ACIM Text Reading for July 22
Chapter 22 ~ Salvation and the Holy Relationship
VI. The Light of the Holy Relationship
Do you want freedom of the body or of the mind? For both you cannot have. Which do you value? Which is your goal? For one you see as means; the other, end. And one must serve the other and lead to its predominance, increasing its importance by diminishing its own. Means serve the end, and as the end is reached the value of the means decreases, eclipsed entirely when they are recognised as functionless. No one but yearns for freedom and tries to find it. Yet he will seek for it where he believes it is and can be found. He will believe it possible of mind or body, and he will make the other serve his choice as means to find it.
Where freedom of the body has been chosen, the mind is used as means whose value lies in its ability to contrive ways to achieve the body’s freedom. Yet freedom of the body has no meaning, and so the mind is dedicated to serve illusions. This is a situation so contradictory and so impossible that anyone who chooses this has no idea of what is valuable. Yet even in this confusion, so profound it cannot be described, the Holy Spirit waits in gentle patience, as certain of the outcome as He is sure of His Creator’s Love. He knows this mad decision was made by one as dear to His Creator as love is to itself.
Be not disturbed at all to think how He can change the role of means and end so easily in what God loves, and would have free forever. But be you rather grateful that you can be the means to serve His end. This is the only service that leads to freedom. To serve this end the body must be perceived as sinless, because the goal is sinlessness. The lack of contradiction makes the soft transition from means to end as easy as is the shift from hate to gratitude before forgiving eyes. You will be sanctified by your brother, using your body only to serve the sinless. And it will be impossible for you to hate what serves whom you would heal.
This holy relationship, lovely in its innocence, mighty in strength, and blazing with a light far brighter than the sun that lights the sky you see, is chosen of your Father as a means for His Own plan. Be thankful that it serves yours not at all. Nothing entrusted to it can be misused, and nothing given it but will be used. This holy relationship has the power to heal all pain, regardless of its form. Neither you nor your brother alone can serve at all. Only in your joint will does healing lie. For here your healing is, and here will you accept Atonement. And in your healing is the Sonship healed because your will and your brother’s are joined.
Before a holy relationship there is no sin. The form of error is no longer seen, and reason, joined with love, looks quietly on all confusion, observing merely, ‘This was a mistake’. And then the same Atonement you accepted in your relationship corrects the error, and lays a part of Heaven in its place. How blessed are you who let this gift be given! Each part of Heaven that you bring is given you. And every empty place in Heaven that you will fill again with the Eternal Light you bring, shines now on you. The means of sinlessness can know no fear because they carry only love with them.
Child of peace, the light has come to you. The light you bring you do not recognise, and yet you will remember. Who can deny himself the vision that he brings to others? And who would fail to recognise a gift he let be laid in Heaven through himself? The gentle service that you give the Holy Spirit is service to yourself. You who are now His means must love all that He loves. And what you bring is your remembrance of everything that is eternal. No trace of anything in time can long remain in a mind that serves the timeless. And no illusion can disturb the peace of a relationship that has become the means of peace.
When you have looked upon your brother with complete forgiveness, from which no error is excluded and nothing kept hidden, what mistake can there be anywhere you cannot overlook? What form of suffering could block your sight, preventing you from seeing past it? And what illusion could there be you will not recognise as a mistake; a shadow through which you walk completely undismayed? God would let nothing interfere with those whose wills are His, and they will recognise their wills are His, because they serve His Will. And serve it willingly. And could remembrance of what they are be long delayed?
You will see your value through your brother’s eyes, and each one is released as he beholds his saviour in place of the attacker who he thought was there. Through this releasing is the world released. This is your part in bringing peace. For you have asked what is your function here, and have been answered. Seek not to change it, nor to substitute another goal. This one was given you, and only this. Accept this one and serve it willingly, for what the Holy Spirit does with gifts you give your brother, to whom He offers them, and where and when, is up to Him. He will bestow them where they are received and welcomed. He will use every one of them for peace. Nor will one little smile or willingness to overlook the tiniest mistake be lost to anyone.
What can it be but universal blessing to look on what your Father loves with charity? Extension of forgiveness is the Holy Spirit’s function. Leave this to Him. Let your concern be only that you give to Him that which can be extended. Save no dark secrets that He cannot use, but offer Him the tiny gifts He can extend forever. He will take each one and make of it a potent force for peace. He will withhold no blessing from it, nor limit it in any way. He will join to it all the power that God has given Him, to make each little gift of love a source of healing for everyone. Each little gift you offer to your brother lights up the world. Be not concerned with darkness; look away from it and toward your brother. And let the darkness be dispelled by Him Who knows the light, and lays it gently in each quiet smile of faith and confidence with which you bless your brother.
