A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 20, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 20

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

VI. Finding the Present

To perceive truly is to be aware of all reality through the awareness of your own. But for this no illusions can rise to meet your sight, for reality leaves no room for any error. This means that you perceive a brother only as you see him now. His past has no reality in the present, so you cannot see it. Your past reactions to him are also not there, and if it is to them that you react, you see but an image of him that you made and cherish instead of him. In your questioning of illusions, ask yourself if it is really sane to perceive what was as now. If you remember the past as you look upon your brother, you will be unable to perceive the reality that is now.

You consider it ‘natural’ to use your past experience as the reference point from which to judge the present. Yet this is unnaturalbecause it is delusional. When you have learned to look on everyone with no reference at all to the past, either his or yours as you perceive it, you will be able to learn from what you see now. For the past can cast no shadow to darken the present, unless you are afraid of light. And only if you are would you choose to bring darkness with you, and by holding it in your mind, see it as a dark cloud that shrouds your brothers and conceals their reality from your sight.

This darkness is in you. The Christ as revealed to you now has no past, for He is changeless, and in His changelessness lies your release. For if He is as He was created, there is no guilt in Him. No cloud of guilt has risen to obscure Him, and He stands revealed in everyone you meet because you see Him through Himself. To be born again is to let the past go, and look without condemnation upon the present. The cloud that obscures God’s Son to you is the past, and if you would have it past and gone, you must not see it now. If you see it now in your illusions, it has not gone from you, although it is not there.

Time can release as well as imprison, depending on whose interpretation of it you use. Past, present and future are not continuous, unless you force continuity on them. You can perceive them as continuous, and make them so for you. But do not be deceived, and then believe that this is how it is. For to believe reality is what you would have it be according to your use for it is delusional. You would destroy time’s continuity by breaking it into past, present and future for your own purposes. You would anticipate the future on the basis of your past experience, and plan for it accordingly. Yet by doing so you are aligning past and future, and not allowing the miracle, which could intervene between them, to free you to be born again.

The miracle enables you to see your brother without his past, and so perceive him as born again. His errors are all past, and by perceiving him without them you are releasing him. And since his past is yours, you share in this release. Let no dark cloud out of your past obscure him from you, for truth lies only in the present, and you will find it if you seek it there. You have looked for it where it is not, and therefore have not found it. Learn, then, to seek it where it is, and it will dawn on eyes that see. Your past was made in anger, and if you use it to attack the present, you will not see the freedom that the present holds.

Judgement and condemnation are behind you, and unless you bring them with you, you will see that you are free of them. Look lovingly upon the present, for it holds the only things that are forever true. All healing lies within it because its continuity is real. It extends to all aspects of the Sonship at the same time, and thus enables them to reach each other. The present is before time was, and will be when time is no more. In it are all things that are eternal, and they are one. Their continuity is timeless and their communication is unbroken, for they are not separated by the past. Only the past can separate, and it is nowhere.

The present offers you your brothers in the light that would unite you with them, and free you from the past. Would you, then, hold the past against them? For if you do, you are choosing to remain in the darkness that is not there, and refusing to accept the light that is offered you. For the light of perfect vision is freely given as it is freely received, and can be accepted only without limit. In this one, still dimension of time that does not change, and where there is no sight of what you were, you look at Christ and call His witnesses to shine on you because you called them forth. And they will not deny the truth in you, because you looked for it in them and found it there.

Now is the time of salvation, for now is the release from time. Reach out to all your brothers, and touch them with the touch of Christ. In timeless union with them is your continuity, unbroken because it is wholly shared. God’s guiltless Son is only light. There is no darkness in him anywhere, for he is whole. Call all your brothers to witness to his wholeness, as I am calling you to join with me. Each voice has a part in the song of redemption, the hymn of gladness and thanksgiving for the light to the Creator of light. The holy light that shines forth from God’s Son is the witness that his light is of his Father.

Shine on your brothers in remembrance of your Creator, for you will remember Him as you call forth the witnesses to His creation. Those whom you heal bear witness to your healing, for in their wholeness you will see your own. And as your hymns of praise and gladness rise to your Creator, He will return your thanks in His clear Answer to your call. For it can never be that His Son called upon Him and remained unanswered. His call to you is but your call to Him. And in Him you are answered by His peace.

Child of light, you know not that the light is in you. Yet you will find it through its witnesses, for having given light to them they will return it. Each one you see in light brings your light closer to your awareness. Love always leads to love, The sick, who ask for love, are grateful for it, and in their joy they shine with holy thanks. And this they offer you who gave them joy. They are your guides to joy, for having received it of you they would keep it. You have established them as guides to peace, for you have made it manifest in them. And seeing it, its beauty calls you home.

There is a light that this world cannot give. Yet you can give it, as it was given you. And as you give it, it shines forth to call you from the world and follow it. For this light will attract you as nothing in this world can do. And you will lay aside the world and find another. This other world is bright with love which you have given it. And here will everything remind you of your Father and His holy Son. Light is unlimited, and spreads across this world in quiet joy. All those you brought with you will shine on you, and you will shine on them in gratitude because they brought you here. Your light will join with theirs in power so compelling, that it will draw the others out of darkness as you look on them.

Awaking unto Christ is following the laws of love of your free will, and out of quiet recognition of the truth in them. The attraction of light must draw you willingly, and willingness is signified by giving. Those who accept love of you become your willing witnesses to the love you gave them, and it is they who hold it out to you. In sleep you are alone, and your awareness is narrowed to yourself. And that is why the nightmares come. You dream of isolation because your eyes are closed. You do not see your brothers, and in the darkness you cannot look upon the light you gave to them.

And yet the laws of love are not suspended because you sleep. And you have followed them through all your nightmares, and have been faithful in your giving, for you were not alone. Even in sleep has Christ protected you, ensuring the real world for you when you awake. In your name He has given for you, and given you the gifts He gave. God’s Son is still as loving as his Father. Continuous with his Father, he has no past apart from Him. So he has never ceased to be his Father’s witness and his own. Although he slept, Christ’s vision did not leave him. And so it is that he can call unto himself the witnesses that teach him that he never slept.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 20

Lesson 108

To give and receive are one in truth.

1. Vision depends upon today’s idea. The light is in it, for it rec­onciles all seeming opposites. And what is light except the resolution, born of peace, of all your conflicts and mistaken thoughts into one concept which is wholly true? Even that one will disappear, because the Thought behind it will appear instead to take its place. And now you are at peace forever, for the dream is over then.

2. True light that makes true vision possible is not the light the body’s eyes behold. It is a state of mind that has become so unified that darkness cannot be perceived at all. And thus what is the same is seen as one, while what is not the same remains un­noticed, for it is not there.

3. This is the light that shows no opposites, and vision, being healed, has power to heal. This is the light that brings your peace of mind to other minds, to share it and be glad that they are one with you and with themselves. This is the light that heals because it brings single perception, based upon one frame of ref­erence, from which one meaning comes.

4. Here are both giving and receiving seen as different aspects of one Thought whose truth does not depend on which is seen as first, nor which appears to be in second place. Here it is under­stood that both occur together, that the Thought remain complete. And in this understanding is the base on which all opposites are reconciled, because they are perceived from the same frame of reference which unifies this Thought.

5. One thought, completely unified, will serve to unify all thought. This is the same as saying one correction will suffice for all correction, or that to forgive one brother wholly is enough to bring salvation to all minds. For these are but some special cases of one law which holds for every kind of learning, if it be directed by the One Who knows the truth.

6. To learn that giving and receiving are the same has special usefulness, because it can be tried so easily and seen as true. And when this special case has proved it always works, in every circumstance where it is tried, the thought behind it can be gener­alized to other areas of doubt and double vision. And from there it will extend, and finally arrive at the one Thought which under­lies them all.

7. Today we practice with the special case of giving and receiv­ing. We will use this simple lesson in the obvious because it has results we cannot miss. To give is to receive. Today we will attempt to offer peace to everyone, and see how quickly peace returns to us. Light is tranquility, and in that peace is vision given us, and we can see.

8. So we begin the practice periods with the instruction for today, and say:

To give and to receive are one in truth.
I will receive what I am giving now.

Then close your eyes, and for five minutes think of what you would hold out to everyone, to have it yours. You might, for instance, say:

To everyone I offer quietness.
To everyone I offer peace of mind.
To everyone I offer gentleness.

9. Say each one slowly and then pause a while, expecting to receive the gift you gave. And it will come to you in the amount in which you gave it. You will find you have exact return, for that is what you asked. It might be helpful, too, to think of one to whom to give your gifts. He represents the others, and through him you give to all.

10. Our very simple lesson for today will teach you much. Effect and cause will be far better understood from this time on, and we will make much faster progress now. Think of the exercises for today as quick advances in your learning, made still faster and more sure each time you say, “To give and to receive are one in truth.”

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is the nature of life?

A) In A Course in Miracles, life as created by God has nothing to do with what we call or know of as life in the body. Life is spirit: non-material, non-dualistic, and eternal. Perhaps the clearest statement in the Course on the essence of life — what it is and what it is not — comes in this very powerful passage from “The Laws of Chaos” in Chapter 23 of the text. It begins with a telling and gentle mockery of our worship of the body:

Can you paint rosy lips upon a skeleton, dress it in loveliness, pet it and pamper it, and make it live? And can you be content with an illusion that you are living?There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life [Heaven], there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven [in the physical world] life is illusion. At best it seems like life [when the body is “alive”]; at worst, like death [when the body “dies”]. Yet both are judgments on what is not life, equal in their inaccuracy and lack of meaning. Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere. Outside of Heaven, only the conflict of illusion stands; senseless, impossible and beyond all reason, and yet perceived as an eternal barrier to Heaven. Illusions are  but forms. Their content is never true (T-23.11.18:8-19:9).

Very carefully, therefore, Jesus is explaining that life is Oneness with our Source in Heaven where the Mind of Christ and the Mind of God are One. Life, spirit, and Mind are terms basically synonymous with each other, sharing the characteristics of formlessness, changelessness, and eternal life. What we in the world have identified as life in the body, such as brain waves and heartbeats, is clearly not what the Course calls life. Indeed, one workbook lesson (167) is entitled: “There is one life, and that I share with God.” Therefore, what we experience as life, as a physical and psychological organism, is a travesty or parody of our true Self, the Christ that God created as true life. It is important to understand how life is seen in A Course in Miracles; otherwise students will end up confusing themselves, both in understanding the Course’s non-dualistic teachings, as well as applying them to their personal lives.

forgiveness is still

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 19, 2019

ACIM Test Reading for April 19

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

V. The Two Emotions

I have said you have but two emotions, love and fear. One is changeless but continually exchanged, being offered by the eternal to the eternal. In this exchange it is extended, for it increases as it is given. The other has many forms, for the content of individual illusions differs greatly. Yet they have one thing in common; they are all insane. They are made of sights that are not seen, and sounds that are not heard. They make up a private world that cannot be shared. For they are meaningful only to their maker, and so they have no meaning at all. In this world their maker moves alone, for only he perceives them.

