ACIM Text Reading for March 26
Chapter 10 ~ The Idols of Sickness
IV. The End of Sickness
All magic is an attempt at reconciling the irreconcilable. All religion is the recognition that the irreconcilable cannot be reconciled. Sickness and perfection are irreconcilable. If God created you perfect, you are perfect. If you believe you can be sick, you have placed other gods before Him. God is not at war with the god of sickness you made, but you are. He is the symbol of deciding against God, and you are afraid of him because he cannot be reconciled with God’s Will. If you attack him, you will make him real to you. But if you refuse to worship him in whatever form he may appear to you, and wherever you think you see him, he will disappear into the nothingness out of which he was made.
Reality can dawn only on an unclouded mind. It is always there to be accepted, but its acceptance depends on your willingness to have it. To know reality must involve the willingness to judge unreality for what it is. To overlook nothingness is merely to judge it correctly, and because of your ability to evaluate it truly, to let it go. Knowledge cannot dawn on a mind full of illusions, because truth and illusions are irreconcilable. Truth is whole, and cannot be known by part of a mind.
The Sonship cannot be perceived as partly sick, because to perceive it that way is not to perceive it at all. If the Sonship is one, it is one in all respects. Oneness cannot be divided. If you perceive other gods your mind is split, and you will not be able to limit the split, because it is the sign that you have removed part of your mind from God’s Will. This means it is out of control. To be out of control is to be out of reason, and then the mind does become unreasonable. By defining the mind wrongly, you perceive it as functioning wrongly.
God’s laws will keep your mind at peace because peace is His Will, and His laws are established to uphold it. His are the laws of freedom, but yours are the laws of bondage. Since freedom and bondage are irreconcilable, their laws cannot be understood together. The laws of God work only for your good, and there are no other laws beside His. Everything else is merely lawless and therefore chaotic. Yet God Himself has protected everything He created by His laws. Everything that is not under them does not exist. ‘Laws of chaos’ is a meaningless term. Creation is perfectly lawful, and the chaotic is without meaning because it is without God. You have ‘given’ your peace to the gods you made, but they are not there to take it from you, and you cannot give it to them.
You are not free to give up freedom, but only to deny it. You cannot do what God did not intend, because what He did not intend does not happen. Your gods do not bring chaos; you are endowing them with chaos, and accepting it of them. All this has never been. Nothing but the laws of God has ever been, and nothing but His Will, will ever be. You were created through His laws and by His Will, and the manner of your creation established you a creator. What you have made is so unworthy of you that you could hardly want it, if you were willing to see it as it is. You will see nothing at all. And your vision will automatically look beyond it, to what is in you and all around you. Reality cannot break through the obstructions you interpose, but it will envelop you completely when you let them go.
When you have experienced the protection of God, the making of idols becomes inconceivable. There are no strange images in the Mind of God, and what is not in His Mind cannot be in yours, because you are of one mind and that mind belongs to Him. It is yours because it belongs to Him, for to Him ownership is sharing. And if it is so for Him, it is so for you. His definitions are His laws, for by them He established the universe as what it is. No false gods you attempt to interpose between yourself and your reality affect truth at all. Peace is yours because God created you. And He created nothing else.
The miracle is the act of a Son of God who has laid aside all false gods, and calls on his brothers to do likewise. It is an act of faith, because it is the recognition that his brother can do it. It is a call to the Holy Spirit in his mind, a call that is strengthened by joining. Because the miracle worker has heard God’s Voice, he strengthens It in a sick brother by weakening his belief in sickness, which he does not share. The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark. It is everywhere and it is eternal.
In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured. Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten. If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the Rays are there unseen. Perceiving the spark will heal, but knowing the light will create. Yet in the returning the little light must be acknowledged first, for the separation was a descent from magnitude to littleness. But the spark is still as pure as the great light, because it is the remaining call of creation. Put all your faith in it, and God Himself will answer you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 26
Today let us review these ideas:
1. (65) My only function is the one God gave me.
I have no function but the one God gave me. This recognition releases me from all conflict, because it means I cannot have conflicting goals. With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say and what to think. All doubt must disappear as I acknowledge that my only function is the one God gave me.
2. More specific applications of this idea might take these forms:
My perception of this does not change my function.
This does not give me a function other than the one God gave me.
Let me not use this to justify a function God did not give me.
3. (66) My happiness and my function are one.
All things that come from God are one. They come from Oneness, and must be received as one. Fulfilling my function is my happiness because both come from the same Source. And I must learn to recognize what makes me happy, if I would find happiness.
4. Some useful forms for specific applications of this idea are:
This cannot separate my happiness from my function.
