A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for June 26

ACIM Text Reading for June 26

Chapter 18

THE PASSING OF THE DREAM

I. The Substitute Reality

To substitute is to accept instead. If you would but consider exactly what this entails, you would perceive at once how much at variance this is with the goal the Holy Spirit has given you, and would accomplish for you. To substitute is to choose between, renouncing one aspect of the Sonship in favour of the other. For this special purpose, one is judged more valuable and the other is replaced by him. The relationship in which the substitution occurred is thus fragmented, and its purpose split accordingly. To fragment is to exclude, and substitution is the strongest defence the ego has for separation.

The Holy Spirit never uses substitutes. Where the ego perceives one person as a replacement for another, the Holy Spirit sees them joined and indivisible. He does not judge between them, knowing they are one. Being united, they are one because they are the same. Substitution is clearly a process in which they are perceived as different. One would unite; the other separate. Nothing can come between what God has joined and what the Holy Spirit sees as one. But everything seems to come between the fragmented relationships the ego sponsors to destroy.

The one emotion in which substitution is impossible is love. Fear involves substitution by definition, for it is love’s replacement. Fear is both a fragmented and fragmenting emotion. It seems to take many forms, and each one seems to require a different form of acting out for satisfaction. While this appears to introduce quite variable behaviour, a far more serious effect lies in the fragmented perception from which the behaviour stems. No one is seen complete. The body is emphasised, with special emphasis on certain parts, and used as the standard for comparison of acceptance or rejection for acting out a special form of fear.

You who believe that God is fear made but one substitution. It has taken many forms, because it was the substitution of illusion for truth; of fragmentation for wholeness. It has become so splintered and subdivided and divided again, over and over, that it is now almost impossible to perceive it once was one, and still is what it was. That one error, which brought truth to illusion, infinity to, time, and life to death, was all you ever made. Your whole world rests upon it. Everything you see reflects it, and every special relationship that you have ever made is part of it.

You may be surprised to hear how very different is reality from what you see. You do not realise the magnitude of that one error. It was so vast and so completely incredible that from it a world of total unreality had to emerge. What else could come of it? Its fragmented aspects are fearful enough, as you begin to look at them. But nothing you have seen begins to show you the enormity of the original error, which seemed to cast you out of Heaven, to shatter knowledge into meaningless bits of disunited perceptions, and to force you to make further substitutions.

That was the first projection of error outward. The world arose to hide it, and became the screen on which it was projected and drawn between you and the truth. For truth extends inward, where the idea of loss is meaningless and only increase is conceivable. Do you really think it strange that a world in which everything is backwards and upside down arose from this projection of error? It was inevitable. For truth brought to this could only remain within in quiet, and take no part in all the mad projection by which this world was made. Call it not sin but madness, for such it was and so it still remains. Invest it not with guilt, for guilt implies it was accomplished in reality. And above all, be not afraid of it.

When you seem to see some twisted form of the original error rising to frighten you, say only, ‘God is not fear, but love’, and it will disappear. The truth will save you. It has not left you, to go out into the mad world and so depart from you. Inward is sanity; insanity is outside you. You but believe it is the other way; that truth is outside, and error and guilt within. Your little, senseless substitutions, touched with insanity and swirling lightly off on a mad course like feathers dancing insanely in the wind, have no substance. They fuse and merge and separate, in shifting and totally meaningless patterns that need not be judged at all. To judge them individually is pointless. Their tiny differences in form are no real differences at all. None of them matters. That they have in common and nothing else. Yet what else is necessary to make them all the same?

Let them all go, dancing in the wind, dipping and turning till they disappear from sight, far, far outside of you. And turn you to the stately calm within, where in holy stillness dwells the living God you never left, and Who never left you. The Holy Spirit takes you gently by the hand, and retraces with you your mad journey outside yourself, leading you gently back to the truth and safety within. He brings all your insane projections and the wild substitutions that you have placed outside you to the truth. Thus He reverses the course of insanity and restores you to reason.

In your relationship with your brother, where He has taken charge of everything at your request, He has set the course inward to the truth you share. In the mad world outside you nothing can be shared but only substituted, and sharing and substituting have nothing in common in reality. Within yourself you love your brother with a perfect love. Here is holy ground, in which no substitution can enter, and where only the truth in your brother can abide. Here you are joined in God, as much together as you are with Him. The original error has not entered here, nor ever will. Here is the radiant truth, to which the Holy Spirit has committed your relationship. Let Him bring it here, where you would have it be. Give Him but a little faith in your brother, to help him show you that no substitute you made for Heaven can keep you from it.

In you there is no separation, and no substitute can keep you from your brother. Your reality was God’s creation, and has no substitute. You are so firmly joined in truth that only God is there. And He would never accept something else instead of you. He loves you both, equally and as one. And as He loves you, so you are. You are not joined together in illusions, but in the Thought so holy and so perfect that illusions cannot remain to darken the holy place in which you stand together. God is with you, my brother. Let us join in Him in peace and gratitude, and accept His gift as our most holy and perfect reality, which we share in Him.

Heaven is restored to all the Sonship through your relationship, for in it lies the Sonship, whole and beautiful, safe in your love. Heaven has entered quietly, for all illusions have been gently brought unto the truth in you, and love has shined upon you, blessing your relationship with truth. God and His whole creation have entered it together. How lovely and how holy is your relationship, with the truth shining upon it! Heaven beholds it, and rejoices that you have let it come to you. And God Himself is glad that your relationship is as it was created. The universe within you stands with you, together with your brother. And Heaven looks with love on what is joined in it, along with its Creator.

Whom God has called should hear no substitutes. Their call is but an echo of the original error that shattered Heaven. And what became of peace in those who heard? Return with me to Heaven, walking together with your brother out of this world and through another, to the loveliness and joy the other holds within it. Would you still further, weaken and break apart what is already broken and hopeless? Is it here that you would look for happiness? Or would you not prefer to heal what has been broken, and join in making whole what has been ravaged by separation and disease?

You have been called, together with your brother, to the most holy function this world contains. It is the only one that has no limits, and reaches out to every broken fragment of the Sonship with healing and uniting comfort. This is offered you, in your holy relationship. Accept it here, and you will give as you have accepted. The peace of God is given you with the glowing purpose in which you join with your brother. The holy light that brought you and him together must extend, as you accepted it.

***

ACIM Workbook lesson for June 26

Lesson 159

I give the miracles I have received.

No one can give what he has not received. To give a thing requires first you have it in your own possession. Here the laws of Heaven and the world agree. But here they also separate. The world believes that to possess a thing, it must be kept. Salvation teaches otherwise. To give is how to recognize you have received. It is the proof that what you have is yours.

You understand that you are healed when you give healing. You accept forgiveness as accomplished in yourself when you forgive. You recognize your brother as yourself, and thus do you perceive that you are whole. There is no miracle you cannot give, for all are given you. Receive them now by opening the storehouse of your mind where they are laid, and giving them away.

Christ’s vision is a miracle. It comes from far beyond itself, for it reflects eternal love and the rebirth of love which never dies, but has been kept obscure. Christ’s vision pictures Heaven, for it sees a world so like to Heaven that what God created perfect can be mirrored there. The darkened glass the world presents can show but twisted images in broken parts. The real world pictures Heaven’s innocence.

Christ’s vision is the miracle in which all miracles are born. It is their source, remaining with each miracle you give, and yet remaining yours. It is the bond by which the giver and receiver are united in extension here on earth, as they are one in Heaven. Christ beholds no sin in anyone. And in His sight the sinless are as one. Their holiness was given by His Father and Himself.

Christ’s vision is the bridge between the worlds. And in its power can you safely trust to carry you from this world into one made holy by forgiveness. Things which seem quite solid here are merely shadows there; transparent, faintly seen, at times forgot, and never able to obscure the light that shines beyond them. Holiness has been restored to vision, and the blind can see.

This is the Holy Spirit’s single gift; the treasure house to which you can appeal with perfect certainty for all the things that can contribute to your happiness. All are laid here already. All can be received but for the asking. Here the door is never locked, and no one is denied his least request or his most urgent need. There is no sickness not already healed, no lack unsatisfied, no need unmet within this golden treasury of Christ.

Here does the world remember what was lost when it was made. For here it is repaired, made new again, but in a different light. What was to be the home of sin becomes the center of redemption and the hearth of mercy, where the suffering are healed and welcome. No one will be turned away from this new home, where his salvation waits. No one is stranger to him. No one asks for anything of him except the gift of his acceptance of his welcoming.

Christ’s vision is the holy ground in which the lilies of forgiveness set their roots. This is their home. They can be brought from here back to the world, but they can never grow in its unnourishing and shallow soil. They need the light and warmth and kindly care Christ’s charity provides. They need the love with which He looks on them. And they become His messengers, who give as they received.

