A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 11, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 11

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

VI. The Vision of Christ

The ego is trying to teach you how to gain the whole world and lose your own soul. The Holy Spirit teaches that you cannot lose your soul and there is no gain in the world, for of itself it profits nothing. To invest without profit is surely to impoverish yourself, and the overhead is high. Not only is there no profit in the investment, but the cost to you is enormous. For this investment costs you the world’s reality by denying yours, and gives you nothing in return. You cannot sell your soul, but you can sell your awareness of it. You cannot perceive your soul, but you will not know it while you perceive something else as more valuable.

The Holy Spirit is your strength because He knows nothing but the spirit as you. He is perfectly aware that you do not know yourself, and perfectly aware of how to teach you to remember what you are. Because He loves you, He will gladly teach you what He loves, for He wills to share it. Remembering you always, He cannot let you forget your worth. For the Father never ceases to remind Him of His Son, and He never ceases to remind His Son of the Father. God is in your memory because of Him. You chose to forget your Father but you do not really want to do so, and therefore you can decide otherwise. As it was my decision, so is it yours.

You do not want the world. The only thing of value in it is whatever part of it you look upon with love. This gives it the only reality it will ever have. Its value is not in itself, but yours is in you. As self-value comes from self-extension, so does the perception of self-value come from the extension of loving thoughts outward. Make the world real unto yourself, for the real world is the gift of the Holy Spirit, and so it belongs to you.

Correction is for all who cannot see. To open the eyes of the blind is the Holy Spirit’s mission, for He knows that they have not lost their vision, but merely sleep. He would awaken them from the sleep of forgetting to the remembering of God. Christ’s eyes are open, and He will look upon whatever you see with love if you accept His vision as yours. The Holy Spirit keeps the vision of Christ for every Son of God who sleeps. In His sight the Son of God is perfect, and He longs to share His vision with you. He will show you the real world because God gave you Heaven. Through Him your Father calls His Son to remember. The awakening of His Son begins with his investment in the real world, and by this he will learn to re-invest in himself. For reality is one with the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit blesses the real world in Their Name.

When you have seen this real world, as you will surely do, you will remember us. Yet you must learn the cost of sleeping, and refuse to pay it. Only then will you decide to awaken. And then the real world will spring to your sight, for Christ has never slept. He is waiting to be seen, for He has never lost sight of you. He looks quietly on the real world, which He would share with you because He knows of the Father’s Love for Him. And knowing this, He would give you what is yours. In perfect peace He waits for you at His Father’s altar, holding out the Father’s Love to you in the quiet light of the Holy Spirit’s blessing. For the Holy Spirit will lead everyone home to his Father, where Christ waits as His Self.

Every child of God is one in Christ, for his being is in Christ as Christ’s is in God. Christ’s Love for you is His Love for His Father, which He knows because He knows His Father’s Love for Him. When the Holy Spirit has at last led you to Christ at the altar to His Father, perception fuses into knowledge because perception has become so holy that its transfer to holiness is merely its natural extension. Love transfers to love without any interference, for the two are one. As you perceive more and more common elements in all situations, the transfer of training under the Holy Spirit’s guidance increases and becomes generalised. Gradually you learn to apply it to everyone and everything, for its applicability is universal. When this has been accomplished, perception and knowledge have become so similar that they share the unification of the laws of God.

What is one cannot be perceived as separate, and the denial of the separation is the reinstatement of knowledge. At the altar of God, the holy perception of God’s Son becomes so enlightened that light streams into it, and the spirit of God’s Son shines in the Mind of the Father and becomes one with it. Very gently does God shine upon Himself, loving the extension of Himself that is His Son. The world has no purpose as it blends into the Purpose of God. For the real world has slipped quietly into Heaven, where everything eternal in it has always been. There the Redeemer and the redeemed join in perfect love of God and of each other. Heaven is your home, and being in God it must also be in you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 11

Lesson 99

Salvation is my only function here.

1. Salvation and forgiveness are the same. They both imply that something has gone wrong; something to be saved from, forgiven for; something amiss that needs corrective change; something apart or different from the Will of God. Thus do both terms imply a thing impossible but yet which has occurred, resulting in a state of conflict seen between what is and what could never be.

2. Truth and illusions both are equal now, for both have hap­pened. The impossible becomes the thing you need forgiveness for, salvation from. Salvation now becomes the borderland be­tween the truth and the illusion. It reflects the truth because it is the means by which you can escape illusions. Yet it is not yet the truth because it undoes what was never done.

3. How could there be a meeting place at all where earth and Heaven can be reconciled within a mind where both of them ex­ist? The mind that sees illusions thinks them real. They have existence in that they are thoughts. And yet they are not real, because the mind that thinks these thoughts is separate from God.

4. What joins the separated mind and thoughts with Mind and Thought which are forever one? What plan could hold the truth inviolate, yet recognize the need illusions bring, and offer means by which they are undone without attack and with no touch of pain? What but a Thought of God could be this plan, by which the never done is overlooked, and sins forgotten which were never real?

5. The Holy Spirit holds this plan of God exactly as it was re­ceived of Him within the Mind of God and in your own. It is apart from time in that its Source is timeless. Yet it operates in time, because of your belief that time is real. Unshaken does the Holy Spirit look on what you see; on sin and pain and death, on grief and separation and on loss. Yet does He know one thing must still be true; God is still Love, and this is not His Will.

6. This is the Thought that brings illusions to the truth, and sees them as appearances behind which is the changeless and the sure. This is the Thought that saves and that forgives, because it lays no faith in what is not created by the only Source it knows. This is the Thought whose function is to save by giving you its function as your own. Salvation is your function, with the One to Whom the plan was given. Now are you entrusted with this plan, along with Him. He has one answer to appearances; regardless of their form, their size, their depth or any attribute they seem to have:

Salvation is my only function here.
God still is Love, and this is not His Will.

7. You who will yet work miracles, be sure you practice well the idea for today. Try to perceive the strength in what you say, for these are words in which your freedom lies. Your Father loves you. All the world of pain is not His Will. Forgive yourself the thought He wanted this for you. Then let the Thought with which He has replaced all your mistakes enter the darkened places of your mind that thought the thoughts that never were His Will.

8. This part belongs to God, as does the rest. It does not think its solitary thoughts, and make them real by hiding them from Him. Let in the light, and you will look upon no obstacle to what He wills for you. Open your secrets to His kindly light, and see how bright this light still shines in you.

9. Practice His Thought today, and let His light seek out and lighten up all darkened spots, and shine through them to join them to the rest. It is God’s Will your mind be one with His. It is God’s Will that He has but one Son. It is God’s Will that His one Son is you. Think of these things in practicing today, and start the lesson that we learn today with this instruction in the way of truth:

Salvation is my only function here.
Salvation and forgiveness are the same.

Then turn to Him Who shares your function here, and let Him teach you what you need to learn to lay all fear aside, and know your Self as Love which has no opposite in you.

10. Forgive all thoughts which would oppose the truth of your completion, unity and peace. You cannot lose the gifts your Father gave. You do not want to be another self. You have no function that is not of God. Forgive yourself the one you think you made. Forgiveness and salvation are the same. Forgive what you have made and you are saved.

11. There is a special message for today which has the power to remove all forms of doubt and fear forever from your mind. If you are tempted to believe them true, remember that appear­ances can not withstand the truth these mighty words contain:

Salvation is my only function here.
God still is Love, and this is not His Will.

12. Your only function tells you you are one. Remind yourself of this between the times you give five minutes to be shared with Him Who shares God’s plan with you. Remind yourself:

Salvation is my only function here.

Thus do you lay forgiveness on your mind and let all fear be gently laid aside, that love may find its rightful place in you and show you that you are the Son of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does A Course in Miracles have to be studied, or is it enough just to do the workbook and read the text randomly, in whatever way I feel guided to do?

A) Again, there is no right or wrong in pursuing A Course in Miracles as a spiritual path. However, there are certain guidelines we can present that can help ensure that one’s work with the Course is not being guided by the ego. One such guideline is always to return to Jesus’ own instructions for his curriculum. The three books are set up as a college course, in which, to summarize this again, there is the basic textbook, which contains the theoretical material that the instructor (here of course it is Jesus) wishes the class to study, learn, and understand; the workbook, which as in a laboratory course for example, is the practical application of what is learned in the text; and the manual, which offers guidelines for all pupils, who in this curriculum are also teachers.

What does this mean for Course students? Simply, that they are asked by Jesus to study, learn, and understand his teaching material, as well as to practice the Course’s principles of forgiveness. That is why, for example, he does not require that students understand what is said in the workbook, as we have already seen in the quotation cited above (W-in.8-9). But he does not let his students off that hook when it comes to the text. Near the end of Chapter 1, he states very clearly:

This is a course in mind training. All learning involves attention and study at some level. Some of the later parts of the course rest too heavily on these earlier sections not to require their careful study. You will also need them for preparation. Without this, you may become much too fearful of what is to come to make constructive use of it. However, as you study these earlier sections, you will begin to see some of the implications that will be amplified later on (T-1.VII.4; italics ours).

In fact, during the Course’s dictation, Jesus was quite insistent to Helen and Bill that they study these notes, as he referred to the material. He was speaking in the manner of a college professor insisting that his students pay careful attention to what was being taught, and to study the lecture notes he was giving. It would be in direct contradiction to the wishes of Jesus not to study the text, as he specifically asks. To ignore these very specific instructions at the end of Chapter I provides still another example of students’ authority problems, wherein they believe that they know better than Jesus what is in their own best interests, not to mention how they should proceed with his Course.

Regarding the workbook, since it is not meant to be the teaching aspect of the curriculum, it need not be read nor studied in the manner that the text should be. Certainly, however, it needs to be practiced as the instructions indicate.  This being said, we nonetheless believe that students would do well in their work with A Course in Miracles — to enhance their understanding of it — to read carefully through the workbook itself at some point after they have gone through the lessons, as they would do with the text. Many would be astounded at what they would find there: a depth of teaching that can easily be overlooked as one does the lessons in the one-year training program.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 10, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 10

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

V. The Sane Curriculum

Only love is strong because it is undivided. The strong do not attack because they see no need to do so. Before the idea of attack can enter your mind, you must have perceived yourself as weak. Because you attacked yourself and believed that the attack was effective, you behold yourself as weakened. No longer perceiving yourself and your brothers as equal, and regarding yourself as weaker, you attempt to ‘equalise’ the situation you made. You use attack to do so because you believe that attack was successful in weakening you.

That is why the recognition of your own invulnerability is so important to the restoration of your sanity. For if you accept your invulnerability, you are recognising that attack has no effect. Although you have attacked yourself, you will be demonstrating that nothing really happened. Therefore, by attacking you have not done anything. Once you realise this you will no longer see any sense in attack, for it manifestly does not work and cannot protect you. Yet the recognition of your invulnerability has more than negative value. If your attacks on yourself have failed to weaken you, you are still strong. You therefore have no need to ‘equalise’ the situation to establish your strength.

You will never realise the utter uselessness of attack except by recognising that your attack on yourself has no effects. For others do react to attack if they perceive it, and if you are trying to attack them you will be unable to avoid interpreting this as reinforcement. The only place you can cancel out all reinforcement is in yourself. For you are always the first point of your attack, and if this has never been, it has no consequences.

The Holy Spirit’s Love is your strength, for yours is divided and therefore not real. You cannot trust your own love when you attack it. You cannot learn of perfect love with a split mind, because a split mind has made itself a poor learner. You tried to make the separation eternal, because you wanted to retain the characteristics of creation, but with your own content. Yet creation is not of you, and poor learners do need special teaching.

You have learning handicaps in a very literal sense. There are areas in your learning skills that are so impaired that you can progress only under constant, clear-cut direction, provided by a Teacher Who can transcend your limited resources. He becomes your Resource because of yourself you cannot learn. The learning situation in which you placed yourself is impossible, and in this situation you clearly require a special Teacher and a special curriculum. Poor learners are not good choices as teachers, either for themselves or for anyone else. You would hardly turn to them to establish the curriculum by which they can escape from their limitations. If they understood what is beyond them, they would not be handicapped.

You do not know the meaning of love, and that is your handicap. Do not attempt to teach yourself what you do not understand, and do not try to set up curriculum goals where yours have clearly failed. Your learning goal has been not to learn, and this cannot lead to successful learning. You cannot transfer what you have not learned, and the impairment of the ability to generalise is a crucial learning failure. Would you ask those who have failed to learn what learning aids are for They do not know. If they could interpret the aids correctly, they would have learned from them.

I have said that the ego’s rule is, ‘Seek and do not find’. Translated into curricular terms this means, ‘Try to learn but do not succeed’. The result of this curriculum goal is obvious. Every legitimate teaching aid, every real instruction, and every sensible guide to learning will be misinterpreted, since they are all for facilitating the learning this strange curriculum is against. If you are trying to learn how not to learn, and the aim of your teaching is to defeat itself, what can you expect but confusion? Such a curriculum does not make sense. This attempt at ‘learning’ has so weakened your mind that you cannot love, for the curriculum you have chosen is against love, and amounts to a course in how to attack yourself. A supplementary goal in this curriculum is learning how not to overcome the split that makes its primary aim believable. And you will not overcome the split in this curriculum, for all your learning will be on its behalf. Yet your mind speaks against your learning as your learning speaks against your mind, and so you fight against all learning and succeed, for that is what you want. But perhaps you do not realise, even yet, that there is something you want to learn, and that you can learn it because it is your choice to do so.

