ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 26

ACIM Text Reading for September 26

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

II. Walking with Christ
An ancient lesson is not overcome by the opposing of the new and old. It is not vanquished that the truth be known, nor fought against to lose to truth’s appeal. There is no battle that must be prepared; no time to be expended, and no plans that need be laid for bringing in the new. There is an ancient battle being waged against the truth, but truth does not respond. Who could be hurt in such a war, unless he hurts himself? He has no enemy in truth. And can he be assailed by dreams?

Let us review again what seems to stand between you and the truth of what you are. For there are steps in its relinquishment. The first is a decision that you make. But afterwards, the truth is given you. You would establish truth. And by your wish you set two choices to be made, each time you think you must decide on anything. Neither is true. Nor are they different. Yet must we see them both, before you can look past them to the one alternative that is a different choice. But not in dreams you made, that this might be obscured to you.

What you would choose between is not a choice and gives but the illusion it is free, for it will have one outcome either way. Thus is it really not a choice at all. The leader and the follower emerge as separate roles, each seeming to possess advantages you would not want to lose. So in their fusion there appears to be the hope of satisfaction and of peace. You see yourself divided into both these roles, forever split between the two. And every friend or enemy becomes a means to help you save yourself from this.

Perhaps you call it love. Perhaps you think that it is murder justified at last. You hate the one you gave the leader’s role when you would have it, and you hate as well his not assuming it at times you want to let the follower in you arise, and give away the role of leadership. And this is what you made your brother for, and learned to think that this his purpose is. Unless he serves it, he has not fulfilled the function that was given him by you. And thus he merits death, because he has no purpose and no usefulness to you.

And what of him? What does he want of you? What could he want, but what you want of him? Herein is life as easily as death, for what you choose you choose as well for him. Two calls you make to him, as he to you. Between these two is choice, because from them there is a different outcome. If he be the leader or the follower to you it matters not, for you have chosen death. But if he calls for death or calls for life, for hate or for forgiveness and for help, is not the same in outcome. Hear the one, and you are separate from him and are lost. But hear the other, and you join with him and in your answer is salvation found. The voice you hear in him is but your own. What does he ask you for? And listen well! For he is asking what will come to you, because you see an image of yourself and hear your voice requesting what you want.

Before you answer, pause to think of this:

“The answer that I give my brother is
What I am asking for. And what I learn
Of him is what I learn about myself.”
Then let us wait an instant and be still, forgetting everything we thought we heard; remembering how much we do not know. This brother neither leads nor follows us, but walks beside us on the selfsame road. He is like us, as near or far away from what we want as we will let him be. We make no gains he does not make with us, and we fall back if he does not advance. Take not his hand in anger but in love, for in his progress do you count your own. And we go separately along the way unless you keep him safely by your side.

Because he is your equal in God’s Love, you will be saved from all appearances and answer to the Christ Who calls to you. Be still and listen. Think not ancient thoughts. Forget the dismal lessons that you learned about this Son of God who calls to you. Christ calls to all with equal tenderness, seeing no leaders and no followers, and hearing but one answer to them all. Because He hears one Voice, He cannot hear a different answer from the one He gave when God appointed Him His only Son.

Be very still an instant. Come without all thought of what you ever learned before, and put aside all images you made. The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent. There will be no attack upon the things you thought were precious and in need of care. There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made. Nothing will hurt you in this holy place, to which you come to listen silently and learn the truth of what you really want. No more than this will you be asked to learn. But as you hear it, you will understand you need but come away without the thoughts you did not want, and that were never true.

Forgive your brother all appearances, that are but ancient lessons you have taught yourself about the sinfulness in you. Hear but his call for mercy and release from all the fearful images he holds of what he is and of what you must be. He is afraid to walk with you, and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back, and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey’s goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning’s outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you.

An instant spent without your old ideas of who your great companion is and what he should be asking for, will be enough to let this happen. And you will perceive his purpose is the same as yours. He asks for what you want, and needs the same as you. It takes, perhaps, a different form in him, but it is not the form you answer to. He asks and you receive, for you have come with but one purpose; that you learn you love your brother with a brother’s love. And as a brother, must his Father be the same as yours, as he is like yourself in truth.

Together is your joint inheritance remembered and accepted by you both. Alone it is denied to both of you. Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone, with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. And thus there is confusion, and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is, and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you, so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight, but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 26

Lesson 268
Let all things be exactly as they are.

Let me not be Your critic, Lord, today, and judge against You. Let me not attempt to interfere with Your creation, and distort it into sickly forms. Let me be willing to withdraw my wishes from its unity, and thus to let it be as You created it. For thus will I be able, too, to recognize my Self as You created me. In love was I created, and in love will I remain forever. What can frighten me, when I let all things be exactly as they are?

Let not our sight be blasphemous today, nor let our ears attend to lying tongues. Only reality is free of pain. Only reality is free of loss. Only reality is wholly safe. And it is only this we seek today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #38: What is the Course referring to when it says: “There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made” (T.31.II.8.5)?

A: The “call that never has been made” refers to the “call” to be separate from God, heard constantly in our wrong minds. It is impossible to separate from totality, from everything; therefore, the call “never was made.” That is another way of stating the Atonement principle that the separation never happened in reality. And we will not be punished for wishing to hear the call that tells us that our individual, separate identity is real. In a different context, Jesus says basically the same thing: “Here is your promise never to allow union to call you out of separation” (T.19.IV.D.3). But he never tires of reminding us that it is not a sin deserving of retribution to prefer to exist as an individual being and make up a God in our own image rather than answer the call of the Holy Spirit to return to our true Identity as spirit, as Christ. This is what is meant by: “There will be no assault…” It corrects the traditional biblical views that an offended, vengeful God demands atonement through sacrifice for the sins of His children.

*

Q #40: I have heard and read from some that the Course is not for everyone and some Course authorities go so far as to say that it is intended for a more intellectual/educated audience. I find this claim to be very dangerous. Are these claims true or are they nothing more than a form of seeking salvation through separation and a desire to create a level of specialness within a certain demographic namely those educated enough to understand, comprehend, live the Course? How do we reconcile these claims with the text statement: All are called?

A: Anyone at all can benefit from the Course. One does not have to be an intellectual to learn from it and use it as a spiritual path. Nonetheless, it is obvious that it is written on a high intellectual level with sophisticated metaphysical, theological, and psychological concepts integrated into the teaching throughout the three books. Much of it is written in blank verse. Thus, a reader/ student who is not intellectually inclined and has no background in these areas would have difficulty understanding a great deal of the material. This does not mean, though, that such a person could not be helped by reading through it and doing the exercises in the workbook. If the person comes away from the Course being more kind, more loving, and reassured of God’s Love, and less angry, depressed, and fearful, then its purpose has been fulfilled. On the other hand, there have been many highly educated people who were not able relate to the Course at all, for a variety of reasons. They will find another path more suitable to their needs and inclinations.

Thus, to say that the Course is not for everyone is not to say that it deliberately excludes people. The Course says of itself that it is only one among many thousands of other forms of the universal course (M.1.4). It does not have to be for everyone. Some religions have claimed that theirs is the only true religion, the only way to be reconciled with God. A Course in Miracles does not do that. Rather, the implication throughout the Course is that everyone will eventually find a path that will lead them to God. It does not have to be this one.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 1

ACIM Text Reading for August 1

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

II. The Link to Truth
It cannot be that it is hard to do the task that Christ appointed you to do, since it is He Who does it. And in the doing of it will you learn the body merely seems to be the means to do it. For the Mind is His. And so it must be yours. His Holiness directs the body through the mind at one with Him. And you are manifest unto your holy brother, as he to you. Here is the meeting of the holy Christ unto Himself; nor any differences perceived to stand between the aspects of His Holiness, which meet and join and raise Him to His Father, whole and pure and worthy of His everlasting Love.

How can you manifest the Christ in you except to look on holiness and see Him there? Perception tells you you are manifest in what you see. Behold the body, and you will believe that you are there. And every body that you look upon reminds you of yourself; your sinfulness, your evil and, above all, your death. And would you not despise the one who tells you this, and seek his death instead? The message and the messenger are one. And you must see your brother as yourself. Framed in his body you will see your sinfulness, wherein you stand condemned. Set in his holiness, the Christ in him proclaims Himself as you.

Perception is a choice of what you want yourself to be; the world you want to live in, and the state in which you think your mind will be content and satisfied. It chooses where you think your safety lies, at your decision. It reveals yourself to you as you would have you be. And always is it faithful to your purpose, from which it never separates, nor gives the slightest witness unto anything the purpose in your mind upholdeth not. Perception is a part of what it is your purpose to behold, for means and end are never separate. And thus you learn what seems to have a life apart has none.

You are the means for God; not separate, nor with a life apart from His. His life is manifest in you who are His Son. Each aspect of Himself is framed in holiness and perfect purity, in love celestial and so complete it wishes only that it may release all that it looks upon unto itself. Its radiance shines through each body that it looks upon, and brushes all its darkness into light merely by looking past it to the light. The veil is lifted through its gentleness, and nothing hides the face of Christ from its beholders. You and your brother stand before Him now, to let Him draw aside the veil that seems to keep you separate and apart.

Since you believe that you are separate, Heaven presents itself to you as separate, too. Not that it is in truth, but that the link that has been given you to join the truth may reach to you through what you understand. Father and Son and Holy Spirit are as One, as all your brothers join as one in truth. Christ and His Father never have been separate, and Christ abides within your understanding, in the part of you that shares His Father’s Will. The Holy Spirit links the other part–the tiny, mad desire to be separate, different and special–to the Christ, to make the oneness clear to what is really one. In this world this is not understood, but can be taught.

The Holy Spirit serves Christ’s purpose in your mind, so that the aim of specialness can be corrected where the error lies. Because His purpose still is one with Both the Father and the Son, He knows the Will of God and what you really will. But this is understood by mind perceived as one, aware that it is one, and so experienced. It is the Holy Spirit’s function to teach you how this oneness is experienced, what you must do that it can be experienced, and where you should go to do it.

