A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 9

ACIM Text Reading for April 9

Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement

VIII. Grandeur versus Grandiosity

Grandeur is of God, and only of Him. Therefore it is in you. Whenever you become aware of it, however dimly, you abandon the ego automatically, because in the presence of the grandeur of God the meaninglessness of the ego becomes perfectly apparent. When this occurs, even though it does not understand it, the ego believes that its ‘enemy’ has struck, and attempts to offer gifts to induce you to return to its ‘protection’. Self-inflation is the only offering it can make. The grandiosity of the ego is its alternative to the grandeur of God. Which will you choose?

Grandiosity is always a cover for despair. It is without hope because it is not real. It is an attempt to counteract your littleness, based on the belief that the littleness is real. Without this belief grandiosity is meaningless, and you could not possibly want it. The essence of grandiosity is competitiveness, because it always involves attack. It is a delusional attempt to outdo, but not to undo. We said before that the ego vacillates between suspiciousness and viciousness. It remains suspicious as long as you despair of yourself. It shifts to viciousness when you decide not to tolerate self-abasement and seek relief. Then it offers you the illusion of attack as a ‘solution’.

The ego does not understand the difference between grandeur and grandiosity, because it sees no difference between miracle impulses and ego-alien beliefs of its own. I told you that the ego is aware of threat to its existence, but makes no distinctions between these two very different kinds of threat. Its profound sense of vulnerability renders it incapable of judgement except in terms of attack. When the ego experiences threat, its only decision is whether to attack now or to withdraw to attack later. If you accept its offer of grandiosity it will attack immediately. If you do not, it will wait.

The ego is immobilised in the presence of God’s grandeur, because His grandeur establishes your freedom. Even the faintest hint of your reality literally drives the ego from your mind, because you will give up all investment in it. Grandeur is totally without illusions, and because it is real it is compellingly convincing. Yet the conviction of reality will not remain with you unless you do not allow the ego to attack it. The ego will make every effort to recover and mobilise its energies against your release. It will tell you that you are insane, and argue that grandeur cannot be a real part of you because of the littleness in which it believes. Yet your grandeur is not delusional because you did not make it. You made grandiosity and are afraid of it because it is a form of attack, but your grandeur is of God, Who created it out of His Love.

From your grandeur you can only bless, because your grandeur is your abundance. By blessing you hold it in your mind, protecting it from illusions and keeping yourself in the Mind of God. Remember always that you cannot be anywhere except in the Mind of God. When you forget this, you will despair and you will attack.

The ego depends solely on your willingness to tolerate it. If you are willing to look upon your grandeur you cannot despair, and therefore you cannot want the ego. Your grandeur is God’s answer to the ego, because it is true. Littleness and grandeur cannot coexist, nor is it possible for them to alternate. Littleness and grandiosity can and must alternate, since both are untrue and are therefore on the same level. Being the level of shift, it is experienced as shifting and extremes are its essential characteristic.

Truth and littleness are denials of each other because grandeur is truth. Truth does not vacillate; it is always true. When grandeur slips away from you, you have replaced it with something you have made. Perhaps it is the belief in littleness; perhaps it is the belief in grandiosity. Yet it must be insane because it is not true. Your grandeur will never deceive you, but your illusions always will. Illusions are deceptions. You cannot triumph, but you are exalted. And in your exalted state you seek others like you and rejoice with them.

It is easy to distinguish grandeur from grandiosity, because love is returned and pride is not. Pride will not produce miracles, and will therefore deprive you of the true witnesses to your reality. Truth is not obscure nor hidden, but its obviousness to you lies in the joy you bring to its witnesses, who show it to you. They attest to your grandeur, but they cannot attest to pride because pride is not shared. God wants you to behold what He created because it is His joy.

Can your grandeur be arrogant when God Himself witnesses to it? And what can be real that has no witnesses? What good can come of it? And if no good can come of it the Holy Spirit cannot use it. What He cannot transform to the Will of God does not exist at all. Grandiosity is delusional, because it is used to replace your grandeur. Yet what God has created cannot be replaced. God is incomplete without you because His grandeur is total, and you cannot be missing from it.

You are altogether irreplaceable in the Mind of God. No one else can fill your part in it, and while you leave your part of it empty your eternal place merely waits for your return. God, through His Voice, reminds you of it, and God Himself keeps your extensions safe within it. Yet you do not know them until you return to them. You cannot replace the Kingdom, and you cannot replace yourself. God, Who knows your value, would not have it so, and so it is not so. Your value is in God’s Mind, and therefore not in yours alone. To accept yourself as God created you cannot be arrogance, because it is the denial of arrogance. To accept your littleness isarrogant, because it means that you believe your evaluation of yourself is truer than God’s.

Yet if truth is indivisible, your evaluation of yourself must be God’s. You did not establish your value and it needs no defence. Nothing can attack it nor prevail over it. It does not vary. It merely is. Ask the Holy Spirit what it is and He will tell you, but do not be afraid of His answer, because it comes from God. It is an exalted answer because of its Source, but the Source is true and so is its answer. Listen and do not question what you hear, for God does not deceive. He would have you replace the ego’s belief in littleness with His Own exalted Answer to what you are, so that you can cease to question it and know it for what it is.


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ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 9

 

Lesson 80

Let me recognize my problems have been solved.

If you are willing to recognize your problems, you will recognize that you have no problems. Your one central problem has been answered, and you have no other. Therefore, you must be at peace. Salvation thus depends on recognizing this one problem, and understanding that it has been solved. One problem, one solution. Salvation is accomplished. Freedom from conflict has been given you. Accept that fact, and you are ready to take your rightful place in God’s plan for salvation.

Your only problem has been solved! Repeat this over and over to yourself today, with gratitude and conviction. You have recognized your only problem, opening the way for the Holy Spirit to give you God’s answer. You have laid deception aside, and seen the light of truth. You have accepted salvation for yourself by bringing the problem to the answer. And you can recognize the answer, because the problem has been identified.

You are entitled to peace today. A problem that has been resolved cannot trouble you. Only be certain you do not forget that all problems are the same. Their many forms will not deceive you while you remember this. One problem, one solution. Accept the peace this simple statement brings.

In our longer practice periods today, we will claim the peace that must be ours when the problem and the answer have been brought together. The problem must be gone, because God’s answer cannot fail. Having recognized one, you have recognized the other. The solution is inherent in the problem. You are answered, and have accepted the answer. You are saved.

Now let the peace that your acceptance brings be given you. Close your eyes, and receive your reward. Recognize that your problems have been solved. Recognize that you are out of conflict; free and at peace. Above all, remember that you have one problem, and that the problem has one solution. It is in this that the simplicity of salvation lies. It is because of this that it is guaranteed to work.

Assure yourself often today that your problems have been solved. Repeat the idea with deep conviction, as frequently as possible. And be particularly sure to apply the idea for today to any specific problem that may arise. Say quickly:

Let me recognize this problem has been solved.

Let us be determined not to collect grievances today. Let us be determined to be free of problems that do not exist. The means is simple honesty. Do not deceive yourself about what the problem is, and you must recognize it has been solved.

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #165: I was sitting in my living room with my six month old son in my lap when a question occurred to me. I was thinking how the Holy Spirit does not even know about me or my son, but only loves the dreamer of the dream. My question is, is the dreamer the same for all seeming people in the universe? Is it one dreamer or billions of dreamers projecting their guilt onto the world? Do my son and I share the same wrong mind and right mind?

A: Whenever we speak of ideas predicated on a belief in separation and duality, regardless of whether we are speaking at the level of the split mind or the level of its projections into the world of form and bodies, we are speaking in terms of myths and illusions. So the dreamer of the dream and the Holy Spirit are ultimately no more real than the selves you think you and your son are. Any answer to your question therefore should not be considered a description of reality but ought to be evaluated only in terms of its usefulness in helping us in our practice of forgiveness — the only illusion that does not lead to further illusions (C.3.1:3,4).

In A Course in Miracles’ version of the myth of separation, everything began with the one mind of God’s only Son seeming to fall asleep and dream a dream of separation. And that one mind was split into the wrong mind (the ego) and the right mind (the Holy Spirit), along with the part of the mind that had the power to choose between the two (the decision maker or the dreamer). In the dream, there is only that one split mind. But as part of the ego’s defense against its own guilt and anxiety, to hide from God so that the life the Son stole from Him would not be seized back, the Son adopted the ego’s strategy of further seeming separation into billions and billions of seem­ingly unique fragments that would be experienced as independent, individual minds. But each fragment, as a split off part of the one split mind of the Son, shared the same basic content: a wrong mind, a right mind and the power to choose between them.

The phenomenon that has been called multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder — dramatically illustrated in such films as The Three Faces of Eve and Sybil — provides a useful model for thinking about this fragmenting process. Seemingly separate, independent personalities result from a splitting off of the one mind in order to protect itself from intense anxiety and guilt usually associated with a parental figure.

While this illusory fragmenting was the ego’s defensive strategy against God, it may also be used to serve the Holy Spirit’s purpose of forgiveness. Since each seemingly separate mind has the same basic choice fully represented within itself, its choice for salvation through the practice of forgiveness is not affected by or dependent upon any other separate mind. In other words, each fragmentary mind cannot be victimized by any other mind – it is totally responsible for its experience. And by accepting responsibility for that experience and learning to recognize that it represents a choice, each fragment can learn over time to make the choice for the Holy Spirit rather than for the ego. When, in the end, the decision for the Holy Spirit is made once and for all, then the seeming fragment recognizes that there is no separation and that the mind is one, as it has been all along.

The parallel with therapeutic interventions for individuals with multiple personalities is again illustrative. The goal is what is called integration: the various personalities are in time integrated as the barriers to awareness of the separate components are removed so that the mind recognizes its wholeness again.

To answer your specific question then, there is only one mind dreaming the dream of separation and projecting its guilt upon a world it made for that purpose. But our experience while we believe that we are each a separate fragment is that my mind is independent of yours, that I am dreaming my own separate dream of separation, and that I can choose the ego or the Holy Spirit independent of what you may be choosing. And with that understanding, genuine forgiveness now becomes possible.

guiltless mind

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 8

ACIM Text Reading for April 8

Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement

VII. The Two Evaluations

God’s Will is your salvation. Would He not have given you the means to find it? If He wills you to have it, He must have made it possible and easy to obtain it. Your brothers are everywhere. You do not have to seek far for salvation. Every minute and every second gives you a chance to save yourself. Do not lose these chances, not because they will not return, but because delay of joy is needless. God wills you perfect happiness now. Is it possible that this is not also your will? And is it possible that this is not also the will of your brothers?

Consider, then, that in this joint will you are all united, and in this only. There may be disagreement on anything else, but not on this. This, then, is where peace abides. And you abide in peace when you so decide. Yet you cannot abide in peace unless you accept the Atonement, because the Atonement is the way to peace. The reason is very simple, and so obvious that it is often overlooked. The ego is afraid of the obvious, since obviousness is the essential characteristic of reality. Yet you cannot overlook it unless you are not looking.

It is perfectly obvious that if the Holy Spirit looks with love on all He perceives, He looks with love on you. His evaluation of you is based on His knowledge of what you are, and so He evaluates you truly. And this evaluation must be in your mind, because He is. The ego is also in your mind, because you have accepted it there. Its evaluation of you, however, is the exact opposite of the Holy Spirit’s, because the ego does not love you. It is unaware of what you are, and wholly mistrustful of everything it perceives because its perceptions are so shifting. The ego is therefore capable of suspiciousness at best and viciousness at worst. That is its range. It cannot exceed it because of its uncertainty. And it can never go beyond it because it can never be certain.

You, then, have two conflicting evaluations of yourself in your mind, and they cannot both be true. You do not yet realise how completely different these evaluations are, because you do not understand how lofty the Holy Spirit’s perception of you really is. He is not deceived by anything you do, because He never forgets what you are. The ego is deceived by everything you do, especially when you respond to the Holy Spirit, because at such times its confusion increases. The ego is, therefore, particularly likely to attack you when you react lovingly, because it has evaluated you as unloving and you are going against its judgement. The ego will attack your motives as soon as they become clearly out of accord with its perception of you. This is when it will shift abruptly from suspiciousness to viciousness, since its uncertainty is increased. Yet it is surely pointless to attack in return. What can this mean except that you are agreeing with the ego’s evaluation of what you are?

If you choose to see yourself as unloving you will not be happy. You are condemning yourself and must therefore regard yourself as inadequate. Would you look to the ego to help you escape from a sense of inadequacy it has produced, and must maintain for its existence? Can you escape from its evaluation of you by using its methods for keeping this picture intact?

