ACIM Text Reading for May 12
Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant
VI. The Holy Instant and the Laws of God
It is impossible to use one relationship at the expense of another and not to suffer guilt. And it is equally impossible to condemn part of a relationship and find peace within it. Under the Holy Spirit’s teaching all relationships are seen as total commitments, yet they do not conflict with one another in any way. Perfect faith in each one, for its ability to satisfy you completely, arises only from perfect faith in yourself. And this you cannot have while guilt remains. And there will be guilt as long as you accept the possibility, and cherish it, that you can make a brother into what he is not, because you would have him so.
You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you. And so you seek without for what you cannot find without. I offer you my perfect faith in you, in place of all your doubts. But forget not that my faith must be as perfect in all your brothers as it is in you, or it would be a limited gift to you. In the holy instant we share our faith in God’s Son because we recognise, together, that he is wholly worthy of it, and in our appreciation of his worth we cannot doubt his holiness. And so we love him.
All separation vanishes as holiness is shared. For holiness is power, and by sharing it, it gains in strength. If you seek for satisfaction in gratifying your needs as you perceive them, you must believe that strength comes from another, and what you gain he loses. Someone must always lose if you perceive yourself as weak. Yet there is another interpretation of relationships that transcends the concept of loss of power completely.
You do not find it difficult to believe that when another calls on God for love, your call remains as strong. Nor do you think that when God answers him, your hope of answer is diminished. On the contrary, you are more inclined to regard his success as witness to the possibility of yours. That is because you recognise, however dimly, that God is an idea, and so your faith in Him is strengthened by sharing. What you find difficult to accept is the fact that, like your Father, you are an idea. And like Him, you can give yourself completely, wholly without loss and only with gain. Herein lies peace, for here there is no conflict.
In the world of scarcity, love has no meaning and peace is impossible. For gain and loss are both accepted, and so no one is aware that perfect love is in him. In the holy instant you recognise the idea of love in you, and unite this idea with the Mind that thought it, and could not relinquish it. By holding it within itself, there is no loss. The holy instant thus becomes a lesson in how to hold all of your brothers in your mind, experiencing not loss but completion. From this it follows you can only give. And this is love, for this alone is natural under the laws of God. In the holy instant the laws of God prevail, and only they have meaning. The laws of this world cease to hold any meaning at all. When the Son of God accepts the laws of God as what he gladly wills, it is impossible that he be bound, or limited in any way. In that instant he is as free as God would have him be. For the instant he refuses to be bound, he is not bound.
In the holy instant nothing happens that has not always been. Only the veil that has been drawn across reality is lifted. Nothing has changed. Yet the awareness of changelessness comes swiftly as the veil of time is pushed aside. No one who has not yet experienced the lifting of the veil, and felt himself drawn irresistibly into the light behind it, can have faith in love without fear. Yet the Holy Spirit gives you this faith, because He offered it to me and I accepted it. Fear not the holy instant will be denied you, for I denied it not. And through me the Holy Spirit gives it unto you, as you will give it. Let no need you perceive obscure your need of this. For in the holy instant you will recognise the only need the Sons of God share equally, and by this recognition you will join with me in offering what is needed.
It is through us that peace will come. Join me in the idea of peace, for in ideas minds can communicate. If you would give yourself as your Father gives His Self, you will learn to understand Selfhood. And therein is love’s meaning understood. But remember that understanding is of the mind, and only of the mind. Knowledge is therefore of the mind, and its conditions are in the mind with it. If you were not an idea, and nothing but an idea, you could not be in full communication with all that ever was. Yet as long as you prefer to be something else, or would attempt to be nothing else and something else together, you will not remember the language of communication, which you know perfectly.
