A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 20

ACIM Text Reading for April 20

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

III. From Darkness to Light

When you are weary, remember you have hurt yourself. Your Comforter will rest you, but you cannot. You do not know how, for if you did you could never have grown weary. Unless you hurt yourself you could never suffer in any way, for that is not God’s Will for His Son. Pain is not of Him, for He knows no attack and His peace surrounds you silently. God is very quiet, for there is no conflict in Him. Conflict is the root of all evil, for being blind it does not see whom it attacks. Yet it always attacks the Son of God, and the Son of God is you.

God’s Son is indeed in need of comfort, for he knows not what he does, believing his will is not his own. The Kingdom is his, and yet he wanders homeless. At home in God he is lonely, and amid all his brothers he is friendless. Would God let this be real, when He did not will to be alone Himself? And if your will is His it cannot be true of you, because it is not true of Him.

O my child, if you knew what God wills for you, your joy would be complete! And what He wills has happened, for it was always true. When the light comes and you have said, ‘God’s Will is mine’, you will see such beauty that you will know it is not of you. Out of your joy you will create beauty in His Name, for your joy could no more be contained than His. The bleak little world will vanish into nothingness, and your heart will be so filled with joy that it will leap into Heaven, and into the Presence of God. I cannot tell you what this will be like, for your heart is not ready. Yet I can tell you, and remind you often, that what God wills for Himself He wills for you, and what He wills for you is yours.

The way is not hard, but it is very different. Yours is the way of pain, of which God knows nothing. That way is hard indeed, and very lonely. Fear and grief are your guests, and they go with you and abide with you on the way. But the dark journey is not the way of God’s Son. Walk in light and do not see the dark companions, for they are not fit companions for the Son of God, who was created of light and in light. The Great Light always surrounds you and shines out from you. How can you see the dark companions in a light such as this? If you see them, it is only because you are denying the light. But deny them instead, for the light is here and the way is clear.

God hides nothing from His Son, even though His Son would hide himself. Yet the Son of God cannot hide his glory, for God wills him to be glorious, and gave him the light that shines in him. You will never lose your way, for God leads you. When you wander, you but undertake a journey that is not real. The dark companions, the dark way, are all illusions. Turn toward the light, for the little spark in you is part of a Light so great that it can sweep you out of all darkness forever. For your Father is your Creator, and you are like Him.

The children of light cannot abide in darkness, for darkness is not in them. Do not be deceived by the dark comforters, and never let them enter the mind of God’s Son, for they have no place in His temple. When you are tempted to deny Him remember that there are no other gods to place before Him, and accept His Will for you in peace. For you cannot accept it otherwise.

Only God’s Comforter can comfort you. In the quiet of His temple, He waits to give you the peace that is yours. Give His peace, that you may enter the temple and find it waiting for you. But be holy in the Presence of God, or you will not know that you are there. For what is unlike God cannot enter His Mind, because it was not His Thought and therefore does not belong to Him. And your mind must be as pure as His, if you would know what belongs to you. Guard carefully His temple, for He Himself dwells there and abides in peace. You cannot enter God’s Presence with the dark companions beside you, but you also cannot enter alone. All your brothers must enter with you, for until you have accepted them you cannot enter. For you cannot understand Wholeness unless you are whole, and no part of the Son can be excluded if he would know the Wholeness of his Father.

In your mind you can accept the whole Sonship and bless it with the light your Father gave it. Then you will be worthy to dwell in the temple with Him, because it is your will not to be alone. God blessed His Son forever. If you will bless him in time, you will be in eternity. Time cannot separate you from God if you use it on behalf of the eternal.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 20

Lesson 90

For this review we will use these ideas:

(79) Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.

Let me realize today that the problem is always some form of grievance that I would cherish. Let me also understand that the solution is always a miracle with which I let the grievance be replaced. Today I would remember the simplicity of salvation by reinforcing the lesson that there is one problem and one solution. The problem is a grievance; the solution is a miracle. And I invite the solution to come to me through my forgiveness of the grievance, and my welcome of the miracle that takes its place.

Specific applications of this idea might be in these forms:

This presents a problem to me which I would have resolved.
The miracle behind this grievance will resolve it for me.
The answer to this problem is the miracle that it conceals.

 

(80) Let me recognize my problems have been solved.

I seem to have problems only because I am misusing time. I believe that the problem comes first, and time must elapse before it can be worked out. I do not see the problem and the answer as simultaneous in their occurrence. That is because I do not yet realize that God has placed the answer together with the problem, so that they cannot be separated by time. The Holy Spirit will teach me this, if I will let Him. And I will understand it is impossible that I could have a problem which has not been solved already.

These forms of the idea will be useful for specific applications:

I need not wait for this to be resolved.
The answer to this problem is already given me, if I will accept it.
Time cannot separate this problem from its solution.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #261: I am a Buddhist and feel more comfortable using Kwan Yin, rather than Jesus, as the “Christ”-like figure. Kwan Yin is a female Buddha of compassion and healing. Any sugges­tions for those of us who use a different “Christ” figure?

A: Any symbol that represents a presence of love outside of yourself is suitable. The only caution is to be mindful of specific resistance to having it be Jesus. Avoidance of him as the “Christ figure” may reflect unforgiveness, which another symbol will not evoke in you. However, don’t worry. If this is the case, you will have to forgive him before the process is completed, and so he will “show up” in one way or another. Other than this caveat, use whatever symbol makes you feel loved and protected.

***

Q #888I’ve been wondering about the dispensing of our sense of guilt. In many therapies, the recognition of our feelings, especially negative ones such as envy, guilt etc., is important so that we can let the feelings go. Yet A Course in Miracles states that ultimately guilt isn’t real and that we should not recognize it as “truth.” Then again, it states that as long as we believe in the body’s truth, we would have to obey its laws that we set up ourselves.

So wouldn’t it be an easy cop out to say, “Oh, those negative things aren’t real anyway, so why bother with them?” At the same time, they are part of our physical selves and might come out secretly at the other end and be harmful to us. We are also living in a human body and — as the Course states, too — to deny that would be an even greater denial of the truth. So if we keep on recognizing the body and its attached sense of guilt, then how can we ever get out of here and return to the true state of mind that is still ours? It seems to be some kind of trap where the door has disappeared. Can you advise?

Also, Jesus tells us that we must first live a “happy dream” before we can realize that there is no dream at all. However, does not every “happy” thing include its opposite by definition? How can we live a happy dream when that implies that there must be something sad as well? Isn’t that an illusion? Is that what Jesus means when he says that when we really come across living a happy dream, “God will bow down to us” and the bridge to “real life”/truth will be there for us to cross? So once we recognize the illusion of distinguishing between happy and sad, good and bad, there is no dream at all. We cross the bridge to truth and the Self that is one with God. Is that all there is to it?

A: A Course in Miracles does not ask that we deny feelings. They are an important key to recognizing the choice that has been made in the mind. In fact, the goal of the mind training the workbook teaches is to make us increasingly aware of what we are thinking and feeling. The thoughts and feelings that are experienced in the dream are the reflection of a decision made in the mind that is outside time and space. When the mind decides to identify with the body, it then denies the choice and dissociates itself from its true identity as a mind. Jesus tells us our feelings and hidden thoughts are the guide to recognizing the forgotten choice the mind has made: “How can you know whether you chose the stairs to Heaven or the way to hell? Quite easily. How do you feel?” (T.23.II.22:6,7,8). He goes on to tell us that certainty and peace accompany the decision to turn toward Heaven by choosing the Holy Spirit. Any other feeling tells us we have chosen the ego’s road to hell. Therefore, our feelings should not be dismissed. That would be, as you say, a cop out, driving them further under cover and burying the mind’s choice in deeper darkness.

What makes the recognition of feelings part of a healing process, rather than a trap, is looking at them without judgment, and being willing to see them for what they are, not as the ego interprets them. The goal is not to justify them, blame others for them, or indulge them, but to see them as the inevitable and desired result of a choice in the mind. Acknowledging the mind as the source of every feeling means that the feelings change as the mind is healed. Part of the healing process may involve working with a therapist to bring the feelings to the surface and to identify the persons or situations that were their projected source. What makes practicing the Course a different kind of therapy is attributing every experience to the mind’s decision, and not to anyone else nor to anything in form. This means no one else is responsible for how one feels. Neither are feelings caused by anything the body has done to itself. They come only from having decided for the ego and then judging it as sinful. Looking beyond the feelings to their source is how to practice the forgiveness Jesus teaches in the Course. Not only is it not a trap, it is the escape route out of the ego’s trap because it makes the power of the mind real in our awareness and diminishes the seeming power of the body and its guilt. When guilt is seen as a purposive and not so desirable choice, rather than a powerful force, its unreality gradually becomes apparent and it will eventually disappear for lack of nourishment. A little willingness to see feelings in this light is all that is required to set us in the right direction with the Holy Spirit by our side to “…give [us] certainty of where [we] go” (T.23.II.22:13) .

Being certain of where we go (out of the dream), with Whom we go (the Holy Spirit) and how we go (forgiveness), is what makes us happy in he dream. It is not really about the dream; it is the “fixed determination” (T.31.VIII.11:1) to go beyond the dream that makes it “happy.” This reflects the mind’s decision to hold Jesus’ hand and walk with him out of the illusion. It has nothing to do with the distinctions we make as bodies about what is good, bad, happy, or sad. These all reflect the ego’s judgment based on the belief in separation and the reality of the body. The happy dream is the reflection of the part of the mind that chooses to identify with the Holy Spirit, Who is the memory of what lies beyond illusion. In this, as always, it is helpful to remember that the Course is using words that “…are but symbols of symbols… twice removed from reality” (M.21.1:9,10) . Its use of symbols and images is necessary to reach us who believe we are irretrievably lost in the dream.

The only distinction we must learn to make is between the ego’s voice and the Holy Spirit’s. This is accomplished through the process of forgiveness described above. That is all there is to it. It is a simple process, but one that takes quite a bit of practice due to the resistance to letting go of iden­tity with the body. When we do, we will return to the oneness with God that we never truly left, symbolized in the Course by the image of God reaching down: “And then your Father will lean down to you and take the last step for you, by raising you unto Himself” (T.11.VIII. 15:5).

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 19

ACIM Text Reading for April 19

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

II. The Invitation to Healing

If sickness is separation, the decision to heal and to be healed is the first step toward recognising what you truly want. Every attack is a step away from this, and every healing thought brings it closer. The Son of God hasboth Father and Son, because he is both Father and Son. To unite having and being is to unite your will with His, for He wills you Himself. And you will yourself to Him because, in your perfect understanding of Him, you know there is but one Will. Yet when you attack any part of God and His Kingdom your understanding is not perfect, and what you really want is therefore lost to you.

Healing thus becomes a lesson in understanding; and the more you practise it the better teacher and learner you become. If you have denied truth, what better witnesses to its reality could you have than those who have been healed by it? But be sure to count yourself among them, for in your willingness to join them is your healing accomplished. Every miracle that you accomplish speaks to you of the Fatherhood of God. Every healing thought that you accept, either from your brother or in your own mind, teaches you that you are God’s Son. In every hurtful thought you hold, wherever you perceive it, lies the denial of God’s Fatherhood and of your Sonship.