You cannot evaluate an insane belief system from within it. Its range precludes this. You can only go beyond it, look back from a point where sanity exists and see the contrast. Only by this contrast can insanity be judged as insane. With the grandeur of God in you, you have chosen to be little and to lament your littleness. Within the system that dictated this choice the lament is inevitable. Your littleness is taken for granted there and you do not ask, ‘Who granted it?’ The question is meaningless within the ego’s thought system, because it would open the whole thought system to question.

I have said that the ego does not know what a real question is. Lack of knowledge of any kind is always associated with unwillingness to know, and this produces a total lack of knowledge simply because knowledge is total. Not to question your littleness therefore is to deny all knowledge, and keep the ego’s whole thought system intact. You cannot retain part of a thought system, because it can be questioned only at its foundation. And this must be questioned from beyond it, because within it its foundation does stand. The Holy Spirit judges against the reality of the ego’s thought system merely because He knows its foundation is not true. Therefore, nothing that arises from it means anything. He judges every belief you hold in terms of where it comes from. If it comes from God, He knows it to be true. If it does not, He knows that it is meaningless.

Whenever you question your value, say:

God Himself is incomplete without me.

Remember this when the ego speaks, and you will not hear it. The truth about you is so lofty that nothing unworthy of God is worthy of you. Choose, then, what you want in these terms, and accept nothing that you would not offer to God as wholly fitting for Him. You do not want anything else. Return your part to Him, and He will give you all of Himself in exchange for the return of what belongs to Him and renders Him complete.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 8

Lesson 79

Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.

A problem cannot be solved if you do not know what it is. Even if it is really solved already you will still have the problem, because you will not recognize that it has been solved. This is the situation of the world. The problem of separation, which is really the only problem, has already been solved. Yet the solution is not recognized because the problem is not recognized.

Everyone in this world seems to have his own special problems. Yet they are all the same, and must be recognized as one if the one solution that solves them all is to be accepted. Who can see that a problem has been solved if he thinks the problem is something else? Even if he is given the answer, he cannot see its relevance.

That is the position in which you find yourself now. You have the answer, but you are still uncertain about what the problem is. A long series of different problems seems to confront you, and as one is settled the next one and the next arise. There seems to be no end to them. There is no time in which you feel completely free of problems and at peace.

The temptation to regard problems as many is the temptation to keep the problem of separation unsolved. The world seems to present you with a vast number of problems, each requiring a different answer. This perception places you in a position in which your problem solving must be inadequate, and failure is inevitable.

No one could solve all the problems the world appears to hold. They seem to be on so many levels, in such varying forms and with such varied content, that they confront you with an impossible situation. Dismay and depression are inevitable as you regard them. Some spring up unexpectedly, just as you think you have resolved the previous ones. Others remain unsolved under a cloud of denial, and rise to haunt you from time to time, only to be hidden again but still unsolved.

All this complexity is but a desperate attempt not to recognize the problem, and therefore not to let it be resolved. If you could recognize that your only problem is separation, no matter what form it takes, you could accept the answer because you would see its relevance. Perceiving the underlying constancy in all the problems that seem to confront you, you would understand that you have the means to solve them all. And you would use the means, because you recognize the problem.

In our longer practice periods today we will ask what the problem is, and what is the answer to it. We will not assume that we already know. We will try to free our minds of all the many different kinds of problems we think we have. We will try to realize that we have only one problem, which we have failed to recognize. We will ask what it is, and wait for the answer. We will be told. Then we will ask for the solution to it. And we will be told.

The exercises for today will be successful to the extent to which you do not insist on defining the problem. Perhaps you will not succeed in letting all your preconceived notions go, but that is not necessary. All that is necessary is to entertain some doubt about the reality of your version of what your problems are. You are trying to recognize that you have been given the answer by recognizing the problem, so that the problem and the answer can be brought together and you can be at peace.

The shorter practice periods for today will not be set by time, but by need. You will see many problems today, each one calling for an answer. Our efforts will be directed toward recognizing that there is only one problem and one answer. In this recognition are all problems resolved. In this recognition there is peace.

Be not deceived by the form of problems today. Whenever any difficulty seems to rise, tell yourself quickly:

Let me recognize this problem so it can be solved.

Then try to suspend all judgment about what the problem is. If possible, close your eyes for a moment and ask what it is. You will be heard and you will be answered.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 7

ACIM Text Reading for April 7

Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement

VI. The Acceptance of Your Brother

How can you become increasingly aware of the Holy Spirit in you except by His effects? You cannot see Him with your eyes nor hear Him with your ears. How, then, can you perceive Him at all? If you inspire joy and others react to you with joy, even though you are not experiencing joy yourself there must be something in you that is capable of producing it. If it is in you and can produce joy, and if you see that it does produce joy in others, you must be dissociating it in yourself.

It seems to you that the Holy Spirit does not produce joy consistently in you only because you do not consistently arouse joy in others. Their reactions to you are your evaluations of His consistency. When you are inconsistent you will not always give rise to joy, and so you will not always recognise His consistency. What you offer to your brother you offer to Him, because He cannot go beyond your offering in His giving. This is not because He limits His giving, but simply because you have limited your receiving. The decision to receive is the decision to accept.

If your brothers are part of you, will you accept them? Only they can teach you what you are, for your learning is the result of what you taught them. What you call upon in them you call upon in yourself. And as you call upon it in them it becomes real to you. God has but one Son, knowing them all as one. Only God Himself is more than they but they are not less than He is. Would you know what this means? If what you do to my brother you do to me, and if you do everything for yourself because we are part of you, everything we do belongs to you as well. Everyone God created is part of you and shares His glory with you. His Glory belongs to Him, but it is equally yours. You cannot, then, be less glorious than He is.

God is more than you only because He created you, but not even this would He keep from you. Therefore you can create as He did, and your dissociation will not alter this. Neither God’s Light nor yours is dimmed because you do not see. Because the Sonship must create as one, you remember creation whenever you recognise part of creation. Each part you remember adds to your wholeness because each part is whole. Wholeness is indivisible, but you cannot learn of your wholeness until you see it everywhere. You can know yourself only as God knows His Son, for knowledge is shared with God. When you awake in Him you will know your magnitude by accepting His limitlessness as yours. But meanwhile you will judge it as you judge your brother’s, and will accept it as you accept his.

You are not yet awake, but you can learn how to awaken. Very simply the Holy Spirit teaches you to awaken others. As you see them waken you will learn what waking means, and because you have chosen to wake them, their gratitude and their appreciation of what you have given them will teach you its value. They will become the witnesses to your reality, as you were created witnesses to God’s. Yet when the Sonship comes together and accepts its oneness it will be known by its creations, who witness to its reality as the Son does to the Father.

Miracles have no place in eternity, because they are reparative. Yet while you still need healing, your miracles are the only witnesses to your reality that you can recognise. You cannot perform a miracle for yourself, because miracles are a way of giving acceptance and receiving it. In time the giving comes first, though they are simultaneous in eternity, where they cannot be separated. When you have learned they are the same, the need for time is over.

Eternity is one time, its only dimension being ‘always’. This cannot mean anything to you until you remember God’s open Arms, and finally know His open Mind. Like Him, you are ‘always’; in His Mind and with a mind like His. In your open mind are your creations, in perfect communication born of perfect understanding. Could you but accept one of them you would not want anything the world has to offer. Everything else would be totally meaningless. God’s meaning is incomplete without you, and you are incomplete without your creations. Accept your brother in this world and accept nothing else, for in him you will find your creations because he created them with you. You will never know that you are co-creator with God until you learn that your brother is co-creator with you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 7

Lesson 78

Let miracles replace all grievances.

Perhaps it is not yet quite clear to you that each decision that you make is one between a grievance and a miracle. Each grievance stands like a dark shield of hate before the miracle it would conceal. And as you raise it up before your eyes, you will not see the miracle beyond. Yet all the while it waits for you in light, but you behold your grievances instead.

Today we go beyond the grievances, to look upon the miracle instead. We will reverse the way you see by not allowing sight to stop before it sees. We will not wait before the shield of hate, but lay it down and gently lift our eyes in silence to behold the Son of God.

He waits for you behind your grievances, and as you lay them down he will appear in shining light where each one stood before. For every grievance is a block to sight, and as it lifts you see the Son of God where he has always been. He stands in light, but you were in the dark. Each grievance made the darkness deeper, and you could not see.

Today we will attempt to see God’s Son. We will not let ourselves be blind to him; we will not look upon our grievances. So is the seeing of the world reversed, as we look out toward truth, away from fear. We will select one person you have used as target for your grievances, and lay the grievances aside and look at him. Someone, perhaps, you fear and even hate; someone you think you love who angered you; someone you call a friend, but whom you see as difficult at times or hard to please, demanding, irritating or untrue to the ideal he should accept as his, according to the role you set for him.

You know the one to choose; his name has crossed your mind already. He will be the one of whom we ask God’s Son be shown to you. Through seeing him behind the grievances that you have held against him, you will learn that what lay hidden while you saw him not is there in everyone, and can be seen. He who was enemy is more than friend when he is freed to take the holy role the Holy Spirit has assigned to him. Let him be savior unto you today. Such is his role in God your Father’s plan.

Our longer practice periods today will see him in this role. You will attempt to hold him in your mind, first as you now consider him. You will review his faults, the difficulties you have had with him, the pain he caused you, his neglect, and all the little and the larger hurts he gave. You will regard his body with its flaws and better points as well, and you will think of his mistakes and even of his “sins.”

Then let us ask of Him Who knows this Son of God in his reality and truth, that we may look on him a different way, and see our savior shining in the light of true forgiveness, given unto us. We ask Him in the holy Name of God and of His Son, as holy as Himself:

Let me behold my savior in this one You have appointed as
the one for me to ask to lead me to the holy light in which he
stands, that I may join with him.

The body’s eyes are closed, and as you think of him who grieved you, let your mind be shown the light in him beyond your grievances.

What you have asked for cannot be denied. Your savior has been waiting long for this. He would be free, and make his freedom yours. The Holy Spirit leans from him to you, seeing no separation in God’s Son. And what you see through Him will free you both. Be very quiet now, and look upon your shining savior. No dark grievances obscure the sight of him. You have allowed the Holy Spirit to express through him the role God gave Him that you might be saved.

God thanks you for these quiet times today in which you laid your images aside, and looked upon the miracle of love the Holy Spirit showed you in their place. The world and Heaven join in thanking you, for not one Thought of God but must rejoice as you are saved, and all the world with you.

We will remember this throughout the day, and take the role assigned to us as part of God’s salvation plan, and not our own. Temptation falls away when we allow each one we meet to save us, and refuse to hide his light behind our grievances. To everyone you meet, and to the ones you think of or remember from the past, allow the role of savior to be given, that you may share it with him. For you both, and all the sightless ones as well, we pray:

Let miracles replace all grievances.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1203I am currently on Lesson 76 “I am under no laws but God’s” (W.pI.76). I must admit, up until now, all of the lessons resonated wonderfully with me and my spirit received them well. However, I am having a very hard time with this, and I feel as if I am positioning myself to accept chaos in my life. It appears to me that God’s law would not concern itself with me going to work, or even getting there on time, or whether I dressed appropriately or not, and on and on.

A: Yes, you are correct in your understanding of God’s law. Most students find it very unsettling (to put it mildly) to discover this aspect of A Course in Miracles’ teachings. But it is only the ego in you that feels the outcome would be chaos, because the sane part of your mind knows that you are taking a major step in the direction of restoring lasting peace to your mind. It is essential for the ego’s survival to keep you thinking that God and you are separate, that your life takes place in this world, and that you must sacrifice, pray, and do good things to get into Heaven after you die. That is the ego’s thought system, which Jesus teaches us is simply an insane substitute for the truth, which is that separation from God is impossible and that we are forever one with Him.

The fact that God does not know about us and our seeming individual lives does not mean that we have been abandoned and are completely on our own without any comfort or guidance. The purpose of our work with the Course is to develop a relationship with Jesus who is always lovingly present in our minds so that we could allow him then to help us identify and then remove the barriers we have placed between ourselves and love’s presence (T.16.IV.6:1). That is the only kind of help that is truly of value, and the only kind we should ever want. Making our lives better in this world is a futile endeavor, for nothing but God’s eternal peace and Love could ever satisfy us, and our continuing to believe that we really exist as individuals apart from God is what keeps us from experiencing the peace and Love in which we were created.

Questions #131, #157, and #643 all discuss this important issue.

be of good cheer

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 6

ACIM Text Reading for April 6

Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement

V. The Unhealed Healer

The ego’s plan for forgiveness is far more widely used than God’s. This is because it is undertaken by unhealed healers, and is therefore of the ego. Let us consider the unhealed healer more carefully now. By definition, he is trying to give what he has not received. If an unhealed healer is a theologian, for example, he may begin with the premise, ‘I am a miserable sinner, and so are you’. If he is a psychotherapist, he is more likely to start with the equally incredible belief that attack is real for both himself and the patient, but that it does not matter for either of them.

