A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 19, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 19

Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love

V. The Lessons of the Holy Spirit

B. To Have Peace, Teach Peace to Learn It

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 teach 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 recognise 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 centres on what you believe you are. If the centre of the thought system is true, only truth extends from it. But if a lie is at its centre, only deception proceeds from it.

All good teachers realise that only fundamental change will last, but they do not begin at that level. Strengthening motivation for change is their first and foremost goal. It is also their last and final one. Increasing motivation for change in the learner is all that a teacher need do to guarantee change. Change in motivation is a change of mind, and this will inevitably produce fundamental change because the mind is fundamental.

The first step in the reversal or undoing process is the undoing of the getting concept. Accordingly, the Holy Spirit’s first lesson was ‘To have, give all to all’. I said that this is apt to increase conflict temporarily, and we can clarify this still further now. At this point, the equality of having and being is not yet perceived. Until it is, having appears to be the opposite of giving. Therefore, the first lesson seems to contain a contradiction, since it is being learned by a conflicted mind. This means conflicting motivation, and so the lesson cannot be learned consistently as yet. Further, the mind of the learner projects its own conflict, and thus does not perceive consistency in the minds of others, making him suspicious of their motivation. This is the real reason why, in many respects, the first lesson is the hardest to learn. Still strongly aware of the ego in yourself, and responding primarily to the ego in others, you are being taught to react to both as if what you do believe is not true.

Upside down as always, the ego perceives the first lesson as insane. In fact, this is its only alternative since the other possibility, which would be much less acceptable to it, would obviously be that it is insane. The ego’s judgement, here as always, is predetermined by what it is. The fundamental change will still occur with the change of mind in the thinker. Meanwhile, the increasing clarity of the Holy Spirit’s Voice makes it impossible for the learner not to listen. For a time, then, he is receiving conflicting messages and accepting both.

The way out of conflict between two opposing thought systems is clearly to choose one and relinquish the other. If you identify with your thought system, and you cannot escape this, and if you accept two thought systems which are in complete disagreement, peace of mind is impossible. If you teach both, which you will surely do as long as you accept both, you are teaching conflict and learning it. Yet you do want peace, or you would not have called upon the Voice for peace to help you. Its lesson is not insane; the conflict is.

There can be no conflict between sanity and insanity. Only one is true, and therefore only one is real. The ego tries to persuade you that it is up to you to decide which voice is true, but the Holy Spirit teaches you that truth was created by God, and your decision cannot change it. As you begin to realise the quiet power of the Holy Spirit’s Voice, and Its perfect consistency, it must dawn on your mind that you are trying to undo a decision that was irrevocably made for you. That is why I suggested before that you remind yourself to allow the Holy Spirit to decide for God for you.

You are not asked to make insane decisions, although you can think you are. It must, however, be insane to believe that it is up to you to decide what God’s creations are. The Holy Spirit perceives the conflict exactly as it is. Therefore, His second lesson is:

To have peace, teach peace to learn it.

This is still a preliminary step, since having and being are still not equated. It is, however, more advanced than the first step, which is really only the beginning of the thought reversal. The second step is a positive affirmation of what you want. This, then, is a step in the direction out of conflict, since it means that alternatives have been considered, and one has been chosen as more desirable. Nevertheless, the term ‘more desirable’ still implies that the desirable has degrees. Therefore, although this step is essential for the ultimate decision, it is clearly not the final one. Lack of order of difficulty in miracles has not yet been accepted, because nothing is difficult that is wholly desired. To desire wholly is to create, and creating cannot be difficult if God Himself created you as a creator.

The second step, then, is still perceptual, although it is a giant step toward the unified perception that reflects God’s knowing. As you take this step and hold this direction, you will be pushing toward the centre of your thought system, where the fundamental change will occur. At the second step progress is intermittent, but the second step is easier than the first because it follows. Realising that it must follow is a demonstration of a growing awareness that the Holy Spirit will lead you on.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 19

Lesson 50 

I am sustained by the Love of God.

1. Here is the answer to every problem that will confront you, today and tomorrow and throughout time. In this world, you believe you are sustained by everything but God. Your faith is placed in the most trivial and insane symbols; pills, money, “protective” clothing, influence, prestige, being liked, knowing the “right” people, and an endless list of forms of nothingness that you endow with magical powers.

2. All these things are your replacements for the Love of God. All these things are cherished to ensure a body identification. They are songs of praise to the ego. Do not put your faith in the worthless. It will not sustain you.

3. Only the Love of God will protect you in all circumstances. It will lift you out of every trial, and raise you high above all the perceived dangers of this world into a climate of perfect peace and safety. It will transport you into a state of mind that nothing can threaten, nothing can disturb, and where nothing can intrude upon the eternal calm of the Son of God.

4. Put not your faith in illusions. They will fail you. Put all your faith in the Love of God within you; eternal, changeless and for­ever unfailing. This is the answer to whatever confronts you to­day. Through the Love of God within you, you can resolve all seeming difficulties without effort and in sure confidence. Tell yourself this often today. It is a declaration of release from the belief in idols. It is your acknowledgment of the truth about yourself.

5. For ten minutes, twice today, morning and evening, let the idea for today sink deep into your consciousness. Repeat it, think about it, let related thoughts come to help you recognize its truth, and allow peace to flow over you like a blanket of protec­tion and surety. Let no idle and foolish thoughts enter to disturb the holy mind of the Son of God. Such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Such is the resting place where your Father has placed you forever.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Where does it say in A Course in Miracles that Jesus is the author, and why is there no author’s name given in the book? Moreover, why are there sections on Jesus in the manual for teachers written in the third person? Is there another voice dictating here?

A) Almost the entire text of A Course in Miracles is written in  the first person, where the “I” is clearly identified throughout as Jesus. Moreover, there are many places where he specifically-   discusses the crucifixion and resurrection. There are relatively few obvious first person references in the workbook for students and manual for teachers, but when they do occur, their impact is quite dramatic, as seen for example in workbook Lesson 70, the Introduction to the fifth review lesson, and the poem that ends the manual.

Interestingly enough, there is one section in the manual proper — “Does Jesus Have a Special Place in Healing?” — and two in the manual’s appendix, the clarification of terms — “Jesus – Christ” and “The Holy Spirit” — where Jesus is spoken about in the third person. Some students have understood this shift to be a significant one that indicated that Helen was hearing another voice here. This was definitely not the case, as she was always clear that there was only one voice — Jesus — that was dictating to her. These three sections specifically deal with Jesus, and the shift in the person of the “voice” was made for stylistic purposes, and has no other significance.  If students wish, however, they can understand these third-person sections to be the Holy Spirit speaking about Jesus. 

It is in the aforementioned section in the manual for teachers where one finds this very specific statement that the source of A Course in Miracles is Jesus, as spoken, again if the reader wishes, by the Holy Spirit:

This course has come from him because his words have reached you in a language you can love and understand. Are other teachers possible, to lead the way to those who speak in different tongues and appeal to different symbols? Certainly there are.  Would God leave anyone without a very present help in time of trouble; a savior who can symbolize Himself? Yet do we need a many-faceted curriculum, not because of content differences, but because symbols must shift and change to suit the need.  Jesus has come to answer yours. In him you find God’s Answer (M-23.7:1-7; italics ours).

The reason no author’s name is given in A Course in Miracles is a very simple one:
Jesus was quite explicit in his instructions to Helen that this be the case. Helen was
also personally clear about not having her own name appear, since she was always emphatically unambiguous with people that she was not the author of the course.

the way to god

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

ACIM Text Reading for February 17

Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love

V. The Lessons of the Holy Spirit

Like any good teacher, the Holy Spirit knows more than you do now, but He teaches only to make you equal with Him. You had already taught yourself wrongly, having believed what was not true. You did not believe in your own perfection. Would God teach you that you had made a split mind, when He knows your mind only as whole? What God does know is that His communication channels are not open to Him, so that He cannot impart His joy and know that His children are wholly joyous. Giving His joy is an ongoing process, not in time but in eternity. God’s extending outward, though not His completeness, is blocked when the Sonship does not communicate with Him as one. So He thought, ‘My children sleep and must be awakened’.

How can you wake children in a more kindly way than by a gentle Voice that will not frighten them, but will merely remind them that the night is over and the light has come? You do not inform them that the nightmares that frightened them so badly are not real, because children believe in magic. You merely reassure them that they are safe now. Then you train them to recognise the difference between sleeping and waking, so they will understand they need not be afraid of dreams. And so when bad dreams come, they will themselves call on the light to dispel them.

A wise teacher teaches through approach, not avoidance. He does not emphasise what you must avoid to escape from harm, but what you need to learn to have joy. Consider the fear and confusion a child would experience if he were told, ‘Do not do this because it will hurt you and make you unsafe; but if you do that instead, you will escape from harm and be safe, and then you will not be afraid’. It is surely better to use only three words: ‘Do only that!’ This simple statement is perfectly clear, easily understood and very easily remembered.

The Holy Spirit never itemises errors because He does not frighten children, and those who lack wisdom are children. Yet He always answers their call, and His dependability makes them more certain. Children do confuse fantasy and reality, and they are frightened because they do not recognise the difference. The Holy Spirit makes no distinction among dreams. He merely shines them away. His light is always the call to awaken, whatever you have been dreaming. Nothing lasting lies in dreams, and the Holy Spirit, shining with the Light from God Himself, speaks only for what lasts forever.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 17

Lesson 48

There is nothing to fear.

1. The idea for today simply states a fact. It is not a fact to those who believe in illusions, but illusions are not facts. In truth there is nothing to fear. It is very easy to recognize this. But it is very difficult to recognize it for those who want illusions to be true.

2. Today’s practice periods will be very short, very simple and very frequent. Merely repeat the idea as often as possible. You can use it with your eyes open at any time and in any situation. It is strongly recommended, however, that you take a minute or so whenever possible to close your eyes and repeat the idea slowly to yourself several times. It is particularly important that you use the idea immediately, should anything disturb your peace of mind.

3. The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God, and let His strength take the place of your weakness. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Is there a difference between Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and does it matter to whom I go for help?

A) The difference between Jesus and the Holy Spirit is a theological one, not a practical one. According to the Course’s theory, the Holy Spirit was created by God in response to the thought of separation in His Son’s mind. In reality of course, as we have mentioned several times before, such a description in A Course in Miracles is metaphoric, because how can God give an answer to something that never happened? At any rate, the Holy Spirit can be more properly understood as the memory of God’s Love and the Son’s true Identity as Christ that he carried with him into his dream. The Holy Spirit, therefore, is a principle or a thought in the Son’s mind that reminds him that what he believes about himself and his Creator is false. This correction is what is known in A Course in Miracles as the principle of the Atonement.

