ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 8

ACIM Text Reading for August 8

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

VI. The State of Sinlessness

The state of sinlessness is merely this: The whole desire to attack is gone, and so there is no reason to perceive the Son of God as other than he is. The need for guilt is gone because it has no purpose, and is meaningless without the goal of sin. Attack and sin are bound as one illusion, each the cause and aim and justifier of the other. Each is meaningless alone, but seems to draw a meaning from the other. Each depends upon the other for whatever sense it seems to have. And no one could believe in one unless the other were the truth, for each attests the other must be true.

Attack makes Christ your enemy, and God along with Him. Must you not be afraid with “enemies” like these? And must you not be fearful of yourself? For you have hurt yourself, and made your Self your “enemy.” And now you must believe you are not you, but something alien to yourself and “something else,” a “something” to be feared instead of loved. Who would attack whatever he perceives as wholly innocent? And who, because he wishes to attack, can fail to think he must be guilty to maintain the wish, while wanting innocence? For who could see the Son of God as innocent and wish him dead? Christ stands before you, each time you look upon your brother. He has not gone because your eyes are closed. But what is there to see by searching for your Savior, seeing Him through sightless eyes?

It is not Christ you see by looking thus. It is the “enemy,” confused with Christ, you look upon. And hate because there is no sin in him for you to see. Nor do you hear his plaintive call, unchanged in content in whatever form the call is made, that you unite with him, and join with him in innocence and peace. And yet, beneath the ego’s senseless shrieks, such is the call that God has given him, that you might hear in him His Call to you, and answer by returning unto God what is His Own.

The Son of God asks only this of you; that you return to him what is his due, that you may share in it with him. Alone does neither have it. So must it remain useless to both. Together, it will give to each an equal strength to save the other, and save himself along with him. Forgiven by you, your savior offers you salvation. Condemned by you, he offers death to you. In everyone you see but the reflection of what you choose to have him be to you. If you decide against his proper function, the only one he has in truth, you are depriving him of all the joy he would have found if he fulfilled the role God gave to him. But think not Heaven is lost to him alone. Nor can it be regained unless the way is shown to him through you, that you may find it, walking by his side.

It is no sacrifice that he be saved, for by his freedom will you gain your own. To let his function be fulfilled is but the means to let yours be. And so you walk toward Heaven or toward hell, but not alone. How beautiful his sinlessness will be when you perceive it! And how great will be your joy, when he is free to offer you the gift of sight God gave to him for you! He has no need but this; that you allow him freedom to complete the task God gave to him. Remembering but this; that what he does you do, along with him. And as you see him, so do you define the function he will have for you, until you see him differently and let him be what God appointed that he be to you.

Against the hatred that the Son of God may cherish toward himself, is God believed to be without the power to save what He created from the pain of hell. But in the love he shows himself is God made free to let His Will be done. In your brother you see the picture of your own belief in what the Will of God must be for you. In your forgiveness will you understand His Love for you; through your attack believe He hates you, thinking Heaven must be hell. Look once again upon your brother, not without the understanding that he is the way to Heaven or to hell, as you perceive him. But forget not this; the role you give to him is given you, and you will walk the way you pointed out to him because it is your judgment on yourself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 8

Lesson 220

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

(200) There is no peace except the peace of God.

Let me not wander from the way of peace, for I am lost on
other roads than this. But let me follow Him Who leads me
home, and peace is certain as the Love of God.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #981There is a line in A Course in Miracles ( T.25.VI.6:8 ): “His special hate became his special love.” This line appears to say that special love is something good or positive. I was under the impression that for the Course “special love” was just as ego driven, and therefore just as “bad,” as “special hate.”

A: This is a good example of how the Course sometimes gives a term a different meaning. In this case, “special love” is not referring to the specialness of the ego’s love. It refers to a relationship transformed by the Holy Spirit. The passage tells us that the mind that chose hate and sin can choose love and grace. It thereby illustrates Jesus’ teaching that the Holy Spirit uses what the ego made to condemn as a means of salvation. That is not to say that the ego’s use of special love becomes “good.” As with everything of the ego, the special relationship is neither good nor bad. It merely reflects the mind’s choice to identify with the thought of separation and the belief that illusion is real. When the mind chooses the Holy Spirit instead of the ego, the special love or hate relationship is reinterpreted by Him as a classroom to learn to undo the belief in separation. Thus the relationship becomes the means of salvation.

The passage you refer to is further clarified in the text where we are told: “In His function as Interpreter of what you made, the Holy Spirit uses special relationships, which you have chosen to support the ego, as learning experiences that point to truth. Under His teaching, every relationship becomes a lesson in love” ( T.15.V.4:5,6 ). When a relationship is transformed by the Holy Spirit and becomes a “lesson in love,” it is then “special” in a new sense. What makes it special is that its purpose has been changed. The ego’s goal of using it to establish differences and make the separation real is changed to the Holy Spirit’s curriculum of undoing separation through forgiveness. Forgiveness uncovers the exclusiveness of the ego’s love that is used to defend specialness . While the ego bids us use special love to find one’s own completion, the Holy Spirit teaches wholeness expressed in love that is inclusive, not special. Our goal is not to see the special relationship as positive or negative, nor to try not to have them, but to let the Holy Spirit use them to lead us beyond the ego’s specialness to the reflection of love for all the Sonship that He represents.


Q #982I try to listen to the Holy Spirit all the time, and especially to ask Him to speak through me when I’m talking to others. I am often amazed at the gentle, encouraging words that come out of my mouth. I attribute this to just being willing to let Christ talk for me, not to any special abilities of my own. But last week, while I was talking to a new thought minister, something happened that bothered me. I told him that instead of encouraging his flock to listen to God for themselves, he tries to keep them dependent on him and to make them believe that they have to go through him to reach God. I spoke very authoritatively to him. Then, afterwards, I quickly apologized and ran out. This is bothering me because I wasn’t teaching love. I barely knew this man! I did open up to spirit before speaking with him, so why would something so harsh come out? I guess I must have been projecting in some way, for some reason. Please give me your insight.

A: First, we need to be clear that we cannot necessarily judge whether or not we are teaching love by the words we say. Jesus tells us in A Course in Miracles that what we hear when we listen to the Holy Spirit “may indeed be quite startling” (M.21.5: 2). Thus, it is possible that our words could sound harsh or even outlandish, but still be motivated by an underlying intention to be loving and helpful. So, with nothing but a description of external events to go on, we could not say whether you were in fact being unkind to that man.

You are correct that whenever we say, feel, or think anything that is not an extension of love, we are projecting. If that is indeed what you were doing in that instant, we could only guess the reasons why. Without knowing more about you, we could only speculate why you might have been triggered at that specific moment, by that particular individual. But it might be helpful to ponder the following statement from the Course: “projection, occurs when you believe that some emptiness or lack exists in you, and that you can fill it with your own ideas instead of truth” ( T.2.I.1:7 ).

In other words, if you were attacking him, the chances are that he reminded you of something of which you accuse yourself. (This does not necessarily mean that you accuse yourself of exactly what you reprimanded him for, though this could be the case.) Then, before that guilt came to consciousness, your ego jumped in and said, “Ah, I know how to get rid of this guilt. I’ll focus instead on what he is doing wrong.” As the Course says, “Projection makes perception… you attacked your brother, because you saw in him a shadow figure in your private world [your mind] . And thus it is you must attack yourself first, for what you attack is not in others. Its only reality is in your own mind…”( T.13.V.3:5,6,7,8 ).

If guilt led to the incident in the first place, rather than continuing to feel guilty about it, it would be more helpful to instead use it as a valuable source of information. Because “What is not love is always fear, and nothing else” ( T.15.X.4:5 ), you could recognize that, despite your frequently successful attempts to connect with the Holy Spirit’s Love, part of your mind is still fearful. In fact, as long as we retain any belief in the reality of this world and our individual existence within it, a part of our mind will remain afraid. It is only at the very end of our spiritual journey that we will be entirely guilt free and consistently filled with love. Until then, it is virtually inevitable that we will have both right-minded moments in which we extend love, and wrong-minded moments in which we project guilt.