I have repeatedly said that beliefs of the ego cannot be shared, and this is why they are unreal. How, then, can ‘uncovering’ them make them real? Every healer who searches fantasies for truth must be unhealed, because he does not know where to look for truth, and therefore does not have the answer to the problem of healing.

There is an advantage to bringing nightmares into awareness, but only to teach that they are not real, and that anything they contain is meaningless. The unhealed healer cannot do this because he does not believe it. All unhealed healers follow the ego’s plan for forgiveness in one form or another. If they are theologians they are likely to condemn themselves, teach condemnation and advocate a fearful solution. Projecting condemnation onto God, they make Him appear retaliative, and fear His retribution. What they have done is merely to identify with the ego, and by perceiving what it does, condemn themselves because of this confusion. It is understandable that there have been revolts against this concept, but to revolt against it is still to believe in it.

Some newer forms of the ego’s plan are as unhelpful as the older ones, because form does not matter and the content has not changed. In one of the newer forms, for example, a psychotherapist may interpret the ego’s symbols in a nightmare, and then use them to prove that the nightmare is real. Having made it real, he then attempts to dispel its effects by depreciating the importance of the dreamer. This would be a healing approach if the dreamer were also identified as unreal. Yet if the dreamer is equated with the mind, the mind’s corrective power through the Holy Spirit is denied. This is a contradiction even in the ego’s terms, and one which it usually notes even in its confusion.

If the way to counteract fear is to reduce the importance of the mind; how can this build ego strength? Such evident inconsistencies account for why no one has really explained what happens in psychotherapy. Nothing really does. Nothing real has happened to the unhealed healer, and he must learn from his own teaching. His ego will always seek to get something from the situation. The unhealed healer therefore does not know how to give, and consequently cannot share. He cannot correct because he is not working correctively. He believes that it is up to him to teach the patient what is real, although he does not know it himself.

What, then, should happen? When God said, ‘Let there be light’, there was light. Can you find light by analysing darkness, as the psychotherapist does, or like the theologian, by acknowledging darkness in yourself and looking for a distant light to remove it, while emphasising the distance? Healing is not mysterious. Nothing will change unless it is understood, since light is understanding. A ‘miserable sinner’ cannot be healed without magic, nor can an ‘unimportant mind’ esteem itself without magic.

Both forms of the ego’s approach, then, must arrive at an impasse; the characteristic ‘impossible situation’ to which the ego always leads. It may help someone to point out where he is heading, but the point is lost unless he is also helped to change his direction. The unhealed healer cannot do this for him, since he cannot do it for himself. The only meaningful contribution the healer can make is to present an example of one whose direction has been changed for him, and who no longer believes in nightmares of any kind. The light in his mind will therefore answer the questioner, who must decide with God that there is light because he sees it. And by his acknowledgement the healer knows it is there. That is how perception ultimately is translated into knowledge. The miracle worker begins by perceiving light, and translates his perception into sureness by continually extending it and accepting its acknowledgement. Its effects assure him it is there.

A therapist does not heal; he lets healing be. He can point to darkness but he cannot bring light of himself, for light is not of him. Yet, being for him, it must also be for his patient. The Holy Spirit is the only Therapist. He makes healing clear in any situation in which He is the Guide. You can only let Him fulfil His function. He needs no help for this. He will tell you exactly what to do to help anyone He sends to you for help, and will speak to him through you if you do not interfere. Remember that you choose the guide for helping, and the wrong choice will not help. But remember also that the right one will. Trust Him, for help is His function, and He is of God. As you awaken other minds to the Holy Spirit through Him, and not yourself, you will understand that you are not obeying the laws of this world. But the laws you are obeying work. ‘The good is what works’ is a sound though. insufficient statement. Only the good can work. Nothing else works at all.

This course offers a very direct and a very simple learning situation, and provides the Guide Who tells you what to do. If you do it, you will see that it works. Its results are more convincing than its words. They will convince you that the words are true. By following the right Guide, you will learn the simplest of all lessons:

By their fruits ye shall know them, And they shall know themselves.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 6

Lesson 77

I am entitled to miracles.

You are entitled to miracles because of what you are. You will receive miracles because of what God is. And you will offer miracles because you are one with God. Again, how simple is salvation! It is merely a statement of your true Identity. It is this that we will celebrate today.

Your claim to miracles does not lie in your illusions about yourself. It does not depend on any magical powers you have ascribed to yourself, nor on any of the rituals you have devised. It is inherent in the truth of what you are. It is implicit in what God your Father is. It was ensured in your creation, and guaranteed by the laws of God.

Today we will claim the miracles which are your right, since they belong to you. You have been promised full release from the world you made. You have been assured that the Kingdom of God is within you, and can never be lost. We ask no more than what belongs to us in truth. Today, however, we will also make sure that we will not content ourselves with less.

Begin the longer practice periods by telling yourself quite confidently that you are entitled to miracles. Closing your eyes, remind yourself that you are asking only for what is rightfully yours. Remind yourself also that miracles are never taken from one and given to another, and that in asking for your rights, you are upholding the rights of everyone. Miracles do not obey the laws of this world. They merely follow from the laws of God.

After this brief introductory phase, wait quietly for the assurance that your request is granted. You have asked for the salvation of the world, and for your own. You have requested that you be given the means by which this is accomplished. You cannot fail to be assured in this. You are but asking that the Will of God be done.

In doing this, you do not really ask for anything. You state a fact that cannot be denied. The Holy Spirit cannot but assure you that your request is granted. The fact that you accepted must be so. There is no room for doubt and uncertainty today. We are asking a real question at last. The answer is a simple statement of a simple fact. You will receive the assurance that you seek.

Our shorter practice periods will be frequent, and will also be devoted to a reminder of a simple fact. Tell yourself often today:

I am entitled to miracles.

Ask for them whenever a situation arises in which they are called for. You will recognize these situations. And since you are not relying on yourself to find the miracle, you are fully entitled to receive it whenever you ask.

Remember, too, not to be satisfied with less than the perfect answer. Be quick to tell yourself, should you be tempted:

I will not trade miracles for grievances. I want only what
belongs to me. God has established miracles as my right.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #325: On page 172 of the text of A Course in Miracles (T.9.V.6:3) Jesus states: “Can you find light by analyzing the darkness…” My question is: If we are to look at our egos as a process, isn’t that the same thing as finding light by analyzing darkness?

A: The context of that statement is the unhealed healer who sees the darkness as real and not as a defense against the light, an expression of the only “sin” in the Course: making the error real. As Jesus tells us in the “Song of Prayer”: “Do not see error. Do not make it real” (S.2.I.3:3,4). In the section in the text to which you refer, Jesus is pointing out the limitations and mistakes of therapists and theologians who attempt to heal others without first having seen their own mistakes and brought them to the healing presence in their right minds. They therefore know nothing of that true corrective process, and as a result they wind up having their egos direct them as they attempt to heal others. If you know that the ego’s darkness (the wrong mind) is simply a defense against the Holy Spirit’s light (the right mind) and that we can choose between these states, then analyzing the darkness can be helpful in identifying the choices we make. We can then reconsider our decisions. But if we are unaware of the light and the decision-making capacity of our minds, then analyzing the darkness would be fruitless, ultimately. There may be some relief from the pain, but there would be no true healing. In that sense, you cannot find light by analyzing the darkness.


Q #326: Do you know of people who in the year of taking A Course in Miracles have achieved the experience of the holy instant?

A: We direct you to Questions #26 and #104, which address this topic. The essence of the experience is recognizing and accepting the love of Jesus as the only reality in your mind. This comes about through choosing against the ego’s way of perceiving, which always emphasizes differences and separation, and instead seeing your interests and needs as the same as everyone else’s. It is a choice made in the mind, and of course can occur at any time. In the manual for teachers, Jesus speaks about different levels of relationships, the first level being “… what seems to be very casual encounters; a ‘chance’ meeting of two apparent strangers in an elevator, a child who is not looking where he is going running into an adult ‘by chance,’ two students ‘happening’ to walk home together…. Perhaps the seeming strangers in the elevator will smile to one another, perhaps the adult will not scold the child for bumping into him; perhaps the students will become friends. Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment” (M.3.2:2,5,6). The holy instant is that moment. There are many other expressions of it as well. It may occur at any time during one’s spiritual process, and one need not be a student of the Course in order to have this experience. Many, many students have done so.

Finally, even though there are 365 lessons and the Course is presented as a one-year program, it is important to take note of what Jesus tells us in the very first sentence after the last lesson: “This course is a beginning, not an end” (M.ep.1:1). The training is completed when the holy instant becomes our only experience. We no longer see any value in choosing the ego rather than the love of Jesus in our minds. We go back and forth that way until we have let go entirely of all belief in the reality of separation, and sin, guilt, and fear.

tiny mad idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 6

ACIM Text Reading for April 6

Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement

IV. The Holy Spirit’s Plan of Forgiveness

Atonement is for all, because it is the way to undo the belief that anything is for you alone. To forgive is to overlook. Look, then, beyond error and do not let your perception rest upon it, for you will believe what your perception holds. Accept as true only what your brother is, if you would know yourself. Perceive what he is not and you cannot know what you are, because you see him falsely. Remember always that your Identity is shared, and that Its sharing is Its reality.

You have a part to play in the Atonement, but the plan of the Atonement is beyond you. You do not understand how to overlook errors, or you would not make them. It would merely be further error to believe either that you do not make them, or that you can correct them without a Guide to correction. And if you do not follow this Guide, your errors will not be corrected. The plan is not yours because of your limited ideas about what you are. This sense of limitation is where all errors arise. The way to undo them, therefore, is not of you but for you.

The Atonement is a lesson in sharing, which is given you because you have forgotten how to do it. The Holy Spirit merely reminds you of the natural use of your abilities. By reinterpreting the ability to attack into the ability to share, He translates what you have made into what God created. If you would accomplish this through Him you cannot look on your abilities through the eyes of the ego, or you will judge them as it does. All their harmfulness lies in the ego’s judgement. All their helpfulness lies in the judgement of the Holy Spirit.

The ego, too, has a plan of forgiveness because you are asking for one, though not of the right teacher. The ego’s plan, of course, makes no sense and will not work. By following its plan you will merely place yourself in an impossible situation, to which the ego always leads you. The ego’s plan is to have you see error clearly first, and then overlook it. Yet how can you overlook what you have made real? By seeing it clearly, you have made it real and cannot overlook it. This is where the ego is forced to appeal to ‘mysteries’, insisting that you must accept the meaningless to save yourself. Many have tried to do this in my name, forgetting that my words make perfect sense because they come from God. They are as sensible now as they ever were, because they speak of ideas that are eternal.

Forgiveness that is learned of me does not use fear to undo fear. Nor does it make real the unreal and then destroy it. Forgiveness through the Holy Spirit lies simply in looking beyond error from the beginning, and thus keeping it unreal for you. Do not let any belief in its realness enter your mind, or you will also believe that you must undo what you have made in order to be forgiven. What has no effect does not exist, and to the Holy Spirit the effects of error are non existent. By steadily and consistently cancelling out all its effects, everywhere and in all respects, He teaches that the ego does not exist and proves it.

Follow the Holy Spirit’s teaching in forgiveness, then, because forgiveness is His function and He knows how to fulfil it perfectly. That is what I meant when I said that miracles are natural, and when they do not occur something has gone wrong. Miracles are merely the sign of your willingness to follow the Holy Spirit’s plan of salvation, recognising that you do not understand what it is. His work is not your function, and unless you accept this you cannot learn what your function is.

The confusion of functions is so typical of the ego that you should be quite familiar with it by now. The ego believes that all functions belong to it, even though it has no idea what they are. This is more than mere confusion. It is a particularly dangerous combination of grandiosity and confusion that makes the ego likely to attack anyone and anything for no reason at all. This is exactly what the ego does. It is unpredictable in its responses, because it has no idea of what it perceives.

If you have no idea what is happening, how appropriately can you expect to react? You might ask yourself, regardless of how you may account for the reaction, whether its unpredictability places the ego in a sound position as your guide. Let me repeat that the ego’s qualifications as a guide are singularly unfortunate, and that it is a remarkably poor choice as a teacher of salvation. Anyone who elects a totally insane guide must be totally insane himself. Nor is it true that you do not realise the guide is insane. You realise it because I realise it, and you have judged it by the same standard I have.

The ego literally lives on borrowed time, and its days are numbered. Do not fear the Last Judgement, but welcome it and do not wait, for the ego’s time is ‘borrowed’ from your eternity. This is the Second Coming that was made for you as the First was created. The Second Coming is merely the return of sense. Can this possibly be fearful?

What can be fearful but fantasy, and who turns to fantasy unless he despairs of finding satisfaction in reality? Yet it is certain that you will never find satisfaction in fantasy, so that your only hope is to change your mind about reality. Only if the decision that reality is fearful is wrong can God be right. And I assure you that God isright. Be glad, then, that you have been wrong, but this was only because you did not know who you were. Had you known, you could no more have been wrong than God can.

