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
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.