Take from His storehouse, that its treasures may increase. His lilies do not leave their home when they are carried back into the world. Their roots remain. They do not leave their source, but carry its beneficence with them, and turn the world into a garden like the one they came from, and to which they go again with added fragrance. Now are they twice blessed. The messages they brought from Christ have been delivered, and returned to them. And they return them gladly unto Him.

Behold the store of miracles set out for you to give. Are you not worth the gift, when God appointed it be given you? Judge not God’s Son, but follow in the way He has established. Christ has dreamed the dream of a forgiven world. It is His gift, whereby a sweet transition can be made from death to life; from hopelessness to hope. Let us an instant dream with Him. His dream awakens us to truth. His vision gives the means for a return to our unlost and everlasting sanctity in God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #827A Course in Miracles refers to our “attraction” to guilt and suffering as being responsible for our difficulties in this world of perception. At first hearing, this would appear to be the opposite to what we experience. To be attracted to suffering of any kind sounds undesirable with nothing to recommend it at all. However we do seem to be attracted to hearing news of disasters happening to others, but not to ourselves. I guess if there are really no “others” and only me, then that is the hidden attraction, to prove to myself that there are others around separate from me. The downside to that is that if they suffer, then I am a candidate for the same. I think I’ve just answered my question. If all is one in the real world, no separation or suffering, as promised in the Course, that sounds okay to me. What I like about the Course is that it insists that we/I really have no real choice other than to be joyful, in spite of appearances and feelings of despair. Please comment on this tricky bit of detective work.

A: Your observations are valid, as far as they go. What limits them is your perspective, which all of us who believe we are here in the world share, that begins from the premise that we know who we are, and that our identity has something to do with being a body in the world. For seeing ourselves this way, we believe a reasonable goal is to attempt to maximize our body’s pleasure and minimize its pain as we make all of our careful plans and adjustments to the world. We don’t seem to know that we are minds that have chosen to see ourselves as bodies, just so we don’t remember that we are minds! And so the Course’s teachings on guilt and suffering are hard to grasp when we operate out of our mistaken bodily identity (T.27.VI.1:1,2,3,4;2:1,2) .

Yes, as you point out, we all seem to be fascinated by disasters in the world, but not simply because they demonstrate that others exist outside of us. More importantly, they seem to validate one of the ego’s central tenets, that victimization is real (more on this shortly). And most people relish the opportunity to recount the catastrophic events they’ve personally lived through, never tiring of sharing all the excruciating details that demonstrate their specialness through their good luck or bad luck, survivor skills, etc. And the media, demonstrating the principle that ego minds are joined, seem increasingly committed to broadcasting these very dramatic tales of loss and triumphs against overwhelming odds. But beneath these more obvious examples of our attraction to guilt and suffering at the level of the world is a sinister motivation that few of us allow ourselves to be in touch with. But as we begin to grasp the purpose our false identity as bodies serves, these hidden layers become more visible.

The lie behind our conscious belief that we don’t want to suffer and see guilt is easily recognized, once we are willing to accept the Course’s premise that our identity is mind, not body. If we really did not want to suffer and experience guilt, we would give up the charade that we are bodies at the mercy of forces outside ourselves that we cannot control. The desire for most of us may be unconscious, but we all want to seem to suffer as bodies to prove that guilt and attack thoughts reside anywhere but in our own mind. If your body can cause my body to suffer, either directly or indirectly, clearly the guilt and responsibility for my pain is yours and not mine. I am the victim and you are the victimizer, the ego loudly proclaims. We don’t want to get rid of guilt, for guilt says the separation and attack on God are real. And we want the separation to be real (T.13.III.2:4,5) because we want our individuality, which comes from the belief in separation, to be real. We each just want to see the guilt in someone else. And in order to see it in someone else, we must suffer at someone else’s hands e.g., T.26.X.3,4; T.27.I.3,4) . And to suffer at another’s hands, we must believe that we are all separate, individual bodies, and not simply related aspects of one mind.

The suffering and pain, although they seem to be experienced in the body, are only experienced in the mind (T.19.IV.C.5:2,3,4,5; T.28.VI.2:1,2,3,4) . It is part of the ego’s ruse to keep us mindless that convinces us that it is our bodies that suffer. It is the mind that thinks it can limit itself that suffers, and not the body(T.25.in.3:1,2) , which is nothing more than the ego’s symbol for limitation (T.15.IX.2:3,4; T.26.VII.8:7,8,9,10; T.28.VI.3:10) . And so your opening observation, that the Course teaches that our attraction to guilt and suffering is responsible for our difficulties in the world of perception is true, but not in the way that you are thinking. Our attraction to guilt is responsible for our decision to believe that we have difficulties and suffer in the world so that we never look to where the suffering is really occurring, in the mind, where we could do something about it (W.pI.76.5) . We have fooled ourselves into believing that we have difficulties in the world so that we don’t have to look at our attraction to guilt and suffering — the ego’s only offerings — in our mind.

And so, while everything of the ego, including all its projections into the world of form, is illusory, until we look at what we have chosen to make real in our own mind, we will continue to believe that joylessness and despair are our only lot. Jesus knows that the only real choice is for joy, but we stubbornly refuse to accept his word and continue to believe that we can choose guilt and suffering. If we are first honest about the pain that we are each in and are willing to accept complete responsibility for our own suffering (T.11.III.1:4) , we can then make a different choice (T.28.II.12) . And we make a different choice by inviting a different Teacher to look with us at the foolish choice we have been making, so we can recognize that we don’t need to continue to suffer.


Q #828: “The Substitute Reality” in Chapter 18 states, “That one error, which brought truth to illusion, and infinity to time, and life to death, was all you ever made” (T.18.I.4:4). This seems backwards to me. I don’t understand.

A: Jesus is describing for us in this section what we have accepted in place of reality as God created it. Truth, infinity, and life are all characteristics of Heaven; but when, as one Son, we decided to leave that state of Oneness in Heaven, we came up with a substitute world of our own, which we then believed was reality and truth. This world that consists of billions of individual entities is an illusory world, of course, because separating from Infinity and Totality is impossible — that is what the Atonement principle states.

So in the sentence you quote, Jesus is saying that by believing we live in a world that is not Heaven, we have made illusion, time, and death the truth, instead of what is “truly” true. By identifying with the ego, we brought truth to the illusion. A Course in Miracles corrects that error by bringing the illusion to the truth, where it is undone.

What seems so real to us is not real at all — it is an illusion that we sustain in our minds by denying the truth and believing in what we have made up instead. The way we undo this illusion is to bring it back to the truth, which is also in our minds, just as darkness disappears when you turn the light on.

Know Yourself

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 20

ACIM Text Reading for January 20

A Course in Miracles

Text – Chapter 1

The Meaning of Miracles


I. Principles of Miracles 

1. There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not “harder” or “bigger” than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal.

 

2. Miracles as such do not matter. The only thing that matters is their source, which is far beyond evaluation.

 

3. Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.

 

4. All miracles mean life, and God is the giver of life. His voice will direct you very specifically. You will be told all you need to know.

 

5. Miracles are habits, and should be involuntary. They should not be under conscious control. Consciously selected miracles can be misguided.

 

6. Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong.

 

7. Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first.

 

8. Miracles are healing because they supply a lack; they are performed by those who temporarily have more for those who temporarily have less.

 

9. Miracles are a kind of exchange. Like all expressions of love, which are always miraculous in the true sense, the exchange reverses the physical laws. They bring more love both to the giver and the receiver.

 

10. The use of miracles as spectacles to induce belief is a misunderstanding of their purpose.

 

11. Prayer is the medium of miracles. It is a means of communication of the created with the Creator. Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed.

 

12. Miracles are thoughts. Thoughts can represent the lower or bodily level of experience, or the higher or spiritual level of experience. One makes the physical, and the other creates the spiritual.

 

13. Miracles are both beginnings and endings, and so they alter the temporal order. They are always affirmations of rebirth, which seem to go back but really go forward. They undo the past in the present, and thus release the future.

 

14. Miracles bear witness to truth. They are convincing because they arise from conviction. Without conviction they deteriorate into magic, which is mindless and therefore destructive; or rather, the uncreative use of mind.

 

15. Each day should be devoted to miracles. The purpose of time is to enable you to learn how to use time constructively. It is thus a teaching device and a means to an end. Time will cease when it is no longer useful in facilitating learning.

 

16. Miracles are teaching devices for demonstrating it is as blessed to give as to receive. They simultaneously increase the strength of the giver and supply strength to the receiver.

 

17. Miracles transcend the body. They are sudden shifts into invisibility, away from the bodily level. That is why they heal.

 

18. A miracle is a service. It is the maximal service you can render to another. It is a way of loving your neighbor as yourself. You recognize your own and your neighbor’s worth simultaneously.

 

19. Miracles make minds one in God. They depend on cooperation because the Sonship is the sum of all that God created. Miracles therefore reflect the laws of eternity, not of time.

