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

ACIM Text Reading for March 2

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

XI. The State of Grace

The Holy Spirit will always guide you truly, because your joy is His. This is His Will for everyone because He speaks for the Kingdom of God, which is joy. Following Him is therefore the easiest thing in the world, and the only thing that is easy, because it is not of the world. It is therefore natural. The world goes against your nature, being out of accord with God’s laws. The world perceives orders of difficulty in everything. This is because the ego perceives nothing as wholly desirable. By demonstrating to yourself there is no order of difficulty in miracles, you will convince yourself that, in your natural state, there is no difficulty at all because it is a state of grace.

Grace is the natural state of every Son of God. When he is not in a state of grace, he is out of his natural environment and does not function well. Everything he does becomes a strain, because he was not created for the environment that he has made. He therefore cannot adapt to it, nor can he adapt it to him. There is no point in trying. A Son of God is happy only when he knows he is with God. That is the only environment in which he will not experience strain, because that is where he belongs. It is also the only environment that is worthy of him, because his own worth is beyond anything he can make.

Consider the kingdom you have made and judge its worth fairly. Is it worthy to be a home for a child of God? Does it protect his peace and shine love upon him? Does it keep his heart untouched by fear, and allow him to give always, without any sense of loss? Does it teach him that this giving is his joy, and that God Himself thanks him for his giving? That is the only environment in which you can be happy. You cannot make it, any more than you can make yourself. It has been created for you, as you were created for it. God watches over His children and denies them nothing. Yet when they deny Him they do not know this, because they deny themselves everything. You who could give the Love of God to everything you see and touch and remember, are literally denying Heaven to yourself.

I call upon you to remember that I have chosen you to teach the Kingdom to the Kingdom. There are no exceptions to this lesson, because the lack of exceptions is the lesson. Every Son who returns to the Kingdom with this lesson in his heart has healed the Sonship and given thanks to God. Everyone who learns this lesson has become the perfect teacher, because he has learned it of the Holy Spirit.

When a mind has only light, it knows only light. Its own radiance shines all around it, and extends out into the darkness of other minds, transforming them into majesty. The Majesty of God is there, for you to recognise and appreciate and know. Recognising the Majesty of God as your brother is to accept your own inheritance. God gives only equally. If you recognise His gift in anyone, you have acknowledged what He has given you. Nothing is so easy to recognise as truth. This is the recognition that is immediate, clear and natural. You have trained yourself not to recognise it, and this has been very difficult for you.

Out of your natural environment you may well ask, ‘What is truth?’ since truth is the environment by which and for which you were created. You do not know yourself, because you do not know your Creator. You do not know your creations because you do not know your brothers, who created them with you. I have already said that only the whole Sonship is worthy to be co-creator with God, because only the whole Sonship can create like Him. Whenever you heal a brother by recognising his worth, you are acknowledging his power to create and yours. He cannot have lost what you recognise, and you must have the glory you see in him. He is a co-creator with God with you. Deny his creative power, and you are denying yours and that of God Who created you.

You cannot deny part of truth. You do not know your creations because you do not know their creator. You do not know yourself because you do not know yours. Your creations cannot establish your reality, any more than you can establish God’s. But you canknow both. Being is known by sharing. Because God shared His Being with you, you can know Him. But you must also know all He created, to know what they have shared. Without your Father you will not know your fatherhood. The Kingdom of God includes all His Sons and their children, who are as like the Sons as they are like the Father. Know, then, the Sons of God, and you will know all creation.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 2

Lesson 62

1. It is your forgiveness that will bring the world of darkness to the light. It is your forgiveness that lets you recognize the light in which you see. Forgiveness is the demonstration that you are the light of the world. Through your forgiveness does the truth about yourself return to your memory. Therefore, in your for­giveness lies your salvation.

2. Illusions about yourself and the world are one. That is why all forgiveness is a gift to yourself. Your goal is to find out who you are, having denied your Identity by attacking creation and its Creator. Now you are learning how to remember the truth. For this attack must be replaced by forgiveness, so that thoughts of life may replace thoughts of death.

3. Remember that in every attack you call upon your own weakness, while each time you forgive you call upon the strength of Christ in you. Do you not then begin to understand what forgiveness will do for you? It will remove all sense of weakness, strain and fatigue from your mind. It will take away all fear and guilt and pain. It will restore the invulnerability and power God gave His Son to your awareness.

4. Let us be glad to begin and end this day by practicing today’s idea, and to use it as frequently as possible throughout the day. It will help to make the day as happy for you as God wants you to be. And it will help those around you, as well as those who seem to be far away in space and time, to share this happiness with you.

5. As often as you can, closing your eyes if possible, say to yourself today:

Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.
I would fulfill my function that I may be happy.

Then devote a minute or two to considering your function and the happiness and release it will bring you. Let related thoughts come freely, for your heart will recognize these words, and in your mind is the awareness they are true. Should your attention wander, repeat the idea and add:

I would remember this because I want to be happy.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Why do the text and workbook have different focuses, and at times seem to be saying different things?

A) Jesus refers to A Course in Miracles as a “multi-faceted curriculum,” and so it requires that his teaching be presented in different forms. The text, which was dictated to Helen first, contains the theology, metaphysical foundation, and teachings on accepting forgiveness for our special relationships, on which the curriculum rests. For example, only in the text — highlighted for the most part from Chapter 15 through Chapter 24 — does one find the exposition of the teaching on special and holy relationships. Nowhere in the workbook or manual is this very important subject specifically discussed. In the workbook, as Jesus explains in the introduction, the first part (Lessons 1-220) deals “with the undoing of the way you see now,” while the second part (Lessons 221-365) deals ” with the acquisition of true perception” (workbook, p.1; W-in.3:1). Nothing is mentioned about the theory of A Course in Miracles. Indeed, the specific relationship between the text and the workbook is clearly set forth in the Introduction:

A theoretical foundation such as the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this workbook meaningful. Yet it is doing the exercises that will make the goal of the course possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of this workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth (W-in.1).

It is because of these different purposes and focuses that at times the two books seem to be saying different things, and even at times seeming to contradict each other. Perhaps the best example of this interesting phenomenon relates to the role of the Holy Spirit. Many passages in the workbook urge students to ask Him for very specific help, as we can see in this example from the final lessons (361-365):

This holy instant would I give to You [the Holy Spirit].
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace. And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will bear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son (W-p.II.361-365).

And yet we are taught in the text that it is not the role of the Holy Spirit to guide us in the world of effects — the material world of specifics — but rather to help us change our minds about the cause of our problems: our belief in the reality of sin and guilt. For example:

In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause [the mind’s belief in sin], and looks not to effects [the problems experienced in the physical world].  How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely?  He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him a while.  You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed (T-27.VIII.9:1-5).

Nevertheless, if students do not understand the afore-mentioned two levels that A Course in Miracles is written on, and which, by the way, it never specifically identifies as such, then one is apt to conclude that these statements are contradictory. To restate these levels briefly:

Level One: the Course’s metaphysical foundation, which emphasizes the difference between God and Heaven, the only reality, and the collective illusory world of the ego.Level Two: the Course’s practical level, which deals only with the illusory dream. Here, the contrast is between the wrong mind which is the ego’s thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, and the Holy Spirit’s correction of forgiveness within the right mind.

Regarding the subject of God, we find the same apparent contradiction. In workbook Lesson 71 we are told to ask God Himself for specific help:

What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?
                    (W-pI.71.9:3-5)

Moreover, all of Part If of the workbook consists of prayers from the student to God the Father. This is so, despite the following very clear statement — interestingly enough, also from the workbook — that God does not hear our prayers:

Think not He hears the little prayers of those who call on Him with names of idols cherished by the world. They cannot reach Him thus (W-pI.183.7:3-4).

And in the manual for teachers we read these lines about the true nature of our words:

God does not understand words, for they were made by separated minds to keep them in the illusion of separation. Words can be helpful, particularly for the beginner, in helping concentration and facilitating the exclusion, or at least the control, of extraneous thoughts. Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality (M-21.1:7-10).

Clearly, the first passage has us asking God the Father a series of specific questions to which we would fully expect to receive answers. Part of the reason it is framed this way is that inherent within the separation thought is the statement that I am self-created, and therefore am my own source. So by asking God for help at what we have referred to as Level Two, the level of the illusory dream, I am acknowledging that I am not an autonomous self-created being, but rather someone who needs help in undoing this false self that I made up. It is in this way that the thought that I am on my own has been undone, and I realize that the answers to all my questions have already been given, and that they are one.  As A Course in Miracles emphasizes, the Holy Spirit’s correction to my ego’s dream of separation has already occurred, because time is already over, as we have noted in a previous chapter (question 16 ).  But since I walk around believing and experiencing otherwise, the correction will reach me in a form to which I can relate.

In conclusion, from these two examples alone it should be clear that Jesus indeed knew what he was doing when he dictated these three books of A Course in Miracles, and it is we who lack the understanding of how he integrates his curriculum and accomplishes the goal of changing our thought system.

kingdom of god

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

ACIM Text Reading for 2019

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

X. The Confusion of Pain and Joy

The Kingdom is the result of premises, just as this world is. You may have carried the ego’s reasoning to its logical conclusion, which is total confusion about everything. If you really saw this result you could not want it. The only reason you could possibly want any part of it is because you do not see the whole of it. You are willing to look at the ego’s premises, but not at their logical outcome. Is it not possible that you have done the same thing with the premises of God? Your creations are the logical outcome of His premises. His thinking has established them for you. They are exactly where they belong. They belong in your mind as part of your identification with His, but your state of mind and your recognition of what is in it depend on what you believe about your mind. Whatever these beliefs may be, they are the premises that will determine what you accept into your mind.