You who have tried to learn what you do not want should take heart, for although the curriculum you set yourself is depressing indeed, it is merely ridiculous if you look at it. Is it possible that the way to achieve a goal is not to attain it? Resign now as your own teacher. This resignation will not lead to depression. It is merely the result of an honest appraisal of what you have taught yourself, and of the learning outcomes that have resulted. Under the proper learning conditions, which you can neither provide nor understand, you will become an excellent learner and an excellent teacher. But it is not so yet, and will not be so until the whole learning situation as you have set it up is reversed.

Your learning potential, properly understood, is limitless because it will lead you to God. You can teach the way to Him and learn it, if you follow the Teacher Who knows the way to Him and understands His curriculum for learning it. The curriculum is totally unambiguous, because the goal is not divided and the means and the end are in complete accord. You need offer only undivided attention. Everything else will be given you. For you really want to learn aright, and nothing can oppose the decision of God’s Son. His learning is as unlimited as he is.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 10

Lesson 98

I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.

1. Today is a day of special dedication. We take a stand on but one side today. We side with truth and let illusions go. We will not vacillate between the two, but take a firm position with the One. We dedicate ourselves to truth today, and to salvation as God planned it be. We will not argue it is something else. We will not seek for it where it is not. In gladness we accept it as it is, and take the part assigned to us by God.

2. How happy to be certain! All our doubts we lay aside today, and take our stand with certainty of purpose, and with thanks that doubt is gone and surety has come. We have a mighty purpose to fulfill, and have been given everything we need with which to reach the goal. Not one mistake stands in our way. For we have been absolved from errors. All our sins are washed away by realizing they were but mistakes.

3. The guiltless have no fear, for they are safe and recognize their safety. They do not appeal to magic, nor invent escapes from fancied threats without reality. They rest in quiet certainty that they will do what it is given them to do. They do not doubt their own ability because they know their function will be filled completely in the perfect time and place. They took the stand which we will take today, that we may share their certainty and thus increase it by accepting it ourselves.

4. They will be with us; all who took the stand we take today will gladly offer us all that they learned and every gain they made. Those still uncertain, too, will join with us, and, borrowing our certainty, will make it stronger still. While those as yet unborn will hear the call we heard, and answer it when they have come to make their choice again. We do not choose but for ourselves today.

5. Is it not worth five minutes of your time each hour to be able to accept the happiness that God has given you? Is it not worth five minutes hourly to recognize your special function here? Is not five minutes but a small request to make in terms of gaining a reward so great it has no measure? You have made a thousand losing bargains at the least.

6. Here is an offer guaranteeing you your full release from pain of every kind, and joy the world does not contain. You can exchange a little of your time for peace of mind and certainty of purpose, with the promise of complete success. And since time has no meaning, you are being asked for nothing in return for everything. Here is a bargain that you cannot lose. And what you gain is limitless indeed!

7. Each hour today give Him your tiny gift of but five minutes. He will give the words you use in practicing today’s idea the deep conviction and the certainty you lack. His words will join with yours, and make each repetition of today’s idea a total dedi­cation, made in faith as perfect and as sure as His in you. His confidence in you will bring the light to all the words you say, and you will go beyond their sound to what they really mean. Today you practice with Him, as you say:

I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.

8. In each five minutes that you spend with Him, He will accept your words and give them back to you all bright with faith and confidence so strong and steady they will light the world with hope and gladness. Do not lose one chance to be the glad re­ceiver of His gifts, that you may give them to the world today.

9. Give Him the words, and He will do the rest. He will enable you to understand your special function. He will open up the way to happiness, and peace and trust will be His gifts; His answer to your words. He will respond with all His faith and joy and certainty that what you say is true. And you will have conviction then of Him Who knows the function that you have on earth as well as Heaven. He will be with you each practice period you share with Him, exchanging every instant of the time you offer Him for timelessness and peace.

10. Throughout the hour, let your time be spent in happy prepara­tion for the next five minutes you will spend again with Him. Repeat today’s idea while you wait for the glad time to come to you again. Repeat it often, and do not forget each time you do so, you have let your mind be readied for the happy time to come.

11. And when the hour goes and He is there once more to spend a little time with you, be thankful and lay down all earthly tasks, all little thoughts and limited ideas, and spend a happy time again with Him. Tell Him once more that you accept the part that He would have you take and help you fill, and He will make you sure you want this choice, which He has made with you and you with Him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

 Q) Is there a wrong or right way to practice the workbook?

A) There is only one rule that Jesus offers us about doing the workbook: “Do not undertake to do more than one set of exercises a day” (W-in.2:6). Furthermore, we are urged by him to continue with our practice even if we have trouble understanding a lesson, or experience difficulty in carrying out the specific exercise because we do not believe what it says. As he comfortingly says to his students:

Some of the ideas the workbook presents you will find hard to believe, and others may seem to be quite startling. This does not matter. You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do. You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them. It is their use that will give them meaning to you, and will show you that they are true.Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required (W-in.8-9).

Clearly, students are encouraged in the above passage to do the workbook as Jesus gave it, one lesson at a time, in the sequence in which the lessons come. However, there is no rule against spending more than one day on a workbook lesson. Many times lessons bring up a host of related perspectives and problems in one’s life, and therefore students find themselves ruminating and pondering over the personal implications of these lessons. Since the workbook is a highly personal experience for students, there cannot truly be a “right” or “wrong” way of practicing it. The correct answer, as always, is that the “right” way is practicing the workbook with the Holy Spirit; the “wrong” way is practicing with the ego. This puts the burden on the student to continue the journey with A Course in Miracles in as ego-free manner as possible, always maintaining a vigilance against the ego’s subtle intrusions of specialness.

the way to god

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

ACIM Text Reading for April 9

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

IV. Seeking and Finding

The ego is certain that love is dangerous, and this is always its central teaching. It never puts it this way; on the contrary, everyone who believes that the ego is salvation seems to be intensely engaged in the search for love. Yet the ego, though encouraging the search for love very actively, makes one proviso; do not find it. Its dictates, then, can be summed up simply as: ‘Seek and do not find’. This is the one promise the ego holds out to you, and the one promise it will keep. For the ego pursues its goal with fanatic insistence, and its judgement, though severely impaired, is completely consistent.

The search the ego undertakes is therefore bound to be defeated. And since it also teaches that it is your identification, its guidance leads you to a journey which must end in perceived self-defeat. For the ego cannot love, and in its frantic search for love it is seeking what it is afraid to find. The search is inevitable because the ego is part of your mind, and because of its source the ego is not wholly split off, or it could not be believed at all. For it is your mind that believes in it and gives existence to it. Yet it is also your mind that has the power to deny the ego’s existence, and you will surely do so when you realise exactly what the journey is on which the ego sets you.

It is surely obvious that no one wants to find what would utterly defeat him. Being unable to love, the ego would be totally inadequate in love’s presence, for it could not respond at all. Then, you would have to abandon the ego’s guidance, for it would be quite apparent that it had not taught you the response you need. The ego will therefore distort love, and teach you that love really calls forth the responses the ego can teach. Follow its teaching, then, and you will search for love, but will not recognise it.

Do you realise that the ego must set you on a journey which cannot but lead to a sense of futility and depression? To seek and not to find is hardly joyous. Is this the promise you would keep? The Holy Spirit offers you another promise, and one that will lead to joy. For His promise is always, ‘Seek and you will find’, and under His guidance you cannot be defeated. His is the journey to accomplishment, and the goal He sets before you He will give you. For He will never deceive God’s Son whom He loves with the Love of the Father.

You will undertake a journey because you are not at home in this world. And you will search for your home whether you realise where it is or not. If you believe it is outside you the search will be futile, for you will be seeking it where it is not. You do not remember how to look within for you do not believe your home is there. Yet the Holy Spirit remembers it for you, and He will guide you to your home because that is His mission. As He fulfils His mission He will teach you yours, for your mission is the same as His. By guiding your brothers home you are but following Him.

Behold the Guide your Father gave you, that you might learn you have eternal life. For death is not your Father’s Will nor yours, and whatever is true is the Will of the Father. You pay no price for life for that was given you, but you do pay a price for death, and a very heavy one. If death is your treasure, you will sell everything else to purchase it. And you will believe that you have purchased it, because you have sold everything else. Yet you cannot sell the Kingdom of Heaven. Your inheritance can neither be bought nor sold. There can be no disinherited parts of the Sonship, for God is whole and all His extensions are like Him.

The Atonement is not the price of your wholeness, but it is the price of your awareness of your wholeness. For what you chose to ‘sell’ had to be kept for you, since you could not ‘buy’ it back. Yet you must invest in it, not with money but with spirit. For spirit is will, and will is the ‘price’ of the Kingdom. Your inheritance awaits only the recognition that you have been redeemed. The Holy Spirit guides you into life eternal, but you must relinquish your investment in death, or you will not see life though it is all around you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 9

Lesson 97 

I am Spirit.

1. Today’s idea identifies you with your one Self. It accepts no split identity, nor tries to weave opposing factors into unity. It simply states the truth. Practice this truth today as often as you can, for it will bring your mind from conflict to the quiet fields of peace. No chill of fear can enter, for your mind has been ab­solved from madness, letting go illusions of a split identity.

2. We state again the truth about your Self, the holy Son of God Who rests in you, whose mind has been restored to sanity. You are the spirit lovingly endowed with all your Father’s Love and peace and joy. You are the spirit which completes Himself, and shares His function as Creator. He is with you always, as you are with Him.

3. Today we try to bring reality still closer to your mind. Each time you practice, awareness is brought a little nearer at least; sometimes a thousand years or more are saved. The minutes which you give are multiplied over and over, for the miracle makes use of time, but is not ruled by it. Salvation is a miracle, the first and last; the first that is the last, for it is one.

4. You are the spirit in whose mind abides the miracle in which all time stands still; the miracle in which a minute spent in using these ideas becomes a time that has no limit and that has no end. Give, then, these minutes willingly, and count on Him Who promised to lay timelessness beside them. He will offer all His strength to every little effort that you make. Give Him the min­utes which He needs today, to help you understand with Him you are the spirit that abides in Him, and that calls through His Voice to every living thing; offers His sight to everyone who asks; replaces error with the simple truth.

5. The Holy Spirit will be glad to take five minutes of each hour from your hands, and carry them around this aching world where pain and misery appear to rule. He will not overlook one open mind that will accept the healing gifts they bring, and He will lay them everywhere He knows they will be welcome. And they will increase in healing power each time someone accepts them as his thoughts, and uses them to heal.

6. Thus will each gift to Him be multiplied a thousandfold and tens of thousands more. And when it is returned to you, it will surpass in might the little gift you gave as much as does the radi­ance of the sun outshine the tiny gleam a firefly makes an uncer­tain moment and goes out. The steady brilliance of this light remains and leads you out of darkness, nor will you be able to forget the way again.

7. Begin these happy exercises with the words the Holy Spirit speaks to you, and let them echo round the world through Him:

Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world.

Expressed through you, the Holy Spirit will accept this gift that you received of Him, increase its power and give it back to you.

8. Offer each practice period today gladly to Him. And He will speak to you, reminding you that you are spirit, one with Him and God, your brothers and your Self. Listen for His assurance every time you speak the words He offers you today, and let Him tell your mind that they are true. Use them against temptation, and escape its sorry consequences if you yield to the belief that you are something else. The Holy Spirit gives you peace today. Receive His words, and offer them to Him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is the relationship of A Course in Miracles to other spiritual paths, and specifically to the Bible?

A) This is an extremely important question, because the incorrect understanding of the answer inevitably leads to serious distortion of what A Course in Miracles actually teaches and how it is meant to be practiced. We live in an age where many followers of spiritual paths — usually grouped together in what is termed the “new age” — emphasize unity instead of diversity. While this is an admirable spiritual goal, certainly, it does serve to deny the “fact” of our separated world; namely, that we are all different, and that different spiritual paths are thus required.  Once this is accepted, then it is clear that different paths will be different. This is clearly obvious on one level, but is frequently obscured by the need to blur differences for the sake of a spurious unity. This does every spiritual path a disservice, and Jesus always made it clear to Helen personally, as well as in A Course in Miracles itself, how different his Course was from other paths. This does not necessarily mean it is better, but it does mean that it is unique.

Near the beginning of the manual for teachers, Jesus says of A Course in Miracles:

This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome (M-1.4:1-2).

And we have already examined Jesus’ special message to Helen — “I Need Do Nothing” — where Jesus contrasts his Course with other spiritualities that emphasize meditation and contemplation.

Therefore, on the one hand, the Course’s relationship to other spiritual paths is that it shares the same goal of returning home to God. It is different, however, because its theology and practice are different. Jesus summarizes this relationship in his pithy comment:

A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary (C-in.2:5).

As we have already seen, A Course in Miracles is a non-dualistic spirituality, while almost all others are dualistic. Confusing the Course with other spiritual thought systems, saying “the Course is just like … (fill in your favorite spirituality)” is simply in the end a subtle ego ploy for changing A Course in Miracles so that its teachings will be less threatening. We, of course, have seen in our Western history a notable example of this ego device when the Christian world made Jesus and his teachings into an extension of Judaism and the Old Testament, rather than accepting him and his message as the radical gift it was, independent of all that preceded it. Students of A Course in Miracles should profit from this mistake of the past, and grow into the Course, rather than attempting to scale it down to their own level of understanding.