On your learning depends the welfare of the world. And it is only arrogance that would deny the power of your will. Think you the Will of God is powerless? Is this humility? You do not see what this belief has done. You see yourself as vulnerable, frail and easily destroyed, and at the mercy of countless attackers more powerful than you. Let us look straight at how this error came about, for here lies buried the heavy anchor that seems to keep the fear of God in place, unmovable and solid as a rock. While this remains, so will it seem to be.
Who can attack the Son of God and not attack his Father? How can God’s Son be weak and frail and easily destroyed unless his Father is? You do not see that every sin and every condemnation that you perceive and justify is an attack upon your Father. And that is why it has not happened, nor could be real. You do not see that this is your attempt because you think the Father and the Son are separate. And you must think that they are separate, because of fear. For it seems safer to attack another or yourself than to attack the great Creator of the universe, Whose power you know.
If you were one with God and recognised this oneness, you would know His power is yours. But you will not remember this while you believe attack of any kind means anything. It is unjustified in any form, because it has no meaning. The only way it could be justified is if you and your brother were separate from the other, and all were separate from your Creator. For only then would it be possible to attack a part of the creation without the whole, the Son without the Father; and to attack another without yourself, or hurt yourself without the other feeling pain. And this belief you want. Yet wherein lies its value, except in the desire to attack in safety? Attack is neither safe nor dangerous. It is impossible. And this is so because the universe is one. You would not choose attack on its reality if it were not essential to attack to see it separated from its maker. And thus it seems as if love could attack and become fearful.
Only the different can attack. So you conclude because you can attack, you and your brother must be different. Yet does. the Holy Spirit explain this differently. Because you and your brother are not different, you cannot attack. Either position is a logical conclusion. Either could be maintained, but never both. The only question to be answered in order to decide which must be true is whether you and your brother are different. From the position of what you understand you seem to be, and therefore can attack. Of the alternatives, this seems more natural and more in line with your experience. And therefore it is necessary that you have other experiences, more in line with truth, to teach you what is natural and true.
This is the function of your holy relationship. For what one thinks, the other will experience with him. What can this mean except your mind and your brother’s are one? Look not with fear upon this happy fact, and think not that it lays a heavy burden on you. or when you have accepted it with gladness, you will realise that your relationship is a reflection of the union of the Creator and His Son. From loving minds there is no separation. And every thought in one brings gladness to the other because they are the same. Joy is unlimited, because each shining thought of love extends its being and creates more of itself. There is no difference anywhere in it, for every thought is like itself.
The light that joins you and your brother shines throughout the universe, and because it joins you and him, so it makes you and him one with your Creator. And in Him is all creation joined. Would you regret you cannot fear alone, when your relationship can also teach the power of love is there, which makes all fear impossible? Do not attempt to keep a little of the ego with this gift. For it was given you to be used, and not obscured. What teaches you that you cannot separate denies the ego. Let truth decide if you and your brother be different or the same, and teach you which is true.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 22
It can be but my gratitude I earn.
1. Here is the second step we take to free your mind from the belief in outside force pitted against your own. You make attempts at kindness and forgiveness. Yet you turn them to attack again, unless you find external gratitude and lavish thanks. Your gifts must be received with honor, lest they be withdrawn. And so you think God’s gifts are loans at best; at worst, deceptions which would cheat you of defenses, to ensure that when He strikes He will not fail to kill.
2. How easily are God and guilt confused by those who know not what their thoughts can do. Deny your strength, and weakness must become salvation to you. See yourself as bound, and bars become your home. Nor will you leave the prison house, or claim your strength, until guilt and salvation are not seen as one, and freedom and salvation are perceived as joined, with strength beside them, to be sought and claimed, and found and fully recognized.
3. The world must thank you when you offer it release from your illusions. Yet your thanks belong to you as well, for its release can only mirror yours. Your gratitude is all your gifts require, that they be a lasting offering of a thankful heart, released from hell forever. Is it this you would undo by taking back your gifts, because they were not honored? It is you who honor them and give them fitting thanks, for it is you who have received the gifts.
4. It does not matter if another thinks your gifts unworthy. In his mind there is a part that joins with yours in thanking you. It does not matter if your gifts seem lost and ineffectual. They are received where they are given. In your gratitude are they accepted universally, and thankfully acknowledged by the Heart of God Himself. And would you take them back, when He has gratefully accepted them?
5. God blesses every gift you give to Him, and every gift is given Him, because it can be given only to yourself. And what belongs to God must be His Own. Yet you will never realize His gifts are sure, eternal, changeless, limitless, forever giving out, extending love and adding to your never-ending joy while you forgive but to attack again.
6. Withdraw the gifts you give, and you will think that what is given you has been withdrawn. But learn to let forgiveness take away the sins you think you see outside yourself, and you can never think the gifts of God are lent but for a little while, before He snatches them away again in death. For death will have no meaning for you then.
