It goes on all the time everywhere. It calls for teachers to speak for It and redeem the world. Many hear It, but few will answer. Yet it is all a matter of time. Everyone will answer in the end, but the end can be a long, long way off. It is because of this that the plan of the teachers was established. Their function is to save time. Each one begins as a single light, but with the Call at its centre it is a light that cannot be limited. And each one saves a thousand years of time as the world judges it. To the Call Itself time has no meaning.

There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved. But the content of the course never changes. Its central theme is always, “God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation.” It can be taught by actions or thoughts; in words or soundlessly; in any language or in no language; in any place or time or manner. It does not matter who the teacher was before he heard the Call. He has become a saviour by his answering. He has seen someone else as himself. He has therefore found his own salvation and the salvation of the world. In his rebirth is the world reborn.

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. They merely save time. Yet it is time alone that winds on wearily, and the world is very tired now. It is old and worn and without hope. There was never a question of outcome, for what can change the Will of God? But time, with its illusions of change and death, wears out the world and all things in it. Yet time has an ending, and it is this that the teachers of God are appointed to bring about. For time is in their hands. Such was their choice, and it is given them.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 22

Lesson 262

Let me perceive no differences today.

Father, You have one Son. And it is he that I would look upon today. He is Your one creation. Why should I perceive a thousand forms in what remains as one? Why should I give this one a thousand names, when only one suffices? For Your Son must bear Your Name, for You created him. Let me not see him as a stranger to his Father, nor as stranger to myself. For he is part of me and I of him, and we are part of You Who are our Source, eternally united in Your Love; eternally the holy Son of God.

We who are one would recognize this day the truth about ourselves. We would come home, and rest in unity. For there is peace, and nowhere else can peace be sought and found.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If God did not create the world or the body, who did?  Moreover, who are we and how did we get here?

A) This is among the most commonly asked questions, and is certainly an understandable one. Almost all people believe that they are physical and psychological selves, living in a material universe that pre-existed their coming, and which will survive their leaving. The difficulty in understanding that this is not the case lies in the fact that we are so identified with our individual corporeal selves, that it is almost impossible to conceive of our existence on the level of the mind that is outside the world of time and space.

When the thought of separation seemed to occur, A Course in Miracles explains that the Son of God seemed to fall asleep and dream a dream, the contents of which are that oneness became multiplicity, and that the non-dualistic Mind of Christ became fragmented and separate from its Source, split into insane segments at war with themselves. As the Course explains, these fragments projected outside the mind a series of dreams or scripts that collectively constitute the history of the physical universe. On an individual level, the serial dramas our ego personalities identify as our own personal lives are also projections of our split and fragmented minds.

Thus we are all actors and actresses on the stage of life, as Shakespeare wrote, living out a dream that we experience as our individual reality, separate and apart from Who we really are as Christ. Moreover, our minds have projected many different personalities in the collective dream of the fragmented Son, complicating the whole process. Therefore, the question “How did we get here?” must be understood from this perspective of the collective and individual dream. In other words, we are not truly here, but are dreaming that we are. As A Course in Miracles states: “[We] are at home in God, dreaming of exile” (text, 169; T-10.1.2: 1).  And this is how the dream seemed to happen:

Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting [to laugh] did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects (T-27.VITI.6:2-3).

These “real effects” constitute the physical world we think is our home. The following passage is perhaps the best description in the Course of the process whereby this effect came into existence, once the Son took seriously the tiny, mad idea that there could be a substitute for the Love of God. As we shall now see, this resulted in the making of the physical universe which is believed to be an opposite to Heaven:

You who believe that God is fear made but one substitution. It has taken many forms, because it was the substitution of illusion for truth; of fragmentation for wholeness. It has become so splintered and subdivided and divided again, over and over, that it is now almost impossible to perceive it once was one, and still is what it was. That one error, which brought truth to illusion, infinity to time, and life to death, was all you ever made. Your whole world rests upon it. Everything you see reflects it, and every special relationship that you have ever made is part of it.You may be surprised to hear how very different is reality from what you see. You do not realize the magnitude of that one error. It was so vast and so completely incredible that from it a world of total unreality had to emerge. What else could come of it? Its fragmented aspects are fearful enough, as you begin to look at them. But nothing you have seen begins to show you the enormity of the original error, which seemed to cast you out of Heaven, to shatter knowledge into meaningless bits of disunited perceptions, and to force you to make further substitutions.

