ACIM Text Reading for July 6
Chapter 21 ~ Reason and Perception
V. The Function of Reason
Perception selects, and makes the world you see. It literally picks it out as the mind directs. The laws of size and shape and brightness would hold, perhaps, if other things were equal. They are not equal. For what you look for you are far more likely to discover than what you would prefer to overlook, The still, small Voice for God is not drowned out by all the ego’s raucous screams and senseless ravings to those who want to hear It. Perception is a choice and not a fact. But on this choice depends far more than you may realise as yet. For on the voice you choose to hear, and on the sights you choose to see, depends entirely your whole belief in what you are. Perception is a witness but to this, and never to reality. Yet it can show you the conditions in which awareness of reality is possible, or those where it could never be.
Reality needs no co-operation from you to be itself. But your awareness of it needs your help, because it is your choice. Listen to what the ego says, and see what it directs you see, and it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality. You will believe that you are helpless prey to forces far beyond your own control, and far more powerful than you. And you will think the world you made directs your destiny. For this will be your faith. But never believe because it is your faith it makes reality.
There is another vision and another Voice in Which your freedom lies, awaiting but your choice. And if you place your faith in Them, you will perceive another Self in you. This other Self sees miracles as natural. They are as simple and as natural to It as breathing to the body. They are the obvious response to calls for help, the only one It makes. Miracles seem unnatural to the ego because it does not understand how separate minds can influence each other. Nor could they do so. But minds cannot be separate. This other Self is perfectly aware of this. And thus It recognises that miracles do not affect another’s mind, only Its Own. They always change your mind. There is no other.
You do not realise the whole extent to which the idea of separation has interfered with reason. Reason lies in the other Self you have cut off from your awareness. And nothing you have allowed to stay in your awareness is capable of reason. How can the segment of the mind devoid of reason understand what reason is, or grasp the information it would give? All sorts of questions may arise in it, but if the basic question stems from reason, it will not ask it. Like all that stems from reason, the basic question is obvious, simple and remains unasked. But think not reason could not answer it.
God’s plan for your salvation could not have been established without your will and your consent. It must have been accepted by the Son of God, for what God wills for him he must receive. For God wills not apart from him, nor does the Will of God wait upon time to be accomplished. Therefore, what joined the Will of God must be in you now, being eternal. You must have set aside a place in which the Holy Spirit can abide, and where He is. He must have been there since the need for Him arose, and was fulfilled in the same instant. Such would your reason tell you, if you listened. Yet such is clearly not the ego’s reasoning. Your reason’s alien nature to the ego is proof you will not find the answer there. Yet if it must be so, it must exist. And if it exists for you, and has your freedom as the purpose given it, you must be free to find it.
God’s plan is simple; never circular and never self-defeating. He has no Thoughts except the Self-extending, and in this your will must be included. Thus, there must be a part of you that knows His Will and shares it. It is not meaningful to ask if what must be is so. But it is meaningful to ask why you are unaware of what is so, for this must have an answer if the plan of God for your salvation is complete. And it must be complete, because its Source knows not of incompletion.
Where would the answer be but in the Source? And where are you but there, where this same answer is? Your Identity, as much a true effect of this same Source as is the answer, must therefore be together and the same. O yes, you know this, and more than this alone. Yet any part of knowledge threatens dissociation as much as all of it. And all of it will come with any part. Here is the part you can accept. What reason points to you can see, because the witnesses on its behalf are clear. Only the totally insane can disregard them, and you have gone past this. Reason is a means that serves the Holy Spirit’s purpose in its own right. It is not reinterpreted and redirected from the goal of sin, as are the others. For reason is beyond the ego’s range of means.
Faith and perception and belief can be misplaced, and serve the great deceiver’s needs as well as truth. But reason has no place at all in madness, nor can it be adjusted to fit its end. Faith and belief are strong in madness, guiding perception toward what the mind has valued. But reason enters not at all in this. For the perception would fall away at once, if reason were applied. There is no reason in insanity, for it depends entirely on reason’s absence. The ego never uses it, because it does not realise that it exists. The partially insane have access to it, and only they have need of it. Knowledge does not depend on it, and madness keeps it out.
The part of mind where reason lies was dedicated, by your will in union with your Father’s, to the undoing of insanity. Here was the Holy Spirit’s purpose accepted and accomplished, both at once. Reason is alien to insanity, and those who use it have gained a means which cannot be applied to sin. Knowledge is far beyond attainment of any kind. But reason can serve to open doors you closed against it.
You have come very close to this. Faith and belief have shifted, and you have asked the question the ego will never ask. Does not your reason tell you now the question must have come from something that you do not know, but must belong to you? Faith and belief, upheld by reason, cannot fail to lead to changed perception. And in this change is room made way for vision. Vision extends beyond itself, as does the purpose that it serves, and all the means for its accomplishment.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 6
I trust my brothers, who are one with me.
1. Trusting your brothers is essential to establishing and holding up your faith in your ability to transcend doubt and lack of sure conviction in yourself. When you attack a brother, you proclaim that he is limited by what you have perceived in him. You do not look beyond his errors. Rather, they are magnified, becoming blocks to your awareness of the Self that lies beyond your own mistakes, and past his seeming sins as well as yours.
2. Perception has a focus. It is this that gives consistency to what you see. Change but this focus, and what you behold will change accordingly. Your vision now will shift, to give support to the intent which has replaced the one you held before. Remove your focus on your brother’s sins, and you experience the peace that comes from faith in sinlessness. This faith receives its only sure support from what you see in others past their sins. For their mistakes, if focused on, are witnesses to sins in you. And you will not transcend their sight and see the sinlessness that lies beyond.