In the holy instant God is remembered, and the language of communication with all your brothers is remembered with Him. For communication is remembered together, as is truth. There is no exclusion in the holy instant because the past is gone, and with it goes the whole basis for exclusion. Without its source exclusion vanishes. And this permits your Source, and That of all your brothers, to replace it in your awareness. God and the power of God will take Their rightful place in you, and you will experience the full communication of ideas with ideas. Through your ability to do this you will learn what you must be, for you will begin to understand what your Creator is, and what His creation is along with Him.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 12
No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.
Failure is all about you while you seek for goals that cannot be achieved. You look for permanence in the impermanent, for love where there is none, for safety in the midst of danger; immortality within the darkness of the dream of death. Who could succeed where contradiction is the setting of his searching, and the place to which he comes to find stability?
Goals that are meaningless are not attained. There is no way to reach them, for the means by which you strive for them are meaningless as they are. Who can use such senseless means, and hope through them to gain in anything? Where can they lead? And what could they achieve that offers any hope of being real? Pursuit of the imagined leads to death because it is the search for nothingness, and while you seek for life you ask for death. You look for safety and security, while in your heart you pray for danger and protection for the little dream you made.
Yet searching is inevitable here. For this you came, and you will surely do the thing you came for. But the world can not dictate the goal for which you search, unless you give it power to do so. Otherwise, you still are free to choose a goal that lies beyond the world and every worldly thought, and one that comes to you from an idea relinquished yet remembered, old yet new; an echo of a heritage forgot, yet holding everything you really want.
Be glad that search you must. Be glad as well to learn you search for Heaven, and must find the goal you really want. No one can fail to want this goal and reach it in the end. God’s Son can not seek vainly, though he try to force delay, deceive himself and think that it is hell he seeks. When he is wrong, he finds correction. When he wanders off, he is led back to his appointed task.
No one remains in hell, for no one can abandon his Creator, nor affect His perfect, timeless and unchanging Love. You will find Heaven. Everything you seek but this will fall away. Yet not because it has been taken from you. It will go because you do not want it. You will reach the goal you really want as certainly as God created you in sinlessness.
Why wait for Heaven? It is here today. Time is the great illusion it is past or in the future. Yet this cannot be, if it is where God wills His Son to be. How could the Will of God be in the past, or yet to happen? What He wills is now, without a past and wholly futureless. It is as far removed from time as is a tiny candle from a distant star, or what you chose from what you really want.
Heaven remains your one alternative to this strange world you made and all its ways; its shifting patterns and uncertain goals, its painful pleasures and its tragic joys. God made no contradictions. What denies its own existence and attacks itself is not of Him. He did not make two minds, with Heaven as the glad effect of one, and earth the other’s sorry outcome which is Heaven’s opposite in every way.
God does not suffer conflict. Nor is His creation split in two. How could it be His Son could be in hell, when God Himself established him in Heaven? Could he lose what the Eternal Will has given him to be his home forever? Let us not try longer to impose an alien will upon God’s single purpose. He is here because He wills to be, and what He wills is present now, beyond the reach of time.
Today we will not choose a paradox in place of truth. How could the Son of God make time to take away the Will of God? He thus denies himself, and contradicts what has no opposite. He thinks he made a hell opposing Heaven, and believes that he abides in what does not exist, while Heaven is the place he cannot find.
Leave foolish thoughts like these behind today, and turn your mind to true ideas instead. No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth, and it is truth we seek to reach today. We will devote ten minutes to this goal three times today, and we will ask to see the rising of the real world to replace the foolish images that we hold dear, with true ideas arising in the place of thoughts that have no meaning, no effect, and neither source nor substance in the truth.
This we acknowledge as we start upon our practice periods. Begin with this:
I ask to see a different world, and think a different kind of
thought from those I made. The world I seek I did not make
alone, the thoughts I want to think are not my own.
For several minutes watch your mind and see, although your eyes are closed, the senseless world you think is real. Review the thoughts as well which are compatible with such a world, and which you think are true. Then let them go, and sink below them to the holy place where they can enter not. There is a door beneath them in your mind, which you could not completely lock to hide what lies beyond.