That was the first projection of error outward. The world arose to bide it, and became the screen on which it was projected and drawn between you and the truth. For truth extends inward, where the idea of loss is meaningless and only increase is conceivable. Do you really think it strange that a world in which everything is backwards and upside down arose from this projection of error? It was inevitable (T- 1 8.1.4:1-6.-5)

But A Course in Miracles further states that the world was made as an attack on God (W-pIl.3.2:1), and this was accomplished, again, by the collective split mind of the Son that believed in its hallucinatory dreaming that it had usurped First Cause. This is the beginning of the ego’s unholy trinity that was mentioned above in question 4 on page 4. The guilt over his seeming sin of separation and usurpation demanded that the Son be punished. Consequently, the fearful Son sought to flee from his own insane projection of a wrathful, vengeful god who wished to destroy him. Therefore the Son projected his illusory guilt and fragmented self out of the mind, thereby miscreating a physical world of time and space in which he could hide from the non-physical god he believed he had dethroned and destroyed. Within these multiple dreams, the one Son appeared to split into billions of fragments, each of which became encased in a body of individual insane dreams, believing that this would render personal “protection” against the ego’s image of a wrathful god’s ultimate punishment.

It is important to note still again that we are speaking about the collective mind of the separated Son as the maker of the world. Every seemingly separated fragment is but a split-off part of that original one mind that sought to replace the One Mind of Christ. Thus, the individual fragment is not responsible for the world, but it is responsible for its belief in the reality of the world.

forgiveness is still

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 21

ACIM Text Reading for October 21

Manual for Teachers

INTRODUCTION

The role of teaching and learning is actually reversed in the thinking of the world. The reversal is characteristic. It seems as if the teacher and the learner are separated, the teacher giving something to the learner rather than to himself. Further, the act of teaching is regarded as a special activity, in which one engages only a relatively small proportion of one’s time. The course, on the other hand, emphasises that to teach is to learn, so that teacher and learner are the same. It also emphasises that teaching is a constant process; it goes on every moment of the day, and continues into sleeping thoughts as well.

To teach is to demonstrate. There are only two thought systems, and you demonstrate that you believe one or the other is true all the time. From your demonstration others learn, and so do you. The question is not whether you will teach, for in that there is no choice. The purpose of the course might be said to provide you with a means of choosing what you want to teach on the basis of what you want to learn. You cannot give to someone else, but only to yourself, and this you learn through teaching. Teaching is but a call to witnesses to attest to what you believe. It is a method of conversion. This is not done by words alone. Any situation must be to you a chance to teach others what you are, and what they are to you. No more than that, but also never less.

The curriculum you set up is therefore determined exclusively by what you think you are, and what you believe the relationship of others is to you. In the formal teaching situation, these questions may be totally unrelated to what you think you are teaching. Yet it is impossible not to use the content of any situation on behalf of what you really teach, and therefore really learn. To this the verbal content of your teaching is quite irrelevant. It may coincide with it, or it may not. It is the teaching underlying what you say that teaches you. Teaching but reinforces what you believe about yourself. Its fundamental purpose is to diminish self-doubt. This does not mean that the self you are trying to protect is real. But it does mean that the self you think is real is what you teach.

This is inevitable. There is no escape from it. How could it be otherwise? Everyone who follows the world’s curriculum, and everyone here does follow it until he changes his mind, teaches solely to convince himself that he is what he is not. Herein is the purpose of the world. What else, then, would its curriculum be? Into this hopeless and closed learning situation, which teaches nothing but despair and death, God sends His teachers. And as they teach His lessons of joy and hope, their learning finally becomes complete.

Except for God’s teachers there would be little hope of salvation, for the world of sin would seem forever real. The self-deceiving must deceive, for they must teach deception. And what else is hell? This is a manual for the teachers of God. They are not perfect, or they would not be here. Yet it is their mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over, in many, many ways, until they have learned it. And then they are seen no more, although their thoughts remain a source of strength and truth forever. Who are they? How are they chosen? What do they do? How can they work out their own salvation and the salvation of the world? This manual attempts to answer these questions.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 21

Lesson 261

Section 5. What is the Body?

The body is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built, to separate parts of his Self from other parts. It is within this fence he thinks he lives, to die as it decays and crumbles. For within this fence he thinks that he is safe from love. Identifying with his safety, he regards himself as what his safety is. How else could he be certain he remains within the body, keeping love outside?

The body will not stay. Yet this he sees as double safety. For the Son of God’s impermanence is “proof” his fences work, and do the task his mind assigns to them. For if his oneness still remained untouched, who could attack and who could be attacked? Who could be victor? Who could be his prey? Who could be victim? Who the murderer? And if he did not die, what “proof” is there that God’s eternal Son can be destroyed?

The body is a dream. Like other dreams it sometimes seems to picture happiness, but can quite suddenly revert to fear, where every dream is born. For only love creates in truth, and truth can never fear. Made to be fearful, must the body serve the purpose given it. But we can change the purpose that the body will obey by changing what we think that it is for.

The body is the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity. Though it was made to fence him into hell without escape, yet has the goal of Heaven been exchanged for the pursuit of hell. The Son of God extends his hand to reach his brother, and to help him walk along the road with him. Now is the body holy. Now it serves to heal the mind that it was made to kill.

