ACIM Text Reading for April 9
Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum
IV. Seeking and Finding
The ego is certain that love is dangerous, and this is always its central teaching. It never puts it this way; on the contrary, everyone who believes that the ego is salvation seems to be intensely engaged in the search for love. Yet the ego, though encouraging the search for love very actively, makes one proviso; do not find it. Its dictates, then, can be summed up simply as: ‘Seek and do not find’. This is the one promise the ego holds out to you, and the one promise it will keep. For the ego pursues its goal with fanatic insistence, and its judgement, though severely impaired, is completely consistent.
The search the ego undertakes is therefore bound to be defeated. And since it also teaches that it is your identification, its guidance leads you to a journey which must end in perceived self-defeat. For the ego cannot love, and in its frantic search for love it is seeking what it is afraid to find. The search is inevitable because the ego is part of your mind, and because of its source the ego is not wholly split off, or it could not be believed at all. For it is your mind that believes in it and gives existence to it. Yet it is also your mind that has the power to deny the ego’s existence, and you will surely do so when you realise exactly what the journey is on which the ego sets you.
It is surely obvious that no one wants to find what would utterly defeat him. Being unable to love, the ego would be totally inadequate in love’s presence, for it could not respond at all. Then, you would have to abandon the ego’s guidance, for it would be quite apparent that it had not taught you the response you need. The ego will therefore distort love, and teach you that love really calls forth the responses the ego can teach. Follow its teaching, then, and you will search for love, but will not recognise it.
Do you realise that the ego must set you on a journey which cannot but lead to a sense of futility and depression? To seek and not to find is hardly joyous. Is this the promise you would keep? The Holy Spirit offers you another promise, and one that will lead to joy. For His promise is always, ‘Seek and you will find’, and under His guidance you cannot be defeated. His is the journey to accomplishment, and the goal He sets before you He will give you. For He will never deceive God’s Son whom He loves with the Love of the Father.
You will undertake a journey because you are not at home in this world. And you will search for your home whether you realise where it is or not. If you believe it is outside you the search will be futile, for you will be seeking it where it is not. You do not remember how to look within for you do not believe your home is there. Yet the Holy Spirit remembers it for you, and He will guide you to your home because that is His mission. As He fulfils His mission He will teach you yours, for your mission is the same as His. By guiding your brothers home you are but following Him.
Behold the Guide your Father gave you, that you might learn you have eternal life. For death is not your Father’s Will nor yours, and whatever is true is the Will of the Father. You pay no price for life for that was given you, but you do pay a price for death, and a very heavy one. If death is your treasure, you will sell everything else to purchase it. And you will believe that you have purchased it, because you have sold everything else. Yet you cannot sell the Kingdom of Heaven. Your inheritance can neither be bought nor sold. There can be no disinherited parts of the Sonship, for God is whole and all His extensions are like Him.
The Atonement is not the price of your wholeness, but it is the price of your awareness of your wholeness. For what you chose to ‘sell’ had to be kept for you, since you could not ‘buy’ it back. Yet you must invest in it, not with money but with spirit. For spirit is will, and will is the ‘price’ of the Kingdom. Your inheritance awaits only the recognition that you have been redeemed. The Holy Spirit guides you into life eternal, but you must relinquish your investment in death, or you will not see life though it is all around you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 9
I am Spirit.
1. Today’s idea identifies you with your one Self. It accepts no split identity, nor tries to weave opposing factors into unity. It simply states the truth. Practice this truth today as often as you can, for it will bring your mind from conflict to the quiet fields of peace. No chill of fear can enter, for your mind has been absolved from madness, letting go illusions of a split identity.
2. We state again the truth about your Self, the holy Son of God Who rests in you, whose mind has been restored to sanity. You are the spirit lovingly endowed with all your Father’s Love and peace and joy. You are the spirit which completes Himself, and shares His function as Creator. He is with you always, as you are with Him.
3. Today we try to bring reality still closer to your mind. Each time you practice, awareness is brought a little nearer at least; sometimes a thousand years or more are saved. The minutes which you give are multiplied over and over, for the miracle makes use of time, but is not ruled by it. Salvation is a miracle, the first and last; the first that is the last, for it is one.
4. You are the spirit in whose mind abides the miracle in which all time stands still; the miracle in which a minute spent in using these ideas becomes a time that has no limit and that has no end. Give, then, these minutes willingly, and count on Him Who promised to lay timelessness beside them. He will offer all His strength to every little effort that you make. Give Him the minutes which He needs today, to help you understand with Him you are the spirit that abides in Him, and that calls through His Voice to every living thing; offers His sight to everyone who asks; replaces error with the simple truth.
5. The Holy Spirit will be glad to take five minutes of each hour from your hands, and carry them around this aching world where pain and misery appear to rule. He will not overlook one open mind that will accept the healing gifts they bring, and He will lay them everywhere He knows they will be welcome. And they will increase in healing power each time someone accepts them as his thoughts, and uses them to heal.
6. Thus will each gift to Him be multiplied a thousandfold and tens of thousands more. And when it is returned to you, it will surpass in might the little gift you gave as much as does the radiance of the sun outshine the tiny gleam a firefly makes an uncertain moment and goes out. The steady brilliance of this light remains and leads you out of darkness, nor will you be able to forget the way again.