Each one peoples his world with figures from his individual past, and it is because of this that private worlds do differ. Yet the figures that he sees were never real, for they are made up only of his reactions to his brothers, and do not include their reactions to him. Therefore, he does not see he made them, and that they are not whole. For these figures have no witnesses, being perceived in one separate mind only.

It is through these strange and shadowy figures that the insane relate to their insane world. For they see only those who remind them of these images, and it is to them that they relate. Thus do they communicate with those who are not there, and it is they who answer them. And no one hears their answer save him who called upon them, and he alone believes they answered him. Projection makes perception, and you cannot see beyond it. Again and again have you attacked your brother, because you saw in him a shadow figure in your private world. And thus it is you must attack yourself first, for what you attack is not in others. Its only reality is in your own mind, and by attacking others you are literally attacking what is not there.

The delusional can be very destructive, for they do not recognise they have condemned themselves. They do not wish to die, yet they will not let condemnation go. And so they separate into their private worlds, where everything is disordered, and where what is within appears to be without. Yet what is within they do not see, for the reality of their brothers they cannot recognise.

You have but two emotions, yet in your private world you react to each of them as though it were the other. For love cannot abide in a world apart, where when it comes it is not recognised. If you see your own hatred as your brother, you are not seeing him. Everyone draws nigh unto what he loves, and recoils from what he fears. And you react with fear to love, and draw away from it. Yet fear attracts you, and believing it is love, you call it to yourself. Your private world is filled with figures of fear you have invited into it, and all the love your brothers offer you, you do not see.

As you look with open eyes upon your world, it must occur to you that you have withdrawn into insanity. You see what is not there, and you hear what makes no sound. Your manifestations of emotions are the opposite of what the emotions are. You communicate with no one, and you are as isolated from reality as if you were alone in all the universe. In your madness you overlook reality completely, and you see only your own split mind everywhere you look. God calls you and you do not hear, for you are preoccupied with your own voice. And the vision of Christ is not in your sight, for you look upon yourself alone.

Little child, would you offer this to your Father? For if you offer it to yourself, you are offering it to Him. And He will not return it, for it is unworthy of you because it is unworthy of Him. Yet He would release you from it and set you free. His sane Answer tells you what you have offered yourself is not true, but His offering to you has never changed. You who know not what you do can learn what insanity is, and look beyond it. It is given you to learn how to deny insanity, and come forth from your private world in peace. You will see all that you denied in your brothers because you denied it in yourself. For you will love them, and by drawing nigh unto them you will draw them to yourself, perceiving them as witnesses to the reality you share with God. I am with them as I am with you, and we will draw them from their private worlds, for as we are united so would we unite with them. The Father welcomes all of us in gladness, and gladness is what we should offer Him. For every Son of God is given you to whom God gave Himself. And it is God Whom you must offer them, to recognise His gift to you.

Vision depends on light. You cannot see in darkness. Yet in darkness, in the private world of sleep, you see in dreams although your eyes are closed. And it is here that what you see you made. But let the darkness go and all you made you will no longer see, for sight of it depends upon denying vision. Yet from denying vision it does not follow you cannot see. But this is what denial does, for by it you accept insanity, believing you can make a private world and rule your own perception. Yet for this, light must be excluded. Dreams disappear when light has come and you can see.

Do not seek vision through your eyes, for you made your way of seeing that you might see in darkness, and in this you are deceived. Beyond this darkness, and yet still within you, is the vision of Christ, Who looks on all in light. Your ‘vision’ comes from fear, as His from love. And He sees for you, as your witness to the real world. He is the Holy Spirit’s manifestation, looking always on the real world, and calling forth its witnesses and drawing them to you. He loves what He sees within you, and He would extend it. And He will not return unto the Father until He has extended your perception even unto Him. And there perception is no more, for He has returned you to the Father with Him.

You have but two emotions, and one you made and one was given you. Each is a way of seeing, and different worlds arise from their different sights. See through the vision that is given you, for through Christ’s vision He beholds Himself. And seeing what He is, He knows His Father. Beyond your darkest dreams He sees God’s guiltless Son within you, shining in perfect radiance that is undimmed by your dreams. And this you will see as you look with Him, for His vision is His gift of love to you, given Him of the Father for you.

The Holy Spirit is the Light in which Christ stands revealed. And all who would behold Him can see Him, for they have asked for light. Nor will they see Him alone, for He is no more alone than they are. Because they saw the Son, they have risen in Him to the Father. And all this will they understand, because they looked within and saw beyond the darkness the Christ in them, and recognised Him. In the sanity of His vision they looked upon themselves with love, seeing themselves as the Holy Spirit sees them. And with this vision of the truth in them came all the beauty of the world to shine upon them.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 19

Lesson 107

Truth will correct all errors in my mind.

1. What can correct illusions but the truth? And what are errors but illusions that remain unrecognized for what they are? Where truth has entered errors disappear. They merely vanish, leaving not a trace by which to be remembered. They are gone because, without belief, they have no life. And so they disappear to noth­ingness, returning whence they came. From dust to dust they come and go, for only truth remains.

2. Can you imagine what a state of mind without illusions is? How it would feel? Try to remember when there was a time,—perhaps a minute, maybe even less—when nothing came to inter­rupt your peace; when you were certain you were loved and safe. Then try to picture what it would be like to have that moment be extended to the end of time and to eternity. Then let the sense of quiet that you felt be multiplied a hundred times, and then be multiplied another hundred more.

3. And now you have a hint, not more than just the faintest inti­mation of the state your mind will rest in when the truth has come. Without illusions there could be no fear, no doubt and no attack. When truth has come all pain is over, for there is no room for transitory thoughts and dead ideas to linger in your mind. Truth occupies your mind completely, liberating you from all beliefs in the ephemeral. They have no place because the truth has come, and they are nowhere. They can not be found, for truth is everywhere forever, now.

4. When truth has come it does not stay a while, to disappear or change to something else. It does not shift and alter in its form, nor come and go and go and come again. It stays exactly as it always was, to be depended on in every need, and trusted with a perfect trust in all the seeming difficulties and the doubts that the appearances the world presents engender. They will merely blow away, when truth corrects the errors in your mind.

5. When truth has come it harbors in its wings the gift of perfect constancy, and love which does not falter in the face of pain, but looks beyond it, steadily and sure. Here is the gift of healing, for the truth needs no defense, and therefore no attack is possible. Illusions can be brought to truth to be corrected. But the truth stands far beyond illusions, and can not be brought to them to turn them into truth.

6. Truth does not come and go nor shift nor change, in this appearance now and then in that, evading capture and escaping grasp. It does not hide. It stands in open light, in obvious acces­sibility. It is impossible that anyone could seek it truly, and would not succeed. Today belongs to truth. Give truth its due, and it will give you yours. You were not meant to suffer and to die. Your Father wills these dreams be gone. Let truth correct them all.

7. We do not ask for what we do not have. We merely ask for what belongs to us, that we may recognize it as our own. Today we practice on the happy note of certainty that has been born of truth. The shaky and unsteady footsteps of illusion are not our approach today. We are as certain of success as we are sure we live and hope and breathe and think. We do not doubt we walk with truth today, and count on it to enter into all the exercises that we do this day.

8. Begin by asking Him Who goes with you upon this undertak­ing that He be in your awareness as you go with Him. You are not made of flesh and blood and bone, but were created by the selfsame Thought which gave the gift of life to Him as well. He is your Brother, and so like to you your Father knows that You are both the same. It is your Self you ask to go with you, and how could He be absent where you are?

9. Truth will correct all errors in your mind which tell you you could be apart from Him. You speak to Him today, and make your pledge to let His function be fulfilled through you. To share His function is to share His joy. His confidence is with you, as you say:

Truth will correct all errors in my mind,
And I will rest in Him Who is my Self.

Then let Him lead you gently to the truth, which will envelop you and give you peace so deep and tranquil that you will return to the familiar world reluctantly.

10. And yet you will be glad to look again upon this world. For you will bring with you the promise of the changes which the truth that goes with you will carry to the world. They will increase with every gift you give of five small minutes, and the errors that surround the world will be corrected as you let them be corrected in your mind.

11. Do not forget your function for today. Each time you tell yourself with confidence, “Truth will correct all errors in my mind,” you speak for all the world and Him Who would release the world, as He would set you free.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What does A Course in Miracles mean by creation as a process?

A) Since creation is outside the temporal and spatial realms, it is not a process that can be understood by the human brain, conditioned by thoughts of time and space. Creation, as understood by A Course in Miracles, is synonymous with non-spatial extension, the “process” whereby God extends His Being and His Love in an ongoing outpouring of His Self. This is an outpouring, however, that never leaves His Mind and thus is never outside Him. Since God’s creation — Christ — shares in the attributes of its Creator, Christ likewise creates in the same process of extension.

As the Course explains:

To extend is a fundamental aspect of God which He gave to His Son. In the creation, God extended Himself to His creations and imbued them with the same loving Will to create (T-2.1.1:1-2).… 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 (T-7.1.5:2-4).

The Son’s creations (to be defined in the next question) remain within the One Mind of Christ, as Christ remains within the One Mind of God. Oneness naturally can only remain as One, as this passage from the workbook expresses:

God’s Thoughts [Christ] are given all the power that their own Creator has. For He would add to Love by its extension. Thus His Son shares in creation, and must therefore share in power to create. What God has willed to be forever One will still be One when time is over; and will not be changed throughout the course of time, remaining as it was before the thought of time began (W-pII.11.2).

Again, what is referred to below as the “circle of creation” cannot be understood in physical terms, or in what is labeled as creativity in the world. Here in this world, creator and creation are separate; in Heaven they are one — a state that is beyond our understanding. The following passages from the text make that clear:

The circle of creation has no end. Its starting and its ending are the same. But in itself it holds the universe of all creation, without beginning and without an end (T-28.11.1:6-8).Your function is to add to God’s treasure by creating yours. His Will to you is His Will for you.  He would not withhold creation from you because His joy is in it. You cannot find joy except as God does. His joy lay in creating you, and He extends His Fatherhood to you so that you can extend yourself as He did. You do not understand this because you do not understand Him. No one who does not accept his function can understand what it is, and no one can accept his function unless he knows what he is (T-8.VI.6:1-7).

Forgiveness, which we can understand, is our function while believing we are here in the world, and is the process by which we learn to accept our Identity as Christ. It is this acceptance, again, which allows us finally to understand reality and what it means to be as God created us.

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 18, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 18

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

IV. The Function of Time

And now the reason why you are afraid of this course should be apparent. For this is a course on love, because it is about you. You have been told that your function in this world is healing, and your function in Heaven is creating. The ego teaches that your function on earth is destruction, and you have no function at all in Heaven. It would thus destroy you here and bury you here, leaving you no inheritance except the dust out of which it thinks you were made. As long as it is reasonably satisfied with you, as its reasoning goes, it offers you oblivion. When it becomes overtly savage, it offers you hell.

Yet neither oblivion nor hell is as unacceptable to you as Heaven. Your definition of Heaven is hell and oblivion, and the real Heaven is the greatest threat you think you could experience. For hell and oblivion are ideas that you made up, and you are bent on demonstrating their reality to establish yours. If their reality is questioned, you believe that yours is. For you believe that attack is your reality, and that your destruction is the final proof that you were right.

