ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 12

ACIM Reading for December 12

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

The Risen Sun

Be still, my soul, and rest upon the Lord
In quiet certainty. For He has come
To rescue you from doubt. And now you stand
In blazing glory of a risen sun
That cannot set. It will forever be
Exactly as it is. You stand with Him
Within a radiance prepared for you
Before time was and far beyond its reach.
Be still and know. And knowing, be you sure
Your Lord has come to you. There is no doubt
That stands before His countenance, nor can
Conceal from you what He would have you see.
The sun has risen. He has come at last.
Where stands his Presence there can be no past.
Be still, my soul, and rest upon the Lord
Who comes to keep the promise of His Word
.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 12

Lesson 346

Today the peace of God envelops me,
And I forget all things except His Love.

Father, I wake today with miracles correcting my perception of all things. And so begins the day I share with You as I will share eternity, for time has stepped aside today. I do not seek the things of time, and so I will not look upon them. What I seek today transcends all laws of time and things perceived in time. I would forget all things except Your Love. I would abide in You, and know no laws except Your law of love. And I would find the peace which You created for Your Son, forgetting all the foolish toys I made as I behold Your glory and my own.

And when the evening comes today, we will remember nothing but the peace of God. For we will learn today what peace is ours, when we forget all things except God’s Love.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #194: You explain in many places that A Course in Miracles is uncompromising about the fact that this world does not exist. Could you list the passages from the text and/or the workbook that explain that this is so?

A: We are listing a number of references here, and we also refer you to Q #111. This is an important issue, which actually is the foundation of the whole thought system of A Course in Miracles. You might also find our Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracleshelpful — under “world.” When the main principles are identified, then you can see how they are expressed in many different ways. For example, if only what God creates exists, and God creates only what is eternal and infinite, then anything not of God does not and could not exist, i.e., the changing, limited cosmos.

A sampling of statements:

1) “Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge.…In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God, and does not exist” (W.pI.43.1:1,2; 2:1,2).

2) “There is no world! This is the central concept the course attempts to teach” (W.pI.132.6:2,3). There are other statements within this lesson that state the unreality of the world; e.g., “How can a world of time and place exist, if you remain as God created you?” (9:4); “There is no world because it is a thought apart from God, and made to separate the Father and the Son, and break away a part of God Himself and thus destroy His Wholeness. Can a world which comes from this idea be real? Can it be anywhere?” (13:1,2,3).

3) “I am as God created me”; “What has been given you? The knowledge that you are a mind, in Mind and purely mind, sinless forever, wholly unafraid, because you were created out of love. Nor have you left your Source, remaining as you were created” (W.pI.158.1:1,2,3).

4) “Sin is the home of all illusions, which but stand for things imagined, issuing from thoughts that are untrue. They are the ‘proof’ that what has no reality is real. Sin ‘proves’ God’s Son is evil; timelessness must have an end; eternal life must die. And God Himself has lost the Son He loves, with but corruption to complete Himself, His Will forever overcome by death, love slain by hate, and peace to be no more” (W.pII.4.3).

5) “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal?” (T.20.VIII.7:3,4,5,ff.)

6) “There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion…Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere” (T.23.II.19.1,2,6).

7) “God’s laws do not obtain directly to a world perception rules, for such a world could not have been created by the Mind to which perception has no meaning. Yet are His laws reflected everywhere [through the Holy Spirit]. Not that the world where this reflection is, is real at all. Only because His Son believes it is, and from His Son’s belief He could not let Himself be separate entirely. He could not enter His Son’s insanity with him…” (T.24.III.2).

8) “This world is causeless…” (T.28.II.6:1).

9) “They [your eyes and ears] were made to look upon a world that is not there; to hear the voices that make no sound” (T.28.V.5:4).

10) “What seems eternal all will have an end. The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is” (T.29.VI.2:7,8,9,10).

11) “Can what has no beginning really end? The world will end in an illusion, as it began” (M.14.1:1,2).

12) “The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself. Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever. Some things will last in time a little while longer than others. But the time will come when all things visible will have an end” (C.4.1).

13) “What is false is false, and what is true has never changed” (W.pII.10.1:1).

14) “How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now, and never will be. The impossible has not occurred, and can have no effects. And that is all” (T.31.I.1:1,2,3,4).

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 10

ACIM Reading for December 10

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

THE SINGING
There is a singing underneath the world
That holds it up, and enters in behind
All twisted thoughts, and comes to set them straight.
There is an ancient melody that still
Abides in every mind and sings of peace,
Eternity, and all the quiet things
That God created. Angels sing with joy,
And offer you their song, for it is yours.
You sing as ceaselessly. The Son of God
Can never sing alone. His voice is shared
By all the universe. It is the call
To God, and answered by His Voice Itself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 10

Lesson 344

Today I learn the law of love; that what
I give my brother is my gift to me.

This is Your law, my Father, not my own. I have not understood what giving means, and thought to save what I desired for myself alone. And as I looked upon the treasure that I thought I had, I found an empty place where nothing ever was or is or will be. Who can share a dream? And what can an illusion offer me? Yet he whom I forgive will give me gifts beyond the worth of anything on earth. Let my forgiven brothers fill my store with Heaven’s treasures, which alone are real. Thus is the law of love fulfilled. And thus Your Son arises and returns to You.

How near we are to one another, as we go to God. How near is He to us. How close the ending of the dream of sin, and the redemption of the Son of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #192: “I do not choose God’s channels wrongly” (T.4.VI.6:3). This line has always had a strong emotional impact on me (it made me cry, boosted my confidence, etc.), but sometimes I think this line perhaps was meant only personally for Helen?

A: It must always be remembered that A Course in Miracles came for Helen and Bill in response to their joining together to find a better way of relating. Therefore, many of the comments — especially in the early chapters — were meant for them; but clearly they can be seen as applying to all of us who struggle with the same issues with which they struggled. The statement you refer to, therefore, in no way implies that they were special, a meaning our egos would immediately see in it, as the ego knows only of separation. Helen did not see herself as specially blessed in any way, and very quickly corrected anyone who regarded her as special.

Connecting this statement with two other key statements further clarifies the meaning: “All my brothers are special” and “All are called” (T.1.V.3; T.3.IV.7). While using the language of the Bible, Jesus clearly corrects the traditional view that singles out certain special people: “many are called, but few are chosen,” or groups of people: “the chosen people.” He is basically telling us that we are not mistaken in thinking that we are dear to him.

At the beginning of Lesson 93, he describes the horribly negative self-concept we harbor deep within our minds — sometimes not very far beneath the surface. And then he tells us that we are so convinced that this is the truth about us that it is difficult for him to help us see that it is all based on nothing (W.pI.93.1,2). That explains why we would tend to think that Jesus was referring only to Helen and Bill, not us, a trend of thought he later calls arrogant. When we think that way, we ought to stop and reflect on where those thoughts are coming from, and how in feeling unworthy we are really telling Jesus he is wrong about us.

 

Then, too, we must remember that although our experience at first may be that of being chosen, that is not the reality. As we get further up the ladder, our experience will be that we are really allowing ourselves to experience love more and more, and resisting it less and less.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 9

ACIM Reading for December 9

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

BRIGHT STRANGER
Strange was my Love to me. For when He came
I did not know Him. And He seemed to me
To be but an intruder on my peace.
I did not see the gifts He brought, nor heard
His soft appeal. I tried to shut Him out
With locks and keys that merely fell away
Before His coming. I could not escape
The gentleness with which He looked at me.
I asked Him in unwillingly, and turned
Away from Him. But He held out His hand
And asked me to remember Him. In me
An ancient Name began to stir and break
Across my mind in gold. The light embraced
Me deep in silence till He spoke the Word,
And then at last I recognized my Lord.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 9

Lesson 343

I am not asked to make a sacrifice
To find the mercy and the peace of God.

The end of suffering can not be loss. The gift of everything can be but gain. You only give. You never take away. And You created me to be like You, so sacrifice becomes impossible for me as well as You. I, too, must give. And so all things are given unto me forever and forever. As I was created I remain. Your Son can make no sacrifice, for he must be complete, having the function of completing You. I am complete because I am Your Son. I cannot lose, for I can only give, and everything is mine eternally.