And denial is as total as love. You cannot deny part of yourself, because the rest will seem to be separate and therefore without meaning. And being without meaning to you, you will not understand it. To deny meaning is to fail to understand. You can heal only yourself, for only. God’s Son needs healing. You need it because you do not understand yourself, and therefore know not what you do. Having forgotten your will, you do not know what you really want.

Healing is a sign that you want to make whole. And this willingness opens your ears to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, Whose message is wholeness. He will enable you to go far beyond the healing you would undertake, for beside your small willingness to make whole He will lay His Own complete Will and make yours whole. What can the Son of God not accomplish with the Fatherhood of God in Him? And yet the invitation must come from you, for you have surely learned that whom you invite as your guest will abide with you.

The Holy Spirit cannot speak to an unwelcoming host, because He will not be heard. The Eternal Guest remains, but His Voice grows faint in alien company. He needs your protection, only because your care is a sign that you want Him. Think like Him ever so slightly, and the little spark becomes a blazing light that fills your mind so that He becomes your only Guest. Whenever you ask the ego to enter, you lessen His welcome. He will remain, but you have allied yourself against Him. Whatever journey you choose to take, He will go with you, waiting. You can safely trust His patience, for He cannot leave a part of God. Yet you need far more than patience.

You will never rest until you know your function and fulfil it, for only in this can your will and your Father’s be wholly joined. To have Him is to be like Him, and He has given Himself to you. You who have God must be as God, for His function became yours with His gift. Invite this knowledge back into your mind, and let nothing that obscures it enter. The Guest Whom God sent you will teach you how to do this, if you but recognise the little spark and are willing to let it grow. Your willingness need not be perfect, because His is. If you will merely offer Him a little place, He will lighten it so much that you will gladly let it be increased. And by this increase, you will begin to remember creation.

Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God? You will accept only whom you invite. You are free to determine who shall be your guest, and how long he shall remain with you. Yet this is not real freedom, for it still depends on how you see it. The Holy Spirit is there; although He cannot help you without your invitation. And the ego is nothing, whether you invite it in or not. Real freedom depends on welcoming reality, and of your guests only the Holy Spirit is real. Know, then, Who abides with you merely by recognising what is there already, and do not be satisfied with imaginary comforters, for the Comforter of God is in you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 19

Lesson 89

These are our review ideas for today:

(77) I am entitled to miracles.

I am entitled to miracles because I am under no laws but God’s. His laws release me from all grievances, and replace them with miracles. And I would accept the miracles in place of the grievances, which are but illusions that hide the miracles beyond. Now I would accept only what the laws of God entitle me to have, that I may use it on behalf of the function He has given me.

You might use these suggestions for specific applications of this idea:

Behind this is a miracle to which I am entitled.
Let me not hold a grievance against you, [name],
but offer you the miracle that belongs to you instead.
Seen truly, this offers me a miracle.

 

(78) Let miracles replace all grievances.

By this idea do I unite my will with the Holy Spirit’s, and perceive them as one. By this idea do I accept my release from hell. By this idea do I express my willingness to have all my illusions be replaced with truth, according to God’s plan for my salvation. I would make no exceptions and no substitutes. I want all of Heaven and only Heaven, as God wills me to have.

Useful specific forms for applying this idea would be:

I would not hold this grievance apart from my salvation.
Let our grievances be replaced by miracles, [name].
Beyond this is the miracle by which all my grievances are replaced.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #52: Is it wrong to feel guilty about tragic world events, such as starvation in Africa, etc.? Often, when I see situations of people suffering in poorer countries, I feel guilty and think, “Look at the easy life I have. I really have nothing to complain about.” Is my guilt in this situation really just an attempt to retain a sense of specialness and separateness?

A: Guilt and blame are never justified, according to the Course. But the guilt you are feeling more than likely is coming from a deeper source than you mention, and can be undone only on that level. All of us would feel a deep sense of guilt simply because we are here. Our existence in this world is at God’s expense, so the ego has convinced us. We in essence stole God’s creative power and conferred it on ourselves so that we could direct our own lives in a world that could give us the specialness and individuality that was not available in Heaven. The guilt associated with our existence here is enormous as a result, and is deliberately kept out of awareness through denial and projection.

This dynamic of projection requires that there be a world in which terrible things happen, so that we can perceive both victims and victimizers outside us, rather than in the bloody battlefield in our minds, where we are terrified that God will come storming after us and destroy us for our abominable attack on Him. So there is a second tier of guilt in our minds that comes from our wanting there to be suffering in the world to keep our defense of projection working, which in turn maintains this system of existence outside Heaven and God.

Even though the ego assured us that we would be free of guilt by projecting both ourselves and our guilt from the mind, we wind up feeling guilty as bodies in a world of bodies anyway. We feel guilty when we are doing well because deep within our minds we know we got it all illegitimately. And we feel guilty when we see others not doing so well, because on an unconscious level we feel responsible for their suffering and poverty. It reminds us of our complicity in a plan to have a world of affliction and unsolvable problems so that we would never remember that the only problem is that we made the wrong decision in our minds, and that we can simply go back to our minds, guided by Jesus or the Holy Spirit, and now make the right decision.

Finally, we have to be wary of our tendency to interpret events by form only. In other words, the external form cannot tell us what is going on in a person’s Atonement path, the content. Perhaps suffering or poverty is the classroom that that mind is using to learn that the body is not our true reality. We don’t know that, so we should be cautious about judging what appear to be unfortunate situations. We really cannot see the larger picture. We also need to remember that one of the central principles of the Course is that there is no hierarchy of illusions. The bottom line is that kindness and gentleness to all people, regardless of their situation, should be our guiding principle.


Q #53: Does being active in political and social programs inappropriately reinforce the dream from which we are trying to awaken? Should one work solely on the self? Isn’t that the best way to address the world’s ill?

A: First, the Course is exclusively about the healing of our minds, because that is where our one and only problem and its solution reside: our decision to be separate, and our capacity to undo that choice.“Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all this world is for” (T.24.VI.4:1). On one level, therefore, we can help the world most effectively by undoing the guilt in our minds, because the projection of this guilt is what made the world and all its problems, and what sustains it as well. The world, thus, is but an idea in our minds and has never left its source in our minds. If we could identify with this totally and then undo the guilt, the world would disappear back into the nothingness from which it came, and we would be back home in God. Then “nothing you remember now will you remember” (T.19.VI.6:6).

However, because we have not fully integrated this principle, our experience is that there is a world and we are influenced by it in many ways. It is a highly significant part of our dream and of our script. Therefore, on this level we cannot ignore it or be indifferent or passive about what takes place in the world, just as ignoring or denying bodily conditions is an “unworthy form of denial” (T.2.IV.3:11).Two principles that can guide us on this level are (1) there is no hierarchy of illusions, and (2) purpose is everything. Thus, being politically or socially active is no different than performing surgery, competing in sports, or eating and breathing in order to stay alive. In this sense, we cannot say that one reinforces the dream more than another. They are neutral once we identify with bodily existence. It is only when we consider purpose that we can begin to evaluate the helpfulness of what we do for our Atonement path. Being involved in political or social movements, or just stopping to help a person injured in an accident, can either reinforce the separation or undo it, depending on whether we have chosen the ego or Jesus as our teacher. It is not the behavior, in other words, that helps or hinders our spiritual advancement. The pivotal issue is whether we have chosen in our minds to see our interests as separate or the same as another person’s.

None of this should be taken to mean that one must be involved in political or social programs. It is entirely a matter of how one is guided. It is neither inherently wrong-minded nor right-minded to be active in the world. We just need to be vigilant about using Course principles to justify aloofness or indifference. It is indeed a fine line to walk and requires considerable experience and maturity to both integrate the teachings of the Course and yet do what normal and compassionate people do who are citizens of a country.

Know Yourself

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 18

ACIM Text Reading for April 18

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

I. The Gifts of Fatherhood

You have learned your need of healing. Would you bring anything else to the Sonship, recognising your need of healing for yourself? For in this lies the beginning of the return to knowledge; the foundation on which God will help build again the thought system you share with Him. Not one stone you place upon it but will be blessed by Him, for you will be restoring the holy dwelling place of His Son, where He wills His Son to be and where he is. In whatever part of the mind of God’s Son you restore this reality, you restore it to yourself. You dwell in the Mind of God with your brother, for God Himself did not will to be alone.

To be alone is to be separated from infinity, but how can this be if infinity has no end? No one can be beyond the limitless, because what has no limits must be everywhere. There are no beginnings and no endings in God, Whose universe is Himself. Can you exclude yourself from the universe, or from God Who is the universe? I and my Father are one with you, for you are part of us. Do you really believe that part of God can be missing or lost to Him?

If you were not part of God, His Will would not be unified. Is this conceivable? Can part of His Mind contain nothing? If your place in His Mind cannot be filled by anyone except you, and your filling it was your creation, without you there would be an empty place in God’s Mind. Extension cannot be blocked, and it has no voids. It continues forever, however much it is denied. Your denial of its reality may arrest it in time, but not in eternity. That is why your creations have not ceased to be extended, and why so much is waiting for your return.

Waiting is possible only in time, but time has no meaning. You who made delay can leave time behind simply by recognising that neither beginnings nor endings were created by the Eternal, Who placed no limits on His creation or upon those who create like Him. You do not know this simply because you have tried to limit what He created, and so you believe that all creation is limited. How, then, could you know your creations, having denied infinity?

The laws of the universe do not permit contradiction. What holds for God holds for you. If you believe you are absent from God, you will believe that He is absent from you. Infinity is meaningless without you, and you are meaningless without God. There is no end to God and His Son, for we are the universe. God is not incomplete, and He is not childless. Because He did not will to be alone, He created a Son like Himself. Do not deny Him His Son, for your unwillingness to accept His Fatherhood has denied you yours. See His creations as His Son, for yours were created in honour of Him. The universe of love does not stop because you do not see it, nor have your closed eyes lost the ability to see. Look upon the glory of His creation, and you will learn what God has kept for you.

God has given you a place in His Mind that is yours forever. Yet you can keep it only by giving it, as it was given you. Could you be alone there, when it was given you because God did not will to be alone? God’s Mind cannot be lessened. It can only be increased, for everything He creates has the function of creating. Love does not limit, and what it creates is not limited. To give without limit is God’s Will for you, because only this can bring you the joy that is His and that He wills to share with you. Your love is as boundless as His because it isHis.

Could any part of God be without His Love, and could any part of His Love be contained? God is your heritage, because His one gift is Himself. How can you give except like Him if you would know His gift to you? Give, then, without limit and without end, to learn how much He has given you. Your ability to accept Him depends on your willingness to give as He gives. Your fatherhood and your Father are one. God wills to create, and your will is His. It follows, then, that you will to create, since your will follows from His. And being an extension of His Will, yours must be the same.

Yet what you will you do not know. This is not strange when you realise that to deny is to ‘not know’ God’s Will is that you are His Son. By denying this you deny your own will, and therefore do not know what it is. You must ask what God’s Will is in everything, because it is yours. You do not know what it is, but the Holy Spirit remembers it for you. Ask Him, therefore, what God’s Will is for you, and He will tell you yours. It cannot be too often repeated that you do not know it. Whenever what the Holy Spirit tells you appears to be coercive, it is only because you have not recognised your will.

