A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 10, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 10

Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness

VI. Time and Eternity

God in His knowledge is not waiting, but His Kingdom is bereft while you wait. All the Sons of God are waiting for your return, just as you are waiting for theirs. Delay does not matter in eternity, but it is tragic in time. You have elected to be in time rather than eternity, and therefore believe you are in time. Yet your election is both free and alterable. You do not belong in time. Your place is only in eternity, where God Himself placed you forever.

Guilt feelings are the preservers of time. They induce fears of retaliation or abandonment, and thus ensure that the future will be like the past. This is the ego’s continuity. It gives the ego a false sense of security by believing that you cannot escape from it. But you can and must. God offers you the continuity of eternity in exchange. When you choose to make this exchange, you will simultaneously exchange guilt for joy, viciousness for love, and pain for peace. My role is only to unchain your will and set it free. Your ego cannot accept this freedom, and will oppose it at every possible moment and in every possible way. And as its maker, you recognise what it can do because you gave it the power to do it.

Remember the Kingdom always, and remember that you who are part of the Kingdom cannot be lost. The Mind that was in me is in you, for God creates with perfect fairness. Let the Holy Spirit remind you always of His fairness, and let me teach you how to share it with your brothers. How else can the chance to claim it for yourself be given you? The two voices speak for different interpretations of the same thing simultaneously; or almost simultaneously, for the ego always speaks first. Alternate interpretations were unnecessary until the first one was made.

The ego speaks in judgement, and the Holy Spirit reverses its decision, much as a higher court has the power to reverse a lower court’s decisions in this world. The ego’s decisions are always wrong, because they are based on the error they were made to uphold. Nothing the ego perceives is interpreted correctly. Not only does the ego cite Scripture for its purpose, but it even interprets Scripture as a witness for itself. The Bible is a fearful thing in the ego’s judgement. Perceiving it as frightening, it interprets it fearfully. Being afraid, you do not appeal to the Higher Court because you believe its judgement would also be against you.

There are many examples of how the ego’s interpretations are misleading, but a few will suffice to show how the Holy Spirit can reinterpret them in His Own Light.

‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap’ He interprets to mean what you consider worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself. Your judgement of what is worthy makes it worthy for you.

‘Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord’ is easily reinterpreted if you remember that ideas increase only by being shared. The statement emphasises that vengeance cannot be shared. Give it therefore to the Holy Spirit, Who will undo it in you because it does not belong in your mind, which is part of God.

‘I will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation’, as interpreted by the ego, is particularly vicious. It becomes merely an attempt to guarantee the ego’s own survival. To the Holy Spirit, the statement means that in later generations He can still reinterpret what former generations had misunderstood, and thus release the thoughts from the ability to produce fear.

‘The wicked shall perish’ becomes a statement of Atonement, if the word ‘perish’ is understood as ‘be undone’. Every loveless thought must be undone, a word the ego cannot even understand. To the ego, to be undone means to be destroyed. The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will be reinterpreted to release you from fear. The part of your mind that you have given to the ego will merely return to the Kingdom, where your whole mind belongs. You can delay the completion of the Kingdom, but you cannot introduce the concept of fear into it.

You need not fear the Higher Court will condemn you. It will merely dismiss the case against you. There can be no case against a child of God, and every witness to guilt in God’s creations is bearing false witness to God Himself. Appeal everything you believe gladly to God’s Own Higher Court, because it speaks for Him and therefore speaks truly. It will dismiss the case against you, however carefully you have built it up. The case may be fool-proof, but it is not God-proof. The Holy Spirit will not hear it, because He can only witness truly. His verdict will always be ‘thine is the Kingdom,’ because He was given to you to remind you of what you are.

When I said ‘I am come as a light into the world’, I meant that I came to share the light with you. Remember my reference to the ego’s dark glass, and remember also that I said, ‘Do not look there’. It is still true that where you look to find yourself is up to you. Your patience with your brother is your patience with yourself. Is not a child of God worth patience? I have shown you infinite patience because my will is that of our Father, from Whom I learned of infinite patience. His Voice was in me as It is in you, speaking for patience towards the Sonship in the Name of Its Creator.

Now you must learn that only infinite patience produces immediate effects. This is the way in which time is exchanged for eternity. Infinite patience calls upon infinite love, and by producing results now it renders time unnecessary. We have repeatedly said that time is a learning device to be abolished when it is no longer useful. The Holy Spirit, who speaks for God in time, also knows that time is meaningless. He reminds you of this in every passing moment of time, because it is His special function to return you to eternity and remain to bless your creations there. He is the only blessing you can truly give, because He is truly blessed. Because He has been given you freely by God, you must give Him as you received Him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 10

Lesson 41

God goes with me wherever I go.

1. Today’s idea will eventually overcome completely the sense of loneliness and abandonment all the separated ones experience. Depression is an inevitable consequence of separation. So are anxiety, worry, a deep sense of helplessness, misery, suffering and intense fear of loss.

2. The separated ones have invented many “cures” for what they believe to be “the ills of the world.” But the one thing they do not do is to question the reality of the problem. Yet its effects cannot be cured because the problem is not real. The idea for today has the power to end all this foolishness forever. And fool­ishness it is, despite the serious and tragic forms it may take.

3. Deep within you is everything that is perfect, ready to radiate through you and out into the world. It will cure all sorrow and pain and fear and loss because it will heal the mind that thought these things were real, and suffered out of its allegiance to them.

4. You can never be deprived of your perfect holiness because its Source goes with you wherever you go. You can never suffer because the Source of all joy goes with you wherever you go. You can never be alone because the Source of all life goes with you wherever you go. Nothing can destroy your peace of mind because God goes with you wherever you go.

5. We understand that you do not believe all this. How could you, when the truth is hidden deep within, under a heavy cloud of insane thoughts, dense and obscuring, yet representing all you see? Today we will make our first real attempt to get past this dark and heavy cloud, and to go through it to the light beyond.

6. There will be only one long practice period today. In the morning, as soon as you get up if possible, sit quietly for some three to five minutes, with your eyes closed. At the beginning of the practice period, repeat today’s idea very slowly. Then make no effort to think of anything. Try, instead, to get a sense of turn­ing inward, past all the idle thoughts of the world. Try to enter very deeply into your own mind, keeping it clear of any thoughts that might divert your attention.

7. From time to time, you may repeat the idea if you find it help­ful. But most of all, try to sink down and inward, away from the world and all the foolish thoughts of the world. You are trying to reach past all these things. You are trying to leave appearances and approach reality.

8. It is quite possible to reach God. In fact it is very easy, because it is the most natural thing in the world. You might even say it is the only natural thing in the world. The way will open, if you believe that it is possible. This exercise can bring very startling results even the first time it is attempted, and sooner or later it is always successful. We will go into more detail about this kind of practice as we go along. But it will never fail completely, and instant success is possible.

9. Throughout the day use today’s idea often, repeating it very slowly, preferably with eyes closed. Think of what you are say­ing; what the words mean. Concentrate on the holiness that they imply about you; on the unfailing companionship that is yours; on the complete protection that surrounds you.

10. You can indeed afford to laugh at fear thoughts, remembering that God goes with you wherever you go.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

How free are we in our everyday lives to act in our own best interests, especially if, as A Course in Miracles says, we are all hallucinating? 

This answer begins where the previous one ends. Within the dream of our individual existence — the hallucination — we are free to choose. However, such choosing has nothing to do with what the world understands by choosing, especially when we think of trying to act in our own best interests. We cannot act in our best interests because, as the workbook reminds us, “I do not perceive my own best interests” (W-pI.24; italics ours). This is a crucial aspect in the understanding of the Course, and the above lesson states the point clearly: 

In no situation that arises do you realize the outcome that would make you happy.  Therefore, you have no guide to appropriate action, and no way of judging the result.  What you do is determined by your perception of the situation, and that perception is wrong. It is inevitable, then, that you will not serve your own best interests. Yet they are your only goal in any situation which is correctly perceived. Otherwise, you will not recognize what they are. If you realized that you do not perceive your own best interests, you could be taught what they are. But in the presence of your conviction that you do know what they are, you cannot learn (W-pI.24.1-2:2).

Therefore, throughout A Course in Miracles, Jesus urges us to consult either him or the Holy Spirit, for They are the only ones Who do know what our best interests are. And these, naturally, always involve the change of mind or perception that reflects our decisions to forgive instead of to attack. On our own, we cannot forgive, let alone know what choices we should make. However, we are always free to choose our teacher, and in that choice we have already acted in our own best interests. And this, and only this, is the meaning of free will within this world of illusion, for it is from the right mind alone that the right choice — our best interest — can result. Thus it is that Jesus addresses his students: “Resign now as your own teacher… for you were badly taught” (T-12.V.8:3; T-28.I.7:1), and he asks that they choose instead the Teacher Whose wisdom will always teach them correctly. 

 

you cannot lose your soul

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading and Workbook Lesson for February 9, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 9

Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness

V. The Ego’s Use of Guilt

Perhaps some of our concepts will become clearer and more personally meaningful if the ego’s use of guilt is clarified. The ego has a purpose, just as the Holy Spirit has. The ego’s purpose is fear, because only the fearful can be egotistic. The ego’s logic is as impeccable as that of the Holy Spirit, because your mind has the means at its disposal to side with Heaven or earth, as it elects. But again, remember that both are in you.

In Heaven there is no guilt, because the Kingdom is attained through the Atonement, which releases you to create. The word ‘create’ is appropriate here because, once what you have made is undone by the Holy Spirit, the blessed residue is restored and therefore continues in creation. What is truly blessed is incapable of giving rise to guilt, and must give rise to joy. This makes it invulnerable to the ego because its peace is unassailable. It is invulnerable to disruption because it is whole. Guilt is always disruptive. Anything that engenders fear is divisive because it obeys the law of division. If the ego is the symbol of the separation, it is also the symbol of guilt. Guilt is more than merely not of God. It is the symbol of attack on God. This is a totally meaningless concept except to the ego, but do not underestimate the power of the ego’s belief in it. This is the belief from which all guilt really stems.

The ego is the part of the mind that believes in division. How could part of God detach itself without believing it is attacking Him? We spoke before of the authority problem as based on the concept of usurping God’s power. The ego believes that this is what you did because it believes that it is you. If you identify with the ego, you must perceive yourself as guilty. Whenever you respond to your ego you will experience guilt, and you will fear punishment. The ego is quite literally a fearful thought. However ridiculous the idea of attacking God may be to the sane mind, never forget that the ego is not sane. It represents a delusional system, and speaks for it. Listening to the ego’s voice means that you believe it is possible to attack God, and that a part of Him has been torn away by you. Fear of retaliation from without follows, because the severity of the guilt is so acute that it must be projected.

