A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 10

ACIM Reading for December 10

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice

3. The Practice of Psychotherapy- I. The Selection of Patients1. Everyone who is sent to you is a patient of yours. This does not mean that you select him, nor that you choose the kind of treatment that is suitable. But it does mean that no one comes to you by mistake. There are no errors in God’s plan. It would be an error, however, to assume that you know what to offer everyone who comes. This is not up to you to decide. There is a tendency to assume that you are being called on constantly to make sacrifices of yourself for those who come. This could hardly be true. To demand sacrifice of yourself is to demand a sacrifice of God, and He knows nothing of sacrifice. Who could ask of Perfection that He be imperfect?

2. Who, then, decides what each brother needs? Surely not you, who do not yet recognize who he is who asks. There is Something in him that will tell you, if you listen. And that is the answer; listen. Do not demand, do not decide, do not sacrifice. Listen. What you hear is true. Would God send His Son to you and not be sure you recognize his needs? Think what God is telling you; He needs your voice to speak for Him. Could anything be holier? Or a greater gift to you? Would you rather choose who would be god, or hear the Voice of Him Who is God in you?

3. Your patients need not be physically present for you to serve them in the Name of God. This may be hard to remember, but God will not have His gifts to you limited to the few you actually see. You can see others as well, for seeing is not limited to the body’s eyes. Some do not need your physical presence. They need you as much, and perhaps even more, at the instant they are sent. You will recognize them in whatever way can be most helpful to both of you. It does not matter how they come. They will be sent in whatever form is most helpful; a name, a thought, a picture, an idea, or perhaps just a feeling of reaching out to someone somewhere. The joining is in the hands of the Holy Spirit. It cannot fail to be accomplished.

4. A holy therapist, an advanced teacher of God, never forgets one thing; he did not make the curriculum of salvation, nor did he establish his part in it. He understands that his part is necessary to the whole, and that through it he will recognize the whole when his part is complete. Meanwhile he must learn, and his patients are the means sent to him for his learning. What could he be but grateful for them and to them? They come bearing God. Would he refuse this Gift for a pebble, or would he close the door on the savior of the world to let in a ghost? Let him not betray the Son of God. Who calls on him is far beyond his understanding. Yet would he not rejoice that he can answer, when only thus will he be able to hear the call and understand that it is his?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 10

LESSON 309

I will not fear to look within today.

1. Within me is eternal innocence, because it is God’s Will that it be there forever and forever. I, His Son, whose will is limitless as is His Own, can will no change in this. For to deny my Father’s Will is to deny my own. To look within is but to find my will as God created it, and as it is. I fear to look within because I think I made another will that is not true, and made it real. Yet it has no effects. Within me is the Holiness of God. Within me is the memory of Him.

2. The step I take today, my Father, is my sure release from idle dreams of sin. Your altar stands serene and undefiled. It is the holy altar to my Self, and there I find my true Identity.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If, as A Course in Miracles suggests, the world totally misunderstood Jesus’ message two thousand years ago, why did he wait so long to correct it?

A) Again, this thoughtful question is based upon a linear view of time, in which two thousand years appear to be an inordinately long period of time for the error to be corrected. Clearly, the ones asking such a question are projecting onto Jesus their own impatience and, most likely, their unforgiveness of the various Christian Churches that have superimposed the ego thought system onto the ego-free teachings of the true Jesus.

A more profound way of addressing this question is to consider that being ego-free, anyone in the real world — as is Jesus — does not really choose to do anything. Having chosen the Holy Spirit once and for all, there is nothing more to choose. Therefore, there is no longer a decision maker in the mind that activates the body and interacts with the world, as is the ego’s very important need. Truly advanced teachers of God — Teachers of teachers — God do not do; they are. They do not plan, choose, deliberate, or behave as does a person who believes in the reality of the ego thought system. Their simple presence of love takes its shape around the needs of those who still identify with a world of form, much as water takes its shape according to the container in which it has been put, or the bed of the river shapes the flow of the water coursing through it.

In this context, therefore, we can understand that the appearance of Jesus within the world’s dream two thousand years ago was the result of the Son’s readiness to experience the Love of God within his dream. It is as if the mind of the Son — the only true sphere of experience there is — partially opened the door of his mind that had screened out the presence of the Holy Spirit. The mind, previously darkened by guilt, thus allowed some light in, and this light took the form of Jesus, the Son of Light, whose presence within the ego’s world of darkness reminds us all that we too are children of the Light.

The fear that this light engendered — for it constitutes a grave threat to the ego’s thought system of darkness — led to the Son’s closing the door to protect his individual self, and this took the form of seeking to destroy Jesus and then his message, as the history of Christianity attests. This is why the gospel writers changed the entire message of Jesus and rooted it in the crucifixion, which reflected the ego’s underlying plan to perpetuate its own thought system of betrayal, suffering, and death. Jesus comments on this dynamic in the Course in several places. We look at two such passages; one general to the dynamics of the Son’s mind, and the other specific to Jesus himself.

As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear and sometimes to stark terror (T- 1 8.111.2: 1).All who believe in separation have a basic fear of retaliation and abandonment.  They believe in attack and rejection, so that is what they perceive and leach and learn.  These insane ideas are clearly the result of dissociation and projection. What you teach you are, but it is quite apparent that you can teach wrongly, and can therefore teach yourself wrong. Many thought I was attacking them, even though it was apparent I was not. An insane learner learns strange lessons. What you must recognize is that when you do not share a thought system, you are weakening it. Those who believe in it therefore perceive this as an attack on them. This is because everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are (T-6.V-B.1:1-9).

The reader should also consult “Atonement without Sacrifice” and “The Message of the Crucifixion,” the opening sections of Chapters 3 and 6 in the text, for even more specific comments by Jesus about the misunderstanding of his message, and how and why it happened.

And now, two thousand years later, we see that the door to the Son’s closed mind opened again to allow in the light of truth, and the result is the original message of Jesus, presented in a contemporary twentieth (soon to be twenty-first) century form. Needless to say, there have been other expressions of this light in the Christian (and non-Christian) world, but, again, we shall remain only within the context of A Course in Miracles.

The advantage of answering the question in this way is that one is able to avoid the anthropomorphizing of Jesus — making him think, plan, and behave the way we would — which would only once again foster the belief that we have captured him within the ego’s dream, making him one of us, instead of our becoming like him. Above all, it is always essential to keep in mind that God has no true response to the thought of separation, even though, as we have already seen, the metaphoric language of A Course in Miraclesoften portrays it so.  First and foremost, if God knew about the “tiny, mad idea,” it would have had to be real. Therefore, the Holy Spirit and Jesus — as messengers of God within the dream, and being the Voices of the plan of the Atonement which states that the dream of separation never happened — would also have to share in this non-response to error. It is Their simple light-filled presence within our minds — darkened by thoughts of sin, guilt, and fear — that help us. They do nothing; it is only our egos that act and react. And as long as we experience this thought of separation in the specific forms of specialness that comprise our individual lives, we must experience this Help in specific forms as well. But these forms are determined by our ego scripts, not by any specific intervention of the divine.

10393790_10206634740367994_8204632106524304914_n

Advertisements

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 8

ACIM Reading for December 8

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice

2.- VII. The Ideal Patient : Therapist Relationship1. Who, then, is the therapist, and who is the patient? In the end, everyone is both. He who needs healing must heal. Physician, heal thyself. Who else is there to heal? And who else is in need of healing? Each patient who comes to a therapist offers him a chance to heal himself. He is therefore his therapist. And every therapist must learn to heal from each patient who comes to him. He thus becomes his patient. God does not know of separation. What He knows is only that He has one Son. His knowledge is reflected in the ideal patient-therapist relationship. God comes to him who calls, and in Him he recognizes Himself.

2. Think carefully, teacher and therapist, for whom you pray, and who is in need of healing. For therapy is prayer, and healing is its aim and its result. What is prayer except the joining of minds in a relationship which Christ can enter? This is His home, into which psychotherapy invites Him. What is symptom cure, when another is always there to choose? But once Christ enters in, what choice is there except to have Him stay? There is no need for more than this, for it is everything. Healing is here, and happiness and peace. These are the “symptoms” of the ideal patient-therapist relationship, replacing those with which the patient came to ask for help.

3. The process that takes place in this relationship is actually one in which the therapist in his heart tells the patient that all his sins have been forgiven him, along with his own. What could be the difference between healing and forgiveness? Only Christ forgives, knowing His sinlessness. His vision heals perception and sickness disappears. Nor will it return again, once its cause has been removed. This, however, needs the help of a very advanced therapist, capable of joining with the patient in a holy relationship in which all sense of separation finally is overcome.