The projection of the ego makes it appear as if God’s Will is outside yourself, and therefore not yours. In this interpretation it seems possible for God’s Will and yours to conflict. God, then, may seem to demand of you what you do not want to give, and thus deprive you of what you want. Would God, Who wants only your will, be capable of this? Your will is His life, which He has given to you. Even in time you cannot live apart from Him. Sleep is not death. What He created can sleep, but cannot die. Immortality is His Will for His Son, and His Son’s will for himself. God’s Son cannot will death for himself because His Father is Life, and His Son is like Him. Creation is your will because it is His.

You cannot be happy unless you do what you will truly, and you cannot change this because it is immutable. It is immutable by God’s Will and yours, for otherwise His Will would not be extended. You are afraid to know God’s Will, because you believe it is not yours. This belief is your whole sickness and your whole fear. Every symptom of sickness and fear arises here, because this is the belief that makes you want not to know. Believing this you hide in darkness, denying that the light is in you.

You are asked to trust the Holy Spirit only because He speaks for you. He is the Voice for God, but never forget that God did not will to be alone. He shares His Will with you; He does not thrust it upon you. Always remember that what He gives He keeps, so that nothing He gives can contradict Him. You who share His Life must share it to know it, for sharing is knowing. Blessed are you who learn that to hear the Will of your Father is to know your own. For it is your will to be like Him, Whose Will it is that it be so. God’s Will is that His Son be one, and united with Him in His Oneness. That is why healing is the beginning of the recognition that your will is His.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 18

Lesson 88

Today we will review these ideas:

(75) The light has come.

In choosing salvation rather than attack, I merely choose to recognize what is already there. Salvation is a decision made already. Attack and grievances are not there to choose. That is why I always choose between truth and illusion; between what is there and what is not. The light has come. I can but choose the light, for it has no alternative. It has replaced the darkness, and the darkness has gone.

These would prove useful forms for specific applications of this idea:

This cannot show me darkness, for the light has come.
The light in you is all that I would see, [name].
I would see in this only what is there.

(76) I am under no laws but God’s.

Here is the perfect statement of my freedom. I am under no laws but God’s. I am constantly tempted to make up other laws and give them power over me. I suffer only because of my belief in them. They have no real effect on me at all. I am perfectly free of the effects of all laws save God’s. And His are the laws of freedom.

For specific forms in applying this idea, these would be useful:

My perception of this shows me I believe in laws that do not exist.
I see only the laws of God at work in this.
Let me allow God’s laws to work in this, and not my own.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #50: If the process of forgiveness is the basis of the Course, why does Jesus not just concentrate on that and give us all the techniques or advice in the most “practical” way possible? Any way do you have any techniques, advise or other? I am just desperate with the difficulty of the work!!!

A: First of all, you have a lot of company! Many, many people share your feelings about their work with the Course.

The Course is highly practical, but unfortunately, not in the way we would like it to be. We would like it to tell us what to do behaviorally in specific situations. It does not offer us practical advice or techniques on that level, though, because that is not its focus. It is a Course in changing our minds (content) not our behavior (form). It is a Course in cause, not effect, as Jesus tells us in a moving part of “The ‘Hero’ of the Dream” section in Chapter 27 of the text:

“In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause, and looks not to effects. How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely? He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him a while. You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed” (T.27.VIII.9:1,2,3,4,5).

Therefore, the Course says nothing about behavior, which is what so many students find frustrating. We would like to be told exactly what to do as we go about interacting with people and having to make all kinds of decisions about our lives. It does tell us what to do, but not in the behavioral sense. The workbook lessons are very specific about what we should do when we become upset, angry, judgmental, fearful, sick, etc. But the instructions are geared exclusively to the decision-making capacities of our minds, from which our behavior flows. Our behavior emanates from the thought system we have chosen in our minds. So the work of the Course centers entirely on that dimension, because that is where the cause of all of our problems and distress lies. Our bodily states are just the effects of the cause. Therefore, we can be helped most effectively by working with the contents of our minds. That is the kind of help Jesus offers us in his Course. This is part of what makes the Course unique in its approach to spirituality.

Yet sometimes concentrating on behavioral changes is helpful and even necessary, especially when addictions are involved. Often, internal work cannot begin until one’s emotional and physical status is fairly stable. But the relief from pain, anxiety, guilt, fear, etc. is usually not permanent when changes are made only on the behavioral level, with no corresponding change in the mind. The Course teaches us that we have concealed the deepest sources of motivation in our minds, so if we don’t get to that level, we will never have lasting internal peace, despite behavioral changes. By applying the teachings and principles of the Course, we are promised an end to all of our pain and all of our problems.

There are two striking passages, among others, that describe the Course’s orientation and approach to healing the pain and solving the problems of our lives: “Certain it is that all distress does not appear to be but unforgiveness. Yet that is the content underneath the form” (W.pI.193.4:1.1); “Of one thing you were sure: Of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them” (T.27.VII.7:4). So Jesus tells us in these passages, as well as in dozens of others, that we know neither what our problems are nor their solutions. We had best, then, ask his help and follow his guidance, as he knows what our problems truly are, and how they can be solved.

One should not mistake its emphasis on content to mean that the Course advocates complete license to behave in whatever way one chooses. This is clearly not its direction. It does not focus on behavior because of its metaphysical premises, primary of which is the principle that the world is nothing but the projection of a thought in our minds. And since “ideas leave not their source,” the world remains in the mind and therefore is not what it appears to us to be. Neither is the body. So by staying on a behavioral level, we are limiting the extent of healing that can occur. For some people, however, changing behavior is a helpful place to start the process of getting back in touch with the power of the mind that we have dissociated. It often would reflect the mind’s decision to be more loving and kind to oneself, which is actually an application of Course principles. Having completed some other therapy or training, a person may choose to return to the Course, and then be better able to learn and practice what it teaches.

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 17

ACIM Text Reading for April 17

Chapter 11

GOD OR THE EGO

Introduction

Either God or the ego is insane. If you will examine the evidence on both sides fairly, you will realise this must be true. Neither God nor the ego proposes a partial thought system. Each is internally consistent, but they are diametrically opposed in all respects so that partial allegiance is impossible. Remember, too, that their results are as different as their foundations, and their fundamentally irreconcilable natures cannot be reconciled by vacillations between them. Nothing alive is fatherless, for life is creation. Therefore, your decision is always an answer to the question, ‘Who is my father?’ And you will be faithful to the father you choose.

Yet what would you say to someone who believed this question really involves conflict? If you made the ego, how can the ego have made you? The authority problem is still the only source of conflict, because the ego was made out of the wish of God’s Son to father Him. The ego, then, is nothing more than a delusional system in which you made your own father. Make no mistake about this. It sounds insane when it is stated with perfect honesty, but the ego never looks on what it does with perfect honesty. Yet that is its insane premise, which is carefully hidden in the dark cornerstone of its thought system. And either the ego, which you made, is your father, or its whole thought system will not stand.

You make by projection, but God creates by extension. The cornerstone of God’s creation is you, for His thought system is light. Remember the Rays that are there unseen. The more you approach the centre of His thought system, the clearer the light becomes. The closer you come to the foundation of the ego’s thought system, the darker and more obscure becomes the way. Yet even the little spark in your mind is enough to lighten it. Bring this light fearlessly with you, and bravely hold it up to the foundation of the ego’s thought system. Be willing to judge it with perfect honesty. Open the dark cornerstone of terror on which it rests, and bring it out into the light. There you will see that it rested on meaninglessness, and that everything of which you have been afraid was based on nothing.

My brother, you are part of God and part of me. When you have at last looked at the ego’s foundation without shrinking you will also have looked upon ours. I come to you from our Father to offer you everything again. Do not refuse it in order to keep a dark cornerstone hidden, for its protection will not save you. I give you the lamp and I will go with you. You will not take this journey alone. I will lead you to your true Father, Who hath need of you, as I have. Will you not answer the call of love with joy?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 17

Lesson 87

Our review today will cover these ideas:

(73) I will there be light.

I will use the power of my will today. It is not my will to grope about in darkness, fearful of shadows and afraid of things unseen and unreal. Light shall be my guide today. I will follow it where it leads me, and I will look only on what it shows me. This day I will experience the peace of true perception.

These forms of this idea would be helpful for specific applications:

This cannot hide the light I will to see.
You stand with me in light, [name].
In the light this will look different.

 

(74) There is no will but God’s.

I am safe today because there is no will but God’s. I can become afraid only when I believe there is another will. I try to attack only when I am afraid, and only when I try to attack can I believe that my eternal safety is threatened. Today I will recognize that all this has not occurred. I am safe because there is no will but God’s.

These are some useful forms of this idea for specific applications:

Let me perceive this in accordance with the Will of God.
It is God’s Will you are His Son, [name], and mine as well.
This is part of God’s Will for me, however I may see it.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #42: Does A Course in Miracles refer to “God” as an interactive god who makes changes and alterations to our physical and worldly existence in relation to our daily actions? The Course initially states that we are changeless but later refers to all the various changes which we make as we progress. I do not understand if we are capable of making any changes or not? If we are changeless, why bother doing anything at all because we are what we are anyway.

A: Although much of the Course refers to God in personal terms, as if He were a concerned Father, distinct from His children, who is watching over us, when we understand the basic metaphysical teachings of the Course on God, it becomes apparent that these kinds of personal, human references to God can not be meant literally. They represent the Course’s attempt to “use the language that this [finite] mind can understand, in the condition [of separation] in which it thinks it is” (T.25.I.7:4) and to correct the misperceptions we hold of God from our ego interpretation of God as an angry, vengeful Father who seeks to punish us for our attacks on Him.

The Course spends very little time on the impossible task of describing to our limited, finite minds the true nature of God, His creations, and reality — “there is no symbol for totality” (T.27.III.5:1) — but there are a few attempts. For example, from the workbook, “What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him” (W.pI.12:4). And acknowledging the impossibility of capturing in words That Which is beyond all concepts and symbols: “Oneness is simply the idea God is. And in His Being, He encompasses all things. No mind holds anything but Him. We say ‘God is,’ and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless. There are no lips to speak them, and no part of mind sufficiently distinct to feel it is now aware of something not itself. It has united with its Source. And like its Source Itself, it merely is” (W.p.I.169.5).

So God, Who is “All in all” (T.7.IV.7:4), can not act on a part of Himself, as if it were separate from Him. And even to refer to Him as “Him” is to attribute a personal nature to the Source of all that in reality is totally abstract. The Course therefore does not describe God as interacting with his children in the world. That role is given to the Holy Spirit as the Voice for God, providing the Holy Spirit a symbolic function, unlike the Father and the Son (T.5.I.4:1). But since the world is all a projection of the basic ego illusion, which has no reality, there really is no world in which the Holy Spirit intervenes, only a mind that believes there is a world. And even then the Voice for God has no active function in the mind — “It merely reminds” (T.5.II.7:4) us of the truth about ourselves and God, which has never changed.