The oneness of my happiness and my function remains wholly unaffected by this.
Nothing, including this, can justify the illusion of happiness apart from my function.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) If God is not a person, why does Jesus portray Him that way? This is confusing.
A) This question goes to the heart of a very important issue for students of A Course in Miracles: Jesus’ metaphoric use of language. It is a source of great misunderstanding for students, both in terms of understanding what Jesus is teaching in the Course, as well as in applying its principles in their everyday lives. The language of the Course is clearly dualistic, symbolic, and metaphoric — as indeed all language must be — and there are numerous places in the Course where Jesus explains that he must use the language of illusion — i.e., duality — in order for his students to understand the truths he is teaching. He says, for example, in the context of the newly born holy relationship:
Of all the messages you have received and failed to understand, this course alone is open to your understanding and can be understood. This is your language. You do not understand it yet only because your whole communication is like a baby’s. The sounds a baby makes and what he hears are highly unreliable, meaning different things to him at different times. Neither the sounds he hears nor sights he sees are stable yet…. Yet a holy relationship, so recently reborn itself from an unholy relationship, and yet more ancient than the old illusion it has replaced, is like a baby now in its rebirth. Still in this infant is your vision returned to you, and he will speak the language you can understand (T-22.1.6:1-5; 7:2-3; italics ours in 7:3).
We all have experienced this same need Jesus is describing here. When speaking with children we use words and concepts that are appropriate to the child’s level of understanding. Even if the form of what we say is not always literally true, the content of our love and desire to be helpful is truly genuine. And later in the text, speaking of the Oneness of Christ that teaches us from within our separated minds, Jesus makes the same point:
Since you believe that you are separate, Heaven presents itself to you as separate, too. Not that it is in truth, but that the link that has been given you to join the truth may reach to you through what you understand…. Yet must It[0neness] use the language that this mind can understand, in the condition in which it thinks it is [the dualistic state of separation). And It must use all learning to transfer illusions to the truth, taking all false ideas of what you are, and leading you beyond them to the truth that is beyond them (T-25.1. 5:1-2; 7:4-5; italics ours in 7:4).
Since, as we have already seen, there is no way Jesus can communicate to us what God our Creator and Source truly is like, he must resort to the language of myth and metaphor. These are the symbols that we — identified as bodies — can understand. And so throughout A Course in Miracles, God is referred to as a body since we cannot even think of Him without one (text, p. 364; T-18.VIll. 1:7). He is called “Father,” and portrayed with Arms, Hands, and a Voice, and having feelings of loneliness and incompletion. It is even implied that God has tear ducts, since He cries over His Sons who are separated from Him. Clearly, the non-dualistic God we have described cannot possess these traits or bodily parts. Moreover, the true God does not think, as weexperience thinking. Nor can He really have a plan of Atonement as a response to the illusion of separation when, as described in the Course, He creates the Holy Spirit. The apparent contradiction here is resolved when we understand, again, that Jesus is speaking to us on the anthropomorphic level we can understand, a wonderful example of the principle he enunciates early in the text:
… a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language that the recipient can understand without fear (T-2.IV.5:3).
Students of A Course in Miracles must be wary of falling into the trap of taking literally what is meant figuratively. A good rule of thumb is to recall that only non-duality is real. In contrast, duality is the illusion of separation, as can be seen in this paraphrase of a sentence from the manual in which we substitute the word duality for death, a passage from which we shall quote more fully in a later question:
Teacher of God, your one assignment could be stated thus: Accept no compromise in which duality plays a part (manual, p. 64; M-27.7: 1)
Any passage in A Course in Miracles where Jesus speaks of God doing anything, of having any characteristics of homo sapiens — anthropomorphisms — is inherently dualistic and therefore is a metaphor to express the abstract and non-specific Love of God that is beyond all dualism. Similarly, any references to the Holy Spirit or Jesus doing anything fall into the same category.
To be sure, these are extremely meaningful passages for us who still believe we are in the dualistic world of time and space, but to take these statements as literal truth will ensure that we never learn the lessons that will help us to awaken from the dream that there is indeed a world of individuality and separate bodies. All too often, students end up reinforcing their own specialness and identification with their bodies by never moving beyond the Course’s language — borrowed from the Bible — which largely consists of metaphoric descriptions of God and the Holy Spirit as bodies and persons who interact with them. Focusing on the Holy Spirit’s true role as a Thought in our minds, calling us to choose Him instead of the ego as our teacher, will keep students on the right track of forgiveness.
For a fuller discussion of this very important topic, the reader may wish to consult the tape sets “Making the Holy Spirit Special: the Arrogance of the Ego” and “Duality as Metaphor in A Course in Miracles.”