ACIM Text Reading for February 26
Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom
VI. From Vigilance to Peace
Although you can love the Sonship only as one, you can perceive it as fragmented. It is impossible, however, to see something in part of it that you will not attribute to all of it. That is why attack is never discrete, and why it must be relinquished entirely. If it is not relinquished entirely it is not relinquished at all. Fear and love make or create, depending on whether the ego or the Holy Spirit begets or inspires them, but they will return to the mind of the thinker and they will affect his total perception. That includes his concept of God, of His creations and of his own. He will not appreciate any of them if he regards them fearfully. He will appreciate all of them if he regards them with love.
The mind that accepts attack cannot love. That is because it believes it can destroy love, and therefore does not understand what love is. If it does not understand what love is, it cannot perceive itself as loving. This loses the awareness of being, induces feelings of unreality and results in utter confusion. Your thinking has done this because of its power, but your thinking can also save you from this because its power is not of your making. Your ability to direct your thinking as you choose is part of its power. If you do not believe you can do this you have denied the power of your thought, and thus rendered it powerless in your belief.
The ingeniousness of the ego to preserve itself is enormous, but it stems from the very power of the mind the ego denies. This means that the ego attacks what is preserving it, which must result in extreme anxiety. That is why the ego never recognises what it is doing. It is perfectly logical but clearly insane. The ego draws upon the one source that is totally inimical to its existence for its existence. Fearful of perceiving the power of this source, it is forced to depreciate it. This threatens its own existence, a state which it finds intolerable. Remaining logical but still insane, the ego resolves this completely insane dilemma in a completely insane way. It does not perceive its existence as threatened by projecting the threat onto you, and perceiving your being as non-existent. This ensures its continuance if you side with it, by guaranteeing that you will not know your own safety.
The ego cannot afford to know anything. Knowledge is total, and the ego does not believe in totality. This unbelief is its origin, and while the ego does not love you it is faithful to its own antecedents, begetting as it was begotten. Mind always reproduces as it was produced. Produced by fear, the ego reproduces fear. This is its allegiance, and this allegiance makes it treacherous to love because you are love. Love is your power, which the ego must deny. It must also deny everything this power gives you because it gives you everything. No one who has everything wants the ego. Its own maker, then, does not want it. Rejection is therefore the only decision the ego could possibly encounter, if the mind that made it knew itself. And if it recognised any part of the Sonship, it would know itself.
The ego therefore opposes all appreciation, all recognition, all sane perception and all knowledge. It perceives their threat as total, because it senses that all commitments the mind makes are total. Forced, therefore, to detach itself from you, it is willing to attach itself to anything else. But there is nothing else. The mind can, however, make up illusions, and if it does so it will believe in them, because that is how it made them.
The Holy Spirit undoes illusions without attacking them, because He cannot perceive them at all. They therefore do not exist for Him. He resolves the apparent conflict they engender by perceiving conflict as meaningless. I have said before that the Holy Spirit perceives the conflict exactly as it is, and it is meaningless. The Holy Spirit does not want you to understand conflict; He wants you to realise that, because conflict is meaningless, it is not understandable. As I have already said, understanding brings appreciation and appreciation brings love. Nothing else can be understood, because nothing else is real and therefore nothing else has meaning.
If you will keep in mind what the Holy Spirit offers you, you cannot be vigilant for anything but God and His Kingdom. The only reason you may find this hard to accept is because you may still think there is something else. Belief does not require vigilance unless it is conflicted. If it is, there are conflicting components within it that have led to a state of war, and vigilance has therefore become essential. Vigilance has no place in peace. It is necessary against beliefs that are not true, and would never have been called upon by the Holy Spirit if you had not believed the untrue. When you believe something, you have made it true for you. When you believe what God does not know, your thought seems to contradict His, and this makes it appear as if you are attacking Him.
I have repeatedly emphasised that the ego does believe it can attack God, and tries to persuade you that you have done this. If the mind cannot attack, the ego proceeds perfectly logically to the belief that you must be a body. By not seeing you as you are, it can see itself as it wants to be. Aware of its weakness the ego wants your allegiance, but not as you really are. The ego therefore wants to engage your mind in its own delusional system, because otherwise the light of your understanding would dispel it. It wants no part of truth, because the ego itself is not true. If truth is total, the untrue cannot exist. Commitment to either must be total; they cannot coexist in your mind without splitting it. If they cannot coexist in peace, and if you want peace, you must give up the idea of conflict entirely and for all time. This requires vigilance only as long as you do not recognise what is true. While you believe that two totally contradictory thought systems share truth, your need for vigilance is apparent.