4. For this, one thing and one thing only is required: The therapist in no way confuses himself with God. All “unhealed healers” make this fundamental confusion in one form or another, because they must regard themselves as self-created rather than God-created. This confusion is rarely if ever in awareness, or the unhealed healer would instantly become a teacher of God, devoting his life to the function of true healing. Before he reached this point, he thought he was in charge of the therapeutic process and was therefore responsible for its outcome. His patient’s errors thus became his own failures, and guilt became the cover, dark and strong, for what should be the Holiness of Christ. Guilt is inevitable in those who use their judgment in making their decisions. Guilt is impossible in those through whom the Holy Spirit speaks.

5. The passing of guilt is the true aim of therapy and the obvious aim of forgiveness. In this their oneness can be clearly seen. Yet who could experience the end of guilt who feels responsible for his brother in the role of guide for him? Such a function presupposes a knowledge that no one here can have; a certainty of past, present and future, and of all the effects that may occur in them. Only from this omniscient point of view would such a role be possible.
Yet no perception is omniscient, nor is the tiny self of one alone against the universe able to assume he has such wisdom except in madness. That many therapists are mad is obvious. No unhealed healer can be wholly sane.

6. Yet it is as insane not to accept a function God has given you as to invent one He has not. The advanced therapist in no way can ever doubt the power that is in him. Nor does he doubt its Source. He understands all power in earth and Heaven belongs to him because of who he is. And he is this because of his Creator, Whose Love is in him and Who cannot fail. Think what this means; he has the gifts of God Himself to give away. His patients are God’s saints, who call upon his sanctity to make it theirs. And as he gives it to them, they behold Christ’s shining face as it looks back at them.

7. The insane, thinking they are God, are not afraid to offer weakness to God’s Son. But what they see in him because of this they fear indeed. The unhealed healer cannot but be fearful of his patients, and suspect them of the treachery he sees in him. He tries to heal, and thus at times he may. But he will not succeed except to some extent and for a little while. He does not see the Christ in him who calls. What answer can he give to one who seems to be a stranger; alien to the truth and poor in wisdom, without the god who must be given him? Behold your God in him, for what you see will be your Answer.

8. Think what the joining of two brothers really means. And then forget the world and all its little triumphs and its dreams of death. The same are one, and nothing now can be remembered of the world of guilt. The room becomes a temple, and the street a stream of stars that brushes lightly past all sickly dreams. Healing is done, for what is perfect needs no healing, and what remains to be forgiven where there is no sin?

9. Be thankful, therapist, that you can see such things as this, if you but understand your proper role. But if you fail in this, you have denied that God created you, and so you will not know you are His Son. Who is your brother now? What saint can come to take you home with him? You lost the way. And can you now expect to see in him an answer that you have refused to give? Heal and be healed. There is no other choice of pathways that can ever lead to peace. O let your patient in, for he has come to you from God. Is not his holiness enough to wake your memory of Him?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 8

LESSON 307

Conflicting wishes cannot be my will.

1. Father, Your Will is mine, and only that. There is no other will for me to have. Let me not try to make another will, for it is senseless and will cause me pain. Your Will alone can bring me happiness, and only Yours exists. If I would have what only You can give, I must accept Your Will for me, and enter into peace where conflict is impossible, Your Son is one with You in being and in will, and nothing contradicts the holy truth that I remain as You created me.

2. And with this prayer we enter silently into a state where conflict cannot come, because we join our holy will with God’s, in recognition that they are the same.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Where does it say in A Course in Miracles that Jesus is the author, and why is there no author’s name given in the book? Moreover, why are there sections on Jesus in the manual for teachers written in the third person? Is there another voice dictating here?

A) Almost the entire text of A Course in Miracles is written in  the first person, where the “I” is clearly identified throughout as Jesus. Moreover, there are many places where he specifically-   discusses the crucifixion and resurrection. There are relatively few obvious first person references in the workbook for students and manual for teachers, but when they do occur, their impact is quite dramatic, as seen for example in workbook Lesson 70, the Introduction to the fifth review lesson, and the poem that ends the manual.

Interestingly enough, there is one section in the manual proper — “Does Jesus Have a Special Place in Healing?” — and two in the manual’s appendix, the clarification of terms — “Jesus – Christ” and “The Holy Spirit” — where Jesus is spoken about in the third person. Some students have understood this shift to be a significant one that indicated that Helen was hearing another voice here. This was definitely not the case, as she was always clear that there was only one voice — Jesus — that was dictating to her. These three sections specifically deal with Jesus, and the shift in the person of the “voice” was made for stylistic purposes, and has no other significance.  If students wish, however, they can understand these third-person sections to be the Holy Spirit speaking about Jesus. 

It is in the aforementioned section in the manual for teachers where one finds this very specific statement that the source of A Course in Miracles is Jesus, as spoken, again if the reader wishes, by the Holy Spirit:

This course has come from him because his words have reached you in a language you can love and understand. Are other teachers possible, to lead the way to those who speak in different tongues and appeal to different symbols? Certainly there are.  Would God leave anyone without a very present help in time of trouble; a savior who can symbolize Himself? Yet do we need a many-faceted curriculum, not because of content differences, but because symbols must shift and change to suit the need.  Jesus has come to answer yours. In him you find God’s Answer (M-23.7:1-7; italics ours).

The reason no author’s name is given in A Course in Miracles is a very simple one:
Jesus was quite explicit in his instructions to Helen that this be the case. Helen was
also personally clear about not having her own name appear, since she was always emphatically unambiguous with people that she was not the author of the course.

complete forgiveness

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 21

ACIM Reading for December 21

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

QUIETNESS
The world knows not of quiet. Restlessness
Is its abiding law. From there it goes
To pain and joylessness, and back again
To the unceasing restlessness on which
It stands, uncertain, insecure and frail,
Prey to illusions, victimized by guilt.
Yet quietness comes over it at last.
For when forgiveness comes, its certain gift
Is stillness, in which all the world is hushed;
A silence where the littleness of sin
Shrinks into nothingness before the Love
Forgiveness represents. And in His Name
Is everyone acknowledged as the same.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 21

Lesson 355

There is no end to all the peace and joy,
And all the miracles that I will give,
When I accept God’s Word. Why not today?

Why should I wait, my Father, for the joy You promised me? For You will keep Your Word You gave Your Son in exile. I am sure my treasure waits for me, and I need but reach out my hand to find it. Even now my fingers touch it. It is very close. I need not wait an instant more to be at peace forever. It is You I choose, and my Identity along with You. Your Son would be Himself, and know You as his Father and Creator, and his Love.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #303: My question is about grace. I’m working on Lesson 168-9 of A Course in Miracles…which says grace is not learned and grace is not the goal this course aspires to attain.…grace is the means to get vision first with knowledge but an instant later…I’m just trying to understand exactly what grace is and how one should try to attain it.

A: In the “Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick, grace is defined as “our natural state as spirit” and “an aspect of God’s love in this world (p.46). It may be helpful in reading passages in the Course which use the term grace, such as the Lessons you mention, to remember it is referring to the truth of who we are as spirit, and the reflection of God’s love present in our minds: “Spirit is in a state of grace forever. Your reality is only spirit. Therefore you are in a state of grace forever” (T.1.III.5:4,5,6). Grace is not, therefore, something that needs to be attained, nor can it be taught or learned. It is simply the truth that will be revealed of its own when we no longer believe in our guilty, sinful selves identified with the body. Our goal is to become aware of our true identity as spirit because it is what God created us to be. God’s grace, His gift, is the identity we share with Him. The process of forgiveness, whereby we uncover all the hidden beliefs about ourselves that are in opposition to this truth, is what will lead us to the awareness of this identity and acceptance of His grace.

In other places, however, grace is spoken about somewhat differently. Grace is vision in that it is awareness of our natural state. In the passage you refer to, the Course tells us that the vision of who we are in truth will be followed instantly by knowledge of our Oneness with God, and in that instant awareness of the world disappears. That is our goal, that is grace. It is “an aspect of God’s love in this world” (Glossary, p.46) because our minds hold the memory of God’s love and the memory of our true identity as spirit, God’s innocent Son. Whenever we are willing to choose to identify with this part of our minds, rather than with the ego, we accept the grace that is ours:“Grace is acceptance of the Love of God within a world of seeming hate and fear” (W.pI.169.2:1).


Q #304: I keep thinking about what A Course in Miracles refers to as the “authority” problem. I understand it to mean that there is a constant struggle within me between what I believe is the “reason” for being here and for my life, and what God “believes” is the reason for my being here and for my life. Unfortunately — like most concepts the Course teaches — I have a feeling my understanding is missing the mark. Am I even close?

