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

ACIM Text Reading for February 21

Chapter 7

THE GIFTS OF THE KINGDOM

I. The Last Step

The creative power of God and His creations is limitless, but they are not in reciprocal relationship. You communicate fully with God, as He does with you. This is an ongoing process in which you share, and because you share it, you are inspired to create like God. Yet in creation you are not in a reciprocal relation to God, since He created you but you did not create Him. I have already told you that only in this respect your creative power differs from His. Even in this world there is a parallel. Parents give birth to children, but children do not give birth to parents. They do, however, give birth to their children, and thus give birth as their parents do.

If you created God and He created you, the Kingdom could not increase through its own creative thought. Creation would therefore be limited, and you would not be co-creators with God. As God’s creative Thought proceeds from Him to you, so must your creative thought proceed from you to your creations. Only in this way can all creative power extend outward. God’s accomplishments are not yours, but yours are like His. He created the Sonship and you increase it. You have the power to add to the Kingdom, though not to add to the Creator of the Kingdom. You claim this power when you become vigilant only for God and His Kingdom. By accepting this power as yours you have learned to remember what you are.

Your creations belong in you, as you belong in God. You are part of God, as your sons are part of His Sons. To create is to love. Love extends outward simply because it cannot be contained. Being limitless it does not stop. It creates forever, but not in time. God’s creations have always been, because He has always been. Your creations have always been, because you can create only as God creates. Eternity is yours, because He created you eternal.

The ego, on the other hand, always demands reciprocal rights, because it is competitive rather than loving. It is always willing to strike a bargain, but it cannot understand that to be like another means that no bargains are possible. To gain you must give, not bargain. To bargain is to limit giving, and this is not God’s Will. To will with God is to create like Him. God does not limit His gifts in any way. You are His gifts, and so your gifts must be like His. Your gifts to the Kingdom must be like His gifts to you.

I gave only love to the Kingdom because I believed that was what I was. What you believe you are determines your gifts, and if God created you by extending Himself as you, you can only extend yourself as He did. Only joy increases forever, since joy and eternity are inseparable. God extends outward beyond limits and beyond time, and you who are co-creator with Him extend His Kingdom forever and beyond limit. Eternity is the indelible stamp of creation. The eternal are in peace and joy forever.

To think like God is to share His certainty of what you are, and to create like Him is to share the perfect Love He shares with you. To this the Holy Spirit leads you, that your joy may be complete because the Kingdom of God is whole. I have said that the last step in the reawakening of knowledge is taken by God. This is true, but it is hard to explain in words because words are symbols, and nothing that is true need be explained. However, the Holy Spirit has the task of translating the useless into the useful, the meaningless into the meaningful, and the temporary into the timeless. He can therefore tell you something about this last step.

God does not take steps, because His accomplishments are not gradual. He does not teach, because His creations are changeless. He does nothing last, because He created first and for always. It must be understood that the word ‘first’ as applied to Him is not a time concept. He is first in the sense that He is the First in the Holy Trinity Itself. He is the Prime Creator, because He created His co-creators. Because He did, time applies neither to Him nor to what He created. The ‘last step’ that God will take was therefore true in the beginning, is true now, and will be true forever. What is timeless is always there, because its being is eternally changeless. It does not change by increase, because it was forever created to increase. If you perceive it as not increasing you do not know what it is. You also do not know Who created it. God does not reveal this to you because it was never hidden. His light was never obscured, because it is His Will to share it. How can what is fully shared be withheld and then revealed?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 21

LESSON 52

Today’s review covers these ideas:

1. (6I am upset because I see what is not there.

Reality is never frightening. It is impossible that it could upset me. Reality brings only perfect peace. When I am upset, it is always because I have replaced reality with illusions I made up. The illusions are upsetting because I have given them reality, and thus regard reality as an illusion. Nothing in God’s creation is affected in any way by this confusion of mine. I am always upset by nothing.

2. (7I see only the past.

As I look about, I condemn the world I look upon. I call this seeing. I hold the past against everyone and everything, making them my enemies. When I have forgiven myself and remem­bered Who I am, I will bless everyone and everything I see. There will be no past, and therefore no enemies. And I will look with love on all that I failed to see before.

3. (8My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.

I see only my own thoughts, and my mind is preoccupied with the past. What, then, can I see as it is? Let me remember that I look on the past to prevent the present from dawning on my mind. Let me understand that I am trying to use time against God. Let me learn to give the past away, realizing that in so doing I am giving up nothing.

4. (9I see nothing as it is now.

If I see nothing as it is now, it can truly be said that I see nothing. I can see only what is now. The choice is not whether to see the past or the present; the choice is merely whether to see or not. What I have chosen to see has cost me vision. Now I would choose again, that I may see.