The mercy and the peace of God are free. Salvation has no cost. It is a gift that must be freely given and received. And it is this that we would learn today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1044My question relates to page 155 of Absence of Felicity where Kenneth states that people experience Jesus differently and that Helen knew Jesus was talking to her because, “He told her the opposite of what she wanted to hear.” I understand that Jesus speaks to each person in an individual way, yet how could something that speaks against someone’s peace be benign? I believe that Jesus would never speak for such things.

A: It is important to know the context of Helen’s comment in order to understand it properly. On the same page you cite in Absence from Felicity , Kenneth states that Helen was keenly aware of her inner conflict — between “Heaven and Helen,” as she described it. Within this framework, “Jesus’ will and her own were always separate,” and therefore she would be aware of what was coming from her — meaning the part of her that was terrified of accepting his love — and what was coming from that loving presence she knew to be Jesus. She was aware that she was resisting the emotional acceptance of what she had accepted intellectually from Jesus. “Helen did believe in the truth of the Course’s teachings, not to mention in the existence of its author. However, she was not able emotionally to accept its truth into her own personal life” (p. 156). This is a crucial distinction. She knew that she would be better off doing what Jesus asked of her; she was just afraid of the consequences of accepting his will unconditionally at all times. Jesus was not speaking against her peace, as you have interpreted her comment to mean. Quite the opposite — she knew she would be better off if she integrated into her daily life what she knew to be the truth intellectually. Kenneth concludes that this integration came “all at once at the moment of her death” (p. 157; see also Chapter 18 where Kenneth describes her final days and death).

Every student of A Course in Miracles is bound to run into this same dilemma. We all have minds split between wanting Jesus to be the central figure in our journey, and a fierce resistance to letting go of the self we think is our identity but which is a false self determined to keep the true Jesus as far away as possible. This intense fear will inevitably cause us to have a distorted experience of his love. That is why he emphasizes so much the need to become aware of these two parts of our minds. It is vital to our progress with the Course to come to know and respect our fear of the truth about us, so that we will not erect even further defenses against it, thus burying it deeper and deeper in our minds. This is what Jesus wants to help us with more than anything, if we will let him. If we do let him, we will be more peaceful, more often, as together we walk the pathway home.

secret of salvation

 

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 8

ACIM Reading for December 8

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process & Practice

3.- III. The Question of Payment1. No one can pay for therapy, for healing is of God and He asks for nothing. It is, however, part of His plan that everything in this world be used by the Holy Spirit to help in carrying out the plan. Even an advanced therapist has some earthly needs while he is here.  Should he need money it will be given him, not in payment, but to help him better serve the plan. Money is not evil. It is nothing. But no one here can live with no illusions, for he must yet strive to have the last illusion be accepted by everyone everywhere. He has a mighty part in this one purpose, for which he came. He stays here but for this. And while he stays he will be given what he needs to stay.

2. Only an unhealed healer would try to heal for money, and he will not succeed to the extent to which he values it. Nor will he find his healing in the process. There will be those of whom the Holy Spirit asks some payment for His purpose. There will be those from whom He does not ask. It should not be the therapist who makes these decisions. There is a difference between payment and cost. To give money where God’s plan allots it has no cost. To withhold it from where it rightfully belongs has enormous cost. The therapist who would do this loses the name of healer, for he could never understand what healing is. He cannot give it, and so he does not have it.

3. The therapists of this world are indeed useless to the world’s salvation. They make demands, and so they cannot give. Patients can pay only for the exchange of illusions. This, indeed, must demand payment, and the cost is great. A “bought” relationship cannot offer the only gift whereby all healing is accomplished. Forgiveness, the Holy Spirit’s only dream, must have no cost. For if it does, it merely crucifies God’s Son again. Can this be how he is forgiven? Can this be how the dream of sin will end?

4. The right to live is something no one need fight for. It is promised him, and guaranteed by God. Therefore it is a right the therapist and patient share alike. If their relationship is to be holy, whatever one needs is given by the other; whatever one lacks the other supplies. Herein is the relationship made holy, for herein both are healed. The therapist repays the patient in gratitude, as does the patient repay him. There is no cost to either. But thanks are due to both, for the release from long imprisonment and doubt. Who would not be grateful for such a gift?
Yet who could possibly imagine that it could be bought?

5. It has well been said that to him who hath shall be given. Because he has, he can give.
And because he gives, he shall be given. This is the law of God, and not of the world. So it is with God’s healers. They give because they have heard His Word and understood it. All that they need will thus be given them. But they will lose this understanding unless they remember that all they have comes only from God. If they believe they need anything from a brother, they will recognize him as a brother no longer. And if they do this, a light goes out even in Heaven. Where God’s Son turns against himself, he can look only upon darkness. He has himself denied the light, and cannot see.

6. One rule should always be observed: No one should be turned away because he cannot pay. No one is sent by accident to anyone. Relationships are always purposeful. Whatever their purpose may have been before the Holy Spirit entered them, they are always His potential temple; the resting place of Christ and home of God Himself. Whoever comes has been sent. Perhaps he was sent to give his brother the money he needed. Both will be blessed thereby. Perhaps he was sent to teach the therapist how much he needs forgiveness, and how valueless is money in comparison. Again will both be blessed. Only in terms of cost could one have more. In sharing, everyone must gain a blessing without cost.

7. This view of payment may well seem impractical, and in the eyes of the world it would be so. Yet not one worldly thought is really practical. How much is gained by striving for illusions? How much is lost by throwing God away? And is it possible to do so? Surely it is impractical to strive for nothing, and to attempt to do what is impossible. Then stop a while, long enough to think of this: You have perhaps been seeking for salvation without recognizing where to look. Whoever asks your help can show you where. What greater gift than this could you be given? What greater gift is there that you would give?

8. Physician, healer, therapist, teacher, heal thyself. Many will come to you carrying the gift of healing, if you so elect. The Holy Spirit never refuses an invitation to enter and abide with you. He will give you endless opportunities to open the door to your salvation, for such is His function. He will also tell you exactly what your function is in every circumstance and at all times. Whoever He sends you will reach you, holding out his hand to his Friend. Let the Christ in you bid him welcome, for that same Christ is in him as well. Deny him entrance, and you have denied the Christ in you. Remember the sorrowful story of the world, and the glad tidings of salvation. Remember the plan of God for the restoration of joy and peace. And do not forget how very simple are the ways of God:

You were lost in the darkness of the world until you asked for light.
And then God sent His Son to give it to you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 8

Lesson 342

I let forgiveness rest upon all things,
For thus forgiveness will be given me.

I thank You, Father, for Your plan to save me from the hell I made. It is not real. And You have given me the means to prove its unreality to me. The key is in my hand, and I have reached the door beyond which lies the end of dreams. I stand before the gate of Heaven, wondering if I should enter in and be at home. Let me not wait again today. Let me forgive all things, and let creation be as You would have it be and as it is. Let me remember that I am Your Son, and opening the door at last, forget illusions in the blazing light of truth, as memory of You returns to me.

Brother, forgive me now. I come to you to take you home with me. And as we go, the world goes with us on our way to God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1055In all the years that Helen Schucman was “talking” to Jesus, did she ever ask him any questions about historical data that concerned his life on earth?

A: No, Jesus’ life on earth seemed to be of no interest to her. At one point when he was speaking to her about the fruitlessness of studying the past, he said to her. “Even My personal history is of no value to you except as it teaches you that I can help you now ” ( Absence from Felicity , p. 287).


Q #1056A Course in Miracles speaks frequently of the one question that we are to “ask” God instead of the many that make up our “lives” on earth. What exactly would that question be if it cannot be asked with words? A feeling of direct “communication”, i.e. “being”? Is the “communion with God” the Course speaks of not also an illusion in that it implies one (separated) aspect of God is talking to another separated aspect?