 

20. Miracles reawaken the awareness that the spirit, not the body, is the altar of truth. This is the recognition that leads to the healing power of the miracle.

 

21. Miracles are natural signs of forgiveness. Through miracles you accept God’s forgiveness by extending it to others.

 

22. Miracles are associated with fear only because of the belief that darkness can hide. You believe that what your physical eyes cannot see does not exist. This leads to a denial of spiritual sight.

 

23. Miracles rearrange perception and place all levels in true perspective. This is healing because sickness comes from confusing the levels.

 

24. Miracles enable you to heal the sick and raise the dead because you made sickness and death yourself, and can therefore abolish both. You are a miracle, capable of creating in the likeness of your Creator. Everything else is your own nightmare, and does not exist. Only the creations of light are real.

 

25. Miracles are part of an interlocking chain of forgiveness which, when completed, is the Atonement. Atonement works all the time and in all the dimensions of time.

 

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 20

Lesson 4

These thoughts do not mean anything.
They are like the things I see in this room
[on this street, from this window, in this place].

Unlike the preceding ones, these exercises do not begin with the idea for the day. In these practice periods, begin with noting the thoughts that are crossing your mind for about a minute. Then apply the idea to them. If you are already aware of unhappy thoughts, use them as subjects for the idea. Do not, however, select only the thoughts you think are “bad.” You will find, if you train yourself to look at your thoughts, that they represent such a mixture that, in a sense, none of them can be called “good” or “bad.” This is why they do not mean anything.

In selecting the subjects for the application of today’s idea, the usual specificity is required. Do not be afraid to use “good” thoughts as well as “bad.” None of them represents your real thoughts, which are being covered up by them. The “good” ones are but shadows of what lies beyond, and shadows make sight difficult. The “bad” ones are blocks to sight, and make seeing impossible. You do not want either.

This is a major exercise, and will be repeated from time to time in somewhat different form. The aim here is to train you in the first steps toward the goal of separating the meaningless from the meaningful. It is a first attempt in the long-range purpose of learning to see the meaningless as outside you, and the meaningful within. It is also the beginning of training your mind to recognize what is the same and what is different.

In using your thoughts for application of the idea for today, identify each thought by the central figure or event it contains; for example:

This thought about ___ does not mean anything.
It is like the things I see in this room [on this street, and so on].

You can also use the idea for a particular thought that you recognize as harmful. This practice is useful, but is not a substitute for the more random procedures to be followed for the exercises. Do not, however, examine your mind for more than a minute or so. You are too inexperienced as yet to avoid a tendency to become pointlessly preoccupied.

Further, since these exercises are the first of their kind, you may find the suspension of judgment in connection with thoughts particularly difficult. Do not repeat these exercises more than three or four times during the day. We will return to them later.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #13What do you think the phrase “purification is necessary first” means?

A: Since this seventh miracle principle, “Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first” (T.1.I.7:1) comes on page 3 of the text, students of A Course in Miracles may believe that Jesus is speaking about purification of the body. Students’ past experiences will bring to mind all of their beliefs about the meaning of the word “purification.” To some, this may mean the cleansing of the “soul” through baptism, or the atonement of sin through penance and sacrifice. To others, “purification” may have the connotation of ridding oneself of human desires through meditation and disciplined practices. Whatever one believes, their belief forms the foundation on which they begin to build their understanding of the “purification process.”

What a surprise to learn, as we make our way through the text, that Jesus is not speaking to us about purifying the body at all. He couldn’t be since the Course teaches that the body is an illusion. And being an illusion, there is nothing that we have to do to it or with it. The body does not need to be purified because it is not impure. “It does nothing…. it is neither corruptible nor incorruptible. It is nothing. (T.19.IV.C.5:3,4,5). What is impure are our thoughts, which means it is our thoughts that have to be purified, not the body. And the Course’s method of “purification” is forgiveness; forgiveness of the one thought of guilt which keeps us separate from the love of God. The Course’s “purification process” is illustrated in this quote:

“Give Him your thoughts, and He will give them back as miracles which joyously proclaim the wholeness and the happiness God wills His Son, as proof of His eternal Love. And as each thought is thus transformed, it takes on healing power from the Mind Which saw the truth in it, and failed to be deceived by what was falsely added [guilt]. All the threads of fantasy are gone. And what remains is unified into a perfect Thought that offers its perfection everywhere (W.pI.151.14).

*

Q #1150Am I correct in thinking A Course in Miracles is called a “course” because we all take on a compulsory “course of thinking” from the time we notice our separate beingness? It seems we have no choice but to set about learning ways and means to live our separate lives as best we can, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. Survival of the fittest! So we find ourselves enmeshed in different cultures, religious traditions, and rules of behavior that best suit our needs as we see them. Our separately devised courses are clearly deeply conflicted, but we are unable to change our “course” because we only have our learned thinking to call on, which is how we got conflicted in the first place. Does the Course offer a real alternative — a “course of thinking” not based on that old, separate, self-interest pattern?

A: The term course specifically denotes the educational and academic context of the Course. It “is arranged as a teaching device,” as the Preface states (p. viii) , and it consists therefore of a text, workbook, and manual for teachers. Jesus speaks about teaching and learning, teachers and students, a curriculum, goals and objectives of the lessons, etc.

Yes, A Course in Miracles most certainly offers a real alternative. There is a section in the text with that title (T.30.IV) , and one might well describe the entire Course in those terms. As you probably know, the dictation began shortly after Helen Schucman, the scribe, and her associate William Thetford agreed to rise above their separate, self-centered interests to find a better way of relating to each other and to the other people in their lives. Their agreement to join was the invitation to the source of truth in their minds, represented by Jesus and the Holy Spirit, to express this real alternative through them. Succinctly stated, A Course in Miracles teaches that the way to remember God is by undoing guilt through forgiving others. It is a lifetime’s work that begins with the humble acknowledgment that we have been wrong about everything, and that even though we know of no other way, we trust that there is one, and that we will succeed in achieving its goals.

kingdom of god

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for November 8

ACIM Reading for November 8

Clarification of Terms

THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

Jesus is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, Whom he called down upon the earth after he ascended into Heaven, or became completely identified with the Christ, the Son of God as He created Him.  The Holy Spirit, being a creation of the one Creator, creating with Him and in His likeness or spirit, is eternal and has never changed.  He was “called down upon the earth” in the sense that it was now possible to accept Him and to hear His Voice.  His is the Voice for God, and has therefore taken form.  This form is not His reality, which God alone knows along with Christ, His real Son, Who is part of Him.

The Holy Spirit is described throughout the course as giving us the answer to the separation and bringing the plan of the Atonement to us, establishing our particular part in it and showing us exactly what it is.  He has established Jesus as the leader in carrying out His plan since he was the first to complete his own part perfectly.  All power in Heaven and earth is therefore given him and he will share it with you when you have completed yours.  The Atonement principle was given to the Holy Spirit long before Jesus set it in motion.

The Holy Spirit is described as the remaining Communication Link between God and His separated Sons.  In order to fulfill this special function the Holy Spirit has assumed a dual function.  He knows because He is part of God; He perceives because He was sent to save humanity.  He is the great correction principle; the bringer of true perception, the inherent power of the vision of Christ.  He is the light in which the forgiven world is perceived; in which the face of Christ alone is seen.  He never forgets the Creator or His creation.  He never forgets the Son of God.  He never forgets you.  And He brings the Love of your Father to you in an eternal shining that will never be obliterated because God has put it there.

The Holy Spirit abides in the part of your mind that is part of the Christ Mind.  He represents your Self and your Creator, Who are One.  He speaks for God and also for you, being joined with Both.  And therefore it is He Who proves Them One.  He seems to be a Voice, for in that form He speaks God’s Word to you.  He seems to be a Guide through a far country, for you need that form of help.  He seems to be whatever meets the needs you think you have.  But He is not deceived when you perceive your self entrapped in needs you do not have.  It is from these He would deliver you. It is from these that He would make you safe.

You are His manifestation in this world.  Your brother calls to you to be His Voice along with him.  Alone he cannot be the Helper of God’s Son for he alone is functionless.  But joined with you he is the shining Savior of the world, Whose part in its redemption you have made complete.  He offers thanks to you as well as him for you arose with him when he began to save the world.  And you will be with him when time is over and no trace remains of dreams of spite in which you dance to death’s thin melody.  For in its place the hymn to God is heard a little while.  And then the Voice is gone, no longer to take form but to return to the eternal formlessness of God.

 

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 8

Lesson 312

I see all things as I would have them be.

Perception follows judgment. Having judged, we therefore see what we would look upon. For sight can merely serve to offer us what we would have. It is impossible to overlook what we would see, and fail to see what we have chosen to behold. How surely, therefore, must the real world come to greet the holy sight of anyone who takes the Holy Spirit’s purpose as his goal for seeing. And he cannot fail to look upon what Christ would have him see, and share Christ’s Love for what he looks upon.