It is surely clear that you can both accept into your mind what is not there, and deny what is. Yet the function God Himself gave your mind through His you may deny, but you cannot prevent. It is the logical outcome of what you are. The ability to see a logical outcome depends on the willingness to see it, but its truth has nothing to do with your willingness. Truth is God’s Will. Share His Will and you share what He knows. Deny His Will as yours, and you are denying His Kingdom and yours.

The Holy Spirit will direct you only so as to avoid pain. Surely no one would object to this goal if he recognised it. The problem is not whether what the Holy Spirit says is true, but whether you want to listen to what He says. You no more recognise what is painful than you know what is joyful, and are, in fact, very apt to confuse the two. The Holy Spirit’s main function is to teach you to tell them apart. What is joyful to you is painful to the ego, and as long as you are in doubt about what you are, you will be confused about joy and pain. This confusion is the cause of the whole idea of sacrifice. Obey the Holy Spirit, and you will be giving up the ego. But you will be sacrificing nothing. On the contrary, you will be gaining everything. If you believed this, there would be no conflict.

That is why you need to demonstrate the obvious to yourself. It is not obvious to you. You believe that doing the opposite of God’s Will can be better for you. You also believe that it is possible to do the opposite of God’s Will. Therefore, you believe that an impossible choice is open to you, and one which is both fearful and desirable. Yet God wills. He does not wish. Your will is as powerful as His because it is His. The ego’s wishes do not mean anything, because the ego wishes for the impossible. You can wish for the impossible, but you can will only with God. This is the ego’s weakness and your strength.

The Holy Spirit always sides with you and with your strength. As long as you avoid His guidance in any way, you want to be weak. Yet weakness is frightening. What else, then, can this decision mean except that you want to be fearful? The Holy Spirit never asks for sacrifice, but the ego always does. When you are confused about this distinction in motivation, it can only be due to projection. Projection is a confusion in motivation, and given this confusion, trust becomes impossible. No one gladly obeys a guide he does not trust, but this does not mean that the guide is untrustworthy. In this case, it always means that the follower is. However, this, too, is merely a matter of his own belief. Believing that he can betray, he believes that everything can betray him. Yet this is only because he has elected to follow false guidance. Unable to follow this guidance without fear, he associates fear with guidance, and refuses to follow any guidance at all. If the result of this decision is confusion, this is hardly surprising.

The Holy Spirit is perfectly trustworthy, as you are. God Himself trusts you, and therefore your trustworthiness is beyond question. It will always remain beyond question, however much you may question it. I said before that you are the Will of God. His Will is not an idle wish, and your identification with His Will is not optional, since it is what you are. Sharing His Will with me is not really open to choice, though it may seem to be. The whole separation lies in this error. The only way out of the error is to decide that you do not have to decide anything. Everything has been given you by God’s decision. That is His Will, and you cannot undo it.

Even the relinquishment of your false decision-making prerogative, which the ego guards so jealously, is not accomplished by your wish. It was accomplished for you by the Will of God, Who has not left you comfortless. His Voice will teach you how to distinguish between pain and joy, and will lead you out of the confusion you have made. There is no confusion in the mind of a Son of God, whose will must be the Will of the Father, because the Father’s Will is His Son.

Miracles are in accord with the Will of God, Whose Will you do not know because you are confused about what you will. This means that you are confused about what you are. If you are God’s Will and do not accept His Will, you are denying joy. The miracle is therefore a lesson in what joy is. Being a lesson in sharing it is a lesson in love, which is joy. Every miracle is thus a lesson in truth, and by offering truth you are learning the difference between pain and joy.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for 2019

Lesson 61

I am the light of the world.

1. Who is the light of the world except God’s Son? This, then, is merely a statement of the truth about yourself. It is the opposite of a statement of pride, of arrogance, or of self-deception. It does not describe the self-concept you have made. It does not refer to any of the characteristics with which you have endowed your idols. It refers to you as you were created by God. It simply states the truth.

2. To the ego, today’s idea is the epitome of self-glorification. But the ego does not understand humility, mistaking it for self-debase­ment. Humility consists of accepting your role in salvation and in taking no other. It is not humility to insist you cannot be the light of the world if that is the function God assigned to you. It is only arrogance that would assert this function cannot be for you, and arrogance is always of the ego.

3. True humility requires that you accept today’s idea because it is God’s Voice which tells you it is true. This is a beginning step in accepting your real function on earth. It is a giant stride to­ward taking your rightful place in salvation. It is a positive assertion of your right to be saved, and an acknowledgment of the power that is given you to save others.

4. You will want to think about this idea as often as possible today. It is the perfect answer to all illusions, and therefore to all temptation. It brings all the images you have made about yourself to the truth, and helps you depart in peace, unburdened and certain of your purpose.

5. As many practice periods as possible should be undertaken today, although each one need not exceed a minute or two. They should begin with telling yourself:

I am the light of the world. That is my only function.
That is why I am here.

Then think about these statements for a short while, preferably with your eyes closed if the situation permits. Let a few related thoughts come to you, and repeat the idea to yourself if your mind wanders away from the central thought.

6. Be sure both to begin and end the day with a practice period. Thus you will awaken with an acknowledgment of the truth about yourself, reinforce it throughout the day, and turn to sleep as you reaffirm your function and your only purpose here. These two practice periods may be longer than the rest, if you find them helpful and want to extend them.

7. Today’s idea goes far beyond the ego’s petty views of what you are and what your purpose is. As a bringer of salvation, this is obviously necessary. This is the first of a number of giant steps we will take in the next few weeks. Try today to begin to build a firm foundation for these advances. You are the light of the world. God has built His plan for the salvation of His Son on you.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Can A Course in Miracles be done by myself, or do I need to have a partner? 

A) As we have already mentioned, A Course in Miracles is inherently a self-study curriculum. One’s life — past, present, and anticipated future — is the classroom. All one’s relationships — whether falling into any of the three categories given in the manual ranging from superficial through a circumscribed intense relationship, to a lifetime one (M-3) — provide the “partners” needed for the practice of forgiveness. One does not need a partner “designated” for such practice, nor does the partner have to be a student of the Course, as we discussed briefly in question 31. Anyone and everyone will do. To insist that one’s partner be spiritually like-minded, and even more specifically, a student of A Course in Miracles, is to confuse form with content, and to fall into the trap of specialness that is the very thing the Course aims at undoing. As we discussed previously, the Course’s definition of joining has nothing to do with bodies or externals of any kind — “Minds are joined; bodies are not” (T-18.VI.3:1). Joining, rather, has to do with joining with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, in Whom are all members of the Sonship found as one, regardless of their spiritual path, or absence of it. 

Therefore, it does not really matter with whom one practices the lessons of forgiveness. Projection of guilt remains what it is, regardless of the form of the relationship or the nature of the person or situation on whom it is projected. Everyone and everything in the dream we call our lives offers the opportunities for recognizing that what we have perceived and made real outside our minds, has existence only within our minds. Therefore, nothing else is required for one’s work with A Course in Miracles except one’s life as the classroom, and the willingness to have Jesus teach us how to perceive it differently.

memory of god

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

ACIM Text Reading for March 1

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

IX. The Extension of the Kingdom

Only you can limit your creative power, but God wills to release it. He no more wills you to deprive yourself of your creations than He wills to deprive Himself of His. Do not withhold your gifts to the Sonship, or you withhold yourself from God! Selfishness is of the ego, but Self-fullness is of spirit because that is how God created it. The Holy Spirit is in the part of the mind that lies between the ego and the spirit, mediating between them always in favour of the spirit. To the ego this is partiality, and it responds as if it were being sided against. To spirit this is truth, because it knows its fullness and cannot conceive of any part from which it is excluded.

Spirit knows that the awareness of all its brothers is included in its own, as it is included in God. The power of the whole Sonship and of its Creator is therefore spirit’s own fullness, rendering its creations equally whole and equal in perfection. The ego cannot prevail against a totality that includes God, and any totality must include God. Everything He created is given all His power, because it is part of Him and shares His Being with Him. Creating is the opposite of loss, as blessing is the opposite of sacrifice. Being must be extended. That is how it retains the knowledge of itself. Spirit yearns to share its being as its Creator did. Created by sharing, its will is to create. It does not wish to contain God, but wills to extend His Being.

The extension of God’s Being is spirit’s only function. Its fullness cannot be contained, any more than can the fullness of its Creator Fullness is extension. The ego’s whole thought system blocks extension, and thus blocks your only function. It therefore blocks your joy, so that you perceive yourself as unfulfilled. Unless you create you are unfulfilled, but God does not know unfulfillment and therefore you must create. You may not know your own creations, but this can no more interfere with their reality than your unawareness of your spirit can interfere with its being.

The Kingdom is forever extending because it is in the Mind of God. You do not know your joy because you do not know your own Self-fullness. Exclude any part of the Kingdom from yourself and you are not whole. A split mind cannot perceive its fullness, and needs the miracle of its wholeness to dawn upon it and heal it This reawakens the wholeness in it, and restores it to the Kingdom because of its acceptance of wholeness. The full appreciation of the mind’s Self-fullness makes selfishness impossible and extension inevitable. That is why there is perfect peace in the Kingdom. Spirit is fulfilling its function, and only complete fulfilment is peace.

Your creations are protected for you because the Holy Spirit Who is in your mind, knows of them and can bring them into your awareness whenever you will let Him. They are there as part of your own being, because your fulfilment includes them. The creations of every Son of God are yours, since every creation belongs to everyone, being created for the Sonship as a whole.

You have not failed to increase the inheritance of the Sons of God, and thus have not failed to secure it for yourself. Since it was the Will of God to give it to you, He gave it forever. Since it was His Will that you have it forever, He gave you the means for keeping it. And you have done so. Disobeying God’s Will is meaningful only to the insane. In truth it is impossible. Your Self-fullness is as boundless as God’s. Like His, It extends forever and in perfect peace. Its radiance is so intense that It creates in perfect joy, and only the whole can be born of Its wholeness.