All this takes note of time and place as if they were discrete, for while you think that part of you is separate, the concept of a Oneness joined as One is meaningless. It is apparent that a mind so split could never be the Teacher of a Oneness Which unites all things within Itself. And so What is within this mind, and does unite all things together, must be its Teacher. Yet must It use the language that this mind can understand, in the condition in which it thinks it is. And It must use all learning to transfer illusions to the truth, taking all false ideas of what you are, and leading you beyond them to the truth that is beyond them. All this can very simply be reduced to this:

What is the same can not be different,
And what is one can not have separate parts.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 1

Lesson 213
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

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

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

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #222: For some time now I have been studying the “human relations” techniques as taught by Dale Carnegie in his best selling books and famous seminar. Carnegie teaches that I should always talk in terms of others’ interests, that I should never tell others they’re wrong (but should call attention to their mistakes indirectly), and that the only way to win an argument is not to have one. I had avoided using these techniques until quite recently because I had considered them to be quite manipulative. In the language of A Course in Miracles, I believed it could even be stated that such techniques are attempts to murder other people because they are attempts to control others and get from them what I want. But over the last few weeks I have been using these techniques consistently, and I have been stunned at how well they have worked!

It recently occurred to me that Carnegie’s human relations techniques ultimately reveal the investment most of us have in maintaining our specialness and our separateness. In fact, such techniques seem to be geared toward helping others reinforce their own specialness and separateness as well. But there have also been times I realize when I could not have dealt in a civil manner with some people without using the Carnegie techniques. For some people (myself among them, I’m sure), the idea that they are not special or separate is a fearful idea. Could it be that in some cases the Carnegie techniques could actually be a form of forgiveness, just as taking medication for an illness is a form of forgiveness?

A: What you are recognizing is a fundamental teaching of the Course: that purpose is everything (T.4.V.6:8,9,10,11; T.24.VII.6:1,2,3). One of the most significant contributions of the Course to the world’s spiritualities is that, rather than advocating denial and rejection of the ways of the world, it teaches that we can use what the ego has made for separation and attack to serve a different purpose — forgiveness. The key is to be willing to allow the specific forms to serve the Holy Spirit’s purpose rather than our own (T.6.V.A.2:4,5).

You have recognized that tools of manipulation and murder in the hands of the ego can become the means for seeing both your brother and yourself in a different light. But first, you must have made a decision to see both of you differently — as having shared rather than separate interests. Your intent has shifted from having your own needs met through controlling your brother to recognizing at some level that you both have the same need to be forgiven, to be seen in the light of true charity. So now, what was made to reinforce separation and specialness becomes a means for undoing them. As always, the value lies not in the specific technique or form, but in the purpose you are giving it.

The issue of purpose is addressed further in Question #57.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 21

ACIM Text Reading for July 21

Chapter 23 ~ The War Against Yourself

IV. Salvation without Compromise
Is it not true you do not recognize some of the forms attack can take? If it is true attack in any form will hurt you, and will do so just as much as in another form that you do recognize, then it must follow that you do not always recognize the source of pain. Attack in any form is equally destructive. Its purpose does not change. Its sole intent is murder, and what form of murder serves to cover the massive guilt and frantic fear of punishment the murderer must feel? He may deny he is a murderer and justify his savagery with smiles as he attacks. Yet he will suffer, and will look on his intent in nightmares where the smiles are gone, and where the purpose rises to meet his horrified awareness and pursue him still. For no one thinks of murder and escapes the guilt the thought entails. If the intent is death, what matter the form it takes?

Is death in any form, however lovely and charitable it may seem to be, a blessing and a sign the Voice for God speaks through you to your brother? The wrapping does not make the gift you give. An empty box, however beautiful and gently given, still contains nothing. And neither the receiver nor the giver is long deceived. Withhold forgiveness from your brother and you attack him. You give him nothing, and receive of him but what you gave.

Salvation is no compromise of any kind. To compromise is to accept but part of what you want; to take a little and give up the rest. Salvation gives up nothing. It is complete for everyone. Let the idea of compromise but enter, and the awareness of salvation’s purpose is lost because it is not recognized. It is denied where compromise has been accepted, for compromise is the belief salvation is impossible. It would maintain you can attack a little, love a little, and know the difference. Thus it would teach a little of the same can still be different, and yet the same remain intact, as one. Does this make sense? Can it be understood?

This course is easy just because it makes no compromise. Yet it seems difficult to those who still believe that compromise is possible. They do not see that, if it is, salvation is attack. Yet it is certain the belief that salvation is impossible cannot uphold a quiet, calm assurance it has come. Forgiveness cannot be withheld a little. Nor is it possible to attack for this and love for that and understand forgiveness. Would you not want to recognize assault upon your peace in any form, if only thus does it become impossible that you lose sight of it? It can be kept shining before your vision, forever clear and never out of sight, if you defend it not.

Those who believe that peace can be defended, and that attack is justified on its behalf, cannot perceive it lies within them. How could they know? Could they accept forgiveness side by side with the belief that murder takes some forms by which their peace is saved? Would they be willing to accept the fact their savage purpose is directed against themselves? No one unites with enemies, nor is at one with them in purpose. And no one compromises with an enemy but hates him still, for what he kept from him.

Mistake not truce for peace, nor compromise for the escape from conflict. To be released from conflict means that it is over. The door is open; you have left the battleground. You have not lingered there in cowering hope that it will not return because the guns are stilled an instant, and the fear that haunts the place of death is not apparent. There is no safety in a battleground. You can look down on it in safety from above and not be touched. But from within it you can find no safety. Not one tree left still standing will shelter you. Not one illusion of protection stands against the faith in murder. Here stands the body, torn between the natural desire to communicate and the unnatural intent to murder and to die. Think you the form that murder takes can offer safety? Can guilt be absent from a battlefield?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 21

Lesson 202

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

(182) I will be still an instant and go home.

Why would I choose to stay an instant more where I do not
belong, when God Himself has given me His Voice to call
me home?

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #63: We were discussing anger in our study group and it was suggested that to experience anger, we would not “express” it outwardly, but instead, as the Course encourages us, be “Above the Battleground” (T.23.IV), “Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it” (5:1). This certainly sounds better than overtly abusing another with our anger. But what about the idea of yelling into a pillow or hitting a punching bag? Is that still considered attack? What if my anger is so intense that I am unable (unwilling) to “Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it”?

A: Your question suggests a confusion that many students often make in their work with the Course. The Course, like the Holy Spirit, is only concerned with content (thought) and not form (behavior). If I am in conflict and am feeling anger, I am no longer at peace, whether I act on that anger or not. Anger and attack are in the mind and that is where correction is needed. Being disciplined enough not to act out the anger, or to direct it at an inanimate object (such as a pillow or a punching bag) rather than at a person, has certain advantages in that it does not set in motion a possible sequence of overt attack and retaliation at the level of behavior which will almost certainly serve to reinforce the guilt in both your mind and the mind of the person you are attacking back. But the attack is still alive and well in your mind and the problem of the anger will not be resolved until you address it at its source in the mind. This will involve recognizing that your angry feelings and thoughts of attack have nothing to do with the other person at whom those feelings are directed and by whom they seem to have been elicited.

To “be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon” your anger is to remember that you are a mind that has a choice whether to look at the conflict with your ego or with the Holy Spirit as your teacher. When you “look” with your ego, you will still believe that your angry feelings are somehow justified, that at some level you have been treated unfairly and that your reaction is a reasonable one, even if you choose not to act on it. If that continues to be your perception, no healing has occurred.

But when you look with the Holy Spirit, you will come to understand that the problem is not the other person but rather a choice you first made within your own mind to see yourself as separate from love. That choice, as it always does, produces guilt, which you find unbearable. And so the guilt must be projected outside yourself, onto someone else whom you will want to see as treating you unfairly, upon whom the guilt can then rest. And so the feelings of conflict that have come from your own decision to separate in your mind from love then seem to be caused by what this other person has “done” to you. And yet if you had not chosen guilt in the first place, their words or actions would have absolutely no effect on you. The fact that they seem to only tells you about your prior decision to turn to your ego and away from love. Once you have accepted this realization and the correction offered by the Holy Spirit — that you are not separate from love and never have been — the guilt vanishes, as well as the anger and the conflict that were its effect, and you no longer need to see someone else as your opponent, deserving of your attack (in self-defense, of course!).

By the way, although the Course says that “anger is never justified” (T.30.VI.1:1) — and why that is true should be apparent from what we have just discussed — the Course never says we should not get angry. In fact, much of the Course is addressed at telling us what happens when we do get angry and how it can be corrected, and this is only because Jesus understands that we will continue to become angry and will need the correction he offers us. And sometimes we may be able to put the brakes on acting out our anger and sometimes we may feel compelled to act it out, but the problem — the guilt in our mind — and the solution — recognizing the choice of purpose we have in all of it — remain the same. Rather than denying our anger, Jesus wants us to look at it with him so we can recognize its real source, rather than attempt to justify it based on our mistaken perceptions of our own victimization. Our justifications, quite simply, are always invalid.

Into Christ's Presence

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 21

ACIM Text Reading for May 21

Chapter 16 ~ The Forgiveness of Illusions

IV. The Illusion and the Reality of Love

Be not afraid to look upon the special hate relationship, for freedom lies in looking at it. It would be impossible not to know the meaning of love, except for this. For the special love relationship, in which the meaning of love is hidden, is undertaken solely to offset the hate, but not to let it go. Your salvation will rise clearly before your open eyes as you look on this. You cannot limit hate. The special love relationship will not offset it, but will merely drive it underground and out of sight. It is essential to bring it into sight, and to make no attempt to hide it. For it is the attempt to balance hate with love that makes love meaningless to you. The extent of the split that lies in this you do not realise. And until you do the split will remain unrecognised, and therefore unhealed.

