A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 21

ACIM Text Reading for August 21

Chapter 25

THE JUSTICE OF GOD

Introduction

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

No one who carries Christ in him can fail to recognise Him everywhere. Except in bodies. And as long as he believes he is in a body, where he thinks he is He cannot be. And so he carries Him unknowingly, and does not make Him manifest. And thus he does not recognise Him where He is. The son of man is not the risen Christ. Yet does the Son of God abide exactly where he is, and walks with him within his holiness, as plain to see as is his specialness set forth within his body.

The body needs no healing. But the mind that thinks it is a body is sick indeed! And it is here that Christ sets forth the remedy. His purpose folds the body in His light, and fills it with the holiness that shines from Him. And nothing that the body says or does but makes Him manifest. To those who know Him not it carries Him in gentleness and love, to heal their minds. Such is the mission that your brother has for you. And such it must be that your mission is for him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 21

Lesson 217

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If all this is a dream or an illusion, does that mean that the abuse I suffered as a child is unreal and should be denied or ignored? 

A) Following from the answer to the preceding question, one can understand that childhood abuse, or any victimization, is part of a larger script that came into existence with the original thought of separation, which then shattered into billions of fragments. The “me” that I experience as myself, as well as all the experiences of the life I call my own, are but one aspect of the larger script of the decision maker. Indeed, all ego scripts are but projected dreams of a world of opposites that results from the belief that we (the victimizers) could banish God and His unity (the victim) from our minds. Thus, any part of our individual lives is a congealing in form of the ego script of victim-victimizer. Moreover, I must accept responsibility that my decision maker has written a script where I would experience the pain of abuse so that I could prove that God was wrong and I was right. In other words, there is no unity of the Sonship because the thoughts of separation and victimization actually occurred. Until I can accept this fact of my dream, I will not be able to accept the correction and healing of the Holy Spirit. Most importantly, people should never deny what seems to be happening to them in their dreams, for these events become the means of helping them to awaken from the dream. Rather, they should pay careful attention to such experiences and then ask the Holy Spirit for help in becoming a happy learner, and accepting His happy dreams of correction to replace the nightmare dreams that their egos had made. 

For example, if one suffered such painful abuse as a child that all memories had been repressed and therefore rendered inaccessible to correction, some form of therapeutic intervention that allows the person to recall the early abuse can often be extremely helpful. If this is not done, the thought of fear that “protects” the thought of victimization is accorded power, and indeed continues to exercise this power in the service of maintaining the ego’s thought system of separation and pain. Therefore, as A Course in Miraclesrepeatedly emphasizes, a happy dream of forgiveness must precede the ultimate awakening, in which — still within the context of the dream of separation — a person is able to look with Jesus at the bitter symbols of the dream’s past, open them to re-examination and therefore correction. This is the meaning of the following all-important passage from the text that conveys the gentleness of Jesus’ corrective and healing love: 

Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God’s Son, and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself. So fearful is the dream, so seeming real, he could not waken to reality without the sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear, unless a gentler dream preceded his awaking, and allowed his calmer mind to welcome, not to fear, the Voice that calls with love to waken him; a gentler dream, in which his suffering was healed and where his brother was his friend. God willed he waken gently and with joy, and gave him means to waken without fear (T-27.Vll.13:3-5).

And so, any intervention that allows individuals to gain access to their fear thoughts so that they can be looked at through the eyes of Jesus’ forgiveness — a vision of non- judgment — is of help. That is why Jesus dictated to Helen the pamphlet “Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice.” Though it clearly occurs within the ego’s dream of separation, psychotherapy can nonetheless be redirected by the Holy Spirit to serve His holy purpose of undoing the dream — through reversing the dynamics of denial and projection — by reflecting in therapist and patient the joining of God and Christ that is the only truth. 

As we have stated previously, it is indeed true that metaphysically speaking one’s early childhood abuse (or anything within a dream) is an illusion, but as long as one believes it did indeed happen — otherwise there would be no fear, denial, anger, or pain — then help must be reflected in the form the person needs. To dismiss a problem as mere illusion when one still believes one is a body and personality is simply silly, and not a legitimate spiritual practice.  Such practice in denial clearly serves no one well, and Jesus did not give us a Course in denial, but one in its undoing

this is practical course

Advertisements

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 20

ACIM Text Reading for August 20

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

VII. The Meeting Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 20

Lesson 216

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

(196) It can be but myself I crucify.

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

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

 

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If all this is a dream or an illusion, or a script which is already written, what difference does it make what I do with my life?

A) While on one level A Course in Miracles does teach that this world is an illusion and that in truth our experiences here are hallucinations, on another level Jesus assures us that “it is almost impossible to deny its [the body’s] existence in this world. Those who do so are engaging in a particularly unworthy from of denial” (T-2.IV.3:10 -11). Since it was our wrong minds that wrote the script of our many “lifetimes” in this delusional hologram of hatred, it would follow that the ego’s purpose would be to reinforce belief in the seeming reality of our experience here, which reflects our belief in the reality of our separation from God. And nothing serves this purpose better than the defense of denial, which makes the thoughts of guilt and fear so unacceptably real that they need to be repressed and never looked at again.  This ensures that the thought of separation remains real within the split mind, safe and protected” from the Holy Spirit. 

A Course in Miracles presents us with a choice between two ways of living in this dream world, which is the only true choice remaining to us within the dream. As we implied earlier, the Course teaches that we have a split mind which is really tripartite in structure: 1) a wrong mind that holds the ego thought system in place, and even though it appears that we have choices within the wrong mind, Jesus unequivocally states that to believe that there is a choice in the thought system of the ego is delusional and self-deceptive; 2) a right mind which is the home of the Holy Spirit, and holds a correction for each misthought or miscreation of the ego thought system; and 3) the part of the mind that chooses between the ego and the Holy Spirit, which we refer to as the decision maker. Therefore, our only true choice and freedom within the illusory dream of separation is to choose our right minds, allowing our wrong minds to be undone. We shall return to this important point in a later question. 

Consequently, A Course in Miracles instructs us that the only purpose the world holds is for us to choose the forgiveness script. The Holy Spirit offers us a correction for the ego’s nightmare dreams of guilt and attack, wherein the world becomes a classroom in which we can learn the lessons of forgiveness. In this way, the guilt we made that ultimately brought about the making of the body and the world is undone.  Simply indulging the ego’s fantasies under the justification that “It doesn’t matter anyway” would make these desires real (otherwise why indulge them?), and root one still further in the ego’s dream of guilt. Such self-indulgence could include acting out repressed desires such as murder, theft, deception, anger, sexual exploitation, etc., or on the other hand, giving way to thoughts of meaninglessness, depression, and even suicide. And thus the above question — “What difference does it make what I do with my life?” — can be understood from a totally different perspective. This is a perspective that gives great meaning to our lives, for it states: “I have a choice to make: which dream do I choose to follow; to which dream will I be loyal?” 