Be confident that you have never lost your Identity and the extensions which maintain It in wholeness and peace. Miracles are an expression of this confidence. They are reflections of both your proper identification with your brothers, and of your awareness that your identification is maintained by extension. The miracle is a lesson in total perception. By including any part of totality in the lesson, you have included the whole.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 1

Lesson 60

These ideas are for today’s review:

1. (46God is the Love in which I forgive.

God does not forgive because He has never condemned. The blameless cannot blame, and those who have accepted their inno­cence see nothing to forgive. Yet forgiveness is the means by which I will recognize my innocence. It is the reflection of God’s Love on earth. It will bring me near enough to Heaven that the Love of God can reach down to me and raise me up to Him.

2. (47God is the strength in which I trust.

It is not my own strength through which I forgive. It is through the strength of God in me, which I am remembering as I forgive. As I begin to see, I recognize His reflection on earth. I forgive all things because I feel the stirring of His strength in me. And I begin to remember the Love I chose to forget, but which has not forgotten me.

3. (48There is nothing to fear.

How safe the world will look to me when I can see it! It will not look anything like what I imagine I see now. Everyone and everything I see will lean toward me to bless me. I will recognize in everyone my dearest Friend. What could there be to fear in a world that I have forgiven, and that has forgiven me?

4. (49God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.

There is not a moment in which God’s Voice ceases to call on my forgiveness to save me. There is not a moment in which His Voice fails to direct my thoughts, guide my actions and lead my feet. I am walking steadily on toward truth. There is nowhere else I can go, because God’s Voice is the only Voice and the only Guide that has been given to His Son.

5. (50I am sustained by the Love of God.

As I listen to God’s Voice, I am sustained by His Love. As I open my eyes, His Love lights up the world for me to see. As I forgive, His Love reminds me that His Son is sinless. And as I look upon the world with the vision He has given me, I remember that I am His Son.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Why is the language of A Course in Miracles so difficult to read and understand? Why couldn’t Jesus have written it more simply? 

A) It is always a temptation for followers of spiritual paths to change the original inspiration and make it what they think it should be, rather than the way it was given. And the same phenomenon occurs with A Course in Miracles as well. Rather than adopting an attitude of acceptance of what is, and then adapting to it, students are tempted to make the Course adapt to them. This is the case with the style of writing one finds in A Course in Miracles, which at times seems to many students to be dense, elliptical, obscure, and simply too difficult to understand. 

However, there is a reason for the Course’s style, and it would be doing Jesus’ pedagogy a great disservice to want to change it. A Course in Miracles is written in such a way that it demands that its students pay very careful attention to what is written. This is not a book — and we are speaking primarily here about the text — that can be speed-read.  Almost all students have experienced the necessity to read the same sentence several times before beginning to understand it; or have agonized over the proper subjects of the pronouns. But what they usually find, if they are faithful to Jesus’ purpose, is that through the very process of figuring out the meaning of a sentence or passage, they have uncovered a level of meaning they would otherwise not have received. The “careful study” that Jesus urges for his students, discussed above, is meant very literally. And the writing style ensures that serious students will give Jesus the attention and dedication he is asking for. Once students of the Course understand its teachings, they will be astounded as to how “simple, clear, and direct” — words Jesus himself uses to describe his Course — A Course in Miracles truly is.

teach not that i died in vain

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 28

ACIM Text Reading for February 28

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

VIII. The Unbelievable Belief

We have said that without projection there can be no anger, but it is also true that without extension there can be no love. These reflect a fundamental law of the mind, and therefore one that always operates. It is the law by which you create and were created. It is the law that unifies the Kingdom, and keeps it in the Mind of God. To the ego, the law is perceived as a means of getting rid of something it does not want. To the Holy Spirit, it is the fundamental law of sharing, by which you give what you value in order to keep it in your mind. To the Holy Spirit it is the law of extension. To the ego it is the law of deprivation. It therefore produces abundance or scarcity, depending on how you choose to apply it. This choice is up to you, but it is not up to you to decide whether or not you will utilise the law. Every mind must project or extend, because that is how it lives, and every mind is life.

The ego’s use of projection must be fully understood before the inevitable association between projection and anger can be finally undone. The ego always tries to preserve conflict. It is very ingenious in devising ways that seem to diminish conflict, because it does not want you to find conflict so intolerable that you will insist on giving it up. The ego therefore tries to persuade you that itcan free you of conflict, lest you give the ego up and free yourself. Using its own warped version of the laws of God, the ego utilises the power of the mind only to defeat the mind’s real purpose. It projects conflict from your mind to other minds, in an attempt to persuade you that you have gotten rid of the problem.

There are two major errors involved in this attempt. First, strictly speaking, conflict cannot be projected because it cannot be shared. Any attempt to keep part of it and get rid of another part does not really mean anything. Remember that a conflicted teacher is a poor teacher and a poor learner. His lessons are confused, and their transfer value is limited by his confusion. The second error is the idea that you can get rid of something you do not want by giving it away. Giving it is how you keep it. The belief that by seeing it outside you have excluded it from within is a complete distortion of the power of extension. That is why those who project are vigilant for their own safety. They are afraid that their projections will return and hurt them. Believing they have blotted their projections from their own minds, they also believe their projections are trying to creep back in. Since the projections have not left their minds, they are forced to engage in constant activity in order not to recognise this.

You cannot perpetuate an illusion about another without perpetuating it about yourself. There is no way out of this, because it is impossible to fragment the mind. To fragment is to break into pieces, and mind cannot attack or be attacked. The belief that it can, an error the ego always makes, underlies its whole use of projection. It does not understand what mind is, and therefore does not understand what you are. Yet its existence is dependent on your mind, because the ego is your belief. The ego is a confusion in identification. Never having had a consistent model, it never developed consistently. It is the product of the misapplication of the laws of God by distorted minds that are misusing their power.

Do not be afraid of the ego. It depends on your mind, and as you made it by believing in it, so you can dispel it by withdrawing belief from it. Do not project the responsibility for your belief in it onto anyone else, or you will preserve the belief. When you are willing to accept sole responsibility for the ego’s existence you will have laid aside all anger and all attack, because they come from an attempt to project responsibility for your own errors. But having accepted the errors as yours, do not keep them. Give them over quickly to the Holy Spirit to be undone completely, so that all their effects will vanish from your mind and from the Sonship as a whole.

The Holy Spirit will teach you to perceive beyond your belief, because truth is beyond belief and His perception is true. The ego can be completely forgotten at any time, because it is a totally incredible belief, and no one can keep a belief he has judged to be unbelievable. The more you learn about the ego, the more you realise that it cannot be believed. The incredible cannot be understood because it is unbelievable. The meaninglessness of perception based on the unbelievable is apparent, but it may not be recognised as being beyond belief, because it is made by belief.

The whole purpose of this course is to teach you that the ego is unbelievable and will forever be unbelievable. You who made the ego by believing the unbelievable cannot make this judgement alone. By accepting the Atonement for yourself, you are deciding against the belief that you can be alone, thus dispelling the idea of separation and affirming your true identification with the whole Kingdom as literally part of you. This identification is as beyond doubt as it is beyond belief. Your wholeness has no limits because being is infinity.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 28

Lesson 59

The following ideas are for review today:

1. (41God goes with me wherever I go.

How can I be alone when God always goes with me? How can I be doubtful and unsure of myself when perfect certainty abides in Him? How can I be disturbed by anything when He rests in me in absolute peace? How can I suffer when love and joy sur­round me through Him? Let me not cherish illusions about myself. I am perfect because God goes with me wherever I go.

2. (42God is my strength. Vision is His gift.

Let me not look to my own eyes to see today. Let me be willing to exchange my pitiful illusion of seeing for the vision that is given by God. Christ’s vision is His gift, and He has given it to me. Let me call upon this gift today, so that this day may help me to understand eternity.

3. (43God is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him.

I can see what God wants me to see. I cannot see anything else. Beyond His Will lie only illusions. It is these I choose when I think I can see apart from Him. It is these I choose when I try to see through the body’s eyes. Yet the vision of Christ has been given me to replace them. It is through this vision that I choose to see.

4. (44God is the light in which I see.

I cannot see in darkness. God is the only light. Therefore, if I am to see, it must be through Him. I have tried to define what seeing is, and I have been wrong. Now it is given me to under­stand that God is the light in which I see. Let me welcome vision and the happy world it will show me.

5. (45God is the Mind with which I think.

I have no thoughts I do not share with God. I have no thoughts apart from Him, because I have no mind apart from His. As part of His Mind, my thoughts are His and His Thoughts are mine.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If A Course in Miracles is a universal teaching, why did it come in such sectarian (i.e., Christian) terms. Doesn’t that limit its worldwide applicability?

A) While the basic message of A Course in Miracles is universal — “God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation” ( M-1.3:5) — its form certainly is not, nor is it meant to be. We have already quoted Jesus’ words to the effect that this is a “special curriculum,” which clearly reflects that it has a special audience: the Western world that has grown up under the strong influence of Christianity and 20th-century psychology, an influence that has not been very Christian nor spiritual. This is why the Course’s language is so Western, and, more specifically, Christian and psychodynamic in statement. As the specific spiritual path we call A Course in Miracles, the Course is simply not meant to have worldwide applicability. Other cultures and religious traditions have, and will continue to have their own spiritual paths, just as we in the Western world now have the Course, among many others. As we have repeatedly pointed out in this book, the universal joining with all people is the content of the universal course, but the specific ways in which people learn this lesson constitutes the forms of the “special curriculum,” of which A Course in Miracles is simply one example. Forms, almost by definition, are not the same and cannot blend together. Therefore they cannot be universal, or for all people. This is why Jesus teaches in the introduction to the clarification of terms, to repeat and extend this important statement:

A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed (C-in.2:5-6).

This “universal experience,” it goes without saying, is love, and A Course in Miracles is but one form of regaining it.