Another form of this mistake is the common practice of including A Course in Miracles with what Aldous Huxley termed “the perennial philosophy,” a catch-all phrase used to embrace the major mystical traditions of the world.  Again, this does the Course a profound disservice, because it blurs what is its distinctive contribution to the world’s spiritualities: the idea that not only was the physical universe an illusion that God did not create, but that it was also “made as an attack” on Him (W-pII.3.2:1). This profound and sophisticated psychological principle, integrated with a pure non-dualistic metaphysics is what renders A Course in Miracles unique among the spiritual and religious thought systems of the world.

Comparing A Course in Miracles specifically with the Bible, we can see four major areas of differences, making these two spiritual paths totally incompatible. We quote from the introduction to A Course in Miracles and ChristianityA Dialogue by Kenneth and the Jesuit philosopher Father Norris Clarke, which explores these differences in greater depth:

1) A Course in Miracles teaches that God did not create the physical universe, which includes all matter, form, and the body; the Bible states that He did.2) The God of A Course in Miracles does not even know about the sin of separation (since to know about it would make it real), let alone react to it; the God of the Bible perceives sin directly, as is portrayed in the Garden of Eden story … and His responses to it are vigorous, dramatic, and at times
punitive, to say the very least.

3) A Course in Miracles‘ Jesus is equal to everyone else, a part of God’s one Son or Christ; the Bible’s Jesus is seen as special, apart, and therefore ontologically different from everyone else, being God’s only begotten Son, the second person of the Trinity.

4) The Jesus of A Course in Miracles is not sent by God to suffer and die on the cross in a sacrificial act of atonement for sin, but rather teaches that there is no sin by demonstrating that nothing happened to him in reality, for sin has no effect on the Love of God; the Jesus of the Bible agonizes, suffers, and dies for the sins of the world in an act that brings vicarious salvation to humanity, thereby establishing sin and death as real, and moreover clearly reflecting that God has been affected by Adam’s sin and must respond to its actual presence in the world by sacrificing His beloved Son. (pp. 2-3 from the Dialogue)

While our answer has focused on the Bible, the same basic message can be given regarding any other spiritual path. While there certainly can be nothing wrong with reading other spiritualities or being interested in learning more about them, nor in attending religious services, spiritual meetings, etc., a student of A Course in Miracles should at least be cautious — to make the point again — about attempting to blend together theologies or spiritual approaches that ultimately do not mix. Some spiritualities lend themselves to such “blending together”; A Course in Miracles does not.

INTERESTED READERS WILL FIND EXCERPTS FROM A COURSE IN MIRACLES AND CHRISTIANITY: A DIALOGUE
BEGINNING AT http://www.miraclestudies.net/Dialogue_Pref.html

you have no idea

 

 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 7, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 7

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

II. The Way to Remember God

Miracles are merely the translation of denial into truth. If to love oneself is to heal oneself, those who are sick do not love themselves. Therefore, they are asking for the love that would heal them, but which they are denying to themselves. If they knew the truth about themselves they could not be sick. The task of the miracle worker thus becomes to deny the denial of truth. The sick must heal themselves, for the truth is in them. Yet having obscured it, the light in another mind must shine into theirs because that light istheirs.

The light in them shines as brightly regardless of the density of the fog that obscures it. If you give no power to the fog to obscure the light, it has none. For it has power only if the Son of God gives power to it. He must himself withdraw that power, remembering that all power is of God. You can remember this for all the Sonship. Do not allow your brother not to remember, for his forgetfulness is yours. But your remembering is his, for God cannot be remembered alone. This is what you have forgotten. To perceive the healing of your brother as the healing of yourself is thus the way to remember God. For you forgot your brothers with Him, and God’s Answer to your forgetting is but the way to remember.

Perceive in sickness but another call for love, and offer your brother what he believes he cannot offer himself. Whatever the sickness, there is but one remedy. You will be made whole as you make whole, for to perceive in sickness the appeal for health is to recognise in hatred the call for love. And to give a brother what he really wants is to offer it unto yourself, for your Father wills you to know your brother as yourself. Answer his call for love, and yours is answered. Healing is the Love of Christ for His Father and for Himself.

Remember what was said about the frightening perceptions of little children, which terrify them because they do not understand them. If they ask for enlightenment and accept it, their fears vanish. But if they hide their nightmares they will keep them. It is easy to help an uncertain child, for he recognises that he does not understand what his perceptions mean. Yet you believe that you do understand yours. Little child, you are hiding your head under the cover of the heavy blankets you have laid upon yourself. You are hiding your nightmares in the darkness of your own false certainty, and refusing to open your eyes and look at them.

Let us not save nightmares, for they are not fitting offerings for Christ, and so they are not fit gifts for you. Take off the covers and look at what you are afraid of. Only the anticipation will frighten you, for the reality of nothingness cannot be frightening. Let us not delay this, for your dream of hatred will not leave you without help, and Help is here. Learn to be quiet in the midst of turmoil, for quietness is the end of strife and this is the journey to peace. Look straight at every image that rises to delay you, for the goal is inevitable because it is eternal. The goal of love is but your right, and it belongs to you despite your dreams.

You still want what God wills, and no nightmare can defeat a child of God in his purpose. For your purpose was given you by God, and you must accomplish it because it is His Will. Awake and remember your purpose, for it is your will to do so. What has been accomplished for you must be yours. Do not let your hatred stand in the way of love, for nothing can withstand the Love of Christ for His Father, or His Father’s Love for Him.

A little while and you will see me, for I am not hidden because you are hiding. I will awaken you as surely as I awakened myself, for I awoke for you. In my resurrection is your release. Our mission is to escape from crucifixion, not from redemption. Trust in my help, for I did not walk alone, and I will walk with you as our Father walked with me. Do you not know that I walked with Him in peace? And does not that mean that peace goes with us on the journey?

There is no fear in perfect love. We will but be making perfect to you what is already perfect in you. You do not fear the unknown but the known. You will not fail in your mission because I did not fail in mine. Give me but a little trust in the name of the complete trust I have in you, and we will easily accomplish the goal of perfection together. For perfection is, and cannot be denied. To deny the denial of perfection is not so difficult as to deny truth, and what we can accomplish together will be believed when you see it as accomplished.

You who have tried to banish love have not succeeded, but you who choose to banish fear must succeed. The Lord is with you, but you know it not. Yet your Redeemer liveth, and abideth in you in the peace out of which He was created. Would you not exchange this awareness for the awareness of fear? When we have overcome fear – not by hiding it, not by minimising it, and not by denying its full import in any way – this is what you will really see. You cannot lay aside the obstacles to real vision without looking upon them, for to lay aside means to judge against. If you will look, the Holy Spirit will judge, and He will judge truly. Yet He cannot shine away what you keep hidden, for you have not offered it to Him and He cannot take it from you.

We are therefore embarking on an organised, well-structured and carefully planned program aimed at learning how to offer to the Holy Spirit everything you do not want. He knows what to do with it. You do not understand how to use what He knows. Whatever is given Him that is not of God is gone. Yet you must look at it yourself in perfect willingness, for otherwise His knowledge remains useless to you. Surely He will not fail to help you, since help is His only purpose. Do you not have greater reason for fearing the world as you perceive it, than for looking at the cause of fear and letting it go forever?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 7

Lesson 95

I am one Self, united with my Creator.

1. Today’s idea accurately describes you as God created you. You are one within yourself, and one with Him. Yours is the unity of all creation. Your perfect unity makes change in you impossible. You do not accept this, and you fail to realize it must be so, only because you believe that you have changed yourself already.

2. You see yourself as a ridiculous parody on God’s creation; weak, vicious, ugly and sinful, miserable and beset with pain. Such is your version of yourself; a self divided into many war­ring parts, separate from God, and tenuously held together by its erratic and capricious maker, to which you pray. It does not hear your prayers, for it is deaf. It does not see the oneness in you, for it is blind. It does not understand you are the Son of God, for it is senseless and understands nothing.

3. We will attempt today to be aware only of what can hear and see, and what makes perfect sense. We will again direct our exer­cises towards reaching your one Self, which is united with Its Creator. In patience and in hope we try again today.

4. The use of the first five minutes of every waking hour for practicing the idea for the day has special advantages at the stage of learning in which you are at present. It is difficult at this point not to allow your mind to wander, if it undertakes extended prac­tice. You have surely realized this by now. You have seen the extent of your lack of mental discipline, and of your need for mind training. It is necessary that you be aware of this, for it is indeed a hindrance to your advance.

5. Frequent but shorter practice periods have other advantages for you at this time. In addition to recognizing your difficulties with sustained attention, you must also have noticed that, unless you are reminded of your purpose frequently, you tend to forget about it for long periods of time. You often fail to remember the short applications of the idea for the day, and you have not yet formed the habit of using the idea as an automatic response to temptation.

6. Structure, then, is necessary for you at this time, planned to include frequent reminders of your goal and regular attempts to reach it. Regularity in terms of time is not the ideal requirement for the most beneficial form of practice in salvation. It is advantageous, however, for those whose motivation is inconsistent, and who remain heavily defended against learning.

7. We will, therefore, keep to the five-minutes-an-hour practice periods for a while, and urge you to omit as few as possible. Using the first five minutes of the hour will be particularly help­ful, since it imposes firmer structure. Do not, however, use your lapses from this schedule as an excuse not to return to it again as soon as you can. There may well be a temptation to regard the day as lost because you have already failed to do what is re­quired. This should, however, merely be recognized as what it is; a refusal to let your mistake be corrected, and an unwillingness to try again.

8. The Holy Spirit is not delayed in His teaching by your mistakes. He can be held back only by your unwillingness to let them go. Let us therefore be determined, particularly for the next week or so, to be willing to forgive ourselves for our lapses in diligence, and our failures to follow the instructions for practicing the day’s idea. This tolerance for weakness will enable us to overlook it, rather than give it power to delay our learning. If we give it power to do this, we are regarding it as strength, and are confusing strength with weakness.

9. When you fail to comply with the requirements of this course, you have merely made a mistake. This calls for correction, and for nothing else. To allow a mistake to continue is to make additional mistakes, based on the first and reinforcing it. It is this process that must be laid aside, for it is but another way in which you would defend illusions against the truth.

10. Let all these errors go by recognizing them for what they are. They are attempts to keep you unaware you are one Self, united with your Creator, at one with every aspect of creation, and limitless in power and in peace. This is the truth, and nothing else is true. Today we will affirm this truth again, and try to reach the place in you in which there is no doubt that only this is true.

11. Begin the practice periods today with this assurance, offered to your mind with all the certainty that you can give:

I am one Self, united with my Creator, at one with every aspect of creation, and limitless in power and in peace.

Then close your eyes and tell yourself again, slowly and thoughtfully, attempting to allow the meaning of the words to sink into your mind, replacing false ideas:

I am one Self.

Repeat this several times, and then attempt to feel the meaning that the words convey.

12. You are one Self, united and secure in light and joy and peace. You are God’s Son, one Self, with one Creator and one goal; to bring awareness of this oneness to all minds, that true creation may extend the allness and the unity of God. You are one Self, complete and healed and whole, with power to lift the veil of darkness from the world, and let the light in you come through to teach the world the truth about yourself.

13. You are one Self, in perfect harmony with all there is, and all that there will be. You are one Self, the holy Son of God, united with your brothers in that Self; united with your Father in His Will. Feel this one Self in you, and let It shine away all your illusions and your doubts. This is your Self, the Son of God Himself, sinless as Its Creator, with His strength within you and His Love forever yours. You are one Self, and it is given you to feel this Self within you, and to cast all your illusions out of the one Mind that is this Self, the holy truth in you.

14. Do not forget today. We need your help; your little part in bringing happiness to all the world. And Heaven looks to you in confidence that you will try today. Share, then, its surety, for it is yours. Be vigilant. Do not forget today. Throughout the day do not forget your goal. Repeat today’s idea as frequently as possi­ble, and understand each time you do so, someone hears the voice of hope, the stirring of the truth within his mind, the gentle rustling of the wings of peace.

15. Your own acknowledgment you are one Self, united with your Father, is a call to all the world to be at one with you. To every­one you meet today, be sure to give the promise of today’s idea and tell him this:

You are one Self with me, united with our Creator in this Self. I honor you because of What I am, and What He is, Who loves us both as One.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Can one be a student of A Course in Miracles and serve on a jury (be a doctor, lawyer, etc.) or remain with a partner who is not a student of the Course? Or should one be with a partner at all?  Isn’t that simply a form of specialness? 
A) These questions reflect the level confusion we have already considered, for they suggest that there are certain activities, occupations, or relationships that are more or less spiritual than others. For example, the underlying assumptions are that it is holier to become a teacher of A Course in Miracles than it is to serve in government or the armed forces. In other words, this assumption makes the error real, something Jesus distinctly cautions his students against doing. Indeed, the first law of chaos described in Chapter 23, and already referred to, explicitly states the ego’s principle that there “is a hierarchy of illusions” (T-23.II.2:3). 

As we have frequently stated in this book, the focus of the Course student should never be on specific behavior, but only on which voice is chosen as a guide for this behavior. Everything else is meaningless. Very often, difficult occupations provide the best classrooms in which to learn and practice the principle of forgiveness, which is based on the premise that nothing outside us can affect us in any way. It is only our minds’ choices for the ego that can bring us pain. Many years ago we were giving a workshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A man stood up and spoke of his work at Los Alamos, site of some of this country’s most significant nuclear weapons research and production. Several of the participants began to attack him for being a student of A Course in Miracles at the same time that he was involved in what they felt was bellicose and obviously ego-based activity. They clearly missed the whole point. What better classroom could there be for someone than to operate in the midst of such a blatant example of the ego thought system, and learn how to see it differently through the eyes of forgiveness, and especially how to see oneself differently. And is working on a nuclear bomb really any different from participation in any institution in the world, all of which deal with separation, specialness, and the perpetuation of the ego thought system? 