Under the circumstances, would it not be more desirable to have been wrong, even apart from the fact that you were wrong? While it could perhaps be argued that death suggests there was life, no one would claim that it proves there is life. Even the past life that death might indicate, could only have been futile if it must come to this, and needs this to prove that it was at all. You question Heaven, but you do not question this. Yet. you could heal and be healed if you did question it. And even though you know not Heaven, might it not be more desirable than death? You have been as selective in your questioning as in your perception. An open mind is more honest than this.

The ego has a strange notion of time, and it is with this notion that your questioning might well begin. The ego invests heavily in the past, and in the end believes that the past is the only aspect of time that is meaningful. Remember that its emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future like the past, and thus avoiding the present. By the notion of paying for the past in the future, the past becomes the determiner of the future, making them continuous without an intervening present. For the ego regards the present only as a brief transition to the future, in which it brings the past to the future by interpreting the present in past terms.

‘Now’ has no meaning to the ego. The present merely reminds it of past hurts, and it reacts to the present as if it were the past. The ego cannot tolerate release from the past, and although the past is over, the ego tries to preserve its image by responding as if it were present. It dictates your reactions to those you meet in the present from a past reference point, obscuring their present reality. In effect, if you follow the ego’s dictates you will react to your brother as though he were someone else, and this will surely prevent you from recognising him as he is. And you will receive messages from him out of your own past because, by making it real in the present, you are forbidding yourself to let it go. You thus deny yourself the message of release that every brother offers you now.

The shadowy figures from the past are precisely what you must escape. They are not real, and have no hold over you unless you bring them with you. They carry the spots of pain in your mind, directing you to attack in the present in retaliation for a past that is no more. And this decision is one of future pain. Unless you learn that past pain is an illusion, you are choosing a future of illusions and losing the many opportunities you could find for release in the present. The ego would preserve your nightmares, and prevent you from awakening and understanding they are past. Would you recognise a holy encounter if you are merely perceiving it as a meeting with your own past? For you would be meeting no one, and the sharing of salvation, which makes the encounter holy, would be excluded from your sight. The Holy Spirit teaches that you always meet yourself, and the encounter is holy because you are. The ego teaches that you always encounter your past, and because your dreams were not holy, the future cannot be, and the present is without meaning.

It is evident that the Holy Spirit’s perception of time is the exact opposite of the ego’s. The reason is equally clear, for they perceive the goal of time as diametrically opposed. The Holy Spirit interprets time’s purpose as rendering the need for time unnecessary. He regards the function of time as temporary, serving only His teaching function, which is temporary by definition. His emphasis is therefore on the only aspect of time that can extend to the infinite, for now is the closest approximation of eternity that this world offers. It is in the reality of ‘now’, without past or future, that the beginning of the appreciation of eternity lies. For only ‘now’ is here, and only ‘now’ presents the opportunities for the holy encounters in which salvation can be found.

The ego, on the other hand, regards the function of time as one of extending itself in place of eternity, for like the Holy Spirit, the ego interprets the goal of time as its own. The continuity of past and future, under its direction, is the only purpose the ego perceives in time, and it closes over the present so that no gap in its own continuity can occur, Its continuity, then, would keep you in time, while the Holy Spirit would release you from it. It is His interpretation of the means of salvation that you must learn to accept, if you would share His goal of salvation for you.

You, too, will interpret the function of time as you interpret yours. If you accept your function in the world of time as one of healing, you will emphasise only the aspect of time in which healing can occur. Healing cannot be accomplished in the past. It must be accomplished in the present to release the future. This interpretation ties the future to the present, and extends the present rather than the past. But if you interpret your function as destruction, you will lose sight of the present and hold on to the past to ensure a destructive future. And time will be as you interpret it, for of itself it is nothing.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 18

Lesson 106

Let me be still and listen to the truth.

1. If you will lay aside the ego’s voice, however loudly it may seem to call; if you will not accept its petty gifts that give you nothing that you really want; if you will listen with an open mind, that has not told you what salvation is; then you will hear the mighty Voice of truth, quiet in power, strong in stillness, and completely certain in Its messages.

2. Listen, and hear your Father speak to you through His appointed Voice, which silences the thunder of the meaningless, and shows the way to peace to those who cannot see. Be still today and listen to the truth. Be not deceived by voices of the dead, which tell you they have found the source of life and offer it to you for your belief. Attend them not, but listen to the truth.

3. Be not afraid today to circumvent the voices of the world. Walk lightly past their meaningless persuasion. Hear them not. Be still today and listen to the truth. Go past all things which do not speak of Him Who holds your happiness within His Hand, held out to you in welcome and in love. Hear only Him today, and do not wait to reach Him longer. Hear one Voice today.

4. Today the promise of God’s Word is kept. Hear and be silent. He would speak to you. He comes with miracles a thousand times as happy and as wonderful as those you ever dreamed or wished for in your dreams. His miracles are true. They will not fade when dreaming ends. They end the dream instead; and last forever, for they come from God to His dear Son, whose other name is you. Prepare yourself for miracles today. Today allow your Father’s ancient pledge to you and all your brothers to be kept.

5. Hear Him today, and listen to the Word which lifts the veil that lies upon the earth, and wakes all those who sleep and cannot see. God calls to them through you. He needs your voice to speak to them, for who could reach God’s Son except his Father, calling through your Self? Hear Him today, and offer Him your voice to speak to all the multitude who wait to hear the Word that He will speak today.

6. Be ready for salvation. It is here, and will today be given unto you. And you will learn your function from the One Who chose it in your Father’s Name for you. Listen today, and you will hear a Voice which will resound throughout the world through you. The bringer of all miracles has need that you receive them first, and thus become the joyous giver of what you received.

7. Thus does salvation start and thus it ends; when everything is yours and everything is given away, it will remain with you for­ever. And the lesson has been learned. Today we practice giv­ing, not the way you understand it now, but as it is. Each hour’s exercises should begin with this request for your enlightenment:

I will be still and listen to the truth.
What does it mean to give and to receive?

8. Ask and expect an answer. Your request is one whose answer has been waiting long to be received by you. It will begin the ministry for which you came, and which will free the world from thinking giving is a way to lose. And so the world becomes ready to understand and to receive.

9. Be still and listen to the truth today. For each five minutes spent in listening, a thousand minds are opened to the truth and they will hear the holy Word you hear. And when the hour is past, you will again release a thousand more who pause to ask that truth be given them, along with you.

10. Today the holy Word of God is kept through your receiving it to give away, so you can teach the world what giving means by listening and learning it of Him. Do not forget today to reinforce your choice to hear and to receive the Word by this reminder, given to yourself as often as is possible today:

Let me be still and listen to the truth.
I am the messenger of God today,
My voice is His, to give what I receive.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What does A Course in Miracles mean by creation?

A) In A Course in Miraclescreation does not refer to anything physical, and therefore has nothing to do with material or artistic creation. Rather, creation involves only spirit, and can be defined as the sum of all God’s Thoughts; infinite, unlimited, without beginning or end (W-pII.11.1:1). Christ, the one Son of God, is the term the Course uses to denote God’s creation. Christ is at one with His Creator, and there is nowhere where God ends and the Son begins (W-pI.132.12:4). Therefore, while God is the First Cause and Christ is His Effect, in a non-dualistic Heaven — the state of perfect Oneness — there can be no separation or distinction between Creator and created. Cause and Effect are thus indivisible and unseparated. Furthermore, God’s creation must share in the non-dualistic, non-physical attributes of its Source.  As the Creator is perfect, changeless, formless spirit, eternal life, and infinite love — whole and unified within Itself — so too must Its creation, Christ, be the same. Therefore, God and Christ are not bodies, nor are They physical and psychological entities with personalities. In “What Is Creation?” from Part 11 of the workbook, we find this lovely, summarizing paragraph:

Creation is the opposite of all illusions, for creation is the truth. Creation is the holy Son of God, for in creation is His Will complete in every aspect,    making every part container of the Whole. Its oneness is forever guaranteed inviolate; forever held within His holy Will, beyond all possibility of harm, of separation, imperfection and of any spot upon its sinlessness ( W-pII.11.3).

hostage or host

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 17, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 17

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

III. The Fear of Redemption

You may wonder why it is so crucial that you look upon your hatred and realise its full extent. You may also think that it would be easy enough for the Holy Spirit to show it to you, and to dispel it without the need for you to raise it to awareness yourself. Yet there is one more obstacle you have interposed between yourself and the Atonement. We have said that no one will countenance fear if he recognises it. Yet in your disordered state of mind you are not afraid of fear. You do not like it, but it is not your desire to attack that really frightens you. You are not seriously disturbed by your hostility. You keep it hidden because you are more afraid of what it covers. You could look even upon the ego’s darkest cornerstone without fear if you did not believe that, without the ego, you would find within yourself something you fear even more. You are not really afraid of crucifixion. Your real terror is of redemption.

Under the ego’s dark foundation is the memory of God, and it is of this that you are really afraid. For this memory would instantly restore you to your proper place, and it is this place that you have sought to leave. Your fear of attack is nothing compared to your fear of love. You would be willing to look even upon your savage wish to kill God’s Son, if you did not believe that it saves you from love. For this wish caused the separation, and you have protected it because you do not want the separation healed. You realise that, by removing the dark cloud that obscures it, your love for your Father would impel you to answer His call and leap into Heaven. You believe that attack is salvation because it would prevent you from this. For still deeper than the ego’s foundation, and much stronger than it will ever be, is your intense and burning love of God, and His for you. This is what you really want to hide.

In honesty, is it not harder for you to say ‘I love’ than ‘I hate’? You associate love with weakness and hatred with strength, and your own real power seems to you as your real weakness. For you could not control your joyous response to the call of love if you heard it, and the whole world you thought you made would vanish. The Holy Spirit, then, seems to be attacking your fortress, for you would shut out God, and He does not will to be excluded.

You have built your whole insane belief system because you think you would be helpless in God’s Presence, and you would save yourself from His Love because you think it would crush you into nothingness. You are afraid it would sweep you away from yourself and make you little, because you believe that magnitude lies in defiance, and that attack is grandeur. You think you have made a world God would destroy; and by loving Him, which you do, you would throw this world away, which you would. Therefore, you have used the world to cover your love, and the deeper you go into the blackness of the ego’s foundation, the closer you come to the Love that is hidden there. And it is this that frightens you.

You can accept insanity because you made it, but you cannot accept love because you did not. You would rather be a slave of the crucifixion than a Son of God in redemption. Your individual death seems more valuable than your living oneness, for what is given you is not so dear as what you made. You are more afraid of God than of the ego, and love cannot enter where it is not welcome. But hatred can, for it enters of its own volition and cares not for yours.

You must look upon your illusions and not keep them hidden, because they do not rest on their own foundation. In concealment they appear to do so, and thus they seem to be self-sustained. This is the fundamental illusion on which the others rest. For beneath them, and concealed as long as they are hidden, is the loving mind that thought it made them in anger. And the pain in this mind is so apparent, when it is uncovered, that its need of healing cannot be denied. Not all the tricks and games you offer it can heal it, for here is the real crucifixion of God’s Son.