Jesus, on the other hand, is a part of the Sonship, and is as tangible and specific as is the Son’s belief about himself. He is the part of the Son’s one mind that “remembered to laugh” at the tiny, mad idea. And therefore Jesus becomes a manifestation of the Atonement principle, or of the more abstract presence of the Holy Spirit. That is what is meant in the clarification of terms by the previously quoted statement that the Holy Spirit “established Jesus as the leader in carrying out His plan” (C-6.2:2), and by the passage in the text that is a direct reference to Jesus:

The Atonement principle was in effect long before the Atonement began. The principle was love [the Holy Spirit] and the Atonement was an act of love [Jesus] (T-2.11.4:2-3).

On the level of practice, however, there is no difference. Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit serve as our inner Teachers, to whom we go for help in learning how to forgive. The Holy Spirit offers the student a more abstract Teacher, if Jesus is a problem; while Jesus is a more specific and personal form for the student to relate to. Either one will do, however, for Their function remains the same. Nonetheless, if Jesus is indeed a problem figure for students of his Course, then it would definitely be in keeping with the Course’s very principles for such students to look at their unforgiveness of him. Thus they may explore its deeper roots so that they may be undone, just as with any unforgiveness that is present within their minds.

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 16, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 16

Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love

IV. The Only Answer

Remember that the Holy Spirit is the Answer, not the question. The ego always speaks first. It is capricious and does not mean its maker well. It believes, and correctly, that its maker may withdraw his support from it at any moment. If it meant you well it would be glad, as the Holy Spirit will be glad when He has brought you home and you no longer need His guidance. The ego does not regard itself as part of you. Herein lies its primary error, the foundation of its whole thought system.

When God created you He made you part of Him. That is why attack within the Kingdom is impossible. You made the ego without love, and so it does not love you. You could not remain within the Kingdom without love, and since the Kingdom is love, you believe that you are without it. This enables the ego to regard itself as separate and outside its maker, thus speaking for the part of your mind that believes you are separate and outside the Mind of God. The ego, then, raised the first question that was ever asked, but one it can never answer. That question, ‘What are you?’ was the beginning of doubt. The ego has never answered any questions since, although it has raised a great many. The most inventive activities of the ego have never done more than obscure the question, because you have the answer and the ego is afraid of you.

You cannot understand the conflict until you fully understand the basic fact that the ego cannot know anything. The Holy Spirit does not speak first, but He always answers. Everyone has called upon Him for help at one time or another and in one way or another, and has been answered. Since the Holy Spirit answers truly He answers for all time, which means that everyone has the answer now.

The ego cannot hear the Holy Spirit, but it does believe that part of the mind that made it is against it. It interprets this as a justification for attacking its maker. It believes that the best defence is attack, and wants you to believe it. Unless you do believe it you will not side with it, and the ego feels badly in need of allies, though not of brothers. Perceiving something alien to itself in your mind, the ego turns to the body as its ally, because the body is not part of you. This makes the body the ego’s friend. It is an alliance frankly based on separation. If you side with this alliance you will be afraid, because you are siding with an alliance of fear.

The ego uses the body to conspire against your mind, and because the ego realises that its ‘enemy’ can end them both merely by recognising they are not part of you, they join in the attack together. This is perhaps the strangest perception of all, if you consider what it really involves. The ego, which is not real, attempts to persuade the mind, which is real, that the mind is the ego’s learning device; and further, that the body is more real than the mind is. No one in his right mind could possibly believe this, and no one in his right mind does believe it.

Hear, then, the one answer of the Holy Spirit to all the questions the ego raises: You are a child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists and only this is real. You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real and God calls you to awake. There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him, because you will awaken. Your dreams contain many of the ego’s symbols and they have confused you. Yet that was only because you were asleep and did not know. When you wake you will see the truth around you and you will no longer believe in dreams, because they will have no reality for you. Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you, because they are beautiful and true.

In the Kingdom, where you are and what you are is perfectly certain. There is no doubt, because the first question was never asked. Having finally been wholly answered,it has never beenBeing alone lives in the Kingdom, where everything lives in God without question. The time spent on questioning in the dream has given way to creation and to its eternity. You are as certain as God because you are as true as He is, but what was once certain in your mind has become only the ability for certainty.

The introduction of abilities into being was the beginning of uncertainty, because abilities are potentials, not accomplishments. Your abilities are useless in the presence of God’s accomplishments, and also of yours. Accomplishments are results that have been achieved. When they are perfect, abilities are meaningless. It is curious that the perfect must now be perfected. In fact, it is impossible. Remember, however, that when you put yourself in an impossible situation you believe that the impossible is possible.

Abilities must be developed before you can use them. This is not true of anything that God created, but it is the kindest solution possible for what you made. In an impossible situation, you can develop your abilities to the point where they can get you out of it. You have a Guide to how to develop them, but you have no commander except yourself. This leaves you in charge of the Kingdom, with both a Guide to find it and a means to keep it. You have a model to follow who will strengthen your command, and never detract from it in any way. You therefore retain the central place in your imagined enslavement, which in itself demonstrates that you are not enslaved.

You are in an impossible situation only because you think it is possible to be in one. You would be in an impossible situation if God showed you your perfection, and proved to you that you were wrong. This would demonstrate that the perfect are inadequate to bring themselves to an awareness of their perfection, and thus side with the belief that those who have everything need help and are therefore helpless. This is the kind of ‘reasoning’ in which the ego engages. God, Who knows that His creations are perfect, does not affront them. This would be as impossible as the ego’s notion that it has affronted Him.

That is why the Holy Spirit never commands. To command is to assume inequality, which the Holy Spirit demonstrates does not exist. Fidelity to premises is a law of mind, and everything God created is faithful to His laws. Fidelity to other laws is also possible, however, not because the laws are true, but because you made them. What would be gained if God proved to you that you have thought insanely? Can God lose His Own certainty? I have frequently said that what you teach you are. Would you have God teach you that you have sinned? If He confronted the self you made with the truth He created for you, what could you be but afraid? You would doubt your right mind, which is the only place where you can find the sanity He gave you.

God does not teach. To teach is to imply a lack, which God knows is not there. God is not conflicted. Teaching aims at change, but God created only the changeless. The separation was not a loss of perfection, but a failure in communication. A harsh and strident form of communication arose as the ego’s voice. It could not shatter the peace of God, but it could shatter yours. God did not blot it out, because to eradicate it would be to attack it. Being questioned, He did not question. He merely gave the Answer. His Answer is your Teacher.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 16

Lesson 47

God is the strength in which I trust.

1. If you are trusting in your own strength, you have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious and fearful. What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on? What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem, and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it? What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?

2. Of yourself you can do none of these things. To believe that you can is to put your trust where trust is unwarranted, and to justify fear, anxiety, depression, anger and sorrow. Who can put his faith in weakness and feel safe? Yet who can put his faith in strength and feel weak?

3. God is your safety in every circumstance. His Voice speaks for Him in all situations and in every aspect of all situations, telling you exactly what to do to call upon His strength and His protec­tion. There are no exceptions because God has no exceptions. And the Voice which speaks for Him thinks as He does.

4. Today we will try to reach past your own weakness to the Source of real strength. Four five-minute practice periods are necessary today, and longer and more frequent ones are urged. Close your eyes and begin, as usual, by repeating the idea for the day. Then spend a minute or two in searching for situations in your life which you have invested with fear, dismissing each one by telling yourself:

God is the strength in which I trust.

5. Now try to slip past all concerns related to your own sense of inadequacy. It is obvious that any situation that causes you concern is associated with feelings of inadequacy, for otherwise you would believe that you could deal with the situation successfully. It is not by trusting yourself that you will gain confidence. But the strength of God in you is successful in all things.

6. The recognition of your own frailty is a necessary step in the correction of your errors, but it is hardly a sufficient one in giving you the confidence which you need, and to which you are enti­tled. You must also gain an awareness that confidence in your real strength is fully justified in every respect and in all circumstances.

7. In the latter phase of the practice period, try to reach down into your mind to a place of real safety. You will recognize that you have reached it if you feel a sense of deep peace, however briefly. Let go all the trivial things that churn and bubble on the surface of your mind, and reach down and below them to the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is a place in you where nothing is impossible. There is a place in you where the strength of God abides.

8. During the day, repeat the idea often. Use it as your answer to any disturbance. Remember that peace is your right, because you are giving your trust to the strength of God.

***
ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Why does Jesus repeatedly say in A Course in Miracles that I need to forgive him? What for?

A) For many students of A Course in Miracles this is a problematic issue. Why, they ask, do I have to forgive Jesus; I am not angry at him. I (Gloria) remember many years ago when I had my own group that met to discuss the Course. This issue was almost responsible for World War III breaking out in my dining room, where the group met every week. It was certainly not a neutral topic, and forgiving Jesus is indeed a central issue that goes to the heart of the Course’s teaching about undoing the ego thought system. Let us begin our answer by looking at some representative passages from the Course where Jesus discusses this. The first two come in the section, “The Obstacles to Peace” in Chapter 19 of the text, where he states:

I am made welcome in the state of grace, which means you have at last forgiven me.  For I became the symbol of your sin, and so I had to die instead of you….Let me be to you the symbol of the end of guilt, and look upon your brother as you would look on me. Forgive me all the sins you think the Son of God committed. And in the light of your forgiveness he will remember who he is, and forget what never was.  I ask for your forgiveness, for if you are guilty, so must I be. But if I surmounted guilt and overcame the world, you were with me. Would you see in me the symbol of guilt or of the end of guilt, remembering that what I signify to you you see within yourself?  (T-19.IV-A.17:1-2; T-19.IV-B.6)

And then at the beginning of the next chapter, in the section “Holy Week” which was written during the week preceding Easter, Jesus returns to this important point:

You stand beside your brother, thorns in one hand and lilies in the other [thorns and lilies are the Course’s symbols, respectively, for attack and forgiveness, crucifixion and resurrection], uncertain which to give.  Join now with me and throw away the thorns, offering the lilies to replace them. This Easter I would have the gift of your forgiveness offered by you to me, and returned by me to you. We cannot be united in crucifixion and in death. Nor can the resurrection be complete until your forgiveness rests on Christ, along with mine …. I was a stranger and you took me in, not knowing who I was.  Yet for your gift of lilies you will know. In your forgiveness of this stranger, alien to you and yet your ancient Friend, lies his release and your redemption with him (T-20.I.2:6-10; 4:3-5).

Jesus has to be forgiven on two levels. The first relates to the “bitter idols” the world has made of him, which clearly reflects its projections and has nothing to do with him at all. These idols have come in both special hate and love forms, where he has either been made into a figure of judgment and punishment who demands suffering and sacrifice of his followers, or else a magical savior who, upon petition, will solve problems and reward good deeds and faithful discipleship with his love and beneficence. Once again, such images reflect the specialness needs of the image-makers, with no reference to the real Jesus at all, who clearly is beyond such ego concerns. And so it can be seen here that Jesus is to be forgiven for what he has never done, and even more to the point, forgiven for what he has never been.