As for partners in relationships, the same principles and cautions apply. Over the years, we have heard many stories of couples who have broken up because one of the partners was not a Course student, as if that external condition were a prerequisite for a happy life together. The issue, naturally, is not that every couple should remain together, or that they should separate. However, using A Course in Miracles as an excuse for breaking up, or a reason for remaining together misses the whole point again. Very often, in fact, remaining with someone who is not a student of the Course may be the perfect classroom in which to learn that the heart of A Course in Miracles is its content of forgiveness, not the form in which that teaching comes. We shall return to this issue in the final chapter. 

The same mistakes occur on the “other side” of relationships; i.e., the belief that students of the Course should not be involved in any romantic or sexual relationships at all, not to mention getting married and having children, since that would clearly reflect special relationships. However, it has been forgotten that specialness exists not in a relationship between two people, but in the thoughts of a person who has preferred the ego’s individuality or specialness to the Holy Spirit’s Love. The lack that inevitably follows such a decision must lead to seeking outside oneself for help in filling that lack, what the Course would describe as the scarcity principle. That filling up the perceived inner lack is what A Course in Miracles means by special relationships. 

It is impossible to be born into this world without specialness, and it is simply denial that would lead students to believe that they are without this belief system. One of the core definitions the Course uses for specialness is substitution, and simply leaving Heaven — as all people in the world believe they have done — expresses the belief that the ego’s specialness is a worthy and worthwhile substitute for the Love of God. Therefore, the special relationship is the rule of the separated world, and rather than deny it, students of A Course in Miracles should accept this perceptual fact, and turn to Jesus or the Holy Spirit for help in learning the lessons of forgiveness that this valuable classroom offers under Their guidance. 

In other words, as we frequently remind students during our workshops and classes, when studying A Course in Miracles, students should above all not forget to be normal. And normal people serve on juries, become involved in litigation, carry insurance, get sick, become angry, laugh, cry, mourn the deaths of loved ones, have relationships, families, circles of friends, etc., etc., etc. The challenge is to be involved in all these normal human activities, but to do so differently — with Jesus instead of without him. Thus Jesus encourages his students to be like everyone else, but to be happy and peaceful: 

There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet (W-pI.155.1:1-3; italics ours).

Therefore, as we cautioned in our discussion of the previous question, students of A Course in Miracles should watch for their ego’s vigilance in judging other people’s responses or behaviors, or their own for that matter. Jesus’ loving judgment is always and only in terms of content — i.e., the inner teacher that is chosen — and never the form. And unless one has the egoless wisdom of the Holy Spirit, how can an observer possibly know which teacher has been chosen? 

forgiveness is still

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

ACIM Text Reading for April 6

Chapter 12

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S CURRICULUM

I. The Judgement of the Holy Spirit

You have been told not to make error real, and the way to do this is very simple. If you want to believe in error, you would have to make it real because it is not true. But truth is real in its own right, and to believe in truth you do not have to do anything. Understand that you do not respond to anything directly, but to your interpretation of it. Your interpretation thus becomes the justification for the response. That is why analysing the motives of others is hazardous to you. If you decide that someone is really trying to attack you or desert you or enslave you, you will respond as if he had actually done so, having made his error real to you. To interpret error is to give it power, and having done this you will overlook truth.

The analysis of ego-motivation is very complicated, very obscuring, and never without your own ego-involvement. The whole process represents a clear-cut attempt to demonstrate your own ability to understand what you perceive. This is shown by the fact that you react to your interpretations as if they were correct. You may then control your reactions behaviourally, but not emotionally. This would obviously be a split or an attack on the integrity of your mind, pitting one level within it against another.

There is but one interpretation of motivation that makes any sense. And because it is the Holy Spirit’s judgement it requires no effort at all on your part. Every loving thought is true. Everything else is an appeal for healing and help, regardless of the form it takes. Can anyone be justified in responding with anger to a brother’s plea for help? No response can be appropriate except the willingness to give it to him, for this and only this is what he is asking for. Offer him anything else, and you are assuming the right to attack his reality by interpreting it as you see fit. Perhaps the danger of this to your own mind is not yet fully apparent. If you believe that an appeal for help is something else you will react to something else. Your response will therefore be inappropriate to reality as it is, but not to your perception of it.

There is nothing to prevent you from recognising all calls for help as exactly what they are except your own imagined need to attack. It is only this that makes you willing to engage in endless ‘battles’ with reality, in which you deny the reality of the need for healing by making it unreal. You would not do this except for your unwillingness to accept reality as it is, and which you therefore withhold from yourself.

It is surely good advice to tell you not to judge what you do not understand. No one with a personal investment is a reliable witness, for truth to him has become what he wants it to be. If you are unwilling to perceive an appeal for help as what it is, it is because you are unwilling to give help and to receive it. To fail to recognise a call for help is to refuse help. Would you maintain that you do not need it? Yet this is what you are maintaining when you refuse to recognise a brother’s appeal, for only by answering his appeal canyou be helped. Deny him your help and you will not recognise God’s Answer to you. The Holy Spirit does not need your help in interpreting motivation, but you do need His.

Only appreciation is an appropriate response to your brother. Gratitude is due him for both his loving thoughts and his appeals for help, for both are capable of bringing love into your awareness if you perceive them truly. And all your sense of strain comes from your attempts not to do just this. How simple, then, is God’s plan for salvation. There is but one response to reality, for reality evokes no conflict at all. There is but one Teacher of reality, Who understands what it is. He does not change His Mind about reality because reality does not change. Although your interpretations of reality are meaningless in your divided state, His remain consistently true. He gives them to you because they are for you. Do not attempt to ‘help’ a brother in your way, for you cannot help yourself. But hear his call for the Help of God, and you will recognise your own need for the Father.

Your interpretations of your brother’s needs are your interpretation of yours. By giving help you are asking for it, and if you perceive but one need in yourself you will be healed. For you will recognise God’s Answer as you want It to be, and if you want It in truth, It will be truly yours. Every appeal you answer in the Name of Christ brings the remembrance of your Father closer to your awareness. For the sake of your need, then, hear every call for help as what it is, so God can answer you.

By applying the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the reactions of others more and more consistently, you will gain an increasing awareness that His criteria are equally applicable to you. For to recognise fear is not enough to escape from it, although the recognition is necessary to demonstrate the need for escape. The Holy Spirit must still translate the fear into truth. If you were left with the fear, once you had recognised it, you would have taken a step away from reality, not towards it. Yet we have repeatedly emphasised the need to recognise fear and face it without disguise as a crucial step in the undoing of the ego. Consider how well the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the motives of others will serve you then. Having taught you to accept only loving thoughts in others and to regard everything else as an appeal for help, He has taught you that fear itself is an appeal for help. This is what recognising fear really means. If you do not protect it, He will reinterpret it. That is the ultimate value in learning to perceive attack as a call for love. We have already learned that fear and attack are inevitably associated. If only attack produces fear, and if you see attack as the call for help that it is, the unreality of fear must dawn on you. For fear is a call for love, in unconscious recognition of what has been denied.

Fear is a symptom of your own deep sense of loss. If when you perceive it in others you learn to supply the loss, the basic cause of fear is removed. Thereby you teach yourself that fear does not exist in you. The means for removing it is in yourself, and you have demonstrated this by giving it. Fear and love are the only emotions of which you are capable. One is false, for it was made out of denial; and denial depends on the belief in what is denied for its own existence. By interpreting fear correctly as a positive affirmation of the underlying belief it masks, you are undermining its perceived usefulness by rendering it useless. Defences that do not work at all are automatically discarded. If you raise what fear conceals to clear-cut unequivocal predominance, fear becomes meaningless. You have denied its power to conceal love, which was its only purpose. The veil that you have drawn across the face of love has disappeared.

If you would look upon love, which is the world’s reality, how could you do better than to recognise, in every defence against it, the underlying appeal for it? And how could you better learn of its reality than by answering the appeal for it by giving it? The Holy Spirit’s interpretation of fear does dispel it, for the awareness of truth cannot be denied. Thus does the Holy Spirit replace fear with love and translate error into truth. And thus will you learn of Him how to replace your dream of separation with the fact of unity. For the separation is only the denial of union, and correctly interpreted, attests to your eternal knowledge that union is true.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 6

Lesson 94

I am as God created me.

1. Today we continue with the one idea which brings complete salvation; the one statement which makes all forms of temptation powerless; the one thought which renders the ego silent and en­tirely undone. You are as God created you. The sounds of this world are still, the sights of this world disappear, and all the thoughts that this world ever held are wiped away forever by this one idea. Here is salvation accomplished. Here is sanity restored.

2. True light is strength, and strength is sinlessness. If you remain as God created you, you must be strong and light must be in you. He Who ensured your sinlessness must be the guarantee of strength and light as well. You are as God created you. Darkness cannot obscure the glory of God’s Son. You stand in light, strong in the sinlessness in which you were created, and in which you will remain throughout eternity.

3. Today we will again devote the first five minutes of each wak­ing hour to the attempt to feel the truth in you. Begin these times of searching with these words:

I am as God created me.
I am His Son eternally.

Now try to reach the Son of God in you. This is the Self that never sinned, nor made an image to replace reality. This is the Self that never left Its home in God to walk the world uncertainly. This is the Self that knows no fear, nor could conceive of loss or suffering or death.

4. Nothing is required of you to reach this goal except to lay all idols and self-images aside; go past the list of attributes, both good and bad, you have ascribed to yourself; and wait in silent expectancy for the truth. God has Himself promised that it will be revealed to all who ask for it. You are asking now. You cannot fail because He cannot fail.

5. If you do not meet the requirement of practicing for the first five minutes of every hour, at least remind yourself hourly:

I am as God created me.
I am His Son eternally.

Tell yourself frequently today that you are as God created you. And be sure to respond to anyone who seems to irritate you with these words:

You are as God created you.
You are His Son eternally.

Make every effort to do the hourly exercises today. Each one you do will be a giant stride toward your release, and a milestone in learning the thought system which this course sets forth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If, as A Course in Miracles suggests, the world totally misunderstood Jesus’ message two thousand years ago, why did he wait so long to correct it?

A) Again, this thoughtful question is based upon a linear view of time, in which two thousand years appear to be an inordinately long period of time for the error to be corrected. Clearly, the ones asking such a question are projecting onto Jesus their own impatience and, most likely, their unforgiveness of the various Christian Churches that have superimposed the ego thought system onto the ego-free teachings of the true Jesus.

A more profound way of addressing this question is to consider that being ego-free, anyone in the real world — as is Jesus — does not really choose to do anything. Having chosen the Holy Spirit once and for all, there is nothing more to choose. Therefore, there is no longer a decision maker in the mind that activates the body and interacts with the world, as is the ego’s very important need. Truly advanced teachers of God — Teachers of teachers — God do not do; they are. They do not plan, choose, deliberate, or behave as does a person who believes in the reality of the ego thought system. Their simple presence of love takes its shape around the needs of those who still identify with a world of form, much as water takes its shape according to the container in which it has been put, or the bed of the river shapes the flow of the water coursing through it.

In this context, therefore, we can understand that the appearance of Jesus within the world’s dream two thousand years ago was the result of the Son’s readiness to experience the Love of God within his dream. It is as if the mind of the Son — the only true sphere of experience there is — partially opened the door of his mind that had screened out the presence of the Holy Spirit. The mind, previously darkened by guilt, thus allowed some light in, and this light took the form of Jesus, the Son of Light, whose presence within the ego’s world of darkness reminds us all that we too are children of the Light.

The fear that this light engendered — for it constitutes a grave threat to the ego’s thought system of darkness — led to the Son’s closing the door to protect his individual self, and this took the form of seeking to destroy Jesus and then his message, as the history of Christianity attests. This is why the gospel writers changed the entire message of Jesus and rooted it in the crucifixion, which reflected the ego’s underlying plan to perpetuate its own thought system of betrayal, suffering, and death. Jesus comments on this dynamic in the Course in several places. We look at two such passages; one general to the dynamics of the Son’s mind, and the other specific to Jesus himself.

As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear and sometimes to stark terror (T- 1 8.111.2: 1).All who believe in separation have a basic fear of retaliation and abandonment.  They believe in attack and rejection, so that is what they perceive and leach and learn.  These insane ideas are clearly the result of dissociation and projection. What you teach you are, but it is quite apparent that you can teach wrongly, and can therefore teach yourself wrong. Many thought I was attacking them, even though it was apparent I was not. An insane learner learns strange lessons. What you must recognize is that when you do not share a thought system, you are weakening it. Those who believe in it therefore perceive this as an attack on them. This is because everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are (T-6.V-B.1:1-9).

The reader should also consult “Atonement without Sacrifice” and “The Message of the Crucifixion,” the opening sections of Chapters 3 and 6 in the text, for even more specific comments by Jesus about the misunderstanding of his message, and how and why it happened.

And now, two thousand years later, we see that the door to the Son’s closed mind opened again to allow in the light of truth, and the result is the original message of Jesus, presented in a contemporary twentieth (soon to be twenty-first) century form. Needless to say, there have been other expressions of this light in the Christian (and non-Christian) world, but, again, we shall remain only within the context of A Course in Miracles.