In summary then, we see that on the metaphysical level, everything we do — not to mention our personal identity — is an illusion. However, on the level of the dream, where we most certainly believe we are, our lives make a tremendous difference; not so much in terms of what we do, but with whom we do it. Only by choosing Jesus or the Holy Spirit as our teacher, guide, and friend can we undo the cause of our remaining asleep and dreaming dreams which are rooted in the belief in the reality of the separation from our Source, and from each other. We cannot change the script, which is already written and has indeed been undone.  But we can change from the ego’s script to the Holy Spirit’s. Helping us to accomplish this is the purpose of  A Course in Miracles

infinite patience

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 19

ACIM Text Reading for August 19

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

VI. Salvation from Fear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 19

Lesson 215

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does enlightenment or resurrection mean freedom from the body? 

A) No, because the mind is not imprisoned in the body, but only in its own decision to identify with the ego thought system; hence, enlightenment can be understood as awakening from the dream, a process occurring only on the level of the mind. As the Course says: “Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all” (W-pI.188.1:4). Therefore, it can be understood as the acceptance of ourselves as God created us, and the recognition that no change is necessary because in truth the separation from God never occurred. This recognition is what A Course in Miracles means by accepting the Atonement for oneself. Moreover, the Course’s definition of resurrection is the awakening from the ego’s dream of death, as is seen in the manual’s answer to the question, “What is the resurrection?” where the process of “overcoming” death is clearly placed in the mind, since death has nothing to do with the body: 

Very simply, the resurrection is the overcoming or surmounting of death. It is a reawakening or a rebirth; a change of mind about the  meaning of the world. It is the acceptance of the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the world’s purpose; the acceptance of the Atonement  for oneself. It is the end of dreams of misery, and the glad awareness of the Holy Spirit’s final dream…. The resurrection is the denial of death, being the assertion of life. Thus is all the thinking of the world reversed entirely (M-28.1:1-4; 2:1-2; italics ours).

And from “The Message of the Crucifixion” in Chapter 6 of the text, where Jesus speaks of himself and his importance to us as a model, we read: 

Your resurrection is your reawakening. I am the model for rebirth, but rebirth itself is merely the dawning on your mind of what is already in it. God placed it there Himself, and so it is true forever (T-6.1.7:1-3; italics ours).

The emphasis that both these passages place on the mind clearly points to it, and not the body as the site of resurrection (or the process of forgiveness). It is the split mind that is the source of all dreams, and therefore it is only there that correction is needed and can be truly efficacious. 

Therefore, one can be enlightened and still have the appearance of remaining in the body, as did Jesus for example, being fully aware that his reality was outside the dream of bodies.  Resurrection, thus, only means freedom from the belief that we actually exist within a body and are a body. It is the culmination of the process, once again, that occurs only on the level of the mind, because the ego’s dream of separation exists only there and nowhere else. Ideas always remain within their source, as Jesus frequently teaches in the Course, and so the idea of a separated world and body has never left its source in the split mind. 

 

tiny mad idea


A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 18

ACIM Text Reading for August 18

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

V. The Christ in You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 18

Lesson 214

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

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

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

 

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What happens when we die, and where do we go? Are the near-death experiences that many people report relevant to students of A Course in Miracles?

A) The “transition” to death can be likened to the following: 1) shifting from one sleeping dream to another; 2) completing the viewing of one video tape and beginning another; 3) changing channels from one television station to another at the completion of a program, or even before its completion if one so chooses; or finally 4) leaving one room and going into another, as was taught by the great 19th-century Indian sage Ramakrishna.  Since consciousness is inherent in the split mind, and not found in the brain or body (although it is experienced there), physical death is but an illusion of an end to one’s mental state, which is retained at death. Despite this thought of separation being projected onto the body, it still remains within its source: the wrong mind. Therefore, one does not go anywhere at death. Returning to the analogy of changing television channels, one physically remains in the living room chair, even though one’s attention has shifted from the location seen on one television channel to another.

Moreover, it is important to realize that what we call death does not bring about a state of enlightenment or peace. If one does not complete the letting go of the ego’s thought system in its entirety, thereby letting go of the wrong mind, enlightenment or resurrection cannot be attainable. In fact, Jesus specifically cautions against such an escapist view of death:

What could you choose between but life or death, waking or sleeping, peace or war, your dreams or your reality? There is a risk of thinking death is peace, because the world equates the body with the Self which God created. Yet a thing can never be its opposite. And death is opposite to peace, because it is the opposite of life. And life is peace. Awaken [the meaning of resurrection] and forget all thoughts of death, and you will find you have the peace of God (T-27.VII.10:1-6; italics ours).

A recent variation of this belief that physical death brings freedom or release from the body is found in many people’s “near-death” experiences, and questions about these experiences often are raised during our classes and workshops. The reports usually include the person’s experience of leaving the body and proceeding through a dark tunnel to a circle or being of light, often identified as Jesus. This all-loving and gentle presence sometimes reviews the life with the person, and then “sends” the person back to complete lessons, accept certain responsibilities, or assume an important function (always a favorite of the ego’s specialness needs).

It is not for anyone to judge these near-death experiences, and it would be foolish to deny the very positive effects such experiences have had for people. However, one cancomment on the “theology” of such experiences and the conclusions drawn from them about the meaning of life, death, and the so-called after-life, or “life after life.”

The reader must keep in mind that A Course in Miracles states quite clearly that the mind is not in the body, though it certainly can appear otherwise. For example, from the workbook:

The mind can think it sleeps, but that is all. It cannot change what is its waking state.  It cannot make a body, nor abide within a body. What is alien to the mind does not exist, because it has no source….What seems to be the opposite of life is merely sleeping. When the mind elects to be what it is not [the body], and to assume an alien power which it does not have, a foreign state [the body] it cannot enter, or a false condition not within its Source, it merely seems to go to sleep a while. It dreams of time; an interval in which what seems to happen never has occurred, the changes wrought are substanceless, and all events are nowhere. When the mind awakes, it but continues as it always was (W-pI.167.6:1-4; 9; italics ours).