A: This “question” always pertains to content, not form. Thus, it would always be about our accepting the Atonement, or some variant of that. As an example, Jesus twice pleads with us: “Why wait for Heaven?” (W.pI.131.6:1; W.pI.188.1:1) ; and again in the workbook he tells us that we should ask “a thousand times a day,” “‘Who walks with me?’” (W.pI.156.8:1,2) . Then, in the lovely prose poem “The Gifts of God,” Jesus directs our thoughts to the gifts we can give to God. In one of many beautifully moving pleas to us, he exclaims, “Child of Eternal Love, what gift is there your Father wants of you except yourself? And what is there that you would rather give, for what is there that you would rather have? . . . What trifling gifts made out of sickly fear and evil dreams of suffering and death can be the substitute you really want for the rememberance of Christ in You?” ( The Gifts of God , p. 125)

Since imploring God’s help with our world and our lives has been the focal point of prayer in practically all religions, East and West, Jesus uses that form in his process of correcting our thinking about who we are and Who God is. But he obviously does not think real communication with God occurs in the dream; it can’t. This becomes clear as you comprehend the thought system of A Course in Miracles in its fullness. We are really praying to ourselves to recognize, first, our unquestioned commitment to the ego, and then to turn to the memory of truth in our right minds — symbolized by Jesus and the Holy Spirit — for help in seeing our mistake, so that we may make the choice to end our self- imposed exile from Love, now that we realize that that is what we have done. As our minds are healed of all thoughts of separation from God and from each other, we simply become Love, once again, God’s gift to us in our creation.

shine it away

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 7

ACIM Reading for December 7

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process & Practice

3.- II. Is Psychotherapy a Profession?1. Strictly speaking the answer is no. How could a separate profession be one in which everyone is engaged? And how could any limits be laid on an interaction in which everyone is both patient and therapist in every relationship in which he enters? Yet practically speaking, it can still be said that there are those who devote themselves primarily to healing of one sort or another as their chief function. And it is to them that a large number of others turn for help.  That, in effect, is the practice of therapy. These are therefore “officially” helpers. They are devoted to certain kinds of needs in their professional activities, although they may be far more able teachers outside of them. These people need no special rules, of course, but they may be called upon to use special applications of the general principles of healing.

2. First, the professional therapist is in an excellent position to demonstrate that there is no order of difficulty in healing. For this, however, he needs special training, because the curriculum by which he became a therapist probably taught him little or nothing about the real principles of healing. In fact, it probably taught him how to make healing impossible. Most of the world’s teaching follows a curriculum in judgment, with the aim of making the therapist a judge.

3. Even this the Holy Spirit can use, and will use, given the slightest invitation. The unhealed healer may be arrogant, selfish, unconcerned, and actually dishonest. He may be uninterested in healing as his major goal. Yet something happened to him, however slight it may have been, when he chose to be a healer, however misguided the direction he may have chosen. That “something” is enough. Sooner or later that something will rise and grow; a patient will touch his heart, and the therapist will silently ask him for help. He has himself found a therapist. He has asked the Holy Spirit to enter the relationship and heal it. He has accepted the Atonement for himself.

4. God is said to have looked on all He created and pronounced it good. No, He declared it perfect, and so it was. And since His creations do not change and last forever, so it is now. Yet neither a perfect therapist nor a perfect patient can possibly exist. Both must have denied their perfection, for their very need for each other implies a sense of lack. A one-to-one relationship is not one Relationship. Yet it is the means of return; the way God chose for the return of His Son. In that strange dream a strange correction must enter, for only that is the call to awake. And what else should therapy be? Awake and be glad, for all your sins have been forgiven you. This is the only message that any two should ever give each other.

5. Something good must come from every meeting of patient and therapist. And that good is saved for both, against the day when they can recognize that only that was real in their relationship. At that moment the good is returned to them, blessed by the Holy Spirit as a gift from their Creator as a sign of His Love. For the therapeutic relationship must become like the relationship of the Father and the Son. There is no other, for there is nothing else. The therapists of this world do not expect this outcome, and many of their patients would not be able to accept help from them if they did. Yet no therapist really sets the goal for the relationships of which he is a part. His understanding begins with recognizing this, and then goes on from there.

6. It is in the instant that the therapist forgets to judge the patient that healing occurs. In some relationships this point is never reached, although both patient and therapist may change their dreams in the process. Yet it will not be the same dream for both of them, and so it is not the dream of forgiveness in which both will someday wake. The good is saved; indeed is cherished. But only little time is saved. The new dreams will lose their temporary appeal and turn to dreams of fear, which is the content of all dreams. Yet no patient can accept more than he is ready to receive, and no therapist can offer more than he believes he has. And so there is a place for all relationships in this world, and they will bring as much good as each can accept and use.

7. Yet it is when judgment ceases that healing occurs, because only then it can be understood that there is no order of difficulty in healing. This is a necessary understanding for the healed healer. He has learned that it is no harder to wake a brother from one dream than from another. No professional therapist can hold this understanding consistently in his mind, offering it to all who come to him. There are some in this world who have come very close, but they have not accepted the gift entirely in order to stay and let their understanding remain on earth until the closing of time. They could hardly be called professional therapists. They are the Saints of God. They are the Saviors of the world. Their image remains, because they have chosen that it be so. They take the place of other images, and help with kindly dreams.

8. Once the professional therapist has realized that minds are joined, he can also recognize that order of difficulty in healing is meaningless. Yet well before he reaches this in time he can go towards it. Many holy instants can be his along the way. A goal marks the end of a journey, not the beginning, and as each goal is reached another can be dimly seen ahead. Most professional therapists are still at the very start of the beginning stage of the first journey. Even those who have begun to understand what they must do may still oppose the setting-out. Yet all the laws of healing can be theirs in just an instant. The journey is not long except in dreams.

9. The professional therapist has one advantage that can save enormous time if it is properly used. He has chosen a road in which there is great temptation to misuse his role. This enables him to pass by many obstacles to peace quite quickly, if he escapes the temptation to assume a function that has not been given him. To understand there is no order of difficulty in healing, he must also recognize the equality of himself and the patient. There is no halfway point in this. Either they are equal or not. The attempts of therapists to compromise in this respect are strange indeed. Some utilize the relationship merely to collect bodies to worship at their shrine, and this they regard as healing. Many patients, too, consider this strange procedure as salvation. Yet at each meeting there is One Who says, “My brother, choose again.”

10. Do not forget that any form of specialness must be defended, and will be. The defenseless therapist has the strength of God with him, but the defensive therapist has lost sight of the Source of his salvation. He does not see and he does not hear. How, then, can he teach? Because it is the Will of God that he take his place in the plan for salvation. Because it is the Will of God that his patient be helped to join with him there. Because his inability to see and hear does not limit the Holy Spirit in any way. Except in time. In time there can be a great lag between the offering and the acceptance of healing. This is the veil across the face of Christ. Yet it can be but an illusion, because time does not exist and the Will of God has always been exactly as it is.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 7

Lesson 341

Section 13. What is a Miracle?

A miracle is a correction. It does not create, nor really change at all. It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false. It undoes error, but does not attempt to go beyond perception, nor exceed the function of forgiveness. Thus it stays within time’s limits. Yet it paves the way for the return of timelessness and love’s awakening, for fear must slip away under the gentle remedy it brings.

A miracle contains the gift of grace, for it is given and received as one. And thus it illustrates the law of truth the world does not obey, because it fails entirely to understand its ways. A miracle inverts perception which was upside down before, and thus it ends the strange distortions that were manifest. Now is perception open to the truth. Now is forgiveness seen as justified.

Forgiveness is the home of miracles. The eyes of Christ deliver them to all they look upon in mercy and in love. Perception stands corrected in His sight, and what was meant to curse has come to bless. Each lily of forgiveness offers all the world the silent miracle of love. And each is laid before the Word of God, upon the universal altar to Creator and creation in the light of perfect purity and endless joy.

The miracle is taken first on faith, because to ask for it implies the mind has been made ready to conceive of what it cannot see and does not understand. Yet faith will bring its witnesses to show that what it rested on is really there. And thus the miracle will justify your faith in it, and show it rested on a world more real than what you saw before; a world redeemed from what you thought was there.