The fact that you recognize that you may have projected guilt, and have a sincere desire not to do so, is very helpful. At this point, you could simply stop right there and ask the Holy Spirit to help you look at the incident you described (and any future situations which trigger your guilt) through His compassionate, non-judgmental eyes — allowing Him to give the same gentle encouragement to you that you have felt Him help you direct toward others.

complete forgiveness

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 7

ACIM Text Reading for August 7

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

V. The Light You Bring

Minds that are joined and recognize they are, can feel no guilt. For they cannot attack, and they rejoice that this is so, seeing their safety in this happy fact. Their joy is in the innocence they see. And thus they seek for it, because it is their purpose to behold it and rejoice. Everyone seeks for what will bring him joy as he defines it. It is not the aim, as such, that varies. Yet it is the way in which the aim is seen that makes the choice of means inevitable, and beyond the hope of change unless the aim is changed. And then the means are chosen once again, as what will bring rejoicing is defined another way and sought for differently.

Perception’s basic law could thus be said, “You will rejoice at what you see because you see it to rejoice.” And while you think that suffering and sin will bring you joy, so long will they be there for you to see. Nothing is harmful or beneficent apart from what you wish. It is your wish that makes it what it is in its effects on you. Because you chose it as a means to gain these same effects, believing them to be the bringers of rejoicing and of joy. Even in Heaven does this law obtain. The Son of God creates to bring him joy, sharing his Father’s purpose in his own creation, that his joy might be increased, and God’s along with his.

You maker of a world that is not so, take rest and comfort in another world where peace abides. This world you bring with you to all the weary eyes and tired hearts that look on sin and beat its sad refrain. From you can come their rest. From you can rise a world they will rejoice to look upon, and where their hearts are glad. In you there is a vision that extends to all of them, and covers them in gentleness and light. And in this widening world of light the darkness that they thought was there is pushed away, until it is but distant shadows, far away, not long to be remembered as the sun shines them to nothingness. And all their “evil” thoughts and “sinful” hopes, their dreams of guilt and merciless revenge, and every wish to hurt and kill and die, will disappear before the sun you bring.

Would you not do this for the Love of God? And for yourself? For think what it would do for you. Your “evil” thoughts that haunt you now will seem increasingly remote and far away from you. And they go farther and farther off, because the sun in you has risen that they may be pushed away before the light. They linger for a while, a little while, in twisted forms too far away for recognition, and are gone forever. And in the sunlight you will stand in quiet, in innocence and wholly unafraid. And from you will the rest you found extend, so that your peace can never fall away and leave you homeless. Those who offer peace to everyone have found a home in Heaven the world cannot destroy. For it is large enough to hold the world within its peace.

In you is all of Heaven. Every leaf that falls is given life in you. Each bird that ever sang will sing again in you. And every flower that ever bloomed has saved its perfume and its loveliness for you. What aim can supersede the Will of God and of His Son, that Heaven be restored to him for whom it was created as his only home? Nothing before and nothing after it. No other place; no other state nor time. Nothing beyond nor nearer. Nothing else. In any form. This can you bring to all the world, and all the thoughts that entered it and were mistaken for a little while. How better could your own mistakes be brought to truth than by your willingness to bring the light of Heaven with you, as you walk beyond the world of darkness into light?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 7

Lesson 219

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

(199) I am not a body. I am free.

I am God’s Son. Be still, my mind, and think a moment
upon this. And then return to earth, without confusion
as to what my Father loves forever as His Son.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #207: Does the very fact that we have questions and need answers just play into the hands of the ego and perpetuate it? But, also, isn’t it unrealistic to live under the premise of A Course in Miracles that we don’t know what anything means and we need do nothing, when all we ever do is question and want to do something?

A: Yes, it is true that our questioning and need for answers perpetuates the ego. There is a powerful section in the text that discusses this: “The Quiet Answer” (T.27.IV). There Jesus explains why this is so: “All questions asked within this world are but a way of looking, not a question asked…The world asks but one question. It is this: ‘Of these illusions, which of them is true?’…Thus is all questioning within the world a form of propaganda for itself” (T.27.IV.4:1,4,5; 5:3). But he does not say not to ask questions; he just wants us to ask an honest question, which can occur only when, for an instant, we have set aside our arrogant presumption that we know what our problems are, e.g., our diminishing savings, our diseased body, our disabled car, our devastated environment, etc. Practicing the Course does not mean that we would not attend to these areas of our lives; it means, rather, that we would realize that we are not upset or in distress for these reasons. Our distress — our only problem — is our willingness to continue to believe that we are truly separate from the Love of God; and our defense against our ever changing our minds about that — lest we forego our special identities as individuals — is to see a multitude of problems outside our minds and then ask Jesus or the Holy Spirit to join with us in doing everything possible to solve those problems, instead of asking Them to help us to change our minds about the thought system we have chosen to guide us.

In this context, then, it is not unrealistic to live under the Course premises. In fact, we would be far better off and far more peaceful if we did. Those premises are simply re-orienting our thinking; they are helping us to step back from what we are so convinced is reality, so that we can acquire a different perspective on our lives and all of our seeming problems. If we stepped back with Jesus, as he asks that we do, we would see with him that all of our problems are made up; their purpose is to serve as defenses against our ever getting back to the truth that is concealed in our minds. Once we are willing to view our problems that way, we would approach them entirely differently. But as long as we think we know what everything means and act automatically on that basis, we will be stuck forever in an unending cycle of problems that are never totally solved, or are solved and then immediately replaced with other problems. The ego’s strategy to keep us mindless would have worked.

So Jesus is training us to recognize that we have already chosen a set of premises on which to base our lives, and that it has resulted in unhappiness, frustration, and death. He is therefore teaching us that there is another choice available to us in our minds, which will lead us back home to eternal life and peace in God. The starting point in this reversal is our humble acknowledgment that we have been wrong about everything, and that it would be in our best interests to do nothing on our own, and to ask for help to see all things as he does. If this is done correctly, with gentleness and with trust, we can continue to carry out all of our responsibilities and obligations in the roles we have chosen, so that no one would notice any difference in us, except that we would be more peaceful and we would smile more frequently.

memory of god

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 6

ACIM Text Reading for August 6

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

IV. Perception and Choice

To the extent to which you value guilt, to that extent will you perceive a world in which attack is justified. To the extent to which you recognize that guilt is meaningless, to that extent you will perceive attack cannot be justified. This is in accord with perception’s fundamental law: You see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you want it there. Perception has no other law than this. The rest but stems from this, to hold it up and offer it support. This is perception’s form, adapted to this world, of God’s more basic law; that love creates itself, and nothing but itself.

God’s laws do not obtain directly to a world perception rules, for such a world could not have been created by the Mind to which perception has no meaning. Yet are His laws reflected everywhere. Not that the world where this reflection is, is real at all. Only because His Son believes it is, and from His Son’s belief He could not let Himself be separate entirely. He could not enter His Son’s insanity with him, but He could be sure His sanity went there with him, so he could not be lost forever in the madness of his wish.

Perception rests on choosing; knowledge does not. Knowledge has but one law because it has but one Creator. But this world has two who made it, and they do not see it as the same. To each it has a different purpose, and to each it is a perfect means to serve the goal for which it is perceived. For specialness, it is the perfect frame to set it off; the perfect battleground to wage its wars, the perfect shelter for illusions which it would make real. Not one but it upholds in its perception; not one but can be fully justified.

There is another Maker of the world, the simultaneous Corrector of the mad belief that anything could be established and maintained without some link that kept it still within the laws of God; not as the law itself upholds the universe as God created it, but in some form adapted to the need the Son of God believes he has. Corrected error is the error’s end. And thus has God protected still His Son, even in error.