The impossible can happen only in fantasy. When you search for reality in fantasies you will not find it. The symbols of fantasy are of the ego, and of these you will find many. But do not look for meaning in them. They have no more meaning than the fantasies into which they are woven. Fairy tales can be pleasant or fearful, but no one calls them true. Children may believe them, and so, for a while, the tales are true for them. Yet when reality dawns, the fantasies are gone. Reality has not gone in the meanwhile. The Second Coming is the awareness of reality, not its return.

Behold, my child, reality is here. It belongs to you and me and God, and is perfectly satisfying to all of us. Only this awareness heals, because it is the awareness of truth.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 6

Lesson 76

I am under no laws but God’s.

We have observed before how many senseless things have seemed to you to be salvation. Each has imprisoned you with laws as senseless as itself. You are not bound by them. Yet to understand that this is so, you must first realize salvation lies not there. While you would seek for it in things that have no meaning, you bind yourself to laws that make no sense. Thus do you seek to prove salvation is where it is not.

Today we will be glad you cannot prove it. For if you could, you would forever seek salvation where it is not, and never find it. The idea for today tells you once again how simple is salvation. Look for it where it waits for you, and there it will be found. Look nowhere else, for it is nowhere else.

Think of the freedom in the recognition that you are not bound by all the strange and twisted laws you have set up to save you. You really think that you would starve unless you have stacks of green paper strips and piles of metal discs. You really think a small round pellet or some fluid pushed into your veins through a sharpened needle will ward off disease and death. You really think you are alone unless another body is with you.

It is insanity that thinks these things. You call them laws, and put them under different names in a long catalogue of rituals that have no use and serve no purpose. You think you must obey the “laws” of medicine, of economics and of health. Protect the body, and you will be saved.

These are not laws, but madness. The body is endangered by the mind that hurts itself. The body suffers just in order that the mind will fail to see it is the victim of itself. The body’s suffering is a mask the mind holds up to hide what really suffers. It would not understand it is its own enemy; that it attacks itself and wants to die. It is from this your “laws” would save the body. It is for this you think you are a body.

There are no laws except the laws of God. This needs repeating, over and over, until you realize it applies to everything that you have made in opposition to God’s Will. Your magic has no meaning. What it is meant to save does not exist. Only what it is meant to hide will save you.

The laws of God can never be replaced. We will devote today to rejoicing that this is so. It is no longer a truth that we would hide. We realize instead it is a truth that keeps us free forever. Magic imprisons, but the laws of God make free. The light has come because there are no laws but His.

We will begin the longer practice periods today with a short review of the different kinds of “laws” we have believed we must obey. These would include, for example, the “laws” of nutrition, of immunization, of medication, and of the body’s protection in innumerable ways. Think further; you believe in the “laws” of friendship, of “good” relationships and reciprocity. Perhaps you even think that there are laws which set forth what is God’s and what is yours. Many “religions” have been based on this. They would not save but damn in Heaven’s name. Yet they are no more strange than other “laws” you hold must be obeyed to make you safe.

There are no laws but God’s. Dismiss all foolish magical beliefs today, and hold your mind in silent readiness to hear the Voice that speaks the truth to you. You will be listening to One Who says there is no loss under the laws of God. Payment is neither given nor received. Exchange cannot be made; there are no substitutes; and nothing is replaced by something else. God’s laws forever give and never take.

Hear Him Who tells you this, and realize how foolish are the “laws” you thought upheld the world you thought you saw. Then listen further. He will tell you more. About the Love your Father has for you. About the endless joy He offers you. About His yearning for His only Son, created as His channel for creation; denied to Him by his belief in hell.

Let us today open God’s channels to Him, and let His Will extend through us to Him. Thus is creation endlessly increased. His Voice will speak of this to us, as well as of the joys of Heaven which His laws keep limitless forever. We will repeat today’s idea until we have listened and understood there are no laws but God’s. Then we will tell ourselves, as a dedication with which the practice period concludes:

I am under no laws but God’s.

We will repeat this dedication as often as possible today; at least four or five times an hour, as well as in response to any temptation to experience ourselves as subject to other laws throughout the day. It is our statement of freedom from all danger and all tyranny. It is our acknowledgment that God is our Father, and that His Son is saved.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #65: Please describe “mind,” the nature of “mind,” and the experience of “mind”.

A: There is no simple or easily understood definition for mind in the Course, because its meaning depends on the context in which it is used. Also, its true nature is abstract and it exists outside of time and space in all of its meanings, so we will not be fully satisfied with any explanation of it. For we will be attempting to understand mind with a limited (and illusory) part of it — the split mind. And time and space are, in fact, miscreations of the split mind itself, rather than dimensions in which it operates.

It may be helpful to point out first that the Course’s use of mind is different from the meaning given to mind in almost all other systems of thought, such as Eastern religions, for which mind is only the false ego self, caught in illusions; and various scientific disciplines, such as psychology and neurology, which take a reductionistic view of mind, reducing it to an epiphenomenon, or manifestation, of the physical/chemical/electrical activities of the brain. Even Freud, whose powerful insights into the mind are integrated into the Course’s exposition of the ego, accepted its organic origins without question.

The most extensive discussion in the Course of the term is found in the first section of the Clarification of Terms, “Mind-Spirit” (C.1). There mind is initially defined as “the activating agent of spirit, supplying its creative energy…Spirit is the Thought of God which He created like Himself” (C.1.1:1,3). But since we cannot conceive of the nature of spirit or God, and creation has nothing to do with form, the definition sheds little light on the meaning of the term. Usually, when the Course refers to mind at this level — our true reality as spirit — the term is capitalized and it refers to either God or Christ, His perfect and wholly unified Son (C.1.1:2). There is little more to be said about mind at this level. Its experience is only of perfect oneness, with no awareness of differences or distinctions of any kind, because they are not real.

More can be said, although still not easily understood, when we move to the level of the split or “individual mind” (C.1.2:3), which seemed to arise when the Son of God seemed to fall asleep and dream that he could be separate from his Father. This “part of the mind is entirely illusory and makes only illusions” (C.1.4:1). At this level, mind experiences “consciousness, the receptive mechanism” (C.1.7:3,4), which necessarily implies a separation between perceiver and perceived, part of the illusion. It is only at this level that choice seems to exist, for there can be no choice in our reality as spirit, where, again, no differences or distinctions exist. It is within this illusory split mind that everything we believe is solid and external and real is experienced. The Course distinguishes between two parts of this mind, or two ways of thinking within this mind: Wrong-mindedness represents the choice to listen to the voice of the ego, or false self. Right- mindedness represents the choice to listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, the reflection of our true Self or Mind (C.1.5:1,2).

Although the Course attempts to make us aware that our true reality is Mind, its teaching is addressed only to the split mind. The Course’s purpose is to train our split mind to remember that it contains a choice (C.1.7:1), for it has accepted the ego as its only reality and has forgotten that the ego is only a choice. So the Course helps us to recognize the consequences of a choice for the ego — sin, guilt, fear, pain, loss, and death — and reminds us that there is a different choice — the Holy Spirit — that opens the door to a completely different kind of experience, based on forgiveness — peace, joy and love. Over time, the Course will lead our split minds back to the initial decision point where we made a seemingly irreversible choice for the ego. And now we can make a different choice, removing us from time and space as we become aware of the real world, the totally forgiven world. From here, it is only one final step, “taken” by God Himself, which returns us to the wholeness of spirit and the oneness of Mind that we never in reality left (C.1.5:2,3,4).


total commitment

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 5

ACIM Text Reading for March 5

Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement

III. The Correction of Error

The alertness of the ego to the errors of other egos is not the kind of vigilance the Holy Spirit would have you maintain. Egos are critical in terms of the kind of ‘sense’ they stand for. They understand this kind of sense, because it is sensible to them. To the Holy Spirit it makes no sense at all.

To the ego it is kind and right and good to point out errors and ‘correct’ them. This makes perfect sense to the ego, which is unaware of what errors are and what correction is. Errors are of the ego, and correction of errors lies in the relinquishment of the ego. When you correct a brother, you are telling him that he is wrong. He may be making no sense at the time, and it is certain that, if he is speaking from the ego, he will not be making sense. But your task is still to tell him he is right. You do not tell him this verbally, if he is speaking foolishly. He needs correction at another level, because his error is at another level. He is still right, because he is a Son of God. His ego is always wrong, no matter what it says or does.

If you point out the errors of your brother’s ego you must be seeing through yours, because the Holy Spirit does not perceive his errors. This must be true, since there is no communication between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego makes no sense, and the Holy Spirit does not attempt to understand anything that arises from it. Since He does not understand it, He does not judge it, knowing that nothing the ego makes means anything.

When you react at all to errors, you are not listening to the Holy Spirit. He has merely disregarded them, and if you attend to them you are not hearing Him. If you do not hear Him, you are listening to your ego and making as little sense as the brother whose errors you perceive. This cannot be correction. Yet it is more than merely a lack of correction for him. It is the giving up of correction in yourself.

When a brother behaves insanely, you can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him. If you perceive his errors and accept them, you are accepting yours. If you want to give yours over to the Holy Spirit, you must do this with his. Unless this becomes the one way in which you handle all errors, you cannot understand how all errors are undone. How is this different from telling you that what you teach you learn? Your brother is as right as you are, and if you think he is wrong you are condemning yourself.

You cannot correct yourself. Is it possible, then, for you to correct another? Yet you can see him truly, because it is possible for you to see yourself truly. It is not up to you to change your brother, but merely to accept him as he is. His errors do not come from the truth that is in him, and only this truth is yours. His errors cannot change this, and can have no effect at all on the truth in you. To perceive errors in anyone, and to react to them as if they were real, is to make them real to you. You will not escape paying the price for this, not because you are being punished for it, but because you are following the wrong guide and will therefore lose your way.

Your brother’s errors are not of him, any more than yours are of you. Accept his errors as real, and you have attacked yourself. If you would find your way and keep it, see only truth beside you for you walk together. The Holy Spirit in you forgives all things in you and in your brother. His errors are forgiven with yours. Atonement is no more separate than love. Atonement cannot be separate because it comes from love. Any attempt you make to correct a brother means that you believe correction by you is possible, and this can only be the arrogance of the ego. Correction is of God, Who does not know of arrogance.

The Holy Spirit forgives everything because God created everything. Do not undertake His function, or you will forget yours. Accept only the function of healing in time, because that is what time is for. God gave you the function to create in eternity. You do not need to learn that, but you do need to learn to want it. For that all learning was made. This is the Holy Spirit’s use of an ability that you do not need, but that you made. Give it to Him! You do not understand how to use it. He will teach you how to see yourself without condemnation, by learning how to look on everything without it. Condemnation will then not be real to you, and all your errors will be forgiven.

 ***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 5

Lesson 75

The light has come.

The light has come. You are healed and you can heal. The light has come. You are saved and you can save. You are at peace, and you bring peace with you wherever you go. Darkness and turmoil and death have disappeared. The light has come.

Today we celebrate the happy ending to your long dream of disaster. There are no dark dreams now. The light has come. Today the time of light begins for you and everyone. It is a new era, in which a new world is born. The old one has left no trace upon it in its passing. Today we see a different world, because the light has come.

Our exercises for today will be happy ones, in which we offer thanks for the passing of the old and the beginning of the new. No shadows from the past remain to darken our sight and hide the world forgiveness offers us. Today we will accept the new world as what we want to see. We will be given what we desire. We will to see the light; the light has come.

Our longer practice periods will be devoted to looking at the world that our forgiveness shows us. This is what we want to see, and only this. Our single purpose makes our goal inevitable. Today the real world rises before us in gladness, to be seen at last. Sight is given us, now that the light has come.

We do not want to see the ego’s shadow on the world today. We see the light, and in it we see Heaven’s reflection lie across the world. Begin the longer practice periods by telling yourself the glad tidings of your release:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Dwell not upon the past today. Keep a completely open mind, washed of all past ideas and clean of every concept you have made. You have forgiven the world today. You can look upon it now as if you never saw it before. You do not know yet what it looks like. You merely wait to have it shown to you. While you wait, repeat several times, slowly and in complete patience:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Realize that your forgiveness entitles you to vision. Understand that the Holy Spirit never fails to give the gift of sight to the forgiving. Believe He will not fail you now. You have forgiven the world. He will be with you as you watch and wait. He will show you what true vision sees. It is His Will, and you have joined with Him. Wait patiently for Him. He will be there. The light has come. You have forgiven the world.

Tell Him you know you cannot fail because you trust in Him. And tell yourself you wait in certainty to look upon the world He promised you. From this time forth you will see differently. Today the light has come. And you will see the world that has been promised you since time began, and in which is the end of time ensured.