To the ego, Jesus is the most threatening figure imaginable, as we have already indicated in our answers to earlier questions, for if he is real, then the ego thought system cannot be. And so the part of anyone’s mind that still clings to specialness and individuality — the hallmarks of the ego thought system — would inevitably fear, and therefore attack Jesus to protect itself.  This attack reflects the original ego thought that the Son of God had  sinfully separated himself from the Love of God. Guilt over such attacks on Jesus — the Western world’s greatest embodiment of this Love — can only lead to denial. Guilt (or self-hatred) is such an overwhelming experience that it is almost inevitably buried in our minds. This reflects the magical belief that, like the proverbial ostrich, if we do not see the problem, it is not there. This ego dynamic of avoiding the pain of our guilt culminates in projecting our belief in sin and guilt onto Jesus.

This is the meaning of the passages quoted above from the text. Rather than our accepting responsibility for our guilt — which the ego teaches us must lead to death as justified punishment for our sin — we hope, once again magically, that by projecting the guilt out onto Jesus, leading to his death, we will be off the hook. For the ego would kill rather than have its existence undone. And thus two thousand years of belief in vicarious salvation, which Christian theology espouses, proclaims that “Jesus did it for us.” This insane dynamic reflects the ego’s “bread-and-butter” dynamic of the guilt-attack cycle, wherein the guiltier we feel, the greater is our need to attack others in “self-defense,” which in turn reinforces the guilt which always remains repressed in our minds. And then the cycle begins all over again. This is why Christians have always worshiped a slain savior, and why Catholics specifically commemorate Jesus’ death by reenacting it every day at Mass. Our guilt impels us continually to kill him off. And so what we forgive in Jesus is simply the projection of what remains unforgiven in ourselves.

What we find here is that this first level of forgiving Jesus for our projections onto him, is really the defense against the underlying level which reflects our real need for forgiveness: Jesus has to be forgiven for who he truly is. Again, if the Jesus of reality is indeed present within our minds as the perfect embodiment of God’s Love — the pure expression of the Holy Spirit’s Atonement principle — then our entire identity as a separated physical and psychological being is undone. It is truly this that we hold against Jesus. He is the living proof within the dream of our own existence, that we are wrong and he is right. He is the clear and unmistakable presence from outside the dream that attests to our sleeping minds that the dream itself is unreal. To accept this is to accept that we are truly not here, but dreaming a dream where we made up an individual self to replace the Self that God created. And so to preserve this made-up self, we must attack and destroy the truth.  We have already examined this idea in some depth, but let us return to it once more by quoting some expressive lines from one of Helen’s later poems, “Stranger on the Road,” which so graphically portray this fear of confronting the truth of Jesus’ existence. In effect, Jesus’ presence in our minds denies the “truth” of our own thought system of fear and death, which in our strange insanity we believe is comforting to us and therefore needs to be protected from him:

The road is long. I will not lift my eyes,
For fear has gripped my heart, and fear I know —
The shield that keeps me safe from rising hope;
The friend that keeps You stranger still to me.Why should You walk with me along the road,
An unknown whom I almost think I fear
Because You seem like someone in a dream
Of deathlessness, when death alone is real?

Do not disturb me now. I am content
With death, for grief is kinder now than hope.
While there was hope I suffered. Now I go
In certainty, for death has surely come.

Do not disturb the ending. What is done
Is done forever. Neither hope nor tears
Can touch finality. Do not arouse
The dead. Come, Stranger, let us say “Amen.”
                             (The Gifts of God, p. 103)

And so in all honesty we need to look at how we fear and hate Jesus, feelings that are almost always buried in our unconscious minds, under layers and layers of defenses. Through forgiving him for who he truly is, we learn at the same time to forgive ourselves for trying to pretend that we are not who we truly are, and then seeking to blame him for it. Were the presence of Jesus not so explicitly clear in A Course in Miracles, many students would not have the opportunity of dealing with this deeply buried layer of unforgiveness and guilt in themselves.

Into Christ's Presence

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 15, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 15

Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love

III. The Relinquishment of Attack

As we have already emphasised, every idea begins in the mind of the thinker. Therefore, what extends from the mind is still in it, and from what it extends it knows itself. The word ‘knows’ is correct here, because the Holy Spirit still holds knowledge safe in your mind through His impartial perception. By attacking nothing, He presents no barrier to the communication of God. Therefore, being is never threatened. Your Godlike mind can never be defiled. The ego never was and never will be part of it, but through the ego you can hear and teach and learn what is not true. You have taught yourself to believe that you are not what you are. You cannot teach what you have not learned, and what you teach you strengthen in yourself because you are sharing it. Every lesson you teach you are learning.

That is why you must teach only one lesson. If you are to be conflict-free yourself, you must learn only from the Holy Spirit and teach only by Him. You are only love, but when you deny this, you make what you are something you must learn to remember. I said before that the message of the crucifixion was, ‘Teach only love, for that is what you are’. This is the one lesson that is perfectly unified, because it is the only lesson that is one. Only by teaching it can you learn it. ‘As you teach so will you learn’. If that is true, and it is true indeed, do not forget that what you teach is teaching you. And what you project or extend you believe.

The only safety lies in extending the Holy Spirit, because as you see His gentleness in others your own mind perceives itself as totally harmless. Once it can accept this fully, it sees no need to protect itself. The protection of God then dawns upon it, assuring it that it is perfectly safe forever. The perfectly safe are wholly benign. They bless because they know that they are blessed. Without anxiety the mind is wholly kind, and because it extends beneficence it is beneficent. Safety is the complete relinquishment of attack. No compromise is possible in this. Teach attack in any form and you have learned it, and it will hurt you. Yet this learning is not immortal, and you can unlearn it by not teaching it.

Since you cannot not teach, your salvation lies in teaching the exact opposite of everything the ego believes. This is how you will learn the truth that will set you free, and will keep you free as others learn it of you. The only way to have peace is to teach peace. By teaching peace you must learn it yourself, because you cannot teach what you still dissociate. Only thus can you win back the knowledge that you threw away. An idea that you share you must have. It awakens in your mind through the conviction of teaching it. Everything you teach you are learning. Teach only love, and learn that love is yours and you are love.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 15

Lesson 46

God is the love in which I forgive.

1. God does not forgive because He has never condemned. And there must be condemnation before forgiveness is necessary. For­giveness is the great need of this world, but that is because it is a world of illusions. Those who forgive are thus releasing themselves from illusions, while those who withhold forgiveness are binding themselves to them. As you condemn only yourself, so do you forgive only yourself.

2. Yet although God does not forgive, His Love is nevertheless the basis of forgiveness. Fear condemns and love forgives. Forgiveness thus undoes what fear has produced, returning the mind to the awareness of God. For this reason, forgiveness can truly be called salvation. It is the means by which illusions dis­appear.

3. Today’s exercises require at least three full five-minute practice periods, and as many shorter ones as possible. Begin the longer practice periods by repeating today’s idea to yourself, as usual. Close your eyes as you do so, and spend a minute or two in searching your mind for those whom you have not forgiven. It does not matter “how much” you have not forgiven them. You have forgiven them entirely or not at all.

4. If you are doing the exercises well you should have no difficulty in finding a number of people you have not forgiven. It is a safe rule that anyone you do not like is a suitable subject. Mention each one by name, and say:

God is the Love in which I forgive you, [name].

5. The purpose of the first phase of today’s practice periods is to put you in a position to forgive yourself. After you have applied the idea to all those who have come to mind, tell yourself:

God is the Love in which I forgive myself.

Then devote the remainder of the practice period to adding related ideas such as:

God is the Love with which I love myself.
God is the Love in which I am blessed.

6. The form of the application may vary considerably, but the central idea should not be lost sight of. You might say, for example:

I cannot be guilty because I am a Son of God.
I have already been forgiven.
No fear is possible in a mind beloved of God.
There is no need to attack because love has forgiven me.

The practice period should end, however, with a repetition of today’s idea as originally stated.

7. The shorter practice periods may consist either of a repetition of the idea for today in the original or in a related form, as you prefer. Be sure, however, to make more specific applications if they are needed. They will be needed at any time during the day when you become aware of any kind of negative reaction to any­one, present or not. In that event, tell him silently:

God is the Love in which I forgive you.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Is there a difference between Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and does it matter to whom I go for help?

A) The difference between Jesus and the Holy Spirit is a theological one, not a practical one. According to the Course’s theory, the Holy Spirit was created by God in response to the thought of separation in His Son’s mind. In reality of course, as we have mentioned several times before, such a description in A Course in Miracles is metaphoric, because how can God give an answer to something that never happened? At any rate, the Holy Spirit can be more properly understood as the memory of God’s Love and the Son’s true Identity as Christ that he carried with him into his dream. The Holy Spirit, therefore, is a principle or a thought in the Son’s mind that reminds him that what he believes about himself and his Creator is false. This correction is what is known in A Course in Miracles as the principle of the Atonement.

Jesus, on the other hand, is a part of the Sonship, and is as tangible and specific as is the Son’s belief about himself. He is the part of the Son’s one mind that “remembered to laugh” at the tiny, mad idea. And therefore Jesus becomes a manifestation of the Atonement principle, or of the more abstract presence of the Holy Spirit. That is what is meant in the clarification of terms by the previously quoted statement that the Holy Spirit “established Jesus as the leader in carrying out His plan” (C-6.2:2), and by the passage in the text that is a direct reference to Jesus:

The Atonement principle was in effect long before the Atonement began. The principle was love [the Holy Spirit] and the Atonement was an act of love [Jesus] (T-2.11.4:2-3).

On the level of practice, however, there is no difference. Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit serve as our inner Teachers, to whom we go for help in learning how to forgive. The Holy Spirit offers the student a more abstract Teacher, if Jesus is a problem; while Jesus is a more specific and personal form for the student to relate to. Either one will do, however, for Their function remains the same. Nonetheless, if Jesus is indeed a problem figure for students of his Course, then it would definitely be in keeping with the Course’s very principles for such students to look at their unforgiveness of him. Thus they may explore its deeper roots so that they may be undone, just as with any unforgiveness that is present within their minds.

the mind that serves spirit

A Course in Miracles Text Reading &Workbook Lesson for February 14, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 14

Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love

II. The Alternative to Projection

Any split in mind must involve a rejection of part of it, and this is the belief in separation. The wholeness of God, which is His peace, cannot be appreciated except by a whole mind that recognises the wholeness of God’s creation. By this recognition it knows its Creator. Exclusion and separation are synonymous, as are separation and dissociation. We have said before that the separation was and is dissociation, and that once it occurs projection becomes its main defence, or the device that keeps it going. The reason, however, may not be so obvious as you think.

What you project you disown, and therefore do not believe is yours. You are excluding yourself by the very judgement that you are different from the one on whom you project. Since you have also judged against what you project, you continue to attack it because you continue to keep it separated. By doing this unconsciously, you try to keep the fact that you attacked yourself out of awareness, and thus imagine that you have made yourself safe.