I have no purpose for today except to look upon a liberated world, set free from all the judgments I have made. Father, this is Your Will for me today, and therefore it must be my goal as well.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #456: This is a three part question:

i. My understanding of the teachings of A Course in Miracles is that eventually we realize we are all one spirit. Do we then lose our awareness or memory of the experiences we had as individuals? Jesus figured out the truth while here on earth, yet seems to interact with those of us still experiencing the dream of individuality as the individual Jesus. So will the rest of us, after we realize the truth, still retain our individual selves? I realize I am asking this question as someone who likes my “self” and the other selves I interact with, i.e., family and friends.

A: Your awareness of yourself as an individual will last only as long as you value that identity. It is never taken away by Jesus or the Holy Spirit. The focus of our study and practice is learning that our interests are really the same, not separate; and that would lead us to the next step, which is recognizing that not only do we share the same interests, but we share the same self as well. We all share the same ego thought system, and we all share the same right-minded thought system of forgiveness, as well as the power to choose between the two. As long as we are attracted to an identity as an individual self, though, we will resist this teaching rather strenuously. There would have to be some motivation to move beyond individuality, and what Jesus teaches us is that if we looked deeply and honestly at our lives as individual selves, we would conclude that we are paying a heavy price to sustain that existence. That does not mean it is bad or wrong to enjoy existing in this world. He asks only that we look openly at the picture, and not be deceived by the glitter of the frame (T.17.IV.8,9)“The body is a limit on love” (T.18.VIII.1:2). So valuing bodily existence is valuing limited love. That is the connection Jesus wants us to make, just so that we could be aware that we are deliberately (once we remember we are decision-making minds) cutting ourselves off from the totality of the love that comes with the memory of our oneness as God’s Son. Again, liking your self and your family and friends is not wrong or bad; just be aware that this is not all you are or they are. If living in this world is working for you and you are happy and content with it, then it would be foolish to change it. Recall that the Course came to two people who were no longer content with the way things were going and were determined to find a “better way.”

Jesus stands outside the dream of individuality gently helping us to awaken from it. He appears to be an individual relating to us as individuals, but if you consider the above quote about the body being a limit on love, you can begin to understand that he appears that way because we choose to see him that way. Love is abstract — formless — but our perception conforms to our identity. Were we to let go of the needto limit love, we would experience Jesus quite differently — and ourselves as well. The trouble is, we don’t consciously realize that this is what we are doing, which is why so much of the Course is directed at helping us realize that we have a mind and that practically everything we do is a defense against our realizing that. We don’t want to remember we are decision-making minds, because on some level we know where that realization would take us. We would eventually see clearly what individuality is all about, and it would not be a very pretty picture. To avoid those consequences, we try to make Jesus like us, but that will never square with what he spends so much time teaching us in the Course. It is much more helpful, and would reduce the internal conflict, to state simply and honestly, that you like being a self amidst other individual selves, and that some day you may have a reason to reconsider that choice, but right now you don’t. Period! That’s where you are, and it’s okay. Jesus’ love for you is not lessened in the least.

ii. What are our real creations? Are they what are left when we awake from the dream? Are we creating even as we dream?

A: Please see Question #103 for the definition of creations. Nothing real ever takes places in the dream. The Self that never left Its Source continually creates, which means simply that love always extends itself.

iii. If it only takes one to awake from the dream for all to awake and one cannot find Atonement alone and Jesus achieved this, why are the rest of us still dreaming?

A: From our perspective within the dream, there is no way of our comprehending this process; it cannot be solved through logical reasoning. Our framework for understanding is severely limited, because we believe we are actually here, and that belief is intended to push truth away and replace it with another system of thought that is entirely false. Very humbling! It is virtually impossible for us not to think in terms of separate bodies in time and space, but Jesus is not referring to bodies in time and space. Nevertheless, we can say at least this much — that there is one mind, and the illusion of many minds, all asleep and dreaming. When you are in the real world you know there is only one mind. So the only mind that needs to awaken is yours.

health is inner peace

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 9

ACIM Text Reading for September 9

Chapter 29 ~ The Awakening

III.God’s Witnesses

Condemn your savior not because he thinks he is a body. For beyond his dreams is his reality. But he must learn he is a savior first, before he can remember what he is. And he must save who would be saved. On saving you depends his happiness. For who is savior but the one who gives salvation? Thus he learns it must be his to give. Unless he gives he will not know he has, for giving is the proof of having. Only those who think that God is lessened by their strength could fail to understand this must be so. For who could give unless he has, and who could lose by giving what must be increased thereby?

Think you the Father lost Himself when He created you? Was He made weak because He shared His Love? Was He made incomplete by your perfection? Or are you the proof that He is perfect and complete? Deny Him not His witness in the dream His Son prefers to his reality. He must be savior from the dream he made, that he be free of it. He must see someone else as not a body, one with him without the wall the world has built to keep apart all living things who know not that they live.

Within the dream of bodies and of death is yet one theme of truth; no more, perhaps, than just a tiny spark, a space of light created in the dark, where God still shines. You cannot wake yourself. Yet you can let yourself be wakened. You can overlook your brother’s dreams. So perfectly can you forgive him his illusions he becomes your savior from your dreams. And as you see him shining in the space of light where God abides within the darkness, you will see that God Himself is where his body is.

Before this light the body disappears, as heavy shadows must give way to light. The darkness cannot choose that it remain. The coming of the light means it is gone. In glory will you see your brother then, and understand what really fills the gap so long perceived as keeping you apart. There, in its place, God’s witness has set forth the gentle way of kindness to God’s Son. Whom you forgive is given power to forgive you your illusions. By your gift of freedom is it given unto you.

Make way for love, which you did not create, but which you can extend. On earth this means forgive your brother, that the darkness may be lifted from your mind. When light has come to him through your forgiveness, he will not forget his savior, leaving him unsaved. For it was in your face he saw the light that he would keep beside him, as he walks through darkness to the everlasting Light.

How holy are you, that the Son of God can be your savior in the midst of dreams of desolation and disaster. See how eagerly he comes, and steps aside from heavy shadows that have hidden him, and shines on you in gratitude and love. He is himself, but not himself alone. And as his Father lost not part of him in your creation, so the light in him is brighter still because you gave your light to him, to save him from the dark. And now the light in you must be as bright as shines in him. This is the spark that shines within the dream; that you can help him waken, and be sure his waking eyes will rest on you. And in his glad salvation you are saved.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 9

Lesson 253

My Self is ruler of the universe.

It is impossible that anything should come to me unbidden by myself. Even in this world, it is I who rule my destiny. What happens is what I desire. What does not occur is what I do not want to happen. This must I accept. For thus am I led past this world to my creations, children of my will, in Heaven where my holy Self abides with them and Him Who has created me.

You are the Self Whom You created Son, creating like Yourself and One with You. My Self, which rules the universe, is but Your Will in perfect union with my own, which can but offer glad assent to Yours, that it may be extended to Itself.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #220: I was taught that Jesus had to die for us to be forgiven for our sins. That never made any sense to me. If God is just, why would he make an innocent man die in order to forgive me? Why couldn’t he just forgive us in the first place? What does A Course in Miracles say about this?

A: The Course reinterprets the crucifixion, as well as the idea of sin and forgiveness. You were taught the meaning of the crucifixion that Christianity holds sacred, as were all Christians. It is the story of redemption according to Christianity. The message the Course teaches is not based on the forgiveness of sin, to the contrary: “…the content of the course never changes. Its central theme is always, ‘God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation.’”(M.1.3:4,5). There is no need for forgiveness from God, much less for redemption through crucifixion. Forgiveness, as taught by the Course, is a process of undoing the belief in separation. It is the means by which we learn to no longer identify with the ego, which eventually leads to our awakening from the dream of separation. It has nothing to do with sin, because as the Course tells us, there is no sin: “God’s Will for you is perfect happiness because there is no sin, and suffering is causeless” (W.101.6:1). Since the thought of separation is an illusion, and God knows only our wholeness as His one Son, He would not “make an innocent man die in order to forgive” anyone. He would be a cruel God indeed if He required the death of His Son to appease His anger. The Course tells us that not only does God not require crucifixion or sacrifice, He does not even judge His Son: “God does not judge His guiltless Son. Having given Himself to him, how could it be otherwise?” (T.11.VI.7:6,7). Clearly it is not possible to follow the thought systems of both Christianity and A Course in Miracles, for they are not compatible, nor comparable teachings. It may be helpful for you to read the sections “The Message of the Crucifixion” (T.6.I) and “Atonement without Sacrifice” (T.3.I) for the Course’s teaching on the crucifixion and innocence.

infinite patience

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 2

ACIM Text Reading for August 2

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

VIII. The Meeting Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 2

Lesson 214

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

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

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

 

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #264: A clear picture of the theoretical foundations of A Course in Miracles for me is an essential base to get into practice. Therefore I’m studying the chart on your Web site http://www.facim.org/acim/theory.htm.