There is another purpose in the world that error made, because it has another Maker Who can reconcile its goal with His Creator’s purpose. In His perception of the world, nothing is seen but justifies forgiveness and the sight of perfect sinlessness. Nothing arises but is met with instant and complete forgiveness. Nothing remains an instant, to obscure the sinlessness that shines unchanged, beyond the pitiful attempts of specialness to put it out of mind, where it must be, and light the body up instead of it. The lamps of Heaven are not for mind to choose to see them where it will. If it elects to see them elsewhere from their home, as if they lit a place where they could never be, then must the Maker of the world correct your error, lest you remain in darkness where the lamps are not.

Everyone here has entered darkness, yet no one has entered it alone. Nor need he stay more than an instant. For he has come with Heaven’s Help within him, ready to lead him out of darkness into light at any time. The time he chooses can be any time, for help is there, awaiting but his choice. And when he chooses to avail himself of what is given him, then will he see each situation that he thought before was means to justify his anger turned to an event which justifies his love. He will hear plainly that the calls to war he heard before are really calls to peace. He will perceive that where he gave attack is but another altar where he can, with equal ease and far more happiness, bestow forgiveness. And he will reinterpret all temptation as just another chance to bring him joy.

How can a misperception be a sin? Let all your brother’s errors be to you nothing except a chance for you to see the workings of the Helper given you to see the world He made instead of yours. What, then, is justified? What do you want? For these two questions are the same. And when you see them as the same, your choice is made. For it is seeing them as one that brings release from the belief there are two ways to see. This world has much to offer to your peace, and many chances to extend your own forgiveness. Such its purpose is, to those who want to see peace and forgiveness descend on them, and offer them the light.

The Maker of the world of gentleness has perfect power to offset the world of violence and hate that seems to stand between you and His gentleness. It is not there in His forgiving eyes. And therefore it need not be there in yours. Sin is the fixed belief perception cannot change. What has been damned is damned and damned forever, being forever unforgivable. If, then, it is forgiven, sin’s perception must have been wrong. And thus is change made possible. The Holy Spirit, too, sees what He sees as far beyond the chance of change. But on His vision sin cannot encroach, for sin has been corrected by His sight. And thus it must have been an error, not a sin. For what it claimed could never be, has been. Sin is attacked by punishment, and so preserved. But to forgive it is to change its state from error into truth.

The Son of God could never sin, but he can wish for what would hurt him. And he has the power to think he can be hurt. What could this be except a misperception of himself? Is this a sin or a mistake, forgivable or not? Does he need help or condemnation? Is it your purpose that he be saved or damned? Forgetting not that what he is to you will make this choice your future? For you make it now, the instant when all time becomes a means to reach a goal. Make, then, your choice. But recognize that in this choice the purpose of the world you see is chosen, and will be justified.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 6

Lesson 218

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

(198) Only my condemnation injures me.

My condemnation keeps my vision dark, and through my
sightless eyes I cannot see the vision of my glory.
Yet today I can behold this glory and be glad.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1167I find it fairly easy to not defend myself from others, see they are looking for love, not take offense, not take things personally; when someone is, from the world’s standpoint, “attacking” me. Several have noticed and commented on what a “forgiving” person I am. However, when someone “attacks” my loved ones, my full defense mechanisms come on for their sake. Try as I might, I can’t look at them as looking for love when they are “hurting” my family or friends. Can you suggest any readings from Course in Miracles that could help me in this aspect? I need to see my loved ones as safe as I see myself! Why can’t I?

A: Most students run into what you are experiencing. You seem to be heading in the right direction; you just need to continue the process of generalizing what you have learned. The key principles to keep in focus as you practice are that differences are not real, and that there is no hierarchy of illusions or attack. When you truly see another’s attack as a call for love, you are no longer you ; you have become the extension of love, not one person forgiving another person. And since love is all-inclusive, when you are identified with love, everyone else, without exception, would also be enclosed in that circle of invulnerability and innocence. If, therefore, you perceive your loved ones as vulnerable and victimized, it is because you have left your right mind and once again identified with the thought system of vulnerability and victimization — a thought system that has you project your guilt and see it in the form of guilty victimizers harming innocent victims. Then, in league with the ego, you will believe in a hierarchy of attack, and forgiveness will be harder in some situations than in others see T.12.VII.1) .

To the ego, relationships are between persons, while Jesus teaches that relationships are only in the mind, because there is no one outside the mind. That is tremendously difficult to grasp, but it is essential to keep in focus in order to avoid making differences important and then using them as means to maintain the reality of separation, often under the guise of being loving and protective. When you choose against the ego, you are choosing against separation in all its forms. As you learn to generalize, you will gradually perceive everyone the same way: as minds always choosing between illusion and truth (T.12.VI.6:4,5,6) — both victims and victimizers are calling out for love. You would then gradually focus less and less on bodies and specific identities (family, friend, stranger, etc.). This is not easy to do because of our obsession with form at the expense of content see T.14.X.7,8,9; T.22.III.6).

So try to get past the form to the content when thinking about your loved ones. They, too, are either calling out for love or expressing it. This in no way means that you must sit back and allow them to be attacked. We are talking only about your thinking, not your behavior. Seeing attack as a call for love does not mean that you should never try to stop someone from hurting you or your loved ones. In your right mind you may be guided to do or say something, or to do or say nothing, but it would not be you making the decision.

In addition to the readings noted above, the section in the text called “True Empathy” (T.16.I) is always a good one to read when faced with the kind of issue you have raised.

sunburst eternity

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 5

ACIM Text Reading for August 5

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

III. The Savior from the Dark

Is it not evident that what the body’s eyes perceive fills you with fear? Perhaps you think you find a hope of satisfaction there. Perhaps you fancy to attain some peace and satisfaction in the world as you perceive it. Yet it must be evident the outcome does not change. Despite your hopes and fancies, always does despair result. And there is no exception, nor will there ever be. The only value that the past can hold is that you learn it gave you no rewards which you would want to keep. For only thus will you be willing to relinquish it, and have it gone forever.

Is it not strange that you should cherish still some hope of satisfaction from the world you see? In no respect, at any time or place, has anything but fear and guilt been your reward. How long is needed for you to realize the chance of change in this respect is hardly worth delaying change that might result in better outcome? For one thing is sure; the way you see, and long have seen, gives no support to base your future hopes, and no suggestions of success at all. To place your hopes where no hope lies must make you hopeless. Yet is this hopelessness your choice, while you would seek for hope where none is ever found.

Is it not also true that you have found some hope apart from this; some glimmering, — inconstant, wavering, yet dimly seen, — that hopefulness is warranted on grounds that are not in this world? And yet your hope that they may still be here prevents you still from giving up the hopeless and unrewarding task you set yourself. Can it make sense to hold the fixed belief that there is reason to uphold pursuit of what has always failed, on grounds that it will suddenly succeed and bring what it has never brought before?

Its past has failed. Be glad that it is gone within your mind, to darken what is there. Take not the form for content, for the form is but a means for content. And the frame is but a means to hold the picture up, so that it can be seen. A frame that hides the picture has no purpose. It cannot be a frame if it is what you see. Without the picture is the frame without its meaning. Its purpose is to set the picture off, and not itself.

Who hangs an empty frame upon a wall and stands before it, deep in reverence, as if a masterpiece were there to see? Yet if you see your brother as a body, it is but this you do. The masterpiece that God has set within this frame is all there is to see. The body holds it for a while, without obscuring it in any way. Yet what God has created needs no frame, for what He has created He supports and frames within Himself. His masterpiece He offers you to see. And would you rather see the frame instead of this? And see the picture not at all?

The Holy Spirit is the frame God set around the part of Him that you would see as separate. Yet its frame is joined to its Creator, One with Him and with His masterpiece. This is its purpose, and you do not make the frame into the picture when you choose to see it in its place. The frame that God has given it but serves His purpose, not yours apart from His. It is your separate purpose that obscures the picture, and cherishes the frame instead of it. Yet God has set His masterpiece within a frame that will endure forever, when yours has crumbled into dust. But think you not the picture is destroyed in any way. What God creates is safe from all corruption, unchanged and perfect in eternity.