Whatever you accept into your mind has reality for you. It is your acceptance of it that makes it real. If you enthrone the ego in your mind, your allowing it to enter makes it your reality. This is because the mind is capable of creating reality or making illusions. I said before that you must learn to think with God. To think with Him is to think like Him. This engenders joy, not guilt, because it is natural. Guilt is a sure sign that your thinking is unnatural. Unnatural thinking will always be attended with guilt, because it is the belief in sin. The ego does not perceive sin as a lack of love, but as a positive act of assault. This is necessary to the ego’s survival because, as soon as you regard sin as a lack, you will automatically attempt to remedy the situation. And you will succeed. The ego regards this as doom, but you must learn to regard it as freedom.

The guiltless mind cannot suffer. Being sane, the mind heals the body because it has been healed. The sane mind cannot conceive of illness because it cannot conceive of attacking anyone or anything. I said before that illness is a form of magic. It might be better to say that it is a form of magical solution. The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God. Yet even in this it is arrogant. It attributes to God a punishing intent, and then takes this intent as its own prerogative. It tries to usurp all the functions of God as it perceives them, because it recognises that only total allegiance can be trusted.

The ego cannot oppose the laws of God any more than you can, but it can interpret them according to what it wants, just as you can. That is why the question, ‘What do you want?’ must be answered. You are answering it every minute and every second, and each moment of decision is a judgement that is anything but ineffectual. Its effects will follow automatically until the decision is changed. Remember, though, that the alternatives themselves are unalterable. The Holy Spirit, like the ego, is a decision. Together they constitute all the alternatives the mind can accept and obey. The Holy Spirit and the ego are the only choices open to you. God created one, and so you cannot eradicate it. You made the other, and so you can. Only what God creates is irreversible and unchangeable. What you made can always be changed because, when you do not think like God, you are not really thinking at all. Delusional ideas are not real thoughts, although you can believe in them. But you are wrong. The function of thought comes from God and is in God. As part of His Thought, you cannot think apart from Him.

Irrational thought is disordered thought. God Himself orders your thought because your thought was created by Him. Guilt feelings are always a sign that you do not know this. They also show that you believe you can think apart from God, and want to. Every disordered thought is attended by guilt at its inception, and maintained by guilt in its continuance. Guilt is inescapable by those who believe they order their own thoughts, and must therefore obey their dictates. This makes them feel responsible for their errors without recognising that, by accepting this responsibility, they are reacting irresponsibly. If the sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself, and I assure you that it is, then the responsibility for what is atoned for cannot be yours. The dilemma cannot be resolved except by accepting the solution of undoing. You would be responsible for the effects of all your wrong thinking if it could not be undone. The purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only. If you accept the remedy for disordered thought, a remedy whose efficacy is beyond doubt, how can its symptoms remain?

The continuing decision to remain separated is the only possible reason for continuing guilt feelings. We have said this before, but did not emphasise the destructive results of the decision. Any decision of the mind will affect both behaviour and experience. What you want you expect. This is not delusional. Your mind does make your future, and it will turn it back to full creation at any minute if it accepts the Atonement first. It will also return to full creation the instant it has done so. Having given up its disordered thought, the proper ordering of thought becomes quite apparent.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 9

Lesson 40

I am blessed as a Son of God.

1. Today we will begin to assert some of the happy things to which you are entitled, being what you are. No long practice periods are required today, but very frequent short ones are nec­essary. Once every ten minutes would be highly desirable, and you are urged to attempt this schedule and to adhere to it when­ever possible. If you forget, try again. If there are long interruptions, try again. Whenever you remember, try again.

2. You need not close your eyes for the exercise periods, although you will probably find it more helpful if you do. However, you may be in a number of situations during the day when closing your eyes would not be feasible. Do not miss a practice period because of this. You can practice quite well under any circumstances, if you really want to.

3. Today’s exercises take little time and no effort. Repeat the idea for today, and then add several of the attributes you associate with being a Son of God, applying them to yourself. One prac­tice period might, for example, consist of the following:

I am blessed as a Son of God.
I am happy, peaceful, loving and contented.

Another might take this form:

I am blessed as a Son of God.
I am calm, quiet, assured and confident.

If only a brief period is available, merely telling yourself that you are blessed as a Son of God will do.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Is there such a thing as free will, and what is it anyway? 

A) This question must be answered in two parts: 

    1) In Heaven there can be no free will, for how can the Son of God be free to choose when there is literally nothing there to choose from? In a non-dualistic reality, which is the state of Heaven, there is only perfect Oneness. That is why A Course in Miracles states that the Will of God and the will of His Son are one and the same. And so there can be nothing else, and therefore nothing to choose between. Moreover, the process of choosing has meaning only within a subject-object world: a subject who chooses among different objects, all perceived and experienced to be outside the mind that chooses. Therefore, the term “free will” has no meaning here, unless it is used, as A Course in Miracles does in one place, to refer to the “freedom of will,” the title of a section in Chapter 30. However, in this instance the term means something quite different from the usual conception of “free will.” In Heaven, our will is free because it cannot be imprisoned, which is a statement that reflects the Atonement principle that the separation from God never happened. Therefore, the Son of God cannot truly be imprisoned by his own mistaken belief that he has sinned against his Creator, and thus been made a prisoner to his own guilt. We read in several places: 

How wonderful it is to do your will! For that is freedom. There is nothing else that ever should be called by freedom’s name. Unless you do your will you are not free. And would God leave His Son without what he has chosen for himself? God but ensured that you would never lose your will when He gave you His perfect Answer. Hear It now, that you may be reminded of His Love and learn your will. God would not have His Son made prisoner to what he does not want. He joins with you in willing you be free. And to oppose Him is to make a choice against yourself, and choose that you be bound (T-30.II.2). In the holy state the will is free, so that its creative power is unlimited and choice is meaningless (T-5.II.6:4). 

It is not your will to be imprisoned because your will is free. That is why the ego is the denial of free will. It is never God Who coerces you, because He shares His Will with you. His Voice teaches only in accordance with His Will, but that is not the Holy Spirit’s lesson because that is what you are. The lesson is that your will and God’s cannot be out of accord because they are one (T-8.II.3:2-6).

When we finally accept the Atonement for ourselves, awakening from the dream and thus becoming manifestations of the Holy Spirit, the recognition that our wills are one with God’s must inevitably follow.
    2) Within the dream, however, which is the realm of perception and illusion, the concept of free will becomes extremely important and meaningful for it is the mechanism of salvation. In his dream, the Son believed that he had chosen against God, and this set into motion the whole drama of the unholy trinity — sin, guilt, and fear — culminating in the making of the physical universe as a defense against the perceived wrathful vengeance of the ego’s made-up God. Thus, within the dream, the same power of the Son’s mind to choose against God, now must be free to choose for Him. And so Jesus states in a number of important passages: 

In this world the only remaining freedom is the freedom of choice; always between two choices or two voices. Will is not involved in perception at any level, and has nothing to do with choice (manual, p. 75; C-1.7:1-2). The power of his decision offers it to him as he requests. Herein lie hell and Heaven. The sleeping Son of God has but this power left to him (M-21.3:5-7). 

You have chosen to be in a state of opposition in which opposites are possible. As a result, there are choices you must make….Choosing depends on a split mind (T-5.II.6:2-3,6). 

Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God? you will accept only whom you invite. You are free to determine who shall be your guest, and how long he shall remain with you. Yet this is not real freedom, for it still depends on how you see it (T-11.II.7:1-4; italics ours).

Indeed, one might say that a purpose of A Course in Miracles is for Jesus to teach us that we do have a choice within our dreams of separation and specialness, and that this choice rests within our minds. By learning the meaning of forgiveness, which is that our experience of the world is a projection of a decision in our minds that can now be changed, we learn to exercise this free will. Thus we ultimately learn and remember that our true will has been free all along. We simply had forgotten. And so Jesus states: “The Holy Spirit calls you both to remember [God] and to forget [the ego]”  (T-5.II.6:1). 

infinite patience

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

ACIM Text Reading for February 8

Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness

IV. Teaching and Healing

What fear has hidden still is part of you. Joining the Atonement is the way out of fear. The Holy Spirit will help you reinterpret everything that you perceive as fearful, and teach you that only what is loving is true. Truth is beyond your ability to destroy, but entirely within your ability to accept. It belongs to you because, as an extension of God, you created it with Him. It is yours because it is part of you, just as you are part of God because He created you. Nothing that is good can be lost because it comes from the Holy Spirit, the Voice for creation. Nothing that is not good was ever created, and therefore cannot be protected. The Atonement is the guarantee of the safety of the Kingdom, and the union of the Sonship is its protection. The ego cannot prevail against the Kingdom because the Sonship is united. In the presence of those who hear the Holy Spirit’s call to be as one, the ego fades away and is undone.

What the ego makes it keeps to itself, and so it is without strength. Its existence is unshared. It does not die; it was merely never born. Physical birth is not a beginning; it is a continuing. Everything that continues has already been born. It will increase as you are willing to return the unhealed part of your mind to the higher part, returning it undivided to creation. I have come to give you the foundation, so your own thoughts can make you really free. You have carried the burden of unshared ideas that are too weak to increase, but having made them you did not realise how to undo them. You cannot cancel out your past errors alone. They will not disappear from your mind without the Atonement, a remedy not of your making. The Atonement must be understood as a pure act of sharing. That is what I meant when I said it is possible even in this world to listen to one Voice. If you are part of God and the Sonship is one, you cannot be limited to the self the ego sees.

Every loving thought held in any part of the Sonship belongs to every part. It is shared because it is loving. Sharing is God’s way of creating, and also yours. The ego can keep you in exile from the Kingdom, but in the Kingdom itself it has no power. Ideas of the spirit do not leave the mind that thinks them, nor can they conflict with each other. However, ideas of the ego can conflict because they occur at different levels and also include opposite thoughts at the same level. It is impossible to share opposing thoughts. You can share only the thoughts that are of God and that He keeps for you. And of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. The rest remains with you until the Holy Spirit has reinterpreted them in the light of the Kingdom, making them, too, worthy of being shared. When they have been sufficiently purified He lets you give them away. The decision to share them is their purification.

I heard one Voice because I understood that I could not atone for myself alone. Listening to one Voice implies the decision to share It in order to hear It yourself. The Mind that was in me is still irresistibly drawn to every mind created by God, because God’s Wholeness is the wholeness of His Son. You cannot be hurt, and do not want to show your brother anything except your wholeness. Show him that he cannot hurt you and hold nothing against him, or you hold it against yourself. This is the meaning of ‘turning the other cheek’.