[1] I see the realms: one-mindedness, wrong-mindedness and right-mindedness. Which realm is the “decision maker” in? Does it dwell somewhere between wrong- and right-mindedness? Or do you see it more as a “part” of one of these realms?

[2] It is irritating to see the Holy Spirit between truth and illusion and to see the Holy Spirit in the following description of the Trinity as belonging to one-mindedness. I have more a picture in my mind that sees the Holy Spirit as a part of the illusory world — namely the right-mind — pointing out of it towards truth — or perhaps just being this right-minded world — and thus fulfilling a mediating role between wrong-mindedness and one-mindedness. Looking at the Trinity I see God and Christ in the one-minded realm and the Holy Spirit in the right-minded realm. That view makes it possible for the “me that lives in duality” to accept the idea that the Holy Spirit is a part of me. These ideas seem to contradict what is shown on http://ww.facim.org/acim/theory.htm. Can you help me in clearing up these thoughts?

A: 1) The decision maker is the part of the mind that chooses to identify with either the ego’s thought system or the Holy Spirit’s thought system. It is never neutral; it is always choosing one or the other. On the chart it would be located on the Level Two section right in the middle, above the wrong mind / right mind boxes.

2) Within the illusion, the Holy Spirit represents the Atonement principle in our right minds. He is described in many ways by Jesus, who shares His function of helping us climb back up the ladder separation led us down. When you, as a decision-making mind outside time and space, choose once and for all to let go of the ego and identify completely with your right mind, then you become the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, the same as Jesus. You would know that this is your only identity and the ego thought system of separation and individuality would be seen as totally meaningless. So the Holy Spirit is most definitely part of you, the part of your mind that contains the memory of God and your true Identity as Christ, with which you (as a decision-making mind) can choose to identify at any given instant.

There are two passages in particular that indicate that the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity and also functions as mediator: “And then the Voice [the Holy Spirit] is gone, no longer to take form but to return to the eternal Formlessness of God” (C.6.5:8). Similarly, in the text, he tells us: “The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception. He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time. Before that there was no need for healing, for no one was comfortless. The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind. When the Atonement is complete and the whole Sonship is healed there will be no Call to return. But what God creates is eternal. The Holy Spirit will remain with the Sons of God, to bless their creations and keep them in the light of joy” (T.5.I.5:4,5,6,7).

Finally, it is helpful to keep in mind when studying the chart that we are trying to diagram what is illusory (the mind that separated from God), and also what lies totally beyond form (God, Christ, and His creations). So while charts are useful teaching aides, they can never perfectly depict the thought systems discussed in the Course, which themselves are illusory.

shine it away

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 25

ACIM Text Reading for July 25

Chapter 23 ~ The War Against Yourself

V. Above the Battleground

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 25

Lesson 206

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

(186) Salvation of the world depends on me.

I am entrusted with the gifts of God, because I am His Son.
And I would give His gifts where He intended them to be.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #900What about solipsism [the theory that nothing exists or is real but the self ]? For me the greatest fear is that of cosmic aloneness. I sometimes wake up feeling, “It’s true! There is no one else.” The philosophers witter on about “private language,” but their arguments don’t stand up to the experience, horror, and the conviction. A Course in Miracles talks a lot about unification and how the split will return to being whole. Doesn’t that sound kind of lonely? Why “we”? Why not “I”? If I’m dreaming the perceived world, why aren’t I dreaming other people? When unification happens, the “Returning” as they say in Zen, why should this be good? Why not awful? Is it because bliss is a non-dual emotion, as against any kind of fear which is dualistic? That may be true, except the fear we call “horror” has a frozen feel to it, a sort of resignation.

A: Cosmic aloneness is probably one good definition of hell. But “aloneness” implies a self that experiences itself as a self, as does fear. And that is not what A Course in Miracles means by unity or oneness, which is a state transcending consciousness all together. Jesus tells us that in our present state there is no way we can understand “a Oneness joined as One” (T.25.I.7:2) . But he assures us often in the Course that when our minds are healed of all separation thoughts, we will be indescribably happy and peaceful, as in one instance he exclaims: “ O my brothers, if you only knew the peace that will envelop you and hold you safe and pure and lovely in the Mind of God, you could but rush to meet Him where His altar is. Hallowed your Name and His, for they are joined here in this holy place. Here He leans down to lift you up to Him, out of illusions into holiness; out of the world and to eternity; out of all fear and given back to love” (C.4.8:1,2,3). No solipsist has ever spoken like that! Egoless love and solipsism are mutually exclusive: “For it is the function of love to unite all things unto itself, and to hold all things together by extending its wholeness” (T.12.VIII.7:11) .

We need to learn — through the process of forgiveness — that we are the dreamers of our own dreams so that we can recover our mind’s power to choose. When we come back to that, we will clearly see what we chose against — a love embracing all creation as one — in order to have our individual existence. We will also realize the pain involved in maintaining that existence through denial and projection, and that will cause us to be less and less attracted to it, especially because we will have remembered it was a choice based on fictitious premises (the Course’s myth of the ego).

At the beginning of Lesson 107 , Jesus uses our language and familiar experience to give us a hint of what awaits us when our minds are healed:

“Can you imagine what a state of mind without illusions is? How it would feel? Try to remember when there was a time, — perhaps a minute, maybe even less — when nothing came to interrupt your peace; when you were certain you were loved and safe. Then try to picture what it would be like to have that moment be extended to the end of time and to eternity. Then let the sense of quiet that you felt be multiplied a hundred times, and then be multiplied another hundred more.

And now you have a hint, not more than just the faintest intimation of the state your mind will rest in when the truth has come. Without illusions there could be no fear, no doubt and no attack. . . . all pain is over . . .” (W.pI.107.2; 3:1,2,3).

The practice of forgiveness leads to the recognition of how painful it is to exist in a state of sepa­ration, a pain we have been denying. As that becomes clearer to us, our hold on separation decreases, realizing that it is a most unnatural state, and then we are attracted more and more to our natural state as the extension of God’s Love. We sacrifice nothing, feeling only gratitude for being home at last.

to hold and share

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 3

ACIM Text Reading for July 3

Chapter 20 ~ The Vision of Holiness

VIII. The Vision of Sinlessness

Vision will come to you at first in glimpses, but they will be enough to show you what is given you who see your brother sinless. Truth is restored to you through your desire, as it was lost to you through your desire for something else. Open the holy place that you closed off by valuing the “something else,” and what was never lost will quietly return. It has been saved for you. Vision would not be necessary had judgment not been made. Desire now its whole undoing, and it is done for you.

Do you not want to know your own Identity? Would you not happily exchange your doubts for certainty? Would you not willingly be free of misery, and learn again of joy? Your holy relationship offers all this to you. As it was given you, so will be its effects. And as its holy purpose was not made by you, the means by which its happy end is yours is also not of you. Rejoice in what is yours but for the asking, and think not that you need make either means or end. All this is given you who would but see your brother sinless. All this is given, waiting on your desire but to receive it. Vision is freely given to those who ask to see.

Your brother’s sinlessness is given you in shining light, to look on with the Holy Spirit’s vision and to rejoice in along with Him. For peace will come to all who ask for it with real desire and sincerity of purpose, shared with the Holy Spirit and at one with Him on what salvation is. Be willing, then, to see your brother sinless, that Christ may rise before your vision and give you joy. And place no value on your brother’s body, which holds him to illusions of what he is. It is his desire to see his sinlessness, as it is yours. And bless the Son of God in your relationship, nor see in him what you have made of him.

The Holy Spirit guarantees that what God willed and gave you shall be yours. This is your purpose now, and the vision that makes it yours is ready to be given. You have the vision that enables you to see the body not. And as you look upon your brother, you will see an altar to your Father, holy as Heaven, glowing with radiant purity and sparkling with the shining lilies you laid upon it. What can you value more than this? Why do you think the body is a better home, a safer shelter for God’s Son? Why would you rather look on it than on the truth? How can the engine of destruction be preferred, and chosen to replace the holy home the Holy Spirit offers, where He will dwell with you?

The body is the sign of weakness, vulnerability and loss of power. Can such a savior help you? Would you turn in your distress and need for help unto the helpless? Is the pitifully little the perfect choice to call upon for strength? Judgment will seem to make your savior weak. Yet it is you who need his strength. There is no problem, no event or situation, no perplexity that vision will not solve. All is redeemed when looked upon with vision. For this is not your sight, and brings with it the laws beloved of Him Whose sight it is.