The Course also refers to God as “the Changeless,” (W.pI.112.2:2) and “Formlessness” (W.pI.186.14:1), Who creates “only the changeless” (T.6.IV.12:4). Consequently, it is inconceivable that He could be involved in making changes and alterations in a world of form.

And that brings us to the second question you raise about our changelessness. In our reality as spirit, nothing has changed and we remain sinless, perfect and at one with our Source — this is the principle of the Atonement, repeated numerous times throughout the Course. It is in this sense that we are truly changeless. But clearly this is not what we believe or experience about ourselves. And so the Course does not simply assert what is real and true and leave it at that. That would not be of any help to us, trapped as we seem to be in the morass of our mistaken beliefs. So the Course accepts us where we think we are, acknowledging that we believe that we are each a separate physical being, living as a body in a world of time and space, struggling against forces that seem to be beyond our control. And it offers us the means — forgiveness, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit — to find the way out of this meaningless, senseless maze of beliefs in which we have imprisoned ourselves (T.26.V.4:1). Not because any of it is real, but only because we believe it is. And so long as we believe we have changed ourselves from our true reality as Christ, we will need to move through a seeming process of change that undoes all the changes we believe we have introduced into our identity, until we at last realize that in reality nothing has changed at all and we are back at home in the Heaven we never left, where we have always been. So this is a process of undoing, and not really doing at all. And any change we may seem to experience in the process of undoing our mistaken beliefs is as illusory as the initial thought of change that seemed to expel us from Heaven. But while we hold on to the belief that change is both possible and real, then change will be our experience. And our only choice will be whether to seek for change that reinforces guilt and separation and seems to take us even farther from our true home, or change that results from the practice of forgiveness in the context of our worldly relationships, allowing us to return.

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 16

ACIM Text Reading for April 16

Chapter 10 ~ The Idols of Sickness

V. The Denial of God
The rituals of the god of sickness are strange and very demanding. Joy is never permitted, for depression is the sign of allegiance to him. Depression means that you have forsworn God. Many are afraid of blasphemy, but they do not understand what it means. They do not realise that to deny God is to deny their own Identity, and in this sense the wages of sin is death. The sense is very literal; denial of life perceives its opposite, as all forms of denial replace what is with what is not. No one can really do this, but that you think you can and believe you have is beyond dispute.

Do not forget, however, that to deny God will inevitably result in projection, and you will believe that others and not yourself have done this to you. You must receive the message you give because it is the message you want. You may believe that you judge your brothers by the messages they give you, but you have judged them by the message you give to them. Do not attribute your denial of joy to them, or you cannot see the spark in them that would bring joy to you. It is the denial of the spark that brings depression, for whenever you see your brothers without it, you are denying God.

Allegiance to the denial of God is the ego’s religion. The god of sickness obviously demands the denial of health, because health is in direct opposition to its own survival. But consider what this means to you. Unless you are sick you cannot keep the gods you made, for only in sickness could you possibly want them. Blasphemy, then, is self-destructive, not God-destructive. It means that you are willing not to know yourself in order to be sick. This is the offering your god demands because, having made him out of your insanity, he is an insane idea. He has many forms, but although he may seem to be many different things he is but one idea;—the denial of God.

Sickness and death seemed to enter the mind of God’s Son against His Will. The ‘attack on God’ made His Son think he was fatherless, and out of his depression he made the god of depression. This was his alternative to joy, because he would not accept the fact that, although he was a creator, he had been created. Yet the Son is helpless without the Father, Who alone is his Help.

I said before that of yourself you can do nothing, but you are not of yourself. If you were, what you have made would be true, and you could never escape. It is because you did not make yourself that you need be troubled over nothing. Your gods are nothing, because your Father did not create them. You cannot make creators who are unlike your Creator, any more than He could have created a Son who was unlike Him. If creation is sharing, it cannot create what is unlike itself. It can share only what it is. Depression is isolation, and so it could not have been created.

Son of God, you have not sinned, but you have been much mistaken. Yet this can be corrected and God will help you, knowing that you could not sin against Him. You denied Him because you loved Him, knowing that if you recognised your love for Him, you could not deny Him. Your denial of Him therefore means that you love Him, and that you know He loves you. Remember that what you deny you must have once known. And if you accept denial, you can accept its undoing.

Your Father has not denied you. He does not retaliate, but He does call to you to return. When you think He has not answered your call, you have not answered His. He calls to you from every part of the Sonship, because of His Love for His Son. If you hear His message He has answered you, and you will learn of Him if you hear aright. The Love of God is in everything He created, for His Son is everywhere. Look with peace upon your brothers, and God will come rushing into your heart in gratitude for your gift to Him.

Do not look to the god of sickness for healing but only to the God of love, for healing is the acknowledgement of Him. When you acknowledge Him you will know that He has never ceased to acknowledge you, and that in His acknowledgement of you lies your being. You are not sick and you cannot die. But you can confuse yourself with things that do. Remember, though, that to do this is blasphemy, for it means that you are looking without love on God and His creation, from which He cannot be separated.

Only the eternal can be loved, for love does not die. What is of God is His forever, and you are of God. Would He allow Himself to suffer? And would He offer His Son anything that is not acceptable to Him? If you will accept yourself as God created you, you will be incapable of suffering. Yet to do this you must acknowledge Him as your Creator. This is not because you will be punished otherwise. It is merely because your acknowledgement of your Father is the acknowledgement of yourself as you are. Your Father created you wholly without sin, wholly without pain and wholly without suffering of any kind. If you deny Him you bring sin, pain and suffering into your own mind because of the power He gave it. Your mind is capable of creating worlds, but it can also deny what it creates because it is free.

You do not realise how much you have denied yourself, and how much God, in His Love, would not have it so. Yet He would not interfere with you, because He would not know His Son if he were not free. To interfere with you would be to attack Himself, and God is not insane. When you deny Him you are insane. Would you have Him share your insanity? God will never cease to love His Son, and His Son will never cease to love Him. That was the condition of His Son’s creation, fixed forever in the Mind of God. To know that is sanity. To deny it is insanity. God gave Himself to you in your creation, and His gifts are eternal. Would you deny yourself to Him?

Out of your gifts to Him the Kingdom will be restored to His Son. His Son removed himself from His gift by refusing to accept what had been created for him, and what he had created in the Name of his Father. Heaven waits for his return, for it was created as the dwelling place of God’s Son. You are not at home anywhere else, or in any other condition. Do not deny yourself the joy that was created for you for the misery you have made for yourself. God has given you the means for undoing what you have made. Listen, and you will learn how to remember what you are.

If God knows His children as wholly sinless, it is blasphemous to perceive them as guilty. If God knows His children as wholly without pain, it is blasphemous to perceive suffering anywhere. If God knows His children to be wholly joyous, it is blasphemous to feel depressed. All of these illusions, and the many other forms that blasphemy may take, are refusals to accept creation as it is. If God created His Son perfect, that is how you must learn to see him to learn of his reality. And as part of the Sonship, that is how you must see yourself to learn of yours.

Do not perceive anything God did not create or you are denying Him. His is the only Fatherhood, and it is yours only because He has given it to you. Your gifts to yourself are meaningless, but your gifts to your creations are like His, because they are given in His Name. That is why your creations are as real as His. Yet the real Fatherhood must be acknowledged if the real Son is to be known. You believe that the sick things you have made are your real creations, because you believe that the sick images you perceive are the sons of God. Only if you accept the Fatherhood of God will you have anything, because His Fatherhood gave you everything. That is why to deny Him is to deny yourself.

Arrogance is the denial of love, because love shares and arrogance withholds. As long as both appear to you to be desirable the concept of choice, which is not of God, will remain with you. While this is not true in eternity it is true in time, so that while time lasts in your mind there will be choices. Time itself is your choice. If you would remember eternity, you must look only on the eternal. If you allow yourself to become preoccupied with the temporal, you are living in time. As always, your choice is determined by what you value. Time and eternity cannot both be real, because they contradict each other. If you will accept only what is timeless as real, you will begin to understand eternity and make it yours.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 16

Lesson 86

These ideas are for review today:

(71) Only God’s plan for salvation will work.

It is senseless for me to search wildly about for salvation. I have seen it in many people and in many things, but when I reached for it, it was not there. I was mistaken about where it is. I was mistaken about what it is. I will undertake no more idle seeking. Only God’s plan for salvation will work. And I will rejoice because His plan can never fail.

These are some suggested forms for applying this idea specifically:

God’s plan for salvation will save me from my perception of this.
This is no exception in God’s plan for my salvation.
Let me perceive this only in the light of God’s plan for salvation.

 

(72) Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.

Holding grievances is an attempt to prove that God’s plan for salvation will not work. Yet only His plan will work. By holding grievances, I am therefore excluding my only hope of salvation from my awareness. I would no longer defeat my own best interests in this insane way. I would accept God’s plan for salvation, and be happy.

Specific applications for this idea might be in these forms:

I am choosing between misperception and salvation as I look on this.
If I see grounds for grievances in this, I will not see the grounds for my salvation.
This calls for salvation, not attack.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #768I have been advised by a magistrate and a lawyer to request that a psychological evaluation be done on my ex-husband because his anger over our divorce continues to escalate. We are not able to communicate regarding our daughter and have been through domestic violence court, and through several hearings where my ex-husband continues to try increase his visitation to the point where she would eventually live with him. In studying A Course in Miracles , I have learned to pray for myself, to recognize that we are all children of God, that there is a divine spirit within all of us, and yet I am fearful for myself and my daughter and my ex because of his volatile anger. Is taking legal action against him the right thing to do?

A: The teachings of A Course in Miracles are focused on changing our minds, and therefore do not provide specific guidelines for behavior. Although Jesus invites us to leave behind the ego’s perspective and allow it to be replaced by the Holy Spirit’s, he does not tell us to deny our experience on the level of form. We therefore take care of our bodies in the normal way, keeping them healthy and safe. This often means taking steps to keep someone from hurting themselves and/or others, which can sometimes be accomplished through legal action. It is certainly possible to practice forgiveness as the Course teaches while initiating legal proceedings, if that is what you think you should do. Since the foundation of the world is the belief in the ego’s thought system of attack and counter-attack, everything and everyone in it engage in destructive behavior to some degree. That is the inevitable expression of the separated Son’s desperate call for help. What we are asked to do is look at any judgments we may have toward the person, seeing in them the projection of our own desperate call for help. Once we recognize how our fears are mirrored in the other person, we have the opportunity to forgive ourselves, asking the Holy Spirit to replace our judgments against ourselves and our brother with His. This process establishes that whatever we do or don’t do with regard to another’s behavior will be guided by the Holy Spirit rather than by the ego. Taking legal action is appropriate in certain circumstances; it does not mean, however, that the other party is a guilty sinner, worthy of God’s punishment, as the ego would have us believe. The choice is not what course of action to pursue, but whose counsel we seek: the ego’s or the Holy Spirit’s. In this light we may paraphrase the oft quoted line from the text : “seek not to change your brother, but choose to change your mind about your brother” (T.21.in.1:7).