Accept God’s frame instead of yours, and you will see the masterpiece. Look at its loveliness, and understand the Mind that thought it, not in flesh and bones, but in a frame as lovely as itself. Its holiness lights up the sinlessness the frame of darkness hides, and casts a veil of light across the picture’s face which but reflects the light that shines from it to its Creator. Think not this face was ever darkened because you saw it in a frame of death. God kept it safe that you might look on it, and see the holiness that He has given it.

Within the darkness see the savior from the dark, and understand your brother as his Father’s Mind shows him to you. He will step forth from darkness as you look on him, and you will see the dark no more. The darkness touched him not, nor you who brought him forth for you to look upon. His sinlessness but pictures yours. His gentleness becomes your strength, and both will gladly look within, and see the holiness that must be there because of what you looked upon in him. He is the frame in which your holiness is set, and what God gave him must be given you. However much he overlooks the masterpiece in him and sees only a frame of darkness, it is still your only function to behold in him what he sees not. And in this seeing is the vision shared that looks on Christ instead of seeing death.

How could the Lord of Heaven not be glad if you appreciate His masterpiece? What could He do but offer thanks to you who love His Son as He does? Would He not make known to you His Love, if you but share His praise of what He loves? God cherishes creation as the perfect Father that He is. And so His joy is made complete when any part of Him joins in His praise, to share His joy. This brother is His perfect gift to you. And He is glad and thankful when you thank His perfect Son for being what he is. And all His thanks and gladness shine on you who would complete His joy, along with Him. And thus is yours completed. Not one ray of darkness can be seen by those who will to make their Father’s happiness complete, and theirs along with His. The gratitude of God Himself is freely offered to everyone who shares His purpose. It is not His Will to be alone. And neither is it yours.

Forgive your brother, and you cannot separate yourself from him nor from his Father. You need no forgiveness, for the wholly pure have never sinned. Give, then, what He has given you, that you may see His Son as one, and thank his Father as He thanks you. Nor believe that all His praise is given not to you. For what you give is His, and giving it, you learn to understand His gift to you. And give the Holy Spirit what He offers unto the Father and the Son alike. Nothing has power over you except His Will and yours, which but extends His Will. It was for this you were created, and your brother with you and at one with you.

You and your brother are the same as God Himself is One, and not divided in His Will. And you must have one purpose, since He gave the same to both of you. His Will is brought together as you join in will, that you be made complete by offering completion to your brother. See not in him the sinfulness he sees, but give him honor that you may esteem yourself and him. To you and your brother is given the power of salvation, that escape from darkness into light be yours to share; that you may see as one what never has been separate, nor apart from all God’s Love as given equally.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 5

Lesson 217

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

(197) It can be but my gratitude I earn.

Who should give thanks for my salvation but myself?
And how but through salvation can I find the Self to
Whom my thanks are due?

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

 

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #10: We have received a number of questions on the theme of the ego’s origin, examples of which are below …

  1. If Heaven and the Love of God were completely satisfying, why would the Son choose to dream he left?

  2. If God is perfect and unified, and has a perfect and unified Son, how could an imperfect thought of separation and division have possibly arisen within such a mind?

  3. Once the Atonement is accepted, how do we know the ego won’t be chosen again?

  4. How can one achieve “an experience” which the Course says will resolve the ego paradox?

A: i, ii, and iii above, posed as questions, are actually statements made by an ego mind enunciating the following: I know the ego is real, and now I want you to explain how it happened and how you know it won’t happen again.

The question “how did the ego happen,” and all its variations, is undoubtedly the most frequently asked question of students of A Course in Miracles. This is only natural to an ego wanting to know where it came from, just as a child would question its parents about its origin. The problem is that the ego itself is not natural. The Course teaches us that in reality the ego never happened. Consequently, how could we ever find an intellectually satisfying answer to the ego’s origin between the Course’s covers? Those asking how the impossible could ever have happened must identify themselves as separate and individual beings, while anyone answering the question must also agree that the separation did indeed happen. Furthermore, if it happened once, it could happen ad infinitum, and in some respects it does. Day in and day out we are offered the choice of believing in the reality of ourselves as an ego or as a Son of God. Therefore, to wonder about the separation recurring is to make the same mistake of believing it happened in the first place. As the Course says:

“Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so.

There is no definition for a lie that serves to make it true” (C-2.2:5–3:1).

“The ego will demand many answers that this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, “How did the impossible occur?”, “To what did the impossible happen?”, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you” (C-in.4).

God’s Love is the experience the Course speaks of in the quote above. This experience is attained through the process of forgiveness, which removes the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence (T.In.1:7). Indeed, the purpose of A Course in Miracles is to help us attain this experience.

Judy_Helen_Kenneth

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 4

ACIM Text Reading for August 4

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

II. The Link to Truth

It cannot be that it is hard to do the task that Christ appointed you to do, since it is He Who does it. And in the doing of it will you learn the body merely seems to be the means to do it. For the Mind is His. And so it must be yours. His Holiness directs the body through the mind at one with Him. And you are manifest unto your holy brother, as he to you. Here is the meeting of the holy Christ unto Himself; nor any differences perceived to stand between the aspects of His Holiness, which meet and join and raise Him to His Father, whole and pure and worthy of His everlasting Love.

How can you manifest the Christ in you except to look on holiness and see Him there? Perception tells you you are manifest in what you see. Behold the body, and you will believe that you are there. And every body that you look upon reminds you of yourself; your sinfulness, your evil and, above all, your death. And would you not despise the one who tells you this, and seek his death instead? The message and the messenger are one. And you must see your brother as yourself. Framed in his body you will see your sinfulness, wherein you stand condemned. Set in his holiness, the Christ in him proclaims Himself as you.

Perception is a choice of what you want yourself to be; the world you want to live in, and the state in which you think your mind will be content and satisfied. It chooses where you think your safety lies, at your decision. It reveals yourself to you as you would have you be. And always is it faithful to your purpose, from which it never separates, nor gives the slightest witness unto anything the purpose in your mind upholdeth not. Perception is a part of what it is your purpose to behold, for means and end are never separate. And thus you learn what seems to have a life apart has none.

You are the means for God; not separate, nor with a life apart from His. His life is manifest in you who are His Son. Each aspect of Himself is framed in holiness and perfect purity, in love celestial and so complete it wishes only that it may release all that it looks upon unto itself. Its radiance shines through each body that it looks upon, and brushes all its darkness into light merely by looking past it to the light. The veil is lifted through its gentleness, and nothing hides the face of Christ from its beholders. You and your brother stand before Him now, to let Him draw aside the veil that seems to keep you separate and apart.

Since you believe that you are separate, Heaven presents itself to you as separate, too. Not that it is in truth, but that the link that has been given you to join the truth may reach to you through what you understand. Father and Son and Holy Spirit are as One, as all your brothers join as one in truth. Christ and His Father never have been separate, and Christ abides within your understanding, in the part of you that shares His Father’s Will. The Holy Spirit links the other part–the tiny, mad desire to be separate, different and special–to the Christ, to make the oneness clear to what is really one. In this world this is not understood, but can be taught.

The Holy Spirit serves Christ’s purpose in your mind, so that the aim of specialness can be corrected where the error lies. Because His purpose still is one with Both the Father and the Son, He knows the Will of God and what you really will. But this is understood by mind perceived as one, aware that it is one, and so experienced. It is the Holy Spirit’s function to teach you how this oneness is experienced, what you must do that it can be experienced, and where you should go to do it.

All this takes note of time and place as if they were discrete, for while you think that part of you is separate, the concept of a Oneness joined as One is meaningless. It is apparent that a mind so split could never be the Teacher of a Oneness Which unites all things within Itself. And so What is within this mind, and does unite all things together, must be its Teacher. Yet must It use the language that this mind can understand, in the condition in which it thinks it is. And It must use all learning to transfer illusions to the truth, taking all false ideas of what you are, and leading you beyond them to the truth that is beyond them. All this can very simply be reduced to this:

What is the same can not be different,
And what is one can not have separate parts.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 4

Lesson 216

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

(196) It can be but myself I crucify.