And from “Beyond the Body” in the text:

The home of vengeance [the body] is not yours; the place you set aside to house your hate is not a prison, but an illusion of yourself. The body is a limit imposed on the universal communication that is an eternal property of mind. But the communication is internal. Mind reaches to itself. It is not made up of different parts, which reach each other. It does not go out. Within itself it has no limits, and there is nothing outside it. It encompasses everything.  It encompasses you entirely; you within it and it within you. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever (T-I 8.VI.8:2-11; italics ours in sentences 5,7).

Therefore, when we consider such near-death experiences from the perspective of A Course in Miracles, we can see that they make no sense on the level of form. How can one leave one’s body, travel through a tunnel, and greet a great light, if one were never in the body in the first place? Remember that the self remains in the mind and not the body, just as a dreamer’s self is not in the dream, though parts of this self are reflected there. Again, this is not to deny or invalidate a personal experience, but it is to say that however valid an experience is for the person, the interpretation is purely subjective and should not be taken for “objective” truth. For example, everyone experiences the sun as rising and setting every day, and many people report very significant aesthetic and even spiritual feelings associated with sunrises and sunsets. And yet, we know scientifically that the sun does not rise or set, but rather it is the earth that does the movement: rotating on its axis and revolving around the sun. The experience is contrary to the true explanation. Similarly, we all experience the earth as flat as we go through our daily lives, even though we understand intellectually that it is round. And so, one’s experience of a near-death occurrence, or of a place to which one goes upon death (or near death) does not necessarily mean that what is understood as the experience is what truly is.  And again, when one looks at such experiences through the lens of A Course in Miracles, one would understand them quite differently: expressions of forgiveness that were projected from the mind onto the body and its world of life, death, and near death.

As we have seen, therefore, there cannot in truth be an out-of-body experience since the mind is never in the body to begin with. And so the mind cannot leave the body, travel through a tunnel, and meet with Jesus after having left the body. Moreover, there is a danger in believing this way, because it strongly suggests — as do many people who have had such an experience — that such peace, joy, and happiness can only come to a person after having “died” and left the body. The whole focus of A Course in Miracles is on choosing and having a holy instant right now, on choosing Jesus or the Holy Spirit instead of the ego. One does not have to die to go to Heaven, since Heaven is an awareness of perfect Oneness, within the mind, and nothing else besides that. The wonderful experience of forgiveness that is frequently reported can be had in a holy instant, again, without having left the body, going through a tunnel, etc. Holding up near-death experiences to be idealized and sought for (as was depicted in the popular movie Flatliners) actually serves well the ego’s fundamental strategy of first making the body real, and then turning it into a repulsive thing. This sets up a situation in which people would wish to be free of its prison of darkness, yearning to escape into the non-corporeal light. And all the while, the ego’s thought system of separation, guilt, and specialness nestles comfortably in the mind, protected by the belief that there is indeed a body that is real, and one that truly exists in the physical world.

Thus, believing in the reality of such experiences is the very compromise with truth — giving light and darkness equal power and reality — that Jesus cautions against in A Course in Miracles. We see a clear statement of such a caution in the section on death in the manual for teachers, and we quote from this extremely important passage now. It begins with a reference to the standard religious belief that upon death the soul is freed to return to God, or to continue on its journey as in the Catholic doctrine of purgatory. However, the contemporary interest in near-death experiences, as we have just seen, falls into the same category of not recognizing the illusory nature of the entire physical universe and of individual existence — body, mind, and what is mistakenly referred to as “spirit”:

The curious belief that there is part of dying things [i.e., a soul, or “life force”] that may go on apart from what will die, does not proclaim a loving God nor re-establish any grounds for trust. If death is real for anything, there is no life.  Death denies life. But if there is reality in life, death is denied. No compromise in this is possible. There is either a god of fear or One of Love. The world attempts a thousand compromises, and will attempt a thousand more. Not one can be acceptable to God’s teachers, because not one could be acceptable to God. He did not make death because He did not make fear. Both are equally meaningless to Him.The “reality” of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body. And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real. But God would not be loving. There is no point at which the contrast between the perception of the real world and that of the world of illusions becomes more sharply evident….

“And the last to be overcome will be death” [the famous statement of St. Paul from his first letter to the Corinthians, 15:26]. Of course! Without the idea of death there is no world. All dreams will end with this one. This is salvation’s final goal; the end of all illusions.  And in death are all illusions born. What can be born of death and still have life? But what is born of God and still can die? The inconsistencies, the compromises and the rituals the world fosters in its vain attempts to cling to death and yet to think love real are mindless magic, ineffectual and meaningless. God is, and in Him all created things must be eternal.  Do you not see that otherwise He has an opposite, and fear would be as real as love?

Teacher of God, your one assignment could be stated thus: Accept no compromise in which death plays a part. Do not believe in cruelty, nor let attack conceal the truth from you. What seems to die [the body that had been “alive”] has but been misperceived and carried to illusion. Now it becomes your task to let the illusion be carried to the truth. Be steadfast but in this; be not deceived by the “reality” of any changing form. Truth neither moves nor wavers nor sinks down to death and dissolution, And what is the end of death? Nothing but this; the realization that the Son of God is guiltless now and forever. Nothing but this. But do not let yourself forget it is not less than this (M-27.4:1-5:4; 6-7; italics ours).

In conclusion, therefore, we can understand that anything that seems to live and then die, that changes, grows, and subsequently deteriorates, or that appears to be separate from others, cannot be of God and therefore cannot be real. And so all categories that relate to bodies in any way — including death and near death — have no true meaning because they do not truly exist. Their only meaning within the illusion comes in their serving as classrooms in which we learn the lesson of discerning between the meaningless and the meaningful.

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 17

ACIM Text Reading for August 17

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

IV. Specialness versus Sinlessness

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

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 17

Lesson 213

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) A Course in Miracles teaches that there is no death. Can this be taken to mean that physical immortality is possible? 

A) Absolutely not! The Course teaches there is no death because spirit is immortal. The workbook lesson “I am as God created me” occurs three times and is also the central theme of a review section. This highlights the importance of the concept that only what God created (Christ) is eternal, and that this world of bodies — having been made as the opposite to Heaven — would have as its agenda to render immortality impossible. As is stated early in the text of the ego’s inability to reach “eternalness”: 

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 (T-4.V.6:1-3).

In addition, bodies exist only in dreams — the hallucinations we call life — and therefore the length of this “life” has absolutely nothing to do with reality, let alone the eternal life of spirit. 