The advantage of answering the question in this way is that one is able to avoid the anthropomorphizing of Jesus — making him think, plan, and behave the way we would — which would only once again foster the belief that we have captured him within the ego’s dream, making him one of us, instead of our becoming like him. Above all, it is always essential to keep in mind that God has no true response to the thought of separation, even though, as we have already seen, the metaphoric language of A Course in Miraclesoften portrays it so.  First and foremost, if God knew about the “tiny, mad idea,” it would have had to be real. Therefore, the Holy Spirit and Jesus — as messengers of God within the dream, and being the Voices of the plan of the Atonement which states that the dream of separation never happened — would also have to share in this non-response to error. It is Their simple light-filled presence within our minds — darkened by thoughts of sin, guilt, and fear — that help us. They do nothing; it is only our egos that act and react. And as long as we experience this thought of separation in the specific forms of specialness that comprise our individual lives, we must experience this Help in specific forms as well. But these forms are determined by our ego scripts, not by any specific intervention of the divine.

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

ACIM Text Reading for May 3

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

VIII. The Attraction of Love for Love

Do you really believe that you can kill the Son of God? The Father has hidden His Son safely within Himself, and kept him far away from your destructive thoughts, but you know neither the Father nor the Son because of them. You attack the real world every day and every hour and minute, and yet you are surprised that you cannot see it. If you seek love in order to attack it, you will never find it. For if love is sharing, how can you find it except through itself? Offer it and it will come to you, because it is drawn to itself. But offer attack and love will remain hidden, for it can live only in peace.

God’s Son is as safe as his Father, for the Son knows his Father’s protection and cannot fear. His Father’s Love holds him in perfect peace, and needing nothing, he asks for nothing. Yet he is far from you whose Self he is, for you chose to attack him and he disappeared from your sight into his Father. He did not change, but you did. For a split mind and all its works were not created by the Father, and could not live in the knowledge of Him.

When you made visible what is not true, what is true became invisible to you. Yet it cannot be invisible in itself, for the Holy Spirit sees it with perfect clarity. It is invisible to you because you are looking at something else. Yet it is no more up to you to decide what is visible and what is invisible, than it is up to you to decide what reality is. What can be seen is what the Holy Spirit sees. The definition of reality is God’s, not yours. He created it, and He knows what it is. You who knew have forgotten, and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourself to oblivion.

Because of your Father’s Love you can never forget Him, for no one can forget what God Himself placed in his memory. You can deny it, but you cannot lose it. A Voice will answer every question you ask, and a vision will correct the perception of everything you see. For what you have made invisible is the only truth, and what you have not heard is the only Answer. God would reunite you with yourself, and did not abandon you in your distress. You are waiting only for Him, and do not know it. Yet His memory shines in your mind and cannot be obliterated. It is no more past than future, being forever always.

You have but to ask for this memory, and you will remember. Yet the memory of God cannot shine in a mind that has obliterated it and wants to keep it so. For the memory of God can dawn only in a mind that chooses to remember, and that has relinquished the insane desire to control reality. You who cannot even control yourself should hardly aspire to control the universe. But look upon what you have made of it, and rejoice that it is not so.

Son of God, be not content with nothing! What is not real cannot be seen and has no value. God could not offer His Son what has no value, nor could His Son receive it. You were redeemed the instant you thought you had deserted Him. Everything you made has never been, and is invisible because the Holy Spirit does not see it. Yet what He does see is yours to behold, and through His vision your perception is healed. You have made invisible the only truth that this world holds. Valuing nothing, you have sought nothing. By making nothing real to you, you have seen it. But it is not there. And Christ is invisible to you because of what you have made visible to yourself.

Yet it does not matter how much distance you have tried to interpose between your awareness and truth. God’s Son can be seen because his vision is shared. The Holy Spirit looks upon him, and sees nothing else in you. What is invisible to you is perfect in His sight, and encompasses all of it. He has remembered you because He forgot not the Father. You looked upon the unreal and found despair. Yet by seeking the unreal, what else could you find? The unreal world is a thing of despair, for it can never be. And you who share God’s Being with Him could never be content without reality. What God did not give you has no power over you, and the attraction of love for love remains irresistible. For it is the function of love to unite all things unto itself, and to hold all things together by extending its wholeness.

The real world was given you by God in loving exchange for the world you made and the world you see. Only take it from the hand of Christ and look upon it. Its reality will make everything else invisible, for beholding it is total perception. And as you look upon it you will remember that it was always so. Nothingness will become invisible, for you will at last have seen truly. Redeemed perception is easily translated into knowledge, for only perception is capable of error and perception has never been. Being corrected it gives place to knowledge, which is forever the only reality. The Atonement is but the way back to what was never lost. Your Father could not cease to love His Son.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 3

Lesson 103

God, being Love, is also happiness.

Happiness is an attribute of love. It cannot be apart from it. Nor can it be experienced where love is not. Love has no limits, being everywhere. And therefore joy is everywhere as well. Yet can the mind deny that this is so, believing there are gaps in love where sin can enter, bringing pain instead of joy. This strange belief would limit happiness by redefining love as limited, and introducing opposition in what has no limit and no opposite.

Fear is associated then with love, and its results become the heritage of minds that think what they have made is real. These images, with no reality in truth, bear witness to the fear of God, forgetting being Love, He must be joy. This basic error we will try again to bring to truth today, and teach ourselves:

God, being Love, is also happiness.
To fear Him is to be afraid of joy.

Begin your periods of practicing today with this association, which corrects the false belief that God is fear. It also emphasizes happiness belongs to you, because of what He is.

Allow this one correction to be placed within your mind each waking hour today. Then welcome all the happiness it brings as truth replaces fear, and joy becomes what you expect to take the place of pain. God, being Love, it will be given you. Bolster this expectation frequently throughout the day, and quiet all your fears with this assurance, kind and wholly true:

God, being Love, is also happiness.
And it is happiness I seek today.
I cannot fail, because I seek the truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #680: Jesus often says in A Course in Miracles that I am only to trust in my willingness. At various times I thought I couldn’t have been more willing, but instead it seems I took the route of choosing a more vicious ego. I have understood since then, with your helpful service, that references like these refer to my mind (outside time/space). The same goes for Jesus’ comment about the Course not offering practical advice — what could be more straightforward than being told to ask for help. So again, since I thought I had asked for help before reading that, the only calm way I can understand it is that it is referring to metaphysical me. I need clarification, though, that waiting in faith that the answers will come is not ego-based itself. I have tried to make it in the world while having faith that my trying would come to be replaced with following the Holy Spirit. Obviously I wasn’t willing enough, and now I can’t even make it in the world. I have tried professional help, but it seems I would need Guidance to make that worldly decision now too as much as any other decision. To ask here is difficult, too, because the answers I know are simply to observe myself and to see what smokescreen my ego dynamics are serving and to turn them over.Your service has been helpfully calming, though, so I ask, Do I (try to) try again in my own way (I would probably pick somewhere to volunteer), or would this be interfering (and lead to another “failure”)?

A: Jesus is always talking about the decision maker in the mind. This is not the Mind (capital M) of Christ, though, if that is what you mean by the “metaphysical me.” It is the part of the split mind that can decide for or against the ego. Our experience is the direct result of that choice, which is why Jesus is always addressing the decision maker; there is no independent self in the world apart from the mind. That self is simply the projection of the decision maker; Jesus would not be talking to a projection.

The “little willingness” that he asks of us is the willingness to be proven wrong — that our experience of separation, attack, and separate interests — even our self-concepts — are really misperceptions. When we side with the ego, we are saying: I am not as God created me! We do that by identifying with a self that is limited, imperfect, and always struggling to survive in a world of victims and victimizers. So Jesus tells us that “to learn his course requires willingness to question every value that you hold” (T.24.in.2:1). We need to bring our misperceptions to his truth, our darkness to his light, where they can be replaced with true perception. But we must first be willing to acknowledge that we have been wrong in how we have been perceiving everything. Then authentic change can occur. The change, though, would be in our choice of teachers in our mind, not necessarily in circumstances in the world. And that willingness need not be perfect, he assures us: “…be not disturbed by the shadows that surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them you would not need the holy instant” (T.18.IV.2:4,5,6).

In view of this, how your life is going in the world cannot be used as a measure of your willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit or Jesus. The content of one’s mind cannot be judged by the form of one’s life. Jesus’ life in the world did not go all that well in the world’s terms; yet he tells us that his internal experience of peace never changed, and he asks that we follow his example in the trying circumstances of our own lives (T.6.I). Our lives, then, become classrooms in which Jesus as our chosen teacher can help us use all relationships and circumstances to get in touch with the blocks to that peace in our minds. They mirror back to us the thought system or teacher we have chosen in our minds, not by what is going on, but by how we perceive what is going on — our internal reactions. Thus, as you commented, problems in our bodies and the world are “smokescreens” concealing the real conflict in our minds. They are a means of proving that we are right about ourselves and reality. That is what we must get in touch with, and why Jesus places so much emphasis on purpose. That is what he helps us with.

Professional help can be supportive of the process of letting go of your ego. A kind therapist could help you get in touch with some of the specific expressions in your life of the ego’s dynamics of separation, even though that vocabulary may never be used. It is not an easy process because of the layers of defenses we usually all have, and so a skilled therapist can be quite helpful in that regard.

Finally, do whatever you feel you would like to do; if assisting as a volunteer is appealing to you, then why not follow that? That is not the central issue. Your focus should be internal — your willingness to be proven wrong about your self-perception, so that the truth about you can emerge from concealment. When you are joined with Jesus or the Holy Spirit in your mind, any situation or interaction (regardless of the form) can be a joyful one in terms of its purpose: another opportunity to release the pain of separation and accept the peace of an identity of love shared by us all. As that remains your focus more and more, you will depend less and less on things going well externally in order to be happy and peaceful. And that in turn means that your (your mind’s) identification with the body will lessen as well — even as you continue to attend responsibly and maturely to its normal needs.

this is practical course

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

ACIM Text Reading for May 1

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

VI. The Vision of Christ

The ego is trying to teach you how to gain the whole world and lose your own soul. The Holy Spirit teaches that you cannot lose your soul and there is no gain in the world, for of itself it profits nothing. To invest without profit is surely to impoverish yourself, and the overhead is high. Not only is there no profit in the investment, but the cost to you is enormous. For this investment costs you the world’s reality by denying yours, and gives you nothing in return. You cannot sell your soul, but you can sell your awareness of it. You cannot perceive your soul, but you will not know it while you perceive something else as more valuable.

The Holy Spirit is your strength because He knows nothing but the spirit as you. He is perfectly aware that you do not know yourself, and perfectly aware of how to teach you to remember what you are. Because He loves you, He will gladly teach you what He loves, for He wills to share it. Remembering you always, He cannot let you forget your worth. For the Father never ceases to remind Him of His Son, and He never ceases to remind His Son of the Father. God is in your memory because of Him. You chose to forget your Father but you do not really want to do so, and therefore you can decide otherwise. As it was my decision, so is it yours.

You do not want the world. The only thing of value in it is whatever part of it you look upon with love. This gives it the only reality it will ever have. Its value is not in itself, but yours is in you. As self-value comes from self-extension, so does the perception of self-value come from the extension of loving thoughts outward. Make the world real unto yourself, for the real world is the gift of the Holy Spirit, and so it belongs to you.

Correction is for all who cannot see. To open the eyes of the blind is the Holy Spirit’s mission, for He knows that they have not lost their vision, but merely sleep. He would awaken them from the sleep of forgetting to the remembering of God. Christ’s eyes are open, and He will look upon whatever you see with love if you accept His vision as yours. The Holy Spirit keeps the vision of Christ for every Son of God who sleeps. In His sight the Son of God is perfect, and He longs to share His vision with you. He will show you the real world because God gave you Heaven. Through Him your Father calls His Son to remember. The awakening of His Son begins with his investment in the real world, and by this he will learn to re-invest in himself. For reality is one with the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit blesses the real world in Their Name.

When you have seen this real world, as you will surely do, you will remember us. Yet you must learn the cost of sleeping, and refuse to pay it. Only then will you decide to awaken. And then the real world will spring to your sight, for Christ has never slept. He is waiting to be seen, for He has never lost sight of you. He looks quietly on the real world, which He would share with you because He knows of the Father’s Love for Him. And knowing this, He would give you what is yours. In perfect peace He waits for you at His Father’s altar, holding out the Father’s Love to you in the quiet light of the Holy Spirit’s blessing. For the Holy Spirit will lead everyone home to his Father, where Christ waits as His Self.

Every child of God is one in Christ, for his being is in Christ as Christ’s is in God. Christ’s Love for you is His Love for His Father, which He knows because He knows His Father’s Love for Him. When the Holy Spirit has at last led you to Christ at the altar to His Father, perception fuses into knowledge because perception has become so holy that its transfer to holiness is merely its natural extension. Love transfers to love without any interference, for the two are one. As you perceive more and more common elements in all situations, the transfer of training under the Holy Spirit’s guidance increases and becomes generalised. Gradually you learn to apply it to everyone and everything, for its applicability is universal. When this has been accomplished, perception and knowledge have become so similar that they share the unification of the laws of God.

What is one cannot be perceived as separate, and the denial of the separation is the reinstatement of knowledge. At the altar of God, the holy perception of God’s Son becomes so enlightened that light streams into it, and the spirit of God’s Son shines in the Mind of the Father and becomes one with it. Very gently does God shine upon Himself, loving the extension of Himself that is His Son. The world has no purpose as it blends into the Purpose of God. For the real world has slipped quietly into Heaven, where everything eternal in it has always been. There the Redeemer and the redeemed join in perfect love of God and of each other. Heaven is your home, and being in God it must also be in you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 1

Lesson 101

God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.