The shorter practice periods, too, will be joyful reminders of your release. Remind yourself every quarter of an hour or so that today is a time for special celebration. Give thanks for mercy and the Love of God. Rejoice in the power of forgiveness to heal your sight completely. Be confident that on this day there is a new beginning. Without the darkness of the past upon your eyes, you cannot fail to see today. And what you see will be so welcome that you will gladly extend today forever.

Say, then:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Should you be tempted, say to anyone who seems to pull you back into darkness:

The light has come. I have forgiven you.

We dedicate this day to the serenity in which God would have you be. Keep it in your awareness of yourself and see it everywhere today, as we celebrate the beginning of your vision and the sight of the real world, which has come to replace the unforgiven world you thought was real.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #665: What does A Course in Miracles mean by “form” and “content?” How does one know that one is experiencing Christ’s Love or the Holy Spirit’s Answer? I have been working with the Course for 10 years and am a bit frustrated with the lack of progress. I simply cannot think of anyone or anything to forgive. I truly believe I am holy and I “see “the illusion in which I dwell. Yet, Heaven eludes me. Must one die a physical death in order to dwell in the promised Heaven? I am really curious to hear how others are experiencing Love.

A: The first thing we need to understand about form and content is that they are part of the Son of God’s dream, and do not exist in reality. While the Son sleeps he appears to have a mind separate from God’s. This mind has only two possible “contents” or thoughts: the thought of separation, or the memory of oneness with God. It has only one activity: the power to choose between these two thoughts. Once the mind chooses one of these two thoughts, the thought takes form. The form may be a specific behavior, a “thought” or a judgment that expresses the original thought. As the Course tells us early in the text: “All thinking produces form at some level” (T.2.VI.9:14). When the content of the mind is the choice for the Holy Spirit, Who represents the memory of God’s Love in the mind, whatever is done or not done in form will be a reflection of that Love. The Love/content is communicated in some form because it has been chosen. If the content of the mind is the choice for separation, it is governed by the ego. Therefore, no matter how sweet and loving the form may appear to be, it will be an attack because it expresses the ego’s denial of God.

If Heaven eludes us, we are not at peace, and if we are not at peace there is room for forgiveness. As Jesus tells us in the text: “Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations” (T.5.VII.5:1). The initial “lack of love” occurs in the mind when we choose to identify with the ego, rather than with the part of the mind that remembers who we truly are (God’s innocent Son). This is what the Course teaches is unloving toward oneself, as well as all our brothers who are God’s one Son, and it is what needs to be forgiven.

The goal of the Course is to teach us to become aware of the content of our minds so that it can be healed of the thought of separation, and we can make another choice. Meanwhile, because our minds are unhealed, we are not the ones to judge whether we are truly experiencing or expressing the loving content of the Holy Spirit. We also are not qualified to evaluate our progress. When we are discouraged about our progress it is helpful to call to mind the passage at the end of the text: “I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself” (T31.V.17:7). Jesus also tells us “Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success” (T.18.V.1:6). This may not seem like good news on a “good” day when we’re having a “good time,” but it does free us of the burden of evaluating ourselves. Ultimately it is very good news because we are not the miserable sinners we thought we were. We need not know anything, we need only to be willing to do our part by paying careful attention to any judgments that are not loving, so they can be healed, then “…What you are will tell you of Itself” (T.31.V.17:9) and that will be our final experience.

Attachment to our ego is what keeps us from the awareness that we are home with God in Heaven. This block to our awareness is not removed by death, it is undone through healing the thought of separation. Since the Course itself is a reflection of the part of the mind that holds the memory of God’s Love, the forgiveness it teaches is also an experience of love: “Forgiveness [choosing the Holy Spirit] is the healing of the perception of separation. Certain it is that all distress does not appear to be but unforgiveness [choosing separation]. Yet that is the content underneath the form. It is this sameness which makes learning sure, because the lesson is so simple that it cannot be rejected in the end” (W.pI.193.4:1,2,3). Though not the final experience, the small glimpses of Love’s reflection when we let go of judgments against ourselves and others will lead us to it. As we are promised in the text: “I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny” (T.11.VI.3:6). We have great resistance to this healing, which is why the study of A Course in Miracles is a lifetime process. Our patient, persistent and gentle practice of forgiveness will lead us home.

you cannot lose your soul

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 4

ACIM Text Reading for April 4

Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement

II. The Answer to Prayer

Everyone who ever tried to use prayer to ask for something has experienced what appears to be failure. This is not only true in connection with specific things that might be harmful, but also in connection with requests that are strictly in line with this course. The latter in particular might be incorrectly interpreted as ‘proof’ that the course does not mean what it says. You must remember, however, that the course states, and repeatedly, that its purpose is the escape from fear.

Let us suppose, then, that what you ask of the Holy Spirit is what you really want, but you are still afraid of it. Should this be the case, your attainment of it would no longer be what you want. This is why certain specific forms of healing are not achieved, even when the state of healing is. An individual may ask for physical healing because he is fearful of bodily harm. At the same time, if he were healed physically, the threat to his thought system might be considerably more fearful to him than its physical expression. In this case he is not really asking for release from fear, but for the removal of a symptom that he himself selected. This request is, therefore, not for healing at all.

The Bible emphasises that all prayer is answered, and this is indeed true. The very fact that the Holy Spirit has been asked for anything will ensure a response. Yet it is equally certain that no response given by Him will ever be one that would increase fear. It is possible that His answer will not be heard. It is impossible, however, that it will be lost. There are many answers you have already received but have not yet heard. I assure you that they are waiting for you.

If you would know your prayers are answered, never doubt a Son of God. Do not question him and do not confound him, for your faith in him is your faith in yourself. If you would know God and His Answer, believe in me whose faith in you cannot be shaken. Can you ask of the Holy Spirit truly, and doubt your brother? Believe his words are true because of the truth that is in him. You will unite with the truth in him, and his words will be true. As you hear him you will hear me. Listening to truth is the only way you can hear it now, and finally know it.

The message your brother gives you is up to you. What does he say to you? What would you have him say? Your decision about him determines the message you receive. Remember that the Holy Spirit is in him, and His Voice speaks to you through him. What can so holy a brother tell you except truth? But are you listening to it? Your brother may not know who he is, but there is a light in his mind that does know. This light can shine into yours, giving truth to his words and making you able to hear them. His words are the Holy Spirit’s answer to you. Is your faith in him strong enough to let you hear?

You can no more pray for yourself alone than you can find joy for yourself alone. Prayer is the restatement of inclusion, directed by the Holy Spirit under the laws of God. Salvation is of your brother. The Holy Spirit extends from your mind to his, and answers you. You cannot hear the Voice for God in yourself alone, because you are not alone. And His answer is only for what you are. You will not know the trust I have in you unless you extend it. You will not trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit, or believe that it is for you unless you hear it in others. It must be for your brother because it is for you. Would God have created a Voice for you alone? Could you hear His answer except as He answers all of God’s Sons? Hear of your brother what you would have me hear of you, for you would not want me to be deceived.

I love you for the truth in you, as God does. Your deceptions may deceive you, but they cannot deceive me. Knowing what you are, I cannot doubt you. I hear only the Holy Spirit in you, Who speaks to me through you. If you would hear me, hear my brothers in whom God’s Voice speaks. The answer to all prayers lies in them. You will be answered as you hear the answer in everyone. Do not listen to anything else or you will not hear truly.

Believe in your brothers because I believe in you, and you will learn that my belief in you is justified. Believe in me by believing in them, for the sake of what God gave them. They will answer you if you learn to ask only truth of them. Do not ask for blessings without blessing them, for only in this way can you learn how blessed you are. By following this way you are seeking the truth in you. This is not going beyond yourself but toward yourself. Hear only God’s Answer in His Sons, and you are answered.

To disbelieve is to side against, or to attack. To believe is to accept; and to side with. To believe is not to be credulous, but to accept and appreciate. What you do not believe you do not appreciate, and you cannot be grateful for what you do not value. There is a price you will pay for judgement, because judgement is the setting of a price. And as you set it you will pay it.

If paying is equated with getting, you will set the price low but demand a high return. You will have forgotten, however, that to price is to value, so that your return is in proportion to your judgement of worth. If paying is associated with giving it cannot be perceived as loss, and the reciprocal relationship of giving and receiving will be recognised. The price will then be set high, because of the value of the return. The price for getting is to lose sight of value, making it inevitable that you will not value what you receive. Valuing it little, you will not appreciate it and you will not want it.

Never forget, then, that you set the value on what you receive, and price it by what you give. To believe that it is possible to get much for little is to believe that you can bargain with God. God’s laws are always fair and perfectly consistent. By giving you receive. But to receive is to accept, not to get. It is impossible not to have, but it is possible not to know you have. The recognition of having is the willingness for giving, and only by this willingness can you recognise what you have. What you give is therefore the value you put on what you have, being the exact measure of the value you put upon it. And this, in turn, is the measure of how much you want it.

You can ask of the Holy Spirit, then, only by giving to Him, and you can give to Him only where you recognise Him. If you recognise Him in everyone, consider how much you will be asking of Him, and how much you will receive. He will deny you nothing because you have denied Him nothing, and so you can share everything. This is the way, and the only way to have His answer, because His answer is all you can ask for and want. Say, then, to everyone:

Because I will to know myself, I see you as God’s Son and my brother.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 4

Lesson 74

There is no will but God’s.

The idea for today can be regarded as the central thought toward which all our exercises are directed. God’s is the only Will. When you have recognized this, you have recognized that your will is His. The belief that conflict is possible has gone. Peace has replaced the strange idea that you are torn by conflicting goals. As an expression of the Will of God, you have no goal but His.

There is great peace in today’s idea, and the exercises for today are directed towards finding it. The idea itself is wholly true. Therefore it cannot give rise to illusions. Without illusions conflict is impossible. Let us try to recognize this today, and experience the peace this recognition brings.

Begin the longer practice periods by repeating these thoughts several times, slowly and with firm determination to understand what they mean, and to hold them in mind:

There is no will but God’s. I cannot be in conflict.

Then spend several minutes in adding some related thoughts, such as:

I am at peace.
Nothing can disturb me. My will is God’s.
My will and God’s are one.
God wills peace for His Son.

During this introductory phase, be sure to deal quickly with any conflict thoughts that may cross your mind. Tell yourself immediately:

There is no will but God’s. These conflict
thoughts are meaningless.

If there is one conflict area that seems particularly difficult to resolve, single it out for special consideration. Think about it briefly but very specifically, identify the particular person or persons and the situation or situations involved, and tell yourself:

There is no will but God’s. I share it with Him.
My conflicts about _____ cannot be real.

After you have cleared your mind in this way, close your eyes and try to experience the peace to which your reality entitles you. Sink into it and feel it closing around you. There may be some temptation to mistake these attempts for withdrawal, but the difference is easily detected. If you are succeeding, you will feel a deep sense of joy and an increased alertness, rather than a feeling of drowsiness and enervation.

Joy characterizes peace. By this experience will you recognize that you have reached it. If you feel yourself slipping off into withdrawal, quickly repeat the idea for today and try again. Do this as often as necessary. There is definite gain in refusing to allow retreat into withdrawal, even if you do not experience the peace you seek.

In the shorter periods, which should be undertaken at regular and predetermined intervals today, say to yourself:

There is no will but God’s. I seek His peace today.

Then try to find what you are seeking. A minute or two every half an hour, with eyes closed if possible, would be well spent on this today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #664: I know that the goal of A Course in Miracles is to realize that all the world we see is an illusion and to eventually give up our ego to be in the reality of union with God. My question is has anyone ever reached the goal and actually done it? If so how did they describe the experience. Are there signposts along the way that the illusion is nearly dismissed or have I missed the point and there is another goal?

A: Your question is a version of the “famous question” of how the separation could have ever happened if we were happy and at peace in God. It implies that the separation is real and the question can then only be answered in some form that supports this belief. The truth is that we have all “done it,” because we have not “undone it” (See T.6.II.10:7,8). However, we believe we have accomplished the impossibility of separating from God and are in need of help to learn that we are mistaken. We have chosen to believe the dream of separation and have identified with the ego. This mistake includes identifying with the body, and makes the world real in our experience. We then seem to experience a learning process whereby we gradually accept the Holy Spirit’s truth and learn to identify with the part of the mind that holds the memory of God’s Love, rather than with the body. It is the healing process of forgiveness that provides glimpses of the Love that has been forgotten, described in the Course as holy instants. Gradually we learn that the peace of the holy instant is preferable to the pain of clinging to the ego, and begin to choose it more frequently and easily, until it is the only thing we choose. That is how the “goal” is accomplished.