The symbols of hate against the symbols of love play out a conflict that does not exist. For symbols stand for something else, and the symbol of love is without meaning if love is everything. You will go through this last undoing quite unharmed, and will at last emerge as yourself. This is the last step in the readiness for God. Be not unwilling now; you are too near, and you will cross the bridge in perfect safety, translated quietly from war to peace. For the illusion of love will never satisfy; but its reality, which awaits you on the other side, will give you everything.

The special love relationship is an attempt to limit the destructive effects of hate by finding a haven in the storm of guilt. It makes no attempt to rise above the storm, into the sunlight. On the contrary, it emphasises the guilt outside the haven by attempting to build barricades against it, and keep within them. The special love relationship is not perceived as a value in itself, but as a place of safety from which hatred is split off and kept apart. The special love partner is acceptable only as long as he serves this purpose. Hatred can enter, and indeed is welcome in some aspects of the relationship, but it is still held together by the illusion of love. If the illusion goes, the relationship is broken or becomes unsatisfying on the grounds of disillusionment.

Love is not an illusion. It is a fact. Where disillusionment is possible, there was not love but hate. For hate is an illusion, and what can change was never love. It is sure that those who select certain ones as partners in any aspect of living, and use them for any purpose which they would not share with others, are trying to live with guilt rather than die of it. This is the choice they see. And love, to them, is only an escape from death. They seek it desperately, but not in the peace in which it would gladly come quietly to them. And when they find the fear of death is still upon them, the love relationship loses the illusion that it is what it is not. When the barricades against it are broken, fear rushes in and hatred triumphs.

There are no triumphs of love. Only hate is at all concerned with the ‘triumph of love’. The illusion of love can triumph over the illusion of hate, but always at the price of making both illusions. As long as the illusion of hatred lasts, so long will love be an illusion to you. And then the only choice remaining possible is which illusion you prefer. There is no conflict in the choice between truth and illusion. Seen in these terms, no-one would hesitate. But conflict enters the instant the choice seems to be one between illusions, but this choice does not matter. Where one choice is as dangerous as the other, the decision must be one of despair.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false. Every illusion is one of fear, whatever form it takes. And the attempt to escape from one illusion into another must fail. If you seek love outside yourself you can be certain that you perceive hatred within, and are afraid of it. Yet peace will never come from the illusion of love, but only from its reality.

Recognise this, for it is true, and truth must be recognised if it is to be distinguished from illusion: The special love relationship is an attempt to bring love into separation. And, as such, it is nothing more than an attempt to bring love into fear, and make it real in fear. In fundamental violation of love’s one condition, the special love relationship would accomplish the impossible. How but in illusion could this be done? It is essential that we look very closely at exactly what it is you think you can do to solve the dilemma which seems very real to you, but which does not exist. You have come close to truth, and only this stands between you and the bridge that leads you into it.

Heaven waits silently, and your creations are holding out their hands to help you cross and welcome them. For it is they you seek. You seek but for your own completion, and it is they who render you complete. The special love relationship is but a shabby substitute for what makes you whole in truth, not in illusion. Your relationship with them is without guilt, and this enables you to look on all your brothers with gratitude, because your creations were created in union with them. Acceptance of your creations is the acceptance of the oneness of creation, without which you could never be complete. No specialness can offer you what God has given, and what you are joined with Him in giving.

Across the bridge is your completion, for you will be wholly in God, willing for nothing special, but only to be wholly like to Him, completing Him by your completion. Fear not to cross to the abode of peace and perfect holiness. Only there is the completion of God and of His Son established forever. Seek not for this in the bleak world of illusion, where nothing is certain and where everything fails to satisfy. In the Name of God, be wholly willing to abandon all illusions. In any relationship in which you are wholly willing to accept completion, and only this, there is God completed, and His Son with Him.

The bridge that leads to union in yourself must lead to knowledge, for it was built with God beside you, and will lead you straight to Him where your completion rests, wholly compatible with His. Every illusion you accept into your mind by judging it to be attainable removes your own sense of completion, and thus denies the Wholeness of your Father. Every fantasy, be it of love or hate, deprives you of knowledge for fantasies are the veil behind which truth is hidden. To lift the veil that seems so dark and heavy, it is only needful to value truth beyond all fantasy, and to be entirely unwilling to settle for illusion in place of truth.

Would you not go through fear to love? For such the journey seems to be. Love calls, but hate would have you stay. Hear not the call of hate, and see no fantasies. For your completion lies in truth, and nowhere else. See in the call of hate, and in every fantasy that rises to delay you, but the call for help that rises ceaselessly from you to your Creator. Would He not answer you whose completion is His? He loves you, wholly without illusion, as you must love. For love is wholly without illusion, and therefore wholly without fear. Whom God remembers must be whole. And God has never forgotten what makes Him whole. In your completion lie the memory of His Wholeness and His gratitude to you for His completion. In His link with you lie both His inability to forget and your ability to remember. In Him are joined your willingness to love and all the Love of God, Who forgot you not.

Your Father can no more forget the truth in you than you can fail to remember it. The Holy Spirit is the bridge to Him, made from your willingness to unite with Him and created by His joy in union with you. The journey that seemed endless is almost complete, for what is endless is very near. You have almost recognised it. Turn with me firmly away from all illusions now, and let nothing stand in the way of truth. We will take the last useless journey away from truth together, and then together we go straight to God, in joyous answer to His call for His completion.

If special relationships of any kind would hinder God’s completion, can they have any value to you? What would interfere with God must interfere with you. Only in time does interference in God’s completion seem to be possible. The bridge that He would carry you across lifts you from time into eternity. Waken from time, and answer fearlessly the call of Him Who gave eternity to you in your creation. On this side of the bridge to timelessness you understand nothing. But as you step lightly across it, upheld by timelessness, you are directed straight to the Heart of God. At its centre, and only there, you are safe forever, because you are complete forever. There is no veil the Love of God in us together cannot lift. The way to truth is open. Follow it with me.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 21

Lesson 140
Only salvation can be said to cure.

“Cure” is a word that cannot be applied to any remedy the world accepts as beneficial. What the world perceives as therapeutic is but what will make the body “better.” When it tries to heal the mind, it sees no separation from the body, where it thinks the mind exists. Its forms of healing thus must substitute illusion for illusion. One belief in sickness takes another form, and so the patient now perceives himself as well.

He is not healed. He merely had a dream that he was sick, and in the dream he found a magic formula to make him well. Yet he has not awakened from the dream, and so his mind remains exactly as it was before. He has not seen the light that would awaken him and end the dream. What difference does the content of a dream make in reality? One either sleeps or wakens. There is nothing in between.

The happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings are different from the dreaming of the world, where one can merely dream he is awake. The dreams forgiveness lets the mind perceive do not induce another form of sleep, so that the dreamer dreams another dream. His happy dreams are heralds of the dawn of truth upon the mind. They lead from sleep to gentle waking, so that dreams are gone. And thus they cure for all eternity.

Atonement heals with certainty, and cures all sickness. For the mind which understands that sickness can be nothing but a dream is not deceived by forms the dream may take. Sickness where guilt is absent cannot come, for it is but another form of guilt. Atonement does not heal the sick, for that is not a cure. It takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible. And that is cure indeed. For sickness now is gone, with nothing left to which it can return.

Peace be to you who have been cured in God, and not in idle dreams. For cure must come from holiness, and holiness can not be found where sin is cherished. God abides in holy temples. He is barred where sin has entered. Yet there is no place where He is not. And therefore sin can have no home in which to hide from His beneficence. There is no place where holiness is not, and nowhere sin and sickness can abide.

This is the thought that cures. It does not make distinctions among unrealities. Nor does it seek to heal what is not sick, unmindful where the need for healing is. This is no magic. It is merely an appeal to truth, which cannot fail to heal and heal forever. It is not a thought that judges an illusion by its size, its seeming gravity, or anything that is related to the form it takes. It merely focuses on what it is, and knows that no illusion can be real.

Let us not try today to seek to cure what cannot suffer sickness. Healing must be sought but where it is, and then applied to what is sick, so that it can be cured. There is no remedy the world provides that can effect a change in anything. The mind that brings illusions to the truth is really changed. There is no change but this. For how can one illusion differ from another but in attributes that have no substance, no reality, no core, and nothing that is truly different?

Today we seek to change our minds about the source of sickness, for we seek a cure for all illusions, not another shift among them. We will try today to find the source of healing, which is in our minds because our Father placed it there for us. It is not farther from us than ourselves. It is as near to us as our own thoughts; so close it is impossible to lose. We need but seek it and it must be found.

We will not be misled today by what appears to us as sick. We go beyond appearances today and reach the source of healing, from which nothing is exempt. We will succeed to the extent to which we realize that there can never be a meaningful distinction made between what is untrue and equally untrue. Here there are no degrees, and no beliefs that what does not exist is truer in some forms than others. All of them are false, and can be cured because they are not true.

So do we lay aside our amulets, our charms and medicines, our chants and bits of magic in whatever form they take. We will be still and listen for the Voice of healing, which will cure all ills as one, restoring saneness to the Son of God. No voice but this can cure. Today we hear a single Voice which speaks to us of truth, where all illusions end, and peace returns to the eternal, quiet home of God.

We waken hearing Him, and let Him speak to us five minutes as the day begins, and end the day by listening again five minutes more before we go to sleep. Our only preparation is to let our interfering thoughts be laid aside, not separately, but all of them as one. They are the same. We have no need to make them different, and thus delay the time when we can hear our Father speak to us. We hear Him now. We come to Him today.

With nothing in our hands to which we cling, with lifted hearts and listening minds we pray:

Only salvation can be said to cure.
Speak to us, Father, that we may be healed.