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

ACIM Text Reading for February 27

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

VII. The Totality of the Kingdom

Whenever you deny a blessing to a brother you will feel deprived, because denial is as total as love. It is as impossible to deny part of the Sonship as it is to love it in part. Nor is it possible to love it totally at times. You cannot be totally committed sometimes. Denial has no power in itself, but you can give it the power of your mind, whose power is without limit. If you use it to deny reality, reality is gone for you. Reality cannot be partly appreciated. That is why denying any part of it means you have lost the awareness of all of it. Yet denial is a defence, and so it is as capable of being used positively as well as negatively. Used negatively it will be destructive, because it will be used for attack. But in the service of the Holy Spirit, it can help you recognise part of reality, and thus appreciate all of it. Mind is too powerful to be subject to exclusion. You will never be able to exclude yourself from your thoughts.

When a brother acts insanely, he is offering you an opportunity to bless him. His need is yours. You need the blessing you can offer him. There is no way for you to have it except by giving it. This is the law of God, and it has no exceptions. What you deny you lack, not because it is lacking, but because you have denied it in another and are therefore not aware of it in yourself. Every response you make is determined by what you think you are, and what you want to be is what you think you are. What you want to be, then, must determine every response you make.

You do not need God’s blessing because that you have forever, but you do need yours. The ego’s picture of you is deprived, unloving and vulnerable. You cannot love this. Yet you can very easily escape from this image by leaving it behind. You are not there and that is not you. Do not see this picture in anyone, or you have accepted it as you. All illusions about the Sonship are dispelled together as they were made together. Teach no one that he is what you would not want to be. Your brother is the mirror in which you see the image of yourself as long as perception lasts. And perception will last until the Sonship knows itself as whole. You made perception and it must last as long as you want it.

Illusions are investments. They will last as long as you value them. Values are relative, but they are powerful because they are mental judgements. The only way to dispel illusions is to withdraw all investment from them, and they will have no life for you because you will have put them out of your mind. While you include them in it, you are giving life to them. Except there is nothing there to receive your gift.

The gift of life is yours to give, because it was given you. You are unaware of your gift because you do not give it. You cannot make nothing live, since nothing cannot be enlivened. Therefore, you are not extending the gift you both have and are, and so you do not know your being. All confusion comes from not extending life, because that is not the Will of your Creator. You can do nothing apart from Him, and you do do nothing apart from Him. Keep His way to remember yourself, and teach His way lest you forget yourself. Give only honour to the Sons of the living God, and count yourself among them gladly.

Only honour is a fitting gift for those whom God Himself created worthy of honour, and whom He honours. Give them the appreciation God accords them always, because they are His beloved Sons in whom He is well pleased. You cannot be apart from them because you are not apart from Him. Rest in His Love and protect your rest by loving. But love everything He created, of which you are a part, or you cannot learn of His peace and accept His gift for yourself and as yourself. You cannot know your own perfection until you have honoured all those who were created like you.

One child of God is the only teacher sufficiently worthy to teach another. One Teacher is in all minds and He teaches the same lesson to all. He always teaches you the inestimable worth of every Son of God, teaching it with infinite patience born of the infinite Love for which He speaks. Every attack is a call for His patience, since His patience can translate attack into blessing. Those who attack do not know they are blessed. They attack because they believe they are deprived. Give, therefore, of your abundance, and teach your brothers theirs. Do not share their illusions of scarcity, or you will perceive yourself as lacking.

Attack could never promote attack unless you perceived it as a means of depriving you of something you want. Yet you cannot lose anything unless you do not value it, and therefore do not want it. This makes you feel deprived of it, and by projecting your own rejection you then believe that others are taking it from you. You must be fearful if you believe that your brother is attacking you to tear the Kingdom of Heaven from you. This is the ultimate basis for all the ego’s projection.

Being the part of your mind that does not believe it is responsible for itself, and being without allegiance to God, the ego is incapable of trust. Projecting its insane belief that you have been treacherous to your Creator, it believes that your brothers, who are as incapable of this as you are, are out to take God from you. Whenever a brother attacks another, that is what he believes. Projection always sees your wishes in others. If you choose to separate yourself from God, that is what you will think others are doing to you.

You are the Will of God. Do not accept anything else as your will, or you are denying what you are. Deny this and you will attack, believing you have been attacked,. But see the Love of God in you, and you will see it everywhere because it is everywhere. See His abundance in everyone, and you will know that you are in Him with them. They are part of you, as you are part of God. You are as lonely without understanding this as God Himself is lonely when His Sons do not know Him. The peace of God is understanding this. There is only one way out of the world’s thinking, just as there was only one way into it. Understand totally by understanding totality.

Perceive any part of the ego’s thought system as wholly insane, wholly delusional and wholly undesirable, and you have correctly evaluated all of it. This correction enables you to perceive any part of creation as wholly real, wholly perfect and wholly desirable. Wanting this only you will have this only, and giving this only you will be only this. The gifts you offer to the ego are always experienced as sacrifices, but the gifts you offer to the Kingdom are gifts to you. They will always be treasured by God because they belong to His beloved Sons, who belong to Him. All power and glory are yours because the Kingdom is His.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 27

Lesson 58

These ideas are for review today:

1. (36My holiness envelops everything I see.

From my holiness does the perception of the real world come. Having forgiven, I no longer see myself as guilty. I can accept the innocence that is the truth about me. Seen through under­standing eyes, the holiness of the world is all I see, for I can picture only the thoughts I hold about myself.

2. (37My holiness blesses the world.

The perception of my holiness does not bless me alone. Every­one and everything I see in its light shares in the joy it brings to me. There is nothing that is apart from this joy, because there is nothing that does not share my holiness. As I recognize my holi­ness, so does the holiness of the world shine forth for everyone to see.

3. (38There is nothing my holiness cannot do.

My holiness is unlimited in its power to heal, because it is un­limited in its power to save. What is there to be saved from ex­cept illusions? And what are all illusions except false ideas about myself? My holiness undoes them all by asserting the truth about me. In the presence of my holiness, which I share with God Himself, all idols vanish.

4. (39My holiness is my salvation.

Since my holiness saves me from all guilt, recognizing my holiness is recognizing my salvation. It is also recognizing the salva­tion of the world. Once I have accepted my holiness, nothing can make me afraid. And because I am unafraid, everyone must share in my understanding, which is the gift of God to me and to the world.

5. (40I am blessed as a Son of God.

Herein lies my claim to all good and only good. I am blessed as a Son of God. All good things are mine, because God intended them for me. I cannot suffer any loss or deprivation or pain be­cause of Who I am. My Father supports me, protects me, and directs me in all things. His care for me is infinite, and is with me forever. I am eternally blessed as His Son.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Is it necessary to do the workbook more than once?

A) No. The workbook for students is set up as a one-year training program, and there is no reason for a student to deviate from that. It is clear from the workbook itself, as has already been stated, that Jesus does not expect his students to complete the learning process in one year. A Course in Miracles is a lifetime’s work, and the one-year program of the workbook — which probably should be done relatively early in a student’s work with the Course, although everyone’s practice with it is different — is simply to orient the student on the right path with the right teacher. Then placed in the Holy Spirit’s hands, we spend the rest of our lives having Him be our Teacher of forgiveness:

And now I place you in His [the Holy Spirit’s] hands, to be His faithful follower, with Him as Guide through every difficulty and all pain that you may think is real….Let Him prepare you further. He has earned your trust by speaking daily to you of your Father and your brother and your Self. He will continue. Now you walk with Him, as certain as is He of where you go; as sure as He of how you should proceed; as confident as He is of the goal, and of your safe arrival in the end (workbook, p. 477; W-ep.4:1,3-6).

Very often, students’ wishes to repeat the workbook (or specific lessons in an almost compulsive need to get it right) come from the desire to do it perfectly, recognizing how imperfect their willingness and practice have been. This defeats the whole purpose of the workbook, which is to train students to hear the Holy Spirit’s Voice of forgiveness, instead of the ego’s guilt. Indeed, one can even make the statement that the purpose of the workbook is to do it imperfectly, so that the mistake — labeled by the ego as a sin — of turning away from God and not placing Him first in one’s life, can be forgiven and not taken seriously. Jesus’ instructions to his students in Lesson 95 underscore this important goal of forgiveness. They are given in the context of students not doing the lessons perfectly, and choosing to forget the daily lesson in the course of the day:

Do not, however, use your lapses from this schedule as an excuse not to return to it again as soon as you can. There  may well be a temptation to regard the day as lost because you have already failed to do what is required. This should, however, merely be recognized as what it is; a refusal to let your mistake be corrected, and an unwillingness to try  again.The Holy Spirit is not delayed in His teaching by your mistakes. He can be held back only by your unwillingness to let them go. Let us therefore be determined, particularly for the next week or so, to be willing to forgive ourselves for  our lapses in diligence, and our failures to follow the instructions for practicing the day’s idea.  This tolerance  for weakness will enable us to overlook it, rather than give it power to delay our learning. If we give it power to do this,  we are regarding it as strength, and are confusing strength with weakness.

When you fail to comply with the requirements of this course, you have merely made a mistake. This calls for correction, and for nothing else. To allow a mistake to continue is to make additional mistakes, based on the first and reinforcing it. It is this process that must be laid aside, for it is but another way in which you would defend illusions  against the truth (W-pl.95.7:3-9:4; italics ours).