Teaching is done in many ways, above all by example. Teaching should be healing, because it is the sharing of ideas and the recognition that to share ideas is to strengthen them. I cannot forget my need to teach what I have learned, which arose in me because I learned it. I call upon you to teach what you have learned, because by so doing you can depend on it. Make it dependable in my name because my name is the Name of God’s Son. What I learned I give you freely, and the Mind that was in me rejoices as you choose to hear it.

The Holy Spirit atones in all of us by undoing, and thus lifts the burden you have placed in your mind. By following Him you are led back to God where you belong, and how can you find the way except by taking your brother with you? My part in the Atonement is not complete until you join it and give it away. As you teach so shall you learn. I will never leave you or forsake you, because to forsake you would be to forsake myself and God Who created me. You forsake yourself and God if you forsake any of your brothers. You must learn to see them as they are, and understand they belong to God as you do. How could you treat your brother better than by rendering unto God the things that are God’s?

The Atonement gives you the power of a healed mind, but the power to create is of God. Therefore, those who have been forgiven must devote themselves first to healing because, having received the idea of healing, they must give it to hold it. The full power of creation cannot be expressed as long as any of God’s ideas is withheld from the Kingdom. The joint will of the Sonship is the only creator that can create like the Father, because only the complete can think completely, and the thinking of God lacks nothing. Everything you think that is not through the Holy Spirit is lacking.

How can you who are so holy suffer? All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing. I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance. They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt. They came from the Holy Spirit within you, and we know what God creates is eternal. You can indeed depart in peace because I have loved you as I loved myself. You go with my blessing and for my blessing. Hold it and share it, that it may always be ours. I place the peace of God in your heart and in your hands, to hold and share. The heart is pure to hold it, and the hands are strong to give it. We cannot lose. My judgement is as strong as the wisdom of God, in Whose Heart and Hands we have our being. His quiet children are His blessed Sons. The Thoughts of God are with you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 8

Lesson 39

My holiness is my salvation.

1. If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? Like the text for which this workbook was written, the ideas used for the exercises are very simple, very clear and totally unambiguous. We are not con­cerned with intellectual feats nor logical toys. We are dealing only in the very obvious, which has been overlooked in the clouds of complexity in which you think you think.

2. If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? This is not difficult, surely. The hesitation you may feel in answering is not due to the ambiguity of the question. But do you believe that guilt is hell? If you did, you would see at once how direct and simple the text is, and you would not need a workbook at all. No one needs practice to gain what is already his.

3. We have already said that your holiness is the salvation of the world. What about your own salvation? You cannot give what you do not have. A savior must be saved. How else can he teach salvation? Today’s exercises will apply to you, recognizing that your salvation is crucial to the salvation of the world. As you apply the exercises to your world, the whole world stands to benefit.

4. Your holiness is the answer to every question that was ever asked, is being asked now, or will be asked in the future. Your holiness means the end of guilt, and therefore the end of hell. Your holiness is the salvation of the world, and your own. How could you to whom your holiness belongs be excluded from it? God does not know unholiness. Can it be He does not know His Son?

5. A full five minutes are urged for the four longer practice peri­ods for today, and longer and more frequent practice sessions are encouraged. If you want to exceed the minimum requirements, more rather than longer sessions are recommended, although both are suggested.

6. Begin the practice periods as usual, by repeating today’s idea to yourself. Then, with closed eyes, search out your unloving thoughts in whatever form they appear; uneasiness, depression, anger, fear, worry, attack, insecurity and so on. Whatever form they take, they are unloving and therefore fearful. And so it is from them that you need to be saved.

7. Specific situations, events or personalities you associate with unloving thoughts of any kind are suitable subjects for today’s exercises. It is imperative for your salvation that you see them differently. And it is your blessing on them that will save you and give you vision.

8. Slowly, without conscious selection and without undue em­phasis on any one in particular, search your mind for every thought that stands between you and your salvation. Apply the idea for today to each of them in this way:

My unloving thoughts about _________ are keeping me in hell.
My holiness is my salvation.

9. You may find these practice periods easier if you intersperse them with several short periods during which you merely repeat today’s idea to yourself slowly a few times. You may also find it helpful to include a few short intervals in which you just relax and do not seem to be thinking of anything. Sustained concentration is very difficult at first. It will become much easier as your mind becomes more disciplined and less distractible.

10. Meanwhile, you should feel free to introduce variety into the exercise periods in whatever form appeals to you. Do not, how­ever, change the idea itself as you vary the method of applying it. However you elect to use it, the idea should be stated so that its meaning is the fact that your holiness is your salvation. End each practice period by repeating the idea in its original form once more, and adding:

If guilt is hell, what is its opposite?

11. In the shorter applications, which should be made some three or four times an hour and more if possible, you may ask yourself this question, repeat today’s idea, and preferably both. If temptations arise, a particularly helpful form of the idea is:

My holiness is my salvation from this.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) A Course in Miracles says that there is no love without ambivalence. Does this mean that I never come from a loving space, and that all my thoughts and actions are from my ego? 

A) No, it certainly does not. The specific statement in the Course is as follows: 

You project onto the ego the decision to separate, and this conflicts with the love you feel for the ego because you made it. No love in this world is without this ambivalence, and since no ego has experienced love without ambivalence the concept is beyond its understanding. Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly. This means that it wants it without ambivalence, and this kind of wanting is wholly without the ego’s “drive to get” (T-4.III.4:5-8).

This passage clearly implies that when we choose the correction of the Holy Spirit in our right minds — the holy instant — and truly let go of our egos, we can become a reflection of love, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. In this case, it is indeed possible to come from a loving space. In fact, the principal goal of the Course is to have students learn to access their right minds, the loving home of the Holy Spirit.  However, one needs to be discerning, for very often the ego’s special love can appear to be identical to the Holy Spirit’s real Love.  The ego’s unconscious “drive to get” — the core of specialness — is still very much present, and serves to mask the truth with the clever lies of illusion. 

Any thought, word, or deed that proceeds from the wrong mind, even though it appears as loving, cannot be so. Therefore, to evaluate any interaction by appearances can be but a lack of discernment stemming from our need to appear loving and understanding; in other words, what our egos would bless as “spiritually enlightened” behavior. We should not underestimate the need each one of us has to be accepted by others because we want to be judged by them as loving. This need becomes a powerful interference to choosing our right minds, wherein lies the only real love. 

Sometimes the most loving action, emanating from our right minds, would be to say “No” to someone’s request, incurring their disappointment and anger. That is why Jesus states: 

To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardize your learning. No belief is neutral.  Every one has the power to dictate each decision you make (T-24.in.2:1-4).

Let us suppose that an unconscious value that our egos hold is to be popular and admired by many for being a loving and thoughtful person. Our whole life’s script then, emanating from our wrong minds, revolves around being this kind of dream figure. We might achieve our goal, but at what cost? Students of A Course in Miracles sometimes make this mistake of judging by appearance and form. Sometimes the most difficult correction for us to accept is to go against some “cherished value” of our egos — above all, the models of special love and special hate relationships. If students can be reasonably clear that they have uncovered their unconscious ego values and have the little willingness to access the correction in their right minds — getting themselves out of the way — then they will be manifestations of the thought system of the Holy Spirit and not the ego. 

Indeed, our daily practice of forgiveness is what allows us to be increasingly in touch with this loving Presence of truth in our split minds, so that our thoughts, words, and deeds can express this truth. Therefore, it is certainly possible that our lives can come from our right minds and not our wrong minds, from the Holy Spirit and not the ego. It is this process of increasingly reflecting love instead of hate that brings us to the gate of Heaven, beyond which is the Love of God. 

be of good cheer

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

ACIM Text Reading for February 7

Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness

III. The Guide to Salvation

The way to recognise your brother is by recognising the Holy Spirit in him. I have already said that the Holy Spirit is the bridge for the transfer of perception to knowledge, so we can use the terms as if they were related, because in His Mind they are. This relationship must be in His Mind because, unless it were, the separation between the two ways of thinking would not be open to healing. He is part of the Holy Trinity, because His Mind is partly yours and also partly God’s. This needs clarification, not in statement but in experience.

The Holy Spirit is the idea of healing. Being thought, the idea gains as it is shared. Being the Call for God, it is also the idea of God. Since you are part of God it is also the idea of yourself, as well as of all His creations. The idea of the Holy Spirit shares the property of other ideas because it follows the laws of the Universe of which it is a part. It is strengthened by being given away. It increases in you as you give it to your brother. Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur. He may have dissociated the Call for God, just as you have. This dissociation is healed in both of you as you become aware of the Call for God in him, and thus acknowledge its being.

There are two diametrically opposed ways of seeing your brother. They must both be in your mind, because you are the perceiver. They must also be in his, because you are perceiving him. See him through the Holy Spirit in his mind, and you will recognise Him in yours. What you acknowledge in your brother you are acknowledging in yourself, and what you share you strengthen.

The Voice of the Holy Spirit is weak in you. That is why you must share It. It must be increased in strength before you can hear It. It is impossible to hear It in yourself while It is so weak in your mind. It is not weak in Itself, but It is limited by your unwillingness to hear It. If you make the mistake of looking for the Holy Spirit in yourself alone your thoughts will frighten you because, by adopting the ego’s viewpoint, you are undertaking an ego-alien journey with the ego as guide. This is bound to produce fear.

Delay is of the ego, because time is its concept. Both time and delay are meaningless in eternity. I have said before that the Holy Spirit is God’s Answer to the ego. Everything of which the Holy Spirit reminds you is in direct opposition to the ego’s notions, because true and false perceptions are themselves opposed. The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made. He undoes it at the same level on which the ego operates, or the mind would be unable to understand the change.

I have repeatedly emphasised that one level of the mind is not understandable to another. So it is with the ego and the Holy Spirit; with time and eternity. Eternity is an idea of God, so the Holy Spirit understands it perfectly. Time is a belief of the ego, so the lower mind, which is the ego’s domain, accepts it without question. The only aspect of time that is eternal is now.

The Holy Spirit is the mediator between the interpretations of the ego and the knowledge of the spirit. His ability to deal with symbols enables Him to work with the ego’s beliefs in its own language. His ability to look beyond symbols into eternity enables Him to understand the laws of God, for which He speaks. He can therefore perform the function of reinterpreting what the ego makes, not by destruction but by understanding. Understanding is light, and light leads to knowledge. The Holy Spirit is in light because He is in you who are light, but you yourself do not know this. It is therefore the task of the Holy Spirit to reinterpret you on behalf of God.