Recognizing someone’s volatile behavior as a call for help does not mean not paying attention to the form the call takes. This is true for everyone involved in your family’s crisis. As Jesus tells us in the text: “…frightened people can be vicious” (T.3.I.4:2).    While steps are taken to protect yourself, your child, and your husband on the level of form, you may remember that these steps are the expression of your call to the Holy Spirit for help. It is important not to deny the fear that underlies the perceived need for protection, or any other need. What is not denied can be transformed by the Holy Spirit, so that whatever happens you will experience peace in your mind. It is to this peace, rather than any specific behavior, that the Holy Spirit guides us.


Q #769A Course in Miracles states that all creations of us are protected by God “and kept for us” until we return (where we never left; i.e., when we wake up). My question is: i. Has anyone ever returned after they did?; ii. If the ego is but a branch of our Soul-tree then is it not protected as well, and all our attempts to counteract / undo it are all in vain? Should we pay attention to it, and thus give it “energy” and “reality”?

A: i. We do not have an answer to your first question, as there is no way of knowing this. Our creations are only in Heaven; they are the eternal extension of the Love shared by the Father and the Son, and are “protected” in the sense that they are eternal and can never be other than they are. This, of course, is not understandable to us in our separated state, as Jesus tells us in one place in the workbook: “Creation cannot even be conceived of in the world. It has no meaning here” (W.pI.192.3:1,2) . In the manual for teachers, however, he refers to “those who have reached God directly, retaining no trace of worldly limits and remembering their own Identity perfectly. These might be called the Teachers of teachers because, although they are no longer visible, their image can yet be called upon” (M.26.2:1,2) . Jesus also speaks of the “real world,” which is the state of mind reached by those with the clear awareness that the world and all bodily states are illusory. They no longer go back and forth between the ego thought system and the Holy Spirit’s. These states, perhaps, are what you were referring to in your question.

ii. The Course does not speak of the ego as “a branch of our Soul-tree”; that is from a different spiritual system. The ego, in fact, is not even an entity. It is “nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself. . . . the part of the mind that believes your existence is defined by separation” (T.4.VI.1:6; T.4.VII.1:5) . Therefore “undoing the ego” simply means changing your mind about the ego’s reality; you accept the truth that the separation from God is not real; it is totally illusory. When you accept the truth about yourself without any reservations — namely, that “I am as God created me” — then the ego just disappears: “This terrible mistake about yourself the miracle corrects as gently as a loving mother sings her child to rest” (C.2.8:2) . A miracle in the Course is this shift in our perception of who we are; it is the light that dispels the darkness of the ego, as Jesus explains in the clarification of terms: “Where there was darkness now we see the light. What is the ego? What the darkness was. Where is the ego? Where the darkness was. What is it now and where can it be found? Nothing and nowhere” (C.2.6:1,2,3,4,5,6,7) . Thus, we give reality to the ego only when we fear it, fight against it, or deny it. We need to pay attention to it only so that we can bring it out of the dark hiding place we provided for it and into the light of Jesus’ love in our minds, where it simply is no more. That is why he emphasizes that the miracle “looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false” (W.pII.13.1:3) ; and in the text he also makes the point that the only way to get past the ego is to look at it with him: “No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous. We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it . . .” (T.11.V.1:1,2,3) .

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 14

ACIM Text Reading for April 14

Chapter 10 ~ The Idols of Sickness

IV. The End of Sickness

All magic is an attempt at reconciling the irreconcilable. All religion is the recognition that the irreconcilable cannot be reconciled. Sickness and perfection are irreconcilable. If God created you perfect, you are perfect. If you believe you can be sick, you have placed other gods before Him. God is not at war with the god of sickness you made, but you are. He is the symbol of deciding against God, and you are afraid of him because he cannot be reconciled with God’s Will. If you attack him, you will make him real to you. But if you refuse to worship him in whatever form he may appear to you, and wherever you think you see him, he will disappear into the nothingness out of which he was made.

Reality can dawn only on an unclouded mind. It is always there to be accepted, but its acceptance depends on your willingness to have it. To know reality must involve the willingness to judge unreality for what it is. To overlook nothingness is merely to judge it correctly, and because of your ability to evaluate it truly, to let it go. Knowledge cannot dawn on a mind full of illusions, because truth and illusions are irreconcilable. Truth is whole, and cannot be known by part of a mind.

The Sonship cannot be perceived as partly sick, because to perceive it that way is not to perceive it at all. If the Sonship is one, it is one in all respects. Oneness cannot be divided. If you perceive other gods your mind is split, and you will not be able to limit the split, because it is the sign that you have removed part of your mind from God’s Will. This means it is out of control. To be out of control is to be out of reason, and then the mind does become unreasonable. By defining the mind wrongly, you perceive it as functioning wrongly.

God’s laws will keep your mind at peace because peace is His Will, and His laws are established to uphold it. His are the laws of freedom, but yours are the laws of bondage. Since freedom and bondage are irreconcilable, their laws cannot be understood together. The laws of God work only for your good, and there are no other laws beside His. Everything else is merely lawless and therefore chaotic. Yet God Himself has protected everything He created by His laws. Everything that is not under them does not exist. ‘Laws of chaos’ is a meaningless term. Creation is perfectly lawful, and the chaotic is without meaning because it is without God. You have ‘given’ your peace to the gods you made, but they are not there to take it from you, and you cannot give it to them.

You are not free to give up freedom, but only to deny it. You cannot do what God did not intend, because what He did not intend does not happen. Your gods do not bring chaos; you are endowing them with chaos, and accepting it of them. All this has never been. Nothing but the laws of God has ever been, and nothing but His Will, will ever be. You were created through His laws and by His Will, and the manner of your creation established you a creator. What you have made is so unworthy of you that you could hardly want it, if you were willing to see it as it is. You will see nothing at all. And your vision will automatically look beyond it, to what is in you and all around you. Reality cannot break through the obstructions you interpose, but it will envelop you completely when you let them go.

When you have experienced the protection of God, the making of idols becomes inconceivable. There are no strange images in the Mind of God, and what is not in His Mind cannot be in yours, because you are of one mind and that mind belongs to Him. It is yours because it belongs to Him, for to Him ownership is sharing. And if it is so for Him, it is so for you. His definitions are His laws, for by them He established the universe as what it is. No false gods you attempt to interpose between yourself and your reality affect truth at all. Peace is yours because God created you. And He created nothing else.

The miracle is the act of a Son of God who has laid aside all false gods, and calls on his brothers to do likewise. It is an act of faith, because it is the recognition that his brother can do it. It is a call to the Holy Spirit in his mind, a call that is strengthened by joining. Because the miracle worker has heard God’s Voice, he strengthens It in a sick brother by weakening his belief in sickness, which he does not share. The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark. It is everywhere and it is eternal.

In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured. Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten. If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the Rays are there unseen. Perceiving the spark will heal, but knowing the light will create. Yet in the returning the little light must be acknowledged first, for the separation was a descent from magnitude to littleness. But the spark is still as pure as the great light, because it is the remaining call of creation. Put all your faith in it, and God Himself will answer you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 14

Lesson 85

Today’s review will cover these ideas:

(69) My grievances hide the light of the world in me.

My grievances show me what is not there, and hide from me what I would see. Recognizing this, what do I want my grievances for? They keep me in darkness and hide the light. Grievances and light cannot go together, but light and vision must be joined for me to see. To see, I must lay grievances aside. I want to see, and this will be the means by which I will succeed.

Specific applications for this idea might be made in these forms:

Let me not use this as a block to sight.
The light of the world will shine all this away.
I have no need for this. I want to see.

 

(70) My salvation comes from me.

Today I will recognize where my salvation is. It is in me because its Source is there. It has not left its Source, and so it cannot have left my mind. I will not look for it outside myself. It is not found outside and then brought in. But from within me it will reach beyond, and everything I see will but reflect the light that shines in me and in itself.

These forms of the idea are suitable for more specific applications:

Let this not tempt me to look away from me for my salvation.
I will not let this interfere with my awareness of the Source of my salvation.
This has no power to remove salvation from me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #766Lately I have been waking with thoughts, ideas or concepts from A Course in Miracles fresh in my awareness. For example: recently the thought has reoccurred that “He knows what you have made and can transform this from a dream of hate to one of peace.” It’s not so much that I “hear” any kind of a voice but more that I have these thoughts with me as I wake up in the morning or during the night. It is probably impossible for you to determine what is going on here, but how do I know that this is not a trick of the ego or the intercession of Course principles in my right mind? There must be some level of the mind that the Course reaches/works with us on that does not require our conscious awareness or involvement, no? Could this be the “little willingness” that Jesus speaks of?

A: Although we are unable to comment on your individual experiences, we can say in general that it would not be unusual for ideas or passages from the Course to stay with people and just be there when they awake in the morning or at night. Other students have spoken of this and have also said that ideas sometimes just pop into their minds — a kind of “hearing” — while they are going about their daily activities, not even thinking of the Course. The processing of our study and practice is carried on largely, as you suggest, beneath the level of our conscious awareness; the contents of both the wrong and right minds are for the most part unconscious. Therefore, it would not be surprising that thoughts or words could seem to appear out of nowhere. Our “little willingness” to have Jesus be our teacher has mighty effects in our minds, of which we are mostly unaware.

It may take many, many years of diligent practice before we are able to discern consistently what is coming from our ego and what is from the Holy Spirit or Jesus. If what you hear helps you become more kind, forgiving, and less guilty and judgmental, then just leave it at that. What is most important is not to make it into a big deal, which would happen if you felt a need to run to other people and tell them what happened. This need could well be manifesting the attraction to spiritual specialness. That, of course, is different from asking a question, such as you have done here. This Course is about your relationship with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, and bringing your ego to that light and love in your mind. That is where the focus of every student should be. Your trust in the process will develop gradually.


Q #767  I want my cake and eat it too! Can I live in this world and still have the peace of God? Can I keep this creation as a form of amusement?

A: Sorry, no. And the reason is simple: this is what got us into trouble in the first place. Having our cake and eating too is another way of saying separation can work, that we can have Heaven and hell, specialness and peace, individuality and God, wholeness and a split mind. What’s more, even a fleeting look at the world tells us that is it not very amusing. It was made as an attack on God (W.pII.3.2:1) , and it shows: “Anything in this world that you believe is good and valuable and worth striving for can hurt you, and will do so . Not because it has the power to hurt, but just because you have denied it is but an illusion, and made it real. And it is real to you. It is not nothing. And through its perceived reality has entered all the world of sick illusions. (T.26.VI.1:1,2,3,4,5, italics ours). In a simple and clear statement in the text of A Course in Miracles Jesus also tells us: “ It is impossible to seek for pleasure through the body and not find pain”(T.19.IV.B.12:1). However, in accord with the insanity of the ego’s thought system, we have taught ourselves that there are pleasurable things in the world that are preferable to Heaven. The universally acclaimed favorite is specialness, which, in spite of causing us great misery and tribulation, we find superior to the Identity God gave us as His One Son. We have taken great pains (literally) to contrive ingenious ways of convincing ourselves that there is happiness in the illusion. What we actually find in the “beauty” of some aspects of nature and some personal relationships is the satisfaction of having our needs and expectations met, and living “proof” that the world is real. However beautiful these things and relationships may seem to be, their purpose is a vicious attack on God’s Son, in that they have been chosen as a substitute for the Father’s Love. By choosing to identify with the ego, and therefore with the body, we have turned away from His Love. This can only lead to deep pain, which is covered over by the endless pursuit of comfort and joy on the world’s terms. It is endless because it does not satisfy the longing for our true Identity, which lies buried beneath the guilt for choosing the separation.