All that I do I do unto myself. If I attack, I suffer.
But if I forgive, salvation will be given me.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #382: I just started reading A Course in Miracles. For the last two years I’ve looked within and discovered some not so pleasant things about myself as well as some beautiful things about myself and others. My question is, are signs valid? I ask for signs on specific things and always receive positive signs giving me hope, encouragement and reassurance, which all lead me to feel secure and peaceful. Being that there are no coincidences in life, wouldn’t that mean that they are valid? Maybe the signs are supposed to happen to get us to believe in ourselves, which will make us more likely to believe in others. People are less judgmental when they are happiest as a person.

A: It really is difficult, if not impossible, to evaluate another person’s experiences. We all have different ways of experiencing the Holy Spirit’s guidance, as well as the ego’s. If you are more peaceful and secure and are being kinder to yourself and others, what can be wrong with that? If there are any lessons that you have not learned, they will become apparent to you in your interactions with others at some point. The only caution to observe, perhaps, is with regard to any specialness you would be tempted to feel because you receive positive signs that other people might not receive. Also, depending on these signs or taking them as a measure of your spiritual progress would not be helpful on your spiritual journey. In the “Song of Prayer” pamphlet, Jesus stresses early in his teaching that what we want to learn to want is the song itself: “It is the song that is the gift. Along with it come the overtones, the harmonics, the echoes, but these are secondary” (S.I.3:2,3). And in the text, he similarly points out the need to go beyond symbols to what they represent, if we are to advance spiritually (T.19.IV.C.11:2,3,4). If these signs are coming from the love that is in your right mind, then by identifying more and more with that source, your need for encouragement, reassurance, and security will diminish and eventually disappear. But this is a process that happens gradually. Having that as your goal, however, will help you recognize potential ego snares.


Q #383: What does Ken mean when he says “Say not no to the ego” I believe this was said in an audio-tape series.

A: We are not saying “not no” to the ego. If it was stated this way on the tape, it was misspoken. The ego can be understood as a “no” to God, and to the Identity that God has given us as His innocent Son. Saying “not no” is a way of saying that we deny the reality of the ego’s thought system, and accept the truth of who we are as God’s Son. It means we do not say no. This is related to the idea that A Course in Miracles is a process of unlearning who we are not, so that who we are can return to our awareness. The truth does not require any affirmative response on our part to be what it is — it only requires that we say “not no.”

The Course tells us that God established our identity as His innocent Son: “I am your Father and you are My Son”(W.pII.10.5:3). We have responded: “No, I am not; I am who I say I am.” And we have a long list of who we say we are. The process of forgiveness is teaching us to let go of all these concepts of the self, attributes of our made up identities, in this process we are saying “not no.”   When we have said “not” to all of our no’s, we will have cleared our minds of all the obstacles that blocked awareness of our true selves: “When every concept has been raised to doubt and question, and been recognized as made on no assumptions that would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt. There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this: 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. Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself” (T.31.V.17:5,6,7,8,9).

awake & remember

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 3

ACIM Text Reading for August 3

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

I. Introduction

The Christ in you inhabits not a body. Yet He is in you. And thus it must be that you are not within a body. What is within you cannot be outside. And it is certain that you cannot be apart from what is at the very center of your life. What gives you life cannot be housed in death. No more can you. Christ is within a frame of Holiness whose only purpose is that He may be made manifest to those who know Him not, that He may call to them to come to Him and see Him where they thought their bodies were. Then will their bodies melt away, that they may frame His Holiness in them.

No one who carries Christ in him can fail to recognize Him everywhere. Except in bodies. And as long as he believes he is in a body, where he thinks he is He cannot be. And so he carries Him unknowingly, and does not make Him manifest. And thus he does not recognize Him where He is. The son of man is not the risen Christ. Yet does the Son of God abide exactly where he is, and walks with him within his holiness, as plain to see as is his specialness set forth within his body. The body needs no healing. But the mind that thinks it is a body is sick indeed! And it is here that Christ sets forth the remedy. His purpose folds the body in His light, and fills it with the Holiness that shines from Him. And nothing that the body says or does but makes Him manifest. To those who know Him not it carries Him in gentleness and love, to heal their minds. Such is the mission that your brother has for you. And such it must be that your mission is for him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 3

Lesson 215

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

(195) Love is the way I walk in gratitude.

The Holy Spirit is my only Guide. He walks with me in love.
And I give thanks to Him for showing me the way to go.

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

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #709: In Absence From Felicity, Jesus talks of taking on a human form to Helen. But if you look at the tenor of his argument that may not be really so, and it may have well been Helen’s fearful state of mind as Kenneth states. After all the body is an illusion and the resurrected mind recognizes an illusion as an illusion. I should think that Jesus’ resurrection meant that his body identity disappeared and hence the physical body, as we also (apostles too) recognized it, disappeared from his mind. To have recognized Jesus after the crucifixion and death of his body, we need to be in an equally enlightened mind-frame to behold him lovingly in a state of vision. His body miraculously disappeared from the tomb due to this paradigm shift. But the resurrection meant that we discern him at another level. Please comment.

A: In Chapter 17 of Absence From Felicity, Kenneth discusses the illusion and the reality of both Helen and Jesus. All form is illusory and therefore ultimately meaningless, its value lying solely in our (the mind that believes it is separate from God’s Mind) use of it to get to the content beyond the form, just as symbols are useful only in pointing us to what they symbolize — their source. Only the abstract, formless Love of God is real. Within the dream, however, this abstract, formless Love is reflected in the split mind in a form that can be recognized and accepted by that mind. Thus, in Helen’s mind, this Love took the form of Jesus giving his course to her. In reality, there is no Jesus or Helen. Again, Chapter 17 discusses these levels, which are quite difficult for us to grasp.

In A Course in Miraclesresurrection is not defined in relation to the crucifixion; it is entirely different in meaning from the traditional biblical view, in which a dead body is resurrected. Resurrection in the Course pertains only to awakening from the dream of separation from God: “the awakening from the dream of death; the total change in mind that transcends the ego and its perceptions of the world, the body, and death, allowing us to identify completely with our true Self. . .” (Glossary-Index, p. 176; see alsoM.28.1:1,2). In view of the Course’s definition of the body as simply a projection of a thought within the mind, this awakening can occur only in the mind. Thus, “given Jesus’ perfectly egoless reactions at the end of his life (see T.6.I), it would be safe to conclude that his resurrection preceded the crucifixion. It is that healing of the mind, therefore, that he asks us to take as our model for learning (T.6.in.2:1; T.6.I.3:6; 7:2), and forgiveness is his great teaching message that brings about the mind-reversal that alone can heal” (from our Christian Psychology in “A Course in Miracles,” pp. 74,75). This is why Jesus implores us, “Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you” (T.11.VI.7:3,4).

The meaning and significance of Jesus’ life as presented in the Course is radically different from that of the Bible, and its metaphysics is radically different as well (there is no world created by God, for example). It is essential that these irreconcilable differences be recognized if one is to understand and then be able to put into practice the teaching in A Course in Miracles. You may be interested in consulting the dialogue between Kenneth and a Catholic priest, which brings these differences clearly into the light (“A Course in Miracles” and Christianity: A Dialogue).

There also are several other Questions on our Service that discuss these important issues; see for example numbers: 197439and 505.

the mind that serves spirit

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 2

ACIM Text Reading for August 2

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

VIII. The Meeting Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 2

Lesson 214

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

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

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

 

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

shine it away

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 1

ACIM Text Reading for August 1

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

VII. Salvation from Fear

Before your brother’s holiness the world is still, and peace descends on it in gentleness and blessing so complete that not one trace of conflict still remains to haunt you in the darkness of the night. He is your savior from the dreams of fear. He is the healing of your sense of sacrifice and fear that what you have will scatter with the wind and turn to dust. In him is your assurance God is here, and with you now. While he is what he is, you can be sure that God is knowable and will be known to you. For He could never leave His Own creation. And the sign that this is so lies in your brother, offered you that all your doubts about yourself may disappear before his holiness. See in him God’s creation. For in him his Father waits for your acknowledgment that He created you as part of Him.