You cannot understand yourself alone. This is because you have no meaning apart from your rightful place in the Sonship, and the rightful place of the Sonship is God. This is your life, your eternity and your Self. It is of this that the Holy Spirit reminds you. It is this that the Holy Spirit sees. This vision frightens the ego because it is so calm. Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy because, according to its interpretation of reality, war is the guarantee of its survival. The ego becomes strong in strife. If you believe there is strife you will react viciously, because the idea of danger has entered your mind. The idea itself is an appeal to the ego. The Holy Spirit is as vigilant as the ego to the call of danger, opposing it with His strength just as the ego welcomes it. The Holy Spirit counters this welcome by welcoming peace. Eternity and peace are as closely related as are time and war.

Perception derives meaning from relationships. Those you accept are the foundations of your beliefs. The separation is merely another term for a split mind. The ego is the symbol of separation, just as the Holy Spirit is the symbol of peace. What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself. You may let your mind misperceive, but the Holy Spirit lets your mind reinterpret its own misperceptions.

The Holy Spirit is the perfect teacher. He uses only what your mind already understands to teach you that you do not understand it. The Holy Spirit can deal with a reluctant learner without going counter to his mind, because part of it is still for God. Despite the ego’s attempts to conceal this part, it is still much stronger than the ego, although the ego does not recognise it. The Holy Spirit recognises it perfectly because it is His Own dwelling place; the place in the mind where He is at home. You are at home there, too, because it is a place of peace, and peace is of God. You who are part of God are not at home except in His peace. If peace is eternal, you are at home only in eternity.

The ego made the world as it perceives it, but the Holy Spirit, the re-interpreter of what the ego made, sees the world as a teaching device for bringing you home. The Holy Spirit must perceive time, and reinterpret it into the timeless. He must work through opposites, because He must work with and for a mind that is in opposition. Correct and learn, and be open to learning. You have not made truth, but truth can still set you free. Look as the Holy Spirit looks, and understand as He understands. His understanding looks back to God in remembrance of me. He is in communion with God always, and He is part of you. He is your guide to salvation, because He holds the remembrance of things past and to come, and brings them to the present. He holds this gladness gently in your mind, asking only that you increase it in His Name by sharing it to increase His joy in you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 7

Lesson 38

There is nothing my holiness cannot do.

1. Your holiness reverses all the laws of the world. It is beyond every restriction of time, space, distance and limits of any kind. Your holiness is totally unlimited in its power because it estab­lishes you as a Son of God, at one with the Mind of his Creator.

2. Through your holiness the power of God is made manifest. Through your holiness the power of God is made available. And there is nothing the power of God cannot do. Your holi­ness, then, can remove all pain, can end all sorrow, and can solve all problems. It can do so in connection with yourself and with anyone else. It is equal in its power to help anyone because it is equal in its power to save anyone.

3. If you are holy, so is everything God created. You are holy because all things He created are holy. And all things He created are holy because you are. In today’s exercises, we will apply the power of your holiness to all problems, difficulties or suffering in any form that you happen to think of, in yourself or in someone else. We will make no distinctions because there are no distinctions.

4. In the four longer practice periods, each preferably to last a full five minutes, repeat the idea for today, close your eyes, and then search your mind for any sense of loss or unhappiness of any kind as you see it. Try to make as little distinction as possible between a situation that is difficult for you, and one that is difficult for someone else. Identify the situation specifically, and also the name of the person concerned. Use this form in applying the idea for today:

In the situation involving _________ in which I see myself, there is nothing that my holiness cannot do.
In the situation involving _________ in which _________ sees himself, there is nothing my holiness cannot do.

5. From time to time you may want to vary this procedure, and add some relevant thoughts of your own. You might like, for example, to include thoughts such as:

There is nothing my holiness cannot do because the power of God lies in it.

Introduce whatever variations appeal to you, but keep the exercises focused on the theme, “There is nothing my holiness cannot do.” The purpose of today’s exercises is to begin to instill in you a sense that you have dominion over all things because of what you are.

6. In the frequent shorter applications, apply the idea in its origi­nal form unless a specific problem concerning you or someone else arises, or comes to mind. In that event, use the more specific form in applying the idea to it.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is the role of meditation in practicing A Course in Miracles?

A) Meditation as such is not an integral part of the Course’s curriculum. Certainly one can take the workbook lessons and their one-year training program to be exercises in meditation. But, again, these are only meant for a one-year period. However, Jesus would never object to his students spending quiet time with him, asking for help in removing the blocks of guilt and hate that interfere with their awareness of his loving presence. Nevertheless, he specifically cautions students not to make idols of their regular periods of spiritual practice, even though they may still require structure, part of which, naturally, could be times of meditation or quiet:

But what about those who have not reached his [an advanced teacher of God’s] certainty? They are not yet ready for such lack of structuring on their own part.  What must they do to learn to give the day to God? There are some general rules which do apply, although each one must use them as best he can in his own way.Routines as such are dangerous, because they easily become gods in their own right, threatening the very goals for which they were set up (M-16.2:1-5; italics ours).

In “I Need Do Nothing,” his special message to Helen which we quoted above, Jesus specifically discusses how his Course is not a course in meditation, but rather has a much different focus. This does not make it necessarily better than other paths, but it does establish how different it is from them:

Many have spent a lifetime in preparation, and have indeed achieved their instants of success. This course does not attempt to teach more than they learned in time, but it does aim at saving time …. It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin. Enormous effort is expended in the attempt to make holy what is hated and despised [the body]. Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary. All such attempts will ultimately succeed because of their purpose, Yet the means are tedious and very time consuming, for all of them look to the future for release from a state of  present unworthiness and inadequacy.Your way will be different, not in purpose but in means. … You are not making use of the course if you insist on using means which have served others well, neglecting what was made for you (T- I8.VII.4:4-5,7-11; 5:1; 6:5; italics ours in 4:9).

And so, students of A Course in Miracles would be silly not to meditate, if such a practice is beneficial to their spiritual path. And Jesus, again, would hardly seek to dissuade them. However, he would caution them, as we have seen, not to make the meditative practice a source of dependency. It should be a means, not an end. Moreover, it would certainly be a mistake if such students felt that all students of A Course in Miracles must meditate, simply because they did. Students should never forget that the curriculum is highly individualized, and that the personal curriculum is undertaken between each individual student and the Holy Spirit.

There is another caution we may note here regarding dependency and meditation. The clear purpose of A Course in Miracles, and specifically the workbook, is for its students to generalize the lessons and principles to all aspects of their daily lives, at all times. It would be directly against this purpose to have students need to take time out from a difficult situation so as to go apart and be externally quiet. This clearly would never work in the midst of a traffic jam, a difficult meeting, a psychotherapy session, a classroom, a car filled with boisterous children, etc. If the quiet cannot be internalized so that one knows that Jesus or the Holy Spirit is always present in the mind, then the actual meditation has been of little use. Rather, students should aim at generalizing these quiet times to all times, learning how accessible their true Teacher is.

hostage or host

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 6, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 6

Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness

II. The Voice for God

Healing is not creating; it is reparation. The Holy Spirit promotes healing by looking beyond it to what the children of God were before healing was needed, and will be when they have been healed. This alteration of the time sequence should be quite familiar, because it is very similar to the shift in the perception of time that the miracle introduces. The Holy Spirit is the motivation for miracle-mindedness; the decision to heal the separation by letting it go. Your will is still in you because God placed it in your mind, and although you can keep it asleep you cannot obliterate it. God Himself keeps your will alive by transmitting it from His Mind to yours as long as there is time. The miracle itself is a reflection of this union of will between Father and Son.

The Holy Spirit is the spirit of joy. He is the Call to return with which God blessed the minds of His separated Sons. This is the vocation of the mind. The mind had no calling until the separation, because before that it had only being, and would not have understood the call to right thinking. The Holy Spirit is God’s Answer to the separation; the means by which the Atonement heals until the whole mind returns to creating.

The principle of Atonement and the separation began at the same time. When the ego was made, God placed in the mind the Call to joy. This Call is so strong that the ego always dissolves at Its sound. That is why you must choose to hear one of two voices within you. One you made yourself, and that one is not of God. But the other is given you by God, Who asks you only to listen to it. The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense. His is the Voice that calls you back to where you were before and will be again. It is possible even in this world to hear only that Voice and no other. It takes effort and great willingness to learn. It is the final lesson that I learned, and God’s Sons are as equal as learners as they are as sons.

You are the Kingdom of Heaven, but you have let the belief in darkness enter your mind and so you need a new light. The Holy Spirit is the radiance that you must let banish the idea of darkness. His is the glory before which dissociation falls away, and the Kingdom of Heaven breaks through into its own. Before the separation you did not need guidance. You knew as you will know again, but as you do not know now.

God does not guide, because He can share only perfect knowledge. Guidance is evaluative, because it implies there is a right way and also a wrong way, one to be chosen and the other to be avoided. By choosing one you give up the other. The choice for the Holy Spirit is the choice for God. God is not in you in a literal sense; you are part of Him. When you chose to leave Him He gave you a Voice to speak for Him, because He could no longer share His knowledge with you without hindrance. Direct communication was broken because you had made another voice.

The Holy Spirit calls you both to remember and to forget. You have chosen to be in a state of opposition in which opposites are possible. As a result, there are choices you must make. In the holy state the will is free, so that its creative power is unlimited and choice is meaningless. Freedom to choose is the same power as freedom to create, but its application is different. Choosing depends on a split mind. The Holy Spirit is one way of choosing. God did not leave His children comfortless, even though they chose to leave Him. The voice they put in their minds was not the Voice for His Will, for which the Holy Spirit speaks.

The Voice of the Holy Spirit does not command, because it is incapable of arrogance. It does not demand, because It does not seek control. It does not overcome, because It does not attack. It merely reminds. It is compelling only because of what it reminds you of. It brings to your mind the other way, remaining quiet even in the midst of the turmoil you may make. The Voice for God is always quiet, because It speaks of peace. Peace is stronger than war because it heals. War is division, not increase. No one gains from strife. What profiteth it a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? If you listen to the wrong voice you have lost sight of your soul. You cannot lose it, but you can not know it. It is therefore ‘lost’ to you until you choose right.