And yet he is not crucified. Here is both his pain and his healing, for the Holy Spirit’s vision is merciful and His remedy is quick. Do not hide suffering from His sight, but bring it gladly to Him. Lay before His eternal sanity all your hurt, and let Him heal you. Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from His Light, and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover. For He will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you and cleanse it of its littleness, restoring it to the magnitude of God.

Beneath all the grandiosity you hold so dear is your real call for help. For you call for love to your Father as your Father calls you to Himself. In that place which you have hidden, you will only to unite with the Father, in loving remembrance of Him. You will find this place of truth as you see it in your brothers, for though they may deceive themselves, like you they long for the grandeur that is in them. And perceiving it you will welcome it, and it will be yours. For grandeur is the right of God’s Son, and no illusions can satisfy him or save him from what he is. Only his love is real, and he will be content only with his reality.

Save him from his illusions that you may accept the magnitude of your Father in peace and joy. But exempt no one from your love, or you will be hiding a dark place in your mind where the Holy Spirit is not welcome. And thus you will exempt yourself from His healing power, for by not offering total love you will not be healed completely. Healing must be as complete as fear, for love cannot enter where there is one spot of fear to mar its welcome.

You who prefer separation to sanity cannot obtain it in your right mind. You were at peace until you asked for special favour. And God did not give it for the request was alien to Him, and you could not ask this of a Father Who truly loved His Son. Therefore you made of Him an unloving father, demanding of Him what only such a father could give. And the peace of God’s Son was shattered, for he no longer understood his Father. He feared what he had made, but still more did he fear his real Father, having attacked his own glorious equality with Him.

In peace he needed nothing and asked for nothing. In war he demanded everything and found nothing. For how could the gentleness of love respond to his demands, except by departing in peace and returning to the Father? If the Son did not wish to remain in peace, he could not remain at all. For a darkened mind cannot live in the light, and it must seek a place of darkness where it can believe it is where it is not. God did not allow this to happen. Yet you demanded that it happen, and therefore believed that it was so.

To ‘single out’ is to ‘make alone’, and thus make lonely. God did not do this to you. Could He set you apart, knowing that your peace lies in His Oneness? He denied you only your request for pain, for suffering is not of His creation. Having given you creation, He could not take it from you. He could but answer your insane request with a sane answer that would abide with you in your insanity. And this He did. No one who hears His answer but will give up insanity. For His answer is the reference point beyond illusions, from which you can look back on them and see them as insane. But seek this place and you will find it, for Love is in you and will lead you there.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 17

Lesson 105

God’s peace and joy are mine.

1. God’s peace and joy are yours. Today we will accept them, knowing they belong to us. And we will try to understand these gifts increase as we receive them. They are not like to the gifts the world can give, in which the giver loses as he gives the gift; the taker is the richer by his loss. Such are not gifts, but bargains made with guilt. The truly given gift entails no loss. It is impos­sible that one can gain because another loses. This implies a limit and an insufficiency.

2. No gift is given thus. Such “gifts” are but a bid for a more valuable return; a loan with interest to be paid in full; a temporary lending, meant to be a pledge of debt to be repaid with more than was received by him who took the gift. This strange distortion of what giving means pervades all levels of the world you see. It strips all meaning from the gifts you give, and leaves you nothing in the ones you take.

3. A major learning goal this course has set is to reverse your view of giving, so you can receive. For giving has become a source of fear, and so you would avoid the only means by which you can receive. Accept God’s peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift. God’s gifts will never lessen when they are given away. They but increase thereby.

4. As Heaven’s peace and joy intensify when you accept them as God’s gift to you, so does the joy of your Creator grow when you accept His joy and peace as yours. True giving is creation. It extends the limitless to the unlimited, eternity to timelessness, and love unto itself. It adds to all that is complete already, not in simple terms of adding more, for that implies that it was less before. It adds by letting what cannot contain itself fulfill its aim of giving everything it has away, securing it forever for itself.

5. Today accept God’s peace and joy as yours. Let Him complete Himself as He defines completion. You will understand that what completes Him must complete His Son as well. He cannot give through loss. No more can you. Receive His gift of joy and peace today, and He will thank you for your gift to Him.

6. Today our practice periods will start a little differently. Begin today by thinking of those brothers who have been denied by you the peace and joy that are their right under the equal laws of God. Here you denied them to yourself. And here you must return to claim them as your own.

7. Think of your “enemies” a little while, and tell each one, as he occurs to you:

My brother, peace and joy I offer you,
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.

Thus you prepare yourself to recognize God’s gifts to you, and let your mind be free of all that would prevent success today. Now are you ready to accept the gift of peace and joy that God has given you. Now are you ready to experience the joy and peace you have denied yourself. Now you can say, “God’s peace and joy are mine,” for you have given what you would receive.

8. You must succeed today, if you prepare your mind as we sug­gest. For you have let all bars to peace and joy be lifted up, and what is yours can come to you at last. So tell yourself, “God’s peace and joy are mine,” and close your eyes a while, and let His Voice assure you that the words you speak are true.

9. Spend your five minutes thus with Him each time you can today, but do not think that less is worthless when you cannot give Him more. At least remember hourly to say the words which call to Him to give you what He wills to give, and wills you to receive. Determine not to interfere today with what He wills. And if a brother seems to tempt you to deny God’s gift to him, see it as but another chance to let yourself receive the gifts of God as yours. Then bless your brother thankfully, and say:

My brother, peace and joy I offer you,
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If all life here is an illusion, why does A Course in Miracles refer to “living things”? 

A) Here again, we must understand Jesus’ use of language. Passages in which that phrase appears, as in Lesson 195 for example, are written on the level of our experience and not Jesus’ reality. For it is within the dream of our individual existence in this world that we indeed do form relationships with “living things.” And therefore, as is the message of that lesson, we should feel grateful to those beings for the learning opportunities our relationships with them afford us; namely, that what we projected onto them is simply a mistaken belief in our own guilt. 

For Jesus to insist that we relate to him on his level would indeed make no sense, as we have already discussed, for our experience remains rooted within the dream. And so his purpose of expressing his truth on the level of our capacity to understand must be recognized by Course students lest they seriously misinterpret his message. Jesus specifically tells us that there is no life outside Heaven, as we saw in an earlier question, and so there can be no “living things” in the world. But since we believe we are alive here, relating to other beings we believe are alive here as well, it would be pointless for Jesus to demand that we accept a truth that our fear precludes us from accepting at this time. Therefore, reflecting his gentle love for us, he speaks about “living things,” even though on another level there is nothing living here at all. 

teach not that i died in vain

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 16, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 16

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

II. The Guiltless Son of God

The ultimate purpose of projection is always to get rid of guilt. Yet, characteristically, the ego attempts to get rid of guilt from its viewpoint only, for much as the ego wants to retain guilt you find it intolerable, since guilt stands in the way of your remembering God, Whose pull is so strong that you cannot resist it. On this issue, then, the deepest split of all occurs, for if you are to retain guilt, as the ego insists, you cannot be you. Only by persuading you that it is you could the ego possibly induce you to project guilt, and thereby keep it in your mind.

Yet consider how strange a solution the ego’s arrangement is. You project guilt to get rid of it, but you are actually merely concealing it. You do experience the guilt, but you have no idea why. On the contrary, you associate it with a weird assortment of ‘ego ideals’, which the ego claims you have failed. Yet you have no idea that you are failing the Son of God by seeing him as guilty. Believing you are no longer you, you do not realise that you are failing yourself.

The darkest of your hidden cornerstones holds your belief in guilt from your awareness. For in that dark and secret place is the realisation that you have betrayed God’s Son by condemning him to death. You do not even suspect this murderous but insane idea lies hidden there, for the ego’s destructive urge is so intense that nothing short of the crucifixion of God’s Son can ultimately satisfy it. It does not know who the Son of God is because it is blind. Yet let it perceive guiltlessness anywhere, and it will try to destroy it because it is afraid.

Much of the ego’s strange behaviour is directly attributable to its definition of guilt. To the ego, the guiltless are guilty. Those who do not attack are its ‘enemies’ because, by not valuing its interpretation of salvation, they are in an excellent position to let it go. They have approached the darkest and deepest cornerstone in the ego’s foundation, and while the ego can withstand your raising all else to question, it guards this one secret with its life, for its existence depends on keeping this secret. So it is this secret that we must look upon, for the ego cannot protect you against truth, and in its presence the ego is dispelled.

In the calm light of truth, let us recognise that you believe you have crucified God’s Son. You have not admitted to this ‘terrible’ secret because you would still wish to crucify him if you could find him. Yet the wish has hidden him from you because it is very fearful, and so you are afraid to find him. You have handled this wish to kill yourself by not knowing who you are, and identifying with something else. You have projected guilt blindly and indiscriminately, but you have not uncovered its source. For the ego does want to kill you, and if you identify with it you must believe its goal is yours.

I have said that the crucifixion is the symbol of the ego. When it was confronted with the real guiltlessness of God’s Son it did attempt to kill him, and the reason it gave was that guiltlessness is blasphemous to God. To the ego, the ego is God, and guiltlessness must be interpreted as the final guilt that fully justifies murder. You do not yet understand that any fear you may experience in connection with this course stems ultimately from this interpretation, but if you will consider your reactions to it you will become increasingly convinced that this is so.

This course has explicitly stated that its goal for you is happiness and peace. Yet you are afraid of it. You have been told again and again that it will set you free, yet you sometimes react as if it is trying to imprison you. You often dismiss it more readily than you dismiss the ego’s thought system. To some extent, then, you must believe that by not learning the course you are protecting yourself. And you do not realise that it is only your guiltlessness that can protect you.

The Atonement has always been interpreted as the release from guilt, and this is correct if it is understood. Yet even when I interpret it for you, you may reject it and do not accept it for yourself. You have perhaps recognised the futility of the ego and its offerings, but though you do not want them, you may not yet look upon the alternative with gladness. In the extreme, you are afraid of redemption and you believe it will kill you. Make no mistake about the depth of this fear. For you believe that, in the presence of truth you might turn on yourself and destroy yourself.

Little child, this is not so. Your ‘guilty secret’ is nothing, and if you will but bring it to the light, the Light will dispel it. And then no dark cloud will remain between you and the remembrance of your Father, for you will remember His guiltless Son, who did not die because he is immortal. And you will see that you were redeemed with him, and have never been separated from him. In this understanding lies your remembering, for it is the recognition of love without fear. There will be great joy in Heaven on your homecoming, and the joy will be yours. For the redeemed son of man is the guiltless Son of God, and to recognise him is your redemption.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 16

Lesson 104

I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

1. Today’s idea continues with the thought that joy and peace are not but idle dreams. They are your right, because of what you are. They come to you from God, Who cannot fail to give you what He wills. Yet must there be a place made ready to receive His gifts. They are not welcomed gladly by a mind that has in­stead received the gifts it made where His belong, as substitutes for them.