Today we will continue with the theme of happiness. This is a key idea in understanding what salvation means. You still believe it asks for suffering as penance for your “sins.” This is not so. Yet you must think it so while you believe that sin is real, and that God’s Son can sin.

If sin is real, then punishment is just and cannot be escaped. Salvation thus cannot be purchased but through suffering. If sin is real, then happiness must be illusion, for they cannot both be true. The sinful warrant only death and pain, and it is this they ask for. For they know it waits for them, and it will seek them out and find them somewhere, sometime, in some form that evens the account they owe to God. They would escape Him in their fear. And yet He will pursue, and they can not escape.

If sin is real, salvation must be pain. Pain is the cost of sin, and suffering can never be escaped, if sin is real. Salvation must be feared, for it will kill, but slowly, taking everything away before it grants the welcome boon of death to victims who are little more than bones before salvation is appeased. Its wrath is boundless, merciless, but wholly just.

Who would seek out such savage punishment? Who would not flee salvation, and attempt in every way he can to drown the Voice which offers it to him? Why would he try to listen and accept Its offering? If sin is real, its offering is death, and meted out in cruel form to match the vicious wishes in which sin is born. If sin is real, salvation has become your bitter enemy, the curse of God upon you who have crucified His Son.

You need the practice periods today. The exercises teach sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin will never happen, for it has no cause. Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God’s Son. There is no sin. We practice with this thought as often as we can today, because it is the basis for today’s idea.

God’s Will for you is perfect happiness because there is no sin, and suffering is causeless. Joy is just, and pain is but the sign you have misunderstood yourself. Fear not the Will of God. But turn to it in confidence that it will set you free from all the consequences sin has wrought in feverish imagination. Say:

God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
There is no sin; it has no consequence.

So should you start your practice periods, and then attempt again to find the joy these thoughts will introduce into your mind.

Give these five minutes gladly, to remove the heavy load you lay upon yourself with the insane belief that sin is real. Today escape from madness. You are set on freedom’s road, and now today’s idea brings wings to speed you on, and hope to go still faster to the waiting goal of peace. There is no sin. Remember this today, and tell yourself as often as you can:

God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
This is the truth, because there is no sin.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #92: I have studied the Course for over 10 years and have done the workbook 2 1/2 times. I realized I did them very much as a ritual the first time. The second time was probably the best, and though I would sometimes fall into a routine/ritual, the awareness of what Jesus was saying really hit home. The third time was many years later. I only made it 1/2 way through before I gave up. The reason I really wanted to try the lessons again is because the text is more theoretical and over the years what I’ve learned from the practical application of the lessons seems to have lost some of its impact. This is probably normal. What I want to do is apply the Course to my everyday experiences and the workbook did this so well. I have been reading the Rules for Decision and trying to start my day this way, then remember my purpose for the day when I’ve lost my peace. This has been wonderful. My question is should the lessons be attempted again or should they just be read and applied as seen fit? What have people said about doing the lessons again?

A: We addressed part of your question in #64 (1/22/03) — whether the lessons should be done again. What you are experiencing is quite normal, as you have concluded. And since your practice of the Rules for Decisionmaterial is working for you so well, it makes sense to just stay with that. You just want to be sure that you are not caught in the ego trap of thinking you must apply the Course perfectly, 24 hours a day, or else you are not a good and faithful student. If there is any pressure or any sense of judgment at all, you can be sure that it is not coming from Jesus, and that you have attempted to direct your own process.

We all are resistant, or we would not need the Course at all. Looking more closely at your resistance might help put you in touch with the fear that must be present in your mind. Part of us recognizes the implications of our actually learning and fully implementing what the Course is teaching. Part of us knows that we have been wrong about absolutely everything and that absolutely everything about us would change, and that is very, very frightening. Part of us wants to go on, another part is terrified to continue.

Once you recognize the connection between your fear and your forgetting to apply the Course, the next step is to forgive yourself. Fear is not a sin. As you know from our answer to #64, the lessons are best practiced by doing them “poorly” and then forgiving yourself, as opposed to ritualizing them and focusing on the form rather than the content. The fact that you sincerely want to apply the Course to your everyday experiences is the content, and that is sufficient. The form this takes is not the point. You can then be grateful for having made the choice to undo your belief in the ego thought system, trusting that as your fear lessens, you will experience further shifts in your thinking and in your relationships. Just don’t try to evaluate your progress or try too hard to get results as you would define them. Trust the process.


Q #93: For several years of study I’ve tried to follow your thoughts about “looking within with Jesus” or “looking through his eyes.” I was never really able to visualize this occurring. Recently, I’ve come to accept that “looking with Jesus” means the application of his teachings in A Course in Miracles to my ego perceptions. In other words, believing the teachings also means believing and accepting the teacher. This has provided me with a better understanding of what it means to have Jesus with me. Is this a good way to visualize my relationship with Jesus or should it be something more personal?

A: The process you describe of applying the teachings of the Course to your ego perceptions is indeed a very appropriate practice of looking with Jesus. Since Jesus is a symbol of the content of the Course, he is present in our minds when its teachings are brought to awareness. This is especially true when we are willing to apply these teachings to our ego perceptions, and question their validity in the light of Jesus’ message. Because we identify with our perceptions, this is also a way of relating to Jesus in a very personal way. You have invited him to be with you in the form of the teachings of the Course, which can be symbolized as a lamp shedding new light on our darkened minds: “I give you the lamp and I will go with you. You will not take this journey alone. I will lead you to your true Father, Who hath need of you, as I have” (T.11.in.4:5,6,7).

You but mistake interpretation

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 30

ACIM Text Reading for April 30

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

V. The Sane Curriculum

Only love is strong because it is undivided. The strong do not attack because they see no need to do so. Before the idea of attack can enter your mind, you must have perceived yourself as weak. Because you attacked yourself and believed that the attack was effective, you behold yourself as weakened. No longer perceiving yourself and your brothers as equal, and regarding yourself as weaker, you attempt to ‘equalise’ the situation you made. You use attack to do so because you believe that attack was successful in weakening you.

That is why the recognition of your own invulnerability is so important to the restoration of your sanity. For if you accept your invulnerability, you are recognising that attack has no effect. Although you have attacked yourself, you will be demonstrating that nothing really happened. Therefore, by attacking you have not done anything. Once you realise this you will no longer see any sense in attack, for it manifestly does not work and cannot protect you. Yet the recognition of your invulnerability has more than negative value. If your attacks on yourself have failed to weaken you, you are still strong. You therefore have no need to ‘equalise’ the situation to establish your strength.

You will never realise the utter uselessness of attack except by recognising that your attack on yourself has no effects. For others do react to attack if they perceive it, and if you are trying to attack them you will be unable to avoid interpreting this as reinforcement. The only place you can cancel out all reinforcement is in yourself. For you are always the first point of your attack, and if this has never been, it has no consequences.

The Holy Spirit’s Love is your strength, for yours is divided and therefore not real. You cannot trust your own love when you attack it. You cannot learn of perfect love with a split mind, because a split mind has made itself a poor learner. You tried to make the separation eternal, because you wanted to retain the characteristics of creation, but with your own content. Yet creation is not of you, and poor learners do need special teaching.

You have learning handicaps in a very literal sense. There are areas in your learning skills that are so impaired that you can progress only under constant, clear-cut direction, provided by a Teacher Who can transcend your limited resources. He becomes your Resource because of yourself you cannot learn. The learning situation in which you placed yourself is impossible, and in this situation you clearly require a special Teacher and a special curriculum. Poor learners are not good choices as teachers, either for themselves or for anyone else. You would hardly turn to them to establish the curriculum by which they can escape from their limitations. If they understood what is beyond them, they would not be handicapped.

You do not know the meaning of love, and that is your handicap. Do not attempt to teach yourself what you do not understand, and do not try to set up curriculum goals where yours have clearly failed. Your learning goal has been not to learn, and this cannot lead to successful learning. You cannot transfer what you have not learned, and the impairment of the ability to generalise is a crucial learning failure. Would you ask those who have failed to learn what learning aids are for They do not know. If they could interpret the aids correctly, they would have learned from them.

I have said that the ego’s rule is, ‘Seek and do not find’. Translated into curricular terms this means, ‘Try to learn but do not succeed’. The result of this curriculum goal is obvious. Every legitimate teaching aid, every real instruction, and every sensible guide to learning will be misinterpreted, since they are all for facilitating the learning this strange curriculum is against. If you are trying to learn how not to learn, and the aim of your teaching is to defeat itself, what can you expect but confusion? Such a curriculum does not make sense. This attempt at ‘learning’ has so weakened your mind that you cannot love, for the curriculum you have chosen is against love, and amounts to a course in how to attack yourself. A supplementary goal in this curriculum is learning how not to overcome the split that makes its primary aim believable. And you will not overcome the split in this curriculum, for all your learning will be on its behalf. Yet your mind speaks against your learning as your learning speaks against your mind, and so you fight against all learning and succeed, for that is what you want. But perhaps you do not realise, even yet, that there is something you want to learn, and that you can learn it because it is your choice to do so.

You who have tried to learn what you do not want should take heart, for although the curriculum you set yourself is depressing indeed, it is merely ridiculous if you look at it. Is it possible that the way to achieve a goal is not to attain it? Resign now as your own teacher. This resignation will not lead to depression. It is merely the result of an honest appraisal of what you have taught yourself, and of the learning outcomes that have resulted. Under the proper learning conditions, which you can neither provide nor understand, you will become an excellent learner and an excellent teacher. But it is not so yet, and will not be so until the whole learning situation as you have set it up is reversed.

Your learning potential, properly understood, is limitless because it will lead you to God. You can teach the way to Him and learn it, if you follow the Teacher Who knows the way to Him and understands His curriculum for learning it. The curriculum is totally unambiguous, because the goal is not divided and the means and the end are in complete accord. You need offer only undivided attention. Everything else will be given you. For you really want to learn aright, and nothing can oppose the decision of God’s Son. His learning is as unlimited as he is.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 30

Lesson 100

My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.

Just as God’s Son completes his Father, so your part in it completes your Father’s plan. Salvation must reverse the mad belief in separate thoughts and separate bodies, which lead separate lives and go their separate ways. One function shared by separate minds unites them in one purpose, for each one of them is equally essential to them all.

God’s Will for you is perfect happiness. Why should you choose to go against His Will? The part that He has saved for you to take in working out His plan is given you that you might be restored to what He wills. This part is as essential to His plan as to your happiness. Your joy must be complete to let His plan be understood by those to whom He sends you. They will see their function in your shining face, and hear God calling to them in your happy laugh.

You are indeed essential to God’s plan. Without your joy, His joy is incomplete. Without your smile, the world cannot be saved. While you are sad, the light that God Himself appointed as the means to save the world is dim and lusterless, and no one laughs because all laughter can but echo yours.

You are indeed essential to God’s plan. Just as your light increases every light that shines in Heaven, so your joy on earth calls to all minds to let their sorrows go, and take their place beside you in God’s plan. God’s messengers are joyous, and their joy heals sorrow and despair. They are the proof that God wills perfect happiness for all who will accept their Father’s gifts as theirs.

We will not let ourselves be sad today. For if we do, we fail to take the part that is essential to God’s plan, as well as to our vision. Sadness is the sign that you would play another part, instead of what has been assigned to you by God. Thus do you fail to show the world how great the happiness He wills for you. And so you do not recognize that it is yours.

Today we will attempt to understand joy is our function here. If you are sad, your part is unfulfilled, and all the world is thus deprived of joy, along with you. God asks you to be happy, so the world can see how much He loves His Son, and wills no sorrow rises to abate his joy; no fear besets him to disturb his peace. You are God’s messenger today. You bring His happiness to all you look upon; His peace to everyone who looks on you and sees His message in your happy face.

We will prepare ourselves for this today, in our five-minute practice periods, by feeling happiness arise in us according to our Father’s Will and ours. Begin the exercises with the thought today’s idea contains. Then realize your part is to be happy. Only this is asked of you or anyone who wants to take his place among God’s messengers. Think what this means. You have indeed been wrong in your belief that sacrifice is asked. You but receive according to God’s plan, and never lose or sacrifice or die.

Now let us try to find that joy that proves to us and all the world God’s Will for us. It is your function that you find it here, and that you find it now. For this you came. Let this one be the day that you succeed! Look deep within you, undismayed by all the little thoughts and foolish goals you pass as you ascend to meet the Christ in you.

He will be there. And you can reach Him now. What could you rather look upon in place of Him Who waits that you may look on Him? What little thought has power to hold you back? What foolish goal can keep you from success when He Who calls to you is God Himself?

He will be there. You are essential to His plan. You are His messenger today. And you must find what He would have you give. Do not forget the idea for today between your hourly practice periods. It is your Self Who calls to you today. And it is Him you answer, every time you tell yourself you are essential to God’s plan for the salvation of the world.

 

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #91-a: I have been watching a TV show called “Crossing Over” by John Edward. This fellow appears sincere and loving and able to communicate with the “dead.” How does this reconcile with the Course, or in other words how does the Course look at this. Just another illusion?

Q #91-b: Jesus talks about all Life as being part of God, and I can get a sense of that in humans, but what about dogs and cats for instance? They seem to have a soul and if you listen to people like Jonathan Edward he says that the people he contacts have old pets with them. Dogs and cats seem to be part of the Son of God. What about “lower” animals like a rat? I know that this is probably silly, but I’m curious about your thoughts.                                                                        

A: These questions deal with both metaphysical and worldly (dream) levels. From a metaphysical standpoint, Jesus makes the Course’s view of communication with the dead perfectly clear in the Laws of Chaos section:“There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion….Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere” (T.23.II.19:1,2,3,6). So there is only the illusion of life in this world.