Miracles fall like drops of healing rain from Heaven on a dry and dusty world, where starved and thirsty creatures come to die. Now they have water. Now the world is green. And everywhere the signs of life spring up, to show that what is born can never die, for what has life has immortality.


Lesson 341

I can attack but my own sinlessness,
And it is only that which keeps me safe.

Father, Your Son is holy. I am he on whom You smile in love and tenderness so dear and deep and still the universe smiles back on You, and shares Your Holiness. How pure, how safe, how holy, then, are we, abiding in Your Smile, with all Your Love bestowed upon us, living one with You, in brotherhood and Fatherhood complete; in sinlessness so perfect that the Lord of Sinlessness conceives us as His Son, a universe of Thought completing Him.

Let us not, then, attack our sinlessness, for it contains the Word of God to us. And in its kind reflection we are saved.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1053If God does not take the “last step” who or what is taking that step that we are supposed to refrain from taking?

A: God cannot not take the last step. There really is only one step and He already took it. It seems that we are on a journey with multiple steps only because our fear of awakening is so great. We therefore proceed gently, “step by step” through the healing process. To accommodate our fear and resistance, Jesus uses an expression such as God taking a step because it makes sense to us. Since we think in terms of linear time, and believe that the separation has been accomplished, we perceive the need for a gradual process of undoing. Our only concern is the steps of forgiveness we are asked to take. We don’t even have to refrain from the last step. It is a given, once the blocks of resistance are removed. In the end, we will awaken from the dream of separation and remember the first and only step that God took in creating His Son. That is the meaning of what Jesus tells us in the text: “ For God will take the last step swiftly, when you have reached the real world and have been made ready for Him” (T.17.II.4:5).


Q #1054Over the years I’ve had an experience from time to time while sleeping, where my mind wakes up and I feel I’m in an astral plane racing up to higher levels. It feels very real and I feel cool air and my mind feels very electric, like I’ve left my body. I get a little fearful and try to pull myself back and wake up my body. This has shown me that there are much deeper levels in my mind that I normally wouldn’t experience in my everyday life. It seems like I really fear letting go of my body and the world when I have this experience. Now I see why no matter what good intentions I have for letting go of my ego and being at peace, I’m so entrenched in my ego/body identity. For 40 years it’s a chipping away process, little by little, because of the deep rooted fear/guilt I don’t even notice on the surface. Is this why we rarely experience the deeper levels of our mind because of the massive block of guilt and fear?

A: Yes, the guilt experienced by the mind for choosing against itself, and thereby against God, is very deep. It has been covered over by layers of denial spurned by fear of God’s punishment. Experiences that indicate we are not physical bodies, such as the one you describe, often evoke feelings of fear that reflect the mind’s fear of recognizing its identity as mind. Your insight into the fear of losing the body’s identity is very helpful. It explains why it is so difficult to understand the Course, regardless of Jesus’ assurance that it is very simple ( T.11.VIII.1:1). Though it is difficult, practicing it and applying its teachings to our lives is much more so, due to our tremendous resistance to letting go of the ego’s thought system. The process begins with the recognition of resistance by an honest admission of how firmly we hold on to the ego. Seeing the blocks of resistance makes the need for setting a gentle pace in the undoing process obvious. It also accomplishes one of the most important steps in learning the Holy Spirit’s curriculum: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” (T.16.IV.6:1).

In the manual, Jesus refers to resistance in a way that applies to your experience. He tells us that resistance to healing is “enormous” because it requires the acceptance that our experience of the world is the result of a choice in the mind (See: M.5.II.1) . This returns responsibility for it to the mind, and in the process undoes all belief in the decision- making power of the body. The ego has taught us (and we have learned the lesson well) that the body makes decisions and “rules” the world. This belief makes both the body and the world real in our experience. Clinging to this belief we resist Jesus’ teaching in order to protect the world and the body, and to maintain the thought of separation.

An experience of the astral body, although still within the realm of the ego, may serve as a reminder to the mind that it cannot be contained in a body. Indeed, it does not belong to the body at all, neither astral nor physical. Therein lies the threat to the body’s “existence” that evokes fear in the form of resistance calling to mind Jesus’ words of caution: “Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough” (T.18.IV.2:1,2). A healthy respect for the intensity of attachment to the body sets a firm foundation for proceeding with patience and gentleness through the learning process. It helps dispel the fantasy of instant success and keeps the mind calmly focused on the path of forgiveness. Your insight into the depths of the searing guilt that permeates the dream of separation is therefore of great value. Neither the guilt nor the resistance will prevail. Acknowledging them can only save time by not wasting it on escapades into deeper forays of denial. We are not asked not to have the blocks of resistance, but countless times we are asked to look in order to find them. In few words Jesus puts the simple task before us: “Be vigilant…” (T.6.V.C) . And when you find the blocks it will not be the ego that has led you.

You but mistake interpretation

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 6

ACIM Reading for December 6

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice

3. The Practice of Psychotherapy- I. The Selection of Patients 

1. 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?

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 6

Lesson 340

I can be free of suffering today.

Father, I thank You for today, and for the freedom I am certain it will bring. This day is holy, for today Your Son will be redeemed. His suffering is done. For he will hear Your Voice directing him to find Christ’s vision through forgiveness, and be free forever from all suffering. Thanks for today, my Father. I was born into this world but to achieve this day, and what it holds in joy and freedom for Your holy Son and for the world he made, which is released along with him today.

Be glad today! Be glad! There is no room for anything but joy and thanks today. Our Father has redeemed His Son this day. Not one of us but will be saved today. Not one who will remain in fear, and none the Father will not gather to Himself, awake in Heaven in the Heart of Love.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #954A Course in Miracles says that it is only one of many paths home. Yet I’ve heard that the only way home is to leave the dream. But since no other paths say this world is a dream, or explain how we got here, or the ego thought system, or ontological guilt, or that bodies don’t exist, or that there’s only one of us here not billions and billions, etc., etc., how can there really be other paths that lead us to peace and then home? The metaphysics is so essential that in my opinion, the Course is the only way home . Please explain what other paths the Course refers to in the aforementioned statement. And can we really get home without understanding our own psychology and why we act the way we do? It seems to me that the Course was written because no other path had awakened us to these ideas.

A: You are correct that the metaphysics and psychology of A Course in Miracles are unique. And it is almost inevitable that if the Course speaks to you, it will feel like the only possible way home. But followers of most paths would make exactly the same assertion — and, as world history attests, all too often do so in very unkind ways. The certainty that ours is the one and only way is a result of confusion between form and content.

When we consider spiritual paths, we could think of the content as being synonymous with the purpose or goal , and the form as being the method for achieving that goal . The Course tells us that the holy instant, the holy relationship, and the Holy Spirit’s teaching “are all but aspects of the plan to change your dreams of fear to happy dreams, from which you waken easily to knowledge” (T.18.VI.1:4). Indeed, that is an excellent summation of the purpose of the Course itself. It seeks to help us shift our mind from our imagined guilt (symbolized in the Course by the ego), to the memory of God’s all-inclusive Love (symbolized in the Course as the Holy Spirit). Within this dream world, once we have made that shift, we will go from projecting guilt everywhere, to extending love. How and when that shift leads to our awakening from the dream is neither our concern, nor the concern of the Course — which tells us that God Himself will be responsible for that final step (T.18.IX.10) .

The Course, then, is not our way home. Rather it is a tool for creating the conditions in our mind in which we can find our way home. While the Course can lead us to truth, we should not confuse its words, metaphysics, and psychology, with truth itself. As the Course says, “words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality” (M.21.1:9,10). So while the love that inspired the Course is real, at some point we must realize that the Course itself is still part of the illusion.