The Holy Spirit is your Guide in choosing. He is in the part of your mind that always speaks for the right choice, because He speaks for God. He is your remaining communication with God, which you can interrupt but cannot destroy. The Holy Spirit is the way in which God’s Will is done on earth as it is in Heaven. Both Heaven and earth are in you, because the call of both is in your mind. The Voice for God comes from your own altars to Him. These altars are not things; they are devotions. Yet you have other devotions now. Your divided devotion has given you the two voices, and you must choose at which altar you want to serve. The call you answer now is an evaluation because it is a decision. The decision is very simple. It is made on the basis of which call is worth more to you.

My mind will always be like yours, because we were created as equals. It was only my decision that gave me all power in Heaven and earth. My only gift to you is to help you make the same decision. This decision is the choice to share it, because the decision itself is the decision to share. It is made by giving, and is therefore the one choice that resembles true creation. I am your model for decision. By deciding for God I showed you that this decision can be made, and that you can make it.

I have assured you that the Mind that decided for me is also in you, and that you can let it change you just as it changed me. This Mind is unequivocal, because it hears only one voice and answers in only one way. You are the light of the world with me. Rest does not come from sleeping but from waking. The Holy Spirit is the call to awaken and be glad. The world is very tired, because it is the idea of weariness. Our task is the joyous one of waking it to the Call for God. Everyone will answer the Call of the Holy Spirit, or the Sonship cannot be as one. What better vocation could there be for any part of the Kingdom than to restore it to the perfect integration that can make it whole? Hear only this through the Holy Spirit within you, and teach your brothers to listen as I am teaching you.

When you are tempted by the wrong voice, call on me to remind you how to heal by sharing my decision and making it stronger. As we share this goal, we increase its power to attract the whole Sonship, and to bring it back into the oneness in which it was created. Remember that ‘yoke’ means ‘join together’, and ‘burden’ means ‘message’. Let us restate ‘My yoke is easy and my burden light’ in this way; ‘Let us join together, for my message is Light’.

I have enjoined you to behave as I behaved, but we must respond to the same Mind to do this. This Mind is the Holy Spirit, Whose Will is for God always. He teaches you how to keep me as the model for your thought, and to behave like me as a result. The power of our joint motivation is beyond belief, but not beyond accomplishment. What we can accomplish together has no limits, because the Call for God is the Call to the unlimited. Child of God, my message is for you, to hear and give away as you answer the Holy Spirit within you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 6

Lesson 37

My holiness blesses the world.

1. This idea contains the first glimmerings of your true function in the world, or why you are here. Your purpose is to see the world through your own holiness. Thus are you and the world blessed together. No one loses; nothing is taken away from any­one; everyone gains through your holy vision. It signifies the end of sacrifice because it offers everyone his full due. And he is entitled to everything because it is his birthright as a Son of God.

2. There is no other way in which the idea of sacrifice can be removed from the world’s thinking. Any other way of seeing will inevitably demand payment of someone or something. As a result, the perceiver will lose. Nor will he have any idea why he is losing. Yet is his wholeness restored to his awareness through your vision. Your holiness blesses him by asking nothing of him. Those who see themselves as whole make no demands.

3. Your holiness is the salvation of the world. It lets you teach the world that it is one with you, not by preaching to it, not by telling it anything, but merely by your quiet recognition that in your holiness are all things blessed along with you.

4. Today’s four longer exercise periods, each to involve three to five minutes of practice, begin with the repetition of the idea for today, followed by a minute or so of looking about you as you apply the idea to whatever you see:

My holiness blesses this chair.
My holiness blesses that window.
My holiness blesses this body.

Then close your eyes and apply the idea to any person who occurs to you, using his name and saying:

My holiness blesses you, [name].

5. You may continue the practice period with your eyes closed; you may open your eyes again and apply the idea for today to your outer world if you so desire; you may alternate between applying the idea to what you see around you and to those who are in your thoughts; or you may use any combination of these two phases of application that you prefer. The practice period should conclude with a repetition of the idea with your eyes closed, and another, following immediately, with your eyes open.

6. The shorter exercises consist of repeating the idea as often as you can. It is particularly helpful to apply it silently to anyone you meet, using his name as you do so. It is essential to use the idea if anyone seems to cause an adverse reaction in you. Offer him the blessing of your holiness immediately, that you may learn to keep it in your own awareness.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What does A Course in Miracles mean by forgiving your brother? What if he does not accept the forgiveness, or is no longer physically present? Does this mean I can no longer forgive him? 

A) Our answer is a continuation of the answer to the previous question. We are asked in the Course to forgive others for what they have not done to us. This is understood only by remembering that there is in truth no one out there to forgive. What we really forgive (or release) are the projections of guilt we have placed upon figures in our dreams that we scripted to be our special love or special hate partners.  Therefore, it does not matter if these persons are physically present, know us personally, or even if they have already died. They continue to be present in our minds through our unforgiving thoughts, and the opportunity to ask for help to forgive these thoughts and projected images always remains. 

The effects of our forgiveness are also fully present in our minds, joined with the minds of others. If other people choose not to accept our forgiveness in their dreams, the healed thought in our minds is no less efficacious. As the Course teaches, the Holy Spirit holds this forgiveness in the minds of the others until they are ready to accept it. That is the process Jesus is referring to as well when he says to us in the Course: 

I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance.  They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt (T-5.IV.8:3-5).

Likewise, he saves our loving thoughts towards others, and holds them until they are ready to accept them for themselves. 

I Have Nothing Else

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 5, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 5

Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness

I. The Invitation to the Holy Spirit

Healing is a thought by which two minds perceive their oneness and become glad. This gladness calls to every part of the Sonship to rejoice with them, and lets God go out into them and through them. Only the healed mind can experience revelation with lasting effect, because revelation is an experience of pure joy. If you do not choose to be wholly joyous, your mind cannot have what it does not choose to be. Remember that spirit knows no difference between having and being. The higher mind thinks according to the laws spirit obeys, and therefore honours only the laws of God. To spirit getting is meaningless and giving is all. Having everything, spirit holds everything by giving it, and thus creates as the Father created. While this kind of thinking is totally alien to having things, even to the lower mind it is quite comprehensible in connection with ideas. If you share a physical possession, you do divide its ownership. If you share an idea, however, you do not lessen it. All of it is still yours although all of it has been given away. Further, if the one to whom you give it accepts it as his, he reinforces it in your mind and thus increases it. If you can accept the concept that the world is one of ideas, the whole belief in the false association the ego makes between giving and losing is gone.

Let us start our process of reawakening with just a few simple concepts:

Thoughts increase by being given away.
The more who believe in them the stronger they become.
Everything is an idea.
How, then, can giving and losing be associated?

This is the invitation to the Holy Spirit. I have said already that I can reach up and bring the Holy Spirit down to you, but I can bring Him to you only at your own invitation. The Holy Spirit is in your right mind, as He was in mine. The Bible says, ‘May the mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus’, and uses this as a blessing. It is the blessing of miracle-mindedness. It asks that you may think as I thought, joining with me in Christ thinking.

The Holy Spirit is the only part of the Holy Trinity that has a symbolic function. He is referred to as the Healer, the Comforter and the Guide. He is also described as something ‘separate’, apart from the Father and from the Son. I myself said, ‘If I go I will send you another Comforter and He will abide with you’. His symbolic function makes the Holy Spirit difficult to understand, because symbolism is open to different interpretations. As a man and also one of God’s creations, my right thinking, which came from the Holy Spirit or the Universal Inspiration, taught me first and foremost that this Inspiration is for all. I could not have It myself without knowing this. The word ‘know’ is proper in this context, because the Holy Spirit is so close to knowledge that He calls it forth; or better, allows it to come. I have spoken before of the higher or ‘true’ perception, which is so near to truth that God Himself can flow across the little gap. Knowledge is always ready to flow everywhere, but it cannot oppose. Therefore you can obstruct it, although you can never lose it.

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.

God honoured even the miscreations of His children because they had made them. But He also blessed His children with a way of thinking that could raise their perceptions so high they could reach almost back to Him. The Holy Spirit is the Mind of the Atonement. He represents a state of mind close enough to One-mindedness that transfer to it is at last possible. Perception is not knowledge, but it can be transferred to knowledge, or cross over into it. It might even be more helpful here to use the literal meaning of transferred or ‘carried over’, since the last step is taken by God.

The Holy Spirit, the shared Inspiration of all the Sonship, induces a kind of perception in which many elements are like those in the Kingdom of Heaven itself:

First, its universality is perfectly clear, and no one who attains it could believe for one instant that sharing it involves anything but gain.

Second, it is incapable of attack and is therefore truly open. This means that although it does not engender knowledge, it does not obstruct it in any way.

Finally, it points the way beyond the healing that it brings, and leads the mind beyond its own integration toward the paths of creation. It is at this point that sufficient quantitative change occurs to produce a real qualitative shift.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 5

Lesson 36

My holiness envelops everything I see.

1. Today’s idea extends the idea for yesterday from the perceiver to the perceived. You are holy because your mind is part of God’s. And because you are holy, your sight must be holy as well. “Sinless” means without sin. You cannot be without sin a little. You are sinless or not. If your mind is part of God’s you must be sinless, or a part of His Mind would be sinful. Your sight is related to His Holiness, not to your ego, and therefore not to your body.

2. Four three-to-five-minute practice periods are required for today. Try to distribute them fairly evenly, and make the shorter applications frequently, to protect your protection throughout the day. The longer practice periods should take this form:

3. First, close your eyes and repeat the idea for today several times, slowly. Then open your eyes and look quite slowly about you, applying the idea specifically to whatever you note in your casual survey. Say, for example:

My holiness envelops that rug.
My holiness envelops that wall.
My holiness envelops these fingers.
My holiness envelops that chair.
My holiness envelops that body.
My holiness envelops this pen.

Several times during these practice periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea to yourself. Then open your eyes, and continue as before.

4. For the shorter exercise periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea; look about you as you repeat it again; and conclude with one more repetition with your eyes closed. All applications should, of course, be made quite slowly, as effortlessly and unhurriedly as possible.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What does A Course in Miracles mean by “releasing your brother”? How can I save him if the world is an hallucination in my mind?

A) The reader should recall our earlier discussion in question 5 of Jesus’ use of metaphor in the Course.  In other words, students of A Course in Miracles need to allow themselves to be led beyond the form of its words to their underlying content. This is a process that occurs slowly over time, beginning with a more literal understanding of the Course’s teachings. At first, therefore, phrases like “releasing your brother,” or parallel ones about being your brother’s savior, or the workbook emphasis on being the light of the world, help students undo their negative self-image such as is summarized in workbook
Lesson 93:

You think you are the home of evil, darkness and sin. You think if anyone could see the truth about you he would be repelled, recoiling from you as if from a poisonous snake. You think if what is true about you were revealed to you, you would be struck with horror so intense that you would rush to death by your own hand, living on after seeing this being impossible (W-pl.93.1).