And we will feel salvation cover us with soft protection, and with peace so deep that no illusion can disturb our minds, nor offer proof to us that it is real. This will we learn today. And we will say our prayer for healing hourly, and take a minute as the hour strikes, to hear the answer to our prayer be given us as we attend in silence and in joy. This is the day when healing comes to us. This is the day when separation ends, and we remember Who we really are.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #229: I am confused by a passage from Lesson #140 in A Course in Miracles: “Only salvation can be said to cure.” It says, “So do we lay aside our amulets, our charms and medicines …We will be still and listen for the Voice of healing, Which will cure all ills as one.…” I believe that we create our own sickness. I have had hypothyroidism for the past 24 years or so and have also been diagnosed with depression. I do believe in the absolute faith in God and His truth. Do I stop taking my medications? I realize that I have an underlying fear of the consequences of untreated hypothyroidism. Can my faith remove these conditions? Is the healing referred to here physical, spiritual, or otherwise. I feel very lost about this.

A: Please do not stop taking your medications. That is not the goal of this workbook lesson. Jesus would never ask us to give up anything in the world of form that still seems to help us feel better, that controls our bodily symptoms and reduces our pain and fear (T.2.IV.4:5,6,7,8,9,10; 5). He is only trying to get us to look beyond our tacit assumptions about sickness and cures.

Specifically, the purpose of this lesson is to help us begin to understand that it is not the body that is sick or that should be our focus for healing. Rather it is the mind that believes that separation and guilt are real. That is the idea behind the lines: “Atonement does not heal the sick, for that is not a cure. It takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible. And that is cure indeed” (W.pI.140.4:4,5,6). And later in the lesson, “Let us not try today to seek to cure what cannot suffer sickness [the body]. Healing must be sought but where it is [in the mind], and then applied to what is sick [the mind], so that it [the mind] can be cured” (W.pI.140.7:1,2). This idea is asserted with great clarity in the text: “The body needs no healing. But the mind that thinks it is a body is sick indeed!” (T.25.in.3:1,2).

This lesson is not attempting to bring about any change in our behavior, such as having us stop our medications. Rather, we are being invited to open up to a different way of thinking about what is sick and why. And once we begin to accept that illness is in the mind and comes from our unconscious but illusory belief in guilt — guilt over thinking we have separated ourselves from and attacked our Source — we can then begin to understand that healing simply involves a process of undoing these beliefs — what the Course refers to as forgiveness. So keep taking your medications, but at the same time, invite Jesus in to look with you at the guilt in your mind that has led you to believe not only that you are a body, but that you deserve to suffer. Jesus accepts neither of those beliefs about you, but you still do, and so you need his guidance.

As a point of clarification, the Course’s meaning of faith is different from traditional uses, such as in faith healing. God does not heal our sickness — the Course is not asking us to place our faith in Him to take away all our illness and pain. By faith, the Course is referring to the allegiance we give to either the ego or the Holy Spirit to guide our thinking, with the inevitable outcomes that follow putting our faith in each teacher (T.13.IX.2:3,4,5,6). Place your faith in the ego’s interpretation of yourself and others and you are guaranteeing yourself guilt, fear, pain, illness and death. Place your faith in the Holy Spirit’s interpretation and you are guaranteeing yourself peace, love, joy and life. And to place your faith in the Holy Spirit means that you are willing to replace judgment and attack upon yourself and others with the healing balm of forgiveness.

For related discussions on healing and illness, see also Questions #57, #128 and #142.

you have no idea

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 16

ACIM Text Reading for May 16

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

X. The Time of Rebirth

It is in your power, in time, to delay the perfect union of the Father and the Son. For in this world, the attraction of guilt does stand between them. Neither time nor season means anything in eternity. But here it is the Holy Spirit’s function to use them both, though not as the ego uses them. This is the season when you would celebrate my birth into the world. Yet you know not how to do it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you, and let me celebrate your birth through Him. The only gift I can accept of you is the gift I gave to you. Release me as I choose your own release. The time of Christ we celebrate together, for it has no meaning if we are apart.

The holy instant is truly the time of Christ. For in this liberating instant no guilt is laid upon the Son of God, and his unlimited power is thus restored to him. What other gift can you offer me, when only this I choose to offer you? And to see me is to see me in everyone, and offer everyone the gift you offer me. I am as incapable of receiving sacrifice as God is, and every sacrifice you ask of yourself you ask of me. Learn now that sacrifice of any kind is nothing but a limitation imposed on giving. And by this limitation you have limited acceptance of the gift I offer you.

We who are one cannot give separately. When you are willing to accept our relationship as real, guilt will hold no attraction for you. For in our union you will accept all of our brothers. The gift of union is the only gift that I was born to give. Give it to me, that you may have it. The time of Christ is the time appointed for the gift of freedom, offered to everyone. And by your acceptance of it, you offer it to everyone.
It is in your power to make this season holy, for it is in your power to make the time of Christ be now. It is possible to do this all at once because there is but one shift in perception that is necessary, for you made but one mistake. It seems like many, but it is all the same. For though the ego takes many forms, it is always the same idea. What is not love is always fear, and nothing else.

It is not necessary to follow fear through all the circuitous routes by which it burrows underground and hides in darkness, to emerge in forms quite different from what it is. Yet it is necessary to examine each one as long as you would retain the principle that governs all of them. When you are willing to regard them, not as separate, but as different manifestations of the same idea, and one you do not want, they go together. The idea is simply this: You believe it is possible to be host to the ego or hostage to God. This is the choice you think you have, and the decision you believe that you must make. You see no other alternatives, for you cannot accept the fact that sacrifice gets nothing. Sacrifice is so essential to your thought system that salvation apart from sacrifice means nothing to you. Your confusion of sacrifice and love is so profound that you cannot conceive of love without sacrifice. And it is this that you must look upon; sacrifice is attack, not love. If you would accept but this one idea, your fear of love would vanish. Guilt cannot last when the idea of sacrifice has been removed. For if there is sacrifice, someone must pay

The idea is simply this: You believe it is possible to be host to the ego or hostage to God. This is the choice you think you have, and the decision you believe that you must make. You see no other alternatives, for you cannot accept the fact that sacrifice gets nothing. Sacrifice is so essential to your thought system that salvation apart from sacrifice means nothing to you. Your confusion of sacrifice and love is so profound that you cannot conceive of love without sacrifice. And it is this that you must look upon; sacrifice is attack, not love. If you would accept but this one idea, your fear of love would vanish. Guilt cannot last when the idea of sacrifice has been removed. For if there is sacrifice, someone must pay

The idea is simply this: You believe it is possible to be host to the ego or hostage to God. This is the choice you think you have, and the decision you believe that you must make. You see no other alternatives, for you cannot accept the fact that sacrifice gets nothing. Sacrifice is so essential to your thought system that salvation apart from sacrifice means nothing to you. Your confusion of sacrifice and love is so profound that you cannot conceive of love without sacrifice. And it is this that you must look upon; sacrifice is attack, not love. If you would accept but this one idea, your fear of love would vanish. Guilt cannot last when the idea of sacrifice has been removed. For if there is sacrifice, someone must pay and someone must get. And the only question that remains is how much is the price, and for getting what.

As host to the ego, you believe that you can give all your guilt away whenever you want, and thereby purchase peace. And the payment does not seem to be yours. While it is obvious that the ego does demand payment it never seems to be demanding it of you. You are unwilling to recognize that the ego, which you invited, is treacherous only to those who think they are its host. The ego will never let you perceive this, since this recognition would make it homeless. For when the recognition dawns clearly, you will not be deceived by any form the ego takes to protect itself from your sight. Each form will be recognized as but a cover for the one idea that hides behind them all; that love demands sacrifice, and is therefore inseparable from attack and fear. And that guilt is the price of love, which must be paid by fear.

How fearful, then, has God become to you, and how great a sacrifice do you believe His Love demands! For total love would demand total sacrifice. And so the ego seems to demand less of you than God, and of the two is judged as the lesser of two evils, one to be feared a little, perhaps, but the other to be destroyed. For you see love as destructive, and your only question is who is to be destroyed, you or another? You seek to answer this question in your special relationships, in which you seem to be both destroyer and destroyed in part, but able to be neither completely. And this you think saves you from God, Whose total Love would completely destroy you.

You think that everyone outside yourself demands your sacrifice, but you do not see that only you demand sacrifice, and only of yourself. Yet the demand of sacrifice is so savage and so fearful that you cannot accept it where it is. The real price of not accepting this has been so great that you have given God away rather than look at it. For if God would demand total sacrifice of you, it seems safer to project Him outward and away from you, and not be host to Him. To Him you ascribed the ego’s treachery, inviting it to take His place to protect you from Him. And you do not recognize that it is what you invited in that would destroy you, and does demand total sacrifice of you. No partial sacrifice will appease this savage guest, for it is an invader who but seems to offer kindness, but always to make the sacrifice complete.

You will not succeed in being partial hostage to the ego, for it keeps no bargains and would leave you nothing. You must choose between total freedom and total bondage, for there are no alternatives but these. You have tried many compromises in the attempt to avoid recognizing the one decision you must make. And yet it is the recognition of the decision, just as it is, that makes the decision so easy. Salvation is simple, being of God, and therefore very easy to understand. Do not try to project it from you and see it outside yourself. In you are both the question and the answer; the demand for sacrifice and the peace of God.

***

ACIM Workook Lesson for May 16
Lesson 135

If I defend myself I am attacked.

Who would defend himself unless he thought he were attacked, that the attack were real, and that his own defense could save himself? And herein lies the folly of defense; it gives illusions full reality, and then attempts to handle them as real. It adds illusions to illusions, thus making correction doubly difficult. And it is this you do when you attempt to plan the future, activate the past, or organize the present as you wish.

You operate from the belief you must protect yourself from what is happening because it must contain what threatens you. A sense of threat is an acknowledgment of an inherent weakness; a belief that there is danger which has power to call on you to make appropriate defense. The world is based on this insane belief. And all its structures, all its thoughts and doubts, its penalties and heavy armaments, its legal definitions and its codes, its ethics and its leaders and its gods, all serve but to preserve its sense of threat. For no one walks the world in armature but must have terror striking at his heart.