A: Actually, you are not far off the mark at all. Someone once said: “If God is your co-pilot, switch seats!” Jesus tells us that the problem is much deeper than that: “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” (T.11.in.2:3,4). This obviously is insane, as Jesus himself remarks in the continuation of that passage; yet we continue to allow this conflict to rage in our minds and to project itself out all over the place in many forms, because we believe that to submit to God as our Author and Source would be a sentence of death. Or at the very least, we could not exist as we would like to.

Jesus explains: “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.…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” (T.11.9:1,2,3; 10:3,4).

So to the extent that you value an individual, autonomous existence, you will unconsciously believe that you usurped God’s power in order to get and keep that existence and that He is coming after you to get it back. This is the one-or-the-other principle at the heart of the ego thought system, and fear is its unfortunate consequence. “To deny His Authorship is to deny yourself the reason for your peace, so that you see yourself only in segments. This strange perception isthe authority problem” (T.3.VI.10.6,7).

10393790_10206634740367994_8204632106524304914_n

 

Introducing A Course in Miracles, Instillment #3

[NOTE: So here is Part #3 of the Intro to ACIM that I have been blogging about the last few days, and btw, I would love your feedback, thank you. : ) ]

11427667_10207173532277455_3048668980733882459_n

 

GO TO THE SOURCE

First off, as the Course itself advises us in various ways, it’s generally a good idea to “consider the source” and start with the original source material (though on a deeper level, “consider the source” would mean the Source, aka God, Spirit, the Ground of Being, Love, etc.), and for that you might want to purchase the following comprehensive edition of the Course put out by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles, click HERE .  To the best of my knowledge, this is the most complete edition of the Course available, and it’s also the “standard” edition in the sense that most people citing chapter and verse are referring to this edition.

The entire Course can also be read for free online HERE .

 

For a summary background on how the Course came to be written and what it says, I recommend starting with the following:

 

Introduction to A Course in Miracles by ACIM.org

 

“A Course in Miracles is a complete self-study spiritual thought system. As a three-volume curriculum consisting of a Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers, it teaches that the way to universal love and peace—or remembering God—is by undoing guilt through forgiving others. The Course thus focuses on the healing of relationships and making them holy. A Course in Miracles also emphasizes that it is but one version of the universal curriculum, of which there are “many thousands.” Consequently, even though the language of the Course is that of traditional Christianity, it expresses a non-sectarian, non-denominational spirituality. A Course in Miracles therefore is a universal spiritual teaching, not a religion.”

“There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved…. This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome.”

~ A Course in Miracles[1]

 

The Introduction to the Course by Jesus and Helen Schucman (“How It Came,” “What It Is,” and “What It Says” – found in the Foundation’s printed edition of the Course).

 

After you read these, I would also highly recommend watching at least the first part of the following film (free on Youtube) that goes into more detail about how the Course came into existence: The Story of A Course in Miracles . It’s a very beautiful film and had my eyes welling up the first time I watched it.

 

SECONDARY SOURCES – BOOKS ABOUT THE COURSE

 

Ironically, most people don’t get into the Course by actually reading it first, however, because it is initially so challenging to understand; rather, people generally get into it through secondary sources such as books that have been written about the Course.  The potential pitfall and caution with secondary sources is that they are only as good as the author themselves understand the Course (every “translation” is an interpretation).  So with that cautionary word to the wise, here are a few of the most popular of these books about ACIM, and please keep in mind there are many other very helpful ones, these are just a few of the bestsellers:

 

Love Is Letting Go of Fear, Gerald G. Jampolsky

 

A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson

 

The Disappearance of the Universe, Gary Renard

 

A Course in Miracles Made Easy, Alan Cohen

 

YIR-Gary-DU

Of these, it appears that Gary Renard’s book has been the most helpful on a mass level in serving as a kind of “primer” or preparation for the Course.  Not only has the “D.U.” (as it’s been called) brought many new students to the Course, but it has also brought back many “lapsed” Course students and/or those who had difficulty understanding its message.  So of the 3 books above, I am recommending that you read Renard’s book to help get started with ACIM, yet with the following caveat …

 

There has been one big issue with Renard’s book, and it is this: While it purports to be a dialogue between the author and two ascended masters (Arten and Pursah) who teach him all about the Course in a series of meetings over the course of a decade, some have cast doubt upon this claim.   Renard’s detractors, some of whom are also long-time students of the Course and Renard’s peers, argue that D.U. draws heavily upon the teachings of Ken Wapnick, the first teacher of the Course and one of its earliest editors.

 

Without saying more about this controversy here (I might go into it more later), I would just like to acknowledge that if it weren’t for Renard’s book, many people, myself included, might never have gotten interested in the Course.  So whether Gary’s book is based on a true story or not, it definitely served its purpose for me, and many others as well.  This is why I do recommend it for those who would like to get a kind of overview of the Course before they actually dive into the Course itself. [Note: Two contemporaries of mine who also got into the Course through Gary Renard’s book deserve mentioning here: Kenneth Bok, creator a popular ACIM video series on Youtube; and Alexander Marchand, author of The Universe is a Dream. The latter is a particularly helpful and fun way to explore the teachings of ACIM.]

 

[1] Manual for Teachers 1.3:1,2,4:1,2.

Into Christ's Presence

want only love

 

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for November 27

ACIM Reading for November 27

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice

2. The Process of Psychotherapy- Introduction1. Psychotherapy is a process that changes the view of the self. At best this “new” self is a more beneficent self-concept, but psychotherapy can hardly be expected to establish reality. That is not its function. If it can make way for reality, it has achieved its ultimate success. Its whole function, in the end, is to help the patient deal with one fundamental error; the belief that anger brings him something he really wants, and that by justifying attack he is protecting himself. To whatever extent he comes to realize that this is an error, to that extent is he truly saved.
2. Patients do not enter the therapeutic relationship with this goal in mind. On the contrary, such concepts mean little to them, or they would not need help. Their aim is to be able to retain their self-concept exactly as it is, but without the suffering that it entails. Their whole equilibrium rests on the insane belief that this is possible. And because to the sane mind it is so clearly impossible, what they seek is magic. In illusions the impossible is easily accomplished, but only at the cost of making illusions true. The patient has already paid this price. Now he wants a “better” illusion.
3. At the beginning, then, the patient’s goal and the therapist’s are at variance. The therapist as well as the patient may cherish false self-concepts, but their respective perceptions of “improvement” still must differ. The patient hopes to learn how to get the changes he wants without changing his self-concept to any significant extent. He hopes, in fact, to stabilize it sufficiently to include within it the magical powers he seeks in psychotherapy. He wants to make the vulnerable invulnerable and the finite limitless. The self he sees is his god, and he seeks only to serve it better.
4. Regardless of how sincere the therapist himself may be, he must want to change the patient’s self-concept in some way that he believes is real. The task of therapy is one of reconciling these differences. Hopefully, both will learn to give up their original goals, for it is only in relationships that salvation can be found. At the beginning, it is inevitable that patients and therapists alike accept unrealistic goals not completely free of magical overtones. They are finally given up in the minds of both.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 27

Lesson 331

Section 12. What is the Ego?

The ego is idolatry; the sign of limited and separated self, born in a body, doomed to suffer and to end its life in death. It is the “will” that sees the Will of God as enemy, and takes a form in which it is denied. The ego is the “proof” that strength is weak and love is fearful, life is really death, and what opposes God alone is true.

The ego is insane. In fear it stands beyond the Everywhere, apart from All, in separation from the Infinite. In its insanity it thinks it has become a victor over God Himself. And in its terrible autonomy it “sees” the Will of God has been destroyed. It dreams of punishment, and trembles at the figures in its dreams; its enemies, who seek to murder it before it can ensure its safety by attacking them.

The Son of God is egoless. What can he know of madness and the death of God, when he abides in Him? What can he know of sorrow and of suffering, when he lives in eternal joy? What can he know of fear and punishment, of sin and guilt, of hatred and attack, when all there is surrounding him is everlasting peace, forever conflict-free and undisturbed, in deepest silence and tranquility?

To know reality is not to see the ego and its thoughts, its works, its acts, its laws and its beliefs, its dreams, its hopes, its plans for its salvation, and the cost belief in it entails. In suffering, the price for faith in it is so immense that crucifixion of the Son of God is offered daily at its darkened shrine, and blood must flow before the altar where its sickly followers prepare to die.

Yet will one lily of forgiveness change the darkness into light; the altar to illusions to the shrine of Life Itself. And peace will be restored forever to the holy minds which God created as His Son, His dwelling place, His joy, His love, completely His, completely one with Him.