7. Begin these happy exercises with the words the Holy Spirit speaks to you, and let them echo round the world through Him:
Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world.
Expressed through you, the Holy Spirit will accept this gift that you received of Him, increase its power and give it back to you.
8. Offer each practice period today gladly to Him. And He will speak to you, reminding you that you are spirit, one with Him and God, your brothers and your Self. Listen for His assurance every time you speak the words He offers you today, and let Him tell your mind that they are true. Use them against temptation, and escape its sorry consequences if you yield to the belief that you are something else. The Holy Spirit gives you peace today. Receive His words, and offer them to Him.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) What is the relationship of A Course in Miracles to other spiritual paths, and specifically to the Bible?
A) This is an extremely important question, because the incorrect understanding of the answer inevitably leads to serious distortion of what A Course in Miracles actually teaches and how it is meant to be practiced. We live in an age where many followers of spiritual paths — usually grouped together in what is termed the “new age” — emphasize unity instead of diversity. While this is an admirable spiritual goal, certainly, it does serve to deny the “fact” of our separated world; namely, that we are all different, and that different spiritual paths are thus required. Once this is accepted, then it is clear that different paths will be different. This is clearly obvious on one level, but is frequently obscured by the need to blur differences for the sake of a spurious unity. This does every spiritual path a disservice, and Jesus always made it clear to Helen personally, as well as in A Course in Miracles itself, how different his Course was from other paths. This does not necessarily mean it is better, but it does mean that it is unique.
Near the beginning of the manual for teachers, Jesus says of A Course in Miracles:
This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome (M-1.4:1-2).
And we have already examined Jesus’ special message to Helen — “I Need Do Nothing” — where Jesus contrasts his Course with other spiritualities that emphasize meditation and contemplation.
Therefore, on the one hand, the Course’s relationship to other spiritual paths is that it shares the same goal of returning home to God. It is different, however, because its theology and practice are different. Jesus summarizes this relationship in his pithy comment:
A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary (C-in.2:5).
As we have already seen, A Course in Miracles is a non-dualistic spirituality, while almost all others are dualistic. Confusing the Course with other spiritual thought systems, saying “the Course is just like … (fill in your favorite spirituality)” is simply in the end a subtle ego ploy for changing A Course in Miracles so that its teachings will be less threatening. We, of course, have seen in our Western history a notable example of this ego device when the Christian world made Jesus and his teachings into an extension of Judaism and the Old Testament, rather than accepting him and his message as the radical gift it was, independent of all that preceded it. Students of A Course in Miracles should profit from this mistake of the past, and grow into the Course, rather than attempting to scale it down to their own level of understanding.
Another form of this mistake is the common practice of including A Course in Miracles with what Aldous Huxley termed “the perennial philosophy,” a catch-all phrase used to embrace the major mystical traditions of the world. Again, this does the Course a profound disservice, because it blurs what is its distinctive contribution to the world’s spiritualities: the idea that not only was the physical universe an illusion that God did not create, but that it was also “made as an attack” on Him (W-pII.3.2:1). This profound and sophisticated psychological principle, integrated with a pure non-dualistic metaphysics is what renders A Course in Miracles unique among the spiritual and religious thought systems of the world.
Comparing A Course in Miracles specifically with the Bible, we can see four major areas of differences, making these two spiritual paths totally incompatible. We quote from the introduction to A Course in Miracles and Christianity: A Dialogue by Kenneth and the Jesuit philosopher Father Norris Clarke, which explores these differences in greater depth:
1) A Course in Miracles teaches that God did not create the physical universe, which includes all matter, form, and the body; the Bible states that He did.2) The God of A Course in Miracles does not even know about the sin of separation (since to know about it would make it real), let alone react to it; the God of the Bible perceives sin directly, as is portrayed in the Garden of Eden story … and His responses to it are vigorous, dramatic, and at times
punitive, to say the very least.
3) A Course in Miracles‘ Jesus is equal to everyone else, a part of God’s one Son or Christ; the Bible’s Jesus is seen as special, apart, and therefore ontologically different from everyone else, being God’s only begotten Son, the second person of the Trinity.
4) The Jesus of A Course in Miracles is not sent by God to suffer and die on the cross in a sacrificial act of atonement for sin, but rather teaches that there is no sin by demonstrating that nothing happened to him in reality, for sin has no effect on the Love of God; the Jesus of the Bible agonizes, suffers, and dies for the sins of the world in an act that brings vicarious salvation to humanity, thereby establishing sin and death as real, and moreover clearly reflecting that God has been affected by Adam’s sin and must respond to its actual presence in the world by sacrificing His beloved Son. (pp. 2-3 from the Dialogue)
While our answer has focused on the Bible, the same basic message can be given regarding any other spiritual path. While there certainly can be nothing wrong with reading other spiritualities or being interested in learning more about them, nor in attending religious services, spiritual meetings, etc., a student of A Course in Miracles should at least be cautious — to make the point again — about attempting to blend together theologies or spiritual approaches that ultimately do not mix. Some spiritualities lend themselves to such “blending together”; A Course in Miracles does not.
INTERESTED READERS WILL FIND EXCERPTS FROM A COURSE IN MIRACLES AND CHRISTIANITY: A DIALOGUE
BEGINNING AT http://www.miraclestudies.net/Dialogue_Pref.html