Defense is frightening. It stems from fear, increasing fear as each defense is made. You think it offers safety. Yet it speaks of fear made real and terror justified. Is it not strange you do not pause to ask, as you elaborate your plans and make your armor thicker and your locks more tight, what you defend, and how, and against what?
Let us consider first what you defend. It must be something that is very weak and easily assaulted. It must be something made easy prey, unable to protect itself and needing your defense. What but the body has such frailty that constant care and watchful, deep concern are needful to protect its little life? What but the body falters and must fail to serve the Son of God as worthy host?

Yet it is not the body that can fear, nor be a thing of fear. It has no needs but those which you assign to it. It needs no complicated structures of defense, no health-inducing medicine, no care and no concern at all. Defend its life, or give it gifts to make it beautiful or walls to make it safe, and you but say your home is open to the thief of time, corruptible and crumbling, so unsafe it must be guarded with your very life.

Is not this picture fearful? Can you be at peace with such a concept of your home? Yet what endowed the body with the right to serve you thus except your own belief? It is your mind which gave the body all the functions that you see in it, and set its value far beyond a little pile of dust and water. Who would make defense of something that he recognized as this?

The body is in need of no defense. This cannot be too often emphasized. It will be strong and healthy if the mind does not abuse it by assigning it to roles it cannot fill, to purposes beyond its scope, and to exalted aims which it cannot accomplish. Such attempts, ridiculous yet deeply cherished, are the sources for the many mad attacks you make upon it. For it seems to fail your hopes, your needs, your values and your dreams.

The “self” that needs protection is not real. The body, valueless and hardly worth the least defense, need merely be perceived as quite apart from you, and it becomes a healthy, serviceable instrument through which the mind can operate until its usefulness is over. Who would want to keep it when its usefulness is done?

Defend the body and you have attacked your mind. For you have seen in it the faults, the weaknesses, the limits and the lacks from which you think the body must be saved. You will not see the mind as separate from bodily conditions. And you will impose upon the body all the pain that comes from the conception of the mind as limited and fragile, and apart from other minds and separate from its Source.

These are the thoughts in need of healing, and the body will respond with health when they have been corrected and replaced with truth. This is the body’s only real defense. Yet is this where you look for its defense? You offer it protection of a kind from which it gains no benefit at all, but merely adds to your distress of mind. You do not heal, but merely take away the hope of healing, for you fail to see where hope must lie if it be meaningful.

A healed mind does not plan. It carries out the plans that it receives through listening to wisdom that is not its own. It waits until it has been taught what should be done, and then proceeds to do it. It does not depend upon itself for anything except its adequacy to fulfill the plans assigned to it. It is secure in certainty that obstacles can not impede its progress to accomplishment of any goal that serves the greater plan established for the good of everyone.

A healed mind is relieved of the belief that it must plan, although it cannot know the outcome which is best, the means by which it is achieved, nor how to recognize the problem that the plan is made to solve. It must misuse the body in its plans until it recognizes this is so. But when it has accepted this as true, then is it healed, and lets the body go.

Enslavement of the body to the plans the unhealed mind sets up to save itself must make the body sick. It is not free to be the means of helping in a plan which far exceeds its own protection, and which needs its service for a little while. In this capacity is health assured. For everything the mind employs for this will function flawlessly, and with the strength that has been given it and cannot fail.

It is, perhaps, not easy to perceive that self-initiated plans are but defenses, with the purpose all of them were made to realize. They are the means by which a frightened mind would undertake its own protection, at the cost of truth. This is not difficult to realize in some forms which these self-deceptions take, where the denial of reality is very obvious. Yet planning is not often recognized as a defense.

The mind engaged in planning for itself is occupied in setting up control of future happenings. It does not think that it will be provided for, unless it makes its own provisions. Time becomes a future emphasis, to be controlled by learning and experience obtained from past events and previous beliefs. It overlooks the present, for it rests on the idea the past has taught enough to let the mind direct its future course.

The mind that plans is thus refusing to allow for change. What it has learned before becomes the basis for its future goals. Its past experience directs its choice of what will happen. And it does not see that here and now is everything it needs to guarantee a future quite unlike the past, without a continuity of any old ideas and sick beliefs. Anticipation plays no part at all, for present confidence directs the way.

Defenses are the plans you undertake to make against the truth. Their aim is to select what you approve, and disregard what you consider incompatible with your beliefs of your reality. Yet what remains is meaningless indeed. For it is your reality that is the “threat” which your defenses would attack, obscure, and take apart and crucify.

What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? Perhaps you have misunderstood His plan, for He would never offer pain to you. But your defenses did not let you see His loving blessing shine in every step you ever took. While you made plans for death, He led you gently to eternal life.

Your present trust in Him is the defense that promises a future undisturbed, without a trace of sorrow, and with joy that constantly increases, as this life becomes a holy instant, set in time, but heeding only immortality. Let no defenses but your present trust direct the future, and this life becomes a meaningful encounter with the truth that only your defenses would conceal.

Without defenses, you become a light which Heaven gratefully acknowledges to be its own. And it will lead you on in ways appointed for your happiness according to the ancient plan, begun when time was born. Your followers will join their light with yours, and it will be increased until the world is lighted up with joy. And gladly will our brothers lay aside their cumbersome defenses, which availed them nothing and could only terrify.

We will anticipate that time today with present confidence, for this is part of what was planned for us. We will be sure that everything we need is given us for our accomplishment of this today. We make no plans for how it will be done, but realize that our defenselessness is all that is required for the truth to dawn upon our minds with certainty.

For fifteen minutes twice today we rest from senseless planning, and from every thought that blocks the truth from entering our minds. Today we will receive instead of plan, that we may give instead of organize. And we are given truly, as we say:

If I defend myself I am attacked.
But in defenselessness I will be strong,
and I will learn what my defenses hide.

Nothing but that. If there are plans to make, you will be told of them. They may not be the plans you thought were needed, nor indeed the answers to the problems which you thought confronted you. But they are answers to another kind of question, which remains unanswered yet in need of answering until the Answer comes to you at last.

All your defenses have been aimed at not receiving what you will receive today. And in the light and joy of simple trust, you will but wonder why you ever thought that you must be defended from release. Heaven asks nothing. It is hell that makes extravagant demands for sacrifice. You give up nothing in these times today when, undefended, you present yourself to your Creator as you really are.

He has remembered you. Today we will remember Him. For this is Eastertime in your salvation. And you rise again from what was seeming death and hopelessness. Now is the light of hope reborn in you, for now you come without defense, to learn the part for you within the plan of God. What little plans or magical beliefs can still have value, when you have received your function from the Voice for God Himself?

Try not to shape this day as you believe would benefit you most. For you can not conceive of all the happiness that comes to you without your planning. Learn today. And all the world will take this giant stride, and celebrate your Eastertime with you. Throughout the day, as foolish little things appear to raise defensiveness in you and tempt you to engage in weaving plans, remind yourself this is a special day for learning, and acknowledge it with this:

This is my Eastertime. And I would keep it holy.
I will not defend myself, because the Son of God
needs no defense against the truth of his reality.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #225: I am reading A Course in Miracles for the second time and I am having trouble with Lesson 135. Does it mean that if someone physically attacks you or verbally attacks you, you should just do nothing? Should you allow someone to physically “beat you up”? I don’t think this is what it means. I just want to make sure I am interpreting this correctly. Does the practice of martial arts conflict with the Course’s teachings?

A: You are correct with regard to Lesson 135 “If I defend myself I am attacked.” It does not mean that you should allow yourself to be beaten up or abused, or to watch someone else being abused without intervening. This is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied concepts in the entire Course. It is important to remember that the Course is never talking about behavior, and that the practice of the Course should never exclude common sense. The Course is always focusing on the content in our minds. Thus, you can be in your right mind and forcibly stop another person from hitting you, or you can be in your wrong mind and do that. You can be in your right mind and do nothing, or you can be in your wrong mind and do nothing. If we can get past our ego for an instant, then anything we do or do not do would be “right.”

Throughout the Course, Jesus is always teaching us that our thinking flows from either the ego’s thought system or the Holy Spirit’s, whichever we have chosen. Thus in this lesson he is specifically teaching us that whenever we perceive ourselves attacked and we feel a need to defend ourselves, we have reinforced a self-concept of fear and vulnerability, which means we see ourselves as a body, not as God created us. Only if we are afraid would we have need of defenses. That is helpful information, for it lets us know which thought system we are identified with. But we cannot correct our faulty self-concept simply by allowing ourselves to be abused or violated in some way. That would not advance us spiritually, just as removing all locks from our doors and canceling insurance policies would not advance us spiritually. As long as we experience ourselves as bodies, then we need to respond to and respect our bodily needs, both physical and psychological.

Jesus is speaking to us from his perspective as a healed mind, which knows with certainty that bodies and this world are totally illusory. He is simply saying that we, whose minds are not healed, should pay careful attention to the thought system we have chosen to identify with, and then ask his help to look through his eyes to see what this world is really like, and what its purpose is. Then we would have a basis for choosing differently. He is helping us realize that there is an inherent fear in everyone, and that it is coming from our minds, not from hostile elements in the world or the body, which are all part of the ego’s strategy to keep us mindless. A defense against the fear and guilt in our minds is not necessary, because they are made up by the ego. We need only ask his help to correct our mistaken choice to identify with the ego thought system of sin, guilt, and fear. And we know that we have made that mistaken choice every time we experience ourselves as vulnerable and attacked. Again, that does not mean that we do not protect ourselves in whatever way is appropriate in the world, including the use of martial arts.