If it is the part of the illusion that helps us awaken to what lies beyond the illusion, then that is a marvelous thing. But that does not mean that it is the only thing in this dream that can serve that purpose, or that it will serve that purpose for everyone . To some, the Course’s explanation of how we got here and why we do what we do might make no sense at all. But that certainly does not mean that they cannot awaken to the Love of God. A person could have a right-minded experience while reading the Course, watching a sunset, reading the Bible, thumbing through the phone book, in the middle of a war zone, or in a million other scenarios. This is why the Course says that there are “many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome” (M.1.4:1,2) . In statements such as that, Jesus is really saying that form is irrelevant — it is the meaning, or purpose, that we give the form that matters. Therefore, Jesus is not referring to other specific forms. Rather he is acknowledging that the prerequisite to awakening is not any specific knowledge, form, or world-view, but rather a single decision . And what leads anyone else to make that decision, or why it does so, is beyond our comprehension and not our concern.

In this regard, it is helpful to remember that: “A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s” (M.1.1:2).

Into Christ's Presence

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 5

ACIM Reading for December 5

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?

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 5

Lesson 339

I will receive whatever I request.

No one desires pain. But he can think that pain is pleasure. No one would avoid his happiness. But he can think that joy is painful, threatening and dangerous. Everyone will receive what he requests. But he can be confused indeed about the things he wants; the state he would attain. What can he then request that he would want when he receives it? He has asked for what will frighten him, and bring him suffering. Let us resolve today to ask for what we really want, and only this, that we may spend this day in fearlessness, without confusing pain with joy, or fear with love.

Father, this is Your day. It is a day in which I would do nothing by myself, but hear Your Voice in everything I do; requesting only what You offer me, accepting only Thoughts You share with me.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #953My husband and I run a small business. Lately we’ve had a rash of experiences in which suppliers send us damaged goods, or behave in slightly hostile ways. I understand that these experiences are symbolic of my fear of God, resulting in guilt and a belief in punishment. What is new is that I feel as though I can’t bear to argue with any of this — to be angry with the suppliers, to worry about the money, or to do anything about it at all! It’s as though I just can’t do it any more. “In my defenselessness my safety lies” has become my motto. I just can’t bear to defend myself in most situations. It hurts too much. And yet there’s the (ego?) fear that I am using the Course to avoid confrontation, or misinterpreting the guidance I seek but am never sure I’m hearing correctly. I feel as though in this life I’ve overcharged, or delivered defective goods in any number of ways. Why should I defend myself against, or be angry about, such treatment from others when I want to forgive them. I’d prefer to just ignore it and let it happen. I just want to let it go and forgive everyone, even if it costs me money or causes me inconvenience. This seems a small price to pay for peace of mind. Am I deluding myself?

A: Because A Course in Miracles is a guide to changing your mind not your behavior, there is no right or wrongway to handle things as a Course student. However, it may be helpful to clarify what Jesus means by defenselessness . The Course’s concept of defenselessness has nothing to do with behavior. It is strictly about what happens in the mind. When we choose the ego as our internal teacher, we begin with the premise that we are guilty for having stolen our very existence from God. Then we repress that thought and project it onto others, convincing ourselves that they stole the peace of God from us. On the level of form, we reflect these dynamics whenever we get upset with another person. Whether we are annoyed that they cut us off on the freeway, or furious that they stole our money, underneath our upset is the accusation that they stole the peace of God.

On the other hand, when we choose the Holy Spirit as our internal Teacher, no matter what we experience in the world, we know that God’s Love is still in our mind. And since it is there, all the things of which we accuse ourselves clearly have had no effect, and therefore must be made up. That means we are innocent, and if we are, so must everyone else be. With that awareness, it is impossible to do anything but extend love. This then is Jesus’ definition of defenselessness: when we feel no need to defend because nothing has the power to take away our peace .

Obviously, very few of us can claim to have achieved that state (and the last thing we should do is pretend that we have). Indeed, the purpose of the Course is to give us a roadmap for getting there. It sends us on an inner journey, which consists of turning every experience in our lives into a classroom in forgiveness. Unfortunately, because of our conditioning to decide everything based on form rather than content, many students inadvertently get off course (pun intended) by assuming that forgiveness means — as you stated — ignoring everything and letting it happen. Jesus is not asking us to do that. In fact, letting events in which we appear to be victimized simply happen, as we try to forgive the perpetrator, often leads us right into a vicious ego trap. Not only do our feelings of victimization remain in place (and certain to be projected elsewhere), but we also get to feel superior to those who appear to have wronged us.

For example, you said that you want to forgive even if it costs you money and causes you inconvenience . That might be okay, but be sure that you are not implying a causal relationship that does not exist. Do not think that letting another take something from you — in other words, sacrificing something — is a necessary part of your experiencing forgiveness. In reality, there is no link between sacrifice and forgiveness. Nor do you deserve to be mistreated now because you overcharged or delivered defective goods in the past. Like sacrifice, suffering and payback play no part in forgiveness.

It is the ego that loves these setups because they mean that you get to be a hero in your own mind (and perhaps the eyes of the world) while the other person remains a villain. Furthermore, you maintain your belief in separate interests. The other person has done something apparently dishonest or unkind and you have decided that it is in your best interest to simply accept it and in his or her best interest not to look at it at all. This could very well be denying both of you your classrooms.

The chances are good that you would get the greatest healing from doing what so called normal people do, but giving it a different purpose. In other words, take the appropriate action to prevent others from taking advantage of you, but do so without hating or mentally attacking them. That, of course, requires that before you do anything, you ask the Holy Spirit to look with you at the guilt, fear, and anger that are still in your mind. This will always lead you to discover the course of action that would best serve the interest you share with your brother — awakening from this dream. And then you will feel a true sense of peace that makes it clear you have not deluded yourself.

memory of god

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 3

ACIM Reading for December 3

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process & Practice

2.- V. The Process of Healing1. While truth is simple, it must still be taught to those who have already lost their way in endless mazes of complexity. This is the great illusion. In its wake comes the inevitable belief that, to be safe, one must control the unknown. This strange belief relies on certain steps which never reach to consciousness. First, it is ushered in by the belief that there are forces to be overcome to be alive at all. And next, it seems as if these forces can be held at bay only by an inflated sense of self that holds in darkness what is truly felt, and seeks to raise illusions to the light.

2. Let us remember that the ones who come to us for help are bitterly afraid. What they believe will help can only harm; what they believe will harm alone can help. Progress becomes impossible until the patient is persuaded to reverse his twisted way of looking at the world; his twisted way of looking at himself. The truth is simple. Yet it must be taught to those who think it will endanger them. It must be taught to those who will attack because they feel endangered, and to those who need the lesson of defenselessness above all else, to show them what is strength.

3. If this world were ideal, there could perhaps be ideal therapy. And yet it would be useless in an ideal state. We speak of ideal teaching in a world in which the perfect teacher could not long remain; the perfect psychotherapist is but a glimmer of a thought not yet conceived. But still we speak of what can yet be done in helping the insane within the bounds of the attainable. While they are sick, they can and must be helped. No more than that is asked of psychotherapy; no less than all he has to give is worthy of the therapist. For God Himself holds out his brother as his savior from the world.

4. Healing is holy. Nothing in the world is holier than helping one who asks for help. And two come very close to God in this attempt, however limited, however lacking in sincerity.  Where two have joined for healing, God is there. And He has guaranteed that He will hear and answer them in truth. They can be sure that healing is a process He directs, because it is according to His Will. We have His Word to guide us, as we try to help our brothers. Let us not forget that we are helpless of ourselves, and lean upon a strength beyond our little scope for what to teach as well as what to learn.

5. A brother seeking aid can bring us gifts beyond the heights perceived in any dream. He offers us salvation, for he comes to us as Christ and Savior. What he asks is asked by God through him. And what we do for him becomes the gift we give to God. The sacred calling of God’s holy Son for help in his perceived distress can be but answered by his Father. Yet He needs a voice through which to speak His holy Word; a hand to reach His Son and touch his heart. In such a process, who could not be healed? This holy interaction is the plan of God Himself, by which His Son is saved.