One can thus see that the very term physical immortality is an oxymoron, a contradiction that reflects a misunderstanding of the theology of A Course in Miracles and obscures the crucial difference between reality and illusion. The concept is thus but one more ego ploy that many separated minds indulge in, thereby attempting to pervert the true meaning of the Course by making real the ego thought system and its world. 

The devil can cite scripture for its own purpose, as Shakespeare commented in “The Merchant of Venice,” and unfortunately the egos of students of A Course in Miracles can play the same trick. If students wish to support their own belief system that they (and their bodies) can be immortal, they can easily wrench statements from the Course out of context to support their desire. For example, under “The Attraction of Death,” the third obstacle to peace in Chapter 19 of the text, there is the following statement under the subsection entitled “The Incorruptible Body”: 

You have another dedication that would keep the body incorruptible and perfect as long as it is useful for your holy purpose. The body no more dies than it can feel …. Death, were it true, would be the final and complete disruption of communication, which is the ego’s goal (T-19.IV-C.5:1-2; 6:5).

And another sentence that has been taken out of its context to prove that the body can be immortal is from the manual for teachers, the section entitled “What Is Death?” We give just the single line here, and the total passage will be quoted below in the next question: 

But what is born of God and still can die? (M-27.6:8)

And so students will falsely conclude that since they — as physical and psychological individuals — were created by the eternal God as Himself, they can never die. This then becomes the rationale for affirming the validity of physical immortality. The mistake, obviously, lies in believing that God did, in fact, create them as individuals, and as bodies to boot. What is truly “born of God” is Christ, our Self that is only spirit, and it is that Self that is eternal and can never die. The false self that has a physical and psychological identity remains within the dream where there is only the illusion of birth, life, and death. 
Some students, moreover, use the above lines as proof that Jesus is advocating physical immortality by stating that the body is incorruptible. However, they have failed to understand the context of the above passage (and subsection title) by eliminating the complete quotation. The reason that “the body no more dies than it can feel” and that death is not true, is that the body does not truly exist. Indeed, the body in truth does not die, but that is because it does not live. Only within the illusory dreams of the Son’s sleeping mind does the body appear to be born, live, and die — a sequence that the God of life itself knows nothing about. Furthermore, death of the body presupposes that there was first life; otherwise, the concept has no meaning. As Jesus also states in this passage: 

It [the body] does nothing. Of itself it is neither corruptible nor incorruptible. It is nothing.  It is the result of a tiny, mad idea of corruption that can be corrected (T-19.IV-C.5:3-6).

What is nothing therefore does not (and cannot) live, and consequently it does not (and cannot) die either. 
In the text we find an even more compelling passage that describes the body’s absolute lack of being, similar to a lifeless puppet that merely carries out the wishes of its master, the puppeteer, the body’s master, of course, being the mind: 

Who punishes the body is insane. For here the little gap [separation] is seen, and yet it is not here. It has not judged itself, nor made itself to be what it is not. It does not seek to make of pain a joy and look for lasting pleasure in the dust. It does not tell you what its purpose is and cannot understand what it is for. It does not victimize, because it has no will, no preferences and no doubts.  It does not wonder what it is. And so it has no need to be competitive. It can be victimized, but cannot feel itself as victim. It accepts no role, but does what it is told [by the mind), without attack.It is … a thing that cannot see… [and] cannot hear…. it has no feeling. It behaves in ways you [the decision maker in the mind] want, but never makes the choice. It is not born and does not die.  It can but follow aimlessly the path on which it has been set (T-28.VI.1:1-2:5; italics ours).

Once again, within the Son’s dream of separation the body does indeed seem to be born, live, and die, but this is only in the world of illusion. For only in the reality of spirit is there truly life or being, and this has nothing to do with the physical existence which is of the ego. That is why early in the text Jesus contrasts the specificity of illusory existence with the abstract reality of being (T-4.VIl.4,5). 

Therefore, we conclude that A Course in Miracles is unequivocal in its teaching that only spirit is immortal.  To believe we can exist in any other state — meaning the physical — is to follow the ego’s attempts to make the dream of separation a reality, in which our individual identity is secure, by having us believe in the illusion it calls life. And this attempt, naturally, is diametrically opposed to the ultimate purpose of the Course, which is to help us all awaken from the dream of individuality to our true Identity as Christ, the immortal and one Son of God. 

forgiveness is still

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 16

ACIM Text Reading for August 16

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

III. The Forgiveness of Specialness

Forgiveness is the end of specialness. Only illusions can be forgiven, and then they disappear. Forgiveness is release from all illusion, and that is why it is impossible but partly to forgive. No one who clings to one illusion can see himself as sinless, for he holds one error to himself as lovely still. And so he calls it ‘unforgivable’, and makes it sin. How can he then give his forgiveness wholly, when he would not receive it for himself? For it is sure he would receive it wholly the instant that he gave it so. And thus his secret guilt would disappear, forgiven by himself.

Whatever form of specialness you cherish, you have made sin. Inviolate it stands, strongly defended with all your puny might against the Will of God. And thus it stands against yourself; your enemy, not God’s. So does it seem to split you off from God, and make you separate from Him as its defender. You would protect what God created not. And yet, this idol that seems to give you power has taken it away. For you have given your brother’s birthright to it, leaving him alone and unforgiven, and yourself in sin beside him, both in misery, before the idol that can save you not.

It is not you who are so vulnerable and open to attack that just a word, a little whisper that you do not like, a circumstance that suits you not, or an event that you did not anticipate upsets your world, and hurls it into chaos. Truth is not frail. Illusions leave it perfectly unmoved and undisturbed. But specialness is not the truth in you. It can be thrown off balance by anything. What rests on nothing never can be stable. However large and overblown it seems to be, it still must rock and turn and whirl about with every breeze.

Without foundation nothing is secure. Would God have left His Son in such a state, where safety has no meaning? No, His Son is safe, resting on Him. It is your specialness that is attacked by everything that walks and breathes, or creeps or crawls, or even lives at all. Nothing is safe from its attack, and it is safe from nothing. It will forevermore be unforgiving, for that is what it is; a secret vow that what God wants for you will never be, and that you will oppose His Will forever. Nor is it possible the two can ever be the same, while specialness stands like a flaming sword of death between them, and makes them enemies.