Your mind is dividing its allegiance between two kingdoms, and you are totally committed to neither. Your identification with the Kingdom is totally beyond question except by you, when you are thinking insanely. What you are is not established by your perception, and is not influenced by it at all. Perceived problems in identification at any level are not problems of fact. They are problems of understanding, since their presence implies a belief that what you are is up to you to decide. The ego believes this totally, being fully committed to it. It is not true. The ego therefore is totally committed to untruth, perceiving in total contradiction to the Holy Spirit and to the knowledge of God.
You can be perceived with meaning only by the Holy Spirit because your being is the knowledge of God. Any belief you accept apart from this will obscure God’s Voice in you, and will therefore obscure God to you. Unless you perceive His creation truly you cannot know the Creator, since God and His creation are not separate. The oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power. This limitless power is God’s gift to you, because it is what you are. If you dissociate your mind from it you are perceiving the most powerful force in the universe as if it were weak, because you do not believe you are part of it.
Perceived without your part in it, God’s creation is seen as weak, and those who see themselves as weakened do attack. The attack must be blind, however, because there is nothing to attack. Therefore they make up images, perceive them as unworthy and attack them for their unworthiness. That is all the world of the ego is. Nothing. It has no meaning. It does not exist. Do not try to understand it because, if you do, you are believing that it can be understood and is therefore capable of being appreciated and loved. That would justify its existence, which cannot be justified. You cannot make the meaningless meaningful. This can only be an insane attempt.
Allowing insanity to enter your mind means that you have not judged sanity as wholly desirable. If you want something else you will make something else, but because it is something else, it will attack your thought system and divide your allegiance. You cannot create in this divided state, and you must be vigilant against this divided state because only peace can be extended. Your divided mind is blocking the extension of the Kingdom, and its extension is your joy. If you do not extend the Kingdom, you are not thinking with your Creator and creating as He created.
In this depressing state the Holy Spirit reminds you gently that you are sad because you are not fulfilling your function as co-creator with God, and are therefore depriving yourself of joy. This is not God’s choice but yours. If your mind could be out of accord with God’s, you would be willing without meaning. Yet because God’s Will is unchangeable, no conflict of will is possible. This is the Holy Spirit’s perfectly consistent teaching. Creation, not separation, is your will because it is God’s, and nothing that opposes this means anything at all. Being a perfect accomplishment, the Sonship can only accomplish perfectly, extending the joy in which it was created, and identifying itself with both its Creator and its creations, knowing they are one.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 26
Today let us review these ideas:
1. (31) I am not the victim of the world I see.
How can I be the victim of a world that can be completely undone if I so choose? My chains are loosened. I can drop them off merely by desiring to do so. The prison door is open. I can leave simply by walking out. Nothing holds me in this world. Only my wish to stay keeps me a prisoner. I would give up my insane wishes and walk into the sunlight at last.
2. (32) I have invented the world I see.
I made up the prison in which I see myself. All I need do is recognize this and I am free. I have deluded myself into believing it is possible to imprison the Son of God. I was bitterly mistaken in this belief, which I no longer want. The Son of God must be forever free. He is as God created him, and not what I would make of him. He is where God would have him be, and not where I thought to hold him prisoner.
3. (33) There is another way of looking at the world.
Since the purpose of the world is not the one I ascribed to it, there must be another way of looking at it. I see everything upside down, and my thoughts are the opposite of truth. I see the world as a prison for God’s Son. It must be, then, that the world is really a place where he can be set free. I would look upon the world as it is, and see it as a place where the Son of God finds his freedom.
4. (34) I could see peace instead of this.
When I see the world as a place of freedom, I realize that it reflects the laws of God instead of the rules I made up for it to obey. I will understand that peace, not war, abides in it. And I will perceive that peace also abides in the hearts of all who share this place with me.
5. (35) My mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.