6. For two have joined. And now God’s promises are kept by Him. The limits laid on both the patient and the therapist will count as nothing, for the healing has begun. What they must start their Father will complete. For He has never asked for more than just the smallest willingness, the least advance, the tiniest of whispers of His Name. To ask for help, whatever form it takes, is but to call on Him. And He will send His Answer through the therapist who best can serve His Son in all his present needs. Perhaps the answer does not seem to be a gift from Heaven. It may even seem to be a worsening and not a help. Yet let the outcome not be judged by us.

7. Somewhere all gifts of God must be received. In time no effort can be made in vain. It is not our perfection that is asked in our attempts to heal. We are deceived already, if we think there is a need of healing. And the truth will come to us only through one who seems to share our dream of sickness. Let us help him to forgive himself for all the trespasses with which he would condemn himself without a cause. His healing is our own. And as we see the sinlessness in him come shining through the veil of guilt that shrouds the Son of God, we will behold in him the face of Christ, and understand that it is but our own.

8. Let us stand silently before God’s Will, and do what it has chosen that we do. There is one way alone by which we come to where all dreams began. And it is there that we will lay them down, to come away in peace forever. Hear a brother call for help and answer him. It will be God to Whom you answer, for you called on Him. There is no other way to hear His Voice. There is no other way to seek His Son. There is no other way to find your Self. Holy is healing, for the Son of God returns to Heaven through its kind embrace. For healing tells him, in the Voice for God, that all his sins have been forgiven him.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 3

Lesson 337

My sinlessness protects me from all harm.

My sinlessness ensures me perfect peace, eternal safety, everlasting love, freedom forever from all thought of loss; complete deliverance from suffering. And only happiness can be my state, for only happiness is given me. What must I do to know all this is mine? I must accept Atonement for myself, and nothing more. God has already done all things that need be done. And I must learn I need do nothing of myself, for I need but accept my Self, my sinlessness, created for me, now already mine, to feel God’s Love protecting me from harm, to understand my Father loves His Son; to know I am the Son my Father loves.

You Who created me in sinlessness are not mistaken about what I am. I was mistaken when I thought I sinned, but I accept Atonement for myself. Father, my dream is ended now. Amen.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1125What does A Course in Miracles teach about spiritual verbal communication through mediums? Who talks to us in these communications? In Brazil, people present at Kardec Centers ‘receive’ messages they say are given by ‘spirits’ that identify themselves with their real names or a name they give just to have one. There are even many, many books published in Brazil about what they say. I am not a Kardecist and never have been, but Kardec, as well as his books, is well known the world over.

A: Since we are all only split off parts of the one ego self, we are only ever talking to ourselves, no matter who seems to be speaking. And since that self is illusory, all conversations, whether seeming to happen with other physical bodies or with discarnate voices, are simply hallucinations. Now that answer may be the truth, but it is not particularly satisfying from the perspective of where we seem to find ourselves.

While the Course does not address the issue of mediumship specifically, the book’s very existence would have to be considered support for the validity and helpfulness of the process, since Helen Schucman viewed Jesus and not herself as the source of the material she wrote down. But she also understood that Jesus did not exist as an entity outside herself, but rather as a presence within her mind that was always available to her, whether or not she was willing to be available to him!

As a point of clarification, the Course uses the word spirit differently from its more common usage, as in the case of spirit mediumship that Kardec researched and explored in the nineteenth century. In the Course, spirit refers to our reality as Christ in the Mind of God, beyond the ego split mind and any sense of individual identity (T.3.V.7:3,4; C.1.1,2,3,4) . Since, as the Course teaches, mind is never inside the body e.g., T.28.II.2:8; T.29.I.5;W.pI.72.8; W.pI.96.4:4; W.pI.167.6; W.pI.199.7:2) , spirit as typically used would simply be, from the Course’s perspective, any seemingly separate fragment of the ego mind, whether it happens to believe that it is currently incarnated within a body or not. And all communication therefore occurs only between minds, and not between bodies, despite what our experience seems to tell us to the contrary see Question #1122 for a more in-depth discussion .

If this is understood, it should be apparent that the fact that a message seems to be coming from a discarnate voice in no way assures that the message is reflecting a higher or more healed perspective. Nor does identification with a physical body necessarily preclude more advanced understanding of the true nature of reality and the means for remembering it. It is helpful to recognize that, at the level of content, there are only two possible sources for any message we receive — the ego or the Holy Spirit — regardless of where in the world of form it may seem to come from. From the Course’s perspective, preoccupation with specifics and differences is a red flag that the ego is the likely source, or is at least a filter that is coloring and distorting the message. Reminders that help us step back from our judgments and recognize what we all share in common are likely to have the Holy Spirit as their Source.

Near the end of the Course, Jesus speaks of the one source behind all messages of healing despite the various forms through which they may seem to be expressed and also explains why we need to experience the medium as specific:

“Why is the illusion of many necessary? Only because reality is not understandable to the deluded. Only very few can hear God’s Voice at all, and even they cannot communicate His messages directly through the Spirit which gave them. They need a medium through which communication becomes possible to those who do not realize that they are spirit. A body they can see. A voice they understand and listen to, without the fear that truth would encounter in them. Do not forget that truth can come only where it is welcomed without fear. So do God’s teachers need a body, for their unity could not be recognized directly” (M.12.3).

That we are all mediums who are channeling all the time — channeling either the ego or the Holy Spirit — is a helpful perspective on the whole issue of mediumship and channeling that minimizes differences and takes away the sense of specialness that our egos would like to attribute to the process. This perspective is developed and elaborated on in the audio set, The Inner Voice, by Kenneth Wapnick.

hostage or host

 

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 4

ACIM Reading for December 4

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process & Practice
2.- VI. The Definition of Healing 

1. The process of psychotherapy, then, can be defined simply as forgiveness, for no healing can be anything else. The unforgiving are sick, believing they are unforgiven. The hanging-on to guilt, its hugging-close and sheltering, its loving protection and alert defense,–all this is but the grim refusal to forgive. “God may not enter here” the sick repeat, over and over, while they mourn their loss and yet rejoice in it. Healing occurs as a patient begins to hear the dirge he sings, and questions its validity. Until he hears it, he cannot understand that it is he who sings it to himself. To hear it is the first step in recovery. To question it must then become his choice.

2. There is a tendency, and it is very strong, to hear this song of death only an instant, and then dismiss it uncorrected. These fleeting awarenesses represent the many opportunities given us literally “to change our tune.” The sound of healing can be heard instead. But first the willingness to question the “truth” of the song of condemnation must arise. The strange distortions woven inextricably into the self-concept, itself but a pseudo-creation, make this ugly sound seem truly beautiful. “The rhythm of the universe,” “the herald angel’s song,” all these and more are heard instead of loud discordant shrieks.

3. The ear translates; it does not hear. The eye reproduces; it does not see. Their task is to make agreeable whatever is called on, however disagreeable it may be. They answer the decisions of the mind, reproducing its desires and translating them into acceptable and pleasant forms. Sometimes the thought behind the form breaks through, but only very briefly, and the mind grows fearful and begins to doubt its sanity. Yet it will not permit its slaves to change the forms they look upon; the sounds they hear. These are its “remedies”; its “safeguards” from insanity.

4. These testimonies which the senses bring have but one purpose; to justify attack and thus keep unforgiveness unrecognized for what it is. Seen undisguised it is intolerable. Without protection it could not endure. Here is all sickness cherished, but without the recognition that this is so. For when an unforgiveness is not recognized, the form it takes seems to be something else. And now it is the “something else” that seems to terrify. But it is not the “something else” that can be healed. It is not sick, and needs no remedy. To concentrate your healing efforts here is but futility. Who can cure what cannot be sick and make it well?

5. Sickness takes many forms, and so does unforgiveness. The forms of one but reproduce the forms of the other, for they are the same illusion. So closely is one translated into the other, that a careful study of the form a sickness takes will point quite clearly to the form of unforgiveness that it represents. Yet seeing this will not effect a cure. That is achieved by only one recognition; that only forgiveness heals an unforgiveness, and only an unforgiveness can possibly give rise to sickness of any kind.