It is a healing correction to be told that our thoughts about ourselves are not true, and that not only are we loved by God as an extension of His Will (as the rest of the lesson makes clear) but that we have the power to heal and bless others as well. It is only as we progress in our work with A Course in Miracles that it becomes clear that the process of “releasing” one’s brother has nothing to do with our brother, but everything to do with ourselves. Indeed, this process of forgiveness can have nothing to do with our brother because in truth it is our dream, and he is but a figure in this dream. In one rather strong passage, Jesus asks his students:

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

In other words, our world and lives are our dreams, just as our sleeping dreams — with all their figures and events — are present only in our dreaming minds that in a sense are but hallucinations, too. Moreover, since the content of the ego’s dream is fear, hate, victimization, and unforgiveness, all dream figures will have the above themes scripted throughout the dreaming we call “life.” Therefore, there is no one to forgive because, again, all the people in our lives are simply made-up figures in our dreams. Who needs to be forgiven is ourselves — for dreaming in the first place instead of remembering our Identity as Christ, awake in God.

Our function of “releasing our brothers” through forgiveness relates to a function and process that truly occurs only within our minds — the home of dreams — although it is experienced by us as occurring between two separated individuals. By choosing Jesus as our teacher instead of the ego, by listening to his voice of forgiveness instead of the ego’s voice of attack, we join with him as expressions of the Alternative that is in everyone’s mind. And thus we become the reminders to our brothers that they can make the same choice we did, and thus be released from their guilt since we both scripted each other into our respective dreams. Therefore, we can choose either to be symbols of guilt or forgiveness for one another. This process of healing through forgiveness is summarized in this wonderfully clear passage from the manual for teachers, which discusses the role of the teacher of God when confronted by sickness:

To them [the sick] God’s teachers come, to represent another choice which they had forgotten. The simple presence of a teacher of God is a reminder … They stand for the Alternative. With God’s Word in their minds they come in benediction, not to heal the sick but to remind them of the remedy God has already given them…. Very gently they call to their brothers to turn away from death: “Behold, you Son of God, what Life can offer you. Would you choose sickness in place of this?” (M-5.III.2:1-2,6-7,11-12)

Therefore, we save the world and everyone in it by saving or changing our thoughts about the world. By releasing ourselves from our own guilt, we release the world because we are one with it, since it is our projection. That is what the Course means by saying that we “arose with him [Jesus] when he began to save the world” (C-6.5:5). Our minds are one, and Jesus’ remaining one with the Holy Spirit becomes the shining reminder in the Sonship’s mind to do the same. Our making that choice allows us to be Jesus’ manifestation to our brothers, just as he is the Holy Spirit’s manifestation for us all (C-6.5:1-2). It is this call to remember and to choose that is the true release that heals.

the way to god

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 4, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 4

Chapter 5

HEALING AND WHOLENESS

Introduction

To heal is to make happy. I have told you to think how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many you have refused. This is the same as telling you that you have refused to heal yourself. The light that belongs to you is the light of joy. Radiance is not associated with sorrow. Joy calls forth an integrated willingness to share it, and promotes the mind’s natural impulse to respond as one. Those who attempt to heal without being wholly joyous themselves call forth different kinds of responses at the same time, and thus deprive others of the joy of responding wholeheartedly.

To be wholehearted you must be happy. If fear and love cannot coexist, and if it is impossible to be wholly fearful and remain alive, the only possible whole state is that of love. There is no difference between love and joy. Therefore, the only possible whole state is the wholly joyous. To heal or to make joyous is therefore the same as to integrate and to make one. That is why it makes no difference to what part or by what part of the Sonship the healing is offered. Every part benefits, and benefits equally.

You are being blessed by every beneficent thought of any of your brothers anywhere. You should want to bless them in return, out of gratitude. You need not know them individually, or they you. The light is so strong that it radiates throughout the Sonship and returns thanks to the Father for radiating His joy upon it. Only God’s holy children are worthy channels of His beautiful joy, because only they are beautiful enough to hold it by sharing it. It is impossible for a child of God to love his neighbour except as himself. That is why the healer’s prayer is:

Let me know this brother as I know myself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 4

Lesson 35

My mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.

1. Today’s idea does not describe the way you see yourself now. It does, however, describe what vision will show you. It is difficult for anyone who thinks he is in this world to believe this of himself. Yet the reason he thinks he is in this world is because he does not believe it.

2. You will believe that you are part of where you think you are. That is because you surround yourself with the environment you want. And you want it to protect the image of yourself that you have made. The image is part of this environment. What you see while you believe you are in it is seen through the eyes of the image. This is not vision. Images cannot see.

3. The idea for today presents a very different view of yourself. By establishing your Source it establishes your Identity, and it describes you as you must really be in truth. We will use a some­what different kind of application for today’s idea because the emphasis for today is on the perceiver, rather than on what he perceives.

4. For each of the three five-minute practice periods today, begin by repeating today’s idea to yourself, and then close your eyes and search your mind for the various kinds of descriptive terms in which you see yourself. Include all the ego-based attributes which you ascribe to yourself, positive or negative, desirable or undesirable, grandiose or debased. All of them are equally unreal, because you do not look upon yourself through the eyes of holiness.

5. In the earlier part of the mind-searching period, you will prob­ably emphasize what you consider to be the more negative aspects of your perception of yourself. Toward the latter part of the exercise period, however, more self-inflating descriptive terms may well cross your mind. Try to recognize that the direction of your fantasies about yourself does not matter. Illusions have no direction in reality. They are merely not true.

6. A suitable unselected list for applying the idea for today might be as follows:

I see myself as imposed on.
I see myself as depressed.
I see myself as failing.
I see myself as endangered.
I see myself as helpless.
I see myself as victorious.
I see myself as losing out.
I see myself as charitable.
I see myself as virtuous.

7. You should not think of these terms in an abstract way. They will occur to you as various situations, personalities and events in which you figure cross your mind. Pick up any specific situ­ation that occurs to you, identify the descriptive term or terms you feel are applicable to your reactions to that situation, and use them in applying today’s idea. After you have named each one, add:

But my mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.

8. During the longer exercise periods, there will probably be intervals in which nothing specific occurs to you. Do not strain to think up specific things to fill the interval, but merely relax and repeat today’s idea slowly until something occurs to you. Al­though nothing that does occur should be omitted from the exercises, nothing should be “dug out” with effort. Neither force nor discrimination should be used.

9. As often as possible during the day, pick up a specific attribute or attributes you are ascribing to yourself at the time and apply the idea for today to them, adding the idea in the form stated above to each of them. If nothing particular occurs to you, merely repeat the idea to yourself, with closed eyes.

 

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) How does one tell the difference between the Holy Spirit and the ego?

A) We begin with a statement from the Course. It comes in “The Test of Truth” in Chapter 14 of the text, and is the answer to this question, given in the context of discerning between the “dark lessons” of the ego and the “bright lessons” of the Holy Spirit:

You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true.  [1 ] If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and [2] if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson, and not your own (T-14.XI.5:1-2).

In other words, Jesus is providing his students with two criteria with which to evaluate whether they have chosen the ego or himself as their teacher. The first deals only with individual students, whether or not they are at peace. The second involves other people, those who live and work with us, not to mention everyone else.  We all would have to admit that it is relatively simple to delude ourselves into thinking we have chosen the Holy Spirit, when in truth we have chosen our own specialness. But it is more difficult to fool other people, especially those who know us well and who see us regularly over periods of time. Incidentally, students of A Course in Miracles sometimes wonder if that second criterion would have to exclude Jesus, since obviously the biblical figure (who, by the way, should never be taken for the historical Jesus — see question 52 ) was crucified by angry people who quite clearly did not “share in [his] perfect peace.” However, one should understand this situation to mean that people may experience your perfect peace, but may be so threatened by it that they try to attack it and you. But they could not be doing so had they not first experienced this peace as authentic, and thenbecome threatened by it.

This test of truth is applicable to students over the long run because, again, it is difficult to fool others and even oneself over a period of time. However, in any given instant when one wishes to know which teacher has been consulted, it is almost impossible to know for certain. As all students of A Course in Miracles already know, and as we have already commented, the ego can quite deceptively pose like the Holy Spirit. Given the tremendous investment all people in this world have in maintaining their specialness, it should come as no surprise that this would be so. In this very important passage, Jesus cautions his students about underestimating the power their specialness has to mask the Holy Spirit’s Voice. It is from one of the major sections in the text that deals specifically with the treacherous nature of specialness:

You are not special. If you think you are, and would defend your specialness against the truth of what you really are, how can you know the truth? What answer that the Holy Spirit gives can reach you, when it is your specialness to which you listen, and which asks and answers. Its tiny answer, soundless in the melody that pours from God to you eternally in loving praise of what you are, is all you listen to. And that vast song of honor and of love for what you are seems silent and unheard before its “mightiness.  ” You strain your ears to hear its soundless voice, and yet the Call of God Himself is soundless to you.You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it (T-24.II.4:1-5:1, italics ours).

Therefore, our response to this question is to state, that because of students’ over-identification with their egos, it is really the wrong question to ask. Rather, the focus should be on eliminating the interference to hearing the Holy Spirit’s Voice, which would then simply allow the Voice for God to be Itself. Thus, the question should be: “Why don’t I practice the forgiveness lessons the Holy Spirit asks me to do so that I can better hear His Voice?”  With this new question, the focus is now shifted to eliminating the problem so that the Answer can be given us.  As Jesus exhorts his students:

Your task is not to seek for love [or hear the Holy Spirit’s Voice], but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false (T-I6.IV.6:1-2).

And returning to “The Test of Truth,” we find Jesus making the same point to his students who despair over being able to actually hear the Holy Spirit, given the strength of their investment in their ego’s “dark lessons”:

Do not be concerned about how you can learn a lesson so completely different from everything that you have taught yourself. How would you know? Your part is very simple.  You need only recognize that everything you learned you do not want. Ask to be taught, and do not use your experiences to confirm what you have learned. When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself:

I do not know what anything, including this, means. 
And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will 
not use my own past learning as the light to guide me
now.

By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you will speak to you. He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it, and offer it to Him (T-14.XI.6).

The primary focus of Jesus’ Course is always on removing the interferences to the awareness of love’s presence (T-in.1:7), and not on the love itself. And so, once again, the students’ focus will remain on asking Jesus’ help to set aside their ego thought system, rather than on asking him directly for help or guidance with things in the world. Finally, we cite one important passage in the text that underscores this major emphasis:

The task of the miracle worker … becomes to deny the denial of truth (T-12.II.1:5).