2. Today we would remove all meaningless and self-made gifts which we have placed upon the holy altar where God’s gifts belong. His are the gifts that are our own in truth. His are the gifts that we inherited before time was, and that will still be ours when time has passed into eternity. His are the gifts that are within us now, for they are timeless. And we need not wait to have them. They belong to us today.

3. Therefore, we choose to have them now, and know, in choosing them in place of what we made, we but unite our will with what God wills, and recognize the same as being one. Our longer practice periods today, the hourly five minutes given truth for your salvation, should begin with this:

I seek but what belongs to me in truth,
And joy and peace are my inheritance.

Then lay aside the conflicts of the world that offer other gifts and other goals made of illusions, witnessed to by them, and sought for only in a world of dreams.

4. All this we lay aside, and seek instead that which is truly ours, as we ask to recognize what God has given us. We clear a holy place within our minds before His altar, where His gifts of peace and joy are welcome, and to which we come to find what has been given us by Him. We come in confidence today, aware that what belongs to us in truth is what He gives. And we would wish for nothing else, for nothing else belongs to us in truth.

5. So do we clear the way for Him today by simply recognizing that His Will is done already, and that joy and peace belong to us as His eternal gifts. We will not let ourselves lose sight of them between the times we come to seek for them where He has laid them. This reminder will we bring to mind as often as we can:

I seek but what belongs to me in truth.
God’s gifts of joy and peace are all I want.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) A Course in Miracles teaches that all has already happened. Isn’t  this the same as predestination? 

A) The traditional understanding of predestination, stemming from John Calvin, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, is that from the beginning of time God had chosen (predestined) those to be saved (the “elect”) and those to be punished (the “sinners”) in the future. And this decision was irrevocable and unchangeable. 

The view of A Course in Miracles is that yes, everything has already happened — and in that sense the drama of the world is irrevocable (“the script is written”) — but this includesboth the ego’s script and the Holy Spirit’s correction for it. To re-quote an important passage:

God gave His Teacher to replace the one you made …. And what He would replace has been replaced. Time lasted but an instant in your mind, with no effect upon eternity.  And so is all time past, and everything exactly as it was before the way to nothingness was made.  The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that one, and all of them that came within the first 
(T-26.V.3:1-5).

Therefore, in A Course in Miracles, the agent of predestination is the “decision maker,” not God, for it is this aspect of the tri-partite or split mind that has authored the scripts of our lives in the physical universe. However, this same split mind has the capacity, through the “decision maker,” to choose at any given instant which teacher — the ego or Jesus — will guide us as we “review mentally” the scripts that have “already gone by.” The “we,” to make the point once again, is not the self we call ourselves by name, but rather the “decision maker” in our minds — outside time and space, and outside the ancient ego script.  And here the choice is certainly not predestined. It is thus clear that the Course’s statement “the script is written” is not to be understood temporally at all, while the traditional view of predestination is, for it is based upon a decision made by God in the past, which will inevitably be carried out in the future. 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 15, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 15

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

I. Guiltlessness and Invulnerability

Earlier, I said that the Holy Spirit shares the goal of all good teachers, whose ultimate aim is to make themselves unnecessary by teaching their pupils all they know. The Holy Spirit wants only this, for sharing the Father’s Love for His Son, He seeks to remove all guilt from his mind that he may remember his Father in peace. Peace and guilt are antithetical, and the Father can be remembered only in peace. Love and guilt cannot coexist, and to accept one is to deny the other. Guilt hides Christ from your sight, for it is the denial of the blamelessness of God’s Son.

In the strange world that you have made the Son of God has sinned. How could you see him, then? By making him invisible, the world of retribution rose in the black cloud of guilt that you accepted, and you hold it dear. For the blamelessness of Christ is the proof that the ego never was, and can never be. Without guilt the ego has no life, and God’s Son is without guilt.

As you look upon yourself and judge what you do honestly, you may be tempted to wonder how you can be guiltless. Yet consider this: You are not guiltless in time, but in eternity. You have ‘sinned’ in the past, but there is no past. Always has no direction. Time seems to go in one direction, but when you reach its end it will roll up like a long carpet spread along the past behind you, and will disappear. As long as you believe the Son of God is guilty you will walk along this carpet, believing that it leads to death. And the journey will seem long and cruel and senseless, for so it is.

The journey the Son of God has set himself is useless indeed, but the journey on which his Father sets him is one of release and joy. The Father is not cruel, and His Son cannot hurt himself. The retaliation that he fears and that he sees will never touch him, for although he believes in it the Holy Spirit knows it is not true. The Holy Spirit stands at the end of time, where you must be because He is with you. He has already undone everything unworthy of the Son of God, for such was His mission, given Him by God. And what God gives has always been.

You will see me as you learn the Son of God is guiltless. He has always sought his guiltlessness, and he has found it. For everyone is seeking to escape from the prison he has made, and the way to find release is not denied him. Being in him, he has found it. When he finds it is only a matter of time, and time is but an illusion. For the Son of God is guiltless now, and the brightness of his purity shines untouched forever in God’s Mind. God’s Son will always be as he was created. Deny your world and judge him not, for his eternal guiltlessness is in the Mind of his Father, and protects him forever.

When you have accepted the Atonement for yourself, you will realise there is no guilt in God’s Son. And only as you look upon him as guiltless can you understand his oneness. For the idea of guilt brings a belief in condemnation of one by another, projecting separation in place of unity. You can condemn only yourself, and by so doing you cannot know that you are God’s Son. You have denied the condition of his being, which is his perfect blamelessness. Out of love he was created, and in love he abides. Goodness and mercy have always followed him, for he has always extended the Love of his Father.

As you perceive the holy companions who travel with you, you will realise that there is no journey, but only an awakening. The Son of God, who sleepeth not, has kept faith with his Father for you. There is no road to travel on, and no time to travel through. For God waits not for His Son in time, being forever unwilling to be without him. And so it has always been. Let the holiness of God’s Son shine away the cloud of guilt that darkens your mind, and by accepting his purity as yours, learn of him that it is yours.

You are invulnerable because you are guiltless. You can hold on to the past only through guilt. For guilt establishes that you will be punished for what you have done, and thus depends on one-dimensional time, proceeding from past to future. No one who believes this can understand what ‘always’ means, and therefore guilt must deprive you of the appreciation of eternity. You are immortal because you are eternal, and ‘always’ must be now. Guilt, then, is a way of holding past and future in your mind to ensure the ego’s continuity. For if what has been will be punished, the ego’s continuity is guaranteed. Yet the guarantee of your continuity is God’s, not the ego’s. And immortality is the opposite of time, for time passes away, while immortality is constant.

Accepting the Atonement teaches you what immortality is, for by accepting your guiltlessness you learn that the past has never been, and so the future is needless and will not be. The future, in time, is always associated with expiation, and only guilt could induce a sense of a need for expiation. Accepting the guiltlessness of the Son of God as yours is therefore God’s way of reminding you of His Son, and what he is in truth. For God has never condemned His Son, and being guiltless he is eternal.

You cannot dispel guilt by making it real, and then atoning for it. This is the ego’s plan, which it offers instead of dispelling it. The ego believes in atonement through attack, being fully committed to the insane notion that attack is salvation. And you who cherish guilt must also believe it, for how else but by identifying with the ego could you hold dear what you do not want?

The ego teaches you to attack yourself because you are guilty, and this must increase the guilt, for guilt is the result of attack. In the ego’s teaching, then, there is no escape from guilt. For attack makes guilt real, and if it is real there is no way to overcome it. The Holy Spirit dispels it simply through the calm recognition that it has never been. As He looks upon the guiltless Son of God, He knows that this is true. And being true for you, you cannot attack yourself, for without guilt attack is impossible. You, then, are saved because God’s Son is guiltless. And being wholly pure, you are invulnerable.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 15

Lesson 103

God, being Love, is also happiness.

1. Happiness is an attribute of love. It cannot be apart from it. Nor can it be experienced where love is not. Love has no limits, being everywhere. And therefore joy is everywhere as well. Yet can the mind deny that this is so, believing there are gaps in love where sin can enter, bringing pain instead of joy. This strange belief would limit happiness by redefining love as limited, and introducing opposition in what has no limit and no opposite.

2. Fear is associated then with love, and its results become the heritage of minds that think what they have made is real. These images, with no reality in truth, bear witness to the fear of God, forgetting being Love, He must be joy. This basic error we will try again to bring to truth today, and teach ourselves:

God, being Love, is also happiness.
To fear Him is to be afraid of joy.

Begin your periods of practicing today with this association, which corrects the false belief that God is fear. It also emphasizes happiness belongs to you, because of what He is.

3. Allow this one correction to be placed within your mind each waking hour today. Then welcome all the happiness it brings as truth replaces fear, and joy becomes what you expect to take the place of pain. God, being Love, it will be given you. Bolster this expectation frequently throughout the day, and quiet all your fears with this assurance, kind and wholly true:

God, being Love, is also happiness.
And it is happiness I seek today.
I cannot fail, because I seek the truth.

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is the “holy instant,” and what is its role in the Atonement?

A) In a sense, understanding the holy instant parallels understanding the question of meditation we discussed above. The holy instant is not a period of meditation wherein the student has a “good experience,” and feels the presence of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, the holy instant is the Course’s term for the instant — outside time and space — when we choose the Holy Spirit as our teacher instead of the ego. It is the correction of forgiveness for the ego’s “unholy instant” of judgment and attack, the experience of undoing our guilt through Jesus’ help. It is this purpose which makes the instant holy, and establishes it as an integral part of the overall Atonement plan for correcting our misperceptions and misthoughts.

Moreover, the holy instant can be understood as the steps we take throughout our lives that gradually lead us closer and closer to the real world, in a sense the ultimate holy instant. Each time we are tempted to listen to the ego’s tale of specialness and the need for attack, we are reminded by Jesus that we can choose a miracle instead — “Let miracles replace all grievances” (workbook, pp.137-38; W-pI.78) — and have him help us make the shift in perception that constitutes the essence of forgiveness, the heart of the holy instant. In other words, the holy instants are the “little steps” of forgiveness the Course refers to that are the means for helping us undo our illusions so that we may reach our goal of truth. As we read in the Course:

Against the ego’s insane notion of salvation the Holy Spirit gently lays the holy instant …. The holy instant is the opposite of the ego’s fixed belief in salvation through vengeance for the past…. In the holy instant the power of the Holy Spirit will prevail, because you joined Him …. Release your brothers from the slavery of their illusions by forgiving them for the illusions you perceive in them. Thus will you learn that you have been forgiven, for it is you who offered them illusions. In the holy instant this is done for you in time, to bring you the true condition of Heaven (T-16.VII.6:1,3; 7:3; 9:5-7).

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 14, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 14

Chapter 13

THE GUILTLESS WORLD

Introduction

If you did not feel guilty you could not attack, for condemnation is the root of attack. It is the judgement of one mind by another as unworthy of love and deserving of punishment. But herein lies the split. For the mind that judges perceives itself as separate from the mind being judged, believing that by punishing another, it will escape punishment. All this is but the delusional attempt of the mind to deny itself, and escape the penalty of denial. It is not an attempt to relinquish denial, but to hold on to it. For it is guilt that has obscured the Father to you, and it is guilt that has driven you insane.