Without you there would be a lack in God, a Heaven incomplete, a Son without a Father. There could be no universe and no reality. For what God wills is whole, and part of Him because His Will is One. Nothing alive that is not part of Him, and nothing is but is alive in Him. Your brother’s holiness shows you that God is One with him and you; that what he has is yours because you are not separate from him nor from his Father.

Nothing is lost to you in all the universe. Nothing that God created has He failed to lay before you lovingly, as yours forever. And no Thought within His Mind is absent from your own. It is His Will you share His Love for you, and look upon yourself as lovingly as He conceived of you before the world began, and as He knows you still. God changes not His Mind about His Son with passing circumstance which has no meaning in eternity where He abides, and you with Him. Your brother isas He created him. And it is this that saves you from a world that He created not.

Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has. Until you see the healing of the Son as all you wish to be accomplished by the world, by time and all appearances, you will not know the Father nor yourself. For you will use the world for what is not its purpose, and will not escape its laws of violence and death. Yet it is given you to be beyond its laws in all respects, in every way and every circumstance, in all temptation to perceive what is not there, and all belief God’s Son can suffer pain because he sees himself as he is not.

Look on your brother, and behold in him the whole reversal of the laws that seem to rule this world. See in his freedom yours, for such it is. Let not his specialness obscure the truth in him, for not one law of death you bind him to will you escape. And not one sin you see in him but keeps you both in hell. Yet will his perfect sinlessness release you both, for holiness is quite impartial, with one judgment made for all it looks upon. And that is made, not of itself, but through the Voice that speaks for God in everything that lives and shares His Being.

It is His sinlessness that eyes that see can look upon. It is His loveliness they see in everything. And it is He they look for everywhere, and find no sight nor place nor time where He is not. Within your brother’s holiness, the perfect frame for your salvation and the world’s, is set the shining memory of Him in Whom your brother lives, and you along with him. Let not your eyes be blinded by the veil of specialness that hides the face of Christ from him, and you as well. And let the fear of God no longer hold the vision you were meant to see from you. Your brother’s body shows not Christ to you. He is set forth within his holiness.

Choose, then, his body or his holiness as what you want to see, and which you choose is yours to look upon. Yet will you choose in countless situations, and through time that seems to have no end, until the truth be your decision. For eternity is not regained by still one more denial of Christ in him. And where is your salvation, if he is but a body? Where is your peace but in his holiness? And where is God Himself but in that part of Him He set forever in your brother’s holiness, that you might see the truth about yourself, set forth at last in terms you recognized and understood?

Your brother’s holiness is sacrament and benediction unto you. His errors cannot withhold God’s blessing from himself, nor you who see him truly. His mistakes can cause delay, which it is given you to take from him, that both may end a journey that has never begun, and needs no end. What never was is not a part of you. Yet you will think it is, until you realize that it is not a part of him who stands beside you. He is the mirror of yourself, wherein you see the judgment you have laid on both of you. The Christ in you beholds his holiness. Your specialness looks on his body and beholds him not.

See him as what he is, that your deliverance may not be long. A senseless wandering, without a purpose and without accomplishment of any kind, is all the other choice can offer you. Futility of function not fulfilled will haunt you while your brother lies asleep, till what has been assigned to you is done and he is risen from the past. He who condemned himself, and you as well, is given you to save from condemnation, along with you. And both shall see God’s glory in His Son, whom you mistook as flesh, and bound to laws that have no power over him at all.

Would you not gladly realize these laws are not for you? Then see him not as prisoner to them. It cannot be what governs part of God holds not for all the rest. You place yourself under the laws you see as ruling him. Think, then, how great the Love of God for you must be, that He has given you a part of Him to save from pain and give you happiness. And never doubt but that your specialness will disappear before the Will of God, Who loves each part of Him with equal love and care. The Christ in you can see your brother truly. Would you decide against the holiness He sees?

Specialness is the function that you gave yourself. It stands for you alone, as self-created, self-maintained, in need of nothing, and unjoined with anything beyond the body. In its eyes you are a separate universe, with all the power to hold itself complete within itself, with every entry shut against intrusion, and every window barred against the light. Always attacked and always furious, with anger always fully justified, you have pursued this goal with vigilance you never thought to yield, and effort that you never thought to cease. And all this grim determination was for this; you wanted specialness to be the truth.

Now you are merely asked that you pursue another goal with far less vigilance; with little effort and with little time, and with the power of God maintaining it, and promising success. Yet of the two, it is this one you find more difficult. The “sacrifice” of self you understand, nor do you deem this cost too heavy. But a tiny willingness, a nod to God, a greeting to the Christ in you, you find a burden wearisome and tedious, too heavy to be borne. Yet to the dedication to the truth as God established it no sacrifice is asked, no strain called forth, and all the power of Heaven and the might of truth itself is given to provide the means, and guarantee the goal’s accomplishment.

You who believe it easier to see your brother’s body than his holiness, be sure you understand what made this judgment. Here is the voice of specialness heard clearly, judging against the Christ and setting forth for you the purpose that you can attain, and what you cannot do. Forget not that this judgment must apply to what you do with it as your ally. For what you do through Christ it does not know. To Him this judgment makes no sense at all, for only what His Father wills is possible, and there is no alternative for Him to see. Out of His lack of conflict comes your peace. And from His purpose comes the means for effortless accomplishment and rest.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 1

Lesson 213

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

(193) All things are lessons God would have me learn.

A lesson is a miracle which God offers to me, in place of
thoughts I made that hurt me. What I learn of Him becomes
the way I am set free. And so I choose to learn His lessons
and forget my own.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #219: How does A Course in Miracles view the issues of demon possession which some religious organizations treat as real? Does the Course really claim that evil does not exist? Does the Course claim that there is no battle between Good and Evil? And, I am sure it states somewhere in the Course, if my memory is correct, that we do not heal but God does. How then does the Course explain faith healers? I am referring to the legitimate cases supported by the Catholic Church, cases involving individuals that have the stigmata. If the crucifixion is not important they why would these people be afflicted with the wounds of the crucifixion?

A: One of the fundamental differences between Christian theology and A Course in Miracles is the Course teaching that sin is not real. In Christianity, the belief that sin is real is at the root of its entire belief system; it is synonymous with evil. These are, therefore, mutually exclusive teachings, and the beliefs and practices that follow from them are also mutually exclusive. In Christianity, the idea of sin is given different expressions in form, one of which is demon possession. In Christian thought, both sin and evil represent a will in opposition to God’s. This is the nature of sin. The Course, on the other hand, teaches that there is no sin, and no opposition to God’s Will is possible: “…sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin [e.g. demon possession] will never happen, for it has no cause. Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God’s Son. There is no sin” (W.pI.101.5:2,3,4). “What is opposed to God does not exist….” (W.pI.137.11:3).

Clearly what does not exist cannot do battle with what is real. According to the Course, only God is real. What appears to do battle in the world is the ego’s made-up idea of what is “good” conflicting with the ego’s made-up idea of what is “evil.” This is the battleground that is home to the ego thought system, but the Course tells us that it is not real. The Course teaching in this regard can be summed up: sin is not real, and so there can be no demon personifying sin; evil does not exist, and so there cannot be a battle between good and evil.