Lesson 331

There is no conflict, for my will is Yours.

How foolish, Father, to believe Your Son could cause himself to suffer! Could he make a plan for his damnation, and be left without a certain way to his release? You love me, Father. You could never leave me desolate, to die within a world of pain and cruelty. How could I think that Love has left Itself? There is no will except the Will of Love. Fear is a dream, and has no will that can conflict with Yours. Conflict is sleep, and peace awakening. Death is illusion; life, eternal truth. There is no opposition to Your Will. There is no conflict, for my will is Yours.

Forgiveness shows us that God’s Will is One, and that we share it. Let us look upon the holy sights forgiveness shows today, that we may find the peace of God. Amen.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1224I reencountered Lesson 328 “I choose the second place to gain the first.” I am somewhat baffled even after re-reading it carefully, and therefore would appreciate your help.

A: This thought comes from the famous statement in Matthew’s gospel that the last shall be first and the first last. This is the foundation of the ego’s thought system and its principle of one or the other — God is second because the ego is first, which means God is no longer God, and so has been destroyed. A Course in Miracleshelps us recognize and correct our mistake of believing we have separated from God and thus are in “first place” because we triumphed over Him. Jesus tells us in this lesson, as well as elsewhere, that we believe our autonomy is our salvation, but it is not really what we thought it would be: “Yet all we find is sickness, suffering and loss and death” (W.pII.328.1:3) , which is not at all what God wills for us. We choose the second place by realizing our mistake, letting go of the ego, and choosing Jesus as our teacher. Then we realize that there is only the unity of the Father and Son — no one and two. There is only One. When we accept God as our Cause instead of the ego, the memory of our oneness with Him returns to our mind, and our will rejoins His.

*

Q #488: From what you have said in previous answers, I understand that the world of form may or may not change for the better when you begin to give up belief in the illusion and choose the Holy Spirit as your teacher. But in Question #273 you state “Since hell is defined as the absence of God, the world becomes hell in our experience; not a symbolic expression of it. A Course in Miracles is very clear that God cannot be found in this world of form. However, when an individual chooses to identify with the part of the mind that holds the memory of God, the world becomes a reflection of that choice, and is no longer perceived as hell: ‘The world becomes a place of joy, abundance, charity and endless giving. It is now so like to Heaven that it quickly is transformed into the light that it reflects’” (W.pII.249.1:5,6). So, are you saying that when you choose the Holy Spirit as your teacher the “world of form” will be this place of joy, abundance and so on? Or are you referring to the world as the “real” world that has nothing to do with form? How do I put into practice the idea of seeing everything outside of me as a reflection of God?

A: The answer to your question lies in understanding one of the most important principles of the Course’s teaching: “There is no world apart from what you wish, and herein lies your ultimate release. Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly. Ideas leave not their source” (W.pI.132.5:1,2,3).

“What you wish” is either the ego’s thought system or the Holy Spirit’s. Thinking with the ego makes our seeming existence in the world hell in our perception, because we have chosen against God. Thinking with the Holy Spirit makes it like Heaven in our perception, as stated in the passage you quote. These are the “ideas” that do not leave their source in the mind. The world of form is perceived and experiencedaccording to one of these two thought systems. When we change our mind from the ego’s thought of separation to the Holy Spirit’s thought that the separation is not real, our perception changes. This results in a change in our experience of the world of form, but not necessarily a change in the form itself. What was perceived as a place of conflict, hatred, and pain, becomes a place of beauty, joy, and peace, in our perception. For example; where others were judged as vicious sinners, they are now seen without judgment as mistaken brothers calling for love. This also explains why two people may be in the same situation in form, yet experience or perceive it in very different ways. From the ego’s perspective, adverse circumstances are always perceived as unjust victimization (hell). The Holy Spirit’s perception, on the other hand, tells us that no matter how apparently catastrophic our situation may be, it cannot take away our peace (“like to Heaven”). The important difference emphasized in Question #273 is that hell does not actually exist; Heaven does.

The change in perception takes place through the process of forgiveness, whereby our judgments are recognized and released to the Holy Spirit to be transformed. Only this is what we need to practice, and only this will change our experience of the world of form. The Holy Spirit’s perception replaces ours, once we have done our part. We are not the ones who generate a new perception. Because the Holy Spirit is the symbol for the part of our minds that holds the memory of God’s Love, when we choose His thought system it is this Love that is reflected in the love and beauty that is perceived in others and the world. It is perceived equally in everyone without exception, not just in those whom we love and see as “innocent” by the ego’s standards. And yes, seeing only with the eyes of the Holy Spirit’s perception is the real world’s vision: “Can you imagine how beautiful those you forgive will look to you?… you will see the Son of God. You will behold the beauty the Holy Spirit loves to look upon, and which He thanks the Father for. He was created to see this for you, until you learned to see it for yourself” (T.17.II.1:1,6,7,8).

present love

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 14

ACIM Text Reading for August 14

Chapter 26 ~ The Transition

II. Many Forms; One Correction

It is not difficult to understand the reasons why you do not ask the Holy Spirit to solve all problems for you. He has not greater difficulty in resolving some than others. Every problem is the same to Him, because each one is solved in just the same respect and through the same approach. The aspects that need solving do not change, whatever form the problem seems to take. A problem can appear in many forms, and it will do so while the problem lasts. It serves no purpose to attempt to solve it in a special form. It will recur and then recur again and yet again, until it has been answered for all time and will not rise again in any form. And only then are you released from it.

The Holy Spirit offers you release from every problem that you think you have. They are the same to Him because each one, regardless of the form it seems to take, is a demand that someone suffer loss and make a sacrifice that you might gain. And when the situation is worked out so no one loses is the problem gone, because it was an error in perception that now has been corrected. One mistake is not more difficult for Him to bring to truth than is another. For there is but one mistake; the whole idea that loss is possible, and could result in gain for anyone. If this were true, then God would be unfair; sin would be possible, attack be justified and vengeance fair.

This one mistake, in any form, has one correction. There is no loss; to think there is, is a mistake. You have no problems, though you think you have. And yet you could not think so if you saw them vanish one by one, without regard to size, complexity, or place and time, or any attribute which you perceive that makes each one seem different from the rest. Think not the limits you impose on what you see can limit God in any way.

The miracle of justice can correct all errors. Every problem is an error. It does injustice to the Son of God, and therefore is not true. The Holy Spirit does not evaluate injustices as great or small, or more or less. They have no properties to Him. They are mistakes from which the Son of God is suffering, but needlessly. And so He takes the thorns and nails away. He does not pause to judge whether the hurt be large or little. He makes but one judgment; that to hurt God’s Son must be unfair and therefore is not so.

You who believe it safe to give but some mistakes to be corrected while you keep the others to yourself, remember this: Justice is total. There is no such thing as partial justice. If the Son of God is guilty then is he condemned, and he deserves no mercy from the God of justice. But ask not God to punish him because you find him guilty and would have him die. God offers you the means to see his innocence. Would it be fair to punish him because you will not look at what is there to see? Each time you keep a problem for yourself to solve, or judge that it is one that has no resolution, you have made it great, and past the hope of healing. You deny the miracle of justice can be fair.

If God is just, then can there be no problems that justice cannot solve. But you believe that some injustices are fair and good, and necessary to preserve yourself. It is these problems that you think are great and cannot be resolved. For there are those you want to suffer loss, and no one whom you wish to be preserved from sacrifice entirely. Consider once again your special function. One is given you to see in him his perfect sinlessness. And you will ask no sacrifice of him because you could not will he suffer loss. The miracle of justice you call forth will rest on you as surely as on him. Nor will the Holy Spirit be content until it is received by everyone. For what you give to Him is everyone’s, and by your giving it can He ensure that everyone receives it equally.

Think, then, how great your own release will be when you are willing to receive correction for all your problems. You will not keep one, for pain in any form you will not want. And you will see each little hurt resolved before the Holy Spirit’s gentle sight. For all of them are little in His sight, and worth no more than just a tiny sigh before they disappear, to be forever undone and unremembered. What seemed once to be a special problem, a mistake without a remedy, or an affliction without a cure, has been transformed into a universal blessing. Sacrifice is gone. And in its place the Love of God can be remembered, and will shine away all memory of sacrifice and loss.

God cannot be remembered until justice is loved instead of feared. He cannot be unjust to anyone or anything, because He knows that everything that is belongs to Him, and will forever be as He created it. Nothing He loves but must be sinless and beyond attack. Your special function opens wide the door beyond which is the memory of His Love kept perfectly intact and undefiled. And all you need to do is but to wish that Heaven be given you instead of hell, and every bolt and barrier that seems to hold the door securely barred and locked will merely fall away and disappear. For it is not your Father’s Will that you should offer or receive less than He gave, when He created you in perfect love.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 14

Lesson 227

This is my holy instant of release.