The acceptance of guilt into the mind of God’s Son was the beginning of the separation, as the acceptance of the Atonement is its end. The world you see is the delusional system of those made mad by guilt. Look carefully at this world, and you will realise that this is so. For this world is the symbol of punishment, and all the laws that seem to govern it are the laws of death. Children are born into it through pain and in pain. Their growth is attended by suffering, and they learn of sorrow and separation and death. Their minds seem to be trapped in their brain, and its powers to decline if their bodies are hurt. They seem to love, yet they desert and are deserted. They appear to lose what they love, perhaps the most insane belief of all. And their bodies wither and gasp and are laid in the ground, and are no more. Not one of them but has thought that God is cruel.

If this were the real world, God would be cruel. For no Father could subject His children to this as the price of salvation and be loving. Love does not kill to save. If it did, attack would be salvation, and this is the ego’s interpretation, not God’s. Only the world of guilt could demand this, for only the guilty could conceive of it. Adam’s ‘sin’ could have touched no one, had he not believed it was the Father Who drove him out of paradise. For in that belief the knowledge of the Father was lost, since only those who do not understand Him could believe it.

This world is a picture of the crucifixion of God’s Son. And until you realise that God’s Son cannot be crucified, this is the world you will see. Yet you will not realise this until you accept the eternal fact that God’s Son is not guilty. He deserves only love because he has given only love. He cannot be condemned because he has never condemned. The Atonement is the final lesson he need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 14

Lesson 102

I share God’s will for happiness for me.

1. You do not want to suffer. You may think it buys you some­thing, and may still believe a little that it buys you what you want. Yet this belief is surely shaken now, at least enough to let you question it, and to suspect it really makes no sense. It has not gone as yet, but lacks the roots that once secured it tightly to the dark and hidden secret places of your mind.

2. Today we try to loose its weakened hold still further, and to realize that pain is purposeless, without a cause and with no power to accomplish anything. It cannot purchase anything at all. It offers nothing, and does not exist. And everything you think it offers you is lacking in existence, like itself. You have been slave to nothing. Be you free today to join the happy Will of God.

3. For several days we will continue to devote our periods of practicing to exercises planned to help you reach the happiness God’s Will has placed in you. Here is your home, and here your safety is. Here is your peace, and here there is no fear. Here is salvation. Here is rest at last.

4. Begin your practice periods today with this acceptance of God’s Will for you:

I share God’s Will for happiness for me, and I accept it as my function now.

Then seek this function deep within your mind, for it is there, awaiting but your choice. You cannot fail to find it when you learn it is your choice, and that you share God’s Will.

5. Be happy, for your only function here is happiness. You have no need to be less loving to God’s Son than He Whose Love cre­ated him as loving as Himself. Besides these hourly five-minute rests, pause frequently today, to tell yourself that you have now accepted happiness as your one function. And be sure that you are joining with God’s Will in doing this.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

 If A Course in Miracles is a universal teaching, why did it come in such sectarian (i.e., Christian) terms. Doesn’t that limit its worldwide applicability?

While the basic message of A Course in Miracles is universal — “God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation” ( M-1.3:5) — its form certainly is not, nor is it meant to be. We have already quoted Jesus’ words to the effect that this is a “special curriculum,” which clearly reflects that it has a special audience: the Western world that has grown up under the strong influence of Christianity and 20th-century psychology, an influence that has not been very Christian nor spiritual. This is why the Course’s language is so Western, and, more specifically, Christian and psychodynamic in statement. As the specific spiritual path we call A Course in Miracles, the Course is simply not meant to have worldwide applicability. Other cultures and religious traditions have, and will continue to have their own spiritual paths, just as we in the Western world now have the Course, among many others. As we have repeatedly pointed out in this book, the universal joining with all people is the content of the universal course, but the specific ways in which people learn this lesson constitutes the forms of the “special curriculum,” of which A Course in Miracles is simply one example. Forms, almost by definition, are not the same and cannot blend together. Therefore they cannot be universal, or for all people. This is why Jesus teaches in the introduction to the clarification of terms, to repeat and extend this important statement:

A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed (C-in.2:5-6).

This “universal experience,” it goes without saying, is love, and A Course in Miracles is but one form of regaining it.

You but mistake interpretation

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 13

ACIM Text Reading for April 13

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

VIII. The Attraction of Love for Love

Do you really believe that you can kill the Son of God? The Father has hidden His Son safely within Himself, and kept him far away from your destructive thoughts, but you know neither the Father nor the Son because of them. You attack the real world every day and every hour and minute, and yet you are surprised that you cannot see it. If you seek love in order to attack it, you will never find it. For if love is sharing, how can you find it except through itself? Offer it and it will come to you, because it is drawn to itself. But offer attack and love will remain hidden, for it can live only in peace.

God’s Son is as safe as his Father, for the Son knows his Father’s protection and cannot fear. His Father’s Love holds him in perfect peace, and needing nothing, he asks for nothing. Yet he is far from you whose Self he is, for you chose to attack him and he disappeared from your sight into his Father. He did not change, but you did. For a split mind and all its works were not created by the Father, and could not live in the knowledge of Him.

When you made visible what is not true, what is true became invisible to you. Yet it cannot be invisible in itself, for the Holy Spirit sees it with perfect clarity. It is invisible to you because you are looking at something else. Yet it is no more up to you to decide what is visible and what is invisible, than it is up to you to decide what reality is. What can be seen is what the Holy Spirit sees. The definition of reality is God’s, not yours. He created it, and He knows what it is. You who knew have forgotten, and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourself to oblivion.

Because of your Father’s Love you can never forget Him, for no one can forget what God Himself placed in his memory. You can deny it, but you cannot lose it. A Voice will answer every question you ask, and a vision will correct the perception of everything you see. For what you have made invisible is the only truth, and what you have not heard is the only Answer. God would reunite you with yourself, and did not abandon you in your distress. You are waiting only for Him, and do not know it. Yet His memory shines in your mind and cannot be obliterated. It is no more past than future, being forever always.

You have but to ask for this memory, and you will remember. Yet the memory of God cannot shine in a mind that has obliterated it and wants to keep it so. For the memory of God can dawn only in a mind that chooses to remember, and that has relinquished the insane desire to control reality. You who cannot even control yourself should hardly aspire to control the universe. But look upon what you have made of it, and rejoice that it is not so.

Son of God, be not content with nothing! What is not real cannot be seen and has no value. God could not offer His Son what has no value, nor could His Son receive it. You were redeemed the instant you thought you had deserted Him. Everything you made has never been, and is invisible because the Holy Spirit does not see it. Yet what He does see is yours to behold, and through His vision your perception is healed. You have made invisible the only truth that this world holds. Valuing nothing, you have sought nothing. By making nothing real to you, you have seen it. But it is not there. And Christ is invisible to you because of what you have made visible to yourself.

Yet it does not matter how much distance you have tried to interpose between your awareness and truth. God’s Son can be seen because his vision is shared. The Holy Spirit looks upon him, and sees nothing else in you. What is invisible to you is perfect in His sight, and encompasses all of it. He has remembered you because He forgot not the Father. You looked upon the unreal and found despair. Yet by seeking the unreal, what else could you find? The unreal world is a thing of despair, for it can never be. And you who share God’s Being with Him could never be content without reality. What God did not give you has no power over you, and the attraction of love for love remains irresistible. For it is the function of love to unite all things unto itself, and to hold all things together by extending its wholeness.

The real world was given you by God in loving exchange for the world you made and the world you see. Only take it from the hand of Christ and look upon it. Its reality will make everything else invisible, for beholding it is total perception. And as you look upon it you will remember that it was always so. Nothingness will become invisible, for you will at last have seen truly. Redeemed perception is easily translated into knowledge, for only perception is capable of error and perception has never been. Being corrected it gives place to knowledge, which is forever the only reality. The Atonement is but the way back to what was never lost. Your Father could not cease to love His Son.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 13

Lesson 101

God’s will for me is perfect happiness.

1. Today we will continue with the theme of happiness. This is a key idea in understanding what salvation means. You still be­lieve it asks for suffering as penance for your “sins.” This is not so. Yet you must think it so while you believe that sin is real, and that God’s Son can sin.

2. If sin is real, then punishment is just and cannot be escaped. Salvation thus cannot be purchased but through suffering. If sin is real, then happiness must be illusion, for they cannot both be true. The sinful warrant only death and pain, and it is this they ask for. For they know it waits for them, and it will seek them out and find them somewhere, sometime, in some form that evens the account they owe to God. They would escape Him in their fear. And yet He will pursue, and they can not escape.

3. If sin is real, salvation must be pain. Pain is the cost of sin, and suffering can never be escaped, if sin is real. Salvation must be feared, for it will kill, but slowly, taking everything away before it grants the welcome boon of death to victims who are little more than bones before salvation is appeased. Its wrath is boundless, merciless, but wholly just.

4. Who would seek out such savage punishment? Who would not flee salvation, and attempt in every way he can to drown the Voice which offers it to him? Why would he try to listen and accept Its offering? If sin is real, its offering is death, and meted out in cruel form to match the vicious wishes in which sin is born. If sin is real, salvation has become your bitter enemy, the curse of God upon you who have crucified His Son.

5. You need the practice periods today. The exercises teach sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin will never happen, for it has no cause. Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God’s Son. There is no sin. We practice with this thought as often as we can today, because it is the basis for to­day’s idea.

6. God’s Will for you is perfect happiness because there is no sin, and suffering is causeless. Joy is just, and pain is but the sign you have misunderstood yourself. Fear not the Will of God. But turn to it in confidence that it will set you free from all the conse­quences sin has wrought in feverish imagination. Say:

God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
There is no sin; it has no consequence.

So should you start your practice periods, and then attempt again to find the joy these thoughts will introduce into your mind.

7. Give these five minutes gladly, to remove the heavy load you lay upon yourself with the insane belief that sin is real. Today escape from madness. You are set on freedom’s road, and now today’s idea brings wings to speed you on, and hope to go still faster to the waiting goal of peace. There is no sin. Remember this today, and tell yourself as often as you can:

God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
This is the truth, because there is no sin.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Have there been people who have successfully completed A Course in Miracles (and are in the real world), and who are they?

A) When this is asked during workshops, we sometimes tell people (with a straight face) that there is a list, but we keep it locked in a safe in the office.  In truth, however, this is a question no one could truly answer, for how would one know? To begin with, the chances are that someone who is truly in the real world would not go around broadcasting the fact. Second, people usually think of “success” in the Course in terms of certain external criteria that can be seen, and these criteria would clearly not be shared by everyone. One of our favorite stories to illustrate this last point is the earnest young man who came up to Kenneth after a week-end workshop in a midwestern city saying: “I know you must be a very advanced person, because you don’t smoke cigarettes, don’t drink coffee, and don’t keep running to the bathroom.”  Other criteria of “spirituality” include not locking one’s car door or house because one “trust[s] my brothers, who are one with me” (W-pI.181), or giving up insurance policies because one “place[s] the future in the Hands of God” (W-pI. 194). The point naturally is that such judgments about spiritual advancement are always based on externals, without the one who judges knowing what the content is behind the form, regardless of the form’s “spiritual” appearance.