Seek for that door and find it. But before you try to open it, remind yourself no one can fail who seeks to reach the truth. And it is this request you make today. Nothing but this has any meaning now; no other goal is valued now nor sought, nothing before this door you really want, and only what lies past it do you seek.
Put out your hand, and see how easily the door swings open with your one intent to go beyond it. Angels light the way, so that all darkness vanishes, and you are standing in a light so bright and clear that you can understand all things you see. A tiny moment of surprise, perhaps, will make you pause before you realize the world you see before you in the light reflects the truth you knew, and did not quite forget in wandering away in dreams.
You cannot fail today. There walks with you the Spirit Heaven sent you, that you might approach this door some day, and through His aid slip effortlessly past it, to the light. Today that day has come. Today God keeps His ancient promise to His holy Son, as does His Son remember his to Him. This is a day of gladness, for we come to the appointed time and place where you will find the goal of all your searching here, and all the seeking of the world, which end together as you pass beyond the door.
Remember often that today should be a time of special gladness, and refrain from dismal thoughts and meaningless laments. Salvation’s time has come. Today is set by Heaven itself to be a time of grace for you and for the world. If you forget this happy fact, remind yourself with this:
Today I seek and find all that I want.
My single purpose offers it to me.
No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #999: Why does A Course in Miracles raise so many conflicts? I have never come across any spiritual or psychological practice that focuses so much on our resistance. I understand why the Course does this, but I find it personally unbearable. I guess as even Helen Schucman (the Course’s scribe) was unable to fulfill the Course’s high goals, I can also let it slip by. But is there not another way? I find the Course is a detour into battle. Surely this was not Jesus’ intention!
A: You are correct that Jesus did not intend the Course to be a detour into battle. However, he did mean for it to be a tool that leads us into looking directly at the battle that is already raging within our mind — the battle between our longing to return to God’s Love and our desire to maintain our identity as an individual, autonomous being. For this reason, the Course can seem to cause us to experience more conflict. In reality, it is simply causing us to recognize our own internal war to keep the memory of God’s Love from our awareness.
The fact that we believe we are actually in this dream world shows that we have chosen to align ourselves with the ego and its insistence that we are safer and happier here than we would be in our true home in Heaven. Therefore, it is not surprising that students typically struggle with the Course’s message that nothing in this world will ever make us happy. To the ego, nothing is more unbearable than facing the fact that all the roads of this world “but lead to disappointment, nothingness and death” (T.31.IV.2:3) . However, Jesus is not appealing to us as egos — he is really speaking to the decision making part of our mind that chooses between internal teachers. He is laying out a process for shifting from the ego to the Holy Spirit as our internal guide. Every time we do that, we automatically go from projecting anger, guilt, and attack, to instead extending love and forgiveness.
The goal of the Course, however, is actually not that high or lofty. It is not meant to get us to permanently make that internal shift and become radiant beams of light. Rather, it is meant to help us see that this shift is possible — that the Holy Spirit does exist in our mind — and to motivate us to watch how our own choice against making this shift, rather than anything in the external world, keeps us miserable. This is why the Course states that it is “a beginning, not an end” (W.ep.1:1) . When we approach the Course this way, we will experience it differently — as a source of inspiration rather than guilt.
This also means that we cannot know or judge how another person has been affected by the Course. You brought up the example of Helen Schucman. Certainly the book Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles , makes it clear that she seemed to experience resistance to Jesus’ love. It also makes it clear that she was aware of this resistance and, more often than not, continued to follow his guidance. In that sense, we, as Course students, could view her life as quite inspiring.
One final note: If you find working with the Course to be continually and consistently unbearable, it is possible that it is not the right path for you. Remember that the Course says, “There are many thousands of other forms [i.e. spiritual paths], all with the same outcome” (M.1.4:2) . Ultimately, it is not the form of the path you take that matters; only that you find one that helps you awaken to God’s Love for you and yours for Him (T.4.III.6: 3) .