Father, it is today that I am free, because my will is Yours. I thought to make another will. Yet nothing that I thought apart from You exists. And I am free because I was mistaken, and did not affect my own reality at all by my illusions. Now I give them up, and lay them down before the feet of truth, to be removed forever from my mind. This is my holy instant of release. Father, I know my will is one with Yours.

And so today we find our glad return to Heaven, which we never really left. The Son of God this day lays down his dreams. The Son of God this day comes home again, released from sin and clad in holiness, with his right mind restored to him at last.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #93: For several years of study I’ve tried to follow your thoughts about “looking within with Jesus” or “looking through his eyes.” I was never really able to visualize this occurring. Recently, I’ve come to accept that “looking with Jesus” means the application of his teachings in A Course in Miracles to my ego perceptions. In other words, believing the teachings also means believing and accepting the teacher. This has provided me with a better understanding of what it means to have Jesus with me. Is this a good way to visualize my relationship with Jesus or should it be something more personal?

A: The process you describe of applying the teachings of the Course to your ego perceptions is indeed a very appropriate practice of looking with Jesus. Since Jesus is a symbol of the content of the Course, he is present in our minds when its teachings are brought to awareness. This is especially true when we are willing to apply these teachings to our ego perceptions, and question their validity in the light of Jesus’ message. Because we identify with our perceptions, this is also a way of relating to Jesus in a very personal way. You have invited him to be with you in the form of the teachings of the Course, which can be symbolized as a lamp shedding new light on our darkened minds: “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” (T.11.in.4:5,6,7).

68ef7192b7b5c01a58ffb20bb6e01aea--lewis-carroll-quotes-carroll-oconnor

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 2

ACIM Text Reading for August 2

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

VIII. The Meeting Place

How bitterly does everyone tied to this world defend the specialness he wants to be the truth! His wish is law to him, and he obeys. Nothing his specialness demands does he withhold. Nothing it needs does he deny to what he loves. And while it calls to him he hears no other Voice. No effort is too great, no cost too much, no price too dear to save his specialness from the least slight, the tiniest attack, the whispered doubt, the hint of threat, or anything but deepest reverence. This is your son, beloved of you as you are to your Father. Yet it stands in place of your creations, who are son to you, that you might share the Fatherhood of God, not snatch it from Him. What is this son that you have made to be your strength? What is this child of earth on whom such love is lavished? What is this parody of God’s creation that takes the place of yours? And where are they, now that the host of God has found another son whom he prefers to them?

The memory of God shines not alone. What is within your brother still contains all of creation, everything created and creating, born and unborn as yet, still in the future or apparently gone by. What is in him is changeless, and your changelessness is recognized in its acknowledgment. The holiness in you belongs to him. And by your seeing it in him, returns to you. All of the tribute you have given specialness belongs to him, and thus returns to you. All of the love and care, the strong protection, the thought by day and night, the deep concern, the powerful conviction this is you, belong to him. Nothing you gave to specialness but is his due. And nothing due him is not due to you.

How can you know your worth while specialness claims you instead? How can you fail to know it in his holiness? Seek not to make your specialness the truth, for if it were you would be lost indeed. Be thankful, rather, it is given you to see his holiness because it is the truth. And what is true in him must be as true in you.

Ask yourself this: Can you protect the mind? The body, yes, a little; not from time, but temporarily. And much you think you save, you hurt. What would you save it for? For in that choice lie both its health and harm. Save it for show, as bait to catch another fish, to house your specialness in better style, or weave a frame of loveliness around your hate, and you condemn it to decay and death. And if you see this purpose in your brother’s, such is your condemnation of your own. Weave, rather, then, a frame of holiness around him, that the truth may shine on him, and give you safety from decay.

The Father keeps what He created safe. You cannot touch it with the false ideas you made, because it was created not by you. Let not your foolish fancies frighten you. What is immortal cannot be attacked; what is but temporal has no effect. Only the purpose that you see in it has meaning, and if that is true, its safety rests secure. If not, it has no purpose, and is means for nothing. Whatever is perceived as means for truth shares in its holiness, and rests in light as safely as itself. Nor will that light go out when it is gone. Its holy purpose gave it immortality, setting another light in Heaven, where your creations recognize a gift from you, a sign that you have not forgotten them.

The test of everything on earth is simply this; “What is it for?” The answer makes it what it is for you. It has no meaning of itself, yet you can give reality to it, according to the purpose that you serve. Here you are but means, along with it. God is a Means as well as End. In Heaven, means and end are one, and one with Him. This is the state of true creation, found not within time, but in eternity. To no one here is this describable. Nor is there any way to learn what this condition means. Not till you go past learning to the Given; not till you make again a holy home for your creations is it understood.

A co-creator with the Father must have a Son. Yet must this Son have been created like Himself. A perfect being, all-encompassing and all-encompassed, nothing to add and nothing taken from; not born of size nor place nor time, nor held to limits or uncertainties of any kind. Here do the means and end unite as one, nor does this one have any end at all. All this is true, and yet it has no meaning to anyone who still retains one unlearned lesson in his memory, one thought with purpose still uncertain, or one wish with a divided aim.

This course makes no attempt to teach what cannot easily be learned. Its scope does not exceed your own, except to say that what is yours will come to you when you are ready. Here are the means and the purpose separate because they were so made and so perceived. And therefore do we deal with them as if they were. It is essential it be kept in mind that all perception still is upside down until its purpose has been understood. Perception does not seem to be a means. And it is this that makes it hard to grasp the whole extent to which it must depend on what you see it for. Perception seems to teach you what you see. Yet it but witnesses to what you taught. It is the outward picture of a wish; an image that you wanted to be true.

Look at yourself, and you will see a body. Look at this body in a different light and it looks different. And without a light it seems that it is gone. Yet you are reassured that it is there because you still can feel it with your hands and hear it move. Here is an image that you want to be yourself. It is the means to make your wish come true. It gives the eyes with which you look on it, the hands that feel it, and the ears with which you listen to the sounds it makes. It proves its own reality to you.

Thus is the body made a theory of yourself, with no provisions made for evidence beyond itself, and no escape within its sight. Its course is sure, when seen through its own eyes. It grows and withers, flourishes and dies. And you cannot conceive of you apart from it. You brand it sinful and you hate its acts, judging it evil. Yet your specialness whispers, “Here is my own beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” Thus does the “son” become the means to serve his “father’s” purpose. Not identical, not even like, but still a means to offer to the “father” what he wants. Such is the travesty on God’s creation. For as His Son’s creation gave Him joy and witness to His Love and shared His purpose, so does the body testify to the idea that made it, and speak for its reality and truth.

And thus are two sons made, and both appear to walk this earth without a meeting place and no encounter. One do you perceive outside yourself, your own beloved son. The other rests within, his Father’s Son, within your brother as he is in you. Their difference does not lie in how they look, nor where they go, nor even what they do. They have a different purpose. It is this that joins them to their like, and separates each from all aspects with a different purpose. The Son of God retains his Father’s Will. The son of man perceives an alien will and wishes it were so. And thus does his perception serve his wish by giving it appearances of truth. Yet can perception serve another goal. It is not bound to specialness but by your choice. And it is given you to make a different choice, and use perception for a different purpose. And what you see will serve that purpose well, and prove its own reality to you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 2

Lesson 214

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(194) I place the future in the Hands of God.

The past is gone; the future is not yet. Now am I freed
from both. For what God gives can only be for good. And
I accept but what He gives as what belongs to me.

 

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #264: A clear picture of the theoretical foundations of A Course in Miracles for me is an essential base to get into practice. Therefore I’m studying the chart on your Web site http://www.facim.org/acim/theory.htm.

[1] I see the realms: one-mindedness, wrong-mindedness and right-mindedness. Which realm is the “decision maker” in? Does it dwell somewhere between wrong- and right-mindedness? Or do you see it more as a “part” of one of these realms?

[2] It is irritating to see the Holy Spirit between truth and illusion and to see the Holy Spirit in the following description of the Trinity as belonging to one-mindedness. I have more a picture in my mind that sees the Holy Spirit as a part of the illusory world — namely the right-mind — pointing out of it towards truth — or perhaps just being this right-minded world — and thus fulfilling a mediating role between wrong-mindedness and one-mindedness. Looking at the Trinity I see God and Christ in the one-minded realm and the Holy Spirit in the right-minded realm. That view makes it possible for the “me that lives in duality” to accept the idea that the Holy Spirit is a part of me. These ideas seem to contradict what is shown on http://ww.facim.org/acim/theory.htm. Can you help me in clearing up these thoughts?

