ACIM Reading for November 23
Clarification of Terms
FORGIVENESS – THE FACE OF CHRIST
Forgiveness is for God and toward God but not of Him. It is impossible to think of anything He created that could need forgiveness. Forgiveness, then, is an illusion, but because of its purpose, which is the Holy Spirit’s, it has one difference. Unlike all other illusions it leads away from error and not towards it.
Forgiveness might be called a kind of happy fiction; a way in which the unknowing can bridge the gap between their perception and the truth. They cannot go directly from perception to knowledge because they do not think it is their will to do so. This makes God appear to be an enemy instead of what He really is. And it is just this insane perception that makes them unwilling merely to rise up and to return to Him in peace.
And so they need an illusion of help because they are helpless; a Thought of peace because they are in conflict. God knows what His Son needs before he asks. He is not at all concerned with form, but having given the content it is His Will that it be understood. And that suffices. The form adapts itself to need; the content is unchanging, as eternal as its Creator.
The face of Christ has to be seen before the memory of God can return. The reason is obvious. Seeing the face of Christ involves perception. No one can look on knowledge. But the face of Christ is the great symbol of forgiveness. It is salvation. It is the symbol of the real world. Whoever looks on this no longer sees the world. He is as near to Heaven as is possible outside the gate. Yet from this gate it is no more than just a step inside. It is the final step. And this we leave to God.
Forgiveness is a symbol, too, but as the symbol of His Will alone it cannot be divided. And so the Unity that it reflects becomes His Will. It is the only thing still in the world in part, and yet the bridge to Heaven.
God’s Will is all there is. We can but go from nothingness to everything; from hell to Heaven. Is this a journey? No, not in truth, for truth goes nowhere. But illusions shift from place to place; from time to time. The final step is also but a shift. As a perception it is part unreal. And yet this part will vanish. What remains is peace eternal and the Will of Cod.
There are no wishes now for wishes change. Even the wished-for can become unwelcome. That must be so because the ego cannot be at peace. But Will is constant, as the gift of God. And what He gives is always like Himself. This is the purpose of the face of Christ. It is the gift of God to save His Son. But look on this and you have been forgiven.
How lovely does the world become in just that single instant when you see the truth about yourself reflected there. Now you are sinless and behold your sinlessnss. Now you are holy and perceive it so. And now the mind returns to its Creator; the joining of the Father and the Son, the Unity of unities that stands behind all joining but beyond them all. God is not seen but only understood. His Son is not attacked but recognised.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 23
All fear is past and only love is here.
1. All fear is past, because its source is gone, and all its thoughts gone with it. Love remains the only present state, whose Source is here forever and forever. Can the world seem bright and clear and safe and welcoming, with all my past mistakes oppressing it, and showing me distorted forms of fear? Yet in the present love is obvious, and its effects apparent. All the world shines in reflection of its holy light, and I perceive a world forgiven at last.
2. Father, let not Your holy world escape my sight today. Nor let my ears be deaf to all the hymns of gratitude the world is singing underneath the sounds of fear. There is a real world which the present holds safe from all past mistakes. And I would see only this world before my eyes today.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) A Course in Miracles says that there is no love without ambivalence. Does this mean that I never come from a loving space, and that all my thoughts and actions are from my ego?
A) No, it certainly does not. The specific statement in the Course is as follows:
You project onto the ego the decision to separate, and this conflicts with the love you feel for the ego because you made it. No love in this world is without this ambivalence, and since no ego has experienced love without ambivalence the concept is beyond its understanding. Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly. This means that it wants it without ambivalence, and this kind of wanting is wholly without the ego’s “drive to get” (T-4.III.4:5-8).
This passage clearly implies that when we choose the correction of the Holy Spirit in our right minds — the holy instant — and truly let go of our egos, we can become a reflection of love, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. In this case, it is indeed possible to come from a loving space. In fact, the principal goal of the Course is to have students learn to access their right minds, the loving home of the Holy Spirit. However, one needs to be discerning, for very often the ego’s special love can appear to be identical to the Holy Spirit’s real Love. The ego’s unconscious “drive to get” — the core of specialness — is still very much present, and serves to mask the truth with the clever lies of illusion.
Any thought, word, or deed that proceeds from the wrong mind, even though it appears as loving, cannot be so. Therefore, to evaluate any interaction by appearances can be but a lack of discernment stemming from our need to appear loving and understanding; in other words, what our egos would bless as “spiritually enlightened” behavior. We should not underestimate the need each one of us has to be accepted by others because we want to be judged by them as loving. This need becomes a powerful interference to choosing our right minds, wherein lies the only real love.
Sometimes the most loving action, emanating from our right minds, would be to say “No” to someone’s request, incurring their disappointment and anger. That is why Jesus states:
To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardize your learning. No belief is neutral. Every one has the power to dictate each decision you make (T-24.in.2:1-4).
Let us suppose that an unconscious value that our egos hold is to be popular and admired by many for being a loving and thoughtful person. Our whole life’s script then, emanating from our wrong minds, revolves around being this kind of dream figure. We might achieve our goal, but at what cost? Students of A Course in Miracles sometimes make this mistake of judging by appearance and form. Sometimes the most difficult correction for us to accept is to go against some “cherished value” of our egos — above all, the models of special love and special hate relationships. If students can be reasonably clear that they have uncovered their unconscious ego values and have the little willingness to access the correction in their right minds — getting themselves out of the way — then they will be manifestations of the thought system of the Holy Spirit and not the ego.
Indeed, our daily practice of forgiveness is what allows us to be increasingly in touch with this loving Presence of truth in our split minds, so that our thoughts, words, and deeds can express this truth. Therefore, it is certainly possible that our lives can come from our right minds and not our wrong minds, from the Holy Spirit and not the ego. It is this process of increasingly reflecting love instead of hate that brings us to the gate of Heaven, beyond which is the Love of God.