Everything looked upon with vision falls gently into place, according to the laws brought to it by His calm and certain sight. The end for everything He looks upon is always sure. For it will meet His purpose, seen in unadjusted form and suited perfectly to meet it. Destructiveness becomes benign, and sin is turned to blessing under His gentle gaze. What can the body’s eyes perceive, with power to correct? Its eyes adjust to sin, unable to overlook it in any form and seeing it everywhere, in everything. Look through its eyes, and everything will stand condemned before you. All that could save you, you will never see. Your holy relationship, the source of your salvation, will be deprived of meaning, and its most holy purpose bereft of means for its accomplishment.

Judgment is but a toy, a whim, the senseless means to play the idle game of death in your imagination. But vision sets all things right, bringing them gently within the kindly sway of Heaven’s laws. What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this? And would you see it?

Hallucinations disappear when they are recognized for what they are. This is the healing and the remedy. Believe them not and they are gone. And all you need to do is recognize that you did this. Once you accept this simple fact and take unto yourself the power you gave them, you are released from them. One thing is sure; hallucinations serve a purpose, and when that purpose is no longer held they disappear. Therefore, the question never is whether you want them, but always, do you want the purpose that they serve? This world seems to hold out many purposes, each different and with different values. Yet they are all the same. Again there is no order; only a seeming hierarchy of values.

Only two purposes are possible. And one is sin, the other holiness. Nothing is in between, and which you choose determines what you see. For what you see is merely how you elect to meet your goal. Hallucinations serve to meet the goal of madness. They are the means by which the outside world, projected from within, adjusts to sin and seems to witness to its reality. It still is true that nothing is without. Yet upon nothing are all projections made. For it is the projection that gives the “nothing” all the meaning that it holds.

What has no meaning cannot be perceived. And meaning always looks within to find itself, and then looks out. All meaning that you give the world outside must thus reflect the sight you saw within; or better, if you saw at all or merely judged against. Vision is the means by which the Holy Spirit translates your nightmares into happy dreams; your wild hallucinations that show you all the fearful outcomes of imagined sin into the calm and reassuring sights with which he would replace them. These gentle sights and sounds are looked on happily, and heard with joy. They are His substitutes for all the terrifying sights and screaming sounds the ego’s purpose brought to your horrified awareness. They step away from sin, reminding you that it is not reality which frightens you, and that the errors which you made can be corrected.

When you have looked on what seemed terrifying, and seen it change to sights of loveliness and peace; when you have looked on scenes of violence and death, and watched them change to quiet views of gardens under open skies, with clear, life-giving water running happily beside them in dancing brooks that never waste away; who need persuade you to accept the gift of vision? And after vision, who is there who could refuse what must come after? Think but an instant just on this; you can behold the holiness God gave His Son. And never need you think that there is something else for you to see.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 3

Lesson 184

The Name of God is my inheritance.

You live by symbols. You have made up names for everything you see. Each one becomes a separate entity, identified by its own name. By this you carve it out of unity. By this you designate its special attributes, and set it off from other things by emphasizing space surrounding it. This space you lay between all things to which you give a different name; all happenings in terms of place and time; all bodies which are greeted by a name.

This space you see as setting off all things from one another is the means by which the world’s perception is achieved. You see something where nothing is, and see as well nothing where there is unity; a space between all things, between all things and you. Thus do you think that you have given life in separation. By this split you think you are established as a unity which functions with an independent will.

What are these names by which the world becomes a series of discrete events, of things ununified, of bodies kept apart and holding bits of mind as separate awarenesses? You gave these names to them, establishing perception as you wished to have perception be. The nameless things were given names, and thus reality was given them as well. For what is named is given meaning and will then be seen as meaningful; a cause of true effect, with consequence inherent in itself.

This is the way reality is made by partial vision, purposefully set against the given truth. Its enemy is wholeness. It conceives of little things and looks upon them. And a lack of space, a sense of unity or vision that sees differently, become the threats which it must overcome, conflict with and deny.

Yet does this other vision still remain a natural direction for the mind to channel its perception. It is hard to teach the mind a thousand alien names, and thousands more. Yet you believe this is what learning means; its one essential goal by which communication is achieved, and concepts can be meaningfully shared.

This is the sum of the inheritance the world bestows. And everyone who learns to think that it is so accepts the signs and symbols that assert the world is real. It is for this they stand. They leave no doubt that what is named is there. It can be seen, as is anticipated. What denies that it is true is but illusion, for it is the ultimate reality. To question it is madness; to accept its presence is the proof of sanity.

Such is the teaching of the world. It is a phase of learning everyone who comes must go through. But the sooner he perceives on what it rests, how questionable are its premises, how doubtful its results, the sooner does he question its effects. Learning that stops with what the world would teach stops short of meaning. In its proper place, it serves but as a starting point from which another kind of learning can begin, a new perception can be gained, and all the arbitrary names the world bestows can be withdrawn as they are raised to doubt.

Think not you made the world. Illusions, yes! But what is true in earth and Heaven is beyond your naming. When you call upon a brother, it is to his body that you make appeal. His true Identity is hidden from you by what you believe he really is. His body makes response to what you call him, for his mind consents to take the name you give him as his own. And thus his unity is twice denied, for you perceive him separate from you, and he accepts this separate name as his.

It would indeed be strange if you were asked to go beyond all symbols of the world, forgetting them forever; yet were asked to take a teaching function. You have need to use the symbols of the world a while. But be you not deceived by them as well. They do not stand for anything at all, and in your practicing it is this thought that will release you from them. They become but means by which you can communicate in ways the world can understand, but which you recognize is not the unity where true communication can be found.

Thus what you need are intervals each day in which the learning of the world becomes a transitory phase; a prison house from which you go into the sunlight and forget the darkness. Here you understand the Word, the Name which God has given you; the one Identity which all things share; the one acknowledgment of what is true. And then step back to darkness, not because you think it real, but only to proclaim its unreality in terms which still have meaning in the world that darkness rules.

Use all the little names and symbols which delineate the world of darkness. Yet accept them not as your reality. The Holy Spirit uses all of them, but He does not forget creation has one Name, one meaning, and a single Source which unifies all things within Itself. Use all the names the world bestows on them but for convenience, yet do not forget they share the Name of God along with you.

God has no name. And yet His Name becomes the final lesson that all things are one, and at this lesson does all learning end. All names are unified; all space is filled with truth’s reflection. Every gap is closed, and separation healed. The Name of God is the inheritance He gave to those who chose the teaching of the world to take the place of Heaven. In our practicing, our purpose is to let our minds accept what God has given as the answer to the pitiful inheritance you made as fitting tribute to the Son He loves.

No one can fail who seeks the meaning of the Name of God. Experience must come to supplement the Word. But first you must accept the Name for all reality, and realize the many names you gave its aspects have distorted what you see, but have not interfered with truth at all. One Name we bring into our practicing. One Name we use to unify our sight.

And though we use a different name for each awareness of an aspect of God’s Son, we understand that they have but one Name, which He has given them. It is this Name we use in practicing. And through Its use, all foolish separations disappear which kept us blind. And we are given strength to see beyond them. Now our sight is blessed with blessings we can give as we receive.

Father, our Name is Yours. In It we are united with all living things, and You Who are their one Creator. What we made and call by many different names is but a shadow we have tried to cast across Your Own reality. And we are glad and thankful we were wrong. All our mistakes we give to You, that we may be absolved from all effects our errors seemed to have. And we accept the truth You give, in place of every one of them. Your Name is our salvation and escape from what we made. Your Name unites us in the oneness which is our inheritance and peace. Amen.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #316: Lesson 184 paragraph 8 begins with: “Think not you made the world. Illusions, yes!” I have been studying A Course in Miracles for sometime and was under the understanding that God did not create the world, but we did as the ego. We, the ego, made (miscreated) the world in which to express our separateness. Paragraph 8 seems to say that we did not make the world, but we make the illusions we see that are not like God (the pain, suffering, lack, even love, etc.). What is the Course referring to as the world and what did God create and what did the ego create?

A: God creates only like Himself. Therefore His creations are the extension of His infinite Love and eternal Life. They are in Heaven, which is the state of perfect Oneness, and they have nothing to do with this finite world, nor can they be understood in terms of anything in this world, because this world was generated by the thought that God has been destroyed (an impossibility, of course).

The world we did not make is the real world. The Holy Spirit is the maker of the real world, which is the summation of His teaching us that the world is a classroom in which we learn that all this is an illusion. In the section called “Perception and Choice” in the text, Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as the “Maker of the world,” with a capital M (T.25.III.4,5,8). In those passages, it is unmistakably clear that the “Maker of the world” is the Maker of the real world. And the Holy Spirit is called Maker, not creator, because He makes an illusion. The real world is an illusion, but it is a helpful illusion. Thus when Jesus says, “Think not you made the world. Illusions, yes!” he is not talking about the illusion that forgiveness is. The point he is making is that we would recognize that the shift in perception that allows us to see the world as a classroom does not come from us. The source of that shift is the Holy Spirit.

*

Q #783I notice many similarities between A Course in Miracles and The Infinite Way teachings of Joel S. Goldsmith. Would you please comment on this?