God asks for your forgiveness. He would have no separation, like an alien will, rise between what He wills for you and what you will. They are the same, for neither one wills specialness. How could they will the death of love itself? Yet they are powerless to make attack upon illusions. They are not bodies; as one Mind they wait for all illusions to be brought to them, and left behind. Salvation challenges not even death. And God Himself, Who knows that death is not your will, must say, ‘Thy will be done’ because you think it is.

Forgive the great Creator of the universe, the Source of life, of love and holiness, the perfect Father of a perfect Son, for your illusions of your specialness. Here is the hell you chose to be your home. He chose not this for you. Ask not He enter this. The way is barred to love and to salvation. Yet if you would release your brother from the depths of hell, you have forgiven Him Whose Will it is you rest forever in the arms of peace, in perfect safety, and without the heat and malice of one thought of specialness to mar your rest. Forgive the Holy One the specialness He could not give, and that you made instead.

The special ones are all asleep, surrounded by a world of loveliness they do not see. Freedom and peace and joy stand there, beside the bier on which they sleep, and call them to come forth and waken from their dream of death. Yet they hear nothing. They are lost in dreams of specialness. They hate the call that would awaken them, and they curse God because He did not make their dream reality. Curse God and die, but not by Him Who made not death; but only in the dream. Open your eyes a little; see the saviour God gave to you that you might look on him, and give him back his birthright. It is yours.

The slaves of specialness will yet be free. Such is the Will of God and of His Son. Would God condemn Himself to hell and to damnation? And do you will that this be done unto your saviour? God calls to you from him to join His Will to save you both from hell. Look on the print of nails upon his hands that he holds out for your forgiveness. God asks your mercy on His Son and on Himself. Deny Them not. They ask of you but that your will be done. They seek your love that you may love yourself. Love not your specialness instead of Them. The print of nails is on your hands as well. Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 16

Lesson 212

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is meant by the Sonship, and who or what is included?

A) The term Sonship, or Son of God in the Course is used in two ways: to denote the states of reality and illusion. In Heaven, Sonship refers to God’s one creation, the Christ Who is God’s one Son. That Son, as we have already seen, is totally unified and at one with Himself and with His Creator. On the level of the dream, Sonship refers to all parts of the one split mind that believed it could accomplish the separation, wherein each fragment appears to have a form and “life” of its own. Thus, the so-called animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms are all as much a part of the Sonship as is homo sapiens. Distinctions of what is animate and inanimate were arbitrarily introduced by homo sapiens, following the ego’s teachings, in order to be able to categorize and control an illusory world and to have “dominion over every living thing” (Genesis, 1:26,28). Such a belief is what A Course in Miracles refers to as the first law of chaos, that there is a “hierarchy of illusions” (T-23.11.2:3) wherein some aspects of the illusion are considered to be higher, more evolved, or more spiritually inclined than others, as when scientists speak of the “chain of being,” for example, where, by implication, there is a range of life and non-life. In fact, however, all the forms of “life” are the same, because they all are equal in their being projections of the ego thought of life-apart-from-God. This is the defense against the thought (or memory) of Life that is held by the Holy Spirit in the minds of all the seeming fragments. This is what is meant by the following passage, given in the form of a prayer from Jesus to God our Father:

I thank You, Father, knowing You will come to close each little gap that lies between the broken pieces of Your holy Son. Your holiness, complete and perfect, lies in every one of them [through the Holy Spirit]. And they are joined because what is in one is in them all. How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son! The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing. For the whole is in each one. And every aspect of the Son of God is just the same as every other part (T-28.IV.9; italics ours).

The thought of the separated Son in the mind, therefore, is not form, but content. And this is the thought that one could be separate from one’s Creator, and independent of Him. The form this thought takes — animate or inanimate, a single-celled organism or mammal — is irrelevant, because the thought remains the same. And beyond each thought is the Thought of God, held in safekeeping by the Holy Spirit until the instant we return to it.

shine it away

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 15

ACIM Text Reading for August 15

Chapter 23 ~ The War Against Yourself

II. The Treachery of Specialness

Comparison must be an ego device, for love makes none. Specialness always makes comparisons. It is established by a lack seen in another, and maintained by searching for, and keeping clear in sight, all lacks it can perceive. This does it seek, and this it looks upon. And always whom it thus diminishes would be your saviour, had you not chosen to make of him a tiny measure of your specialness instead. Against the littleness you see in him you stand as tall and stately, clean and honest, pure and unsullied, by comparison with what you see. Nor do you understand it is yourself that you diminish thus.

Pursuit of specialness is always at the cost of peace. Who can attack his saviour and cut him down, yet recognise his strong support? Who can detract from his omnipotence, yet share his power? And who can use him as the gauge of littleness, and be released from limits? You have a function in salvation. Its pursuit will bring you joy. But the pursuit of specialness must bring you pain. Here is a goal that would defeat salvation, and thus run counter to the Will of God. To value specialness is to esteem an alien will to which illusions of yourself are dearer than the truth.

Specialness is the idea of sin made real. Sin is impossible even to imagine without this base. For sin arose from it, out of nothingness; an evil flower with no roots at all. Here is the self-made ‘saviour’, the ‘creator’ who creates unlike the Father, and which made His Son like to itself and not like unto Him. His ‘special’ sons are many, never one, each one in exile from himself, and Him of Whom they are a part. Nor do they love the Oneness Which created them as one with Him. They chose their specialness instead of Heaven and instead of peace, and wrapped it carefully in sin, to keep it ‘safe’ from truth.

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 honour 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. They speak a different language and they fall on different ears. To every special one a different message, and one with different meaning, is the truth. Yet how can truth be different to each one? The special messages the special hear convince them they are different and apart; each in his special sins and ‘safe’ from love, which does not see his specialness at all. Christ’s vision is their ‘enemy’, for it sees not what they would look upon, and it would show them that the specialness they think they see is an illusion.

What would they see instead? The shining radiance of the Son of God, so like his Father that the memory of Him springs instantly to mind. And with this memory, the Son remembers his own creations, as like to him as he is to his Father. And all the world he made, and all his specialness, and all the sins he held in its defence against himself, will vanish as his mind accepts the truth about himself, as it returns to take their place. This is the only ‘cost’ of truth: You will no longer see what never was, nor hear what makes no sound. Is it a sacrifice to give up nothing, and to receive the Love of God forever?

You who have chained your saviour to your specialness, and given it his place, remember this: He has not lost the power to forgive you all the sins you think you placed between him and the function of salvation given him for you. Nor will you change his function, any more than you can change the truth in him and in yourself. But be you certain that the truth is just the same in both. It gives no different messages, and has one meaning. And it is one you and your brother both can understand, and one that brings release to both of you. Here stands your brother with the key to Heaven in his hand, held out to you. Let not the dream of specialness remain between you. What is one is joined in truth.