Finally, Jesus does not mean in this lesson that we should never make plans; he means only that we should consult with him first, because as unhealed minds we have no idea of what is in our best interests, or in anyone else’s best interests. We must even be vigilant about presuming to know what our problems are, lest we fall into the ego trap of telling Jesus or the Holy Spirit how They should solve our problems. Our energies and efforts would be much better placed in asking for help to forgive, for that alone will remove the barriers to our truly hearing the Voice for Love, Whose wisdom would gently guide us in all our words and actions. Guilt is the problem, forgiveness is the answer. We need never get more specific than that.

here to represent

certain as godtotal commitment

health is inner peace

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 15

ACIM Text Reading for May 15

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

IX. The Holy Instant and the Attraction of God

As the ego would limit your perception of your brothers to the body, so would the Holy Spirit release your vision and let you see the Great Rays shining from them, so unlimited that they reach to God. It is this shift to vision that is accomplished in the holy instant. Yet it is needful for you to learn just what this shift entails, so you will become willing to make it permanent. Given this willingness it will not leave you, for it is permanent. Once you have accepted it as the only perception you want, it is translated into knowledge by the part that God Himself plays in the Atonement, for it is the only step in it He understands. Therefore, in this there will be no delay when you are ready for it. God is ready now, but you are not.

Our task is but to continue, as fast as possible, the necessary process of looking straight at all the interference and seeing it exactly as it is. For it is impossible to recognise as wholly without gratification what you think you want. The body is the symbol of the ego, as the ego is the symbol of the separation. And both are nothing more than attempts to limit communication, and thereby to make it impossible. For communication must be unlimited in order to have meaning, and deprived of meaning, it will not satisfy you completely. Yet it remains the only means by which you can establish real relationships, which have no limits, having been established by God.

In the holy instant, where the Great Rays replace the body in awareness, the recognition of relationships without limits is given you. But in order to see this, it is necessary to give up every use the ego has for the body, and to accept the fact that the ego has no purpose you would share with it. For the ego would limit everyone to a body for its own purposes, and while you think it has a purpose, you will choose to utilise the means by which it tries to turn its purpose into accomplishment. This will never be accomplished. Yet you have surely recognised that the ego, whose goals are altogether unattainable, will strive for them with all its might, and will do so with the strength that you have given it.

It is impossible to divide your strength between Heaven and hell, God and the ego, and release your power to creation, which is the only purpose for which it was given you. Love would always give increase. Limits are demanded by the ego, and represent its demands to make little and ineffectual. Limit your sight of a brother to his body, which you will do as long as you would not release him from it, and you have denied his gift to you. His body cannot give it. And seek it not through yours. Yet your minds are already continuous, and their union need only be accepted and the loneliness in Heaven is gone.

If you would but let the Holy Spirit tell you of the Love of God for you, and the need your creations have to be with you forever, you would experience the attraction of the eternal. No one can hear Him speak of this and long remain willing to linger here. For it is your will to be in Heaven, where you are complete and quiet, in such sure and loving relationships that any limit is impossible. Would you not exchange your little relationships for this? For the body is little and limited, and only those whom you would see without the limits the ego would impose on them can offer you the gift of freedom.

You have no conception of the limits you have placed on your perception, and no idea of all the loveliness that you could see. But this you must remember; the attraction of guilt opposes the attraction of God. His attraction for you remains unlimited, but because your power, being His, is as great as His, you can turn away from love. What you invest in guilt you withdraw from God. And your sight grows weak and dim and limited, for you have attempted to separate the Father from the Son, and limit their communication. Seek not Atonement in further separation. And limit not your vision of God’s Son to what interferes with his release, and what the Holy Spirit must undo to set him free. For his belief in limits has imprisoned him.

When the body ceases to attract you, and when you place no value on it as a means of getting anything, then there will be no interference in communication and your thoughts will be as free as God’s. As you let the Holy Spirit teach you how to use the body only for purposes of communication, and renounce its use for separation and attack which the ego sees in it, you will learn you have no need of a body at all. In the holy instant there are no bodies, and you experience only the attraction of God. Accepting it as undivided you join Him wholly, in an instant, for you would place no limits on your union with Him. The reality of this relationship becomes the only truth that you could ever want. All truth is here.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 15

Lesson 134
Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.

Let us review the meaning of “forgive,” for it is apt to be distorted and to be perceived as something that entails an unfair sacrifice of righteous wrath, a gift unjustified and undeserved, and a complete denial of the truth. In such a view, forgiveness must be seen as mere eccentric folly, and this course appear to rest salvation on a whim.

This twisted view of what forgiveness means is easily corrected, when you can accept the fact that pardon is not asked for what is true. It must be limited to what is false. It is irrelevant to everything except illusions. Truth is God’s creation, and to pardon that is meaningless. All truth belongs to Him, reflects His laws and radiates His Love. Does this need pardon? How can you forgive the sinless and eternally benign?

The major difficulty that you find in genuine forgiveness on your part is that you still believe you must forgive the truth, and not illusions. You conceive of pardon as a vain attempt to look past what is there; to overlook the truth, in an unfounded effort to deceive yourself by making an illusion true. This twisted viewpoint but reflects the hold that the idea of sin retains as yet upon your mind, as you regard yourself.

Because you think your sins are real, you look on pardon as deception. For it is impossible to think of sin as true and not believe forgiveness is a lie. Thus is forgiveness really but a sin, like all the rest. It says the truth is false, and smiles on the corrupt as if they were as blameless as the grass; as white as snow. It is delusional in what it thinks it can accomplish. It would see as right the plainly wrong; the loathsome as the good.

Pardon is no escape in such a view. It merely is a further sign that sin is unforgivable, at best to be concealed, denied or called another name, for pardon is a treachery to truth. Guilt cannot be forgiven. If you sin, your guilt is everlasting. Those who are forgiven from the view their sins are real are pitifully mocked and twice condemned; first, by themselves for what they think they did, and once again by those who pardon them.

It is sin’s unreality that makes forgiveness natural and wholly sane, a deep relief to those who offer it; a quiet blessing where it is received. It does not countenance illusions, but collects them lightly, with a little laugh, and gently lays them at the feet of truth. And there they disappear entirely.

Forgiveness is the only thing that stands for truth in the illusions of the world. It sees their nothingness, and looks straight through the thousand forms in which they may appear. It looks on lies, but it is not deceived. It does not heed the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt. It looks on them with quiet eyes, and merely says to them, “My brother, what you think is not the truth.”

The strength of pardon is its honesty, which is so uncorrupted that it sees illusions as illusions, not as truth. It is because of this that it becomes the undeceiver in the face of lies; the great restorer of the simple truth. By its ability to overlook what is not there, it opens up the way to truth, which has been blocked by dreams of guilt. Now are you free to follow in the way your true forgiveness opens up to you. For if one brother has received this gift of you, the door is open to yourself.

There is a very simple way to find the door to true forgiveness, and perceive it open wide in welcome. When you feel that you are tempted to accuse someone of sin in any form, do not allow your mind to dwell on what you think he did, for that is self-deception. Ask instead, “Would I accuse myself of doing this?”

Thus will you see alternatives for choice in terms that render choosing meaningful, and keep your mind as free of guilt and pain as God Himself intended it to be, and as it is in truth. It is but lies that would condemn. In truth is innocence the only thing there is. Forgiveness stands between illusions and the truth; between the world you see and that which lies beyond; between the hell of guilt and Heaven’s gate.

Across this bridge, as powerful as love which laid its blessing on it, are all dreams of evil and of hatred and attack brought silently to truth. They are not kept to swell and bluster, and to terrify the foolish dreamer who believes in them. He has been gently wakened from his dream by understanding what he thought he saw was never there. And now he cannot feel that all escape has been denied to him.

He does not have to fight to save himself. He does not have to kill the dragons which he thought pursued him. Nor need he erect the heavy walls of stone and iron doors he thought would make him safe. He can remove the ponderous and useless armor made to chain his mind to fear and misery. His step is light, and as he lifts his foot to stride ahead a star is left behind, to point the way to those who follow him.

Forgiveness must be practiced, for the world cannot perceive its meaning, nor provide a guide to teach you its beneficence. There is no thought in all the world that leads to any understanding of the laws it follows, nor the Thought that it reflects. It is as alien to the world as is your own reality. And yet it joins your mind with the reality in you.

Today we practice true forgiveness, that the time of joining be no more delayed. For we would meet with our reality in freedom and in peace. Our practicing becomes the footsteps lighting up the way for all our brothers, who will follow us to the reality we share with them. That this may be accomplished, let us give a quarter of an hour twice today, and spend it with the Guide Who understands the meaning of forgiveness, and was sent to us to teach it. Let us ask of Him:

Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.

Then choose one brother as He will direct, and catalogue his “sins,” as one by one they cross your mind. Be certain not to dwell on any one of them, but realize that you are using his “offenses” but to save the world from all ideas of sin. Briefly consider all the evil things you thought of him, and each time ask yourself, “Would I condemn myself for doing this?”

Let him be freed from all the thoughts you had of sin in him. And now you are prepared for freedom. If you have been practicing thus far in willingness and honesty, you will begin to sense a lifting up, a lightening of weight across your chest, a deep and certain feeling of relief. The time remaining should be given to experiencing the escape from all the heavy chains you sought to lay upon your brother, but were laid upon yourself.

Forgiveness should be practiced through the day, for there will still be many times when you forget its meaning and attack yourself. When this occurs, allow your mind to see through this illusion as you tell yourself:

Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.
Would I accuse myself of doing this?
I will not lay this chain upon myself.

In everything you do remember this:

No one is crucified alone, and yet no one
can enter Heaven by himself.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #190: A two-part question regarding the ‘script’ of our lives:

i: If I choose my parents, nationality, sex, time I live in before I’m born, what contingencies are there in my life? Many or none? Is it all spelled out beforehand so all I’m choosing at each moment is crucifixion or resurrection? What, in other words, is not written beforehand?

ii: What role does the right mind have in choosing all of the above beforehand?