Yet we who experience “life” in this world grapple daily with the “hierarchy of illusions” (T.23.II.2:3); life, death, animate, inanimate, human, animal, etc. There are people who communicate with the “dead,” with the “living” (from great distances), foresee the future, see the distant past, etc. These experiences, as well as innumerable others, are possible on this worldly level, or level of the dream, because they reflect the workings of the mind. And since we know the mind is one, then it should not be surprising that people can “connect” with each other. Just because we believe that we are separate and independent from everything else in this world does not mean that it is true. And having “forgotten” our origin, communicating in a way like Jonathan Edward does seems incredible to us. This type of communication however, reflects the property of the mind being one, and is our natural form of communication. So as you can see, there is no difference in communication between “live” bodies, “dead” bodies, or “live and dead” bodies. There are no bodies; only mind.

And questions about “higher” and “lower” are not silly, since we all want to know how the hierarchy of our world fits into the hierarchy of God’s world. And that word, “hierarchy,” should give us a clue as to the answer. The Course teaches that all forms of life here are the same; i.e., all are our projections of the ego thought of separation from God, and it also teaches that God’s world has no hierarchy, no levels, no differences. God, and His One Son, Christ, are totally unified, which is a concept we are unable to understand with a brain that has been made to only understand duality. But we can at least intellectually understand that the thought of separation in the mind is one of content, not form. And so the form that this thought of separation takes, — animate or inanimate, protozoan or mammal — is irrelevant.

And finally, remembering that this world is a “dream,” you undoubtedly know from your own experience that anything can happen in a dream. “Does not a world that seems quite real arise in dreams? Yet think what this world is. It is clearly not the world you saw before you slept….Dreams…are the best example you could have of how perception can be utilized to substitute illusions for truth. You do not take them seriously on awaking because the fact that reality is so outrageously violated in them becomes apparent. Yet they are a way of looking at the world, and changing it to suit the ego better” (T.18.II.1:1,2,3.2:1,2,3,4).

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 29

ACIM Text Reading for April 29

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

IV. Seeking and Finding

The ego is certain that love is dangerous, and this is always its central teaching. It never puts it this way; on the contrary, everyone who believes that the ego is salvation seems to be intensely engaged in the search for love. Yet the ego, though encouraging the search for love very actively, makes one proviso; do not find it. Its dictates, then, can be summed up simply as: ‘Seek and do not find’. This is the one promise the ego holds out to you, and the one promise it will keep. For the ego pursues its goal with fanatic insistence, and its judgement, though severely impaired, is completely consistent.

The search the ego undertakes is therefore bound to be defeated. And since it also teaches that it is your identification, its guidance leads you to a journey which must end in perceived self-defeat. For the ego cannot love, and in its frantic search for love it is seeking what it is afraid to find. The search is inevitable because the ego is part of your mind, and because of its source the ego is not wholly split off, or it could not be believed at all. For it is your mind that believes in it and gives existence to it. Yet it is also your mind that has the power to deny the ego’s existence, and you will surely do so when you realise exactly what the journey is on which the ego sets you.

It is surely obvious that no one wants to find what would utterly defeat him. Being unable to love, the ego would be totally inadequate in love’s presence, for it could not respond at all. Then, you would have to abandon the ego’s guidance, for it would be quite apparent that it had not taught you the response you need. The ego will therefore distort love, and teach you that love really calls forth the responses the ego can teach. Follow its teaching, then, and you will search for love, but will not recognise it.

Do you realise that the ego must set you on a journey which cannot but lead to a sense of futility and depression? To seek and not to find is hardly joyous. Is this the promise you would keep? The Holy Spirit offers you another promise, and one that will lead to joy. For His promise is always, ‘Seek and you will find’, and under His guidance you cannot be defeated. His is the journey to accomplishment, and the goal He sets before you He will give you. For He will never deceive God’s Son whom He loves with the Love of the Father.

You will undertake a journey because you are not at home in this world. And you will search for your home whether you realise where it is or not. If you believe it is outside you the search will be futile, for you will be seeking it where it is not. You do not remember how to look within for you do not believe your home is there. Yet the Holy Spirit remembers it for you, and He will guide you to your home because that is His mission. As He fulfils His mission He will teach you yours, for your mission is the same as His. By guiding your brothers home you are but following Him.

Behold the Guide your Father gave you, that you might learn you have eternal life. For death is not your Father’s Will nor yours, and whatever is true is the Will of the Father. You pay no price for life for that was given you, but you do pay a price for death, and a very heavy one. If death is your treasure, you will sell everything else to purchase it. And you will believe that you have purchased it, because you have sold everything else. Yet you cannot sell the Kingdom of Heaven. Your inheritance can neither be bought nor sold. There can be no disinherited parts of the Sonship, for God is whole and all His extensions are like Him.

The Atonement is not the price of your wholeness, but it is the price of your awareness of your wholeness. For what you chose to ‘sell’ had to be kept for you, since you could not ‘buy’ it back. Yet you must invest in it, not with money but with spirit. For spirit is will, and will is the ‘price’ of the Kingdom. Your inheritance awaits only the recognition that you have been redeemed. The Holy Spirit guides you into life eternal, but you must relinquish your investment in death, or you will not see life though it is all around you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 29

Lesson 99

Salvation is my only function here.

Salvation and forgiveness are the same. They both imply that something has gone wrong; something to be saved from, forgiven for; something amiss that needs corrective change; something apart or different from the Will of God. Thus do both terms imply a thing impossible but yet which has occurred, resulting in a state of conflict seen between what is and what could never be.

Truth and illusions both are equal now, for both have happened. The impossible becomes the thing you need forgiveness for, salvation from. Salvation now becomes the borderland between the truth and the illusion. It reflects the truth because it is the means by which you can escape illusions. Yet it is not yet the truth because it undoes what was never done.

How could there be a meeting place at all where earth and Heaven can be reconciled within a mind where both of them exist? The mind that sees illusions thinks them real. They have existence in that they are thoughts. And yet they are not real, because the mind that thinks these thoughts is separate from God.

What joins the separated mind and thoughts with Mind and Thought which are forever One? What plan could hold the truth inviolate, yet recognize the need illusions bring, and offer means by which they are undone without attack and with no touch of pain? What but a Thought of God could be this plan, by which the never done is overlooked, and sins forgotten which were never real?

The Holy Spirit holds this plan of God exactly as it was received of Him within the Mind of God and in your own. It is apart from time in that its Source is timeless. Yet it operates in time, because of your belief that time is real. Unshaken does the Holy Spirit look on what you see; on sin and pain and death, on grief and separation and on loss. Yet does He know one thing must still be true; God is still Love, and this is not His Will.

This is the Thought that brings illusions to the truth, and sees them as appearances behind which is the changeless and the sure. This is the Thought that saves and that forgives, because it lays no faith in what is not created by the only Source it knows. This is the Thought whose function is to save by giving you its function as your own. Salvation is your function, with the One to Whom the plan was given. Now are you entrusted with this plan, along with Him. He has one answer to appearances; regardless of their form, their size, their depth or any attribute they seem to have:

Salvation is my only function here.
God still is Love, and this is not His Will.

You who will yet work miracles, be sure you practice well the idea for today. Try to perceive the strength in what you say, for these are words in which your freedom lies. Your Father loves you. All the world of pain is not His Will. Forgive yourself the thought He wanted this for you. Then let the Thought with which He has replaced all your mistakes enter the darkened places of your mind that thought the thoughts that never were His Will.

This part belongs to God, as does the rest. It does not think its solitary thoughts, and make them real by hiding them from Him. Let in the light, and you will look upon no obstacle to what He wills for you. Open your secrets to His kindly light, and see how bright this light still shines in you.

Practice His Thought today, and let His light seek out and lighten up all darkened spots, and shine through them to join them to the rest. It is God’s Will your mind be one with His. It is God’s Will that He has but one Son. It is God’s Will that His one Son is you. Think of these things in practicing today, and start the lesson that we learn today with this instruction in the way of truth:

Salvation is my only function here.
Salvation and forgiveness are the same.

Then turn to Him Who shares your function here, and let Him teach you what you need to learn to lay all fear aside, and know your Self as Love which has no opposite in you.

Forgive all thoughts which would oppose the truth of your completion, unity and peace. You cannot lose the gifts your Father gave. You do not want to be another self. You have no function that is not of God. Forgive yourself the one you think you made. Forgiveness and salvation are the same. Forgive what you have made and you are saved.

There is a special message for today which has the power to remove all forms of doubt and fear forever from your mind. If you are tempted to believe them true, remember that appearances can not withstand the truth these mighty words contain:

Salvation is my only function here.
God still is Love, and this is not His Will.

Your only function tells you you are one. Remind yourself of this between the times you give five minutes to be shared with Him Who shares God’s plan with you. Remind yourself:

Salvation is my only function here.

Thus do you lay forgiveness on your mind and let all fear be gently laid aside, that love may find its rightful place in you and show you that you are the Son of God.

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1059Because of sexual abuse from several men, I have all my life experienced demonic “entities” in dreams, and also as a “presence” now and then as “awake.” They have a specific energetic radiation: the absence of love and good. Aware that I have to deal with this and not flee, I have used many ways to “combat” them. When I know they are not real, when I “see” them, they transform or disappear; but there are times when their appearance is so terrifying that the fear is stronger than my clarity of mind, and I just “run.” This terror from childhood seems to have become symbiotic with my ego-identity. I would like to know if the Course has any suggestions as to how these beings still are in my consciousness when I already have succeeded in “melting them” in the light of reality?

A: Entities such as the ones you describe are different aspects of the ego, and therefore can be let go of as you would any other aspect of the ego: through forgiveness. Forgiveness, in theory, means that we are forgiving an illusion of separation — one form of illusion is not harder to let go of than any other. The practice of this principle, however, must be directed to the level of our experience at any given point in our lives. In terms of our experience, in other words, some aspects of the ego dominate our thinking so intensely that it is necessary to turn to external sources of help that could get us to the level where we can then apply the principles of A Course in Miracles more meaningfully and effectively. This is most often the case when there have been years of fear and terror from abuse, whatever the form. We need to be able to accept help at the level at which we need it; otherwise it will not be truly helpful.

Early in the text Jesus teaches us about this important part of our process: “The value of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed. In fact, if it is used truly, it will inevitably expressed in whatever way is most helpful to the receiver. This means that a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language that the recipient can understand without fear. . . . The whole aim of the miracle is to raise the level of communication, not to lower it by increasing fear” (T.2.IV.5:1,2,3,6) . So just be sure that you are not skipping this crucial step in you work with the Course.

The ultimate lesson is that we can be at peace, regardless of what the world may have done to us. We need only remember that the world has no power over the mind; the dream no power over the dreamer — as we learn in this passage: “For you would not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that you were dreaming. Let them be as hateful and vicious as they may, they could have no effect on you unless you failed to recognize it is your dream” (T.27.VIII.10:5,6).


Q #1060Is it possible that once the “tiny, mad idea” of separation from God entered the mind of spirit, it produced an illusory Big Bang that we think led to the formation of the phenomenal universe with time and space as coordinates? In this way, the ego could “explain” the origins of the universe and therefore perpetuate the notion of separation. Is it also possible that a portion of the Sonship never entertained the idea of separation, never participated in the dream, and is able to maintain continuity of oneness with God despite the fact that another part of the Sonship is dreaming?

A: We always need to keep in mind when we engage in speculation that there never was, nor could be, any separation from God. That is the principle of the Atonement — separation from God is impossible. But in the context of the myth of separation and its undoing presented in A Course in Miracles , the Big Bang could be associated with the decision the Son of God made, once he believed the separation really happened, to heed the ego’s advice to deal with the resultant overwhelming guilt and terror in his mind by making up some other realm outside his mind in which he could exist as separate and also elude capture and punishment by what must now be a furious, wrathful God. The instant the Son decided he was not a mind by projecting himself outside it could be thought of as the instant the world came into being — the Big Bang. This occurred following the earlier stages of the ego’s dynamics that convinced the Son of the reality of sin, guilt, and fear. In this approach, the “tiny, mad idea” does not enter the Son’s mind at the level of spirit, which would be impossible.

The Course teaches that the Sonship “fell” as one — not in reality, of course. The continuity between God and His Son is eternal. It can never be ruptured. There is nothing in the Course that says part of the Sonship “never entertained the idea of separation, never participated in the dream.” But the clarification of terms states that Jesus “remains a Savior because he saw the false without accepting it as true. . . . In His complete identification with the Christ — the perfect Son of God, His one creation and His happiness, forever like Himself and one with Him — Jesus became what all of you must be” (C.5.2:5; 3:1) . This is a way of saying that Jesus accepted the Atonement for himself; however, there is no indication of when he did this. Perhaps it was in the very instant of the tiny, mad idea; so that in that sense it could be said that Jesus was one of the fragments that never took the idea seriously. There could have been others as well (C.5.6:1,2,3) . For us as students of this course, however, Jesus is the teacher in our minds who, at every instant, reminds us that we can make the same choice he did: to remember to laugh at the tiny, mad idea as it manifests in our lives. He reminds us, too, that we were with him when he arose (C.6.5:5) . Thus, always present in our minds, awaiting our acceptance of it, is the memory of our true Identity as Christ, forever one with His Source.