Think of the loveliness that you will see within yourself, when you have looked on him as on a friend. He is the enemy of specialness, but only friend to what is real in you. Not one attack you thought you made on him has taken from him the gift that God would have him give to you. His need to give it is as great as yours to have it. Let him forgive you all your specialness, and make you whole in mind and one with him. He waits for your forgiveness only that he may return it unto you. It is not God Who has condemned His Son, but you, to save his specialness and kill his Self.

You have come far along the way of truth; too far to falter now. Just one step more, and every vestige of the fear of God will melt away in love. Your brother’s specialness and yours are enemies, and bound in hate to kill each other and deny they are the same. Yet it is not illusions that have reached this final obstacle which seems to make God and His Heaven so remote that they cannot be reached. Here in this holy place does truth stand waiting to receive you and your brother in silent blessing, and in peace so real and so encompassing that nothing stands outside. Leave all illusions of yourself outside this place, to which you come in hope and honesty.

Here is your saviour from your specialness. He is in need of your acceptance of himself as part of you, as you for his. You are alike to God as God is to Himself. He is not special, for He would not keep one part of what He is unto Himself, not given to His Son but kept for Him alone. And it is this you fear, for if He is not special, then He willed His Son to be like Him, and your brother is like you. Not special, but possessed of everything, including you. Give him but what he has, remembering God gave Himself to you and your brother in equal love, that both might share the universe with Him Who chose that love could never be divided, and kept separate from what it is and must forever be.

You are your brother’s; part of love was not denied to him. But can it be that you have lost because he is complete? What has been given him makes you complete, as it does him. God’s Love gave you to him and him to you because He gave Himself. What is the same as God is one with Him. And only specialness could make the truth of God and you as one seem anything but Heaven, with the hope of peace at last in sight.

Specialness is the seal of treachery upon the gift of love. Whatever serves its purpose must be given to kill. No gift that bears its seal but offers treachery to giver and receiver. Not one glance from eyes it veils but looks on sight of death. Not one believer in its potency but seeks for bargains and for compromise that would establish sin love’s substitute, and serve it faithfully. And no relationship that holds its purpose dear but clings to murder as safety’s weapon, and the great defender of all illusions from the ‘threat’ of love.

The hope of specialness makes it seem possible God made the body as the prison house that keeps His Son from Him. For it demands a special place God cannot enter, and a hiding place where none is welcome but your tiny self. Nothing is sacred here but unto you, and you alone, apart and separate from all your brothers; safe from all intrusions of sanity upon illusions; safe from God and safe for conflict everlasting. Here are the gates of hell you closed upon yourself, to rule in madness and in loneliness your special kingdom, apart from God, away from truth and from salvation.

The key you threw away God gave your brother, whose holy hands would offer it to you when you were ready to accept His plan for your salvation in the place of yours. How could this readiness be reached save through the sight of all your misery, and the awareness that your plan has failed, and will forever fail to bring you peace and joy of any kind? Through this despair you travel now, yet it is but illusion of despair. The death of specialness is not your death, but your awakening into life eternal. You but emerge from an illusion of what you are to the acceptance of yourself as God created you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 15

Lesson 211

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

 Q) How can one access the mind so that the mind can be changed?

A) In a sense, the purpose of A Course in Miracles is to help us do just that. The cornerstone on which the ego thought system rests is our unforgiven guilt. This roots us in our physical and psychological experience as a body and an individual personality. Thus, the ego’s goal is to “protect” the guilt in our minds from being undone. As it is this guilt in our minds that is the programmer of our individual lives, so it is this guilt that must be undone through forgiveness, the Course’s central teaching.

As forgiveness removes this unconscious guilt and we shift from wrong-mindedness to right-mindedness, we allow the Holy Spirit to be our programmer. Thus, His Love and peace are mediated through our minds and become our guides, instead of the ego’s thought system of fear and hatred. The ego always strives to have us adopt some new system it has invented, such as the contemporary self-help techniques, to reprogram our “minds,” so that our brains would then function to “Fix up” and reprogram our lives. In this way, we become further enmeshed in the grip of the ego thought system, even though we are not aware consciously that this is what we are doing. However, we should note that it was just this belief that we are self-created and on our own, and could accomplish things by ourselves, that led to the separation in the first place. Moreover, all thought would have this as its basic pattern and goal.

The important Course principle of “a little willingness” to ask the Holy Spirit for help in order for our perceptions of ourselves and others to be corrected, imbues us with a sense of humility. This culminates in the realization that we do not know our own best interests, regardless of what the ego thought system propounds and teaches us. Thus, it is one’s own responsibility to acknowledge that in order to become right-minded and remain that way, one must always access the Holy Spirit.

Even more specific is Jesus’ injunction in A Course in Miracles that his students look at their egos without judgment. This is the way to access the mind. If students, with Jesus’ love beside them, can look without judgment and guilt at their egos in action, then who is doing the looking? It cannot be the ego itself, but the mind — or better, the decision maker in our minds — that is not in the body and therefore, again, is not the ego. The following passage from the text provides a very clear description of this process and how central Jesus believes it is to the practice of his Course:

No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous. We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth. The “dynamics” of the ego will be our lesson for a while, for we must look first at this to see beyond it, since you have made it real. We will undo this error quietly together, and then look beyond it to truth.  What is healing but the removal of all that stands in the way of knowledge? And how else can one dispel illusions except by looking at them directly, without protecting them? (T-11.V.1:1-2:2)

And in this succinct sentence, also from the text, we find the goal of this process clearly enunciated:

This is a crucial period in this course, for here the separation of you and the ego must be made complete (T-22.II.6:1).

The “you” is the decision maker, the part of our split minds that chooses, which has now shifted its identification from the ego (the wrong mind) to the Holy Spirit (the right mind).

 

The Journey to God

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 14

ACIM Text Reading for August 14

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

I. Specialness as a Substitute for Love

Love is extension. To withhold the smallest gift is not to know love’s purpose. Love offers everything forever. Hold back but one belief, one offering, and love is gone, because you asked a substitute to take its place. And now must war, the substitute for peace, come with the one alternative that you can choose for love. Your choosing it has given it all the reality it seems to have.