This does not mean, certainly, that students should not do the workbook a second or third time, but, as we stated in the previous answer, they should be vigilant against their ego’s need to reinforce sin and guilt, and atone for such sin by becoming “perfect.” In other words, students should treat their relationship with the workbook as a classroom as well; a classroom in which they bring their misperceptions to Jesus for help and correction. In this sense, we can add a postscript to our answer to the previous question about there being a “right way” to do the workbook. There is: the “right way” is to do the workbook the “wrong way,” and then to have Jesus help you to forgive yourself. In this way you are beginning — in the context of “forgetting” about God by “forgetting” the daily lesson — the process of accepting forgiveness for having turned away from God in the original instant of separation.

this is practical course


A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 26, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 26

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

VI. From Vigilance to Peace

Although you can love the Sonship only as one, you can perceive it as fragmented. It is impossible, however, to see something in part of it that you will not attribute to all of it. That is why attack is never discrete, and why it must be relinquished entirely. If it is not relinquished entirely it is not relinquished at all. Fear and love make or create, depending on whether the ego or the Holy Spirit begets or inspires them, but they will return to the mind of the thinker and they will affect his total perception. That includes his concept of God, of His creations and of his own. He will not appreciate any of them if he regards them fearfully. He will appreciate all of them if he regards them with love.

The mind that accepts attack cannot love. That is because it believes it can destroy love, and therefore does not understand what love is. If it does not understand what love is, it cannot perceive itself as loving. This loses the awareness of being, induces feelings of unreality and results in utter confusion. Your thinking has done this because of its power, but your thinking can also save you from this because its power is not of your making. Your ability to direct your thinking as you choose is part of its power. If you do not believe you can do this you have denied the power of your thought, and thus rendered it powerless in your belief.

The ingeniousness of the ego to preserve itself is enormous, but it stems from the very power of the mind the ego denies. This means that the ego attacks what is preserving it, which must result in extreme anxiety. That is why the ego never recognises what it is doing. It is perfectly logical but clearly insane. The ego draws upon the one source that is totally inimical to its existence for its existence. Fearful of perceiving the power of this source, it is forced to depreciate it. This threatens its own existence, a state which it finds intolerable. Remaining logical but still insane, the ego resolves this completely insane dilemma in a completely insane way. It does not perceive its existence as threatened by projecting the threat onto you, and perceiving your being as non-existent. This ensures its continuance if you side with it, by guaranteeing that you will not know your own safety.

The ego cannot afford to know anything. Knowledge is total, and the ego does not believe in totality. This unbelief is its origin, and while the ego does not love you it is faithful to its own antecedents, begetting as it was begotten. Mind always reproduces as it was produced. Produced by fear, the ego reproduces fear. This is its allegiance, and this allegiance makes it treacherous to love because you are love. Love is your power, which the ego must deny. It must also deny everything this power gives you because it gives you everything. No one who has everything wants the ego. Its own maker, then, does not want it. Rejection is therefore the only decision the ego could possibly encounter, if the mind that made it knew itself. And if it recognised any part of the Sonship, it would know itself.

The ego therefore opposes all appreciation, all recognition, all sane perception and all knowledge. It perceives their threat as total, because it senses that all commitments the mind makes are total. Forced, therefore, to detach itself from you, it is willing to attach itself to anything else. But there is nothing else. The mind can, however, make up illusions, and if it does so it will believe in them, because that is how it made them.

The Holy Spirit undoes illusions without attacking them, because He cannot perceive them at all. They therefore do not exist for Him. He resolves the apparent conflict they engender by perceiving conflict as meaningless. I have said before that the Holy Spirit perceives the conflict exactly as it is, and it is meaningless. The Holy Spirit does not want you to understand conflict; He wants you to realise that, because conflict is meaningless, it is not understandable. As I have already said, understanding brings appreciation and appreciation brings love. Nothing else can be understood, because nothing else is real and therefore nothing else has meaning.

If you will keep in mind what the Holy Spirit offers you, you cannot be vigilant for anything but God and His Kingdom. The only reason you may find this hard to accept is because you may still think there is something else. Belief does not require vigilance unless it is conflicted. If it is, there are conflicting components within it that have led to a state of war, and vigilance has therefore become essential. Vigilance has no place in peace. It is necessary against beliefs that are not true, and would never have been called upon by the Holy Spirit if you had not believed the untrue. When you believe something, you have made it true for you. When you believe what God does not know, your thought seems to contradict His, and this makes it appear as if you are attacking Him.

I have repeatedly emphasised that the ego does believe it can attack God, and tries to persuade you that you have done this. If the mind cannot attack, the ego proceeds perfectly logically to the belief that you must be a body. By not seeing you as you are, it can see itself as it wants to be. Aware of its weakness the ego wants your allegiance, but not as you really are. The ego therefore wants to engage your mind in its own delusional system, because otherwise the light of your understanding would dispel it. It wants no part of truth, because the ego itself is not true. If truth is total, the untrue cannot exist. Commitment to either must be total; they cannot coexist in your mind without splitting it. If they cannot coexist in peace, and if you want peace, you must give up the idea of conflict entirely and for all time. This requires vigilance only as long as you do not recognise what is true. While you believe that two totally contradictory thought systems share truth, your need for vigilance is apparent.

Your mind is dividing its allegiance between two kingdoms, and you are totally committed to neither. Your identification with the Kingdom is totally beyond question except by you, when you are thinking insanely. What you are is not established by your perception, and is not influenced by it at all. Perceived problems in identification at any level are not problems of fact. They are problems of understanding, since their presence implies a belief that what you are is up to you to decide. The ego believes this totally, being fully committed to it. It is not true. The ego therefore is totally committed to untruth, perceiving in total contradiction to the Holy Spirit and to the knowledge of God.

You can be perceived with meaning only by the Holy Spirit because your being is the knowledge of God. Any belief you accept apart from this will obscure God’s Voice in you, and will therefore obscure God to you. Unless you perceive His creation truly you cannot know the Creator, since God and His creation are not separate. The oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power. This limitless power is God’s gift to you, because it is what you are. If you dissociate your mind from it you are perceiving the most powerful force in the universe as if it were weak, because you do not believe you are part of it.

Perceived without your part in it, God’s creation is seen as weak, and those who see themselves as weakened do attack. The attack must be blind, however, because there is nothing to attack. Therefore they make up images, perceive them as unworthy and attack them for their unworthiness. That is all the world of the ego is. Nothing. It has no meaning. It does not exist. Do not try to understand it because, if you do, you are believing that it can be understood and is therefore capable of being appreciated and loved. That would justify its existence, which cannot be justified. You cannot make the meaningless meaningful. This can only be an insane attempt.

Allowing insanity to enter your mind means that you have not judged sanity as wholly desirable. If you want something else you will make something else, but because it is something else, it will attack your thought system and divide your allegiance. You cannot create in this divided state, and you must be vigilant against this divided state because only peace can be extended. Your divided mind is blocking the extension of the Kingdom, and its extension is your joy. If you do not extend the Kingdom, you are not thinking with your Creator and creating as He created.

In this depressing state the Holy Spirit reminds you gently that you are sad because you are not fulfilling your function as co-creator with God, and are therefore depriving yourself of joy. This is not God’s choice but yours. If your mind could be out of accord with God’s, you would be willing without meaning. Yet because God’s Will is unchangeable, no conflict of will is possible. This is the Holy Spirit’s perfectly consistent teaching. Creation, not separation, is your will because it is God’s, and nothing that opposes this means anything at all. Being a perfect accomplishment, the Sonship can only accomplish perfectly, extending the joy in which it was created, and identifying itself with both its Creator and its creations, knowing they are one.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 26

Lesson 57

Today let us review these ideas:

1. (31I am not the victim of the world I see.

How can I be the victim of a world that can be completely un­done if I so choose? My chains are loosened. I can drop them off merely by desiring to do so. The prison door is open. I can leave simply by walking out. Nothing holds me in this world. Only my wish to stay keeps me a prisoner. I would give up my insane wishes and walk into the sunlight at last.

2. (32I have invented the world I see.

I made up the prison in which I see myself. All I need do is recognize this and I am free. I have deluded myself into believ­ing it is possible to imprison the Son of God. I was bitterly mistaken in this belief, which I no longer want. The Son of God must be forever free. He is as God created him, and not what I would make of him. He is where God would have him be, and not where I thought to hold him prisoner.

3. (33There is another way of looking at the world.

Since the purpose of the world is not the one I ascribed to it, there must be another way of looking at it. I see everything upside down, and my thoughts are the opposite of truth. I see the world as a prison for God’s Son. It must be, then, that the world is really a place where he can be set free. I would look upon the world as it is, and see it as a place where the Son of God finds his freedom.

4. (34I could see peace instead of this.

When I see the world as a place of freedom, I realize that it reflects the laws of God instead of the rules I made up for it to obey. I will understand that peace, not war, abides in it. And I will perceive that peace also abides in the hearts of all who share this place with me.

5. (35My mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.

As I share the peace of the world with my brothers, I begin to understand that this peace comes from deep within myself. The world I look upon has taken on the light of my forgiveness, and shines forgiveness back at me. In this light I begin to see what my illusions about myself kept hidden. I begin to understand the holiness of all living things, including myself, and their oneness with me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Why do the text and workbook have different focuses, and at times seem to be saying different things?

A) Jesus refers to A Course in Miracles as a “multi-faceted curriculum,” and so it requires that his teaching be presented in different forms. The text, which was dictated to Helen first, contains the theology, metaphysical foundation, and teachings on accepting forgiveness for our special relationships, on which the curriculum rests. For example, only in the text — highlighted for the most part from Chapter 15 through Chapter 24 — does one find the exposition of the teaching on special and holy relationships. Nowhere in the workbook or manual is this very important subject specifically discussed. In the workbook, as Jesus explains in the introduction, the first part (Lessons 1-220) deals “with the undoing of the way you see now,” while the second part (Lessons 221-365) deals ” with the acquisition of true perception” (workbook, p.1; W-in.3:1). Nothing is mentioned about the theory of A Course in Miracles. Indeed, the specific relationship between the text and the workbook is clearly set forth in the Introduction:

A theoretical foundation such as the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this workbook meaningful. Yet it is doing the exercises that will make the goal of the course possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of this workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth (W-in.1).