Yet projection will always hurt you. It reinforces your belief in your own split mind, and its only purpose is to keep the separation going. It is solely a device of the ego to make you feel different from your brothers and separated from them. The ego justifies this on the grounds that it makes you seem ‘better’ than they are, thus obscuring your equality with them still further. Projection and attack are inevitably related, because projection is always a means of justifying attack. Anger without projection is impossible. The ego uses projection only to destroy your perception of both yourself and your brothers. The process begins by excluding something that exists in you but which you do not want, and leads directly to excluding you from your brothers.

We have learned, however, that there is an alternative to projection. Every ability of the ego has a better use, because its abilities are directed by the mind, which has a better Voice. The Holy Spirit extends and the ego projects. As their goals are opposed, so is the result.

The Holy Spirit begins by perceiving you as perfect. Knowing this perfection is shared He recognises it in others, thus strengthening it in both. Instead of anger this arouses love for both, because it establishes inclusion. Perceiving equality, the Holy Spirit perceives equal needs. This invites Atonement automatically, because Atonement is the one need in this world that is universal. To perceive yourself this way is the only way in which you can find happiness in the world. That is because it is the acknowledgement that you are not in this world, for the world is unhappy.

How else can you find joy in a joyless place except by realising that you are not there? You cannot be anywhere God did not put you, and God created you as part of Him. That is both where you are and what you are. It is completely unalterable. It is total inclusion. You cannot change it now or ever. It is forever true. It is not a belief, but a Fact. Anything that God created is as true as He is. Its truth lies only in its perfect inclusion in Him Who alone is perfect. To deny this is to deny yourself and Him, since it is impossible to accept one without the other.

The perfect equality of the Holy Spirit’s perception is the reflection of the perfect equality of God’s knowing. The ego’s perception has no counterpart in God, but the Holy Spirit remains the bridge between perception and knowledge. By enabling you to use perception in a way that reflects knowledge, you will ultimately remember it. The ego would prefer to believe that this memory is impossible, yet it is your perception the Holy Spirit guides. Your perception will end where it began. Everything meets in God, because everything was created by Him and in Him.

God created His Sons by extending His Thought, and retaining the extensions of His Thought in His Mind. All His Thoughts are thus perfectly united within themselves and with each other. The Holy Spirit enables you to perceive this wholeness now. God created you to create. You cannot extend His Kingdom until you know of its wholeness.

Thoughts begin in the mind of the thinker, from which they reach outward. This is as true of God’s Thinking as it is of yours. Because your mind is split, you can perceive as well as think. Yet perception cannot escape the basic laws of mind. You perceive from your mind and project your perceptions outward. Although perception of any kind is unreal, you made it and the Holy Spirit can therefore use it well. He can inspire perception and lead it toward God. This convergence seems to be far in the future only because your mind is not in perfect alignment with the idea, and therefore does not want it now.

The Holy Spirit uses time, but does not believe in it. Coming from God He uses everything for good, but He does not believe in what is not true. Since the Holy Spirit is in your mind, your mind can also believe only what is true. The Holy Spirit can speak only for this, because He speaks for God. He tells you to return your whole mind to God, because it has never left Him. If it has never left Him, you need only perceive it as it is to be returned. The full awareness of the Atonement, then, is the recognition that the separation never occurred. The ego cannot prevail against this because it is an explicit statement that the ego never occurred.

The ego can accept the idea that return is necessary because it can so easily make the idea seem difficult. Yet the Holy Spirit tells you that even return is unnecessary, because what never happened cannot be difficult. However, you can make the idea of return both necessary and difficult. Yet it is surely clear that the perfect need nothing, and you cannot experience perfection as a difficult accomplishment, because that is what you are. This is the way in which you must perceive God’s creations, bringing all of your perceptions into the one line the Holy Spirit sees. This line is the direct line of communication with God, and lets your mind converge with His. There is no conflict anywhere in this perception, because it means that all perception is guided by the Holy Spirit, Whose Mind is fixed on God. Only the Holy Spirit can resolve conflict, because only the Holy Spirit is conflict-free. He perceives only what is true in your mind, and extends outward only to what is true in other minds.

The difference between the ego’s projection and the Holy Spirit’s extension is very simple. The ego projects to exclude, and therefore to deceive. The Holy Spirit extends by recognising Himself in every mind, and thus perceives them as one. Nothing conflicts in this perception, because what the Holy Spirit perceives is all the same. Wherever He looks He sees Himself, and because He is united He offers the whole Kingdom always. This is the one message God gave to Him and for which He must speak, because that is what He is. The peace of God lies in that message, and so the peace of God lies in you. The great peace of the Kingdom shines in your mind forever, but it must shine outward to make you aware of it.

The Holy Spirit was given you with perfect impartiality, and only by recognising Him impartially can you recognise Him at all. The ego is legion, but the Holy Spirit is one. No darkness abides anywhere in the Kingdom, but your part is only to allow no darkness to abide in your own mind. This alignment with light is unlimited, because it is in alignment with the light of the world. Each of us is the light of the world, and by joining our minds in this light we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 14

Lesson 45

God is the mind with which I think.

1. Today’s idea holds the key to what your real thoughts are. They are nothing that you think you think, just as nothing that you think you see is related to vision in any way. There is no relationship between what is real and what you think is real. Nothing that you think are your real thoughts resemble your real thoughts in any respect. Nothing that you think you see bears any resemblance to what vision will show you.

2. You think with the Mind of God. Therefore you share your thoughts with Him, as He shares His with you. They are the same thoughts, because they are thought by the same Mind. To share is to make alike, or to make one. Nor do the thoughts you think with the Mind of God leave your mind, because thoughts do not leave their source. Therefore, your thoughts are in the Mind of God, as you are. They are in your mind as well, where He is. As you are part of His Mind, so are your thoughts part of His Mind.

3. Where, then, are your real thoughts? Today we will attempt to reach them. We will have to look for them in your mind, because that is where they are. They must still be there, because they cannot have left their source. What is thought by the Mind of God is eternal, being part of creation.

4. Our three five-minute practice periods for today will take the same general form that we used in applying yesterday’s idea. We will attempt to leave the unreal and seek for the real. We will deny the world in favor of truth. We will not let the thoughts of the world hold us back. We will not let the beliefs of the world tell us that what God would have us do is impossible. Instead, we will try to recognize that only what God would have us do is possible.

5. We will also try to understand that only what God would have us do is what we want to do. And we will also try to remember that we cannot fail in doing what He would have us do. There is every reason to feel confident that we will succeed today. It is the Will of God.

6. Begin the exercises for today by repeating the idea to yourself, closing your eyes as you do so. Then spend a fairly short period in thinking a few relevant thoughts of your own, keeping the idea in mind. After you have added some four or five thoughts of your own to the idea, repeat it again and tell yourself gently:

My real thoughts are in my mind. I would like to find them.

Then try to go past all the unreal thoughts that cover the truth in your mind, and reach to the eternal.

7. Under all the senseless thoughts and mad ideas with which you have cluttered up your mind are the thoughts that you thought with God in the beginning. They are there in your mind now, completely unchanged. They will always be in your mind, exactly as they always were. Everything you have thought since then will change, but the Foundation on which it rests is wholly changeless.

8. It is this Foundation toward which the exercises for today are directed. Here is your mind joined with the Mind of God. Here are your thoughts one with His. For this kind of practice only one thing is necessary; approach it as you would an altar dedicated in Heaven to God the Father and to God the Son. For such is the place you are trying to reach. You will probably be unable as yet to realize how high you are trying to go. Yet even with the little understanding you have already gained, you should be able to remind yourself that this is no idle game, but an exercise in holiness and an attempt to reach the Kingdom of Heaven.

9. In the shorter exercise periods for today, try to remember how important it is to you to understand the holiness of the mind that thinks with God. Take a minute or two, as you repeat the idea throughout the day, to appreciate your mind’s holiness. Stand aside, however briefly, from all thoughts that are unworthy of Him Whose host you are. And thank Him for the Thoughts He is thinking with you.

***

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.

certain as god

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

ACIM Text Reading for February 12

Chapter 6

THE LESSONS OF LOVE

Introduction

The relationship of anger to attack is obvious, but the relationship of anger to fear is not always so apparent. Anger always involves projection of separation, which must ultimately be accepted as one’s own responsibility, rather than being blamed on others. Anger cannot occur unless you believe that you have been attacked, that your attack is justified in return, and that you are in no way responsible for it. Given these three wholly irrational premises, the equally irrational conclusion that a brother is worthy of attack rather than of love must follow. What can be expected from insane premises except an insane conclusion? The way to undo an insane conclusion is to consider the sanity of the premises on which it rests. You cannot be attacked, attack has no justification, and you are responsible for what you believe.

You have been asked to take me as your model for learning, since an extreme example is a particularly helpful learning device. Everyone teaches, and teaches all the time. This is a responsibility you inevitably assume the moment you accept any premise at all, and no one can organise his life without some thought system. Once you have developed a thought system of any kind, you live by it and teach it. Your capacity for allegiance to a thought system may be misplaced, but it is still a form of faith and can be redirected.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 12

Lesson 43

God is my source. I cannot see apart from Him.

1. Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge. Yet He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge. Without this link with God, perception would have replaced knowledge forever in your mind. With this link with God, perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge. That is its function as the Holy Spirit sees it. Therefore, that is its function in truth.

2. In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God, and does not exist. Yet in salvation, which is the undoing of what never was, perception has a mighty purpose. Made by the Son of God for an unholy purpose, it must become the means for the restoration of his holiness to his awareness. Perception has no meaning. Yet does the Holy Spirit give it a meaning very close to God’s. Healed perception becomes the means by which the Son of God forgives his brother, and thus forgives himself.

3. You cannot see apart from God because you cannot be apart from God. Whatever you do you do in Him, because whatever you think, you think with His Mind. If vision is real, and it is real to the extent to which it shares the Holy Spirit’s purpose, then you cannot see apart from God.

4. Three five-minute practice periods are required today, one as early and one as late as possible in the day. The third may be undertaken at the most convenient and suitable time that circumstances and readiness permit. At the beginning of these practice periods, repeat the idea for today to yourself with eyes open. Then glance around you for a short time, applying the idea specifically to what you see. Four or five subjects for this phase of the practice period are sufficient. You might say, for example:

God is my Source. I cannot see this desk apart from Him.
God is my Source. I cannot see that picture apart from Him.

5. Although this part of the exercise period should be relatively short, be sure that you select the subjects for this phase of prac­tice indiscriminately, without self-directed inclusion or exclusion. For the second and longer phase, close your eyes, repeat today’s idea again, and then let whatever relevant thoughts occur to you add to the idea in your own personal way. Thoughts such as:

I see through the eyes of forgiveness.
I see the world as blessed.
The world can show me myself.
I see my own thoughts, which are like God’s.

Any thought related more or less directly to today’s idea is suit­able. The thoughts need not bear any obvious relationship to the idea, but they should not be in opposition to it.