Moreover, implicit in questions like this is a latent fear of being unable to achieve the Course’s goal. Hearing about others who have often can provide the external witness, when Jesus’ expressed confidence in his students is not enough.

The bottom line, whenever one is tempted to indulge in such thoughts of spiritual specialness, is always to focus on one’s own Atonement lessons, thereby avoiding the distraction of thinking of others who have or have not “made it.” As peace returns to the student’s mind, the question will already have departed from it.

teach not that i died in vain

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 12, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 12

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

VII. Looking Within

Miracles demonstrate that learning has occurred under the right guidance, for learning is invisible and what has been learned can be recognised only by its results. Its generalisation is demonstrated as you use it in more and more situations. You will recognise that you have learned there is no order of difficulty in miracles when you apply them to all situations. There is no situation to which miracles do not apply, and by applying them to all situations you will gain the real world. For in this holy perception you will be made whole, and the Atonement will radiate from your acceptance of it for yourself to everyone the Holy Spirit sends you for your blessing. In every child of God His blessing lies, and in your blessing of the children of God is His blessing to you.

Everyone in the world must play his part in its redemption, in order to recognise that the world has been redeemed. You cannot see the invisible. Yet if you see its effects you know it must be there. By perceiving what it does, you recognise its being. And by what it does, you learn what it is. You cannot see your strengths, but you gain confidence in their existence as they enable you to act. And the results of your actions you can see.

The Holy Spirit is invisible, but you can see the results of His Presence, and through them you will learn that He is there. What He enables you to do is clearly not of this world, for miracles violate every law of reality as this world judges it. Every law of time and space, of magnitude and mass is transcended, for what the Holy Spirit enables you to do is clearly beyond all of them. Perceiving His results, you will understand where He must be, and finally know what He is.

You cannot see the Holy Spirit, but you can see His manifestations. And unless you do, you will not realise He is there. Miracles are His witnesses, and speak for His Presence. What you cannot see becomes real to you only through the witnesses that speak for It. For you can be aware of what you cannot see, and it can become compellingly real to you as Its Presence becomes manifest through you. Do the Holy Spirit’s work, for you share in His function. As your function in Heaven is creation, so your function on earth is healing. God shares His function with you in Heaven, and the Holy Spirit shares His with you on earth. As long as you believe you have other functions, so long will you need correction. For this belief is the destruction of peace, a goal in direct opposition to the Holy Spirit’s purpose.

You see what you expect, and you expect what you invite. Your perception is the result of your invitation, coming to you as you sent for it. Whose manifestations would you see? Of whose presence would you be convinced? For you will believe in what you manifest, and as you look out so will you see in. Two ways of looking at the world are in your mind, and your perception will reflect the guidance you have chosen.

I am the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and when you see me it will be because you have invited Him. For He will send you His witnesses if you will but look upon them. Remember always that you see what you seek, for what you seek you will find. The ego finds what it seeks, and only that. It does not find love, for that is not what it is seeking. Yet seeking and finding are the same, and if you seek for two goals you will find them, but you will recognise neither. You will think they are the same because you want both of them. The mind always strives for integration, and if it is split and wants to keep the split, it will still believe it has one goal by making it seem to be one.

I said before that what you project or extend is up to you, but you must do one or the other, for that is a law of mind, and you must look in before you look out. As you look in, you choose the guide for seeing. And then you look out and behold his witnesses. This is why you find what you seek. What you want in yourself you will make manifest, and you will accept it from the world because you put it there by wanting it. When you think you are projecting what you do not want, it is still because you do want it. This leads directly to dissociation, for it represents the acceptance of two goals, each perceived in a different place; separated from each other because you made them different. The mind then sees a divided world outside itself, but not within. This gives it an illusion of integrity, and enables it to believe that it is pursuing one goal. Yet as long as you perceive the world as split, you are not healed. For to be healed is to pursue one goal, because you have accepted only one and want but one.

When you want only love you will see nothing else. The contradictory nature of the witnesses you perceive is merely the reflection of your conflicting invitations. You have looked upon your mind and accepted opposition there, having sought it there. But do not then believe that the witnesses for opposition are true, for they attest only to your decision about reality, returning to you the messages you gave them. Love, too, is recognised by its messengers. If you make love manifest, its messengers will come to you because you invited them.

The power of decision is your one remaining freedom as a prisoner of this world. You can decide to see it right. What you made of it is not its reality, for its reality is only what you give it. You cannot really give anything but love to anyone or anything, nor can you really receive anything but love from them. If you think you have received anything else, it is because you have looked within and thought you saw the power to give something else within yourself. It was only this decision that determined what you found, for it was the decision for what you sought.

You are afraid of me because you looked within and are afraid of what you saw. Yet you could not have seen reality, for the reality of your mind is the loveliest of God’s creations. Coming only from God, its power and grandeur could only bring you peace if you really looked upon it. If you are afraid, it is because you saw something that is not there. Yet in that same place you could have looked upon me and all your brothers, in the perfect safety of the Mind which created us. For we are there in the peace of the Father, Who wills to extend His peace through you.

When you have accepted your mission to extend peace you will find peace, for by making it manifest you will see it. Its holy witnesses will surround you because you called upon them, and they will come to you. I have heard your call and I have answered it, but you will not look upon me nor hear the answer that you sought. That is because you do not yet want only that. Yet as I become more real to you, you will learn that you do want only that. And you will see me as you look within, and we will look upon the real world together. Through the eyes of Christ, only the real world exists and only the real world can be seen. As you decide so will you see. And all that you see but witnesses to your decision.

When you look within and see me, it will be because you have decided to manifest truth. And as you manifest it you will see it both without and within. You will see it without because you saw it first within. Everything you behold without is a judgement of what you beheld within. If it is your judgement it will be wrong, for judgement is not your function. If it is the judgement of the Holy Spirit it will be right, for judgement is His function. You share His function only by judging as He does, reserving no judgement at all for yourself. You will judge against yourself, but He will judge for you.

Remember, then, that whenever you look without and react unfavourably to what you see, you have judged yourself unworthy and have condemned yourself to death. The death penalty is the ego’s ultimate goal, for it fully believes that you are a criminal, as deserving of death as God knows you are deserving of life. The death penalty never leaves the ego’s mind, for that is what it always reserves for you in the end. Wanting to kill you as the final expression of its feeling for you, it lets you live but to await death. It will torment you while you live, but its hatred is not satisfied until you die. For your destruction is the one end toward which it works, and the only end with which it will be satisfied.

The ego is not a traitor to God, to Whom treachery is impossible. But it is a traitor to you who believe that you have been treacherous to your Father. That is why the undoing of guilt is an essential part of the Holy Spirit’s teaching. For as long as you feel guilty you are listening to the voice of the ego, which tells you that you have been treacherous to God and therefore deserve death. You will think that death comes from God and not from the ego because, by confusing yourself with the ego, you believe that you want death. And from what you want God does not save you.

When you are tempted to yield to the desire for death, remember that I did not die. You will realise that this is true when you look within and see me. Would I have overcome death for myself alone? And would eternal life have been given me of the Father unless he had also given it to you? When you learn to make me manifest, you will never see death. For you will have looked upon the deathless in yourself, and you will see only the eternal as you look out upon a world that cannot die.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 12

Lesson 100

My part is essential in God’s plan for salvation.

1. Just as God’s Son completes his Father, so your part in it completes your Father’s plan. Salvation must reverse the mad belief in separate thoughts and separate bodies, which lead separate lives and go their separate ways. One function shared by separate minds unites them in one purpose, for each one of them is equally essential to them all.

2. God’s Will for you is perfect happiness. Why should you choose to go against His Will? The part that He has saved for you to take in working out His plan is given you that you might be restored to what He wills. This part is as essential to His plan as to your happiness. Your joy must be complete to let His plan be understood by those to whom He sends you. They will see their function in your shining face, and hear God calling to them in your happy laugh.

3. You are indeed essential to God’s plan. Without your joy, His joy is incomplete. Without your smile, the world cannot be saved. While you are sad, the light that God Himself appointed as the means to save the world is dim and lusterless, and no one laughs because all laughter can but echo yours.

4. You are indeed essential to God’s plan. Just as your light increases every light that shines in Heaven, so your joy on earth calls to all minds to let their sorrows go, and take their place beside you in God’s plan. God’s messengers are joyous, and their joy heals sorrow and despair. They are the proof that God wills perfect happiness for all who will accept their Father’s gifts as theirs.

5. We will not let ourselves be sad today. For if we do, we fail to take the part that is essential to God’s plan, as well as to our vision. Sadness is the sign that you would play another part, instead of what has been assigned to you by God. Thus do you fail to show the world how great the happiness He wills for you. And so you do not recognize that it is yours.

6. Today we will attempt to understand joy is our function here. If you are sad, your part is unfulfilled, and all the world is thus deprived of joy, along with you. God asks you to be happy, so the world can see how much He loves His Son, and wills no sorrow rises to abate his joy; no fear besets him to disturb his peace. You are God’s messenger today. You bring His happiness to all you look upon; His peace to everyone who looks on you and sees His message in your happy face.

7. We will prepare ourselves for this today, in our five-minute practice periods, by feeling happiness arise in us according to our Father’s Will and ours. Begin the exercises with the thought to­day’s idea contains. Then realize your part is to be happy. Only this is asked of you or anyone who wants to take his place among God’s messengers. Think what this means. You have indeed been wrong in your belief that sacrifice is asked. You but receive according to God’s plan, and never lose or sacrifice or die.

8. Now let us try to find that joy that proves to us and all the world God’s Will for us. It is your function that you find it here, and that you find it now. For this you came. Let this one be the day that you succeed! Look deep within you, undismayed by all the little thoughts and foolish goals you pass as you ascend to meet the Christ in you.

9. He will be there. And you can reach Him now. What could you rather look upon in place of Him Who waits that you may look on Him? What little thought has power to hold you back? What foolish goal can keep you from success when He Who calls to you is God Himself?

10. He will be there. You are essential to His plan. You are His messenger today. And you must find what He would have you give. Do not forget the idea for today between your hourly prac­tice periods. It is your Self Who calls to you today. And it is Him you answer, every time you tell yourself you are essential to God’s plan for the salvation of the world.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does the concept of the circle of Atonement relate to the “hundredth monkey’ idea? And should “teachers of God” go out to teach A Course in Miracles or proselytize others?

A) The answer to the first question is “no”; they represent two entirely different thought systems. The “hundredth monkey” concept is based upon questionable research that concluded that there is a quantitative point that is reached in a species — like a certain weight that, once it is reached on a balancing scale, tips that portion of the scale and then that allows the remaining members of that species to acquire what the rest have already learned. A Course in Miracles‘ idea of “the circle of Atonement” is not a quantitative concept, and has nothing to do with accumulating numbers of students of the Course, which once this “critical mass” is reached, will save the world. We read in the manual for teachers, for example, that only one teacher of God is needed to save the world. This is because there is only one teacher — our Self. When the Atonement has been accepted by an individual, that person now remembers that there is only one Son, and therefore the dream of separation, differences, and multiplicity was simply unreal. To believe that a certain requisite number of students is needed to save the entire world clearly makes the concept of numbers real, not to mention establishing the reality of a species or world that has to be saved as well.