A: Because all authentic spiritual teachings are leading in the same direction — towards an experience of oneness which transcends the false self, the finite ego — it is very likely that similarities and parallels in content can often be identified between paths. Certainly that can be said for the teachings of Joel S. Goldsmith and A Course in Miracles . Both, for example speak of our real existence as spirit, that the material world is an illusion and the body is merely an idea that expresses what is in the mind, that error or sickness is in the mind and not in the body, and that healing is the result of correcting a false belief in the mind.

And yet there are differences. For example, Joel Goldsmith speaks of God as Consciousness expressing itself. The Course, in contrast, speaks of consciousness as “the first split introduced into the mind after the separation” (T.3.IV.2:1) . The Holy Spirit, the Voice for God in the dream according to the Course, is more nearly equivalent to the concept of Consciousness that Goldsmith refers to in his teachings. In addition, Goldsmith speaks of God as the life, mind, body, and substance of individual being, and of the body as existing as the idea of God. And therefore, we will never be without conscious awareness of the body, nor without the body. The Course, in contrast, views the body as the embodiment of the ego’s wish that the separation be real (W.pI.72.2:1,2,3) , and teaches that the body nevertheless can be give a different purpose, that of healing and forgiveness, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. The body then will simply disappear from the mind once its usefulness to the Holy Spirit for healing is complete. And the emphasis of the Course, therefore, on looking at the ego and its thoughts of hatred and attack and guilt, is simply not reflected in Goldsmith’s approach.

This is not to say that one is right and the other is wrong — they are merely different. For as Jesus reminds us near the end of the Course, “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) . To the extent that both teachings lead us to release all of our preconceptions about how things should be, what our physical and emotional lives should be like, and any effort to control the external to achieve our personal goals, they are both fostering a nonjudgmental acceptance, which is what the Course means by forgiveness. And so both would be leading us toward the same universal experience.

Although addressed to the issue of different teachings on the Course itself, Question #48 provides a helpful perspective on thinking about the relationship of the Course to other spiritual paths, such as Goldsmith’s.

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 27

ACIM Text Reading for May 27

Chapter 16 ~ The Forgiveness of Illusions

VII. The End of Illusions

It is impossible to let the past go without relinquishing the special relationship. For the special relationship is an attempt to re-enact the past and change it. Imagined slights, remembered pain, past disappointments, perceived injustices and deprivations all enter into the special relationship, which becomes a way in which you seek to restore your wounded self-esteem. What basis would you have for choosing a special partner without the past? Every such choice is made because of something “evil” in the past to which you cling, and for which must someone else atone.

The special relationship takes vengeance on the past. By seeking to remove suffering in the past, it overlooks the present in its preoccupation with the past and its total commitment to it. No special relationship is experienced in the present. Shades of the past envelop it, and make it what it is. It has no meaning in the present, and if it means nothing now, it cannot have any real meaning at all. How can you change the past except in fantasy? And who can give you what you think the past deprived you of? The past is nothing. Do not seek to lay the blame for deprivation on it, for the past is gone. You cannot really not let go what has already gone. It must be, therefore, that you are maintaining the illusion that it has not gone because you think it serves some purpose that you want fulfilled. And it must also be that this purpose could not be fulfilled in the present, but only in the past.

Do not underestimate the intensity of the ego’s drive for vengeance on the past. It is completely savage and completely insane. For the ego remembers everything you have done that has offended it, and seeks retribution of you. The fantasies it brings to its chosen relationships in which to act out its hate are fantasies of your destruction. For the ego holds the past against you, and in your escape from the past it sees itself deprived of the vengeance it believes you so justly merit. Yet without your alliance in your own destruction, the ego could not hold you to the past. In the special relationship you are allowing your destruction to be. That this is insane is obvious. But what is less obvious is that the present is useless to you while you pursue the ego’s goal as its ally.

The past is gone; seek not to preserve it in the special relationship that binds you to it, and would teach you salvation is past and so you must return to the past to find salvation. There is no fantasy that does not contain the dream of retribution for the past. Would you act out the dream, or let it go?

In the special relationship it does not seem to be an acting out of vengeance that you seek. And even when the hatred and the savagery break briefly through, the illusion of love is not profoundly shaken. Yet the one thing the ego never allows to reach awareness is that the special relationship is the acting out of vengeance on yourself. Yet what else could it be? In seeking the special relationship, you look not for glory in yourself. You have denied that it is there, and the relationship becomes your substitute for it. And vengeance becomes your substitute for Atonement, and the escape from vengeance becomes your loss.

Against the ego’s insane notion of salvation the Holy Spirit gently lays the holy instant. We said before that the Holy Spirit must teach through comparisons, and uses opposites to point to truth. The holy instant is the opposite of the ego’s fixed belief in salvation through vengeance for the past. In the holy instant it is understood that the past is gone, and with its passing the drive for vengeance has been uprooted and has disappeared. The stillness and the peace of now enfold you in perfect gentleness. Everything is gone except the truth.

For a time you may attempt to bring illusions into the holy instant, to hinder your full awareness of the complete difference, in all respects, between your experience of truth and illusion. Yet you will not attempt this long. In the holy instant the power of the Holy Spirit will prevail, because you joined Him. The illusions you bring with you will weaken the experience of Him for a while, and will prevent you from keeping the experience in your mind. Yet the holy instant is eternal, and your illusions of time will not prevent the timeless from being what it is, nor you from experiencing it as it is.

What God has given you is truly given, and will be truly received. For God’s gifts have no reality apart from your receiving them. Your receiving completes His giving. You will receive because it is His Will to give. He gave the holy instant to be given you, and it is impossible that you receive it not because He gave it. When He willed that His Son be free, His Son was free. In the holy instant is His reminder that His Son will always be exactly as he was created. And everything the Holy Spirit teaches is to remind you that you have received what God has given you.

There is nothing you can hold against reality. All that must be forgiven are the illusions you have held against your brothers. Their reality has no past, and only illusions can be forgiven. God holds nothing against anyone, for He is incapable of illusions of any kind. 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.

Remember that you always choose between truth and illusion; between the real Atonement that would heal and the ego’s “atonement” that would destroy. The power of God and all His Love, without limit, will support you as you seek only your place in the plan of Atonement arising from His Love. Be an ally of God and not the ego in seeking how Atonement can come to you. His help suffices, for His Messenger understands how to restore the Kingdom to you, and to place all your investment in salvation in your relationship with Him.

Seek and find His message in the holy instant, where all illusions are forgiven. From there the miracle extends to bless everyone and to resolve all problems, be they perceived as great or small, possible or impossible. There is nothing that will not give place to Him and to His Majesty. To join in close relationship with Him is to accept relationships as real, and through their reality to give over all illusions for the reality of your relationship with God. Praise be to your relationship with Him and to no other. The truth lies there and nowhere else. You choose this or nothing.

Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You, in which there are no illusions, and where none can ever enter. Our holiness is Yours. What can there be in us that needs forgiveness when Yours is perfect? The sleep of forgetfulness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your Love. Let us not wander into temptation, for the temptation of the Son of God is not Your Will. And let us receive only what You have given, and accept but this into the minds which You created and which You love. Amen.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 27

Lesson 147

My mind holds only what I think with God.

(133) I will not value what is valueless.
(134) Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #167: I’ve often had experiences of deja vu, that sense of having been there before, that have turned out to be genuinely significant. The circumstances in which the experience has occurred have varied from pleasant enough to downright unpleasant or stressful, but often have not seemed to have any obviously direct bearing on the experience. But in retrospect the outcome of the situation has come to be something of a relief or possibly a blessing in disguise. I’m aware from my reading of A Course in Miracles and publications of Dr. Wapnick that, although time is an illusion and “this world was over long ago,” we experience and believe we still have choices to make, seemingly new. But we are really only “reviewing mentally what has gone by.” My question is, how does the experience of deja vu relate to the choice for either the ego’s tape or timeline, or the Holy Spirit’s for us? Is deja vu a reflection of the collective ego-mind? Or can it be a reflection of having made the correct choice through “the decision-maker,” outside of time and space and the ego’s dualistic world of limitations, however unpleasant or pleasant the circumstances seem to be at the time? And could the sense of familiarity then be an echo of our “distant” or subconscious memory of God before the separation, when we were all one with him as Christ, as we still are in reality? And so could deja vu be a reminder or reflection in this world that we are on the “right track” or still in our right minds? Or am I just reading too much into these experiences? And related to this, what is the role of coincidence or synchronicity in the everyday, if still illusory, world?