The “denial of truth” is of course the ego thought system, which denies the truth of God. Our responsibility is to ask the Holy Spirit’s help to “deny” the validity of what the ego teaches, hereby affirming His truth of the Atonement.

forgiveness is still

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 3, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 3

Chapter 4 ~ The Illusions of the Ego

VII. Creation and Communication

It is clear that while the content of any particular ego illusion does not matter, its correction is more helpful in a specific context. Ego illusions are quite specific, although the mind is naturally abstract. Part of the mind becomes concrete, however, when it splits. The concrete part believes in the ego, because the ego depends on the concrete. The ego is the part of the mind that believes your existence is defined by separation.

Everything the ego perceives is a separate whole, without the relationships that imply being. The ego is thus against communication, except insofar as it is utilised to establish separateness rather than to abolish it. The communication system of the ego is based on its own thought system, as is everything else it dictates. Its communication is controlled by its need to protect itself, and it will disrupt communication when it experiences threat. This disruption is a reaction to a specific person or persons. The specificity of the ego’s thinking, then, results in spurious generalisation which is really not abstract at all. It merely responds in certain specific ways to everything it perceives as related.

In contrast, spirit reacts in the same way to everything it knows is true, and does not respond at all to anything else. Nor does it make any attempt to establish what is true. It knows that what is true is everything that God created. It is in complete and direct communication with every aspect of creation, because it is in complete and direct communication with its Creator. This communication is the Will of God. Creation and communication are synonymous. God created every mind by communicating His Mind to it, thus establishing it forever as a channel for the reception of His Mind and Will. Since only beings of a like order can truly communicate, His creations naturally communicate with Him and like Him. This communication is perfectly abstract, since its quality is universal in application and not subject to any judgement, any exception or any alteration. God created you by this and for this. The mind can distort its function, but it cannot endow itself with functions it was not given. That is why the mind cannot totally lose the ability to communicate, even though it may refuse to utilise it on behalf of being.

Existence as well as being rest on communication. Existence, however, is specific in how, what and with whom communication is judged to be worth undertaking. Being is completely without these distinctions. It is a state in which the mind is in communication with everything that is real. To whatever extent you permit this state to be curtailed you are limiting your sense of your own reality, which becomes total only by recognising all reality in the glorious context of its real relationship to you. This is your reality. Do not desecrate it or recoil from it. It is your real home, your real temple and your real Self.

God, Who encompasses all being, created beings who have everything individually, but who want to share it to increase their joy. Nothing real can be increased except by sharing. That is why God created you. Divine Abstraction takes joy in sharing. That is what creation means. ‘How’, ‘what’ and ‘to whom’ are irrelevant, because real creation gives everything, since it can create only like itself. Remember that in the Kingdom there is no difference between having and being, as there is in existence. In the state of being the mind gives everything always.

The Bible repeatedly states that you should praise God. This hardly means that you should tell Him how wonderful He is. He has no ego with which to accept such praise, and no perception with which to judge it. But unless you take your part in the creation, His joy is not complete because yours is incomplete. And this He does know. He knows it in His Own Being and its experience of His Son’s experience. The constant going out of His Love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him.

God has kept your kingdom for you, but He cannot share His joy with you until you know it with your whole mind. Revelation is not enough, because it is only communication from God. God does not need revelation returned to Him, which would clearly be impossible, but He does want it brought to others. This cannot be done with the actual revelation; its content cannot be expressed, because it is intensely personal to the mind that receives it. It can, however, be returned by that mind to other minds, through the attitudes the knowledge from the revelation brings.

God is praised whenever any mind learns to be wholly helpful. This is impossible without being wholly harmless, because the two beliefs must coexist. The truly helpful are invulnerable, because they are not protecting their egos and so nothing can hurt them. Their helpfulness is their praise of God, and He will return their praise of Him because they are like Him, and they can rejoice together. God goes out to them and through them, and there is great joy throughout the Kingdom. Every mind that is changed adds to this joy with its individual willingness to share in it. The truly helpful are God’s miracle workers, whom I direct until we are all united in the joy of the Kingdom. I will direct you to wherever you can be truly helpful, and to whoever can follow my guidance through you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 3

Lesson 34

I could see peace instead of this.

1. The idea for today begins to describe the conditions that prevail in the other way of seeing. Peace of mind is clearly an inter­nal matter. It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises.

2. Three longer practice periods are required for today’s exercises. One in the morning and one in the evening are advised, with an additional one to be undertaken at any time in between that seems most conducive to readiness. All applications should be done with your eyes closed. It is your inner world to which the applications of today’s idea should be made.

3. Some five minutes of mind searching are required for each of the longer practice periods. Search your mind for fear thoughts, anxiety-provoking situations, “offending” personalities or events, or anything else about which you are harboring unloving thoughts. Note them all casually, repeating the idea for today slowly as you watch them arise in your mind, and let each one go, to be replaced by the next.

4. If you begin to experience difficulty in thinking of specific subjects, continue to repeat the idea to yourself in an unhurried man­ner, without applying it to anything in particular. Be sure, however, not to make any specific exclusions.

5. The shorter applications are to be frequent, and made when­ever you feel your peace of mind is threatened in any way. The purpose is to protect yourself from temptation throughout the day. If a specific form of temptation arises in your awareness, the exercise should take this form:

I could see peace in this situation instead of what I now see in it.

6. If the inroads on your peace of mind take the form of more generalized adverse emotions, such as depression, anxiety or worry, use the idea in its original form. If you find you need more than one application of today’s idea to help you change your mind in any specific context, try to take several minutes and devote them to repeating the idea until you feel some sense of relief. It will help you if you tell yourself specifically:

I can replace my feelings of depression, anxiety or worry [or my thoughts about this situation, personality or event] with peace.


***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Is it a bad sign if I do not “hear” an inner Voice? Does that mean that I am not being a good student of A Course in Miracles?

A) In actuality, within the dream there are literally two “inner voices,”– one of the wrong mind (the ego) and that of the right mind (the Holy Spirit), and the differences between them, as we have already seen, cannot be as easily discerned as students might hope and believe. In order to maintain its individuality and uniqueness, each member of the Sonship has listened to the ego’s voice and followed its plan. A cursory view of the history of this planet, along with its current affairs, will testify and witness heavily to such a fact.

Indeed, it is not the easiest thing in the world to be able to “hear” the Voice for God, the Course’s term for the Holy Spirit. In fact, A Course in Miracles itself says that “very few can hear God’s Voice at all, and even they cannot communicate His messages directly through the Spirit which gave them” (M-12.3:3).  Our investments in specialness and the need to maintain our individuality, almost always unconscious,  make it very difficult to hear the Voice that speaks for the undoing of specialness.  In the previous question, we quoted a passage that explicitly addresses this problem. All too often, sincere students of A Course in Miracles are convinced that they are hearing the Voice of the Holy Spirit, when all they are really listening to is their own egos extolling their specialness and uniqueness, within the framework of what they want to believe is a special mission.

Another source of misunderstanding for many students of A Course in Miracles is the specific Identity of the Holy Spirit’s Voice. One does not fail the Course if a “Voice” is not heard internally as Helen heard. Furthermore, we should not try to limit how and in which way the Holy Spirit can reach us. For example, a dream at night, a conversation with a friend, an intuitive thought, a book we read, a class we take — can all be used by the Holy Spirit to present us with a correction for our wrong-minded thinking.

In conclusion, to restate this important point, we can say that the only criterion for being a “good” Course student is having the little willingness to learn the Holy Spirit’s lessons of undoing our egos through forgiveness. Specifically hearing an inner voice –again, as did Helen — can therefore be understood as irrelevant in this context.

tiny mad idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 2, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 2

Chapter 4 ~ The Illusions of the Ego

VI. The Rewards of God

The ego does not recognise the real source of ‘threat’, and if you associate yourself with the ego, you do not understand the situation as it is. Only your allegiance to it gives the ego any power over you. I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly, and must realise how much of your thinking is ego-directed. We cannot safely let it go at that, however, or you will regard yourself as necessarily conflicted as long as you are here, or as long as you believe that you are here. The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself. Your other life has continued without interruption, and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate it.

In learning to escape from illusions, your debt to your brother is something you must never forget. It is the same debt that you owe to me. Whenever you act egotistically towards another, you are throwing away the graciousness of your indebtedness and the holy perception it would produce. The term ‘holy’ can be used here because, as you learn how much you are indebted to the whole Sonship, which includes me, you come as close to knowledge as perception can. The gap is then so small that knowledge can easily flow across it and obliterate it forever.

You have very little trust in me as yet, but it will increase as you turn more and more often to me instead of to your ego for guidance. The results will convince you increasingly that this choice is the only sane one you can make. No one who learns from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs additional convincing. Learning through rewards is more effective than learning through pain, because pain is an ego illusion, and can never induce more than a temporary effect. The rewards of God, however, are immediately recognised as eternal. Since this recognition is made by you and not the ego, the recognition itself establishes that you and your ego cannot be identical. You may believe that you have already accepted this difference, but you are by no means convinced as yet. The fact that you believe you must escape from the ego shows this; but you cannot escape from the ego by humbling it or controlling it or punishing it.

The ego and the spirit do not know each other. The separated mind cannot maintain the separation except by dissociating. Having done this, it denies all truly natural impulses, not because the ego is a separate thing, but because you want to believe that you are. The ego is a device for maintaining this belief, but it is still only your decision to use the device that enables it to endure.

How can you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away? He must have thrown it away because he did not value it. You can only show him how miserable he is without it, and slowly bring it nearer so he can learn how his misery lessens as he approaches it. This teaches him to associate his misery with its absence, and the opposite of misery with its presence. It gradually becomes desirable as he changes his mind about its worth. I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit. You have taught yourself the opposite. You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?

My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way. Your mission is very simple. You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego, and I do not choose God’s channels wrongly. The Holy One shares my trust, and accepts my Atonement decisions because my will is never out of accord with His. I have said before that I am in charge of the Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man, and can now complete it through others. My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting.

I will go with you to the Holy One, and through my perception He can bridge the little gap. Your gratitude to your brother is the only gift I want. I will bring it to God for you, knowing that to know your brother is to know God. If you are grateful to your brother, you are grateful to God for what He created. Through your gratitude you come to know your brother, and one moment of real recognition makes everyone your brother because each of them is of your Father. Love does not conquer all things, but it does set all things right. Because you are the Kingdom of God I can lead you back to your own creations. You do not recognise them now, but what has been dissociated is still there.