6. If you find your mind wandering; if you begin to be aware of thoughts which are clearly out of accord with today’s idea, or if you seem to be unable to think of anything, open your eyes, repeat the first phase of the exercise period, and then attempt the second phase again. Do not allow any protracted period to occur in which you become preoccupied with irrelevant thoughts. Return to the first phase of the exercises as often as necessary to prevent this.

7. In applying today’s idea in the shorter practice periods, the form may vary according to the circumstances and situations in which you find yourself during the day. When you are with someone else, for example, try to remember to tell him silently:

God is my Source. I cannot see you apart from Him.

This form is equally applicable to strangers as it is to those you think are closer to you. In fact, try not to make distinctions of this kind at all.

8. Today’s idea should also be applied throughout the day to various situations and events that may occur, particularly to those which seem to distress you in any way. For this purpose, apply the idea in this form:

God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him.

9. If no particular subject presents itself to your awareness at the time, merely repeat the idea in its original form. Try today not to allow any long periods of time to slip by without remembering today’s idea, and thus remembering your function.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Where does it say in A Course in Miracles that Jesus is the author, and why is there no author’s name given in the book? Moreover, why are there sections on Jesus in the manual for teachers written in the third person? Is there another voice dictating here?

A) Almost the entire text of A Course in Miracles is written in  the first person, where the “I” is clearly identified throughout as Jesus. Moreover, there are many places where he specifically-   discusses the crucifixion and resurrection. There are relatively few obvious first person references in the workbook for students and manual for teachers, but when they do occur, their impact is quite dramatic, as seen for example in workbook Lesson 70, the Introduction to the fifth review lesson, and the poem that ends the manual.

Interestingly enough, there is one section in the manual proper — “Does Jesus Have a Special Place in Healing?” — and two in the manual’s appendix, the clarification of terms — “Jesus – Christ” and “The Holy Spirit” — where Jesus is spoken about in the third person. Some students have understood this shift to be a significant one that indicated that Helen was hearing another voice here. This was definitely not the case, as she was always clear that there was only one voice — Jesus — that was dictating to her. These three sections specifically deal with Jesus, and the shift in the person of the “voice” was made for stylistic purposes, and has no other significance.  If students wish, however, they can understand these third-person sections to be the Holy Spirit speaking about Jesus. 

It is in the aforementioned section in the manual for teachers where one finds this very specific statement that the source of A Course in Miracles is Jesus, as spoken, again if the reader wishes, by the Holy Spirit:

This course has come from him because his words have reached you in a language you can love and understand. Are other teachers possible, to lead the way to those who speak in different tongues and appeal to different symbols? Certainly there are.  Would God leave anyone without a very present help in time of trouble; a savior who can symbolize Himself? Yet do we need a many-faceted curriculum, not because of content differences, but because symbols must shift and change to suit the need.  Jesus has come to answer yours. In him you find God’s Answer (M-23.7:1-7; italics ours).

The reason no author’s name is given in A Course in Miracles is a very simple one:
Jesus was quite explicit in his instructions to Helen that this be the case. Helen was
also personally clear about not having her own name appear, since she was always emphatically unambiguous with people that she was not the author of the course.

teach not that i died in vain

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

ACIM Text Reading for March 8

Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love

II. The Alternative to Projection

Any split in mind must involve a rejection of part of it, and this is the belief in separation. The wholeness of God, which is His peace, cannot be appreciated except by a whole mind that recognises the wholeness of God’s creation. By this recognition it knows its Creator. Exclusion and separation are synonymous, as are separation and dissociation. We have said before that the separation was and is dissociation, and that once it occurs projection becomes its main defence, or the device that keeps it going. The reason, however, may not be so obvious as you think.

What you project you disown, and therefore do not believe is yours. You are excluding yourself by the very judgement that you are different from the one on whom you project. Since you have also judged against what you project, you continue to attack it because you continue to keep it separated. By doing this unconsciously, you try to keep the fact that you attacked yourself out of awareness, and thus imagine that you have made yourself safe.

Yet projection will always hurt you. It reinforces your belief in your own split mind, and its only purpose is to keep the separation going. It is solely a device of the ego to make you feel different from your brothers and separated from them. The ego justifies this on the grounds that it makes you seem ‘better’ than they are, thus obscuring your equality with them still further. Projection and attack are inevitably related, because projection is always a means of justifying attack. Anger without projection is impossible. The ego uses projection only to destroy your perception of both yourself and your brothers. The process begins by excluding something that exists in you but which you do not want, and leads directly to excluding you from your brothers.

We have learned, however, that there is an alternative to projection. Every ability of the ego has a better use, because its abilities are directed by the mind, which has a better Voice. The Holy Spirit extends and the ego projects. As their goals are opposed, so is the result.

The Holy Spirit begins by perceiving you as perfect. Knowing this perfection is shared He recognises it in others, thus strengthening it in both. Instead of anger this arouses love for both, because it establishes inclusion. Perceiving equality, the Holy Spirit perceives equal needs. This invites Atonement automatically, because Atonement is the one need in this world that is universal. To perceive yourself this way is the only way in which you can find happiness in the world. That is because it is the acknowledgement that you are not in this world, for the world is unhappy.

How else can you find joy in a joyless place except by realising that you are not there? You cannot be anywhere God did not put you, and God created you as part of Him. That is both where you are and what you are. It is completely unalterable. It is total inclusion. You cannot change it now or ever. It is forever true. It is not a belief, but a Fact. Anything that God created is as true as He is. Its truth lies only in its perfect inclusion in Him Who alone is perfect. To deny this is to deny yourself and Him, since it is impossible to accept one without the other.

The perfect equality of the Holy Spirit’s perception is the reflection of the perfect equality of God’s knowing. The ego’s perception has no counterpart in God, but the Holy Spirit remains the bridge between perception and knowledge. By enabling you to use perception in a way that reflects knowledge, you will ultimately remember it. The ego would prefer to believe that this memory is impossible, yet it is your perception the Holy Spirit guides. Your perception will end where it began. Everything meets in God, because everything was created by Him and in Him.

God created His Sons by extending His Thought, and retaining the extensions of His Thought in His Mind. All His Thoughts are thus perfectly united within themselves and with each other. The Holy Spirit enables you to perceive this wholeness now. God created you to create. You cannot extend His Kingdom until you know of its wholeness.

Thoughts begin in the mind of the thinker, from which they reach outward. This is as true of God’s Thinking as it is of yours. Because your mind is split, you can perceive as well as think. Yet perception cannot escape the basic laws of mind. You perceive from your mind and project your perceptions outward. Although perception of any kind is unreal, you made it and the Holy Spirit can therefore use it well. He can inspire perception and lead it toward God. This convergence seems to be far in the future only because your mind is not in perfect alignment with the idea, and therefore does not want it now.

The Holy Spirit uses time, but does not believe in it. Coming from God He uses everything for good, but He does not believe in what is not true. Since the Holy Spirit is in your mind, your mind can also believe only what is true. The Holy Spirit can speak only for this, because He speaks for God. He tells you to return your whole mind to God, because it has never left Him. If it has never left Him, you need only perceive it as it is to be returned. The full awareness of the Atonement, then, is the recognition that the separation never occurred. The ego cannot prevail against this because it is an explicit statement that the ego never occurred.

The ego can accept the idea that return is necessary because it can so easily make the idea seem difficult. Yet the Holy Spirit tells you that even return is unnecessary, because what never happened cannot be difficult. However, you can make the idea of return both necessary and difficult. Yet it is surely clear that the perfect need nothing, and you cannot experience perfection as a difficult accomplishment, because that is what you are. This is the way in which you must perceive God’s creations, bringing all of your perceptions into the one line the Holy Spirit sees. This line is the direct line of communication with God, and lets your mind converge with His. There is no conflict anywhere in this perception, because it means that all perception is guided by the Holy Spirit, Whose Mind is fixed on God. Only the Holy Spirit can resolve conflict, because only the Holy Spirit is conflict-free. He perceives only what is true in your mind, and extends outward only to what is true in other minds.

The difference between the ego’s projection and the Holy Spirit’s extension is very simple. The ego projects to exclude, and therefore to deceive. The Holy Spirit extends by recognising Himself in every mind, and thus perceives them as one. Nothing conflicts in this perception, because what the Holy Spirit perceives is all the same. Wherever He looks He sees Himself, and because He is united He offers the whole Kingdom always. This is the one message God gave to Him and for which He must speak, because that is what He is. The peace of God lies in that message, and so the peace of God lies in you. The great peace of the Kingdom shines in your mind forever, but it must shine outward to make you aware of it.

The Holy Spirit was given you with perfect impartiality, and only by recognising Him impartially can you recognise Him at all. The ego is legion, but the Holy Spirit is one. No darkness abides anywhere in the Kingdom, but your part is only to allow no darkness to abide in your own mind. This alignment with light is unlimited, because it is in alignment with the light of the world. Each of us is the light of the world, and by joining our minds in this light we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 8

Lesson 47

God is the strength in which I trust.

If you are trusting in your own strength, you have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious and fearful. What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on? What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem, and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it? What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?

Of yourself you can do none of these things. To believe that you can is to put your trust where trust is unwarranted, and to justify fear, anxiety, depression, anger and sorrow. Who can put his faith in weakness and feel safe? Yet who can put his faith in strength and feel weak?

God is your safety in every circumstance. His Voice speaks for Him in all situations and in every aspect of all situations, telling you exactly what to do to call upon His strength and His protection. There are no exceptions because God has no exceptions. And the Voice which speaks for Him thinks as He does.

Today we will try to reach past your own weakness to the Source of real strength. Four five-minute practice periods are necessary today, and longer and more frequent ones are urged. Close your eyes and begin, as usual, by repeating the idea for the day. Then spend a minute or two in searching for situations in your life which you have invested with fear, dismissing each one by telling yourself:

God is the strength in which I trust.

Now try to slip past all concerns related to your own sense of inadequacy. It is obvious that any situation that causes you concern is associated with feelings of inadequacy, for otherwise you would believe that you could deal with the situation successfully. It is not by trusting yourself that you will gain confidence. But the strength of God in you is successful in all things.

The recognition of your own frailty is a necessary step in the correction of your errors, but it is hardly a sufficient one in giving you the confidence which you need, and to which you are entitled. You must also gain an awareness that confidence in your real strength is fully justified in every respect and in all circumstances.

In the latter phase of the practice period, try to reach down into your mind to a place of real safety. You will recognize that you have reached it if you feel a sense of deep peace, however briefly. Let go all the trivial things that churn and bubble on the surface of your mind, and reach down and below them to the Kingdom of Heaven . There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is a place in you where nothing is impossible. There is a place in you where the strength of God abides.