A: Experiences of deja vu are neutral in themselves. Since, as you remark, we are only ever “reviewing mentally what has gone by” (W.pI.158.4:5), all of our experiences potentially could be viewed as familiar. These would include both the ego’s scripts of specialness and the Holy Spirit’s correction scripts. Now most of the time, it will be in the ego’s best interest to keep that recognition from our awareness, for its defenses depend on a belief in linear time, flowing in only one direction, from past to future. Nevertheless, much as with psychic powers, reincarnation and past lives (M.24;25), it is the interpretation and purpose that we give to those experiences that determine whether they reinforce the ego’s specialness or the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness. If you have found that your experiences have ushered in opportunities for release of your judgments and guilt, then there has been a willingness on your part to allow them to serve that purpose. But they can just as easily be used to foster a preoccupation with the past, and specific and special relationships.

With respect to coincidence or synchronicity, since only one mind has written all the scripts, everything is interrelated and connected. Only because of our continued investment in seeing separation and differences do we fail to recognize the common threads running through all of our experiences. When coincidences are recognized, they can be used for the purposes of either the ego or the Holy Spirit. The choice is always ours. When serving the Holy Spirit’s, they are a reminder that decisions are being made at a level we are not usually conscious of and therefore they challenge the ego view that our reality is limited to this physical world. But a preoccupation with them can once again serve the ego’s purpose of specialness.

And so, whether we are dealing with deja vu, synchronicity, past lives or psychic powers, in every situation and circumstance, “the first thing to consider, very simply, is ‘What do I want to come of this? What is it for?’” (T.17.VI.2:1,2). If our purpose is to see beyond the petty specialness and judgments of the world, the Help we need will lift us above the self-imposed limits of our ego to a place where we can recognize our shared purpose with every brother and experience the joy of our interconnectedness with the entire Sonship.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 18

ACIM Text Reading for February 18

Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love

V. The Only Answer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 18

Lesson 49

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ACIM Q & A for Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

kingdom of god

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 7

ACIM Text Reading for February 7

Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness

II. The Invitation to the Holy Spirit

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

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

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

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

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

The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception. He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time. Before that there was no need for healing, for no one was comfortless. The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind. When the Atonement is complete and the whole Sonship is healed there will be no call to return. But what God creates is eternal. The Holy Spirit will remain with the Sons of God, to bless their creations and keep them in the light of joy.

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

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

First, its universality is perfectly clear, and no one who attains it could believe for one instant that sharing it involves anything but gain.
Second, it is incapable of attack and is therefore truly open. This means that although it does not engender knowledge, it does not obstruct it in any way.
Finally, it points the way beyond the healing that it brings, and leads the mind beyond its own integration toward the paths of creation. It is at this point that sufficient quantitative change occurs to produce a real qualitative shift.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 7

Lesson 38

There is nothing my holiness cannot do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1046: Is it possible to transcend the body and not be aware of it for sustained periods of time? I just want to have an experience where I know I am not a body. I feel like if I can’t have that experience then all this stuff that I have been learning is false — just a way of thinking to make me feel comfortable. I understand that minds can communicate, but that doesn’t prove our immortality. To me, that is like saying that radios are alive; they are just vibrations. Only when I know that I am not a body will I believe that we live forever.

A: This idea of transcending the body is the subject of “Beyond the Body” in Chapter 18 of the text (T.18.VI) . There Jesus speaks about it as the experience of “escape from limitations . . . a joining of yourself and something else in which your mind enlarges to encompass it. . . . What really happens is that you have given up the illusion of a limited awareness, and lost your fear of union. . . . You have accepted this instead of the body, and have let yourself be one with something beyond it, simply by not letting yourself be limited by it” (T.18.VI.11:3,4,7,11).

The Course’s process of getting us back to our natural state as spirit beyond the body (W.pI.72.9:3) involves reversing the steps we took to “become” bodies. As the above passages indicate, Jesus is telling us that because we have a such a fear of union (oneness), we cling to our perception of limitations in ourselves and others; and it is the body that serves this purpose of limiting our awareness. We can never know love as it truly is or ourselves as we truly are as long as we are convinced of the reality of the body: “The body is a limit on love. The belief in limited love was its origin, and it was made to limit the unlimited. . . . it was made to limit you ” (T.18.VIII.1:2,3,4) . But the way to reverse this, Jesus is teaching us, is to focus on the purpose of what we do with our bodies, rather than to try to talk ourselves into believing we are not bodies. Your insistence on experiencing yourself without a body could well be an ego setup — a way of making the error real . In other words, you would not be making this into a condition of accepting the Course as true unless you were not already convinced that you are a body.

So if we use the body to keep ourselves separate from others — through specialness, comparisons, competition, judgment, etc. — then we will always be limited by it and bound to it, for that is the secret wish behind our perception of separate interests. On the other hand, we can change that purpose by asking Jesus or the Holy Spirit to help us see that our interests are the same as everyone else’s. That would be to affirm our underlying will to regain awareness of our true state of oneness: God’s Son is one.

The Course’s means of having us get beyond the body is first to train us to think in terms of the purpose for which we use the body, and then, having chosen Jesus or the Holy Spirit as our Teacher instead of the ego, use the body for the purpose of dissolving the separation we thought existed between ourselves and everyone else — this is always a matter of our mind’s perception, not behavior. Again, this is accomplished through the recognition that our interests are the same, regardless of the different forms our lives take.

As our perceptions of separation gradually change to true perception of our oneness, then the importance of the body starts to fade. Our awareness of the body as our real identity, thus, is entirely dependent on the choice we make in our minds to see separation as real or unreal. If we choose to minimize in importance the differences among us, the body’s importance to us will likewise diminish, for our awareness will be flooded more and more with what joins us. The body’s reality in our awareness disappears to the extent to which our “fear of union” disappears. That is why the process of A Course in Miracles focuses so intently on undoing our perception that we are separate from one another. This process — forgiveness — does not focus on having us transcend the body through meditation or some other means, as do other spiritual paths; it has us focus on the cause of our thinking we are bodies in the first place, which is to maintain our existence as separate, special individuals. Again, that is not our natural state (W.pI.72.9:3) .

The “proof” of immortality that you are seeking will occur in these experiences of the holy instant and in true perception, where you realize that the boundaries that seem to separate you from others are totally false. This experience can be sustained for long periods of time, and indeed is the natural outcome of the practice of forgiveness. The sense of invulnerability that is our natural state as God’s Son will be restored in this way. But to have no awareness of the body at all is not the goal of our practice; it would be impossible to stay here without some awareness of the body. The difference would be that as your mind is healed, you would know for certain that you are not your body, and therefore that nothing in this world can affect the inner peace that is the permanent content of your mind.

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Q #1047: Did the Jewish People have a “collective consciousness” experience of God at Mount Sinai when they received the Torah? Or were they tapping into some illusory transmission of a set of rules to guide societal living, perhaps even a “close encounter,” so it could have been a very real feeling experience but not one of God if “He” has nothing to do with our dream of separation? And if any group relates to the idea of separation/good/evil it is certainly the Jewish People! It just bothers me, as a 10 year convert to Judaism and as a new student to A Course in Miracles , that as long as one insists on the existence of “good” in the world, it continually recreates its opposite of “bad,” so one can be “right” about others being “wrong.” And yet God IS good, light, and love, correct?

A: It can be fun to speculate on what the source may be for ideas and teachings that seem to allow mankind, or parts of mankind, to take steps forward in its thinking and understanding of where it has come from and where it is heading. But at this level of explanation, we can not go much beyond speculation. However, from the perspective of mind, as the Course describes it, there can be only two possible sources for all ideas that appear within the world’s dream — either the right mind or the wrong mind. And regardless of the source, there are also only two choices for how those ideas can then be used and justified in the world — either to reinforce or to undo the belief in separation and guilt.

The Torah, like nearly all of the world’s spiritual teachings, no doubt drew some of its inspiration from the right-mind, translated into symbols that were especially meaningful to the specific time and place into which it was received, at a level at which it could be understood. Read symbolically, despite a theology very different from the Course’s, the Torah can lead the individual to look beyond himself to Something that transcends his limited existence. But as its teachings over time became the foundation for codifications and rituals, it fell into the same spirit- denying strictures that have bedeviled nearly all of the world’s formal religions, elevating form above content to justify a belief in differences, specialness, and separation. There is no reason, by the way, to believe that the Course should be immune to such a fate, and it is not difficult to see how this is already happening with its teachings. Never underestimate the power of the ego to use all duality-based symbols for its own duplicitous purposes — self-preservation after all is its only motivation. And that, as you point out, is the problem for any spiritual teaching that keeps its focus on the world and getting things right here. Once that is the premise and the purpose, there is no way to avoid the trap of opposites, and the ego’s continued existence has been assured. That is why the Course, in contrast to nearly every other spiritual teaching, insists so uncompromisingly that God has nothing to do with the world ( e.g., T.8.VI.2,3; T.11.III.3; T.11.VII.1,2; T.12.III.9; T.16.V.3:6) , for the Love that He is has no opposite ( e.g., T.in.1:8; W.pI.127.3 ; W.pII.259.2) , and this is most definitely a world of opposites and opposition.

kingdom of god