For a Christian believer, the crucifixion and the wounds of the crucified Jesus are very real. Inspired by devotion to these beliefs, a person with a very deep desire to share the sufferings of the crucifixion as a way of identifying with the historical Jesus could experience the physical manifestation of the wounds of the crucifixion, known as the stigmata. However, even the Catholic Church acknowledges that these physical marks can be caused by an intense psychological state, not divine intervention. This neither negates nor proves the person’s devotion. The stigmata has been experienced by persons who were psychologically imbalanced, as well as by those, such as St. Francis of Assisi, who are believed to be a saints. As with everything, the Course brings our focus to the content, never the form. All form, stigmata included, can be the result of the ego’s choice to separate, or, the choice to join in the mind with the Holy Spirit, Who reflects God’s love in the dream. The Course does not say the crucifixion was not important; it reinterprets it: “The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted” (T.6.I.4:6). Christianity teaches that God’s innocent Son, Jesus, died to atone for the sins of humanity, and thus reopened the gates of Heaven that were shut when Adam and Eve committed the original sin. The Course teaches that the gates of Heaven were never shut, and there is no sin. God’s one Son is made up of the entire Sonship, including Jesus (not exclusively Jesus). This one Son cannot be harmed, cannot suffer, and cannot die. All this is true, according to the Course, because the separation never happened, and the world and the body are not real. The events that occurred in the life of the historical Jesus have been interpreted by those who wrote down the Gospels, and by the leaders of religious institutions in accord with their belief system. We who identify with our bodies and believe in suffering and death bring these beliefs to our view of the crucifixion of Jesus. We assume that what would be true for us, if we were crucified, was true for him — that he felt betrayed and victimized, suffered agony, and died. Since Jesus did not identify with the body, and knew his true identity as a Son of God, this was not his experience of the crucifixion.

The Course teaches that true healing is of the mind, and only of the mind. This is accomplished through forgiveness, and leads to the undoing of the belief in the separation. This healing will result in peace, and may or may not have any manifestation in form. If true healing of this nature occurs, whatever happens in form is irrelevant. The mind that chooses to believe in the separation and the reality of the body can also choose to make the body sick. The Course is teaching us that another choice is also possible — the mind can choose against sickness. When a person seeks help in healing from a faith healer and the body is healed, it is because a choice for healing was made in the mind. The person then joins with the faith healer in the shared purpose of healing. This is true even when no physical contact occurs (M.5.II.2,3,4;III.1,2). The choice in the mind of the individual is the only explanation for any healing that occurs. The ultimate healing is awakening from the dream of separation, which is accomplished by undoing our belief in separation. Nothing really happens except that we will no longer be asleep, and will know ourselves in our true identity as God’s one Son. This is what is referred to when the Course says: “Healing does not come directly from God, Who knows His creations as perfectly whole. Yet healing is still of God, because it proceeds from His Voice and from His laws” (T.7.IV.1:4,5). What proceeds from His Voice and from His laws is the truth of who we are. It is healing in the sense that the mind will no longer be made sick or insane by the thought of separation.


today belongs to love

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 31

ACIM Text Reading for July 31

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

VI. The Christ in You

The Christ in you is very still. He looks on what He loves, and knows it as Himself. And thus does He rejoice at what He sees, because He knows that it is one with Him and with His Father. Specialness, too, takes joy in what it sees, although it is not true. Yet what you seek for is a source of joy as you conceive it. What you wish is true for you. Nor is it possible that you can wish for something and lack faith that it is so. Wishing makes real, as surely as does will create. The power of a wish upholds illusions as strongly as does love extend itself. Except that one deludes; the other heals.

There is no dream of specialness, however hidden or disguised the form, however lovely it may seem to be, however much it delicately offers the hope of peace and the escape from pain, in which you suffer not your condemnation. In dreams effect and cause are interchanged, for here the maker of the dream believes that what he made is happening to him. He does not realize he picked a thread from here, a scrap from there, and wove a picture out of nothing. For the parts do not belong together, and the whole contributes nothing to the parts to give them meaning.

Where could your peace arise but from forgiveness? The Christ in you looks only on the truth, and sees no condemnation that could need forgiveness. He is at peace because He sees no sin. Identify with Him, and what has He that you have not? He is your eyes, your ears, your hands, your feet. How gentle are the sights He sees, the sounds He hears. How beautiful His hand that holds His brother’s, and how lovingly He walks beside him, showing him what can be seen and heard, and where he will see nothing and there is no sound to hear.

Yet let your specialness direct his way, and you will follow. And both will walk in danger, each intent, in the dark forest of the sightless, unlit but by the shifting tiny gleams that spark an instant from the fireflies of sin and then go out, to lead the other to a nameless precipice and hurl him over it. For what can specialness delight in but to kill? What does it seek for but the sight of death? Where does it lead but to destruction? Yet think not that it looked upon your brother first, nor hated him before it hated you. The sin its eyes behold in him and love to look upon it saw in you, and looks on still with joy. Yet is it joy to look upon decay and madness, and believe this crumbling thing, with flesh already loosened from the bone and sightless holes for eyes, is like yourself?

Rejoice you have no eyes with which to see; no ears to listen, and no hands to hold nor feet to guide. Be glad that only Christ can lend you His, while you have need of them. They are illusions, too, as much as yours. And yet because they serve a different purpose, the strength their purpose holds is given them. And what they see and hear and hold and lead is given light, that you may lead as you were led.

The Christ in you is very still. He knows where you are going, and He leads you there in gentleness and blessing all the way. His Love for God replaces all the fear you thought you saw within yourself. His Holiness shows you Himself in him whose hand you hold, and whom you lead to Him. And what you see is like yourself. For what but Christ is there to see and hear and love and follow home? He looked upon you first, but recognized that you were not complete. And so He sought for your completion in each living thing that He beholds and loves. And seeks it still, that each might offer you the Love of God.

Yet is He quiet, for He knows that love is in you now, and safely held in you by that same hand that holds your brother’s in your own. Christ’s hand holds all His brothers in Himself. He gives them vision for their sightless eyes, and sings to them of Heaven, that their ears may hear no more the sound of battle and of death. He reaches through them, holding out His hand, that everyone may bless all living things, and see their holiness. And He rejoices that these sights are yours, to look upon with Him and share His joy. His perfect lack of specialness He offers you, that you may save all living things from death, receiving from each one the gift of life that your forgiveness offers to your Self. The sight of Christ is all there is to see. The song of Christ is all there is to hear. The hand of Christ is all there is to hold. There is no journey but to walk with Him.

You who would be content with specialness, and seek salvation in a war with love, consider this: The holy Lord of Heaven has Himself come down to you, to offer you your own completion. What is His is yours because in your completion is His Own. He Who willed not to be without His Son could never will that you be brotherless. And would He give a brother unto you except he be as perfect as yourself, and just as like to Him in holiness as you must be?

There must be doubt before there can be conflict. And every doubt must be about yourself. Christ has no doubt, and from His certainty His quiet comes. He will exchange His certainty for all your doubts, if you agree that He is One with you, and that this Oneness is endless, timeless, and within your grasp because your hands are His. He is within you, yet He walks beside you and before, leading the way that He must go to find Himself complete. His quietness becomes your certainty. And where is doubt when certainty has come?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 31

Lesson 212

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

(192) I have a function God would have me fill.

I seek the function that would set me free from all the vain
illusions of the world. Only the function God has given me
can offer freedom. Only this I seek, and only this will I
accept as mine.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #185: If the world that I perceive is not real, does that not mean all who dwell within that world, including myself, are not real, and then would that not also mean that only God is real, and it is God who is having the dream?

A: The first three points of your sequence are correct; the world is not real, everyone in the world is not real, only God is real. What does not follow is that God is having the dream. God is not part of the dream precisely because He is real and a dream is an illusion. “Real” and “illusion” are mutually exclusive. The “missing person” in your equation is the mind of the separated Son who is the dreamer of the dream. This is the you the Course is addressing, and is teaching us to identify with. We have mistakenly identified with the “figure in the dream” — the you you think you are — the you that is not real. This has caused us much confusion. A Course in Miracles’ explanation of how this has happened is that when the mind chooses to believe that separation from God is not only possible but real, it is as if the mind falls asleep and dreams a dream of separation. In this dream, the mind that is dreaming becomes identified with the figure in the dream. Everything is now turned upside down. The world becomes real to us. It is no longer perceived as the dream that it is, and we become lost in its illusions, totally unaware that we are dreaming. This is the power of denial in operation. What is denied is the choice in the mind to separate from God, and then dream this dream where God is absent and can enter not. The identity as dreamer of the dream is denied or forgotten, replaced by an identity as the figure in the dream. This identity crisis is the ego’s goal. It keeps us free of responsibility for the original choice in the mind to separate, and the decision to deny the choice. The goal of the Course is to teach us that we are in fact the dreamer of the dream, whereby we have the ability to become a lucid dreamer, aware that we are dreaming, and that we also have the power to make another choice. If, as a lucid dreamer, we are aware we are dreaming a nightmare of separation that is the source of all our pain, we will eventually realize we can awaken from this dream. The Course tells us: “You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real and God calls you to awake. There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him, because you will awaken. Your dreams contain many of the ego’s symbols and they have confused you. Yet that was only because you were asleep and did not know. When you wake you will see the truth around you and in you, and you will no longer believe in dreams because they will have no reality for you. Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you, because they are beautiful and true” (T.6.IV.6:3,4,5,6,7,8).