So it is a bitter cake we bake when we seek for meaning in the meaninglessness of the illusion. We do have it, we are eating it, and it has made us sick. We have done this, just as children who overdose on sugar, because we are confused about our identity, and therefore confused about pain and joy: “ What is joyful to you is painful to the ego, and as long as you are in doubt about what you are, you will be confused about joy and pain” (T.7.X.3:6). Our real “cake” is learning that we are minds, not bodies, that the world is not our home, and we will never be happy here. “Eating” it means accepting that we are God’s innocent Son at home with Him.

Since Jesus knows we are afraid of this truth, he offers us great comfort: “Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality. Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition” (T.16.VI.8:1,2). Nothing in the process of learning is forced upon us, for no one truly learns under duress. Our healing, therefore, keeps pace with our fear. As fear decreases healing increases to whatever extent we are willing and never without our consent. The things we seek in the world, fear of losing them, and fear of accepting our truth all serve the same purpose of keeping us grounded in the belief that the separation is real. It is not a sin to eat and enjoy the ego’s cake, but it will not bring us the happiness we seek. When tempted to indulge it may be helpful to remember that to turn to the Holy Spirit is an alternative that will not hurt: “The Holy Spirit will direct you only so as to avoid pain. Surely no one would object to this goal if he recognized it” (T.7.X.3:1,2) . The peace Jesus promises is not found in the world. It is the true peace found in the forgiving mind, that is not contingent upon our cakes.

you cannot lose your soul


A Course in Miracles Text Reading and Workbook Lesson for April 13

ACIM Text Reading for April 13

Chapter 10 ~ The Idols of Sickness

III. The God of Sickness

You have not attacked God and you do love Him. Can you change your reality? No one can will to destroy himself. When you think you are attacking yourself, it is a sure sign that you hate what you think you are. And this, and only this, can be attacked by you. What you think you are can be very hateful, and what this strange image makes you do can be very destructive. Yet the destruction is no more real than the image, although those who make idols do worship them. The idols are nothing, but their worshippers are the Sons of God in sickness. God would have them released from their sickness and returned to His Mind. He will not limit your power to help them, because He has given it to you. Do not be afraid of it, because it is your salvation.

What Comforter can there be for the sick children of God except His power through you? Remember that it does not matter where in the Sonship He is accepted. He is always accepted for all, and when your mind receives Him the remembrance of Him awakens throughout the Sonship. Heal your brothers simply by accepting God for them. Your minds are not separate, and God has only one channel for healing because He has but one Son. God’s remaining communication link with all His children joins them together, and them to Him. To be aware of this is to heal them because it is the awareness that no one is separate, and so no one is sick.

To believe that a Son of God can be sick is to believe that part of God can suffer. Love cannot suffer, because it cannot attack. The remembrance of love therefore brings invulnerability with it. Do not side with sickness in the presence of a Son of God even if he believes in it, for your acceptance of God in him acknowledges the Love of God he has forgotten. Your recognition of him as part of God reminds him of the truth about himself, which he is denying. Would you strengthen his denial of God and thus lose sight of yourself? Or would you remind him of his wholeness and remember your Creator with him?

To believe a Son of God is sick is to worship the same idol he does. God created love, not idolatry. All forms of idolatry are caricatures of creation, taught by sick minds too divided to know that creation shares power and never usurps it. Sickness is idolatry, because it is the belief that power can be taken from you. Yet this is impossible, because you are part of God, Who is all power. A sick god must be an idol, made in the image of what its maker thinks he is. And that is exactly what the ego does perceive in a Son of God; a sick god, self-created, self-sufficient, very vicious and very vulnerable. Is this the idol you would worship? Is this the image you would be vigilant to save? Are you really afraid of losing this?

Look calmly at the logical conclusion of the ego’s thought system and judge whether its offering is really what you want, for this is what it offers you. To obtain this you are willing to attack the Divinity of your brothers, and thus lose sight of yours. And you are willing to keep it hidden, to protect an idol you think will save you from the dangers for which it stands, but which do not exist.

There are no idolaters in the Kingdom, but there is great appreciation for everything that God created, because of the calm knowledge that each one is part of Him. God’s Son knows no idols, but he does know His Father. Health in this world is the counterpart of value in Heaven. It is not my merit that I contribute to you but my love, for you do not value yourself. When you do not value yourself you become sick, but my value of you can heal you, because the value of God’s Son is one. When I said, ‘My peace I give unto you’, I meant it. Peace comes from God through me to you. It is for you although you may not ask for it.

When a brother is sick it is because he is not asking for peace, and therefore does not know he has it. The acceptance of peace is the denial of illusion, and sickness is an illusion. Yet every Son of God has the power to deny illusions anywhere in the Kingdom, merely by denying them completely in himself. I can heal you because I know you. I know your value for you, and it is this value that makes you whole. A whole mind is not idolatrous, and does not know of conflicting laws. I will heal you merely because I have only one message, and it is true. Your faith in it will make you whole when you have faith in me.

I do not bring God’s message with deception, and you will learn this as you learn that you always receive as much as you accept. You could accept peace now for everyone, and offer them perfect freedom from all illusions because you heard His Voice. But have no other gods before Him or you will not hear. God is not jealous of the gods you make, but you are. You would save them and serve them, because you believe that they made you. You think they are your father, because you are projecting onto them the fearful fact that you made them to replace God. Yet when they seem to speak to you, remember that nothing can replace God, and whatever replacements you have attempted are nothing.

Very simply, then, you may believe you are afraid of nothingness, but you are really afraid of nothing. And in that awareness you are healed. You will hear the god you listen to. You made the god of sickness, and by making him you made yourself able to hear him. Yet you did not create him, because he is not the Will of the Father. He is therefore not eternal and will be unmade for you the instant you signify your willingness to accept only the eternal.

If God has but one Son, there is but one God. You share reality with Him, because reality is not divided. To accept other gods before Him is to place other images before yourself. You do not realise how much you listen to your gods, and how vigilant you are on their behalf. Yet they exist only because you honour them. Place honour where it is due, and peace will be yours. It is your inheritance from your real Father. You cannot make your Father, and the father you made did not make you. Honour is not due to illusions, for to honour them is to honour nothing. Yet fear is not due them either, for nothing cannot be fearful. You have chosen to fear love because of its perfect harmlessness, and because of this fear you have been willing to give up your own perfect helpfulness and your own perfect Help.

Only at the altar of God will you find peace. And this altar is in you because God put it there. His Voice still calls you to return, and He will be heard when you place no other gods before Him. You can give up the god of sickness for your brothers; in fact, you would have to do so if you give him up for yourself. For if you see the god of sickness anywhere, you have accepted him. And if you accept him you will bow down and worship him, because he was made as God’s replacement. He is the belief that you can choose which god is real. Although it is clear this has nothing to do with reality, it is equally clear that it has everything to do with reality as you perceive it.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 13

Lesson 84

These are the ideas for today’s review:

(67) Love created me like itself.

I am in the likeness of my Creator. I cannot suffer, I cannot experience loss and I cannot die. I am not a body. I would recognize my reality today. I will worship no idols, nor raise my own self-concept to replace my Self. I am in the likeness of my Creator. Love created me like itself.

You might find these specific forms helpful in applying the idea:

Let me not see an illusion of myself in this.
As I look on this, let me remember my Creator.
My Creator did not create this as I see it.

 

(68) Love holds no grievances.

Grievances are completely alien to love. Grievances attack love and keep its light obscure. If I hold grievances I am attacking love, and therefore attacking my Self. My Self thus becomes alien to me. I am determined not to attack my Self today, so that I can remember Who I am.

These specific forms for applying this idea would be helpful:

This is no justification for denying my Self.
I will not use this to attack love.
Let this not tempt me to attack myself.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1032Would the following concept be consistent with the teachings of A Course in Miracles? : “We live in the spirit; mind is the builder; and the physical is the result”?

A: Not exactly. The mind that knows itself as spirit lives in God, it would not, therefore, build a world to escape to. Because only the mind is real (T.6.V.A.3:2) , and the world is but an hallucination (T.20.VIII.7:3), they cannot be set equally in the sequence. It is more accurate to say that the mind hallucinates the world into awareness in order to defend its choice for the ego. Thus, the statement could read: we are Mind/spirit, the mind chooses against its identity as Mind/ spirit, forgets its choice, projects the guilt outside of itself, and experiences an illusory world that it then uses to prove it is not a mind. Therein lies the insanity of the ego thought system. Once the mind believes this thought system is real, its only activity is choosing between it and the thought system of the Holy Spirit. When the split mind chooses separation, guilt for that choice is projected out resulting in the illusion of the physical world. Thus, the mind “builds” only in the sense that the world is the effect of the mind’s projection of guilt. It then identifies with the body in which it thinks it lives, forgetting that it is a mind.

When the mind chooses the Holy Spirit, it identifies with the part that knows the separation is not real. This choice is then extended and experienced in the world as right- minded thinking. When the mind chooses only the Holy Spirit, it will be completely healed and cease to perceive anything outside of itself. It then lives in the spirit, aware only of its oneness with God. That is how the world disappears from awareness (C.4.4) .

In reality, none of this is true because the separation never happened (T.6.II.10:7) . There is no separated mind, no world (W.pI.132.6:2) , nothing to build. While we choose to believe the separation is real, the world will remain real in our perception. Belief in separation and belief in the world go hand in hand as cause and effect. Each depends on the other for its seeming existence. The goal of the Course is to teach us to see the world as the projection of the mind, and to replace the mindlessness of the body with the mindfulness of paying attention to the thoughts of separation that fill our days with judgment. Looking at these thoughts with willingness to let the Holy Spirit transform them is the only useful purpose for the world we perceive. It is the way we live in the spirit until we return to our true life in the spirit of God.


Q #1033Music, especially classical music, is an aspect of that state I like to think of as pertaining to my right mind. Jesus uses such terms as a song of thankfulness, praise, union, gratitude, Heaven; and in “The Forgotten Song” (T.21.I) there is a particularly lovely analogy to help us understand the beauty of what we have forgotten. Sometimes I wonder if there is some subtle reference in A Course in Miracles to a particular type of music or composer or work that would reflect these melodies to which he refers as we dream our dream of beautiful music here.

A: It is always the content of what Jesus is saying that he is trying to draw us into, never the form. Form is always specific and even though we would love for him to deal with specifics, that really would not be in our best interests. Our record with specifics is not very impressive, when you think about it. Isn’t it true that if he gave us specific musical references we would immediately get into comparisons, debates, etc., and just stay stuck on that level? Then, too, different forms appeal to different people; one is not better or more inspirational than another. One person may have an instant of selfless joining while listening to a Neil Simon song and not relate at all to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” So form can never be prescribed universally. Love may guide one person one way and another person in a completely different way.