During the day, repeat the idea often. Use it as your answer to any disturbance. Remember that peace is your right, because you are giving your trust to the strength of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1034Why would God create a Son that is capable of having “unhappy dreams?” Does this have something to do with God’s desire that His Son have a “free will?” “Never approach the holy instant after you have tried to remove all fear and hatred from your mind. That is its function. Never attempt to overlook your guilt before you ask the Holy Spirit’s help. That is His function. Your part is only to offer Him a little willingness to let Him remove all fear and hatred, and to be forgiven” (T.18.V.2:1,2,3,4,5) Does this mean that we do not need to forgive ourselves before we approach the holy instant and that we do not need to forgive ourselves before we ask the Holy Spirit’s help? Does this mean that all we need to do is open ourselves a little bit with our “little willingness” and the Holy Spirit will take care of the rest. That the Holy Spirit will then teach us how to forgive ourselves and will then teach us how to change our fearful dreams to “happy dreams” on the way to awakening?

A: The first part of your question is asked by just about every student of A Course in Miracles . It is founded on a belief system that tells us dreams are real, that they have an unhappy effect on the dreamer, and that God is to blame for this miserable state of affairs. This belief system is shared by all the Sonship once the thought of separation is taken seriously. It rests on the declaration that the separation did indeed occur and has had disastrous effects. Furthermore, God is not only responsible for this, He won’t do anything about it. Herein lies the ego’s woeful tale of separation. Once the mind chooses to believe that separation is possible, the creative power that it shares with its Source is expressed in the ability to choose between separation and Oneness. However, choosing between what is real (oneness) and what is not real (separation) is not a real choice. It is the denial of one and acceptance of the other. Denial of truth is what the Course calls a misuse of the mind’s creative power, while free will is defined as the choice for truth/denial of error: “Denial of error is a strong defense of truth, but denial of truth results in miscreation, the projections of the ego. In the service of the right mind the denial of error frees the mind, and re-establishes the freedom of the will. When the will is really free it cannot miscreate, because it recognizes only truth” (T.2II.2:5,6,7). Thus, choosing the ego’s unhappy dream is the denial of free will.

Since “God does not know of separation” (P.2.VII.1:11), He is unaware of the Son’s “choice” or of any will that is not the Will He shares with him. Neither can we speak of God as desiring anything for His Son, for desire implies need or some sense of lack. In the non-dualistic state of perfect oneness that God shares with His Son, there is no need or lack of any kind. He knows only perfect Oneness, perfect Love, one Will shared with His Son. This is a unitive state that is impossible to understand from within the dream of duality. While we still believe the separation is possible, the Course meets us where we think we are by describing our seeming separated condition as a dream the Son has while he remains at home with His Father (T.13.VII.17:7) , Who is unaware of the nightmarish escapades and adventures of the dream.

You are absolutely right, all that is required of us is willingness. In fact, the passage you quote is saying that we should not do anything except be willing . We cannot forgive ourselves, nor remove the guilt, fear, and hatred from our minds. What we can do is become aware of our need for forgiveness by being willing to look at our judgments as projections of guilt for having chosen separation. The choice is forgotten until we see the judgments. The miracle of forgiveness begins with willingness to recognize them as the projections they are, rather than justify them by shifting blame outside the mind and on to external agents. That is enough for us to do because in itself it is not as easy as it may seem. The world is a fertile battleground, bombarding us with “legitimate” external reasons for lack of peace. It is no small thing to learn to accept that nothing external to the mind can take peace away. That is probably why Jesus thought “miracle” was a good word for his teaching on forgiveness. When we do our part, the rest follows without further effort. Trying to do anything more, simply means we have put ourselves in charge of the Atonement, which ensures that we will not accept it. In this regard it is always helpful to remember the one task we have been given: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” (T.16.IV.6:1) .


Q #1035Lately I’ve been observing my “sleeping dreams” versus “waking dreams” from the point of view of A Course in Miracles and my understanding of “dreaming” has deepened a bit. Although not always, it sometimes helps me to put “the problems in this world” in the right perspective. In Kenneth Wapnick’s “Cause and Effect” first tape, he mentions this line: “A dream is a wish fulfilled.” Could you please elaborate?

A: A significant part of Freud’s work is based on his theory that the dreams we have at night are fulfillments of wishes — that we hold secret wishes in our minds which then manifest in our nocturnal dreams. Jesus is saying the same thing, except that he generalizes this to include our entire lives, as well as the “life” of the entire physical universe. Thus, we “are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality” (T.10.I.2:1) . Our lives in this world are parts of this dream of being separate from God. This is illusory, of course, as separating from Infinity and Perfection is impossible; but since we think we are really alive in this very real world, Jesus uses the analogy of the dream to help us return to our original, unchanged state as one with our Source. He teaches us how to become “lucid dreamers” — a gradual process of bringing back into our awareness the power of our minds to decide to awaken from this dream of separation or to stay asleep, oblivious to the fact that we are the dreamers of our own dreams.

What keeps us from awakening, however, is our secret wish to keep our individual existence but to project blame for it onto something or someone else. This is the cause of our feeling victimized and unfairly treated in our lives (the effect). It is an absolutely bizarre strategy, but our secret wish is fulfilled within the dream every time we feel we are suffering unjustifiably at the hands of another. Because we keep this wish buried, it appears as if we are innocent victims; but we are anything but innocent. Contrary to our experience, the world is not the cause of our misery and problems. “Perception is a result and not a cause” (T.21.in.1:8) . The world with its potential for inflicting suffering and the bodies within the world that can be so afflicted are both the fulfillment of the mind’s secret wish to have an existence of its own but to make it appear that it is not responsible for it. Correcting this delusion is the objective of Jesus’ curriculum in his course. But the effectiveness of this correction rests on our willingness to question the validity of our perceptions about ourselves and the world. We must get to the point where we are open to viewing ourselves and everyone else in the world — and the very world itself — as figures in a dream.

For further study, we refer you to some sections in the text that discuss these ideas: “The Basis of the Dream” (T.18.II); “The Dreamer of the Dream” (T.27.VII); “The ‘Hero’ of the Dream” (T.27.VIII) .

awake & remember

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

A Course in Miracles Text Reading for March 6

Chapter 6

THE LESSONS OF LOVE

Introduction

The relationship of anger to attack is obvious, but the relationship of anger to fear is not always so apparent. Anger always involves projection of separation, which must ultimately be accepted as one’s own responsibility, rather than being blamed on others. Anger cannot occur unless you believe that you have been attacked, that your attack is justified in return, and that you are in no way responsible for it. Given these three wholly irrational premises, the equally irrational conclusion that a brother is worthy of attack rather than of love must follow. What can be expected from insane premises except an insane conclusion? The way to undo an insane conclusion is to consider the sanity of the premises on which it rests. You cannot be attacked, attack has no justification, and you are responsible for what you believe.

You have been asked to take me as your model for learning, since an extreme example is a particularly helpful learning device. Everyone teaches, and teaches all the time. This is a responsibility you inevitably assume the moment you accept any premise at all, and no one can organise his life without some thought system. Once you have developed a thought system of any kind, you live by it and teach it. Your capacity for allegiance to a thought system may be misplaced, but it is still a form of faith and can be redirected.

***

A Course in Miracles Workbook Lesson for March 6

Lesson 45

God is the Mind with which I think.

Today’s idea holds the key to what your real thoughts are. They are nothing that you think you think, just as nothing that you think you see is related to vision in any way. There is no relationship between what is real and what you think is real. Nothing that you think are your real thoughts resemble your real thoughts in any respect. Nothing that you think you see bears any resemblance to what vision will show you.

You think with the Mind of God. Therefore you share your thoughts with Him, as He shares His with you. They are the same thoughts, because they are thought by the same Mind. To share is to make alike, or to make one. Nor do the thoughts you think with the Mind of God leave your mind, because thoughts do not leave their source. Therefore, your thoughts are in the Mind of God, as you are. They are in your mind as well, where He is. As you are part of His Mind, so are your thoughts part of His Mind.

Where, then, are your real thoughts? Today we will attempt to reach them. We will have to look for them in your mind, because that is where they are. They must still be there, because they cannot have left their source. What is thought by the Mind of God is eternal, being part of creation.

Our three five-minute practice periods for today will take the same general form that we used in applying yesterday’s idea. We will attempt to leave the unreal and seek for the real. We will deny the world in favor of truth. We will not let the thoughts of the world hold us back. We will not let the beliefs of the world tell us that what God would have us do is impossible. Instead, we will try to recognize that only what God would have us do is possible.

We will also try to understand that only what God would have us do is what we want to do. And we will also try to remember that we cannot fail in doing what He would have us do. There is every reason to feel confident that we will succeed today. It is the Will of God.

Begin the exercises for today by repeating the idea to yourself, closing your eyes as you do so. Then spend a fairly short period in thinking a few relevant thoughts of your own, keeping the idea in mind. After you have added some four or five thoughts of your own to the idea, repeat it again and tell yourself gently:

My real thoughts are in my mind. I would like to find them.

Then try to go past all the unreal thoughts that cover the truth in your mind, and reach to the eternal.

Under all the senseless thoughts and mad ideas with which you have cluttered up your mind are the thoughts that you thought with God in the beginning. They are there in your mind now, completely unchanged. They will always be in your mind, exactly as they always were. Everything you have thought since then will change, but the Foundation on which it rests is wholly changeless.

It is this Foundation toward which the exercises for today are directed. Here is your mind joined with the Mind of God. Here are your thoughts one with His. For this kind of practice only one thing is necessary; approach it as you would an altar dedicated in Heaven to God the Father and to God the Son. For such is the place you are trying to reach. You will probably be unable as yet to realize how high you are trying to go. Yet even with the little understanding you have already gained, you should be able to remind yourself that this is no idle game, but an exercise in holiness and an attempt to reach the Kingdom of Heaven .

In the shorter exercise periods for today, try to remember how important it is to you to understand the holiness of the mind that thinks with God. Take a minute or two, as you repeat the idea throughout the day, to appreciate your mind’s holiness. Stand aside, however briefly, from all thoughts that are unworthy of Him Whose host you are. And thank Him for the Thoughts He is thinking with you.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1232I have a friend who feels he understands A Course in Miracles better than anyone else. As much as I think he has some Course concepts right, I do not find his needing to talk about it non-stop and lecturing everyone helpful. He feels he can get people to understand the Course faster if they’ll listen to him. At this point, after listening to him for years, I disagree, and I resist his lectures. He feels I should continue with the relationship and be open to letting him teach me. I enjoy his company when he is quiet and practices forgivness instead of preaching at me and to others. The truth is I am having a hard time letting go of the relationship, or staying in it, and clearly I am not forgiving it! This relationship is very special and I know it. Can you shed some light on what I am doing to myself?

A: What would help relieve a great deal of the pressure you are feeling is to simplify the issue. The issue is not really whether you should stay in the relationship or leave it. Instead, your focus should be on asking for help to free your mind of judgment — in other words, whether you stay or leave, you can do so without judgment. This is what we generally recommend to people who are in a quandry about whether or not stay in a relationship they experience as abusive or as uncomfortable. The lesson is that you can leave a relationship peacefully, or you can choose to stay in a relationship and be at peace. Asking Jesus or the Holy Spirit to help you on that level will take you out of the should-I-stay-or-should-I-leave bind you are experiencing.