3. Therefore, in practicing today, we first let all such little focuses give way to our great need to let our sinlessness become apparent. We instruct our minds that it is this we seek, and only this, for just a little while. We do not care about our future goals. And what we saw an instant previous has no concern for us within this interval of time wherein we practice changing our intent. We seek for innocence and nothing else. We seek for it with no concern but now.
4. A major hazard to success has been involvement with your past and future goals. You have been quite preoccupied with how extremely different the goals this course is advocating are from those you held before. And you have also been dismayed by the depressing and restricting thought that, even if you should succeed, you will inevitably lose your way again.
5. How could this matter? For the past is gone; the future but imagined. These concerns are but defenses against present change of focus in perception. Nothing more. We lay these pointless limitations by a little while. We do not look to past beliefs, and what we will believe will not intrude upon us now. We enter in the time of practicing with one intent; to look upon the sinlessness within.
6. We recognize that we have lost this goal if anger blocks our way in any form. And if a brother’s sins occur to us, our narrowed focus will restrict our sight, and turn our eyes upon our own mistakes, which we will magnify and call our “sins.” So, for a little while, without regard to past or future, should such blocks arise we will transcend them with instructions to our minds to change their focus, as we say:
It is not this that I would look upon.
I trust my brothers, who are one with me.
7. And we will also use this thought to keep us safe throughout the day. We do not seek for long-range goals. As each obstruction seems to block the vision of our sinlessness, we seek but for surcease an instant from the misery the focus upon sin will bring, and uncorrected will remain.
8. Nor do we ask for fantasies. For what we seek to look upon is really there. And as our focus goes beyond mistakes, we will behold a wholly sinless world. When seeing this is all we want to see, when this is all we seek for in the name of true perception, are the eyes of Christ inevitably ours. And the Love He feels for us becomes our own as well. This will become the only thing we see reflected in the world and in ourselves.
9. The world which once proclaimed our sins becomes the proof that we are sinless. And our love for everyone we look upon attests to our remembrance of the holy Self which knows no sin, and never could conceive of anything without Its sinlessness. We seek for this remembrance as we turn our minds to practicing today. We look neither ahead nor backwards. We look straight into the present. And we give our trust to the experience we ask for now. Our sinlessness is but the Will of God. This instant is our willing one with His.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) If all this is a dream or an illusion, or a script which is already written, what difference does it make what I do with my life?
A) While on one level A Course in Miracles does teach that this world is an illusion and that in truth our experiences here are hallucinations, on another level Jesus assures us that “it is almost impossible to deny its [the body’s] existence in this world. Those who do so are engaging in a particularly unworthy from of denial” (T-2.IV.3:10 -11). Since it was our wrong minds that wrote the script of our many “lifetimes” in this delusional hologram of hatred, it would follow that the ego’s purpose would be to reinforce belief in the seeming reality of our experience here, which reflects our belief in the reality of our separation from God. And nothing serves this purpose better than the defense of denial, which makes the thoughts of guilt and fear so unacceptably real that they need to be repressed and never looked at again. This ensures that the thought of separation remains real within the split mind, safe and protected” from the Holy Spirit.
A Course in Miracles presents us with a choice between two ways of living in this dream world, which is the only true choice remaining to us within the dream. As we implied earlier, the Course teaches that we have a split mind which is really tripartite in structure: 1) a wrong mind that holds the ego thought system in place, and even though it appears that we have choices within the wrong mind, Jesus unequivocally states that to believe that there is a choice in the thought system of the ego is delusional and self-deceptive; 2) a right mind which is the home of the Holy Spirit, and holds a correction for each misthought or miscreation of the ego thought system; and 3) the part of the mind that chooses between the ego and the Holy Spirit, which we refer to as the decision maker. Therefore, our only true choice and freedom within the illusory dream of separation is to choose our right minds, allowing our wrong minds to be undone. We shall return to this important point in a later question.
Consequently, A Course in Miracles instructs us that the only purpose the world holds is for us to choose the forgiveness script. The Holy Spirit offers us a correction for the ego’s nightmare dreams of guilt and attack, wherein the world becomes a classroom in which we can learn the lessons of forgiveness. In this way, the guilt we made that ultimately brought about the making of the body and the world is undone. Simply indulging the ego’s fantasies under the justification that “It doesn’t matter anyway” would make these desires real (otherwise why indulge them?), and root one still further in the ego’s dream of guilt. Such self-indulgence could include acting out repressed desires such as murder, theft, deception, anger, sexual exploitation, etc., or on the other hand, giving way to thoughts of meaninglessness, depression, and even suicide. And thus the above question — “What difference does it make what I do with my life?” — can be understood from a totally different perspective. This is a perspective that gives great meaning to our lives, for it states: “I have a choice to make: which dream do I choose to follow; to which dream will I be loyal?”
In summary then, we see that on the metaphysical level, everything we do — not to mention our personal identity — is an illusion. However, on the level of the dream, where we most certainly believe we are, our lives make a tremendous difference; not so much in terms of what we do, but with whom we do it. Only by choosing Jesus or the Holy Spirit as our teacher, guide, and friend can we undo the cause of our remaining asleep and dreaming dreams which are rooted in the belief in the reality of the separation from our Source, and from each other. We cannot change the script, which is already written and has indeed been undone. But we can change from the ego’s script to the Holy Spirit’s. Helping us to accomplish this is the purpose of A Course in Miracles.