A: 1) The decision maker is the part of the mind that chooses to identify with either the ego’s thought system or the Holy Spirit’s thought system. It is never neutral; it is always choosing one or the other. On the chart it would be located on the Level Two section right in the middle, above the wrong mind / right mind boxes.

2) Within the illusion, the Holy Spirit represents the Atonement principle in our right minds. He is described in many ways by Jesus, who shares His function of helping us climb back up the ladder separation led us down. When you, as a decision-making mind outside time and space, choose once and for all to let go of the ego and identify completely with your right mind, then you become the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, the same as Jesus. You would know that this is your only identity and the ego thought system of separation and individuality would be seen as totally meaningless. So the Holy Spirit is most definitely part of you, the part of your mind that contains the memory of God and your true Identity as Christ, with which you (as a decision-making mind) can choose to identify at any given instant.

There are two passages in particular that indicate that the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity and also functions as mediator: “And then the Voice [the Holy Spirit] is gone, no longer to take form but to return to the eternal Formlessness of God” (C.6.5:8). Similarly, in the text, he tells us: “The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception. He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time. Before that there was no need for healing, for no one was comfortless. The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind. When the Atonement is complete and the whole Sonship is healed there will be no Call to return. But what God creates is eternal. The Holy Spirit will remain with the Sons of God, to bless their creations and keep them in the light of joy” (T.5.I.5:4,5,6,7).

Finally, it is helpful to keep in mind when studying the chart that we are trying to diagram what is illusory (the mind that separated from God), and also what lies totally beyond form (God, Christ, and His creations). So while charts are useful teaching aides, they can never perfectly depict the thought systems discussed in the Course, which themselves are illusory.

shine it away

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for June 20

ACIM Text Reading for June 20

Chapter 19 ~ The Attainment of Peace

VII. The Second Obstacle: The Belief the Body is Valuable for What It Offers

We said that peace must first surmount the obstacle of your desire to get rid of it. Where the attraction of guilt holds sway, peace is not wanted. The second obstacle that peace must flow across, and closely related to the first, is the belief that the body is valuable for what it offers. For here is the attraction of guilt made manifest in the body, and seen in it.

This is the value that you think peace would rob you of. This is what you believe that it would dispossess, and leave you homeless. And it is this for which you would deny a home to peace. This “sacrifice” you feel to be too great to make, too much to ask of you. Is it a sacrifice, or a release? What has the body really given you that justifies your strange belief that in it lies salvation? Do you not see that this is the belief in death? Here is the focus of the perception of Atonement as murder. Here is the source of the idea that love is fear.

The Holy Spirit’s messengers are sent far beyond the body, calling the mind to join in holy communion and be at peace. Such is the message that I gave them for you. It is only the messengers of fear that see the body, for they look for what can suffer. Is it a sacrifice to be removed from what can suffer? The Holy Spirit does not demand you sacrifice the hope of the body’s pleasure; it has no hope of pleasure. But neither can it bring you fear of pain. Pain is the only “sacrifice” the Holy Spirit asks, and this He would remove.

Peace is extended from you only to the eternal, and it reaches out from the eternal in you. It flows across all else. The second obstacle is no more solid than the first. For you want neither to get rid of peace nor limit it. What are these obstacles that you would interpose between peace and its going forth but barriers you place between your will and its accomplishment? You want communion, not the feast of fear. You want salvation, not the pain of guilt. And you want your Father, not a little mound of clay, to be your home. In your holy relationship is your Father’s Son. He has not lost communion with Him, nor with himself. When you agreed to join your brother, you acknowledged this is so. This has no cost, but it has release from cost.

You have paid very dearly for your illusions, and nothing you have paid for brought you peace. Are you not glad that Heaven cannot be sacrificed, and sacrifice cannot be asked of you? There is no obstacle that you can place before our union, for in your holy relationship I am there already. We will surmount all obstacles together, for we stand within the gates and not outside. How easily the gates are opened from within, to let peace through to bless the tired world! Can it be difficult for us to walk past barriers together, when you have joined the limitless? The end of guilt is in your hands to give. Would you stop now to look for guilt in your brother?

Let me be to you the symbol of the end of guilt, and look upon your brother as you would look upon me. Forgive me all the sins you think the Son of God committed. And in the light of your forgiveness he will remember who he is, and forget what never was. I ask for your forgiveness, for if you are guilty, so must I be. But if I surmounted guilt and overcame the world, you were with me. Would you see in me the symbol of guilt or the end of guilt, remembering that what I signify to you you see within yourself?

From your holy relationship truth proclaims the truth, and love looks on itself. Salvation flows from deep within the home you offered to my Father and to me. And we are there together, in the quiet communion in which the Father and the Son are joined. O come ye faithful to the holy union of the Father and the Son in you! And keep you not apart from what is offered you in gratitude for giving peace its home in Heaven. Send forth to all the world the joyous message of the end of guilt, and all the world will answer. Think of your happiness as everyone offers you witness of the end of sin, and shows you that its power is gone forever. Where can guilt be, when the belief in sin is gone? And where is death, when its great advocate is heard no more?

Forgive me your illusions, and release me from punishment for what I have not done. So will you learn the freedom that I taught by teaching freedom to your brother, and so releasing me. I am within your holy relationship, yet you would imprison me behind the obstacles you raise to freedom, and bar my way to you. Yet it is not possible to keep away One Who is there already. And in Him it is possible that our communion, where we are joined already, will be the focus of the new perception that will bring light to all the world, contained in you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 20

Lesson 171

REVIEW V
Introduction

We now review again. This time we are ready to give more effort and more time to what we undertake. We recognize we are preparing for another phase of understanding. We would take this step completely, that we may go on again more certain, more sincere, with faith upheld more surely. Our footsteps have not been unwavering, and doubts have made us walk uncertainly and slowly on the road this course sets forth. But now we hasten on, for we approach a greater certainty, a firmer purpose and a surer goal.

Steady our feet, our Father. Let our doubts be quiet and our holy minds be still, and speak to us. We have no words to give to You. We would but listen to Your Word, and make it ours. Lead our practicing as does a father lead a little child along a way he does not understand. Yet does he follow, sure that he is safe because his father leads the way for him.

So do we bring our practicing to You. And if we stumble, You will raise us up. If we forget the way, we count upon Your sure remembering. We wander off, but You will not forget to call us back. Quicken our footsteps now, that we may walk more certainly and quickly unto You. And we accept the Word You offer us to unify our practicing, as we review the thoughts that You have given us.

This is the thought which should precede the thoughts that we review. Each one but clarifies some aspect of this thought, or helps it be more meaningful, more personal and true, and more descriptive of the holy Self we share and now prepare to know again:

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

This Self alone knows Love. This Self alone is perfectly consistent in Its Thoughts; knows Its Creator, understands Itself, is perfect in Its knowledge and Its Love, and never changes from Its constant state of union with Its Father and Itself.

And it is this that waits to meet us at the journey’s ending. Every step we take brings us a little nearer. This review will shorten time immeasurably, if we keep in mind that this remains our goal, and as we practice it is this to which we are approaching. Let us raise our hearts from dust to life, as we remember this is promised us, and that this course was sent to open up the path of light to us, and teach us, step by step, how to return to the eternal Self we thought we lost.

I take the journey with you. For I share your doubts and fears a little while, that you may come to me who recognize the road by which all fears and doubts are overcome. We walk together. I must understand uncertainty and pain, although I know they have no meaning. Yet a savior must remain with those he teaches, seeing what they see, but still retaining in his mind the way that led him out, and now will lead you out with him. God’s Son is crucified until you walk along the road with me.

My resurrection comes again each time I lead a brother safely to the place at which the journey ends and is forgot. I am renewed each time a brother learns there is a way from misery and pain. I am reborn each time a brother’s mind turns to the light in him and looks for me. I have forgotten no one. Help me now to lead you back to where the journey was begun, to make another choice with me.

Release me as you practice once again the thoughts I brought to you from Him Who sees your bitter need, and knows the answer God has given Him. Together we review these thoughts. Together we devote our time and effort to them. And together we will teach them to our brothers. God would not have Heaven incomplete. It waits for you, as I do. I am incomplete without your part in me. And as I am made whole we go together to our ancient home, prepared for us before time was and kept unchanged by time, immaculate and safe, as it will be at last when time is done.