As I share the peace of the world with my brothers, I begin to understand that this peace comes from deep within myself. The world I look upon has taken on the light of my forgiveness, and shines forgiveness back at me. In this light I begin to see what my illusions about myself kept hidden. I begin to understand the holiness of all living things, including myself, and their oneness with me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) Why do the text and workbook have different focuses, and at times seem to be saying different things?
A) Jesus refers to A Course in Miracles as a “multi-faceted curriculum,” and so it requires that his teaching be presented in different forms. The text, which was dictated to Helen first, contains the theology, metaphysical foundation, and teachings on accepting forgiveness for our special relationships, on which the curriculum rests. For example, only in the text — highlighted for the most part from Chapter 15 through Chapter 24 — does one find the exposition of the teaching on special and holy relationships. Nowhere in the workbook or manual is this very important subject specifically discussed. In the workbook, as Jesus explains in the introduction, the first part (Lessons 1-220) deals “with the undoing of the way you see now,” while the second part (Lessons 221-365) deals ” with the acquisition of true perception” (workbook, p.1; W-in.3:1). Nothing is mentioned about the theory of A Course in Miracles. Indeed, the specific relationship between the text and the workbook is clearly set forth in the Introduction:
A theoretical foundation such as the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this workbook meaningful. Yet it is doing the exercises that will make the goal of the course possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of this workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth (W-in.1).
It is because of these different purposes and focuses that at times the two books seem to be saying different things, and even at times seeming to contradict each other. Perhaps the best example of this interesting phenomenon relates to the role of the Holy Spirit. Many passages in the workbook urge students to ask Him for very specific help, as we can see in this example from the final lessons (361-365):
This holy instant would I give to You [the Holy Spirit].
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace. And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will bear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son (W-p.II.361-365).
And yet we are taught in the text that it is not the role of the Holy Spirit to guide us in the world of effects — the material world of specifics — but rather to help us change our minds about the cause of our problems: our belief in the reality of sin and guilt. For example:
In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause [the mind’s belief in sin], and looks not to effects [the problems experienced in the physical world]. How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely? He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him a while. You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed (T-27.VIII.9:1-5).
Nevertheless, if students do not understand the afore-mentioned two levels that A Course in Miracles is written on, and which, by the way, it never specifically identifies as such, then one is apt to conclude that these statements are contradictory. To restate these levels briefly:
Level One: the Course’s metaphysical foundation, which emphasizes the difference between God and Heaven, the only reality, and the collective illusory world of the ego.Level Two: the Course’s practical level, which deals only with the illusory dream. Here, the contrast is between the wrong mind which is the ego’s thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, and the Holy Spirit’s correction of forgiveness within the right mind.
Regarding the subject of God, we find the same apparent contradiction. In workbook Lesson 71 we are told to ask God Himself for specific help:
What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?
Moreover, all of Part If of the workbook consists of prayers from the student to God the Father. This is so, despite the following very clear statement — interestingly enough, also from the workbook — that God does not hear our prayers:
Think not He hears the little prayers of those who call on Him with names of idols cherished by the world. They cannot reach Him thus (W-pI.183.7:3-4).
And in the manual for teachers we read these lines about the true nature of our words:
God does not understand words, for they were made by separated minds to keep them in the illusion of separation. Words can be helpful, particularly for the beginner, in helping concentration and facilitating the exclusion, or at least the control, of extraneous thoughts. Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality (M-21.1:7-10).
Clearly, the first passage has us asking God the Father a series of specific questions to which we would fully expect to receive answers. Part of the reason it is framed this way is that inherent within the separation thought is the statement that I am self-created, and therefore am my own source. So by asking God for help at what we have referred to as Level Two, the level of the illusory dream, I am acknowledging that I am not an autonomous self-created being, but rather someone who needs help in undoing this false self that I made up. It is in this way that the thought that I am on my own has been undone, and I realize that the answers to all my questions have already been given, and that they are one. As A Course in Miracles emphasizes, the Holy Spirit’s correction to my ego’s dream of separation has already occurred, because time is already over, as we have noted in a previous chapter (question 16 ). But since I walk around believing and experiencing otherwise, the correction will reach me in a form to which I can relate.
In conclusion, from these two examples alone it should be clear that Jesus indeed knew what he was doing when he dictated these three books of A Course in Miracles, and it is we who lack the understanding of how he integrates his curriculum and accomplishes the goal of changing our thought system.