The real reason Jesus does not get into specifics, however, is that he does not recognize them as meaningful. Specifics and form always pertain to the body, whereas content pertains to the mind. The Shakespearian meter of the Course’s form makes for lovely reading, but it has nothing to do with the content — it could have been expressed in any number of other forms. Jesus reminds us in “The Forgotten Song” that “the notes are nothing” (T.21.I.7:1). This is consistent with his pattern of bringing us ever closer to the essence of love — oneness — that transcends anything in this world of form. But if a certain type of music or certain composers or pieces inspire you and help you to be more peaceful, then it would be foolish not to enjoy listening to them. Just try to relate to the content, which in some way should remind you of the ego-less Presence within you that lovingly embraces everyone, without exception.

you have no idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 12

ACIM Text Reading for April 12

Chapter 10 ~ The Idols of Sickness

II. The Decision to Forget

Unless you first know something you cannot dissociate it. Knowledge must precede dissociation, so that dissociation is nothing more than a decision to forget. What has been forgotten then appears to be fearful, but only because the dissociation is an attack on truth. You are fearful because you have forgotten. And you have replaced your knowledge by an awareness of dreams because you are afraid of your dissociation, not of what you have dissociated. When what you have dissociated is accepted, it ceases to be fearful.

Yet to give up the dissociation of reality brings more than merely lack of fear. In this decision lie joy and peace and the glory of creation. Offer the Holy Spirit only your willingness to remember, for He retains the knowledge of God and of yourself for you, waiting for your acceptance. Give up gladly everything that would stand in the way of your remembering, for God is in your memory. His Voice will tell you that you are part of Him when you are willing to remember Him and know your own reality again. Let nothing in this world delay your remembering of Him, for in this remembering is the knowledge of yourself.

To remember is merely to restore to your mind what is already there. You do not make what you remember; you merely accept again what is already there, but was rejected. The ability to accept truth in this world is the perceptual counterpart of creating in the Kingdom. God will do His part if you will do yours, and His return in exchange for yours is the exchange of knowledge for perception. Nothing is beyond His Will for you. But signify your will to remember Him, and behold! He will give you everything but for the asking.

When you attack, you are denying yourself. You are specifically teaching yourself that you are not what you are. Your denial of reality precludes the acceptance of God’s gift, because you have accepted something else in its place. If you understand that this is always an attack on truth, and truth is God, you will realise why it is always fearful. If you further recognise that you are part of God, you will understand why it is that you always attack yourself first.

All attack is Self attack. It cannot be anything else. Arising from your own decision not to be what you are, it is an attack on your identification. Attack is thus the way in which your identification is lost, because when you attack, you must have forgotten what you are. And if your reality is God’s, when you attack you are not remembering Him. This is not because He is gone, but because you are actively choosing not to remember Him.

If you realised the complete havoc this makes of your peace of mind you could not make such an insane decision. You make it only because you still believe it can get you something you want. It follows, then, that you want something other than peace of mind, but you have not considered what it must be. Yet the logical outcome of your decision is perfectly clear, if you will only look at it. By deciding against your reality, you have made yourself vigilant against God and His Kingdom. And it is this vigilance that makes you afraid to remember Him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 12

Lesson 83

Today let us review these ideas:

(65) My only function is the one God gave me.

I have no function but the one God gave me. This recognition releases me from all conflict, because it means I cannot have conflicting goals. With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say and what to think. All doubt must disappear as I acknowledge that my only function is the one God gave me.

More specific applications of this idea might take these forms:

My perception of this does not change my function.
This does not give me a function other than the one God gave me.
Let me not use this to justify a function God did not give me.

 

(66) My happiness and my function are one.

All things that come from God are one. They come from Oneness, and must be received as one. Fulfilling my function is my happiness because both come from the same Source. And I must learn to recognize what makes me happy, if I would find happiness.

Some useful forms for specific applications of this idea are:

This cannot separate my happiness from my function.
The oneness of my happiness and my function remains wholly unaffected by this.
Nothing, including this, can justify the illusion of happiness apart from my function.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1030I’ve stopped thinking about inconclusive questions that we cannot answer with our minds. One thing that did it for me is that I realize that we find a witness to our own innocence, not in ego but as in Self. And most of all, I read A Course in Miracles as a prime source of our understanding/perception, until we arrive with knowledge which just IS. Herein lies forgiveness of the world. What do you think?

A: Yes, the process is easy in this sense. We first choose to identify with either the hatred of the ego in our wrong minds or the love of Jesus or the Holy Spirit in our right minds. Then our experience of the outer world will reflect this experience of our inner world. It is a significant step forward to realize that our internal experiences are never anything other than expressions of the choice we have first made in our minds. Our unfortunate mistake has been to take for granted that our experiences are caused by what happens externally, and so our lives have been geared toward changing the world so that we may be happier and more peaceful.

In “The Savior’s Vision” Jesus tells us: “For holiness is seen through holy eyes that look upon the innocence within, and thus expect to see it everywhere. And so they call it forth in everyone they look upon, that he may be what they expect of him. This is the savior’s vision; that he see his innocence in all he looks upon, and see his own salvation everywhere” (T.31.VII.11:3,4,5) . The world is thus forgiven, because we no longer see it as the cause of our problems and lack of peace. This is what is meant when Jesus says in this same section in the text, “The savior’s vision is as innocent of what your brother is as it is free of any judgment made upon yourself. It sees no past in anyone at all” (T.31.VII.13:1) . When you identify with your innocence (the Atonement principle), you know that everyone else is included in that innocence, as God’s Son is one; and therefore you see past all the differentiating forms that would tempt us to think otherwise. The varied conflicts and problems may continue in the world, but you would have released them from all responsibility for your internal condition. And you may be participating in resolving some of those problems, but you would be doing so solely as a means of having that vision of innocence encompass everyone, without exception.


Q #1031This question is with reference to Question #724. Many religious beliefs and spiritual paths say that God created this world or constantly creates it through us. The Course says otherwise, and I think this is what distinguishes it from other belief systems. However, if you say that we cannot think apart from God, then the “little” things we witness in this world must also be part of, not just us as dreaming Sons of God, but also of God Himself, from Whom we never separated. So one could be tempted to say that the world is made of (part of) God having fallen asleep rather than “only” the sleeping Son of God. Would it be apt to say that God is “the canvas” upon which all the playings and going-ons of the world take place? A kind of background picture that never changes? God is Love, and then we cease to speak?

A: If the world, in any sense, were part of God, the world would be real. And the Course states unequivocally that it is not real: “There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach (W.pI.132.6:2,3) . The teachings of A Course in Miracles are presented on two levels. Level One teachings state the absolute truth: The world of Heaven alone is real — God, Christ, and His creations; all else is illusory and not real — anything with limits, which includes everything material, temporal, and spatial. We think we are real as bodies existing in a physical world, so Jesus speaks to us on that level (Level Two), but only so that he can help us realize that our identity as individual selves is part of a delusional thought system intended to keep the truth about us concealed. God would not be God if a delusional system were in any way part of Him or even known by Him; and certainly He would not be perfect as God if part of Him fell asleep.

To say that “we cannot think apart from God” is to say that our reality as Christ alone is real, and therefore any thoughts we seem to have as autonomous individuals cannot be our real thoughts. This is the point of two lessons in the workbook: “My mind is part of God’s. I am very holy” (W.pI.35) and “God is the Mind with which I think” (W.pI.45) , where Jesus speaks to us on Level One: “There is no relationship between what is real and what you think is real. Nothing that you think are your real thoughts resemble your real thoughts in any respect. Nothing that you think you see bears any resemblance to what vision will show you” (W.pI.45.1:3,4,5) . The “you” Jesus is addressing is the decision-making aspect in our minds that has denied our true Identity and made up another identity as an individual self in this world. In the exercises, therefore, Jesus helps us get back to that decision-making power of our minds so that we would realize another choice is available to us — we can choose to identify with our right minds where the Holy Spirit holds for us the memory of our true Identity. Thus, our thoughts right now can be reflections of the ego’s thought system of separation or the Holy Spirit’s thought system of oneness. That distinction reflects the Level Two teachings in the Course. When we no longer choose thoughts of separation, which means we give no credence to the differences in form among us, our minds will be one with the Holy Spirit’s and then our thoughts will reflect only the perfect Oneness of God’s Love. In sum, then, in truth we cannot think apart from God, because there is no “we” apart from God. If we think we are apart from God, then our thoughts are not real thoughts.

secret of salvation

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 11

ACIM Text Reading for April 11

Chapter 10 ~ The Idols of Sickness

I. At Home in God

You do not know your creations simply because you would decide against them as long as your mind is split, and to attack what you have created is impossible. But remember that it is as impossible for God. The law of creation is that you love your creations as yourself, because they are part of you. Everything that was created is therefore perfectly safe, because the laws of God protect it by His Love. Any part of your mind that does not know this has banished itself from knowledge, because it has not met its conditions. Who could have done this but you? Recognise this gladly, for in this recognition lies the realisation that your banishment is not of God, and therefore does not exist.

You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality. Is it your decision to do so? You recognise from your own experience that what you see in dreams you think is real while you are asleep. Yet the instant you waken you realise that everything that seemed to happen in the dream did not happen at all. You do not think this strange, even though all the laws of what you awaken to were violated while you slept. Is it not possible that you merely shifted from one dream to another, without really waking?

Would you bother to reconcile what happened in conflicting dreams, or would you dismiss both together if you discovered that reality is in accord with neither? You do not remember being awake. When you hear the Holy Spirit you may feel better because loving then seems possible to you, but you do not remember yet that it once was so. And it is in this remembering that you will know it can be so again. What is possible has not yet been accomplished. Yet what has once been is so now, if it is eternal. When you remember, you will know that what you remember is eternal, and therefore is now.

You will remember everything the instant you desire it wholly, for if to desire wholly is to create, you will have willed away the separation, returning your mind simultaneously to your Creator and your creations. Knowing them you will have no wish to sleep, but only the desire to waken and be glad. Dreams will be impossible because you will want only truth, and being at last your will, it will be yours.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 11

Lesson 82

We will review these ideas today:

(63) The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.

My forgiveness is the means by which the light of the world finds expression through me. My forgiveness is the means by which I become aware of the light of the world in me. My forgiveness is the means by which the world is healed, together with myself. Let me, then, forgive the world, that it may be healed along with me.

Suggestions for specific forms for applying this idea are:

Let peace extend from my mind to yours, [name].
I share the light of the world with you, [name].
Through my forgiveness I can see this as it is.

 

(64) Let me not forget my function.

I would not forget my function, because I would remember my Self. I cannot fulfill my function if I forget it. And unless I fulfill my function, I will not experience the joy that God intends for me.

Suitable specific forms of this idea include:

Let me not use this to hide my function from me.
I would use this as an opportunity to fulfill my function.
This may threaten my ego, but cannot change my function in any way.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1302When I shut the doors, confine myself in a room, and immerse myself in reading A Course in Miracles , I feel such elation because everything it says rings true. I literally wish that when I open the doors, the illusory world would not exist anymore. This brings instantaneous fear and anxiety, of course. I sometimes picture the “cunning” ego asserting specialness, as if mocking me to say “see, God does not really love you; you’re stuck here.” I get so confused and sad, I just weep as I always have. It seems as if there is a constant battle raging inside me, and peace, even when it comes, is fleeting. It seems as if I have to remember to “choose once again” constantly and unrelentingly. When all is said and done, I truly want only God. I also honestly believe that God waits for me. But why the seeming distance and the muck that shields the light?