6. This realization is the final goal of psychotherapy. How is it reached? The therapist sees in the patient all that he has not forgiven in himself, and is thus given another chance to look at it, open it to re-evaluation and forgive it. When this occurs, he sees his sins as gone into a past that is no longer here. Until he does this, he must think of evil as besetting him here and now. The patient is his screen for the projection of his sins, enabling him to let them go. Let him retain one spot of sin in what he looks upon, and his release is partial and will not be sure.

7. No one is healed alone. This is the joyous song salvation sings to all who hear its Voice. This statement cannot be too often remembered by all who see themselves as therapists. Their patients can but be seen as the bringers of forgiveness, for it is they who come to demonstrate their sinlessness to eyes that still believe that sin is there to look upon. Yet will the proof of sinlessness, seen in the patient and accepted in the therapist, offer the mind of both a covenant in which they meet and join and are as one.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 4

Lesson 338

I am affected only by my thoughts.

It needs but this to let salvation come to all the world. For in this single thought is everyone released at last from fear. Now has he learned that no one frightens him, and nothing can endanger him. He has no enemies, and he is safe from all external things. His thoughts can frighten him, but since these thoughts belong to him alone, he has the power to change them and exchange each fear thought for a happy thought of love. He crucified himself. Yet God has planned that His beloved Son will be redeemed.

Your plan is sure, my Father,—only Yours. All other plans will fail. And I will have thoughts that will frighten me, until I learn that You have given me the only Thought that leads me to salvation. Mine alone will fail, and lead me nowhere. But the Thought You gave me promises to lead me home, because it holds Your promise to Your Son.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #310: I have been a student of A Course in Miracles for over 10 years, and I recently entered a Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. One of the difficulties I have is that I am learning psychological material that is often at odds with the Course. On an intellectual level, I understand and can accept the distinctions. However sometimes I can’t, and this causes me some frustration. I worry about how to help another, although I also recognize where the answer lies — to turn and trust in the Holy Spirit. I even understand that much of what I am learning can be helpful if placed under the direction of the Holy Spirit — the problem is that I often forget. I guess my question is: if I’m inclined toward a particular psychological orientation and practice, say psychoanalysis or narrative therapy, is it okay to follow my interest, but with the Holy Spirit as guide?

A: It is never the form but only the content that can ever conflict with the Course. In other words, it is the purpose for which you use the particular psychological orientation and practice that determines whether or not it will be at odds with the Course, and not its particular theoretical model of mental illness and health, with its specific applications. Use it for ego purposes, and you will judge and attack the differences it helps you identify between yourself and your clients. Use it for the Holy Spirit’s purpose and you will see it as a means for uncovering the ego’s patterns and plots and schemes and connivings, both in your client and in yourself, so that they can be released to the healing light of forgiveness.

So study whatever therapeutic model appeals to you and become as good at its practice as you possibly can. For training in the symbols of the world enables you to accept a teaching role in the plan for the healing of the Son’s mind (W.pI.184.9:1,2). Just never forget that the only true healing comes from the one Therapist Who knows no healing is necessary. Your role is to become an instrument for that healing by first allowing your own guilt and attack thoughts to be healed. When your own blocks have been removed, the healing love can then simply flow through you (T.9.V.7,8).


Q #311: It is obvious that Helen and Bill had specific, individual purposes in bringing A Course in Miracles to the world, besides the purpose we all share, which is to forgive and to wake up to knowing ourselves as the one Son of God. I can presume, as the Course says, that we all have an individual part to play in God’s plan for salvation; but does that also mean a part in the world?

A: Since the Courses teaches that the world is an illusion, made by the mind of the separated Son as an attack on God (W.pI.155.2:1, W.pII.3.2:1), it follows that it would not tell us that God’s plan for salvation means we have a specific role to play in the world as individuals. It is important to remember that the Course is addressing the mind; specifically, the decision making part of the mind, because nothing exists outside of it: “Mind reaches to itself. It is not made up of different parts, which reach each other. It does not go out. Within itself it has no limits, and there is nothing outside it. It encompasses everything. It encompasses you entirely; you within it and it within you. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever” (T.18.VI.8:5,6,7,8,9,10,11). Every reference to our role or function in the world, therefore, must be interpreted with these metaphysical principles in mind. There is only one role assigned to us by God: to be His innocent Son. The Holy Spirit’s function is healing the mind of the thought of separation, and our only function is accepting this healing through forgiveness. Many passages in the Course seem to imply that each individual has a specific and unique role from God: “To each He (the Holy Spirit) gives a special function in salvation he alone can fill; a part for only him” (T.25.VI.4:2), (See also:T.25.VI.7). However, this “part” is to accept the Atonement for himself. It is “special,” in other words “specific,” because we have chosen to identify with our individual bodies in the illusion, and have assigned different roles to ourselves, and to every body. Although these specifics (being a son, daughter, parent, teacher, nurse, CEO) are irrelevant to the outcome, they are important because they make up the classroom the Holy Spirit uses to teach us the truth about ourselves. Each part of the Sonship, therefore, has to play his part by accepting the Atonement “as an individual” in his specific classroom and, as you mention, by ultimately accepting his only role and identity as God’s Son.

secret of salvation

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 1

ACIM Reading for December 1

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice

2.- IV. The Process of Illness1. As all therapy is psychotherapy, so all illness is mental illness. It is a judgment on the Son of God, and judgment is a mental activity. Judgment is a decision, made again and again, against creation and its Creator. It is a decision to perceive the universe as you would have created it. It is a decision that truth can lie and must be lies. What, then, can illness be except an expression of sorrow and of guilt? And who could weep but for his innocence?

2. Once God’s Son is seen as guilty, illness becomes inevitable. It has been asked for and will be received. And all who ask for illness have now condemned themselves to seek for remedies that cannot help, because their faith is in the illness and not in salvation. There can be nothing that a change of mind cannot effect, for all external things are only shadows of a decision already made. Change the decision, and how can its shadow be unchanged? Illness can be but guilt’s shadow, grotesque and ugly since it mimics deformity. If a deformity is seen as real, what could its shadow be except deformed?

3. The descent into hell follows step by step in an inevitable course, once the decision that guilt is real has been made. Sickness and death and misery now stalk the earth in unrelenting waves, sometimes together and sometimes in grim succession. Yet all these things, however real they seem, are but illusions. Who could have faith in them once this is realized? And who could not have faith in them until he realizes this? Healing is therapy or correction, and we have said already and will say again, all therapy is psychotherapy. To heal the sick is but to bring this realization to them.

4. The word “cure” has come into disrepute among the more “respectable” therapists of the world, and justly so. For not one of them can cure, and not one of them understands healing. At worst, they but make the body real in their own minds, and having done so, seek for magic by which to heal the ills with which their minds endow it. How could such a process cure? It is ridiculous from start to finish. Yet having started, it must finish thus. It is as if God were the devil and must be found in evil. How could love be there? And how could sickness cure? Are not these both one question?

5. At best, and the word is perhaps questionable here, the “healers” of the world may recognize the mind as the source of illness. But their error lies in the belief that it can cure itself. This has some merit in a world where “degrees of error” is a meaningful concept. Yet must their cures remain temporary, or another illness rise instead, for death has not been overcome until the meaning of love is understood. And who can understand this without the Word of God, given by Him to the Holy Spirit as His gift to you?

6. Illness of any kind may be defined as the result of a view of the self as weak, vulnerable, evil and endangered, and thus in need of constant defense. Yet if such were really the self,  defense would be impossible. Therefore, the defenses sought for must be magical. They must overcome all limits perceived in the self, at the same time making a new self-concept into which the old one cannot return. In a word, error is accepted as real and dealt with by illusions. Truth being brought to illusions, reality now becomes a threat and is perceived as evil. Love becomes feared because reality is love. Thus is the circle closed against the “inroads” of salvation.

7. Illness is therefore a mistake and needs correction. And as we have already emphasized, correction cannot be achieved by first establishing the “rightness” of the mistake and then overlooking it. If illness is real it cannot be overlooked in truth, for to overlook reality is insanity. Yet that is magic’s purpose; to make illusions true through false perception. This cannot heal, for it opposes truth. Perhaps an illusion of health is substituted for a little while, but not for long. Fear cannot long be hidden by illusions, for it is part of them. It will escape and take another form, being the source of all illusions.