7. And with the end of this belief is fear forever over. Thank your Self for this, for He is grateful only unto God, and He gives thanks for you unto Himself. To everyone who lives will Christ yet come, for everyone must live and move in Him. His Being in His Father is secure, because Their Will is One. Their gratitude to all They have created has no end, for gratitude remains a part of love.
8. Thanks be to you, the holy Son of God. For as you were created, you contain all things within your Self. And you are still as God created you. Nor can you dim the light of your perfection. In your heart the Heart of God is laid. He holds you dear, because you are Himself. All gratitude belongs to you, because of what you are.
9. Give thanks as you receive it. Be you free of all ingratitude to anyone who makes your Self complete. And from this Self is no one left outside. Give thanks for all the countless channels which extend this Self. All that you do is given unto Him. All that you think can only be His Thoughts, sharing with Him the holy Thoughts of God. Earn now the gratitude you have denied yourself when you forgot the function God has given you. But never think that He has ever ceased to offer thanks to you.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) What does A Course in Miracles mean by “releasing your brother”? How can I save him if the world is an hallucination in my mind?
A) The reader should recall our earlier discussion in question 5 of Jesus’ use of metaphor in the Course. In other words, students of A Course in Miracles need to allow themselves to be led beyond the form of its words to their underlying content. This is a process that occurs slowly over time, beginning with a more literal understanding of the Course’s teachings. At first, therefore, phrases like “releasing your brother,” or parallel ones about being your brother’s savior, or the workbook emphasis on being the light of the world, help students undo their negative self-image such as is summarized in workbook
You think you are the home of evil, darkness and sin. You think if anyone could see the truth about you he would be repelled, recoiling from you as if from a poisonous snake. You think if what is true about you were revealed to you, you would be struck with horror so intense that you would rush to death by your own hand, living on after seeing this being impossible (W-pl.93.1).
It is a healing correction to be told that our thoughts about ourselves are not true, and that not only are we loved by God as an extension of His Will (as the rest of the lesson makes clear) but that we have the power to heal and bless others as well. It is only as we progress in our work with A Course in Miracles that it becomes clear that the process of “releasing” one’s brother has nothing to do with our brother, but everything to do with ourselves. Indeed, this process of forgiveness can have nothing to do with our brother because in truth it is our dream, and he is but a figure in this dream. In one rather strong passage, Jesus asks his students:
What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? (T-20.VIII.7:3-5)
In other words, our world and lives are our dreams, just as our sleeping dreams — with all their figures and events — are present only in our dreaming minds that in a sense are but hallucinations, too. Moreover, since the content of the ego’s dream is fear, hate, victimization, and unforgiveness, all dream figures will have the above themes scripted throughout the dreaming we call “life.” Therefore, there is no one to forgive because, again, all the people in our lives are simply made-up figures in our dreams. Who needs to be forgiven is ourselves — for dreaming in the first place instead of remembering our Identity as Christ, awake in God.
Our function of “releasing our brothers” through forgiveness relates to a function and process that truly occurs only within our minds — the home of dreams — although it is experienced by us as occurring between two separated individuals. By choosing Jesus as our teacher instead of the ego, by listening to his voice of forgiveness instead of the ego’s voice of attack, we join with him as expressions of the Alternative that is in everyone’s mind. And thus we become the reminders to our brothers that they can make the same choice we did, and thus be released from their guilt since we both scripted each other into our respective dreams. Therefore, we can choose either to be symbols of guilt or forgiveness for one another. This process of healing through forgiveness is summarized in this wonderfully clear passage from the manual for teachers, which discusses the role of the teacher of God when confronted by sickness:
To them [the sick] God’s teachers come, to represent another choice which they had forgotten. The simple presence of a teacher of God is a reminder … They stand for the Alternative. With God’s Word in their minds they come in benediction, not to heal the sick but to remind them of the remedy God has already given them…. Very gently they call to their brothers to turn away from death: “Behold, you Son of God, what Life can offer you. Would you choose sickness in place of this?” (M-5.III.2:1-2,6-7,11-12)
Therefore, we save the world and everyone in it by saving or changing our thoughts about the world. By releasing ourselves from our own guilt, we release the world because we are one with it, since it is our projection. That is what the Course means by saying that we “arose with him [Jesus] when he began to save the world” (C-6.5:5). Our minds are one, and Jesus’ remaining one with the Holy Spirit becomes the shining reminder in the Sonship’s mind to do the same. Our making that choice allows us to be Jesus’ manifestation to our brothers, just as he is the Holy Spirit’s manifestation for us all (C-6.5:1-2). It is this call to remember and to choose that is the true release that heals.