Q #1233Why did God create the Sonship?

A Course in Miracles speaks of God’s Son in two ways: (1) as the creation of God in Heaven, the undifferentiated unity within the Godhead, wherein “He makes no distinctions in what is Himself and what is still Himself. What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him” (W.pI.132.12:3,4; see also T.2.I.1:1; T.11.I.2,3,4,5,6,7; T.28.II.2:1,2). The Son is the extension of God within the Godhead, “a Oneness joined as One” (T.25.I.7:1) , a process we are incapable of comprehending in our separated state see alsoW.pI.192.2:1). There is no “why” in creation, as it is purely internal to the Godhead. There is no “why” in shared Identity that communicates eternally. It is simply of the nature of Love to extend Itself.

(2) The Course also speaks of the Son in a state of separation from God, a state that is purely illusory, as separating from Totality is an impossibility (the Atonement principle). The “author” of this existence is the ego, although to give it more credibility and validity, the ego encourages theologies that have God as the source of this existence, as in the Bible and other scriptures. Importantly, the Course does not use the term create or creation when talking about the separated Son’s origin; it uses the word make instead. On this level — existence outside God’s Being — the issue of “why” becomes very relevant, and has been the focal point of many, many studies for more than two thousand years. This, in fact, is the subject explored in Kenneth’s comparative study, Love Does Not Condemn: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil According to Platonism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and “A Course in Miracles.”

Question #198 briefly addresses this from the point of view of God’s purpose in creating oneness.

i-am-here-only-meditation-6

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 20

ACIM Text Reading for February 20

Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love

VII. To Have, Give All to All

When your body and your ego and your dreams are gone, you will know that you will last forever. Perhaps you think this is accomplished through death, but nothing is accomplished through death, because death is nothing. Everything is accomplished through life, and life is of the mind and in the mind. The body neither lives nor dies, because it cannot contain you who are life. If we share the same mind, you can overcome death because I did. Death is an attempt to resolve conflict by not deciding at all. Like any other impossible solution the ego attempts, it will not work.

God did not make the body, because it is destructible, and therefore not of the Kingdom. The body is the symbol of what you think you are. It is clearly a separation device, and therefore does not exist. The Holy Spirit, as always, takes what you have made and translates it into a learning device. Again as always, He reinterprets what the ego uses as an argument for separation into a demonstration against it. If the mind can heal the body, but the body cannot heal the mind, then the mind must be stronger than the body. Every miracle demonstrates this.

I have said that the Holy Spirit is the motivation for miracles. He always tells you that only the mind is real, because only the mind can be shared. The body is separate, and therefore cannot be part of you. To be of one mind is meaningful, but to be one body is meaningless. By the laws of mind, then, the body is meaningless.

To the Holy Spirit, there is no order of difficulty in miracles. This is familiar enough to you by now, but it has not yet become believable. Therefore, you do not understand it and cannot use it. We have too much to accomplish on behalf of the Kingdom to let this crucial concept slip away. It is a real foundation stone of the thought system I teach and want you to teach. You cannot perform miracles without believing it, because it is a belief in perfect equality. Only one equal gift can be offered to the equal Sons of God, and that is full appreciation. Nothing more and nothing less. Without a range, order of difficulty is meaningless, and there must be no range in what you offer to your brother.

The Holy Spirit, Who leads to God, translates communication into being, just as He ultimately translates perception into knowledge. The ego uses the body for attack, for pleasure and for pride. The insanity of this perception makes it a fearful one indeed. The Holy Spirit sees the body only as a means of communication, and because communicating is sharing it becomes communion. Perhaps you think that fear as well as love can be communicated; and therefore can be shared. Yet this is not so real as it may appear. Those who communicate fear are promoting attack, and attack always breaks communication, making it impossible. Egos do join together in temporary allegiance, but always for what each one can get separately. The Holy Spirit communicates only what each one can give to all. He never takes anything back, because He wants you to keep it. Therefore, His teaching begins with the lesson:

“To have, give all to all.”

This is a very preliminary step, and the only one you must take for yourself. It is not even necessary that you complete the step yourself, but it is necessary that you turn in that direction. Having chosen to go that way, you place yourself in charge of the journey, where you and only you must remain. This step may appear to exacerbate conflict rather than resolve it, because it is the beginning step in reversing your perception and turning it right-side up. This conflicts with the upside-down perception you have not yet abandoned, or the change in direction would not have been necessary. Some remain at this step for a long time, experiencing very acute conflict. At this point they may try to accept the conflict, rather than take the next step towards its resolution. Having taken the first step, however, they will be helped. Once they have chosen what they cannot complete alone, they are no longer alone.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 20

Lesson 51

Review I
Introduction

Beginning with today we will have a series of review periods. Each of them will cover five of the ideas already presented, starting with the first and ending with the fiftieth. There will be a few short comments after each of the ideas, which you should consider in your review. In the practice periods, the exercises should be done as follows:

Begin the day by reading the five ideas, with the comments included. Thereafter, it is not necessary to follow any particular order in considering them, though each one should be practiced at least once. Devote two minutes or more to each practice period, thinking about the idea and the related comments after reading them over. Do this as often as possible during the day. If any one of the five ideas appeals to you more than the others, concentrate on that one. At the end of the day, however, be sure to review all of them once more.

It is not necessary to cover the comments that follow each idea either literally or thoroughly in the practice periods. Try, rather, to emphasize the central point, and think about it as part of your review of the idea to which it relates. After you have read the idea and the related comments, the exercises should be done with your eyes closed and when you are alone in a quiet place, if possible.

This is emphasized for practice periods at your stage of learning. It will be necessary, however, that you learn to require no special settings in which to apply what you have learned. You will need your learning most in situations that appear to be upsetting, rather than in those that already seem to be calm and quiet. The purpose of your learning is to enable you to bring the quiet with you, and to heal distress and turmoil. This is not done by avoiding them and seeking a haven of isolation for yourself.

You will yet learn that peace is part of you, and requires only that you be there to embrace any situation in which you are. And finally you will learn that there is no limit to where you are, so that your peace is everywhere, as you are.

You will note that, for review purposes, some of the ideas are not given in quite their original form. Use them as they are given here. It is not necessary to return to the original statements, nor to apply the ideas as was suggested then. We are now emphasizing the relationships among the first fifty of the ideas we have covered, and the cohesiveness of the thought system to which they are leading you.


Lesson 51

The review for today covers the following ideas:

(1) Nothing I see means anything.

The reason this is so is that I see nothing, and nothing has no meaning. It is necessary that I recognize this, that I may learn to see. What I think I see now is taking the place of vision. I must let it go by realizing it has no meaning, so that vision may take its place.

(2) I have given what I see all the meaning it has for me.

I have judged everything I look upon, and it is this and only this I see. This is not vision. It is merely an illusion of reality, because my judgments have been made quite apart from reality. I am willing to recognize the lack of validity in my judgments, because I want to see. My judgments have hurt me, and I do not want to see according to them.

(3) I do not understand anything I see.

How could I understand what I see when I have judged it amiss? What I see is the projection of my own errors of thought. I do not understand what I see because it is not understandable. There is no sense in trying to understand it. But there is every reason to let it go, and make room for what can be seen and understood and loved. I can exchange what I see now for this merely by being willing to do so. Is not this a better choice than the one I made before?

(4) These thoughts do not mean anything.

The thoughts of which I am aware do not mean anything because I am trying to think without God. What I call “my” thoughts are not my real thoughts. My real thoughts are the thoughts I think with God. I am not aware of them because I have made my thoughts to take their place. I am willing to recognize that my thoughts do not mean anything, and to let them go. I choose to have them be replaced by what they were intended to replace. My thoughts are meaningless, but all creation lies in the thoughts I think with God.

(5) I am never upset for the reason I think.

I am never upset for the reason I think because I am constantly trying to justify my thoughts. I am constantly trying to make them true. I make all things my enemies, so that my anger is justified and my attacks are warranted. I have not realized how much I have misused everything I see by assigning this role to it. I have done this to defend a thought system that has hurt me, and that I no longer want. I am willing to let it go.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #189: What does A Course in Miracles refer to as “all” in the sentence “To have, give all to all.” (T.6.V.A:13)? I have heard Ken say that it doesn’t mean to give everything away in this world and go live on a mountain top. What does it mean?

A: First, Jesus is correcting the ego’s version, which is “to have, take all from all.” To the ego, the only way of having something is to get it from somewhere or someone. Therefore, Jesus tells us, “the first step in the reversal or undoing process is the undoing of the getting concept” (T.6.V.B.3:1). This is directly related to our learning to prefer shared interests instead of separate, competing interests; and that by seeking to take something from someone, we will wind up as the loser, because we will have once again denied that God’s Son is one and that as His creation we already have everything (W.pI.133.7).

So this has nothing to do with form or with behavior; it has to do with our attitude or inner orientation: the content, not the form. It has to do with undoing our inclination to exclude others and to acquire what we want at another’s expense. It has to do with looking at how we value uniqueness and specialness, and how that leads to more conflict instead of peace. We would begin to question the value of something that cannot be shared with everyone — why we would want something that cannot be shared with everyone. Again, this has to do with our attitude. Obviously, as you said, we are not being asked to buy enough for everyone in the world whenever we go shopping. Jesus is working with the premises that govern our thinking.

This first lesson of the Holy Spirit, then, is essentially about undoing our concept ofgetting as the means of having: “You must learn first that having rests on giving, and not on getting” (T.6.V.C.6:1).

*

Q #1183: Could you explain to me what the course means when it says, “Give all to All?”

A: To understand this phrase we must include the first part of the statement: “To Have, Give All to All” (T.6.V.A) It means that to have all the Holy Spirit offers, we must give all the ego’s lies over to Him to be transformed, and must be willing to include everyone in the blessings we receive, or they will not be ours. The Holy Spirit’s lessons are reversals of the ego’s laws. In this one, we find a correction for the ego’s belief in scarcity: “To the ego, to give anything implies that you will have to do without it. When you associate giving with sacrifice, you give only because you believe that you are somehow getting something better, and can therefore do without the thing you give. ‘Giving to get’ is an inescapable law of the ego… (T.4.II.6:3, 4, 5 ). In the Course, Jesus contrasts the ego’s “giving to get” with the Holy Spirit’s “giving and receiving are the same” (T.26.I.3:1). Jesus is addressing the split mind of the Sonship that contains two thoughts; the memory of the truth of God’s Love (right mind), and the illusory belief in separation (wrong mind). Only the content of the right mind can truly be given or received, since only it reflects truth. Everything else is some form the ego’s law of “giving to get,” or its other favorite — sacrifice. The content of the right mind that can be communicated, given and received, is some form of the extension of love: “You cannot really give anything but love to anyone or anything, nor can you really receive anything but love from them” (T.12.VII.9:4). When love is given, it never diminishes in the giver. As is true for everything of the Holy Spirit, “ It increases in you as you give it to your brother” (T.5.II.2:7).