A: We set certain seemingly unchangeable parameters for each lifetime, including those you list above. But even some of these can shift as the mind chooses: one learns as an adult that he or she was adopted; someone opts for a sex change operation, etc. Part of the ego’s seductive allurement is that we do have choice at the level of form and this is the great distraction. For we believe the problem of our guilt over separation, which remains buried in our mind, can be resolved “by making some sort of insane ‘arrangement’ with the world” (T.12.III.6:5) — what A Course in Miracles calls magic (M.16.8,9,11). So the ego maintains the illusion of choice at the level of form, keeping hidden from us the fact that we are always choosing the same content: separation and guilt. And we never address the real underlying problem of the guilt in our mind.

Now it is true that the Course teaches that everything has already happened and that linear time is not real — everything is already written beforehand (W.pI.158.3,4). But that does not mean that everything in an individual lifetime is predetermined. The pool of possible events is predetermined, but we have a moment-by-moment choice about which relationships and events we will access and review (for a more extended discussion of this, see Question #37).

Despite all these options, the most helpful frame of reference we can adopt is to remember that, regardless of the possibilities on the level of form, the only real choice we are confronted with in each moment is the one between crucifixion and resurrection.

Since we always have a right mind while we still believe in the reality of separation, we have the option of turning to our right mind about any decision we are making, including how to approach a new relationship, a new career, or a new lifetime. The distinction between before and during a lifetime is really an arbitrary one that our ego mind wishes to reinforce, making the state of our mind seem somehow qualitatively different during this lifetime from the state of the mind when this lifetime is still only an option being considered. And so, as with every choice, we can make it with either the ego or the Holy Spirit as our teacher. And as most of us do, we may vacillate between the wrong mind and the right mind, sometimes making choices based on our desire for specialness and sometimes choosing in order to learn our lessons of forgiveness. This is true, from the perspective of illusory linear time, both before and during each lifetime Again, whether we are choosing the parameters for an upcoming lifetime or the parameters within a current lifetime, the options and the process in the mind remain the same.

Q #191: I would like to know your opinion on “special relationships.” Is every relationship in which there is love a special one? The relationship with your children for instance? Is it enough that only one in the relationship have knowledge about A Course in Miracles?

A: The Course tells us that every relationship, whether we define it as a love or hate relationship, is special. The ego uses every relationship to project guilt onto another for our decision to separate from God. Using the relationship for purposes of projection is an attack, which the Course calls hate. Every special relationship is therefore actually a hate relationship, camouflaged in some cases as “love.” The ego identifies every person as a body, and relates to each one as a body, which according to the Course is another form of attack on the Son of God, who is not a body. The projection of guilt and perception of body identity are fundamental characteristics of the special relationship. Although we may be unaware of them, these are the dynamics at work in every relationship. It is difficult to apply this concept to our relationships with our children because the world has glorified parenthood, and we use children and family relationships to express “love” as defined by the ego. The care, concern, and attention that is given to children is not love as the Course defines it; they are part of the dynamic the ego has set up as “pseudo love,” which is actually a substitute for God’s love. This substitution is another important characteristic of the special relationship. Anyone or anything that is used in an attempt to fill the void left by our seeming separation from God is what the Course calls special. Children fit the ego’s plan perfectly because they come into the world totally dependent on the care of others, having been given “life” by parents who will hopefully meet all their needs for growth and sustenance. Part of the parenthood dysfunction is the belief, on the part of parents, that children will meet their needs as well. This mutual dependency, in which each agrees to sacrifice in order to have their own needs met, is the “bargain” that the ego claims will keep everyone safe and “happy.” It sometimes seems to work, frequently it is beset with great pain and conflict, driven by intense feelings of guilt. The Course gives us a vivid description: “All special relationships have sin as their goal. For they are bargains with reality, toward which the seeming union is adjusted. Forget not this; to bargain is to set a limit, and any brother with whom you have a limited relationship, you hate. You may attempt to keep the bargain in the name of “fairness,” sometimes demanding payment of yourself, perhaps more often of the other. Thus in the “fairness” you attempt to ease the guilt that comes from the accepted purpose of the relationship. And that is why the Holy Spirit must change its purpose to make it useful to Him and harmless to you” (T.21.III.1).

In this, as with everything the Course teaches, it is enough that only one person in the relationship be a student of the Course. The practice of the Course’s teaching requires only that the individual look carefully at all the thoughts of judgment in any relationship, and recognize the ego’s purpose at work in all of them. The purpose is always to make the separation real, and strengthen our belief that we can make a world of our own that will meet our needs better than God ever could. We do not do this for anyone but ourselves. When we recognize the ego’s ploys, and begin to realize that our pain is actually coming from our alliance with the ego’s thought system of separation, guilt, and attack, we have the opportunity to turn to the Holy Spirit, whose thought system reinterprets everything the ego has made, and ask for help. The help is not to change anyone else in the dream, but for ourselves to accept His purpose. Although this may not bring about any change in form in our relationships, the purpose will be transformed: “…the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships, but would transform them. And all that is meant by that is that He will restore to them the function given them by God. The function you have given them is clearly not to make happy. But the holy relationship shares God’s purpose, rather than aiming to make a substitute for it. Every special relationship you have made is a substitute for God’s Will, and glorifies yours instead of His because of the illusion that they are different” (T.17.IV.2:3,4,5,6,7). Eventually, as this is practiced more and more the pain of special relationships will be replaced by the peace of the holy relationship.

kingdom of god

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 3

ACIM Text Reading for May 3

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

VIII. The Holy Meeting Place

In the darkness you have obscured the glory God gave you, and the power He bestowed upon His guiltless Son. All this lies hidden in every darkened place, shrouded in guilt and in the dark denial of innocence. Behind the dark doors you have closed lies nothing, because nothing can obscure the gift of God. It is the closing of the doors that interferes with recognition of the power of God that shines in you. Banish not power from your mind, but let all that would hide your glory be brought to the judgement of the Holy Spirit, and there undone. Whom He would save for glory is saved for it. He has promised the Father that through Him you would be released from littleness to glory. To what He promised God He is wholly faithful, for He shares with God the promise that was given Him to share with you.

He shares it still, for you. Everything that promises otherwise, great or small, however much or little valued, He will replace with the one promise given unto Him to lay upon the altar to your Father and His Son. No altar stands to God without His Son. And nothing brought there that is not equally worthy of both, but will be replaced by gifts wholly acceptable to Father and to Son. Can you offer guilt to God? You cannot, then, offer it to His Son. For they are not apart, and gifts to one are offered to the other. You know not God because you know not this. And yet you do know God and also this. All this is safe within you, where the Holy Spirit shines. He shines not in division, but in the meeting place where God, united with His Son, speaks to His Son through Him. Communication between what cannot be divided cannot cease. The holy meeting place of the un-separated Father and His Son lies in the Holy Spirit and in you. All interference in the communication that God Himself wills with His Son is quite impossible here. Unbroken and uninterrupted love flows constantly between the Father and the Son, as both would have it be. And so it is.

Let your mind wander not through darkened corridors, away from light’s centre. You and your brother may choose to lead yourselves astray, but you can be brought together only by the Guide appointed for you. He will surely lead you to where God and His Son await your recognition. They are joined in giving you the gift of oneness, before which all separation vanishes. Unite with what you are. You cannot join with anything except reality. God’s glory and His Son’s belong to you in truth. They have no opposite, and nothing else can you bestow upon yourself.

There is no substitute for truth. And truth will make this plain to you as you are brought into the place where you must meet with truth. And there you must be led, through gentle understanding which can lead you nowhere else. Where God is, there are you. Such is the truth. Nothing can change the knowledge, given you by God, into unknowingness. Everything God created knows its Creator. For this is how creation is accomplished by the Creator and by His creations. In the holy meeting place are joined the Father and His creations, and the creations of His Son with Them together. There is one link that joins them all together, holding them in the oneness out of which creation happens.

The link with which the Father joins Himself to those He gives the power to create can never be dissolved. Heaven itself is union with all of creation, and with its one Creator. And Heaven remains the Will of God for you. Lay no gifts other than this upon your altars, for nothing can coexist with it. Here your little offerings are brought together with the gift of God, and only what is worthy of the Father will be accepted by the Son, for whom it is intended. To whom God gives Himself, He is given. Your little gifts will vanish on the altar, where He has placed His Own.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 3

Lesson 122
Forgiveness offers everything I want.

What could you want forgiveness cannot give? Do you want peace? Forgiveness offers it. Do you want happiness, a quiet mind, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth and beauty that transcends the world? Do you want care and safety, and the warmth of sure protection always? Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that never can be hurt, a deep, abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect it can never be upset?

All this forgiveness offers you, and more. It sparkles on your eyes as you awake, and gives you joy with which to meet the day. It soothes your forehead while you sleep, and rests upon your eyelids so you see no dreams of fear and evil, malice and attack. And when you wake again, it offers you another day of happiness and peace. All this forgiveness offers you, and more.

Forgiveness lets the veil be lifted up that hides the face of Christ from those who look with unforgiving eyes upon the world. It lets you recognize the Son of God, and clears your memory of all dead thoughts so that remembrance of your Father can arise across the threshold of your mind. What would you want forgiveness cannot give? What gifts but these are worthy to be sought? What fancied value, trivial effect or transient promise, never to be kept, can hold more hope than what forgiveness brings?

Why would you seek an answer other than the answer that will answer everything? Here is the perfect answer, given to imperfect questions, meaningless requests, halfhearted willingness to hear, and less than halfway diligence and partial trust. Here is the answer! Seek for it no more. You will not find another one instead.

God’s plan for your salvation cannot change, nor can it fail. Be thankful it remains exactly as He planned it. Changelessly it stands before you like an open door, with warmth and welcome calling from beyond the doorway, bidding you to enter in and make yourself at home, where you belong.

Here is the answer! Would you stand outside while all of Heaven waits for you within? Forgive and be forgiven. As you give you will receive. There is no plan but this for the salvation of the Son of God. Let us today rejoice that this is so, for here we have an answer, clear and plain, beyond deceit in its simplicity. All the complexities the world has spun of fragile cobwebs disappear before the power and the majesty of this extremely simple statement of the truth.