It is because of these different purposes and focuses that at times the two books seem to be saying different things, and even at times seeming to contradict each other. Perhaps the best example of this interesting phenomenon relates to the role of the Holy Spirit. Many passages in the workbook urge students to ask Him for very specific help, as we can see in this example from the final lessons (361-365):

This holy instant would I give to You [the Holy Spirit].
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace. And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will bear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son (W-p.II.361-365).

And yet we are taught in the text that it is not the role of the Holy Spirit to guide us in the world of effects — the material world of specifics — but rather to help us change our minds about the cause of our problems: our belief in the reality of sin and guilt. For example:

In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause [the mind’s belief in sin], and looks not to effects [the problems experienced in the physical world].  How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely?  He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him a while.  You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed (T-27.VIII.9:1-5).

Nevertheless, if students do not understand the afore-mentioned two levels that A Course in Miracles is written on, and which, by the way, it never specifically identifies as such, then one is apt to conclude that these statements are contradictory. To restate these levels briefly:

Level One: the Course’s metaphysical foundation, which emphasizes the difference between God and Heaven, the only reality, and the collective illusory world of the ego.Level Two: the Course’s practical level, which deals only with the illusory dream. Here, the contrast is between the wrong mind which is the ego’s thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, and the Holy Spirit’s correction of forgiveness within the right mind.

Regarding the subject of God, we find the same apparent contradiction. In workbook Lesson 71 we are told to ask God Himself for specific help:

What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?
                    (W-pI.71.9:3-5)

Moreover, all of Part If of the workbook consists of prayers from the student to God the Father. This is so, despite the following very clear statement — interestingly enough, also from the workbook — that God does not hear our prayers:

Think not He hears the little prayers of those who call on Him with names of idols cherished by the world. They cannot reach Him thus (W-pI.183.7:3-4).

And in the manual for teachers we read these lines about the true nature of our words:

God does not understand words, for they were made by separated minds to keep them in the illusion of separation. Words can be helpful, particularly for the beginner, in helping concentration and facilitating the exclusion, or at least the control, of extraneous thoughts. Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality (M-21.1:7-10).

Clearly, the first passage has us asking God the Father a series of specific questions to which we would fully expect to receive answers. Part of the reason it is framed this way is that inherent within the separation thought is the statement that I am self-created, and therefore am my own source. So by asking God for help at what we have referred to as Level Two, the level of the illusory dream, I am acknowledging that I am not an autonomous self-created being, but rather someone who needs help in undoing this false self that I made up. It is in this way that the thought that I am on my own has been undone, and I realize that the answers to all my questions have already been given, and that they are one.  As A Course in Miracles emphasizes, the Holy Spirit’s correction to my ego’s dream of separation has already occurred, because time is already over, as we have noted in a previous chapter (question 16 ).  But since I walk around believing and experiencing otherwise, the correction will reach me in a form to which I can relate.

In conclusion, from these two examples alone it should be clear that Jesus indeed knew what he was doing when he dictated these three books of A Course in Miracles, and it is we who lack the understanding of how he integrates his curriculum and accomplishes the goal of changing our thought system.

you have no idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 25

ACIM Text Reading for February 25

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

V. Healing and the Changelessness of Mind

The body is nothing more than a framework for developing abilities, which is quite apart from what they are used for. That is a decision. The effects of the ego’s decision in this matter are so apparent that they need no elaboration, but the Holy Spirit’s decision to use the body only for communication has such a direct connection with healing that it does need clarification. The unhealed healer obviously does not understand his own vocation.

Only minds communicate. Since the ego cannot obliterate the impulse to communicate because it is also the impulse to create, it can only teach you that the body can both communicate and create, and therefore does not need the mind. The ego thus tries to teach you that the body can act like the mind, and is therefore self-sufficient. Yet we have learned that behaviour is not the level for either teaching or learning, since you can act in accordance with what you do not believe. To do this, however, will weaken you as a teacher and a learner because, as has been repeatedly emphasised, you teach what you do believe. An inconsistent lesson will be poorly taught and poorly learned. If you teach both sickness and healing, you are both a poor teacher and a poor learner.

Healing is the one ability everyone can develop and must develop if he is to be healed. Healing is the Holy Spirit’s form of communication in this world, and the only one He accepts. He recognises no other, because He does not accept the ego’s confusion of mind and body. Minds can communicate, but they cannot hurt. The body in the service of the ego can hurt other bodies, but this cannot occur unless the body has already been confused with the mind. This situation, too, can be used either for healing or for magic, but you must remember that magic always involves the belief that healing is harmful. This belief is its totally insane premise, and so it proceeds accordingly.

Healing only strengthens. Magic always tries to weaken. Healing perceives nothing in the healer that everyone else does not share with him. Magic always sees something ‘special’ in the healer, which he believes he can offer as a gift to someone who does not have it. He may believe that the gift comes from God to him, but it is quite evident that he does not understand God if he thinks he has something that others lack.

The Holy Spirit does not work by chance, and healing that is of Him always works. Unless the healer always heals by Him the results will vary. Yet healing itself is consistent, since only consistency is conflict-free, and only the conflict-free are whole. By accepting exceptions and acknowledging that he can sometimes heal and sometimes not, the healer is obviously accepting inconsistency. He is therefore in conflict, and is teaching conflict. Can anything of God not be for all and for always? Love is incapable of any exceptions. Only if there is fear does the idea of exceptions seem to be meaningful. Exceptions are fearful because they are made by fear. The ‘fearful healer’ is a contradiction in terms, and is therefore a concept that only a conflicted mind could possibly perceive as meaningful.

Fear does not gladden. Healing does. Fear always makes exceptions. Healing never does. Fear produces dissociation, because it induces separation. Healing always produces harmony, because it proceeds from integration. It is predictable because it can be counted on. Everything that is of God can be counted on, because everything of God is wholly real. Healing can be counted on because it is inspired by His Voice, and is in accord with His laws. Yet if healing is consistent it cannot be inconsistently understood. Understanding means consistency because God means consistency. Since that is His meaning, it is also yours. Your meaning cannot be out of accord with His, because your whole meaning and your only meaning comes from His and is like His. God cannot be out of accord with Himself, and you cannot be out of accord with Him. You cannot separate your Self from your Creator, Who created you by sharing His Being with you.

The unhealed healer wants gratitude from his brothers, but he is not grateful to them. That is because he thinks he is giving something to them, and is not receiving something equally desirable in return. His teaching is limited because he is learning so little. His healing lesson is limited by his own ingratitude, which is a lesson in sickness. True learning is constant, and so vital in its power for change that a Son of God can recognise his power in one instant and change the world in the next. That is because, by changing his mind, he has changed the most powerful device that was ever given him for change. This in no way contradicts the changelessness of mind as God created it, but you think that you have changed it as long as you learn through the ego. This places you in a position of needing to learn a lesson that seems contradictory; – you must learn to change your mind about your mind. Only by this can you learn that it is changeless.

When you heal, that is exactly what you are learning. You are recognising the changeless mind in your brother by realising that he could not have changed his mind. That is how you perceive the Holy Spirit in him. It is only the Holy Spirit in him that never changes His Mind. He himself may think he can, or he would not perceive himself as sick. He therefore does not know what his Self is. If you see only the changeless in him you have not really changed him. By changing your mind about his for him, you help him undo the change his ego thinks it has made in him.

As you can hear two voices, so you can see in two ways. One way shows you an image, or an idol that you may worship out of fear, but will never love. The other shows you only truth, which you will love because you will understand it. Understanding is appreciation, because what you understand you can identify with, and by making it part of you, you have accepted it with love. That is how God Himself created you; in understanding, in appreciation and in love. The ego is totally unable to understand this, because it does not understand what it makes, does not appreciate it and does not love it. It incorporates to take away. It literally believes that every time it deprives someone of something, it has increased. I have spoken often of the increase of the Kingdom by your creations, which can only be created as you were. The whole glory and perfect joy that is the Kingdom lies in you to give. Do you not want to give it?

You cannot forget the Father because I am with you, and I cannot forget Him. To forget me is to forget yourself and Him Who created you. Our brothers are forgetful. That is why they need your remembrance of me and of Him Who created me. Through this remembrance, you can change their minds about themselves, as I can change yours. Your mind is so powerful a light that you can look into theirs and enlighten them, as I can enlighten yours. I do not want to share my body in communion because this is to share nothing. Would I try to share an illusion with the most holy children of a most holy Father. Yet I do want to share my mind with you because we are of one Mind, and that Mind is ours. See only this Mind everywhere, because only this is everywhere and in everything. It is everything because it encompasses all things within itself. Blessed are you who perceive only this, because you perceive only what is true.

Come therefore unto me, and learn of the truth in you. The mind we share is shared by all our brothers, and as we see them truly they will be healed. Let your mind shine with mine upon their minds, and by our gratitude to them make them aware of the light in them. This light will shine back upon you and on the whole Sonship, because this is your proper gift to God. He will accept it and give it to the Sonship, because it is acceptable to Him and therefore to His Sons. This is true communion with the Holy Spirit, Who sees the altar of God in everyone, and by bringing it to your appreciation, He calls upon you to love God and His creation. You can appreciate the Sonship only as one. This is part of the law of creation, and therefore governs all thought.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 25

Lesson 56

Our review for today covers the following:

1. (26My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.

How can I know who I am when I see myself as under constant attack? Pain, illness, loss, age and death seem to threaten me. All my hopes and wishes and plans appear to be at the mercy of a world I cannot control. Yet perfect security and complete fulfillment are my inheritance. I have tried to give my inheritance away in exchange for the world I see. But God has kept my in­heritance safe for me. My own real thoughts will teach me what it is.

2. (27Above all else I want to see.

Recognizing that what I see reflects what I think I am, I realize that vision is my greatest need. The world I see attests to the fearful nature of the self-image I have made. If I would remember who I am, it is essential that I let this image of myself go. As it is replaced by truth, vision will surely be given me. And with this vision, I will look upon the world and on myself with charity and love.