5. (10My thoughts do not mean anything.

I have no private thoughts. Yet it is only private thoughts of which I am aware. What can these thoughts mean? They do not exist, and so they mean nothing. Yet my mind is part of creation and part of its Creator. Would I not rather join the thinking of the universe than to obscure all that is really mine with my pitiful and meaningless “private” thoughts?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) How does one tell the difference between the Holy Spirit and the ego?

A) We begin with a statement from the Course. It comes in “The Test of Truth” in Chapter 14 of the text, and is the answer to this question, given in the context of discerning between the “dark lessons” of the ego and the “bright lessons” of the Holy Spirit:

You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true.  [1 ] If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and [2] if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson, and not your own (T-14.XI.5:1-2).

In other words, Jesus is providing his students with two criteria with which to evaluate whether they have chosen the ego or himself as their teacher. The first deals only with individual students, whether or not they are at peace. The second involves other people, those who live and work with us, not to mention everyone else.  We all would have to admit that it is relatively simple to delude ourselves into thinking we have chosen the Holy Spirit, when in truth we have chosen our own specialness. But it is more difficult to fool other people, especially those who know us well and who see us regularly over periods of time. Incidentally, students of A Course in Miracles sometimes wonder if that second criterion would have to exclude Jesus, since obviously the biblical figure (who, by the way, should never be taken for the historical Jesus — see question 52 ) was crucified by angry people who quite clearly did not “share in [his] perfect peace.” However, one should understand this situation to mean that people may experience your perfect peace, but may be so threatened by it that they try to attack it and you. But they could not be doing so had they not first experienced this peace as authentic, and thenbecome threatened by it.

This test of truth is applicable to students over the long run because, again, it is difficult to fool others and even oneself over a period of time. However, in any given instant when one wishes to know which teacher has been consulted, it is almost impossible to know for certain. As all students of A Course in Miracles already know, and as we have already commented, the ego can quite deceptively pose like the Holy Spirit. Given the tremendous investment all people in this world have in maintaining their specialness, it should come as no surprise that this would be so. In this very important passage, Jesus cautions his students about underestimating the power their specialness has to mask the Holy Spirit’s Voice. It is from one of the major sections in the text that deals specifically with the treacherous nature of specialness:

You are not special. If you think you are, and would defend your specialness against the truth of what you really are, how can you know the truth? What answer that the Holy Spirit gives can reach you, when it is your specialness to which you listen, and which asks and answers. Its tiny answer, soundless in the melody that pours from God to you eternally in loving praise of what you are, is all you listen to. And that vast song of honor and of love for what you are seems silent and unheard before its “mightiness.  ” You strain your ears to hear its soundless voice, and yet the Call of God Himself is soundless to you.You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it (T-24.II.4:1-5:1, italics ours).

Therefore, our response to this question is to state, that because of students’ over-identification with their egos, it is really the wrong question to ask. Rather, the focus should be on eliminating the interference to hearing the Holy Spirit’s Voice, which would then simply allow the Voice for God to be Itself. Thus, the question should be: “Why don’t I practice the forgiveness lessons the Holy Spirit asks me to do so that I can better hear His Voice?”  With this new question, the focus is now shifted to eliminating the problem so that the Answer can be given us.  As Jesus exhorts his students:

Your task is not to seek for love [or hear the Holy Spirit’s Voice], but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false (T-I6.IV.6:1-2).

And returning to “The Test of Truth,” we find Jesus making the same point to his students who despair over being able to actually hear the Holy Spirit, given the strength of their investment in their ego’s “dark lessons”:

Do not be concerned about how you can learn a lesson so completely different from everything that you have taught yourself. How would you know? Your part is very simple.  You need only recognize that everything you learned you do not want. Ask to be taught, and do not use your experiences to confirm what you have learned. When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself:

I do not know what anything, including this, means. 
And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will 
not use my own past learning as the light to guide me
now.

By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you will speak to you. He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it, and offer it to Him (T-14.XI.6).

The primary focus of Jesus’ Course is always on removing the interferences to the awareness of love’s presence (T-in.1:7), and not on the love itself. And so, once again, the students’ focus will remain on asking Jesus’ help to set aside their ego thought system, rather than on asking him directly for help or guidance with things in the world. Finally, we cite one important passage in the text that underscores this major emphasis:

The task of the miracle worker … becomes to deny the denial of truth (T-12.II.1:5).

The “denial of truth” is of course the ego thought system, which denies the truth of God. Our responsibility is to ask the Holy Spirit’s help to “deny” the validity of what the ego teaches, hereby affirming His truth of the Atonement.

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