Jesus represents for us one who has chosen to identify only with the Love in his mind, and has thus reached the goal. His “experience” is expressed throughout A Course in Miracles, and is, in fact, its source. The important thing to remember is that it is also our experience. As he tells us in the text: “Believe in the resurrection [the “goal”] because it has been accomplished, and it has been accomplished in you. This is as true now as it will ever be… For we ascend unto the Father together, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, for such is the nature of God’s Son as his Father created him” (T.11.VI.4:6,7,9).

The signposts along the way need not be earth shattering experiences. They are simple moments like the sense of relief when we finally let go of a grievance, or realize that we do not have to be right, letting someone else have the final word. A moment of peace, however fleeting, points the way to the lasting peace we seek. It is important to recognize these little signs, rather than to expect lightening bolts to flash into our lives. Being true glimpses of the final goal, they lead us more surely to its realization. We return always to the practice of the forgiveness the Course teaches as the sure guide to our own awakening. The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep” (T.15.IV.9:1,2). So our goal is only to do our part in looking at all our judgments, which are the blocks that prevent our awareness of God’s Love. As the blocks are removed, the truth of our oneness with His Love, which seemed to have been forgotten, will be remembered.

accept only love

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 3

ACIM Text Reading for April 3

Chapter 9

THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE ATONEMENT

I. The Acceptance of Reality

Fear of the Will of God is one of the strangest beliefs the human mind has ever made. It could not possibly have occurred unless the mind were already profoundly split, making it possible for it to be afraid of what it really is. Reality cannot ‘threaten’ anything except illusions, since reality can only uphold truth. The very fact that the Will of God, which is what you are, is perceived as fearful, demonstrates that you are afraid of what you are. It is not, then, the Will of God of which you are afraid, but yours.

Your will is not the ego’s, and that is why the ego is against you. What seems to be the fear of God is really the fear of your own reality. It is impossible to learn anything consistently in a state of panic. If the purpose of this course is to help you remember what you are, and if you believe that what you are is fearful, then it must follow that you will not learn this course. Yet the reason for the course is that you do not know what you are.

If you do not know what your reality is, why would you be so sure that it is fearful? The association of truth and fear, which would be highly artificial at most, is particularly inappropriate in the minds of those who do not know what truth is. All this could mean is that you are arbitrarily associating something beyond your awareness with something you do not want. It is evident, then, that you are judging something of which you are totally unaware. You have set up this strange situation so that it is impossible to escape from it without a Guide Whodoes know what your reality is. The purpose of this Guide is merely to remind you of what you want. He is not attempting to force an alien will upon you. He is merely making every possible effort, within the limits you impose on Him, to re-establish your own will in your awareness.

You have imprisoned your will beyond your own awareness, where it remains, but cannot help you. When I said that the Holy Spirit’s function is to sort out the true from the false in your mind, I meant that He has the power to look into what you have hidden and recognise the Will of God there. His recognition of this Will can make it real to you because He is in your mind, and therefore He is your reality. If, then, His perception of your mind bring its reality to you, He is helping you to remember what you are. The only source of fear in this process is what you think you will lose. Yet it is only what the Holy Spirit sees that you can possibly have.

I have emphasised many times that the Holy Spirit will never call upon you to sacrifice anything: But if you ask the sacrifice of reality of yourself, the Holy Spirit must remind you that this is not God’s Will because it is not yours. There is no difference between your will and God’s. If you did not have a split mind, you would recognise that willing is salvation because it is communication.

It is impossible to communicate in alien tongues. You and your Creator can communicate through creation, because that, and only that is your joint Will. A divided mind cannot communicate, because it speaks for different things to the same mind. This loses the ability to communicate simply because confused communication does not mean anything. A message cannot be communicated unless it makes sense. How sensible can your messages be, when you ask for what you do not want? Yet as long as you are afraid of your will, that is precisely what you are asking for.

You may insist that the Holy Spirit does not answer you, but it might be wiser to consider the kind of questioner you are. You do not ask only for what you want. This is because you are afraid you might receive it, and you would. That is why you persist in asking the teacher who could not possibly give you what you want. Of him you can never learn what it is, and this gives you the illusion of safety. Yet you cannot be safe fromtruth, but only in truth. Reality is the only safety. Your will is your salvation because it is the same as God’s. The separation is nothing more than the belief that it is different.

No right mind can believe that its will is stronger than God’s. If, then, a mind believes that its will is different from His, it can only decide either that there is no God or that God’s Will is fearful. The former accounts for the atheist and the latter for the martyr, who believes that God demands sacrifices. Either of these insane decisions will induce panic, because the atheist believes he is alone, and the martyr believes that God is crucifying him. Yet no one really wants either abandonment or retaliation, even though many may seek both. Can you ask the Holy Spirit for ‘gifts’ such as these, and actually expect to receive them? He cannot give you something you do not want. When you ask the Universal Giver for what you do not want, you are asking for what cannot be given because it was never created. It was never created, because it was never your will for you.

Ultimately everyone must remember the Will of God, because ultimately everyone must recognise himself. This recognition is the recognition that his will and God’s are one. In the presence of truth, there are no unbelievers and no sacrifices. In the security of reality, fear is totally meaningless. To deny what is can only seem to be fearful. Fear cannot be real without a cause, and God is the only Cause. God is Love and you do want Him. This is your will. Ask for this and you will be answered, because you will be asking only for what belongs to you.

When you ask the Holy Spirit for what would hurt you He cannot answer because nothing can hurt you, and so you are asking for nothing. Any wish that stems from the ego is a wish for nothing, and to ask for it is not a request. It is merely a denial in the form of a request. The Holy Spirit is not concerned with form, being aware only of meaning. The ego cannot ask the Holy Spirit for anything, because there is complete communication failure between them. Yet you can ask for everything of the Holy Spirit, because your requests to Him are real, being of your right mind. Would the Holy Spirit deny the Will of God? And could He fail to recognise it in His Son?

You do not recognise the enormous waste of energy you expend in denying truth. What would you say of someone who persists in attempting the impossible, believing that to achieve it is to succeed? The belief that you must have the impossible in order to be happy is totally at variance with the principle of creation. God could not will that happiness depended on what you could never have. The fact that God is Love does not require belief, but it does require acceptance. It is indeed possible for you to deny facts, although it is impossible for you to change them. If you hold your hands over your eyes, you will not see because you are interfering with the laws of seeing. If you deny love, you will not know it because your co-operation is the law of its being. You cannot change laws you did not make, and the laws of happiness were created for you, not by you.

Any attempt to deny what is must be fearful, and if the attempt is strong it will induce panic. Willing against reality, though impossible, can be made into a very persistent goal even though you do not want it. But consider the result of this strange decision. You are devoting your mind to what you do not want. How real can this devotion be? If you do not want it, it was never created. If it were never created, it is nothing. Can you really devote yourself to nothing?

God in His devotion to you created you devoted to everything, and gave you what you are devoted to. Otherwise you would not have been created perfect. Reality is everything, and you have everything because you are real. You cannot make the unreal because the absence of reality is fearful, and fear cannot be created. As long as you believe that fear is possible, you will not create. Opposing orders of reality make reality meaningless, and reality is meaning.

Remember, then, that God’s Will is already possible, and nothing else will ever be. This is the simple acceptance of reality, because only that is real. You cannot distort reality and know what it is. And if you do distort reality you will experience anxiety, depression and ultimately panic, because you are trying to make yourself unreal, When you feel these things, do not try to look beyond yourself for truth, for truth can only be within you. Say, therefore:

Christ is in me, and where He is God must be, for Christ is part of Him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 3

Lesson 73

I will there be light.

Today we are considering the will you share with God. This is not the same as the ego’s idle wishes, out of which darkness and nothingness arise. The will you share with God has all the power of creation in it. The ego’s idle wishes are unshared, and therefore have no power at all. Its wishes are not idle in the sense that they can make a world of illusions in which your belief can be very strong. But they are idle indeed in terms of creation. They make nothing that is real.

Idle wishes and grievances are partners or co-makers in picturing the world you see. The wishes of the ego gave rise to it, and the ego’s need for grievances, which are necessary to maintain it, peoples it with figures that seem to attack you and call for “righteous” judgment. These figures become the middlemen the ego employs to traffic in grievances. They stand between your awareness and your brothers’ reality. Beholding them, you do not know your brothers or your Self.

Your will is lost to you in this strange bartering, in which guilt is traded back and forth, and grievances increase with each exchange. Can such a world have been created by the Will the Son of God shares with his Father? Did God create disaster for His Son? Creation is the Will of Both together. Would God create a world that kills Himself?

Today we will try once more to reach the world that is in accordance with your will. The light is in it because it does not oppose the Will of God. It is not Heaven, but the light of Heaven shines on it. Darkness has vanished. The ego’s idle wishes have been withdrawn. Yet the light that shines upon this world reflects your will, and so it must be in you that we will look for it.

Your picture of the world can only mirror what is within. The source of neither light nor darkness can be found without. Grievances darken your mind, and you look out on a darkened world. Forgiveness lifts the darkness, reasserts your will, and lets you look upon a world of light. We have repeatedly emphasized that the barrier of grievances is easily passed, and cannot stand between you and your salvation. The reason is very simple. Do you really want to be in hell? Do you really want to weep and suffer and die?

Forget the ego’s arguments which seek to prove all this is really Heaven. You know it is not so. You cannot want this for yourself. There is a point beyond which illusions cannot go. Suffering is not happiness, and it is happiness you really want. Such is your will in truth. And so salvation is your will as well. You want to succeed in what we are trying to do today. We undertake it with your blessing and your glad accord.

We will succeed today if you remember that you want salvation for yourself. You want to accept God’s plan because you share in it. You have no will that can really oppose it, and you do not want to do so. Salvation is for you. Above all else, you want the freedom to remember Who you really are. Today it is the ego that stands powerless before your will. Your will is free, and nothing can prevail against it.

Therefore, we undertake the exercises for today in happy confidence, certain that we will find what it is your will to find, and remember what it is your will to remember. No idle wishes can detain us, nor deceive us with an illusion of strength. Today let your will be done, and end forever the insane belief that it is hell in place of Heaven that you choose.

We will begin our longer practice periods with the recognition that God’s plan for salvation, and only His, is wholly in accord with your will. It is not the purpose of an alien power, thrust upon you unwillingly. It is the one purpose here on which you and your Father are in perfect accord. You will succeed today, the time appointed for the release of the Son of God from hell and from all idle wishes. His will is now restored to his awareness. He is willing this very day to look upon the light in him and be saved.

After reminding yourself of this, and determining to keep your will clearly in mind, tell yourself with gentle firmness and quiet certainty:

I will there be light. Let me behold the light that reflects
God’s Will and mine.

Then let your will assert itself, joined with the power of God and united with your Self. Put the rest of the practice period under Their guidance. Join with Them as They lead the way.

In the shorter practice periods, again make a declaration of what you really want. Say:

I will there be light. Darkness is not my will.

This should be repeated several times an hour. It is most important, however, to apply today’s idea in this form immediately you are tempted to hold a grievance of any kind. This will help you let your grievances go, instead of cherishing them and hiding them in darkness.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #663: I would like some clarification on the decision maker. Is there one for each of us or is there just one? Can I contact the decision maker through my thoughts? What will happen to the decision maker once I (we) am (are) healed?

A: Before answering your specific questions, it is important to understand that when we say anything about the split mind, we are talking about illusion And that means we are operating within the symbols of the ego thought system of separation and duality. And while we can not avoid using symbols in our present state of mind, we do have a choice about the purpose they will serve — they can be used either to maintain and reinforce our belief in separation and guilt or to lead us beyond that belief.

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus tells us that, in the whole Mind in Heaven, our only function as God’s Son, the Christ, is to create, or extend, the Love that we are (T.9.III.8:4). But once we seemed to entertain the thought of differences and separation, we forgot our function or power to create (T.7.IX.3), replacing it instead with the power to choose (T.12.VII.9:1). And the choice is simply whether to continue to listen to the ego, the voice for maintaining the separation, or to the Holy Spirit, the Voice for healing the separation. This basic power of the split mind to choose between these two alternatives is what, for ease of discussion, we have referred to in our teaching at the Foundation as the “decision maker.” In other words, there is no separate entity that exists that is the decision maker — it is the fundamental power or function of our own mind in its seemingly separated state, where differences and alternatives seem real and therefore choice between the alternatives seems real as well. The decision maker, as such, is an illusory symbol, but it can be a helpful one to use in our process of undoing the thought of separation, serving as a powerful, alternative identity to the victimized self the ego holds out to us.

It is not in the best interests of the ego that we remember that basic function of the split mind to choose, for it makes the ego very vulnerable to the power of our mind to make a simple choice against it. And so the ego has concocted a complex list of other imagined powers and functions to distract us with, and a world and a body to become identified with, so that we forget our initial choice for the ego and separation, no longer remembering that it was our mind’s own choice that has brought us to our current condition and circumstances in the world.