3. (28Above all else I want to see differently.

The world I see holds my fearful self-image in place, and guar­antees its continuance. While I see the world as I see it now, truth cannot enter my awareness. I would let the door behind this world be opened for me, that I may look past it to the world that reflects the Love of God.

4. (29God is in everything I see.

Behind every image I have made, the truth remains unchanged. Behind every veil I have drawn across the face of love, its light remains undimmed. Beyond all my insane wishes is my will, united with the Will of my Father. God is still everywhere and in everything forever. And we who are part of Him will yet look past all appearances, and recognize the truth beyond them all.

5. (30God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.

In my own mind, behind all my insane thoughts of separation and attack, is the knowledge that all is one forever. I have not lost the knowledge of Who I am because I have forgotten it. It has been kept for me in the Mind of God, Who has not left His Thoughts. And I, who am among them, am one with them and one with Him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does the concept of the circle of Atonement relate to the “hundredth monkey’ idea? And should “teachers of God” go out to teach A Course in Miracles or proselytize others?

A) The answer to the first question is “no”; they represent two entirely different thought systems. The “hundredth monkey” concept is based upon questionable research that concluded that there is a quantitative point that is reached in a species — like a certain weight that, once it is reached on a balancing scale, tips that portion of the scale and then that allows the remaining members of that species to acquire what the rest have already learned. A Course in Miracles‘ idea of “the circle of Atonement” is not a quantitative concept, and has nothing to do with accumulating numbers of students of the Course, which once this “critical mass” is reached, will save the world. We read in the manual for teachers, for example, that only one teacher of God is needed to save the world. This is because there is only one teacher — our Self. When the Atonement has been accepted by an individual, that person now remembers that there is only one Son, and therefore the dream of separation, differences, and multiplicity was simply unreal. To believe that a certain requisite number of students is needed to save the entire world clearly makes the concept of numbers real, not to mention establishing the reality of a species or world that has to be saved as well.

If this non-quantitative aspect of A Course in Miracles is not understood, then students of Jesus’ Course would be tempted to believe that they must proselytize or otherwise preach the “new gospel according to the real Jesus” in order to acquire as many students of the Course as possible so that the world would be saved.  As has already happened, students will band together and think of themselves as a movement, network, religion, church, or some such special category. They will revel in the thought that a copy of A Course in Miracles was sent to the Vatican, or the White House, or put in any other worldly symbol of power. They will feel drawn to criticize, judge, or attack other spiritual paths, for these must then inevitably be seen as competitors for achieving that critical mass of people necessary to shift the balance for the salvation of the world.

All this is easily avoided by focusing only on what A Course in Miracles actually teaches, and directing one’s attention only on one’s own forgiveness lessons and the eventual acceptance of the Atonement for oneself. There is no one else to be “saved,” and accepting this thus is our only responsibility.

tiny mad idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 23, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 23

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

III. The Reality of the Kingdom

The Holy Spirit teaches one lesson, and applies it to all individuals in all situations. Being conflict-free, He maximises all efforts and all results. By teaching the power of the Kingdom of God Himself, He teaches you that all power is yours. Its application does not matter. It is always maximal. Your vigilance does not establish it as yours, but it does enable you to use it always and in all ways. When I said ‘I am with you always’, I meant it literally. I am not absent to anyone in any situation, Because I am always with you, you are the way, the truth and the life. You did not make this power, any more than I did. It was created to be shared, and therefore cannot be meaningfully perceived as belonging to anyone at the expense of another. Such a perception makes it meaningless by eliminating or overlooking its real and only meaning.

God’s meaning waits in the Kingdom, because that is where He placed it. It does not wait in time. It merely rests in the Kingdom because it belongs there, as you do. How can you who are God’s meaning perceive yourself as absent from it? You can see yourself as separated from your meaning only by experiencing yourself as unreal. This is why the ego is insane; it teaches that you are not what you are. That is so contradictory it is clearly impossible. It is therefore a lesson you cannot really learn, and therefore cannot really teach. Yet you are always teaching. You must, therefore, be teaching something else, even though the ego does not know what it is. The ego, then, is always being undone, and does suspect your motives. Your mind cannot be unified in allegiance to the ego, because the mind does not belong to it. Yet what is ‘treacherous’ to the ego is faithful to peace. The ego’s ‘enemy’ is therefore your friend.

I said before that the ego’s friend is not part of you, because the ego perceives itself at war and therefore in need of allies. You who are not at war must look for brothers and recognise all whom you see as brothers, because only equals are at peace. Because God’s equal Sons have everything, they cannot compete. Yet if they perceive any of their brothers as anything other than their perfect equals, the idea of competition has entered their minds. Do not underestimate your need to be vigilant against this idea, because all your conflicts come from it. It is the belief that conflicting interests are possible, and therefore you have accepted the impossible as true. Is that different from saying you perceive yourself as unreal?

To be in the Kingdom is merely to focus your full attention on it. As long as you believe you can attend to what is not true, you are accepting conflict as your choice. Is it really a choice? It seems to be, but seeming and reality are hardly the same. You who are the Kingdom are not concerned with seeming. Reality is yours because you are reality. This is how having and being are ultimately reconciled, not in the Kingdom, but in your mind. The altar there is the only reality. The altar is perfectly clear in thought, because it is a reflection of perfect Thought. Your right mind sees only brothers, because it sees only in its own light.

God has lit your mind Himself, and keeps your mind lit by His Light because His Light is what your mind is. This is totally beyond question, and when you question it you are answered. The Answer merely undoes the question by establishing the fact that to question reality is to question meaninglessly. That is why the Holy Spirit never questions. His sole function is to undo the questionable and thus lead to certainty. The certain are perfectly calm, because they are not in doubt. They do not raise questions, because nothing questionable enters their minds. This holds them in perfect serenity, because this is what they share, knowing what they are.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 23

Lesson 54

These are the review ideas for today:

1. (16I have no neutral thoughts.

Neutral thoughts are impossible because all thoughts have power. They will either make a false world or lead me to the real one. But thoughts cannot be without effects. As the world I see arises from my thinking errors, so will the real world rise before my eyes as I let my errors be corrected. My thoughts cannot be neither true nor false. They must be one or the other. What I see shows me which they are.

2. (17I see no neutral things.

What I see witnesses to what I think. If I did not think I would not exist, because life is thought. Let me look on the world I see as the representation of my own state of mind. I know that my state of mind can change. And so I also know the world I see can change as well.

3. (18I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.

If I have no private thoughts, I cannot see a private world. Even the mad idea of separation had to be shared before it could form the basis of the world I see. Yet that sharing was a sharing of nothing. I can also call upon my real thoughts, which share everything with everyone. As my thoughts of separation call to the separation thoughts of others, so my real thoughts awaken the real thoughts in them. And the world my real thoughts show me will dawn on their sight as well as mine.

4. (19I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.

I am alone in nothing. Everything I think or say or do teaches all the universe. A Son of God cannot think or speak or act in vain. He cannot be alone in anything. It is therefore in my power to change every mind along with mine, for mine is the power of God.

5. (20I am determined to see.

Recognizing the shared nature of my thoughts, I am determined to see. I would look upon the witnesses that show me the think­ing of the world has been changed. I would behold the proof that what has been done through me has enabled love to replace fear, laughter to replace tears, and abundance to replace loss. I would look upon the real world, and let it teach me that my will and the Will of God are one.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

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

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

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

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

present love

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 22, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 22

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

II. The Law of the Kingdom

To heal is the only kind of thinking in this world that resembles the Thought of God, and because of the elements they share, can transfer easily to it. When a brother perceives himself as sick, he is perceiving himself as not whole, and therefore in need. If you, too, see him this way, you are seeing him as if he were absent from the Kingdom or separated from it, thus making the Kingdom itself obscure to both of you. Sickness and separation are not of God, but the Kingdom is. If you obscure the Kingdom, you are perceiving what is not of God.

To heal, then, is to correct perception in your brother and yourself by sharing the Holy Spirit with him. This places you both within the Kingdom, and restores its wholeness in your mind. This reflects creation, because it unifies by increasing and integrates by extending. What you project or extend is real for you. This is an immutable law of the mind in this world as well as in the Kingdom. However, the content is different in this world, because the thoughts it governs are very different from the Thoughts in the Kingdom. Laws must be adapted to circumstances if they are to maintain order. The outstanding characteristic of the laws of mind as they operate in this world is that by obeying them, and I assure you that you must obey them, you can arrive at diametrically opposed results. This is because the laws have been adapted to the circumstances of this world, in which diametrically opposed outcomes seem possible because you can respond to two conflicting voices.

Outside the Kingdom, the law that prevails inside is adapted to ‘What you project you believe’. This is its teaching form, because outside the Kingdom learning is essential. This form implies that you will learn what you are from what you have projected onto others, and therefore believe they are. In the Kingdom there is no teaching or learning, because there is no belief. There is only certainty. God and His Sons, in the surety of being, know that what you extend you are. That form of the law is not adapted at all, being the law of creation. God Himself created the law by creating by it. And His Sons, who create like Him, follow it gladly, knowing that the increase of the Kingdom depends on it, just as their own creation did.

Laws must be communicated if they are to be helpful. In effect, they must be translated for those who speak different languages. Nevertheless, a good translator, although he must alter the form of what he translates, never changes the meaning. In fact, his whole purpose is to change the form so that the original meaning is retained. The Holy Spirit is the translator of the laws of God to those who do not understand them. You could not do this yourself because a conflicted mind cannot be faithful to one meaning, and will therefore change the meaning to preserve the form.