If this non-quantitative aspect of A Course in Miracles is not understood, then students of Jesus’ Course would be tempted to believe that they must proselytize or otherwise preach the “new gospel according to the real Jesus” in order to acquire as many students of the Course as possible so that the world would be saved.  As has already happened, students will band together and think of themselves as a movement, network, religion, church, or some such special category. They will revel in the thought that a copy of A Course in Miracles was sent to the Vatican, or the White House, or put in any other worldly symbol of power. They will feel drawn to criticize, judge, or attack other spiritual paths, for these must then inevitably be seen as competitors for achieving that critical mass of people necessary to shift the balance for the salvation of the world.

All this is easily avoided by focusing only on what A Course in Miracles actually teaches, and directing one’s attention only on one’s own forgiveness lessons and the eventual acceptance of the Atonement for oneself. There is no one else to be “saved,” and accepting this thus is our only responsibility.

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 11, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 11

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

VI. The Vision of Christ

The ego is trying to teach you how to gain the whole world and lose your own soul. The Holy Spirit teaches that you cannot lose your soul and there is no gain in the world, for of itself it profits nothing. To invest without profit is surely to impoverish yourself, and the overhead is high. Not only is there no profit in the investment, but the cost to you is enormous. For this investment costs you the world’s reality by denying yours, and gives you nothing in return. You cannot sell your soul, but you can sell your awareness of it. You cannot perceive your soul, but you will not know it while you perceive something else as more valuable.

The Holy Spirit is your strength because He knows nothing but the spirit as you. He is perfectly aware that you do not know yourself, and perfectly aware of how to teach you to remember what you are. Because He loves you, He will gladly teach you what He loves, for He wills to share it. Remembering you always, He cannot let you forget your worth. For the Father never ceases to remind Him of His Son, and He never ceases to remind His Son of the Father. God is in your memory because of Him. You chose to forget your Father but you do not really want to do so, and therefore you can decide otherwise. As it was my decision, so is it yours.

You do not want the world. The only thing of value in it is whatever part of it you look upon with love. This gives it the only reality it will ever have. Its value is not in itself, but yours is in you. As self-value comes from self-extension, so does the perception of self-value come from the extension of loving thoughts outward. Make the world real unto yourself, for the real world is the gift of the Holy Spirit, and so it belongs to you.

Correction is for all who cannot see. To open the eyes of the blind is the Holy Spirit’s mission, for He knows that they have not lost their vision, but merely sleep. He would awaken them from the sleep of forgetting to the remembering of God. Christ’s eyes are open, and He will look upon whatever you see with love if you accept His vision as yours. The Holy Spirit keeps the vision of Christ for every Son of God who sleeps. In His sight the Son of God is perfect, and He longs to share His vision with you. He will show you the real world because God gave you Heaven. Through Him your Father calls His Son to remember. The awakening of His Son begins with his investment in the real world, and by this he will learn to re-invest in himself. For reality is one with the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit blesses the real world in Their Name.

When you have seen this real world, as you will surely do, you will remember us. Yet you must learn the cost of sleeping, and refuse to pay it. Only then will you decide to awaken. And then the real world will spring to your sight, for Christ has never slept. He is waiting to be seen, for He has never lost sight of you. He looks quietly on the real world, which He would share with you because He knows of the Father’s Love for Him. And knowing this, He would give you what is yours. In perfect peace He waits for you at His Father’s altar, holding out the Father’s Love to you in the quiet light of the Holy Spirit’s blessing. For the Holy Spirit will lead everyone home to his Father, where Christ waits as His Self.

Every child of God is one in Christ, for his being is in Christ as Christ’s is in God. Christ’s Love for you is His Love for His Father, which He knows because He knows His Father’s Love for Him. When the Holy Spirit has at last led you to Christ at the altar to His Father, perception fuses into knowledge because perception has become so holy that its transfer to holiness is merely its natural extension. Love transfers to love without any interference, for the two are one. As you perceive more and more common elements in all situations, the transfer of training under the Holy Spirit’s guidance increases and becomes generalised. Gradually you learn to apply it to everyone and everything, for its applicability is universal. When this has been accomplished, perception and knowledge have become so similar that they share the unification of the laws of God.

What is one cannot be perceived as separate, and the denial of the separation is the reinstatement of knowledge. At the altar of God, the holy perception of God’s Son becomes so enlightened that light streams into it, and the spirit of God’s Son shines in the Mind of the Father and becomes one with it. Very gently does God shine upon Himself, loving the extension of Himself that is His Son. The world has no purpose as it blends into the Purpose of God. For the real world has slipped quietly into Heaven, where everything eternal in it has always been. There the Redeemer and the redeemed join in perfect love of God and of each other. Heaven is your home, and being in God it must also be in you.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 11

Lesson 99

Salvation is my only function here.

1. Salvation and forgiveness are the same. They both imply that something has gone wrong; something to be saved from, forgiven for; something amiss that needs corrective change; something apart or different from the Will of God. Thus do both terms imply a thing impossible but yet which has occurred, resulting in a state of conflict seen between what is and what could never be.

2. Truth and illusions both are equal now, for both have hap­pened. The impossible becomes the thing you need forgiveness for, salvation from. Salvation now becomes the borderland be­tween the truth and the illusion. It reflects the truth because it is the means by which you can escape illusions. Yet it is not yet the truth because it undoes what was never done.

3. How could there be a meeting place at all where earth and Heaven can be reconciled within a mind where both of them ex­ist? The mind that sees illusions thinks them real. They have existence in that they are thoughts. And yet they are not real, because the mind that thinks these thoughts is separate from God.

4. What joins the separated mind and thoughts with Mind and Thought which are forever one? What plan could hold the truth inviolate, yet recognize the need illusions bring, and offer means by which they are undone without attack and with no touch of pain? What but a Thought of God could be this plan, by which the never done is overlooked, and sins forgotten which were never real?

5. The Holy Spirit holds this plan of God exactly as it was re­ceived of Him within the Mind of God and in your own. It is apart from time in that its Source is timeless. Yet it operates in time, because of your belief that time is real. Unshaken does the Holy Spirit look on what you see; on sin and pain and death, on grief and separation and on loss. Yet does He know one thing must still be true; God is still Love, and this is not His Will.

6. This is the Thought that brings illusions to the truth, and sees them as appearances behind which is the changeless and the sure. This is the Thought that saves and that forgives, because it lays no faith in what is not created by the only Source it knows. This is the Thought whose function is to save by giving you its function as your own. Salvation is your function, with the One to Whom the plan was given. Now are you entrusted with this plan, along with Him. He has one answer to appearances; regardless of their form, their size, their depth or any attribute they seem to have:

Salvation is my only function here.
God still is Love, and this is not His Will.

7. You who will yet work miracles, be sure you practice well the idea for today. Try to perceive the strength in what you say, for these are words in which your freedom lies. Your Father loves you. All the world of pain is not His Will. Forgive yourself the thought He wanted this for you. Then let the Thought with which He has replaced all your mistakes enter the darkened places of your mind that thought the thoughts that never were His Will.

8. This part belongs to God, as does the rest. It does not think its solitary thoughts, and make them real by hiding them from Him. Let in the light, and you will look upon no obstacle to what He wills for you. Open your secrets to His kindly light, and see how bright this light still shines in you.

9. Practice His Thought today, and let His light seek out and lighten up all darkened spots, and shine through them to join them to the rest. It is God’s Will your mind be one with His. It is God’s Will that He has but one Son. It is God’s Will that His one Son is you. Think of these things in practicing today, and start the lesson that we learn today with this instruction in the way of truth:

Salvation is my only function here.
Salvation and forgiveness are the same.

Then turn to Him Who shares your function here, and let Him teach you what you need to learn to lay all fear aside, and know your Self as Love which has no opposite in you.

10. Forgive all thoughts which would oppose the truth of your completion, unity and peace. You cannot lose the gifts your Father gave. You do not want to be another self. You have no function that is not of God. Forgive yourself the one you think you made. Forgiveness and salvation are the same. Forgive what you have made and you are saved.

11. There is a special message for today which has the power to remove all forms of doubt and fear forever from your mind. If you are tempted to believe them true, remember that appear­ances can not withstand the truth these mighty words contain:

Salvation is my only function here.
God still is Love, and this is not His Will.

12. Your only function tells you you are one. Remind yourself of this between the times you give five minutes to be shared with Him Who shares God’s plan with you. Remind yourself:

Salvation is my only function here.

Thus do you lay forgiveness on your mind and let all fear be gently laid aside, that love may find its rightful place in you and show you that you are the Son of God.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does A Course in Miracles have to be studied, or is it enough just to do the workbook and read the text randomly, in whatever way I feel guided to do?

A) Again, there is no right or wrong in pursuing A Course in Miracles as a spiritual path. However, there are certain guidelines we can present that can help ensure that one’s work with the Course is not being guided by the ego. One such guideline is always to return to Jesus’ own instructions for his curriculum. The three books are set up as a college course, in which, to summarize this again, there is the basic textbook, which contains the theoretical material that the instructor (here of course it is Jesus) wishes the class to study, learn, and understand; the workbook, which as in a laboratory course for example, is the practical application of what is learned in the text; and the manual, which offers guidelines for all pupils, who in this curriculum are also teachers.

What does this mean for Course students? Simply, that they are asked by Jesus to study, learn, and understand his teaching material, as well as to practice the Course’s principles of forgiveness. That is why, for example, he does not require that students understand what is said in the workbook, as we have already seen in the quotation cited above (W-in.8-9). But he does not let his students off that hook when it comes to the text. Near the end of Chapter 1, he states very clearly:

This is a course in mind training. All learning involves attention and study at some level. Some of the later parts of the course rest too heavily on these earlier sections not to require their careful study. You will also need them for preparation. Without this, you may become much too fearful of what is to come to make constructive use of it. However, as you study these earlier sections, you will begin to see some of the implications that will be amplified later on (T-1.VII.4; italics ours).

In fact, during the Course’s dictation, Jesus was quite insistent to Helen and Bill that they study these notes, as he referred to the material. He was speaking in the manner of a college professor insisting that his students pay careful attention to what was being taught, and to study the lecture notes he was giving. It would be in direct contradiction to the wishes of Jesus not to study the text, as he specifically asks. To ignore these very specific instructions at the end of Chapter I provides still another example of students’ authority problems, wherein they believe that they know better than Jesus what is in their own best interests, not to mention how they should proceed with his Course.

Regarding the workbook, since it is not meant to be the teaching aspect of the curriculum, it need not be read nor studied in the manner that the text should be. Certainly, however, it needs to be practiced as the instructions indicate.  This being said, we nonetheless believe that students would do well in their work with A Course in Miracles — to enhance their understanding of it — to read carefully through the workbook itself at some point after they have gone through the lessons, as they would do with the text. Many would be astounded at what they would find there: a depth of teaching that can easily be overlooked as one does the lessons in the one-year training program.

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