For further study of this aspect of the Course’s theory, we refer you to All Are Called , Volume 1 of The Message of A Course in Miracles , and our audio album, “Separation and Forgiveness: The Four Splits and Their Undoing.”

accept only love

 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 27

ACIM Text Reading for April 27

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

II. The Way to Remember God

Miracles are merely the translation of denial into truth. If to love oneself is to heal oneself, those who are sick do not love themselves. Therefore, they are asking for the love that would heal them, but which they are denying to themselves. If they knew the truth about themselves they could not be sick. The task of the miracle worker thus becomes to deny the denial of truth. The sick must heal themselves, for the truth is in them. Yet having obscured it, the light in another mind must shine into theirs because that light is theirs.

The light in them shines as brightly regardless of the density of the fog that obscures it. If you give no power to the fog to obscure the light, it has none. For it has power only if the Son of God gives power to it. He must himself withdraw that power, remembering that all power is of God. You can remember this for all the Sonship. Do not allow your brother not to remember, for his forgetfulness is yours. But your remembering is his, for God cannot be remembered alone. This is what you have forgotten. To perceive the healing of your brother as the healing of yourself is thus the way to remember God. For you forgot your brothers with Him, and God’s Answer to your forgetting is but the way to remember.

Perceive in sickness but another call for love, and offer your brother what he believes he cannot offer himself. Whatever the sickness, there is but one remedy. You will be made whole as you make whole, for to perceive in sickness the appeal for health is to recognise in hatred the call for love. And to give a brother what he really wants is to offer it unto yourself, for your Father wills you to know your brother as yourself. Answer his call for love, and yours is answered. Healing is the Love of Christ for His Father and for Himself.

Remember what was said about the frightening perceptions of little children, which terrify them because they do not understand them. If they ask for enlightenment and accept it, their fears vanish. But if they hide their nightmares they will keep them. It is easy to help an uncertain child, for he recognises that he does not understand what his perceptions mean. Yet you believe that you do understand yours. Little child, you are hiding your head under the cover of the heavy blankets you have laid upon yourself. You are hiding your nightmares in the darkness of your own false certainty, and refusing to open your eyes and look at them.

Let us not save nightmares, for they are not fitting offerings for Christ, and so they are not fit gifts for you. Take off the covers and look at what you are afraid of. Only the anticipation will frighten you, for the reality of nothingness cannot be frightening. Let us not delay this, for your dream of hatred will not leave you without help, and Help is here. Learn to be quiet in the midst of turmoil, for quietness is the end of strife and this is the journey to peace. Look straight at every image that rises to delay you, for the goal is inevitable because it is eternal. The goal of love is but your right, and it belongs to you despite your dreams.

You still want what God wills, and no nightmare can defeat a child of God in his purpose. For your purpose was given you by God, and you must accomplish it because it is His Will. Awake and remember your purpose, for it is your will to do so. What has been accomplished for you must be yours. Do not let your hatred stand in the way of love, for nothing can withstand the Love of Christ for His Father, or His Father’s Love for Him.

A little while and you will see me, for I am not hidden because you are hiding. I will awaken you as surely as I awakened myself, for I awoke for you. In my resurrection is your release. Our mission is to escape from crucifixion, not from redemption. Trust in my help, for I did not walk alone, and I will walk with you as our Father walked with me. Do you not know that I walked with Him in peace? And does not that mean that peace goes with us on the journey?

There is no fear in perfect love. We will but be making perfect to you what is already perfect in you. You do not fear the unknown but the known. You will not fail in your mission because I did not fail in mine. Give me but a little trust in the name of the complete trust I have in you, and we will easily accomplish the goal of perfection together. For perfection is, and cannot be denied. To deny the denial of perfection is not so difficult as to deny truth, and what we can accomplish together will be believed when you see it as accomplished.

You who have tried to banish love have not succeeded, but you who choose to banish fear must succeed. The Lord is with you, but you know it not. Yet your Redeemer liveth, and abideth in you in the peace out of which He was created. Would you not exchange this awareness for the awareness of fear? When we have overcome fear – not by hiding it, not by minimising it, and not by denying its full import in any way – this is what you will really see. You cannot lay aside the obstacles to real vision without looking upon them, for to lay aside means to judge against. If you will look, the Holy Spirit will judge, and He will judge truly. Yet He cannot shine away what you keep hidden, for you have not offered it to Him and He cannot take it from you.

We are therefore embarking on an organised, well-structured and carefully planned program aimed at learning how to offer to the Holy Spirit everything you do not want. He knows what to do with it. You do not understand how to use what He knows. Whatever is given Him that is not of God is gone. Yet you must look at it yourself in perfect willingness, for otherwise His knowledge remains useless to you. Surely He will not fail to help you, since help is His only purpose. Do you not have greater reason for fearing the world as you perceive it, than for looking at the cause of fear and letting it go forever?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 27

Lesson 97

I am spirit.

Today’s idea identifies you with your one Self. It accepts no split identity, nor tries to weave opposing factors into unity. It simply states the truth. Practice this truth today as often as you can, for it will bring your mind from conflict to the quiet fields of peace. No chill of fear can enter, for your mind has been absolved from madness, letting go illusions of a split identity.

We state again the truth about your Self, the holy Son of God Who rests in you; whose mind has been restored to sanity. You are the spirit lovingly endowed with all your Father’s Love and peace and joy. You are the spirit which completes Himself, and shares His function as Creator. He is with you always, as you are with Him.

Today we try to bring reality still closer to your mind. Each time you practice, awareness is brought a little nearer at least; sometimes a thousand years or more are saved. The minutes which you give are multiplied over and over, for the miracle makes use of time, but is not ruled by it. Salvation is a miracle, the first and last; the first that is the last, for it is one.

You are the spirit in whose mind abides the miracle in which all time stands still; the miracle in which a minute spent in using these ideas becomes a time that has no limit and that has no end. Give, then, these minutes willingly, and count on Him Who promised to lay timelessness beside them. He will offer all His strength to every little effort that you make. Give Him the minutes which He needs today, to help you understand with Him you are the spirit that abides in Him, and that calls through His Voice to every living thing; offers His sight to everyone who asks; replaces error with the simple truth.

The Holy Spirit will be glad to take five minutes of each hour from your hands, and carry them around this aching world where pain and misery appear to rule. He will not overlook one open mind that will accept the healing gifts they bring, and He will lay them everywhere He knows they will be welcome. And they will increase in healing power each time someone accepts them as his thoughts, and uses them to heal.

Thus will each gift to Him be multiplied a thousandfold and tens of thousands more. And when it is returned to you, it will surpass in might the little gift you gave as much as does the radiance of the sun outshine the tiny gleam a firefly makes an uncertain moment and goes out. The steady brilliance of this light remains and leads you out of darkness, nor will you be able to forget the way again.

Begin these happy exercises with the words the Holy Spirit speaks to you, and let them echo round the world through Him:

Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and
healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world.

Expressed through you, the Holy Spirit will accept this gift that you received of Him, increase its power and give it back to you.

Offer each practice period today gladly to Him. And He will speak to you, reminding you that you are spirit, one with Him and God, your brothers and your Self. Listen for His assurance every time you speak the words He offers you today, and let Him tell your mind that they are true. Use them against temptation, and escape its sorry consequences if you yield to the belief that you are something else. The Holy Spirit gives you peace today. Receive His words, and offer them to Him.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1251I am having difficulty understanding how my interactions with other people who are going through the same process of learning that their thoughts are creating reality are able to coexist and not interfere with one another. If I believe and understand that reality is a manifestation of thought, does this not have an effect on other people? What if I have thoughts about another person? — how can my reality possibly make our two realities come together? If the situation has been decided by all involved beforehand, then I feel as though I am in a grand illusion that is no longer a good space to be in. It would be nice to get some validation that I’m not a puppet on someone’s string. I am giving 100% to learning how to relearn that the world, and this email for that matter, is only a thought and nothing more. I got the concept that we are all the same energy, but I don’t understand it when it relates to individuality.

A: No, you are not a “puppet on someone’s string”; and A Course in Miracles’ theory of time does not entail predestination. In fact, one of the major objectives of Jesus’ teaching is to have us realize that our decision to choose the ego or him as our teacher determines what our experience will be at every instant. But it would not be entirely accurate to say that we therefore “create our reality.”

If I choose the ego as my teacher, then my thoughts will emanate from the thought system of separation, and whatever is going on externally will be interpreted by me (my decision maker) accordingly. The ego thought system will be a kind of template, in terms of which my internal experience of the external will be “created.” When I interact with you, for instance, my ego needs will determine how I experience you. I do not create your reality; I “create” my perception of you based on my prior choice to listen to the ego rather than Jesus or the Holy Spirit. And my perception of you may not even square with the objective reality, because my ego needs could result in distorted perception — which is frequently the case.

It is next to impossible for us to jump from our experience of ourselves as physical/psychological individuals to an experience of ourselves as minds not bound by time or space. Even the intellectual understanding of mind is not easy for us, as you have found. One of the reasons for this difficulty is that we are far more invested in the ego thought system than we realize, and since the core of the ego’s strategy is to keep us mindless, attempting to perceive a realm beyond the body and specifics (the realm of mindlessness) would seem quite unnatural and frustrating to us, and almost impossible to attain. We would be fighting against ourselves to perceive everything as mind when, at the same time, we are upholding a decision to deny our identity as mind.

Therefore, what might help ease the pressure and confusion you are experiencing is to approach this issue from a different direction: shifting your focus to the purpose or the way you are using the world, your body, and your relationships, rather than trying so hard to relate to the world and everyone as thought. It is true that there is only mind and thoughts in the mind; but your experience of that will come more naturally if you focus first on becoming comfortable with recognizing the purpose in your mind that is motivating the way you relate and interact in the world. The practice of this would lead you eventually to see beyond the appearances of individuality to the decision-making mind that is “in charge.” Then you would see that no one is under anyone else’s control, unless that kind of experience is wanted; but then that choice could be changed at any instant.

For example, as long as we identify with the ego’s thought system of separation, it is a given that we will relate to each other in the context of specialness, which means we will judge some people as not deserving of our love, compassion, and forgiveness — even ourselves at times. Specialness and exclusion go hand in hand. We can thus learn to recognize how we use people to keep ourselves in the particular state of specialness we desire — to get what we want. Even further, the roots of specialness are hidden in the mind’s compulsion to see and judge differences; and so we can learn to recognize that dimension in our relationships as well.

As we continue this process of looking and observing, we will be shifting our attention more and more away from form to the content in our minds. And eventually we will relate to ourselves and everyone else primarily on that level, while at the same time we will be functioning normally in our day-to-day activities (form). Thus, when we realize how we make differences important, and then seek to correct that (we change teachers in our mind), our perception will shift to the interests we all share — that we all are suffering tremendous anguish and guilt over believing we selfishly separated from our Source, and that we all are longing to go back home to Heaven. As that becomes our abiding perception, then our investment in individuality will begin to weaken, without our even working on that directly.

The transition to the experience of everything as mind, thus, would be more natural, and certainly more gentle than trying to pressure ourselves to get beyond the body and form entirely. This is why Jesus reminds us often that we are involved in a process of undoing what we have made in error. We start where we are — with what we are most familiar with. Near the end of the text, Jesus tells us, “Salvation does not ask that you behold the spirit and perceive the body not. It merely asks that this should be your choice” (T.31.VI.3:1). Thus, our willingness to change from the ego’s purpose to the Holy Spirit’s purpose for the world and the body is what will facilitate the gentle transition to true perception, and to the vision we share with Jesus.


Q #1252If God is not aware of our illusion of separation, how did He know to send the Holy Spirit to help us? One thought that comes to me is that the Holy Spirit is a construct of, (or is?) our Christ Mind and so was in our mind, and remains so, even when we imagine that we are separate. Therefore, are Jesus, and the Christ Mind, and the Holy Spirit and the “Son of God” all the same? Is the idea of Trinity really a twosome (God and his Creation meaning all of the above terms?) I would be so grateful for your input.

A: We have already answered your first question, and refer you to Questions #459 and #616 for our response. The Holy Spirit, as presented in A Course in Miracles is not considered a construct of our Christ Mind. He symbolizes for us the memory of our true Self that resides in the sane part of our post-separation mind — an illusory split mind, of course, as the separation never truly happened. You might say that the Holy Spirit is in the Mind of God, not the Christ Mind, insofar as Jesus tells us that when the separation is completely undone, the Holy Spirit will no longer take form — as the Voice for God — but will return to the eternal formlessness of God (C.6.5:8) . Another discussion of this with additional references may be found in Question #1159.

Questions #625 and #626 pertain to your queries about the nature of God and Jesus. What always helps when trying to piece together a theology is to remember that we are dealing with symbols. Reality is pure oneness, which is incomprehensible to us as long as we experience ourselves as individuals consciously thinking about issues. This is the main point of Jesus’ discussion in the first section of Chapter 25 (T.25.I.5,6,7). He uses language and concepts that we can understand, but his purpose is to lead us beyond that level to the experience of God’s Love, which transcends all form and symbol. Jesus, as we describe in #626 above, reflects or symbolizes God’s Love in a form we can relate to, and in this sense he is not the Christ Mind. He is the Son of God, the same as we are in our separated state. In emphasizing our equality with him on this level, he corrects the biblical view that he alone is God’s Son, and we the adopted sons of God. The term Son of God is also used in the Course to refer to Christ, our true Self, the Second Person of the Trinity. Thus, the term is used for our true Self, Christ, as part of the Oneness of God’s Being, and it is also used for the post-separation self, or the decision maker that can choose to awaken from the dream of separation from God.