ACIM Text Reading for July 3
Chapter 21 ~ Reason and Perception
II. The Responsibility for Sight
We have repeated how little is asked of you to learn this course. It is the same small willingness you need to have your whole relationship transformed to joy; the little gift you offer to the Holy Spirit for which He gives you everything; the very little on which salvation rests; the tiny change of mind by which the crucifixion is changed to resurrection. And being true, it is so simple that it cannot fail to be completely understood. Rejected yes, but not ambiguous. And if you choose against it now it will not be because it is obscure, but rather that this little cost seemed, in your judgement, to be too much to pay for peace.
This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:
Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.
It is impossible the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him. It is impossible that happenings that come to him were not his choice. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident. No accident nor chance is possible within the universe as God created it, outside of which is nothing. Suffer, and you decided sin was your goal. Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to Him Who must decide for God for you. This is the little gift you offer to the Holy Spirit, and even this He gives to you to give yourself. For by this gift is given you the power to release your saviour, that he may give salvation unto you.
Begrudge not then this little offering. Withhold it, and you keep the world as now you see it. Give it away, and everything you see goes with it. Never was so much given for so little. In the holy instant is this exchange effected and maintained. Here is the world you do not want brought to the one you do. And here the one you do is given you because you want it. Yet for this, the power of your wanting must first be recognised. You must accept its strength, and not its weakness. You must perceive that what is strong enough to make a world can let it go, and can accept correction if it is willing to see that it was wrong.
The world you see is but the idle witness that you were right. This witness is insane. You trained it in its testimony, and as it gave it back to you, you listened and convinced yourself that what it saw was true. You did this to yourself. See only this, and you will also see how circular the reasoning on which your ‘seeing’ rests. This was not given you. This was your gift to you and to your brother. Be willing, then, to have it taken from him and be replaced with truth. And as you look upon the change in him, it will be given you to see it in yourself.
Perhaps you do not see the need for you to give this little offering. Look closer, then, at what it is. And, very simply, see in it the whole exchange of separation for salvation. All that the ego is, is an idea that it is possible that things could happen to the Son of God without his will; and thus without the Will of his Creator, Whose Will cannot be separate from his own. This is the Son of God’s replacement for his will, a mad revolt against what must forever be. This is the statement that he has the power to make God powerless and so to take it for himself, and leave himself without what God has willed for him. This is the mad idea you have enshrined upon your altars, and which you worship. And anything that threatens this seems to attack your faith, for here is it invested. Think not that you are faithless, for your belief and trust in this is strong indeed.
The Holy Spirit can give you faith in holiness and vision to see it easily enough. But you have not left open and unoccupied the altar where the gifts belong. Where they should be, you have set up your idols to something else. This other ‘will’, which seems to tell you what must happen, you give reality. And what would show you otherwise, must therefore seem unreal. All that is asked of you is to make room for truth. You are not asked to make or do what lies beyond your understanding. All you are asked to do is let it in; only to stop your interference with what will happen of itself; simply to recognise again the presence of what you thought you gave away.
Be willing, for an instant, to leave your altars free of what you placed upon them, and what is really there you cannot fail to see. The holy instant is not an instant of creation, but of recognition. For recognition comes of vision and suspended judgement. Then only it is possible to look within and see what must be there, plainly in sight, and wholly independent of inference and judgement. Undoing is not your task, but it is up to you to welcome it or not. Faith and desire go hand in hand, for everyone believes in what he wants.
We have already said that wishful thinking is how the ego deals with what it wants, to make it so. There is no better demonstration of the power of wanting, and therefore of faith, to make its goals seem real and possible. Faith in the unreal leads to adjustments of reality to make it fit the goal of madness. The goal of sin induces the perception of a fearful world to justify its purpose. What you desire, you will see. And if its reality is false, you will uphold it by not realising all the adjustments you have introduced to make it so.
When vision is denied, confusion of cause and effect becomes inevitable. The purpose now becomes to keep obscure the cause of the effect, and make effect appear to be a cause. This seeming independence of effect enables it to be regarded as standing by itself, and capable of serving as a cause of the events and feelings its maker thinks it causes. Earlier, we spoke of your desire to create your own Creator, and be father and not son to Him. This is the same desire. The Son is the effect, whose Cause he would deny. And so he seems to be the cause, producing real effects. Nothing can have effects without a cause, and to confuse the two is merely to fail to understand them both.
It is as needful that you recognise you made the world you see, as that you recognise that you did not create yourself. They are the same mistake. Nothing created not by your Creator has any influence over you. And if you think what you have made can tell you what you see and feel, and place your faith in its ability to do so, you are denying your Creator and believing that you made yourself. For if you think the world you made has power to make you what it wills, you are confusing Son and Father; effect and Source.
The Son’s creations are like his Father’s. Yet in creating them the Son does not delude himself that he is independent of his Source. His union with It is the Source of his creating. Apart from this he has no power to create, and what he makes is meaningless. It changes nothing in creation, depends entirely upon the madness of its maker, and cannot serve to justify the madness. Your brother thinks he made the world with you. Thus he denies creation. With you, he thinks the world he made, made him. Thus he denies he made it.