Willingness to look upon a brother without judgment releases one’s self from judgment. By the same token, holding a grievance against one person is enough to keep peace away. As long as one attack thought is cherished and withheld from love, peace is impossible. In order to be free of guilt and have the full experience of the beauty of the right mind, we must let everyone off the hook. Therefore, we may restate the phrase you quote: to have peace/love/innocence/true happiness, give every attack thought to the Holy Spirit, and in so doing, all of these will be received for oneself and given to everyone. “Be willing, then, to give all you have held outside the truth to Him Who knows the truth, and in Whom all is brought to truth” (T.17.I.6:6).

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 18

ACIM Text Reading for February 18

Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love

V. The Only Answer

Remember that the Holy Spirit is the Answer, not the question. The ego always speaks first. It is capricious and does not mean its maker well. It believes, and correctly, that its maker may withdraw his support from it at any moment. If it meant you well it would be glad, as the Holy Spirit will be glad when He has brought you home and you no longer need His guidance. The ego does not regard itself as part of you. Herein lies its primary error, the foundation of its whole thought system.

When God created you He made you part of Him. That is why attack within the Kingdom is impossible. You made the ego without love, and so it does not love you. You could not remain within the Kingdom without love, and since the Kingdom is love, you believe that you are without it. This enables the ego to regard itself as separate and outside its maker, thus speaking for the part of your mind that believes you are separate and outside the Mind of God. The ego, then, raised the first question that was ever asked, but one it can never answer. That question, “What are you?” was the beginning of doubt. The ego has never answered any questions since, although it has raised a great many. The most inventive activities of the ego have never done more than obscure the question, because you have the answer and the ego is afraid of you.

You cannot understand the conflict until you fully understand the basic fact that the ego cannot know anything. The Holy Spirit does not speak first, but He always answers. Everyone has called upon Him for help at one time or another and in one way or another, and has been answered. Since the Holy Spirit answers truly He answers for all time, which means that everyone has the answer now.

The ego cannot hear the Holy Spirit, but it does believe that part of the mind that made it is against it. It interprets this as a justification for attacking its maker. It believes that the best defense is attack, and wants you to believe it. Unless you do believe it you will not side with it, and the ego feels badly in need of allies, though not of brothers. Perceiving something alien to itself in your mind, the ego turns to the body as its ally, because the body is not part of you. This makes the body the ego’s friend. It is an alliance frankly based on separation. If you side with this alliance you will be afraid, because you are siding with an alliance of fear.

The ego uses the body to conspire against your mind, and because the ego realizes that its “enemy” can end them both merely by recognizing they are not part of you, they join in the attack together. This is perhaps the strangest perception of all, if you consider what it really involves. The ego, which is not real, attempts to persuade the mind, which is real, that the mind is the ego’s learning device; and further, that the body is more real than the mind is. No one in his right mind could possibly believe this, and no one in his right mind does believe it.

Hear, then, the one answer of the Holy Spirit to all the questions the ego raises: You are a child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists and only this is real. You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real and God calls you to awake. There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him, because you will awaken. Your dreams contain many of the ego’s symbols and they have confused you. Yet that was only because you were asleep and did not know. When you wake you will see the truth around you, and you will no longer believe in dreams because they will have no reality for you. Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you, because they are beautiful and true.

In the Kingdom, where you are and what you are is perfectly certain. There is no doubt, because the first question was never asked. Having finally been wholly answered, it has never been. Being alone lives in the Kingdom, where everything lives in God without question. The time spent on questioning in the dream has given way to creation and to its eternity. You are as certain as God because you are as true as He is, but what was once certain in your mind has become only the ability for certainty.

The introduction of abilities into being was the beginning of uncertainty, because abilities are potentials, not accomplishments. Your abilities are useless in the presence of God’s accomplishments, and also of yours. Accomplishments are results that have been achieved. When they are perfect, abilities are meaningless. It is curious that the perfect must now be perfected. In fact, it is impossible. Remember, however, that when you put yourself in an impossible situation you believe that the impossible is possible.

Abilities must be developed before you can use them. This is not true of anything that God created, but it is the kindest solution possible for what you made. In an impossible situation, you can develop your abilities to the point where they can get you out of it. You have a Guide to how to develop them, but you have no commander except yourself. This leaves you in charge of the Kingdom, with both a Guide to find it and a means to keep it. You have a model to follow who will strengthen your command, and never detract from it in any way. You therefore retain the central place in your imagined enslavement, which in itself demonstrates that you are not enslaved.

You are in an impossible situation only because you think it is possible to be in one. You would be in an impossible situation if God showed you your perfection, and proved to you that you were wrong. This would demonstrate that the perfect are inadequate to bring themselves to the awareness of their perfection, and thus side with the belief that those who have everything need help and are therefore helpless. This is the kind of “reasoning” in which the ego engages. God, Who knows that His creations are perfect, does not affront them. This would be as impossible as the ego’s notion that it has affronted Him.

That is why the Holy Spirit never commands. To command is to assume inequality, which the Holy Spirit demonstrates does not exist. Fidelity to premises is a law of mind, and everything God created is faithful to His laws. Fidelity to other laws is also possible, however, not because the laws are true, but because you made them. What would be gained if God proved to you that you have thought insanely? Can God lose His Own certainty? I have frequently said that what you teach you are. Would you have God teach you that you have sinned? If He confronted the self you made with the truth He created for you, what could you be but afraid? You would doubt your right mind, which is the only place where you can find the sanity He gave you.

God does not teach. To teach is to imply a lack, which God knows is not there. God is not conflicted. Teaching aims at change, but God created only the changeless. The separation was not a loss of perfection, but a failure in communication. A harsh and strident form of communication arose as the ego’s voice. It could not shatter the peace of God, but it could shatter yours. God did not blot it out, because to eradicate it would be to attack it. Being questioned, He did not question. He merely gave the Answer. His Answer is your Teacher.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 18

Lesson 49

God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.

It is quite possible to listen to God’s Voice all through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way. The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not. It is the other part of your mind that functions in the world and obeys the world’s laws. It is this part that is constantly distracted, disorganized and highly uncertain.

The part that is listening to the Voice for God is calm, always at rest and wholly certain. It is really the only part there is. The other part is a wild illusion, frantic and distraught, but without reality of any kind. Try today not to listen to it. Try to identify with the part of your mind where stillness and peace reign forever. Try to hear God’s Voice call to you lovingly, reminding you that your Creator has not forgotten His Son.

We will need at least four five-minute practice periods today, and more if possible. We will try actually to hear God’s Voice reminding you of Him and of your Self. We will approach this happiest and holiest of thoughts with confidence, knowing that in doing so we are joining our will with the Will of God. He wants you to hear His Voice. He gave It to you to be heard.

Listen in deep silence. Be very still and open your mind. Go past all the raucous shrieks and sick imaginings that cover your real thoughts and obscure your eternal link with God. Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world. You do not live here. We are trying to reach your real home. We are trying to reach the place where you are truly welcome. We are trying to reach God.

Do not forget to repeat today’s idea very frequently. Do so with your eyes open when necessary, but closed when possible. And be sure to sit quietly and repeat the idea for today whenever you can, closing your eyes on the world, and realizing that you are inviting God’s Voice to speak to you.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #189: What does A Course in Miracles refer to as “all” in the sentence “To have, give all to all.” (T.6.V.A:13)? I have heard Ken say that it doesn’t mean to give everything away in this world and go live on a mountain top. What does it mean?

A: First, Jesus is correcting the ego’s version, which is “to have, take all from all.” To the ego, the only way of having something is to get it from somewhere or someone. Therefore, Jesus tells us, “the first step in the reversal or undoing process is the undoing of the getting concept” (T.6.V.B.3:1). This is directly related to our learning to prefer shared interests instead of separate, competing interests; and that by seeking to take something from someone, we will wind up as the loser, because we will have once again denied that God’s Son is one and that as His creation we already have everything (W.pI.133.7).

So this has nothing to do with form or with behavior; it has to do with our attitude or inner orientation: the content, not the form. It has to do with undoing our inclination to exclude others and to acquire what we want at another’s expense. It has to do with looking at how we value uniqueness and specialness, and how that leads to more conflict instead of peace. We would begin to question the value of something that cannot be shared with everyone — why we would want something that cannot be shared with everyone. Again, this has to do with our attitude. Obviously, as you said, we are not being asked to buy enough for everyone in the world whenever we go shopping. Jesus is working with the premises that govern our thinking.

This first lesson of the Holy Spirit, then, is essentially about undoing our concept of getting as the means of having: “You must learn first that having rests on giving, and not on getting” (T.6.V.C.6:1).

*

Q #1183: Could you explain to me what the course means when it says, “Give all to All?”

A: To understand this phrase we must include the first part of the statement: “To Have, Give All to All” (T.6.V.A) It means that to have all the Holy Spirit offers, we must give all the ego’s lies over to Him to be transformed, and must be willing to include everyone in the blessings we receive, or they will not be ours. The Holy Spirit’s lessons are reversals of the ego’s laws. In this one, we find a correction for the ego’s belief in scarcity: “To the ego, to give anything implies that you will have to do without it. When you associate giving with sacrifice, you give only because you believe that you are somehow getting something better, and can therefore do without the thing you give. ‘Giving to get’ is an inescapable law of the ego… (T.4.II.6:3, 4, 5 ). In the Course, Jesus contrasts the ego’s “giving to get” with the Holy Spirit’s “giving and receiving are the same” (T.26.I.3:1). Jesus is addressing the split mind of the Sonship that contains two thoughts; the memory of the truth of God’s Love (right mind), and the illusory belief in separation (wrong mind). Only the content of the right mind can truly be given or received, since only it reflects truth. Everything else is some form the ego’s law of “giving to get,” or its other favorite — sacrifice. The content of the right mind that can be communicated, given and received, is some form of the extension of love: “You cannot really give anything but love to anyone or anything, nor can you really receive anything but love from them” (T.12.VII.9:4). When love is given, it never diminishes in the giver. As is true for everything of the Holy Spirit, “ It increases in you as you give it to your brother” (T.5.II.2:7).

Willingness to look upon a brother without judgment releases one’s self from judgment. By the same token, holding a grievance against one person is enough to keep peace away. As long as one attack thought is cherished and withheld from love, peace is impossible. In order to be free of guilt and have the full experience of the beauty of the right mind, we must let everyone off the hook. Therefore, we may restate the phrase you quote: to have peace/love/innocence/true happiness, give every attack thought to the Holy Spirit, and in so doing, all of these will be received for oneself and given to everyone. “Be willing, then, to give all you have held outside the truth to Him Who knows the truth, and in Whom all is brought to truth” (T.17.I.6:6).

kingdom of god