Let this review be then your gift to me. For this alone I need; that you will hear the words I speak, and give them to the world. You are my voice, my eyes, my feet, my hands through which I save the world. The Self from which I call to you is but your own. To Him we go together. Take your brother’s hand, for this is not a way we walk alone. In him I walk with you, and you with me. Our Father wills His Son be one with Him. What lives but must not then be one with you?

Let this review become a time in which we share a new experience for you, yet one as old as time and older still. Hallowed your Name. Your glory undefiled forever. And your wholeness now complete, as God established it. You are His Son, completing His extension in your own. We practice but an ancient truth we knew before illusion seemed to claim the world. And we remind the world that it is free of all illusions every time we say:

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

With this we start each day of our review. With this we start and end each period of practice time. And with this thought we sleep, to waken once again with these same words upon our lips, to greet another day. No thought that we review but we surround with it, and use the thoughts to hold it up before our minds, and keep it clear in our rememberance throughout the day. And thus, when we have finished this review, we will have recognized the words we speak are true.

Yet are the words but aids, and to be used, except at the beginning and the end of practice periods, but to recall the mind, as needed, to its purpose. We place faith in the experience that comes from practice, not the means we use. We wait for the experience, and recognize that it is only here conviction lies. We use the words, and try and try again to go beyond them to their meaning, which is far beyond their sound. The sound grows dim and disappears, as we approach the Source of meaning. It is Here that we find rest.


Lesson 171

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

(151) All things are echoes of the Voice for God.

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

(152) The power of decision is my own.

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #221: As I understand it, all things of form in this world, both animate and inanimate, are part of the Sonship, and all parts of the Sonship need to be in the real world for the Second Coming to occur. I know there really is only one mind, but within the illusion of separation there seems to be many split minds. Also, since I need only be concerned with the healing of my own mind, there seems to be a direct relationship between my body and my mind. Does each thing of form in this world of separation have a mind that needs to be healed? How can this be? I know some form of this question has been asked before, but I still don’t get it.

A: Yes, A Course in Miracles teaches that there really is only one mind, but we have the illusion of there being many split minds. The Second Coming is the collective return to awareness of our reality as the one Son of God; it is the complete healing of the mind of the Sonship.

This is extremely difficult to understand. In fact, it is impossible to understand if you are identified with your individual existence as a human being, because that identity was set up by the ego to block all understanding of the mind that is outside time and space, and which contains the key to understanding the origin of our existence as separated, fragmented beings. Very little in the Course will make sense if you try to relate it to your experience in the world. We all try to do that, of course, because that is our only reference point for understanding anything. That is why Jesus starts us out on that level, but if we stay on that level, where we still think of ourselves as physical/psychological beings in the world, we will not get very far with the Course. Once again, that is because we always try to understand it from a perspective within time and space, and Jesus is teaching us that that perspective was made to block us from getting back to our minds. It was made to proliferate problems and mysteries that would grab our attention and then occupy our attention completely, so that we would never realize it is all a defense against the truth.

Jesus is outside this limited perspective entirely, and he is training us — through the exercises in the workbook — to gradually let go of our way of perceiving, and replace it with his. As we get further along the path of this thought-reversal, these types of questions will disappear, because we will identify less and less with our separated existence, and therefore we will have first-hand experiences of a shared identity. We will be more attracted to oneness than to division and separation.


Q #222: For some time now I have been studying the “human relations” techniques as taught by Dale Carnegie in his best selling books and famous seminar. Carnegie teaches that I should always talk in terms of others’ interests, that I should never tell others they’re wrong (but should call attention to their mistakes indirectly), and that the only way to win an argument is not to have one. I had avoided using these techniques until quite recently because I had considered them to be quite manipulative. In the language of A Course in Miracles, I believed it could even be stated that such techniques are attempts to murder other people because they are attempts to control others and get from them what I want. But over the last few weeks I have been using these techniques consistently, and I have been stunned at how well they have worked!

It recently occurred to me that Carnegie’s human relations techniques ultimately reveal the investment most of us have in maintaining our specialness and our separateness. In fact, such techniques seem to be geared toward helping others reinforce their own specialness and separateness as well. But there have also been times I realize when I could not have dealt in a civil manner with some people without using the Carnegie techniques. For some people (myself among them, I’m sure), the idea that they are not special or separate is a fearful idea. Could it be that in some cases the Carnegie techniques could actually be a form of forgiveness, just as taking medication for an illness is a form of forgiveness?

A: What you are recognizing is a fundamental teaching of the Course: that purpose is everything (T.4.V.6:8,9,10,11; T.24.VII.6:1,2,3). One of the most significant contributions of the Course to the world’s spiritualities is that, rather than advocating denial and rejection of the ways of the world, it teaches that we can use what the ego has made for separation and attack to serve a different purpose — forgiveness. The key is to be willing to allow the specific forms to serve the Holy Spirit’s purpose rather than our own (T.6.V.A.2:4,5).

You have recognized that tools of manipulation and murder in the hands of the ego can become the means for seeing both your brother and yourself in a different light. But first, you must have made a decision to see both of you differently — as having shared rather than separate interests. Your intent has shifted from having your own needs met through controlling your brother to recognizing at some level that you both have the same need to be forgiven, to be seen in the light of true charity. So now, what was made to reinforce separation and specialness becomes a means for undoing them. As always, the value lies not in the specific technique or form, but in the purpose you are giving it.

The issue of purpose is addressed further in Question #57.

the journey to god

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 23

ACIM Text Reading for May 23

Chapter 16 ~ The Forgiveness of Illusions

III. The Reward of Teaching

We have already learned that everyone teaches, and teaches all the time. You may have taught well, and yet you may not have learned how to accept the comfort of your teaching. If you will consider what you have taught, and how alien it is to what you thought you knew, you will be compelled to realize that your Teacher came from beyond your thought system. Therefore He could look upon it fairly, and perceive it was untrue. He must have done so from the basis of a very different thought system, and one with nothing in common with yours. For certainly what He has taught, and what you have taught through Him, have nothing in common with what you taught before He came. And the results have been to bring peace where there was pain, and suffering has disappeared to be replaced by joy.

You may have taught freedom, but you have not learned how to be free. I said earlier, “By their fruits ye shall know them, and they shall know themselves.” For it is certain that you judge yourself according to your teaching. The ego’s teaching produces immediate results, because its decisions are immediately accepted as your choice. And this acceptance means that you are willing to judge yourself accordingly. Cause and effect are very clear in the ego’s thought system, because all your learning has been directed toward establishing the relationship between them. And would you not have faith in what you have so diligently taught yourself to believe? Yet remember how much care you have exerted in choosing its witnesses, and in avoiding those which spoke for the cause of truth and its effects.

Does not the fact that you have not learned what you have taught show you that you do not perceive the Sonship as one? And does it not also show you that you do not regard yourself as one? For it is impossible to teach successfully wholly without conviction, and it is equally impossible that conviction be outside of you. You could never have taught freedom unless you did believe in it. And it must be that what you taught came from yourself. Yet this Self you clearly do not know, and do not recognize It even though It functions. What functions must be there. And it is only if you deny what It has done that you could possibly deny Its Presence.

This is a course in how to know yourself. You have taught what you are, but have not let what you are teach you. You have been very careful to avoid the obvious, and not to see the real cause and effect relationship that is perfectly apparent. Yet within you is everything you taught. What can it be that has not learned it? It must be this part that is really outside yourself, not by your own projection, but in truth. And it is this part that you have taken in that is not you. What you accept into your mind does not really change it. Illusions are but beliefs in what is not there. And the seeming conflict between truth and illusion can only be resolved by separating yourself from the illusion and not from truth.

Your teaching has already done this, for the Holy Spirit is part of you. Created by God, He left neither God nor His creation. He is both God and you, as you are God and Him together. For God’s Answer to the separation added more to you than you tried to take away. He protected both your creations and you together, keeping one with you what you would exclude. And they will take the place of what you took in to replace them. They are quite real, as part of the Self you do not know. They communicate to you through the Holy Spirit, and their power and gratitude to you for their creation they offer gladly to your teaching of yourself, who is their home. You who are host to God are also host to them. For nothing real has ever left the mind of its creator. And what is not real was never there.

You are not two selves in conflict. What is beyond God? If you who hold Him and whom He holds are the universe, all else must be outside, where nothing is. You have taught this, and from far off in the universe, yet not beyond yourself, the witnesses to your teaching have gathered to help you learn. Their gratitude has joined with yours and God’s to strengthen your faith in what you taught. For what you taught is true. Alone, you stand outside your teaching and apart from it. But with them you must learn that you but taught yourself, and learned from the conviction you shared with them.