Beliefs will never openly attack each other because conflicting outcomes are impossible. But an unrecognised belief is a decision to war in secret, where the results of conflict are kept unknown and never brought to reason, to be considered sensible or not. And many senseless outcomes have been reached, and meaningless decisions have been made and kept hidden, to become beliefs now given power to direct all subsequent decisions. Mistake you not the power of these hidden warriors to disrupt your peace. For it is at their mercy while you decide to leave it there. The secret enemies of peace, your least decision to choose attack instead of love, unrecognised and swift to challenge you to combat and to violence far more inclusive than you think, are there by your election. Do not deny their presence nor their terrible results. All that can be denied is their reality, but not their outcome.

All that is ever cherished as a hidden belief, to be defended though unrecognised, is faith in specialness. This takes many forms, but always clashes with the reality of God’s creation and with the grandeur that He gave His Son. What else could justify attack? For :who could hate someone whose Self is his, and Whom he knows? Only the special could have enemies, for they are different and not the same,. And difference of any kind imposes orders of reality, and a need to judge that cannot be escaped.

What God created cannot be attacked, for there is nothing in the universe unlike itself. But what is different calls for judgement, and this must come from someone ‘better’, someone incapable of being like what he condemns, ‘above’ it, sinless by comparison with it. And thus does specialness become a means and end at once. For specialness not only sets apart, but serves as grounds from which attack on those who seem ‘beneath’ the special one is ‘natural’ and ‘just’. The special ones feel weak and frail because of differences, for what would make them special is their enemy. Yet they protect its enmity and call it ‘friend’. On its behalf they fight against the universe, for nothing in the world they value more.

Specialness is the great dictator of the wrong decisions. Here is the grand illusion of what you are and what your brother is. And here is what must make the body dear and worth preserving. Specialness must be defended. Illusions can attack it, and they do. For what your brother must become to keep your specialness is an illusion. He who is ‘worse’ than you must be attacked, so that your specialness can live on his defeat. For specialness is triumph, and its victory is his defeat and shame. How can he live, with all your sins upon him? And who must be his conqueror but you?

Would it be possible for you to hate your brother if you were like him? Could you attack him if you realised you journey with him, to a goal that is the same? Would you not help him reach it in every way you could, if his attainment of it were perceived as yours? You are his enemy in specialness; his friend in a shared purpose. Specialness can never share, for it depends on goals that you alone can reach. And he must never reach them, or your goal is jeopardised. Can love have meaning where the goal is triumph? And what decision can be made for this that will not hurt you?

Your brother is your friend because his Father created him like you. There is no difference. You have been given to your brother that love might be extended, not cut off from him. What you keep is lost to you: God gave you and your brother Himself, and to remember this is now the only purpose that you share. And so it is the only one you have. Could you attack your brother if you chose to see no specialness of any kind between you and him? Look fairly at whatever makes you give your brother only partial welcome, or would let you think that you are better off apart. Is it not always your belief your specialness is limited by your relationship? And is not this the ‘enemy’ that makes you and your brother illusions to each other?

The fear of God and of your brother comes from each unrecognised belief in specialness. For you demand your brother bow to it against his will. And God Himself must honour it or suffer vengeance. Every twinge of malice, or stab of hate or wish to separate arises here. For here the purpose that you and your brother share becomes obscured from both of you. You would oppose this course because it teaches you, you and your brother are alike. You have no purpose that is not the same, and none your Father does not share with you. For your relationship has been made clean of special goals. And would you now defeat the goal of holiness that Heaven gave it? What perspective can the special have that does not change with every seeming blow, each slight, or fancied judgement on itself?

Those who are special must defend illusions against the truth. For what is specialness but an attack upon the Will of God? You love your brother not while it is this you would defend against him. This is what he attacks, and you protect. Here is the ground of battle which you wage against him. Here must he be your enemy and not your friend. Never can there be peace among the different. He is your friend because you are the same.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 14

Lesson 210

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

(190) I choose the joy of God instead of pain.

Pain is my own idea. It is not a Thought of God, but one I
thought apart from Him and from His Will. His Will is joy,
and only joy for His beloved Son. And that I choose, instead
of what I made.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Where is the mind? 

A) Mind, as taught in A Course in Miracles and as we have just seen, is non-corporeal or non-material, unlike the brain. Therefore it is invisible and intangible. Since it is also non-spatial and non-temporal, it is impossible to answer this question, which rests on the assumption that time and space are real. The very word where connotes a spatial dimension, which is unknown to the mind. Therefore, to answer this question would be to deny the very nature of the mind, and reinforce the belief that the body is real and independent of the mind which projected it and is its true cause. 

not his will you be crucified

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 13

ACIM Text Reading for August 13

Chapter 24

THE GOAL OF SPECIALNESS

Introduction

Forget not that the motivation for this course is the attainment and the keeping of the state of peace. Given this state the mind is quiet, and the condition in which God is remembered is attained. It is not necessary to tell Him what to do. He will not fail. Where He can enter, there He is already. And can it be He cannot enter where He wills to be? Peace will be yours because it is His Will. Can you believe a shadow can hold back the Will that holds the universe secure? God does not wait upon illusions to let Him be Himself. No more His Son. They are. And what illusion that idly seems to drift between them has the power to defeat what is Their Will?

To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardise your learning. No belief is neutral. Every one has the power to dictate each decision you make. For a decision is a conclusion based on everything that you believe. It is the outcome of belief, and follows it as surely as does suffering follow guilt and freedom sinlessness. There is no substitute for peace. What God creates has no alternative. The truth arises from what He knows. And your decisions come from your beliefs as certainly as all creation rose in His Mind because of what He knows.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 13

Lesson 209

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

(189) I feel the Love of God within me now.

The Love of God is what created me. The Love of God is
everything I am. The Love of God proclaimed me as His
Son. The Love of God within me sets me free.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Can the ego mind be equated with the human brain? 

A) No. The mind is non-physical and non-tangible; i.e., it cannot be dissected in a laboratory, photographed by a camera, or analyzed by any empirical method. The brain, on the other hand, is a physical organ that is quite tangible, and can be dissected and studied readily in a laboratory. It is the “computer” that seems to run the body, organizing the sensory data that enter it into seemingly meaningful patterns, and directing all the bodily systems and functions to adjust to the body’s place in the physical universe. In truth, however, it is the mind that is the programmer and directs the brain to function as it sees fit, just as a computer does what the operator tells it to do. The mind is the command center from which all directives emanate, as they instruct the brain to establish as an experiential reality the world of time and space that is already over, and which in truth never even existed! 