8. Sickness is insanity because all sickness is mental illness, and in it there are no degrees. One of the illusions by which sickness is perceived as real is the belief that illness varies in intensity; that the degree of threat differs according to the form it takes. Herein lies the basis of all errors, for all of them are but attempts to compromise by seeing just a little bit of hell. This is a mockery so alien to God that it must be forever inconceivable. But the insane believe it because they are insane.

9. A madman will defend his own illusions because in them he sees his own salvation.
Thus, he will attack the one who tries to save him from them, believing that he is attacking him.  This curious circle of attack-defense is one of the most difficult problems with which the psychotherapist must deal. In fact, this is his central task; the core of psychotherapy. The therapist is seen as one who is attacking the patient’s most cherished possession; his picture of himself. And since this picture has become the patient’s security as he perceives it, the therapist cannot but be seen as a real source of danger, to be attacked and even killed.

10. The psychotherapist, then, has a tremendous responsibility. He must meet attack without attack, and therefore without defense. It is his task to demonstrate that defenses are not necessary, and that defenselessness is strength. This must be his teaching, if his lesson is to be that sanity is safe. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the insane believe that sanity is threat. This is the corollary of the “original sin”; the belief that guilt is real and fully justified. It is therefore the psychotherapist’s function to teach that guilt, being unreal, cannot be justified.  But neither is it safe. And thus it must remain unwanted as well as unreal.

11. Salvation’s single doctrine is the goal of all therapy. Relieve the mind of the insane burden of guilt it carries so wearily, and healing is accomplished. The body is not cured. It is merely recognized as what it is. Seen rightly, its purpose can be understood. What is the need for sickness then? Given this single shift, all else will follow. There is no need for complicated change. There is no need for long analyses and wearying discussion and pursuits. The truth is simple, being one for all.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 1

Lesson 335

I choose to see my brother’s sinlessness.

Forgiveness is a choice. I never see my brother as he is, for that is far beyond perception. What I see in him is merely what I wish to see, because it stands for what I want to be the truth. It is to this alone that I respond, however much I seem to be impelled by outside happenings. I choose to see what I would look upon, and this I see, and only this. My brother’s sinlessness shows me that I would look upon my own. And I will see it, having chosen to behold my brother in its holy light.

What could restore Your memory to me, except to see my brother’s sinlessness? His holiness reminds me that he was created one with me, and like myself. In him I find my Self, and in Your Son I find the memory of You as well.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1247I have become aware that the helpful yet needy relationship I have been develop­ing with Jesus as teacher, friend, guide, elder brother, comforter is changing to something that I would like to try to describe. My question is whether this is a normal part of the pro­cess of learning and growing toward the goal(s) of A Course in Miracles . Rather than repre­senting solely the above roles, I now seem to grasp that Jesus is a symbol that is not at all specific or limited. I sense that the content of the right mind is really a reflection of what I denied when the so-called dream of separation began, and like its source, the abstract con­tent of the right mind merely is .

Therefore, I can better understand that Jesus or the Holy Spirit really do nothing. Somehow, in some way that I do not understand, my mind opens a little and allows or accepts some experience of what we call truth, love, peace, Atonement, and it is that experience (the mira­cle) that corrects and cancels out my errors in perception if I sincerely desire to let them go. What I am recognizing is that I am the one doing all the work; that my progress really is up to me, and I am more aware of the meaning of “a little willingness” to take responsibility when choosing my ego. Somewhere in your writings or tapes there is something about even­tually growing up in our dependent relationship with our elder brother, Jesus. What do you make of this seeming change in my needy relationship with Jesus? I’m not just trying to kick him out again, am I?

A: What you describe seems to be the natural transition that should take place. The spiritual path of A Course in Miracles is a journey leading us back to the oneness of perfect Love that we believe we shattered by desiring our own special individualized existence. Therefore, any sem­blance of separation must eventually disappear in our minds if we are to regain our true Identity as Christ and return home to God. Relating to Jesus as an older, wiser brother is a wonderful starting point on our journey. He even asks us to relate to him that way, and to learn how to trust him unconditionally, acknowledging that he knows what is in our best interests and we do not. At that level we still see ourselves as separate from him, and very much dependent on him. That is as it should be, but it is just the beginning stage of the relationship, and he does not want us to remain at that level of spiritual childhood.

Thus, at one point he says, “I will teach with you and live with you if you will think with me, but my goal will always be to absolve you finally from the need for a teacher” (T.4.I.6:3). He wants us to become what he is, something he expresses early in the text: “There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God. The difference between us now is that I have nothing else. This leaves me in a state which is only potential in you. . . . I am in [no] way separate or different from you except in time, and time does not really exist” (T.1.II.3:5,6,10,11,12,13; 4:1). And near the end of the workbook he speaks very movingly of our oneness with him: “Yet in the final days of this one year we gave to God together, you and I, we found a single purpose that we shared. And thus you joined with me, so what I am are you as well” (W.pII.14.2:2,3).

A parallel to this is found in his description of prayer as a ladder (see The Song of Prayer pam­phlet, S.I,II) . The bottom rungs of the ladder are marked by our pleas for help with our needs and problems. But as we find ourselves attracted to the loving Source of the answers, our perception of what we think we need changes. Now we grow increasingly vigilant for what stands in the way of our experiencing that love all the time, with all of our seeming problems fading in significance. We recognize that our only need is to awaken from the dream of separation, “the only real need to be fulfilled in time” (T.13.VII.16:6; see also T.13.VII.14:2,3; T.24.V.6:6) . We should be careful, though, not to skip steps and pretend that we are on the higher rungs of the spiritual ladder when we are not. It is humbling indeed to be told that we are in the infancy stage of salvation (T.19.IV.C.9,10) , but that humility is required if we are going to hear the answer to our call for help.

Spiritual maturity on the Course’s path involves the recognition at some point that Jesus is really a symbol of the contents in our right mind that we have split off. Because of this dissociation, our only access to our right minds usually is to first relate to Jesus as a person like us, a loving brother devoted to teaching and helping us. As we allow him to show us that we have been wrong about everything — especially about who we think we are — we begin to realize that everything is going on only in our minds, which means that we begin to relate to everything as symbols of the choice we have made in our minds to identify with separation as reality or with oneness as reality. Our experience of both Jesus and ourselves will then change. We must gradually move beyond the perception of separate bodies relating to one another, or we will remain asleep and dreaming, liv­ing as aliens in a world that is not our home.

All of this is pulled together in Kenneth’s Lighthouse article, “Our Equality with Jesus: A Child, a Man, and Then a Spirit” (Dec. 2004; a copy appears on our Web site collection of newsletter arti­cles). Another helpful resource is our tape/cd set, “Jesus — Symbol and Reality,” in which Ken­neth focuses on the growth from spiritual childhood to spiritual maturity. Chapter 17 in Absence from Felicity also presents this spectrum in the context of Helen Schucman’s experience of Jesus.


Q #1248In the various thought systems extant in the world, there is often in-depth discus­sion of the “unconscious mind” and the “subconscious mind.” In A Course in Miracles’ view, are these the same, different, interchangeable areas of the mind? Since words are merely symbols twice removed and several words can symbolize the same idea (Jesus/Holy Spirit or God/Perfect Love/Oneness), could we just as easily say our guilt remains buried in the “subconscious mind” instead of the “unconscious mind”?

A: The term subconscious does not appear in A Course in Miracles ; but the term unconscious is used to describe the mind’s intentional banishing of something from awareness. The emphasis is on the mind’s decision not to deal with what it has judged fearful, or simply what it wants forever concealed. For example, Jesus explains in Lesson 136 that we “set up a series of defenses to reduce the threat that has been judged real,” and then after we do this, we deliberately forget we did it: “your plan requires that you must forget you made it . . . . (W.pI.136.4:1,3). In this sense, Jesus is not really talking about a “region” in our minds, but the activity of the decision maker.


 want only love