A: Yes, other students have these kinds of experiences — they are not uncommon at all. Patience and gentleness are essential in working through this process. If we could simply accept the peace of God without reservation the first time we open our minds to it, we would not need A Course in Miracles ; and, indeed, we probably would not even be here. It is perhaps far more helpful and realistic to assume that we don’t really want it — or, that we want it only our terms — because we are terrified of what it would mean to fully accept it. Deep down we realize that our identity as we know it would disappear, as would the world. We thus are highly conflicted — we both desperately want peace, yet are terrified of accepting it. We think it would be the most wonderful thing ever to awaken from this burdensome dream of suffering, yet we are not sure we want to let go of our identity as an self. This is the theme Jesus discusses in “The Fear of Redemption” (T.13.III) , and it is also the subject of Kenneth’s recent book, Ending Our Resistance to Love . However, Jesus reassures us of the gentleness of the journey on which he is leading us: we will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it (T.13.VII.9:1) ; and we will not be “abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality” (T.16.VI.8:1).

It certainly does seem as if a battle is being waged in our minds, but this is true only from the ego’s vantage point. (Note the section in the text called “Above the Battleground” (T.23.IV. ) The ego senses a mortal threat to its existence, and that threat is our mind’s power to decide against the ego and for the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness. To make this choice is the beginning of the end of the ego, which is why it devised its strategy to shield us from our identities as decision-making minds. Thus, for the ego there is definitely a life-and-death struggle, because both sides are real in its eyes. This is the tension we cannot help feeling when we identify with the ego. From Jesus vantage point, however, there is no battle, for he knows that the ego and everything it stands for is made up — you cannot do battle with something that does not exist, unless you’re Don Quixote! Asking our questions — what is the ego and where can it found? — Jesus answers: “Nothing and nowhere!” (C.2.6:7). Jesus thus guides us on our journey back into our minds where we can get in touch with our erroneous beliefs and then choose against them.

But because we think we are bodies living in a world and are no longer aware of our identity as minds with the power of choice, Jesus starts us off on that level and uses our experiences in the world to lead us back to the content in our minds, and eventually back to our identity as minds. He teaches us how to treat our reactions to the goings-on in our daily lives as reflections of the contents we have chosen to make real in our minds: “the outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1:5). That is why our interactions are important — they constitute the curriculum Jesus can use as our teacher. This is A Course in Miracles’ distinctive path.

If you retreat from the world out of fear, ultimately it is because you have given the world a power it does not really have, forgetting that it is a projection of your mind (part of the ego’s strategy) and that you therefore have given it the only meaning it has — a major principle in all of the Course’s teachings (in addition to the reference to Chapter 21 above, see also T.13.IX.3:1 and W.pI.2 ). Succumbing to the ego’s threats about the danger of remaining in your mind, you are overlooking the real strength that is still there. Depression is one of the consequences of taking the ego seriously. To choose the ego is to deny truth, separate yourself from the source of true peace and happiness, and have it appear that you are just a helpless victim of forces beyond your control. Jesus’ teaching objective, thus, is to lead us back within to the place where we make the choice to believe in his truth or to deny it. His method takes into consideration our unfortunate condition of not even realizing there is a “within” to which we can return. This, again, points to the value of our interactions in the world — we can now learn to focus on their purpose (content) while still acting responsibly in our roles (form): “Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has” (T.24.VI.1,2). This is where our hope lies, upheld by Jesus’ promise to be with us each step of the way, and by his guarantee that we cannot fail, for all that we are doing is denying our denial of truth (T.12.II.1:5) , and remembering what we chose to forget.

there is nothing to fear


A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 10

ACIM Text Reading for April 10

Chapter 10

THE IDOLS OF SICKNESS

Introduction

Nothing beyond yourself can make you fearful or loving, because nothing is beyond you. Time and eternity are both in your mind, and will conflict until you perceive time solely as a means to regain eternity. You cannot do this as long as you believe that anything happening to you is caused by factors outside yourself. You must learn that time is solely at your disposal, and that nothing in the world can take this responsibility from you. You can violate God’s laws in your imagination, but you cannot escape from them. They were established for your protection and are as inviolate as your safety.

God created nothing beside you and nothing beside you exists, for you are part of Him. What except Him can exist? Nothing beyond Him can happen, because nothing except Him is real. Your creations add to Him as you do, but nothing is added that is different because everything has always been. What can upset you except the ephemeral, and how can the ephemeral be real if you are God’s only creation and He created you eternal? Your holy mind establishes everything that happens to you. Every response you make to everything you perceive is up to you, because your mind determines your perception of it.

God does not change His Mind about you, for He is not uncertain of Himself. And what He knows can be known, because He does not know it only for Himself. He created you for Himself, but He gave you the power to create for yourself so you would be like Him. That is why your mind is holy. Can anything exceed the Love of God? Can anything, then, exceed your will? Nothing can reach you from beyond it because, being in God, you encompass everything. Believe this, and you will realise how much is up to you. When anything threatens your peace of mind, ask yourself, ‘Has God changed His Mind about me?’ Then accept His decision, for it is indeed changeless, and refuse to change your mind about yourself. God will never decide against you, or He would be deciding against Himself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 10

Lesson 81

REVIEW II
Introduction

We are now ready for another review. We will begin where our last review left off, and cover two ideas each day. The earlier part of each day will be devoted to one of these ideas, and the latter part of the day to the other. We will have one longer exercise period, and frequent shorter ones in which we practice each of them.

The longer practice periods will follow this general form: Take about fifteen minutes for each of them, and begin by thinking about the ideas for the day, and the comments that are included in the assignments. Devote some three or four minutes to reading them over slowly, several times if you wish, and then close your eyes and listen.

Repeat the first phase of the exercise period if you find your mind wandering, but try to spend the major part of the time listening quietly but attentively. There is a message waiting for you. Be confident that you will receive it. Remember that it belongs to you, and that you want it.

Do not allow your intent to waver in the face of distracting thoughts. Realize that, whatever form such thoughts may take, they have no meaning and no power. Replace them with your determination to succeed. Do not forget that your will has power over all fantasies and dreams. Trust it to see you through, and carry you beyond them all.

Regard these practice periods as dedications to the way, the truth and the life. Refuse to be sidetracked into detours, illusions and thoughts of death. You are dedicated to salvation. Be determined each day not to leave your function unfulfilled.

Reaffirm your determination in the shorter practice periods as well, using the original form of the idea for general applications, and more specific forms when needed. Some specific forms are included in the comments which follow the statement of the ideas. These, however, are merely suggestions. It is not the particular words you use that matter.


Lesson 81

Our ideas for review today are:

(61) I am the light of the world.

How holy am I, who have been given the function of lighting up the world! Let me be still before my holiness. In its calm light let all my conflicts disappear. In its peace let me remember Who I am.

Some specific forms for applying this idea when special difficulties seem to arise might be:

Let me not obscure the light of the world in me.
Let the light of the world shine through this appearance.
This shadow will vanish before the light.

 

(62) Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.

It is through accepting my function that I will see the light in me. And in this light will my function stand clear and perfectly unambiguous before my sight. My acceptance does not depend on my recognizing what my function is, for I do not yet understand forgiveness. Yet I will trust that, in the light, I will see it as it is.

Specific forms for using this idea might include:

Let this help me learn what forgiveness means.
Let me not separate my function from my will.
I will not use this for an alien purpose.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #19: The Course, as I understand it, says that at the base of all our suffering lies guilt, and that this guilt is repressed. The Course then seems to suggest that this guilt be dealt with through forgiveness of the external world (rather than by means of a process of uncovering it such as psychoanalysis). If so, of what use at all is the idea of guilt, if it appears to remain at a purely theoretical level?

A: The guilt the Course is talking about is an ontological guilt that comes from believing that we could separate from God but in so doing He had to be destroyed — separate individual existence and total Oneness are mutually exclusive states that can not coexist. Since the separation from God is only an illusion, and a fragile one at that, a seemingly powerful defense was needed to maintain its seeming reality. All-consuming guilt over our lethal attack upon the All became that defense, burying the question of whether in reality we had or could have attacked. But this guilt is not simply a theoretical construct according to the Course. The Course says that the external world was literally made from that ontological guilt, as a seeming projection outward of what was too horrible to maintain within the mind. So when we practice the process of forgiveness with our external relationships in the world, we are actually addressing, albeit in a piecemeal fashion, aspects of that original ontological guilt. It is an indirect approach with a practical and direct effect on the underlying problem. By seeing what we have made real in our external world as a projection of what is buried in our unconscious, we are actually making that buried guilt, over time, conscious. This undoes the ego strategy of distracting us from the guilt in our mind with the problems and associated guilt in the world. And it allows us to begin to recognize that the underlying premise, that we are separate and Love has been destroyed, from which that basic guilt has been generated, is simply not true.

The process of uncovering guilt within psychoanalysis, as generally practiced, actually plays into the ego’s defensive game plan, although it could be directed to the same end as the Course’s. The guilt it is seeking to uncover is still part of the external smokescreen of the world that the ego mind has constructed to keep us from getting back to the real problem in the mind. It is guilt still related to the body and its relationships to other bodies, and this guilt is still an effect and not the underlying ontological cause that the Course is addressing.


Q #20: I would like to understand why many of my relationships with men begin with a notion of romance but do not sustain themselves as friendships. I value the people I meet and I would like to develop and grow to the point where I can express brotherly love for women and men. As a single woman, I meet men who are often attracted to me, then we date or whatever, and then it ends. I’m responsible for what and how I am communicating. Is there a way to communicate “let’s be friends” when something more was expected or desired and disappointment has set in?

A: Our egos are not proud and will use whatever forms of specialness work to get us involved in relationships that in the end do not meet our needs. Although we are usually not aware of this, we have an underlying goal of demonstrating that love can only fail us and that we are the unwitting victim of others’ misleading and confusing overtures. The Course is unique — and for this reason probably also not that popular — among spiritual paths in identifying this underlying intent behind all our relationships in the world, no matter how good we believe our intentions may be at the start, until they are given over to the Holy Spirit for healing.

And, often to our disappointment, the Holy Spirit only works with content and not form, so that there can be no guarantee of what will happen in our relationships except that we will be given another opportunity to get in touch with our own buried guilt and feelings of unworthiness and self-hatred so that they can be healed. But if we are able to put the Course’s principles of forgiveness into practice, we will find that over time we experience a sense of peace and joy in our relationships, regardless of whether our brothers or sisters reciprocate in any way on the level of form. And we will know that we are truly “friends” who have a shared purpose of healing the pain buried in our minds. But this is a process that can take time to achieve. So, in the meantime, just know that you are doing the best that you can and don’t stop trying. Jesus needs our special relationships to teach us the other way. It is only fear that ever stops any of us from allowing ourselves to experience greater intimacy in any form.

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