It may be helpful to relate this to the experience of a child having a dream. His parents are not in the dream, and are unaware that the child is having a nightmare. The nightmare seems real and frightening to the child while he sleeps. It is only when the child awakens that he realizes he was dreaming, and that he is safe in his bed with his parents there to comfort him, assuring him that the dream was not real.


Q #186: In Chapter 31 of A Course in Miracles, Section V, “Self-Concept vs Self,” Jesus says, “The role of the accuser will appear in many places and in many forms. And each will seem to be accusing you” (T.31.V.16:5,6). Can you explain what is meant by this?

A: As earlier parts of this section make clear, each judgment we hold against another is really a deeply buried self-accusation. Perhaps most graphic is the following; “No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering in its deadly aim. It points to you as well, but this is kept deeper in the mists below the face of innocence” (T.31.V.6:4,5).

The section then goes on (T.31.V.15,16) to discuss how we will assume various concepts or roles for our self-identity over time (e.g., child, sibling, student, lover, spouse, parent, employee, boss) — all the while believing that we are a victim in these various relationships, treated unfairly by a world of evil that exists outside ourselves. But all the accusations we hold against others as we assume the various roles of our lives (i.e., “the role of the accuser…in many places and in many forms”) really represent the hidden accusations of guilt and sin over the original separation thought and all its seeming ramifications that we hold against ourselves. And so as we accept and put into practice the Course’s teaching on projection, it will now seem that the finger we have pointed at others is, in each case, now pointing at ourselves. But the reality of our true Self is beyond all these roles and concepts And so Jesus reassures us, “Yet have no fear it [each role] will not be undone” (T.31.V.16:7). For none of the images of good or evil that we have made of both our brother and ourselves is real. And when we no longer want any of them, we will know Who we truly are (T.31.V.17).

God Wills You

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 30

ACIM Text Reading for July 30

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

V. Specialness versus Sinlessness

Specialness is a lack of trust in anyone except yourself. Faith is invested in yourself alone. Everything else becomes your enemy; feared and attacked, deadly and dangerous, hated and worthy only of destruction. Whatever gentleness it offers is but deception, but its hate is real. In danger of destruction it must kill, and you are drawn to it to kill it first. And such is guilt’s attraction. Here is death enthroned as savior; crucifixion is now redemption, and salvation can only mean destruction of the world, except yourself.

What could the purpose of the body be but specialness? And it is this that makes it frail and helpless in its own defense. It was conceived to make you frail and helpless. The goal of separation is its curse. Yet bodies have no goal. Purpose is of the mind. And minds can change as they desire. What they are, and all their attributes, they cannot change. But what they hold as purpose can be changed, and body states must shift accordingly. Of itself the body can do nothing. See it as means to hurt, and it is hurt. See it as means to heal, and it is healed.

You can but hurt yourself. This has been oft repeated, but is difficult to grasp as yet. To minds intent on specialness it is impossible. Yet to those who wish to heal and not attack, it is quite obvious. The purpose of attack is in the mind, and its effects are felt but where it is. Nor is the mind limited; so must it be that harmful purpose hurts the mind as one. Nothing could make less sense to specialness. Nothing could make more sense to miracles. For miracles are merely change of purpose from hurt to healing. This shift in purpose does “endanger” specialness, but only in the sense that all illusions are “threatened” by the truth. They will not stand before it. Yet what comfort has ever been in them, that you would keep the gift your Father asks from Him, and give it there instead? Given to Him, the universe is yours. Offered to them, no gifts can be returned. What you have given specialness has left you bankrupt and your treasure house barren and empty, with an open door inviting everything that would disturb your peace to enter and destroy.

Earlier I said consider not the means by which salvation is attained, nor how to reach it. But do consider, and consider well, whether it is your wish that you might see your brother sinless. To specialness the answer must be “no.” A sinless brother is its enemy, while sin, if it were possible, would be its friend. Your brother’s sin would justify itself, and give it meaning that the truth denies. All that is real proclaims his sinlessness. All that is false proclaims his sins as real. If he is sinful, then is your reality not real, but just a dream of specialness that lasts an instant, crumbling into dust.

Do not defend this senseless dream, in which God is bereft of what He loves, and you remain beyond salvation. Only this is certain in this shifting world that has no meaning in reality: When peace is not with you entirely, and when you suffer pain of any kind, you have beheld some sin within your brother, and have rejoiced at what you thought was there. Your specialness seemed safe because of it. And thus you saved what you appointed to be your savior, and crucified the one whom God has given you instead. So are you bound with him, for you are one. And so is specialness his “enemy,” and yours as well.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 30

Lesson 211

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

(191) I am the holy Son of God Himself.

In silence and in true humility I seek God’s glory, to behold
it in the Son whom He created as my Self.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #243: Some verses in the New Testament seem to speak of an “unpardonable sin” against the Holy Spirit. What is A Course in Miracles’ view of those passages?

A: The Course always views sin as part of the illusory ego thought system. It has no basis in reality. Therefore there are no pardonable or unpardonable sins, parallel to the principle that there is no hierarchy of illusions. The ego attempts to keep sin real in our minds because that is what keeps its own existence real. Without a notion of sin, there would be no need for dynamics to cope with its effects.

Jesus talks about this in the Course by teaching us that we have done nothing in reality that would warrant the label sin. What we would be inclined to call sin — our attack on God by separating from Him — is simply a “tiny, mad idea,” easily corrected by making the choice to accept the Atonement principle, which states that the separation never happened; and therefore there is no such thing as sin.


Q #244: Is happiness the goal of life?

A: A Course in Miracles states that “there is no life outside of Heaven” (T.23.II.19:1); so what we call life here is really illusory. But since we think we are here as individuals in a world, Jesus talks to us on that level in order to help us begin the process of awakening from the dream we call life. In that context, Jesus says that our goal is to achieve a state of abiding peace in our minds, which is the natural outcome of the practice of forgiveness. “Happiness,” he says, “cannot be found apart from Your joint Will [with God],” which is reflected in our choice to see our interests as shared with everyone else’s, not separate from them. We might say that no happiness the world offers can match the happiness we would experience when we experience the oneness and sinlessness of God’s Son.


Q #245: In many groups studying A Course in Miracles that I have attended, people mention that atonement and at-one-ment are the same thing. I consider at-one-ment to be a new age euphemism that actually has nothing to do with Atonement as it is used in the Course. I don’t find the word at-one-ment anywhere on the Course CD. Please give me your thoughts on this subject.

A: You are right. At-one-ment is not the same as Atonement as it is used in A Course in Miracles“The Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick defines Atonement as “the Holy Spirit’s plan of correction to undo the ego and heal the belief in separation” (p.32). The term at-one-ment is not used in the Course.

The Course tells us “the sole responsibility of God’s Teacher is to accept the Atonement for himself” (M.18.4:5), meaning to no longer believe that the separation is real. The term oneness in the Course refers to the unity of the Father and the Son in Heaven, and is reflected in the dream by joining with another through forgiveness. Neither of these principles of the Course’s thought system is expressed by the term at-one-ment.

certain as god