The Course’s primary purpose is to help us remember that one basic function of the split mind — to choose (T.31.VIII). But to understand what this basic choice is all about, we need to learn that all the seemingly different choices we make and functions we have in the world are nothing more than different forms of the same one choice for the ego (T.31.IV). We don’t believe that yet, believing instead that that the choices we make here in the world will make a difference in whether we are happy or not. So we have not really forgotten the power of our mind to choose, but we have forgotten the only real choice in the split mind — the Holy Spirit and His function of forgiveness.

Now part of the ego’s diversionary tactic to distract us from this single, unitary choice is the seeming fragmentation of the split mind into all the billions of seemingly separate individual minds, each with its own body and identity. But all the fragments remain a part of the one split mind, which never loses its power to choose between the ego and the Holy Spirit.

And so returning now to your questions: Each of us maintains our own capacity to choose while we each continue to think that we exist separate from one another, although we share that same function to choose as part of the one mind. In that sense, we each have our own separate decision maker. The decision maker is not a separate entity to be contacted, but a function each of us needs to remember. And it’s not really that we need to remember that our minds have the power to choose. We need to remember what the only real choice is about, which we recall in any moment when we recognize our ego and know that we are not our ego. When we have released all of our fear over losing our ego identity and have made the choice, once and for all, for the Holy Spirit, we will no longer need the power to choose, for we will know with certainty that only one of the alternatives is real. We will be just one step away from Heaven and return to our one true function as God’s Son — sharing in creating. And so with nothing to choose between, the power of choice will disappear and the decision maker will no longer seem to exist, its function and purpose completed.

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 2

ACIM Text Reading for April 2

Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back

IX. Healing as Corrected Perception

I said before that the Holy Spirit is the Answer. He is the Answer to everything, because He knows what the answer to everything is. The ego does not know what a real question is, although it asks an endless number. Yet you can learn this as you learn to question the value of the ego, and thus establish your ability to evaluate its questions. When the ego tempts you to sickness do not ask the Holy Spirit to heal the body, for this would merely be to accept the ego’s belief that the body is the proper aim of healing. Ask, rather, that the Holy Spirit teach you the right perception of the body, for perception alone can be distorted. Only perception can be sick, because only perception can be wrong.

Wrong perception is the wish that things be as they are not. The reality of everything is totally harmless, because total harmlessness is the condition of its reality. It is also the condition of your awareness of its reality. You do not have to seek reality. It will seek you and find you when you meet its conditions. Its conditions are part of what it is. And this part only is up to you. The rest is of itself. You need do so little because your little part is so powerful that it will bring the whole to you. Accept, then, your little part, and let the whole be yours.

Wholeness heals because it is of the mind. All forms of sickness, even unto death, are physical expressions of the fear of awakening. They are attempts to reinforce sleeping out of fear of waking. This is a pathetic way of trying not to see by rendering the faculties for seeing ineffectual. ‘Rest in peace’ is a blessing for the living, not the dead, because rest comes from waking, not from sleeping. Sleep is withdrawing; waking is joining. Dreams are illusions of joining, because they reflect the ego’s distorted notions about what joining is. Yet the Holy Spirit, too, has use for sleep, and can use dreams on behalf of waking if you will let Him.

How you wake is the sign of how you have used sleep. To whom did you give it? Under which teacher did you place it? Whenever you wake dispiritedly, it was not given to the Holy Spirit. Only when you awaken joyously have you utilised sleep according to His purpose. You can indeed be ‘drugged’ by sleep, if you have misused it on behalf of sickness. Sleep is no more a form of death than death is a form of unconsciousness. Complete unconsciousness is impossible. You can rest in peace only because you are awake.

Healing is release from the fear of waking and the substitution of the decision to wake. The decision to wake is the reflection of the will to love, since all healing involves replacing fear with love. The Holy Spirit cannot distinguish among degrees of error, for if He taught that one form of sickness is more serious than another, He would be teaching that one error can be more real than another. His function is to distinguish only between the false and the true, replacing the false with the true.

The ego, which always wants to weaken the mind, tries to separate it from the body in an attempt to destroy it. Yet the ego actually believes that it is protecting it. This is because the ego believes that mind is dangerous, and that to make mindless is to heal. But to make mindless is impossible, since it would mean to make nothing out of what God created. The ego despises weakness, even though it makes every effort to induce it. The ego wants only what it hates. To the ego this is perfectly sensible. Believing in the power of attack, the ego wants attack.

The Bible enjoins you to be perfect, to heal all errors, to take no thought of the body as separate and to accomplish all things in my name. This is not my name alone, for ours is a shared identification. The Name of God’s Son is one, and you are enjoined to do the works of love because we share this oneness. Our minds are whole because they are one. If you are sick you are withdrawing from me. Yet you cannot withdraw from me alone. You can only withdraw from yourself and me.

You have surely begun to realise that this is a very practical course, and one that means exactly what it says. I would not ask you to do things you cannot do, and it is impossible that I could do things you cannot do. Given this, and given this quite literally, nothing can prevent you from doing exactly what I ask, and everything argues for your doing it. I give you no limits because God lays none upon you. When you limit yourself we are not of one mind, and that is sickness. Yet sickness is not of the body, but of the mind. All forms of sickness are signs that the mind is split, and does not accept a unified purpose.

The unification of purpose, then, is the Holy Spirit’s only way of healing. This is because it is the only level at which healing means anything. The re-establishing of meaning in a chaotic thought system is the way to heal it. Your task is only to meet the conditions for meaning, since meaning itself is of God. Yet your return to meaning is essential to His, because your meaning is part of His. Your healing, then, is part of His health, since it is part of His Wholeness. He cannot lose this, but you can not know it. Yet it is still His Will for you, and His Will must stand forever and in all things.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 2

Lesson 72

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

While we have recognized that the ego’s plan for salvation is the opposite of God’s, we have not yet emphasized that it is an active attack on His plan, and a deliberate attempt to destroy it. In the attack, God is assigned the attributes which are actually associated with the ego, while the ego appears to take on the attributes of God.

The ego’s fundamental wish is to replace God. In fact, the ego is the physical embodiment of that wish. For it is that wish that seems to surround the mind with a body, keeping it separate and alone, and unable to reach other minds except through the body that was made to imprison it. The limit on communication cannot be the best means to expand communication. Yet the ego would have you believe that it is.

Although the attempt to keep the limitations that a body would impose is obvious here, it is perhaps not so apparent why holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation. But let us consider the kinds of things you are apt to hold grievances for. Are they not always associated with something a body does? A person says something you do not like. He does something that displeases you. He “betrays” his hostile thoughts in his behavior.

You are not dealing here with what the person is. On the contrary, you are exclusively concerned with what he does in a body. You are doing more than failing to help in freeing him from the body’s limitations. You are actively trying to hold him to it by confusing it with him, and judging them as one. Herein is God attacked, for if His Son is only a body, so must He be as well. A creator wholly unlike his creation is inconceivable.

If God is a body, what must His plan for salvation be? What could it be but death? In trying to present Himself as the Author of life and not of death, He is a liar and a deceiver, full of false promises and offering illusions in place of truth. The body’s apparent reality makes this view of God quite convincing. In fact, if the body were real, it would be difficult indeed to escape this conclusion. And every grievance that you hold insists that the body is real. It overlooks entirely what your brother is. It reinforces your belief that he is a body, and condemns him for it. And it asserts that his salvation must be death, projecting this attack onto God, and holding Him responsible for it.

To this carefully prepared arena, where angry animals seek for prey and mercy cannot enter, the ego comes to save you. God made you a body. Very well. Let us accept this and be glad. As a body, do not let yourself be deprived of what the body offers. Take the little you can get. God gave you nothing. The body is your only savior. It is the death of God and your salvation.

This is the universal belief of the world you see. Some hate the body, and try to hurt and humiliate it. Others love the body, and try to glorify and exalt it. But while the body stands at the center of your concept of yourself, you are attacking God’s plan for salvation, and holding your grievances against Him and His creation, that you may not hear the Voice of truth and welcome It as Friend. Your chosen savior takes His place instead. It is your friend; He is your enemy.

We will try today to stop these senseless attacks on salvation. We will try to welcome it instead. Your upside-down perception has been ruinous to your peace of mind. You have seen yourself in a body and the truth outside you, locked away from your awareness by the body’s limitations. Now we are going to try to see this differently.

The light of truth is in us, where it was placed by God. It is the body that is outside us, and is not our concern. To be without a body is to be in our natural state. To recognize the light of truth in us is to recognize ourselves as we are. To see our Self as separate from the body is to end the attack on God’s plan for salvation, and to accept it instead. And wherever His plan is accepted, it is accomplished already.

Our goal in the longer practice periods today is to become aware that God’s plan for salvation has already been accomplished in us. To achieve this goal, we must replace attack with acceptance. As long as we attack it, we cannot understand what God’s plan for us is. We are therefore attacking what we do not recognize. Now we are going to try to lay judgment aside, and ask what God’s plan for us is:

What is salvation, Father? I do not know.
Tell me, that I may understand.

Then we will wait in quiet for His answer. We have attacked God’s plan for salvation without waiting to hear what it is. We have shouted our grievances so loudly that we have not listened to His Voice. We have used our grievances to close our eyes and stop our ears.

Now we would see and hear and learn. “What is salvation, Father?” Ask and you will be answered. Seek and you will find. We are no longer asking the ego what salvation is and where to find it. We are asking it of truth. Be certain, then, that the answer will be true because of Whom you ask.

Whenever you feel your confidence wane and your hope of success flicker and go out, repeat your question and your request, remembering that you are asking of the infinite Creator of infinity, Who created you like Himself:

What is salvation, Father? I do not know.
Tell me, that I may understand.

He will answer. Be determined to hear.

One or perhaps two shorter practice periods an hour will be enough for today, since they will be somewhat longer than usual. These exercises should begin with this:

Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.
Let me accept it instead. What is salvation, Father?

Then wait a minute or so in silence, preferably with your eyes closed, and listen for His answer.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #149: If one is terribly ill and in pain with cancer and, as a student of A Course in Miracles, strives to have the Holy Spirit help with forgiveness and peace in the matter, but still suffers physically, what does this mean? The Course indicates that when our mind is healed we will feel no pain.

A: You already know the answer to your question! When our mind is healed, we will feel no pain. Until our mind is healed, we will feel pain. And because our mind is not healed, we will experience pain as if it were in the body, caused by factors outside of our control, rather than recognizing that it is in the mind that has thought it could separate itself from love — a very painful state. And that is how we protect the thought of separation in our split mind.

We use pain to convince ourselves that the body is real, for we still want the body to be real. Jesus tells us that “pain is a wrong perspective. When it is experienced in any form, it is a proof of self-deception… Pain is but witness to the Son’s mistakes in what he thinks he is… The body is the Son of God, corruptible in death” (W.pI.190.1:1,2; 2:3; 3:7).

What is most important though is that, while we continue to experience pain — whether it’s the pain of cancer or the pain of a broken leg or the pain of emotional abuse or any other form of pain we experience — we do not judge ourselves for feeling it. That would serve no purpose but the ego’s. Because of our fear of losing ourselves, we heal the pain in our mind through forgiveness in small steps.

And in those moments when we accept that we do not know the truth about ourselves but there is a Comforter Who does, with Whom we are always joined in perfect peace and joy, then the seemingly painful concerns of the body will fade from our awareness. Because of our fear, we will most likely not be ready to embrace fully the healing in the mind and release our limited bodily identity, and so we will turn again back to pain for the defense that it provides. But with each moment of recognition, shared in the holy instant of healing, our investment in guilt and pain will diminish. And we will never again be totally convinced that the world, or anything outside our mind, can cause us pain.

For a consideration of some other issues related to the question you raise, you may also wish to look at Question #142.


Q #150: I attacked someone but the next day I imploringly asked for forgiveness and truly forgave all that had hurt me and made me attack. Since then, however, because of the attack, the other person has broken off all communication. I have tried to renew it but without success. Keeping in mind that it was my attack in the first place that brought this situation about, how can I look at it with Jesus and regain my peace of mind? Obviously I have caused irrevocable pain.

A: You may first want to begin by looking at the thought that you have caused “irrevocable pain.” Believe it or not, it is arrogant to claim such power for yourself. You may have reinforced a perception of pain that your friend already held, but you can not be the cause of it. To believe that you could is to deny the power of your friend’s mind to choose its experiences, and to see your mind as more powerful. And that is the arrogance.

This is not to say that you may not have been unkind, even cruel, in your attack. But none of us can feel attacked unless we want to feel attacked (T.28.VI.4:3,4,5,6,7). And we all want to feel attacked so that the guilt we carry in our own mind over the separation — believing we have attacked and destroyed God (another arrogant thought!) — can be projected on to someone else.