In and of itself, therefore, the brain can do nothing, because it is nothing but the receptor-organ of the mind. This insane belief that the brain can function independently of the mind — which is crucial to the ego’s strategy of protecting the split mind and therefore itself — is reflected in this passage from the workbook: 

You … believe the body’s brain can think. If you but understood the nature of thought, you could but laugh at this insane idea. it is as if you thought you held the match that lights the sun and gives it all its warmth; or that you held the world within your hand, securely bound until you let it go. Yet this is no more foolish that to believe the body’s eyes can see; the brain can think (W-pI.92.2).

The relationship of the brain to the mind, of effect to cause, is stated here in the text: 

The brain cannot interpret what your vision sees [based upon reason, or the Holy Spirit’s Presence in the mind]…. The brain interprets [only] to the body, of which it is a part (T-22.1.2:7,9).

Clearly then, it is the mind that does the true interpreting, not the brain. This is underscored in this passage from the manual for teachers, where the cause of perception is seen to be the mind, not the eyes nor, by implication, the brain. This passage, incidentally, is not found in the first edition of the Course: 

Yet it is surely the mind that judges what the eyes behold [not the brain]. It is the mind that interprets the eyes’ messages and gives them “meaning.”… Its hierarchy of values is projected outward, and it sends the body’s eyes to find it …. Yet it is not the messages they bring on which perception rests.  Only the mind evaluates their messages, and so only the mind is responsible for seeing. It alone decides whether what is seen is real or illusory, desirable or undesirable, pleasurable or painful (M-8.3:3-4,7,9-11).

infinite patience

infinite patience

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 12

ACIM Text Reading for August 12

Chapter 23 ~ The War Against Yourself

IV. Above the Battleground

Do not remain in conflict, for there is no war without attack. The fear of God is fear of life, and not of death. Yet He remains the only place of safety. In Him is no attack, and no illusion in any form stalks Heaven. Heaven is wholly true. No difference enters, and what is all the same cannot conflict. You are not asked to fight against your wish to murder. But you are asked to realise the form it takes conceals the same intent. And it is this you fear, and not the form. What is not love is murder. What is not loving must be an attack. Every illusion is an assault on truth, and every one does violence to the idea of love because it seems to be of equal truth.

What can be equal to the truth, yet different? Murder and love are incompatible. Yet if they both are true, then must they be the same, and indistinguishable from one another. So will they be to those who see God’s Son a body. For it is not the body that is like the Son’s Creator. And what is lifeless cannot be the Son of Life. How can a body be extended to hold the universe? Can it create, and be what it creates? And can it offer its creations all that it is and never suffer loss?

God does not share His function with a body. He gave the function to create unto His Son because it is His Own. It is not sinful to believe the function of the Son is murder, but it is insanity. What is the same can have no different function. Creation is the means for God’s extension, and what is His must be His Son’s as well. Either the Father and the Son are murderers, or neither is. Life makes not death, creating like itself.

The lovely light of your relationship is like the Love of God. It cannot yet assume the holy function God gave His Son, for your forgiveness of your brother is not complete as yet, and so it cannot be extended to all creation. Each form of murder and attack that still attracts you and that you do not recognise for what it is, limits the healing and the miracles you have the power to extend to all. Yet does the Holy Spirit understand how to increase your little gifts and make them mighty. Also He understands how your relationship is raised above the battleground, in it no more. This is your part; to realise that murder in any form is not your will. The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose.

Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it. From there will your perspective be quite different. Here in the midst of it, it does seem real. Here you have chosen to be part of it. Here murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle is not real, and easily escaped. Bodies may battle, but the clash of forms is meaningless. And it is over when you realise it never was begun. How can a battle be perceived as nothingness when you engage in it? How can the truth of miracles be recognised if murder is your choice?

When the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above. Even in forms you do not recognise, the signs you know. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. This you know well. When they occur leave not your place on high, but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder. And God Himself and all the lights of Heaven will gently lean to you, and hold you up. For you have chosen to remain where He would have you, and no illusion can attack the peace of God together with His Son.

See no one from the battleground, for there you look on him from nowhere. You have no reference point from where to look, where meaning can be given what you see. For only bodies could attack and murder, and if this is your purpose, then you must be one with them. Only a purpose unifies, and those who share a purpose have a mind as one. The body has no purpose of itself, and must be solitary. From below, it cannot be surmounted. From above, the limits it exerts on those in battle still are gone, and not perceived. The body stands between the Father and the Heaven He created for His Son because it has no purpose.

Think what is given those who share their Father’s purpose, and who know that it is theirs. They want for nothing. Sorrow of any kind is inconceivable. Only the light they love is in awareness, and only love shines upon them forever. It is their past, their present and their future; always the same, eternally complete and wholly shared. They know it is impossible their happiness could ever suffer change of any kind. Perhaps you think the battleground can offer something you can win. Can it be anything that offers you a perfect calmness, and a sense of love so deep and quiet that no touch of doubt can ever mar your certainty? And that will last forever?

Those with the strength of God in their awareness could never think of battle. What could they gain but loss of their perfection? For everything fought for on the battleground is of the body; something it seems to offer or to own. No one who knows that he has everything could seek for limitation, nor could he value the body’s offerings. The senselessness of conquest is quite apparent from the quiet sphere above the battleground. What can conflict with everything? And what is there that offers less, yet could be wanted more? Who with the Love of God upholding him could find the choice of miracles or murder hard to make?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 12

Lesson 208

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

(188) The peace of God is shining in me now.

I will be still, and let the earth be still along with me. And
in that stillness we will find the peace of God. It is within
my heart, which witnesses to God Himself.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Since we have made ourselves separate, how come we all seem to perceive the same attributes of matter, and agree on its basic characteristics and experience its laws?

A) When the thought of separation seemed to occur, it was a single thought in a single split mind. As the thought process of separation proceeded, culminating in the making of the physical universe, this one thought appeared to divide into billions and billions of fragments. Each of these fragments contains all aspects of the original thought of separation.  Therefore, each seeming fragment would experience all the effects from that illusory thought of separation, i.e., all the so-called laws of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, etc., that are an inherent part of the making of the universe. Thus the one ego thought appears as many.  This accounts for the paradox of people on the one hand sharing a common perception of the world, while on the other having very personal and individualized tastes, perceptions, and experiences. In the end, all seemingly separated minds are one — one thought of separation — yet each fragment appears to be separate, and believes itself to be unique and independent of the others.

tiny mad idea