Yet the truth is you and your brother were both created by a loving Father, Who created you together and as one. See what ‘proves’ otherwise, and you deny your whole reality. But grant that everything that seems to stand between you and your brother, keeping you from each other and separate from your Father, you made in secret, and the instant of release has come to you. All its effects are gone, because its source has been uncovered. It is its seeming independence of its source that keeps you prisoner. This is the same mistake as thinking you are independent of the Source by Which you were created, and have never left.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 3
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
1. (167) There is one life, and that I share with God.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
2. (168) Your grace is given me. I claim it now.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) A Course in Miracles teaches that there is no death. Can this be taken to mean that physical immortality is possible?
A) Absolutely not! The Course teaches there is no death because spirit is immortal. The workbook lesson “I am as God created me” occurs three times and is also the central theme of a review section. This highlights the importance of the concept that only what God created (Christ) is eternal, and that this world of bodies — having been made as the opposite to Heaven — would have as its agenda to render immortality impossible. As is stated early in the text of the ego’s inability to reach “eternalness”:
The ego thinks it is an advantage not to commit itself to anything that is eternal, because the eternal must come from God. Eternalness is the one function the ego has tried to develop, but has systematically failed to achieve. The ego compromises with the issue of the eternal, just as it does with all issues touching on the real question in any way (T-4.V.6:1-3).
In addition, bodies exist only in dreams — the hallucinations we call life — and therefore the length of this “life” has absolutely nothing to do with reality, let alone the eternal life of spirit.
One can thus see that the very term physical immortality is an oxymoron, a contradiction that reflects a misunderstanding of the theology of A Course in Miracles and obscures the crucial difference between reality and illusion. The concept is thus but one more ego ploy that many separated minds indulge in, thereby attempting to pervert the true meaning of the Course by making real the ego thought system and its world.
The devil can cite scripture for its own purpose, as Shakespeare commented in “The Merchant of Venice,” and unfortunately the egos of students of A Course in Miracles can play the same trick. If students wish to support their own belief system that they (and their bodies) can be immortal, they can easily wrench statements from the Course out of context to support their desire. For example, under “The Attraction of Death,” the third obstacle to peace in Chapter 19 of the text, there is the following statement under the subsection entitled “The Incorruptible Body”:
You have another dedication that would keep the body incorruptible and perfect as long as it is useful for your holy purpose. The body no more dies than it can feel …. Death, were it true, would be the final and complete disruption of communication, which is the ego’s goal (T-19.IV-C.5:1-2; 6:5).
And another sentence that has been taken out of its context to prove that the body can be immortal is from the manual for teachers, the section entitled “What Is Death?” We give just the single line here, and the total passage will be quoted below in the next question:
But what is born of God and still can die? (M-27.6:8)
And so students will falsely conclude that since they — as physical and psychological individuals — were created by the eternal God as Himself, they can never die. This then becomes the rationale for affirming the validity of physical immortality. The mistake, obviously, lies in believing that God did, in fact, create them as individuals, and as bodies to boot. What is truly “born of God” is Christ, our Self that is only spirit, and it is that Self that is eternal and can never die. The false self that has a physical and psychological identity remains within the dream where there is only the illusion of birth, life, and death.
Some students, moreover, use the above lines as proof that Jesus is advocating physical immortality by stating that the body is incorruptible. However, they have failed to understand the context of the above passage (and subsection title) by eliminating the complete quotation. The reason that “the body no more dies than it can feel” and that death is not true, is that the body does not truly exist. Indeed, the body in truth does not die, but that is because it does not live. Only within the illusory dreams of the Son’s sleeping mind does the body appear to be born, live, and die — a sequence that the God of life itself knows nothing about. Furthermore, death of the body presupposes that there was first life; otherwise, the concept has no meaning. As Jesus also states in this passage:
It [the body] does nothing. Of itself it is neither corruptible nor incorruptible. It is nothing. It is the result of a tiny, mad idea of corruption that can be corrected (T-19.IV-C.5:3-6).
What is nothing therefore does not (and cannot) live, and consequently it does not (and cannot) die either.
In the text we find an even more compelling passage that describes the body’s absolute lack of being, similar to a lifeless puppet that merely carries out the wishes of its master, the puppeteer, the body’s master, of course, being the mind:
Who punishes the body is insane. For here the little gap [separation] is seen, and yet it is not here. It has not judged itself, nor made itself to be what it is not. It does not seek to make of pain a joy and look for lasting pleasure in the dust. It does not tell you what its purpose is and cannot understand what it is for. It does not victimize, because it has no will, no preferences and no doubts. It does not wonder what it is. And so it has no need to be competitive. It can be victimized, but cannot feel itself as victim. It accepts no role, but does what it is told [by the mind), without attack.It is … a thing that cannot see… [and] cannot hear…. it has no feeling. It behaves in ways you [the decision maker in the mind] want, but never makes the choice. It is not born and does not die. It can but follow aimlessly the path on which it has been set (T-28.VI.1:1-2:5; italics ours).
Once again, within the Son’s dream of separation the body does indeed seem to be born, live, and die, but this is only in the world of illusion. For only in the reality of spirit is there truly life or being, and this has nothing to do with the physical existence which is of the ego. That is why early in the text Jesus contrasts the specificity of illusory existence with the abstract reality of being (T-4.VIl.4,5).
Therefore, we conclude that A Course in Miracles is unequivocal in its teaching that only spirit is immortal. To believe we can exist in any other state — meaning the physical — is to follow the ego’s attempts to make the dream of separation a reality, in which our individual identity is secure, by having us believe in the illusion it calls life. And this attempt, naturally, is diametrically opposed to the ultimate purpose of the Course, which is to help us all awaken from the dream of individuality to our true Identity as Christ, the immortal and one Son of God.