As you come closer to a brother you approach me, and as you withdraw from him I become distant to you. Salvation is a collaborative venture. It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me. God will come to you only as you will give Him to your brothers. Learn first of them and you will be ready to hear God. That is because the function of Love is one.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 2

Lesson 33

There is another way of looking at the world.

1. Today’s idea is an attempt to recognize that you can shift your perception of the world in both its outer and inner aspects. A full five minutes should be devoted to the morning and evening ap­plications. In these practice periods, the idea should be repeated as often as you find comfortable, though unhurried applications are essential. Alternate between surveying your outer and inner perceptions, but without an abrupt sense of shifting.

2. Merely glance casually around the world you perceive as out­side yourself, then close your eyes and survey your inner thoughts with equal casualness. Try to remain equally unin­volved in both, and to maintain this detachment as you repeat the idea throughout the day.

3. The shorter exercise periods should be as frequent as possible. Specific applications of today’s idea should also be made immediately, when any situation arises which tempts you to become disturbed. For these applications, say:

There is another way of looking at this.

4. Remember to apply today’s idea the instant you are aware of distress. It may be necessary to take a minute or so to sit quietly and repeat the idea to yourself several times. Closing your eyes will probably help in this form of application.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

 Q) If I practice A Course in Miracles faithfully, will I disappear?

A) This is a very commonly expressed concern of Course students, and reflects the same confusion of levels that we have commented on earlier. Level One, which is our term for the Course’s metaphysical foundation, is uncompromising in seeing no reconciliation between truth and illusion, eternity and time. On this level, it takes no time to return to the formlessness of Heaven because we have never left it. To recall this important and previously quoted line: “You are at home in God, dreaming of exile.” Our “journey without a distance” (T-8.VI.9:7) requires no time to complete. On Level Two, however, which reflects our temporal experience within the dream, our journey home takes as long as we require. In fact, early in the text, Jesus observes that the collective end of the dream will occur over “millions” of years (T-2.VIII.2:5), certainly suggesting that he is aware of the need to undo the Son’s fear slowly and gently. Indeed, as we have already seen, many, many passages in A Course in Miracles reflect this awareness. Therefore, students should take comfort in a line like the following, which indicates that their fears of disappearing “into the Heart of God” are groundless:

Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality (T-16.VI.8:1).

The process of growth that is fostered by A Course in Miracles is always a gradual one, under the gentle and patient guidance of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Using his own words, we can speak of a “slowly evolving training program,” which is a “fairly slow process” (M-9.1:7; 2:4). Students of A Course in Miracles should beware of those who counsel them to “speed-up” this process of forgiveness. While on the larger level the spirituality of A Course in Miracles does save time, as Jesus repeatedly emphasizes, there is a quite different emphasis on the level of individual experience. There, students must proceed slowly and gently, otherwise, as indicated above, they will precipitate a panic attack. This same concern on Jesus’ part is expressed at the very end of Chapter I in the text where he urges his students to prepare themselves for the later parts of their journey, so that they will not become “too fearful” and their experiences “traumatic.”

And so, students of A Course in Miracles need not be afraid of losing their identity or individuality. As they progress in their study and practice of the Course, what they will lose will be their guilt, anxiety, depression, fear, etc., and what they will discover will be learning to “smile more frequently” (W-pI.155.1:2). The “last step,” which belongs to God whereby He reaches down and “lifts us to Himself,” does not occur until we have completed all the “little steps He asks [us to] take to Him” (W-pI.193.13:7).

In conclusion, therefore, “instant enlightenment” is not something A Course in Miracles teaches, just as the “holy relationship” and the “real world” are not achieved in one year. The spirituality of the Course is beyond the platitudes and postures that the ego mind conjures up. There is nothing in A Course in Miracles that would reinforce such misguided endeavors as instant enlightenment, achieved through being in the presence of a realized individual, instantaneous acquisitions of holy relationships, or even entering into the real world. Followers of such magical hopes will ultimately find that their efforts have come to naught, for they but reinforce more hallucinatory experiences of salvation. Indeed, it requires serious study over long years of hard work and practice to achieve the ultimate holy instant, which is the attainment of the real world.

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 1, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 1

Chapter 4 ~ The Illusions of the Ego

V. The Ego-Body Illusion

All things work together for good. There are no exceptions except in the ego’s judgement. The ego exerts maximal vigilance about what it permits into awareness, and this is not the way a balanced mind holds together. The ego is thrown further off balance because it keeps its primary motivation from your awareness, and raises control rather than sanity to predominance. The ego has every reason to do this, according to the thought system which gave rise to it and which it serves. Sane judgement would inevitably judge against the ego, and must be obliterated by the ego in the interest of its self-preservation.

A major source of the ego’s off-balanced state is its lack of discrimination between the body and the Thoughts of God. Thoughts of God are unacceptable to the ego, because they clearly point to the non-existence of the ego itself. The ego therefore either distorts them or refuses to accept them. It cannot, however, make them cease to be. It therefore tries to conceal not only ‘unacceptable’ body impulses, but also the Thoughts of God, because both are threatening to it. Being concerned primarily with its own preservation in the face of threat, the ego perceives them as the same. By perceiving them as the same, the ego attempts to save itself from being swept away, as it would surely be in the presence of knowledge.

Any thought system that confuses God and the body must be insane. Yet this confusion is essential to the ego, which judges only in terms of threat or non-threat to itself. In one sense the ego’s fear of God is at least logical, since the idea of Him does dispel the ego. But fear of the body, with which the ego identifies so closely, makes no sense at all.

The body is the ego’s home by its own election. It is the only identification with which the ego feels safe, since the body’s vulnerability is its own best argument that you cannot be of God. This is the belief that the ego sponsors eagerly. Yet the ego hates the body, because it cannot accept it as good enough to be its home. Here is where the mind becomes actually dazed. Being told by the ego that it is really part of the body and that the body is its protector, the mind is also told that the body cannot protect it. Therefore, the mind asks, ‘Where can I go for protection?’ to which the ego replies, ‘Turn to me’. The mind, and not without cause, reminds the ego that it has itself insisted that it is identified with the body, so there is no point in turning to it for protection. The ego has no real answer to this because there is none, but it does have a typical solution. It obliterates the question from the mind’s awareness. Once out of awareness the question can and does produce uneasiness, but it cannot be answered because it cannot be asked.

This is the question that must be asked: ‘Where can I go for protection?’ ‘Seek and ye shall find’ does not mean that you should seek blindly and desperately for something you would not recognise. Meaningful seeking is consciously undertaken, consciously organised and consciously directed. The goal must be formulated clearly and kept in mind. Learning and wanting to learn are inseparable. You learn best when you believe what you are trying to learn is of value to you. However, not everything you may want to learn has lasting value. Indeed, many of the things you want to learn may be chosen because their value will not last.

The ego thinks it is an advantage not to commit itself to anything that is eternal, because the eternal must come from God. Eternalness is the one function the ego has tried to develop, but has systematically failed to achieve. The ego compromises with the issue of the eternal, just as it does with all issues touching on the real question in any way. By becoming involved with tangential issues, it hopes to hide the real question and keep it out of mind. The ego’s characteristic busyness with nonessentials is for precisely that purpose. Preoccupations with problems set up to be incapable of solution are favourite ego devices for impeding learning progress. In all these diversionary tactics, however, the one question that is never asked by those who pursue them is, ‘What for?’ This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, it will direct your efforts automatically. When you make a decision of purpose, then, you have made a decision about your future effort; a decision that will remain in effect unless you change your mind.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 1

Lesson 32

I have invented the world I see.

1. Today we are continuing to develop the theme of cause and effect. You are not the victim of the world you see because you invented it. You can give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish. While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want it, it will not be there for you to see.

2. The idea for today, like the preceding ones, applies to your inner and outer worlds, which are actually the same. However, since you see them as different, the practice periods for today will again include two phases, one involving the world you see outside you, and the other the world you see in your mind. In today’s exercises, try to introduce the thought that both are in your own imagination.

3. Again we will begin the practice periods for the morning and evening by repeating the idea for today two or three times while looking around at the world you see as outside yourself. Then close your eyes and look around your inner world. Try to treat them both as equally as possible. Repeat the idea for today unhurriedly as often as you wish, as you watch the images your imagination presents to your awareness.

4. For the two longer practice periods three to five minutes are recommended, with not less than three required. More than five can be utilized, if you find the exercise restful. To facilitate this, select a time when few distractions are anticipated, and when you yourself feel reasonably ready.

5. These exercises are also to be continued during the day, as often as possible. The shorter applications consist of repeating the idea slowly, as you survey either your inner or outer world. It does not matter which you choose.

6. The idea for today should also be applied immediately to any situation that may distress you. Apply the idea by telling yourself:

I have invented this situation as I see it.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Which version of the Course should a student use for study? Is any one better than another?

The Foundation of Inner Peace’s view is that any version of the Course can bring about the mind-change and shift in perception that is the Course‘s goal. A student who is sincere in the desire to learn the inspired message of A Course in Miracles will do so with the help of their Inner Teacher, no matter which version of the Course they use. Do we believe that our Foundation edition is the form of A Course in Miracles that Jesus intended to go out into the world? Yes, we do, as did its two scribes, Helen and Bill. They fully approved the publication of the first edition. Bill studied and taught from it for the next twelve years, right up to his death in 1988.

Proponents of the other versions contend that the editing process eliminated valuable information and somehow degraded the Course‘s teaching. Some have actually counted up the number of words edited out of each edition, as if the word count were the most valid indicator of authenticity. But the question we ask every student to consider is this: After spending seven years faithfully scribing the Course according to the exacting instructions of Jesus, why would Helen and Bill suddenly decide to “reverse course,” defy His Voice and misrepresent Him in the final, fully edited edition? Doesn’t it make more sense that in the beginning Helen was anxious and new to the process and made some errors? Also, that she and Bill asked many questions about matters such as psychology and their own personal circumstances that were extensively answered, but were never intended to be part of the Course proper. This would explain why most of the significant changes from the earlier drafts are to be found in the first hundred or so pages of the Text. The majority the Text, along with the Workbook and Manual for Teachers remains practically identical across all versions.

All that said, we are well aware that the world of form is but illusion and that, as the Course itself says, “… words are but symbols of symbols.” (M-21.1:9) It is not the form that matters, but the content.

“[T]hose who seek controversy will find it. Yet those who seek clarification will find it as well.” (C-In.2:1-2)

certain as god