This year you will begin to learn, and make learning commensurate with teaching. You have chosen this by your own willingness to teach. Though you seemed to suffer for it, the joy of teaching will yet be yours. For the joy of teaching is in the learner, who offers it to the teacher in gratitude, and shares it with him. As you learn, your gratitude to your Self, Who teaches you what He is, will grow and help you honor Him. And you will learn His power and strength and purity, and love Him as His Father does. His Kingdom has no limits and no end, and there is nothing in Him that is not perfect and eternal. All this is you, and nothing outside of this is you.

To your most holy Self all praise is due for what you are, and for what He is Who created you as you are. Sooner or later must everyone bridge the gap he imagines exists between his selves. Each one builds this bridge, which carries him across the gap as soon as he is willing to expend some little effort on behalf of bridging it. His little efforts are powerfully supplemented by the strength of Heaven, and by the united will of all who make Heaven what it is, being joined within it. And so the one who would cross over is literally transported there.

Your bridge is built stronger than you think, and your foot is planted firmly on it. Have no fear that the attraction of those who stand on the other side and wait for you will not draw you safely across. For you will come where you would be, and where your Self awaits you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 23

Lesson 143

My mind holds only what I think with God.

(125) In quiet I receive God’s Word today.
(126) All that I give is given to myself.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #81: I have read that all relationships are special, and that one can even have a special relationship with the Course itself. I often wonder if I myself have a special relationship with the Course. How can I know if I do or not? And is this really even a “problem” I should concern myself with? (One reason I suspect I may have a special relationship with the Course is because I often think that all the world’s problems would be solved if everyone would just read the Course.)

A: Yes, all relationships are special, and that includes our relationship with the Course. What makes the Course “special” is individualized, and varies in form, but it usually involves perceiving the form of the Course as having special power to meet our special needs. Another form the specialness frequently takes for students is feeling “special,” and often “superior” to believers of other traditional forms of spirituality. This specialness includes the reason you give — that everyone should read the Course. And with that you have answered the first part of your question. As the Course itself tells us in the Manual: “There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved….This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome” (M.1.3:1,2,4:1,2).

Our relationship with the Course is no more or less a problem than anything else. It is an opportunity for forgiveness. The ego uses everything for its purpose of separation and judgment, including the Course. All of our relationships, without exception, need to be looked at in the light of the Course’s teaching: “…let us look more closely at the relationships the ego contrives, and let the Holy Spirit judge them truly. For it is certain that if you will look at them, you will offer them gladly to Him. What He can make of them you do not know, but you will become willing to find out, if you are willing first to perceive what you have made of them” (T.15.VII.5:3,4,5). It is important to recognize the specialness, being very honest about the specific feelings and judgments involved in it, and see how you are using it to be separate and special. This applies whether the specialness takes the form of love or hate, because seeming special love for the Course is the same as special hate. The specialness with the Course reflects how we perceive other people; the people we “love” who follow the Course as we do, and those we “hate,” who do not study it as we do, or do not study it at all. Behind the specialness with the Course stand all our brothers, thus is the world divided and our relationships defined to suit our needs. The Course therefore, fits in with everything else in our lives and in our world by reflecting back to us the choice we have made to be separate. Jesus does not ask us to “love” the Course, or preach it. He asks us to study it, practice it, and apply its teaching to everything, including the Course itself: “Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you” (T.11.VI.7:3,4).


 Q #82: The Course says we are already Home. Then that would mean that we are already in Heaven now. Heaven has no outside or inside. It is everything. Does this mean that this world is in Heaven and Heaven is in this world? Is this similar to the Vedantic statement, Atman is Brahman?

A. The non-dualism of the Course is an absolute non-dualism that states that reality is infinite, formless, changeless, and eternal; nothing finite or of form is real in any way. That would mean that the finite, physical universe has no reality. It is entirely illusory. There are other non-dualistic systems that place the world within the being of God. These are the different forms of pantheism — both east and west — which give reality to the world, but not as a creation outside God’s being. The Course’s non-dualism is absolute, giving no reality to finite multiplicity. Thus reality is perfect Oneness, “nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within” (T.18.VI.1:6). And in stating that “the world was made as an attack on God” (W.pII.3.2:2), Jesus makes it clear that the world is not in God nor of God.

This is the metaphysical foundation of the startling statement that “you are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality” (T.10.I.2:1), and why Jesus asks “who is the you, who are living in this world?” (T.4.II.11:8). The entire Course is addressed to a mind outside time and space that has chosen to deny its true Identity as the formless extension of its infinite Source, and “become” instead an individualized entity limited by time and space. At the same time, this mind conceals the memory of its true Identity as the one Son of God. Only in a dream or a fantasy could this occur, but not in reality, as the Course teaches. Therefore, we, as we know ourselves in this world, have no reality. All that exists is God and the undifferentiated, eternal, changeless, and perfect extension of His infinite being, a reality having no counterpart in the world, nor can it be understood in this world.

“No one asleep and dreaming in the world remembers his attack upon himself. No one believes there really was a time when he knew nothing of a body, and could never have conceived this world as real. He would have seen at once that these ideas are one illusion, too ridiculous for anything but to be laughed away. How serious they now appear to be! And no one can remember when they would have met with laughter and with disbelief” (T.27.VIII.5:4,5,6,7,8).

Separating from infinity, from totality, is impossible, the Course teaches. God creates only like Himself. Therefore His creations share His being, but without ever being less than He is: “Yet could God’s Son as He created him abide in form or in a world of form?” (C.2.2:4). In this sense, the Course’s teachings are similar to the Vedantic statement, Atman is Brahman, as echoed in another passage: “What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him” (W.pI.132.12:4).


Know Yourself

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 29

ACIM Text Reading for March 29

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

II. The Gifts of Fatherhood

You have learned your need of healing. Would you bring anything else to the Sonship, recognizing 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 recognizing 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 honor 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 is His.

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 realize 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 recognized 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 March 29

 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 #995: You have said that if we really understood the Course’s message that we do not exist, we would feel terror. But I don’t feel terror, just uncomfortable and sometimes afraid. I have a friend who is doing A Course in Miracles , too, and she says she feels happiness when she thinks of losing her individuality and joining with God. I suspect that there is a degree of blockage in both of us, and perhaps in all of us. This is our denial, our non-acceptance of the truth. Is this true?

A: Yes, anyone who believes that he or she is here is in denial of the truth. If we were ready to fully accept the truth, we would no longer have any need for this dream and would awaken to our true home in Heaven, where we are still one with our Creator. The fact that we do not do so tells us that we must have a motivation for choosing this world of separation and pain over the peace of God.

A Course in Miracles lets us know what that motivation is. It states that we made up this world of murder and attack because it is a picture of what we think we are. We believe that we are murderers, deserving of death as punishment for what we have done (T.20.III.4) . And what we accuse ourselves of doing is usurping the place of God; thus, in essence, killing Him off. At the same time, we believe that God is not really dead and will come back to give us our punishment. So, the ego’s only conception of God is as an angry father pursuing His guilty son (M.17.7: 10) . These terrifying dynamics motivate us to continue listening to the ego, and keep dreaming that we are in this world of individuality and separation, which God can enter not (W.pII.3.3:4) . In other words, as bad as this world can be, we think it is our protection.

However, another part of our mind — symbolized in the Course as the Holy Spirit — retains the memory of the true God’s Love. It knows that the angry, vengeful God is a fiction of the ego. And so, we have two competing thought systems in our mind: the ego’s, which is literally scared to death of losing our individuality, and the Holy Spirit’s, which knows that we have nothing to fear and that our recognition of this fact and resultant awakening would give us everything we truly want. The Course is aimed at the part of our mind that chooses between these two thought systems. On one hand, it asks us to look at the terror, which we miscreated an entire world to avoid facing. On the other hand, it tells us that this fear is made up and gives us a method for finally letting it go and being at peace at last.

Not surprisingly then, we are likely to experience many shifting and conflicting emotions as we work with the Course. In addition, because our terror is deeply buried, we may not have a direct emotional experience of it — and certainly not consistently. The Course tells us that ” What I call ‘my’ thoughts are not my real thoughts” (W.pI.51.4:3) . It would make the same statement about feelings. Feelings lie because they are virtually always the result of thoughts about some aspect of our illusory existence as individuals within this physical world.

Of course, feelings can be helpful if they motivate us to ask the Holy Spirit to look with us at the thoughts behind them and, in the process, let His Love take the place of the ego’s guilt. If we can do just that with our feelings — learning to simply watch them without judging them, over- analyzing them, or worrying about them — they will gradually lessen in intensity and seeming importance as our capacity to feel the peace of God increases.

pray-for-what-is