The Holy Spirit’s purpose in translating is exactly the opposite. He translates only to preserve the original meaning in all respects and in all languages. Therefore, He opposes the idea that differences in form are meaningful, emphasising always that these differences do not matter. The meaning of His message is always the same; only the meaning matters. God’s law of creation does not involve the use of truth to convince His Sons of truth. The extension of truth, which is the law of the Kingdom, rests only on the knowledge of what truth is. This is your inheritance and requires no learning at all, but when you disinherited yourself you became a learner of necessity.

No one questions the connection of learning and memory. Learning is impossible without memory since it must be consistent to be remembered. That is why the Holy Spirit’s teaching is a lesson in remembering. I said before that He teaches remembering and forgetting, but the forgetting is only to make the remembering consistent. You forget in order to remember better. You will not understand His translations while you listen to two ways of interpreting them. Therefore you must forget or relinquish one to understand the other. This is the only way you can learn consistency, so that you can finally be consistent.

What can the perfect consistency of the Kingdom mean to those who are confused? It is apparent that confusion interferes with meaning, and therefore prevents the learner from appreciating it. There is no confusion in the Kingdom, because there is only one meaning. This meaning comes from God and is God. Because it is also you, you share it and extend it as your Creator did. This needs no translation because it is perfectly understood, but it does need extension because it means extension. Communication is perfectly direct and perfectly united. It is totally free, because nothing discordant ever enters. That is why it is the Kingdom of God. It belongs to Him and is therefore like Him. That is its reality, and nothing can assail it.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 22

LESSON 53

Today we will review the following:

1. (11My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.

Since the thoughts of which I am aware do not mean anything, the world that pictures them can have no meaning. What is producing this world is insane, and so is what it produces. Reality is not insane, and I have real thoughts as well as insane ones. I can therefore see a real world, if I look to my real thoughts as my guide for seeing.

2. (12I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

Insane thoughts are upsetting. They produce a world in which there is no order anywhere. Only chaos rules a world that repre­sents chaotic thinking, and chaos has no laws. I cannot live in peace in such a world. I am grateful that this world is not real, and that I need not see it at all unless I choose to value it. And I do not choose to value what is totally insane and has no meaning.

3. (13A meaningless world engenders fear.

The totally insane engenders fear because it is completely undependable, and offers no grounds for trust. Nothing in madness is dependable. It holds out no safety and no hope. But such a world is not real. I have given it the illusion of reality, and have suffered from my belief in it. Now I choose to withdraw this belief, and place my trust in reality. In choosing this, I will es­cape all the effects of the world of fear, because I am acknowledg­ing that it does not exist.

4. (14God did not create a meaningless world.

How can a meaningless world exist if God did not create it? He is the Source of all meaning, and everything that is real is in His Mind. It is in my mind too, because He created it with me. Why should I continue to suffer from the effects of my own insane thoughts, when the perfection of creation is my home? Let me remember the power of my decision, and recognize where I really abide.

5. (15My thoughts are images that I have made.

Whatever I see reflects my thoughts. It is my thoughts that tell me where I am and what I am. The fact that I see a world in which there is suffering and loss and death shows me that I am seeing only the representation of my insane thoughts, and am not allowing my real thoughts to cast their beneficent light on what I see. Yet God’s way is sure. The images I have made cannot prevail against Him because it is not my will that they do so. My will is His, and I will place no other gods before Him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is the “holy instant,” and what is its role in the Atonement?

A) In a sense, understanding the holy instant parallels understanding the question of meditation we discussed above. The holy instant is not a period of meditation wherein the student has a “good experience,” and feels the presence of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, the holy instant is the Course’s term for the instant — outside time and space — when we choose the Holy Spirit as our teacher instead of the ego. It is the correction of forgiveness for the ego’s “unholy instant” of judgment and attack, the experience of undoing our guilt through Jesus’ help. It is this purpose which makes the instant holy, and establishes it as an integral part of the overall Atonement plan for correcting our misperceptions and misthoughts.

Moreover, the holy instant can be understood as the steps we take throughout our lives that gradually lead us closer and closer to the real world, in a sense the ultimate holy instant. Each time we are tempted to listen to the ego’s tale of specialness and the need for attack, we are reminded by Jesus that we can choose a miracle instead — “Let miracles replace all grievances” (workbook, pp.137-38; W-pI.78) — and have him help us make the shift in perception that constitutes the essence of forgiveness, the heart of the holy instant. In other words, the holy instants are the “little steps” of forgiveness the Course refers to that are the means for helping us undo our illusions so that we may reach our goal of truth. As we read in the Course:

Against the ego’s insane notion of salvation the Holy Spirit gently lays the holy instant …. The holy instant is the opposite of the ego’s fixed belief in salvation through vengeance for the past…. In the holy instant the power of the Holy Spirit will prevail, because you joined Him …. Release your brothers from the slavery of their illusions by forgiving them for the illusions you perceive in them. Thus will you learn that you have been forgiven, for it is you who offered them illusions. In the holy instant this is done for you in time, to bring you the true condition of Heaven (T-16.VII.6:1,3; 7:3; 9:5-7).

you have no idea

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

ACIM Text Reading for February 21

Chapter 7

THE GIFTS OF THE KINGDOM

I. The Last Step

The creative power of God and His creations is limitless, but they are not in reciprocal relationship. You communicate fully with God, as He does with you. This is an ongoing process in which you share, and because you share it, you are inspired to create like God. Yet in creation you are not in a reciprocal relation to God, since He created you but you did not create Him. I have already told you that only in this respect your creative power differs from His. Even in this world there is a parallel. Parents give birth to children, but children do not give birth to parents. They do, however, give birth to their children, and thus give birth as their parents do.

If you created God and He created you, the Kingdom could not increase through its own creative thought. Creation would therefore be limited, and you would not be co-creators with God. As God’s creative Thought proceeds from Him to you, so must your creative thought proceed from you to your creations. Only in this way can all creative power extend outward. God’s accomplishments are not yours, but yours are like His. He created the Sonship and you increase it. You have the power to add to the Kingdom, though not to add to the Creator of the Kingdom. You claim this power when you become vigilant only for God and His Kingdom. By accepting this power as yours you have learned to remember what you are.

Your creations belong in you, as you belong in God. You are part of God, as your sons are part of His Sons. To create is to love. Love extends outward simply because it cannot be contained. Being limitless it does not stop. It creates forever, but not in time. God’s creations have always been, because He has always been. Your creations have always been, because you can create only as God creates. Eternity is yours, because He created you eternal.

The ego, on the other hand, always demands reciprocal rights, because it is competitive rather than loving. It is always willing to strike a bargain, but it cannot understand that to be like another means that no bargains are possible. To gain you must give, not bargain. To bargain is to limit giving, and this is not God’s Will. To will with God is to create like Him. God does not limit His gifts in any way. You are His gifts, and so your gifts must be like His. Your gifts to the Kingdom must be like His gifts to you.

I gave only love to the Kingdom because I believed that was what I was. What you believe you are determines your gifts, and if God created you by extending Himself as you, you can only extend yourself as He did. Only joy increases forever, since joy and eternity are inseparable. God extends outward beyond limits and beyond time, and you who are co-creator with Him extend His Kingdom forever and beyond limit. Eternity is the indelible stamp of creation. The eternal are in peace and joy forever.

To think like God is to share His certainty of what you are, and to create like Him is to share the perfect Love He shares with you. To this the Holy Spirit leads you, that your joy may be complete because the Kingdom of God is whole. I have said that the last step in the reawakening of knowledge is taken by God. This is true, but it is hard to explain in words because words are symbols, and nothing that is true need be explained. However, the Holy Spirit has the task of translating the useless into the useful, the meaningless into the meaningful, and the temporary into the timeless. He can therefore tell you something about this last step.

God does not take steps, because His accomplishments are not gradual. He does not teach, because His creations are changeless. He does nothing last, because He created first and for always. It must be understood that the word ‘first’ as applied to Him is not a time concept. He is first in the sense that He is the First in the Holy Trinity Itself. He is the Prime Creator, because He created His co-creators. Because He did, time applies neither to Him nor to what He created. The ‘last step’ that God will take was therefore true in the beginning, is true now, and will be true forever. What is timeless is always there, because its being is eternally changeless. It does not change by increase, because it was forever created to increase. If you perceive it as not increasing you do not know what it is. You also do not know Who created it. God does not reveal this to you because it was never hidden. His light was never obscured, because it is His Will to share it. How can what is fully shared be withheld and then revealed?

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 21

LESSON 52

Today’s review covers these ideas:

1. (6I am upset because I see what is not there.

Reality is never frightening. It is impossible that it could upset me. Reality brings only perfect peace. When I am upset, it is always because I have replaced reality with illusions I made up. The illusions are upsetting because I have given them reality, and thus regard reality as an illusion. Nothing in God’s creation is affected in any way by this confusion of mine. I am always upset by nothing.

2. (7I see only the past.

As I look about, I condemn the world I look upon. I call this seeing. I hold the past against everyone and everything, making them my enemies. When I have forgiven myself and remem­bered Who I am, I will bless everyone and everything I see. There will be no past, and therefore no enemies. And I will look with love on all that I failed to see before.

3. (8My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.

I see only my own thoughts, and my mind is preoccupied with the past. What, then, can I see as it is? Let me remember that I look on the past to prevent the present from dawning on my mind. Let me understand that I am trying to use time against God. Let me learn to give the past away, realizing that in so doing I am giving up nothing.

4. (9I see nothing as it is now.

If I see nothing as it is now, it can truly be said that I see nothing. I can see only what is now. The choice is not whether to see the past or the present; the choice is merely whether to see or not. What I have chosen to see has cost me vision. Now I would choose again, that I may see.

5. (10My thoughts do not mean anything.

I have no private thoughts. Yet it is only private thoughts of which I am aware. What can these thoughts mean? They do not exist, and so they mean nothing. Yet my mind is part of creation and part of its Creator. Would I not rather join the thinking of the universe than to obscure all that is really mine with my pitiful and meaningless “private” thoughts?

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ACIM Q & A for Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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