You will identify with what you think will make you safe. Whatever it may be, you will believe that it is one with you. Your safety lies in truth, and not in lies. Love is your safety. Fear does not exist. Identify with love, and you are safe. Identify with love, and you are home. Identify with love, and find your Self.


Lesson 261

God is my refuge and security.

I will identify with what I think is refuge and security. I will behold myself where I perceive my strength, and think I live within the citadel where I am safe and cannot be attacked. Let me today seek not security in danger, nor attempt to find my peace in murderous attack. I live in God. In Him I find my refuge and my strength. In Him is my Identity. In Him is everlasting peace. And only there will I remember Who I really am.

Let me not seek for idols. I would come, my Father, home to You today. I choose to be as You created me, and find the Son whom You created as my Self.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today 

Q) If God did not create the world or the body, who did?  Moreover, who are we and how did we get here?

A) This is among the most commonly asked questions, and is certainly an understandable one. Almost all people believe that they are physical and psychological selves, living in a material universe that pre-existed their coming, and which will survive their leaving. The difficulty in understanding that this is not the case lies in the fact that we are so identified with our individual corporeal selves, that it is almost impossible to conceive of our existence on the level of the mind that is outside the world of time and space.

When the thought of separation seemed to occur, A Course in Miracles explains that the Son of God seemed to fall asleep and dream a dream, the contents of which are that oneness became multiplicity, and that the non-dualistic Mind of Christ became fragmented and separate from its Source, split into insane segments at war with themselves. As the Course explains, these fragments projected outside the mind a series of dreams or scripts that collectively constitute the history of the physical universe. On an individual level, the serial dramas our ego personalities identify as our own personal lives are also projections of our split and fragmented minds.

Thus we are all actors and actresses on the stage of life, as Shakespeare wrote, living out a dream that we experience as our individual reality, separate and apart from Who we really are as Christ. Moreover, our minds have projected many different personalities in the collective dream of the fragmented Son, complicating the whole process. Therefore, the question “How did we get here?” must be understood from this perspective of the collective and individual dream. In other words, we are not truly here, but are dreaming that we are. As A Course in Miracles states: “[We] are at home in God, dreaming of exile” (text, 169; T-10.1.2: 1).  And this is how the dream seemed to happen:

Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting [to laugh] did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects (T-27.VITI.6:2-3).

These “real effects” constitute the physical world we think is our home. The following passage is perhaps the best description in the Course of the process whereby this effect came into existence, once the Son took seriously the tiny, mad idea that there could be a substitute for the Love of God. As we shall now see, this resulted in the making of the physical universe which is believed to be an opposite to Heaven:

You who believe that God is fear made but one substitution. It has taken many forms, because it was the substitution of illusion for truth; of fragmentation for wholeness. It has become so splintered and subdivided and divided again, over and over, that it is now almost impossible to perceive it once was one, and still is what it was. That one error, which brought truth to illusion, infinity to time, and life to death, was all you ever made. Your whole world rests upon it. Everything you see reflects it, and every special relationship that you have ever made is part of it.You may be surprised to hear how very different is reality from what you see. You do not realize the magnitude of that one error. It was so vast and so completely incredible that from it a world of total unreality had to emerge. What else could come of it? Its fragmented aspects are fearful enough, as you begin to look at them. But nothing you have seen begins to show you the enormity of the original error, which seemed to cast you out of Heaven, to shatter knowledge into meaningless bits of disunited perceptions, and to force you to make further substitutions.

That was the first projection of error outward. The world arose to bide it, and became the screen on which it was projected and drawn between you and the truth. For truth extends inward, where the idea of loss is meaningless and only increase is conceivable. Do you really think it strange that a world in which everything is backwards and upside down arose from this projection of error? It was inevitable (T- 1 8.1.4:1-6.-5)

But A Course in Miracles further states that the world was made as an attack on God (W-pIl.3.2:1), and this was accomplished, again, by the collective split mind of the Son that believed in its hallucinatory dreaming that it had usurped First Cause. This is the beginning of the ego’s unholy trinity that was mentioned above in question 4 on page 4. The guilt over his seeming sin of separation and usurpation demanded that the Son be punished. Consequently, the fearful Son sought to flee from his own insane projection of a wrathful, vengeful god who wished to destroy him. Therefore the Son projected his illusory guilt and fragmented self out of the mind, thereby miscreating a physical world of time and space in which he could hide from the non-physical god he believed he had dethroned and destroyed. Within these multiple dreams, the one Son appeared to split into billions of fragments, each of which became encased in a body of individual insane dreams, believing that this would render personal “protection” against the ego’s image of a wrathful god’s ultimate punishment.

It is important to note still again that we are speaking about the collective mind of the separated Son as the maker of the world. Every seemingly separated fragment is but a split-off part of that original one mind that sought to replace the One Mind of Christ. Thus, the individual fragment is not responsible for the world, but it is responsible for its belief in the reality of the world.