The pain is already there in each of our own minds, by our own choice, caused by our own thoughts (W.pI.190.5:1,2,3,4,5). When we think we feel pain over someone else’s attack, the pain that has always been there in our mind is just brought to the surface so that we can attribute it to someone else — always the ego’s goal.

So, in genuine humility, let yourself off the hook for how your friend feels. If you can recognize that this friend simply shares the same ego-based thought system that you do, and that you both have been calling out for the help that only forgiveness can offer, then you can become a reminder to your friend that you both have the same choice to see the situation differently. And that is all that you need to do. That recognition in your mind reinforces the power of decision in your friend’s mind to make a different choice about how to perceive the situation. Whether you at this point say or do anything else with your friend will not be your concern. Nor will your friend’s readiness to accept what you are offering be your concern. For you will have placed the Holy Spirit in charge of the forgiveness process, knowing that whatever is needed for healing has already been provided.

hostage or host

 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 1

ACIM Text Reading for April 1

Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back

VIII. The Body as Means or End

Attitudes toward the body are attitudes toward attack. The ego’s definitions of anything are childish, and are always based on what it believes the thing is for. This is because it is incapable of true generalisations, and equates with what it sees with the function it ascribes to it. It does not equate it with what it is. To the ego the body is to attack with. Equating you with the body, it teaches that you are to attack with. The body, then, is not the source of its own health. The body’s condition lies solely in your interpretation of its function. Functions are part of being since they arise from it, but the relationship is not reciprocal. The whole does define the part, but the part does not define the whole. Yet to know in part is to know entirely because of the fundamental difference between knowledge and perception. In perception the whole is built up of parts that can separate and reassemble in different constellations. But knowledge never changes, so its constellation is permanent. The idea of part-whole relationships has meaning only at the level of perception, where change is possible. Otherwise, there is no difference between the part and whole.

The body exists in a world that seems to contain two voices fighting for its possession. In this perceived constellation the body is seen as capable of shifting its allegiance from one to the other, making the concepts of both health and sickness meaningful. The ego makes a fundamental confusion between means and end as it always does. Regarding the body as an end, the ego has no real use for it because it is not an end. You must have noticed an outstanding characteristic of every end that the ego has accepted as its own. When you have achieved it, it has not satisfied you. That is why the ego is forced to shift ceaselessly from one goal to another, so that you will continue to hope it can yet offer you something.

It has been particularly difficult to overcome the ego’s belief in the body as an end, because it is synonymous with the belief in attack as an end. The ego has a profound investment in sickness. If you are sick, how can you object to the ego’s firm belief that you are not invulnerable? This is an appealing argument from the ego’s point of view, because it obscures the obvious attack that underlies the sickness. If you recognised this and also decided against attack, you could not give this false witness to the ego’s stand.

It is hard to perceive sickness as a false witness, because you do not realise that it is entirely out of keeping with what you want. This witness, then, appears to be innocent and trustworthy because you have not seriously cross-examined him. If you had, you would not consider sickness such a strong witness on behalf of the ego’s views. A more honest statement would be that those who want the ego are predisposed to defend it. Therefore, their choice of witnesses should be suspect from the beginning. The ego does not call upon witnesses who would disagree with its case, nor does the Holy Spirit. I have said that judgement is the function of the Holy Spirit, and one He is perfectly equipped to fulfil. The ego as a judge gives anything but an impartial judgement. When the ego calls on a witness, it has already made the witness an ally.

It is still true that the body has no function of itself, because it is not an end. The ego, however, establishes it as an end because, as such, its true function is obscured. This is the purpose of everything the ego does. Its sole aim is to lose sight of the function of everything. A sick body does not make any sense. It could not make sense because sickness is not what the body is for. Sickness is meaningful only if the two basic premises on which the ego’s interpretation of the body rests are true; that the body is for attack, and that you are a body. Without these premises sickness is inconceivable.

Sickness is a way of demonstrating that you can be hurt. It is a witness to your frailty, your vulnerability, and your extreme need to depend on external guidance. The ego uses this as its best argument for your need for itsguidance. It dictates endless prescriptions for avoiding catastrophic outcomes. The Holy Spirit, perfectly aware of the same situation, does not bother to analyse it at all. If data are meaningless there is no point in analysing them. The function of truth is to collect information that is true. Any way you handle error results in nothing. The more complicated the results become the harder it may be to recognise their nothingness, but it is not necessary to examine all possible outcomes to which premises give rise in order to judge them truly.

A learning device is not a teacher. It cannot tell you how you feel. You do not know how you feel because you have accepted the ego’s confusion, and you therefore believe that a learning device can tell you how you feel. Sickness is merely another example of your insistence on asking guidance of a teacher who does not know the answer. The ego is incapable of knowing how you feel. When I said that the ego does not know anything, I said the one thing about the ego that is wholly true. But there is a corollary; if only knowledge has being and the ego has no knowledge, then the ego has no being.

You might well ask how the voice of something that does not exist can be so insistent. Have you thought about the distorting power of something you want, even if it is not real? There are many instances of how what you want distorts perception. No one can doubt the ego’s skill in building up false cases. Nor can anyone doubt your willingness to listen until you choose not to accept anything except truth. When you lay the ego aside, it will be gone. The Holy Spirit’s Voice is as loud as your willingness to listen. It cannot be louder without violating your freedom of choice, which the Holy Spirit seeks to restore, never to undermine.

The Holy Spirit teaches you to use your body only to reach your brothers, so He can teach His message through you. This will heal them and therefore heal you. Everything used in accordance with its function as the Holy Spirit sees it cannot be sick. Everything used otherwise is. Do not allow the body to be a mirror of a split mind. Do not let it be an image of your own perception of littleness. Do not let it reflect your decision to attack. Health is seen as the natural state of everything when interpretation is left to the Holy Spirit, Who perceives no attack on anything. Health is the result of relinquishing all attempts to use the body lovelessly. Health is the beginning of the proper perspective on life under the guidance of the one Teacher Who knows what life is, being the Voice for Life Itself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 1

Lesson 71

Only God’s plan for salvation will work.

You may not realize that the ego has set up a plan for salvation in opposition to God’s. It is this plan in which you believe. Since it is the opposite of God’s, you also believe that to accept God’s plan in place of the ego’s is to be damned. This sounds preposterous, of course. Yet after we have considered just what the ego’s plan is, perhaps you will realize that, however preposterous it may be, you do believe in it.

The ego’s plan for salvation centers around holding grievances. It maintains that, if someone else spoke or acted differently, if some external circumstance or event were changed, you would be saved. Thus, the source of salvation is constantly perceived as outside yourself. Each grievance you hold is a declaration, and an assertion in which you believe, that says, “If this were different, I would be saved.” The change of mind necessary for salvation is thus demanded of everyone and everything except yourself.

The role assigned to your own mind in this plan, then, is simply to determine what, other than itself, must change if you are to be saved. According to this insane plan, any perceived source of salvation is acceptable provided that it will not work. This ensures that the fruitless search will continue, for the illusion persists that, although this hope has always failed, there is still grounds for hope in other places and in other things. Another person will yet serve better; another situation will yet offer success.

Such is the ego’s plan for your salvation. Surely you can see how it is in strict accord with the ego’s basic doctrine, “Seek but do not find.” For what could more surely guarantee that you will not find salvation than to channelize all your efforts in searching for it where it is not?

God’s plan for salvation works simply because, by following His direction, you seek for salvation where it is. But if you are to succeed, as God promises you will, you must be willing to seek there only. Otherwise, your purpose is divided and you will attempt to follow two plans for salvation that are diametrically opposed in all ways. The result can only bring confusion, misery and a deep sense of failure and despair.

How can you escape all this? Very simply. The idea for today is the answer. Only God’s plan for salvation will work. There can be no real conflict about this, because there is no possible alternative to God’s plan that will save you. His is the only plan that is certain in its outcome. His is the only plan that must succeed.

Let us practice recognizing this certainty today. And let us rejoice that there is an answer to what seems to be a conflict with no resolution possible. All things are possible to God. Salvation must be yours because of His plan, which cannot fail.

Begin the two longer practice periods for today by thinking about today’s idea, and realizing that it contains two parts, each making equal contribution to the whole. God’s plan for your salvation will work, and other plans will not. Do not allow yourself to become depressed or angry at the second part; it is inherent in the first. And in the first is your full release from all your own insane attempts and mad proposals to free yourself. They have led to depression and anger; but God’s plan will succeed. It will lead to release and joy.

Remembering this, let us devote the remainder of the extended practice periods to asking God to reveal His plan to us. Ask Him very specifically:

What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?

Give Him full charge of the rest of the practice period, and let Him tell you what needs to be done by you in His plan for your salvation. He will answer in proportion to your willingness to hear His Voice. Refuse not to hear. The very fact that you are doing the exercises proves that you have some willingness to listen. This is enough to establish your claim to God’s answer.

In the shorter practice periods, tell yourself often that God’s plan for salvation, and only His, will work. Be alert to all temptation to hold grievances today, and respond to them with this form of today’s idea:

Holding grievances is the opposite of God’s plan
for salvation. And only His plan will work.

Try to remember today’s idea some six or seven times an hour. There could be no better way to spend a half minute or less than to remember the Source of your salvation, and to see It where It is.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #212: I have a question about judgment. Let’s say I walk by a home which has dogs behind a fence and the dogs bark at me and I recognize they believe I am a threat; yet I do not feel resentful, but wish they knew I mean them no harm. Am I still judging them? Is there a difference between a “mechanical judgement” and a judgment based on emotion? Is a “mechanical judgment” the same as resentment, even if I feel no malice? How should I view such distinctions about judgment?

A: The kind of judgment that A Course in Miracles focuses on, almost exclusively, is the judgment in which we condemn ourselves or another person in some way, or the judgment that presumes that we know everything and therefore can reach valid conclusions about everything. If you find yourself insisting that you are right about something, or feeling superior or inferior, better or worse than someone else — any comparative judgment along those lines — then you have gotten involved with the kind of judgment that needs to be addressed through the process of forgiveness, because your perception is grounded in separation. If you do not feel resentment, if you have no investment in the dogs’ accepting your invitation to join with you, and you are feeling only kindness and compassion towards them, then you have not judged. Simply sizing up the situation, i.e., that the dogs are threatened by you even though you mean them no harm, is not the kind of judgment that Jesus wants us to be vigilant about.

We all are engaged in judging all the time: for example, judging what outfit is best in terms of the weather forecast; which route to take in order to arrive at our destination on time; which doctor to go to, etc. We cannot avoid judging, and Jesus never tells us not to judge. His emphasis is always on changing our teacher from the ego to him or the Holy Spirit, which would then put us in a position where judgment through us rather than by us can occur (M.10.2:7). This would mean that we would be free of all attack thoughts and thoughts of separation, and we would not be perceiving our interests as separate from everyone else’s.


 Q #213: I am having difficulty with someone. I know that the hatred I feel for her is a projection of the guilt and self-hatred in my mind, and I know that we are both a part of a larger whole. I know that this situation is allowing me to see the hatred in my mind. I have asked Jesus for help to see her differently, but nothing happens. I then ask for help with my resistance to seeing her differently and sometimes I have a shift, but the hatred comes back later. It feels like a solid rock in my heart. I can feel my resistance to letting it go. I know this process takes time and I am continuing to work with it, but meanwhile I am having trouble containing my hatred and hostility toward her on the level of form. Help!

A: You have a good intellectual understanding of at least part of the process, but there is another step or two you need to consider. You keep asking for help to change your perception of this other person, but that is not the real problem. The change you want help with is in your perception of yourself. For the hatred that you continue to displace outside yourself onto this other person is really directed at yourself. But until you allow yourself to acknowledge and accept this, you will continue to try to direct the hatred outside yourself and will be unwilling to see the other person differently.

Once you have acknowledged where the real problem lies — with the guilt within your own mind — the other person will have served the Holy Spirit’s purpose of leading you back within yourself and will no longer be your concern. You hate yourself for what you accuse yourself of doing. You believe that you have attacked and destroyed love out of total self-interest, leaving yourself abandoned, hopeless, and bereft of love. And it is with this self-hatred that you really need help.

Turning to that presence of love within — Jesus or the Holy Spirit, using symbols of A Course in Miracles’ — will have to begin to undo your self-accusation. For how could you have destroyed love if it is still there within you? And so, through joining with that love, you will begin to question the justification for your self-hatred over destroying love. That is the shift in perception with which you need the help, for you can’t make it on your own. And as the self-hatred within your own mind begins to dissolve, you will no longer need to project it. And then you will see those outside of you as simply caught in their own attempts to project their own self-hatred outside themselves. But rather than reacting from your own guilt, if you have released it, you can only respond with compassion and kindness. If you fail to look within, you will not be addressing the source of the resistance to releasing your judgment and condemnation. The key is, whatever you first see within yourself is what you will then see outside yourself, and so your focus for change only needs to be within.

today belongs to love