Here is the answer! Do not turn away in aimless wandering again. Accept salvation now. It is the gift of God, and not the world. The world can give no gifts of any value to a mind that has received what God has given as its own. God wills salvation be received today, and that the intricacies of your dreams no longer hide their nothingness from you.

Open your eyes today and look upon a happy world of safety and of peace. Forgiveness is the means by which it comes to take the place of hell. In quietness it rises up to greet your open eyes, and fill your heart with deep tranquility as ancient truths, forever newly born, arise in your awareness. What you will remember then can never be described. Yet your forgiveness offers it to you.

Remembering the gifts forgiveness gives, we undertake our practicing today with hope and faith that this will be the day salvation will be ours. Earnestly and gladly will we seek for it today, aware we hold the key within our hands, accepting Heaven’s answer to the hell we made, but where we would remain no more.

Morning and evening do we gladly give a quarter of an hour to the search in which the end of hell is guaranteed. Begin in hopefulness, for we have reached the turning point at which the road becomes far easier. And now the way is short that yet we travel. We are close indeed to the appointed ending of the dream.

Sink into happiness as you begin these practice periods, for they hold out the sure rewards of questions answered and what your acceptance of the answer brings. Today it will be given you to feel the peace forgiveness offers, and the joy the lifting of the veil holds out to you.

Before the light you will receive today the world will fade until it disappears, and you will see another world arise you have no words to picture. Now we walk directly into light, and we receive the gifts that have been held in store for us since time began, kept waiting for today.

Forgiveness offers everything you want. Today all things you want are given you. Let not your gifts recede throughout the day, as you return again to meet a world of shifting change and bleak appearances. Retain your gifts in clear awareness as you see the changeless in the heart of change; the light of truth behind appearances.

Be tempted not to let your gifts slip by and drift into forgetfulness, but hold them firmly in your mind by your attempts to think of them at least a minute as each quarter of an hour passes by. Remind yourself how precious are these gifts with this reminder, which has power to hold your gifts in your awareness through the day:

Forgiveness offers everything I want.
Today I have accepted this as true.
Today I have received the gifts of God.

© Foundation for Inner Peace • PO Box 598 • Mill Valley, CA 94942-0598

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1315 : I recently gave a special relationship to the Holy Spirit after the other person said that it was causing him too much mental anguish. I know the teachings of the Course, and I cannot understand that the relationship isn’t becoming increasingly “beneficent and joyous,” even if only in my mind. It is still causing me heartache and I think about this person all day and night. I am trying my best not to see him as a body and project my “special love” thoughts onto him, but it just doesn’t seem to be getting any easier for me. Am I doing something wrong? There isn’t much else I can do but to pray for him and hand over the relationship to the Holy Spirit, is there? When the Course says our minds are joined, does that mean he must be thinking the same thing? I am very confused.

A: To clear up your confusion, you need to understand an important fact about A Course in Miracles . The Course is not addressing you as the individual you think you are within this dream. Instead, Jesus is speaking to the decision making part of your mind — outside of the illusion of time and space — which has the ability to choose between the thought system of the ego or the thought system of the Holy Spirit. Thus, when he says that minds are joined, he does not mean that your individual mind is joined with that of another individual within this world. Rather, he means that all our minds are joined in reality because we all come from the same source and share the same thought systems. We all have the capacity to think either the ego’s thoughts of sin, guilt, and fear, or the Holy Spirit’s thoughts of love and forgiveness, inspired by the memory of God’s all-encompassing Love.

The Course would not ask you to struggle not to see another person as a body or to stop projecting your special love thoughts onto him. Instead, it would advise you to ask the Holy Spirit to help you simply watch all your troubling thoughts without judging them. In this way, you could gently learn to accept yourself even when you are obsessing, longing, depressed, and so on. As you do so, your mind will become an increasingly beneficent and joyous place, which will then be reflected in your experience of your relationships. This does not mean that you will always get what you think you want from others on the level of form. But you will start to be happier and more peaceful regardless of what happens externally because you will know that the love you seek is inside of you, not something you need from another.

One final note: The Course offers a path for transforming our mind, which can ultimately lead us to a far greater sense of peace and happiness than we have previously known. However, it is a very gradual process and one that, because of our fear and resistance, can seem at times to make us more afraid, confused, and even depressed. For this reason, it is important not to view applying Course principles to our problems as a quick fix that will instantly take us from despair to joy. As Course students, we need to expect challenging times as we ” question every value that [we] hold ” (T.24.in.2:2) .

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 29

ACIM Text Reading for April 29

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

IV. Your Function in the Atonement

When you accept a brother’s guiltlessness you will see the Atonement in him. For by proclaiming it in him you make it yours, and you will see what you sought. You will not see the symbol of your brother’s guiltlessness shining within him while you still believe it is not there. His guiltlessness is your Atonement. Grant it to him, and you will see the truth of what you have acknowledged. Yet truth is offered first to be received, even as God gave it first to His Son. The first in time means nothing, but the First in eternity is God the Father, Who is both First and One. Beyond the First there is no other, for there is no order, no second or third, and nothing but the First.

You who belong to the First Cause, created by Him like unto Himself and part of Him, are more than merely guiltless. The state of guiltlessness is only the condition in which what is not there has been removed from the disordered mind that thought it was. This state, and only this, must you attain, with God beside you. For until you do, you will still think that you are separate from Him. You can perhaps feel His Presence next to you, but cannot know that you are one with Him. This cannot be taught. Learning applies only to the condition in which it happens of itself.

When you have let all that obscured the truth in your most holy mind be undone for you, and therefore stand in grace before your Father, He will give Himself to you as He has always done. Giving Himself is all He knows, and so it is all knowledge. For what He knows not cannot be, and therefore cannot be given. Ask not to be forgiven, for this has already been accomplished. Ask, rather, to learn how to forgive, and to restore what always was to your unforgiving mind. Atonement becomes real and visible to those who use it. On earth this is your only function, and you must learn that it is all you want to learn. You will feel guilty till you learn this. For in the end, whatever form it takes, your guilt arises from your failure to fulfil your function in God’s Mind with all of yours. Can you escape this guilt by failing to fulfil your function here?

You need not understand creation to do what must be done before that knowledge would be meaningful to you. God breaks no barriers; neither did He make them. When you release them they are gone. God will not fail, nor ever has in anything. Decide that God is right and you are wrong about yourself. He created you out of Himself, but still within Him. He knows what you are. Remember that there is no second to Him. There cannot, therefore, be anyone without His Holiness, nor anyone unworthy of His perfect Love. Fail not in your function of loving in a loveless place made out of darkness and deceit, for thus are darkness and deceit undone. Fail not yourself, but instead offer to God and you His blameless Son. For this small gift of appreciation for His Love, God will Himself exchange your gift for His.

Before you make any decisions for yourself, remember that you have decided against your function in Heaven, and then consider carefully whether you want to make decisions here. Your function here is only to decide against deciding what you want, in recognition that you do not know. How, then, can you decide what you should do? Leave all decisions to the One Who speaks for God, and for your function as He knows it. So will He teach you to remove the awful burden you have laid upon yourself by loving not the Son of God, and trying to teach him guilt instead of love. Give up this frantic and insane attempt that cheats you of the joy of living with your God and Father, and of waking gladly to His Love and Holiness that join together as the truth in you, making you one with Him.

When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer. Only your own volition seems to make deciding hard. The Holy Spirit will not delay in answering your every question what to do. He knows. And He will tell you, and then do it for you. You who are tired will find this is more restful than sleep. For you can bring your guilt into sleeping, but not into this.

Unless you are guiltless you cannot know God, Whose Will is that you know Him. Therefore, you must be guiltless. Yet if you do not accept the necessary conditions for knowing Him, you have denied Him and do not recognise Him, though He is all around you. He cannot be known without His Son, whose guiltlessness is the condition for knowing Him. Accepting His Son as guilty is denial of the Father so complete, that knowledge is swept away from recognition in the very mind where God Himself has placed it. If you would but listen, and learn how impossible this is! Do not endow Him with attributes you understand. You made Him not, and anything you understand is not of Him.

Your task is not to make reality. It is here without your making, but not without you. You who have tried to throw yourself away and valued God so little, hear me speak for Him and for yourself. You cannot understand how much your Father loves you, for there is no parallel in your experience of the world to help you understand it. There is nothing on earth with which it can compare, and nothing you have ever felt apart from Him resembles it ever so faintly. You cannot even give a blessing in perfect gentleness. Would you know of One Who gives forever, and Who knows of nothing except giving?

The children of Heaven live in the light of the blessing of their Father, because they know that they are sinless. The Atonement was established as the means of restoring guiltlessness to minds that have denied it, and thus denied Heaven to itself. Atonement teaches you the true condition of the Son of God. It does not teach you what you are, or what your Father is. The Holy Spirit, who remembers this for you, merely teaches you how to remove the blocks that stand between you and what you know. His memory is yours. If you remember what you have made, you are remembering nothing. Remembrance of reality is in Him, and therefore in you.

The guiltless and the guilty are totally incapable of understanding one another. Each perceives the other as like himself, making both unable to communicate, because each sees the other unlike the way he sees himself. God can communicate only to the Holy Spirit in your mind, because only He shares the knowledge of what you are with God. And only the Holy Spirit can answer God for you, for only He knows what God is. Everything else that you have placed within your mind cannot exist, for what is not in communication with the Mind of God has never been. Communication with God is life. Nothing without it is at all.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 29

Lesson 118
For morning and evening review:

(105) God’s peace and joy are mine.

Today I will accept God’s peace and joy, in glad
exchange for all the substitutes that I have made
for happiness and peace.

(106) Let me be still and listen to the truth.

Let my own feeble voice be still, and let me hear the
mighty Voice for Truth Itself assure me that I am
God’s perfect Son.

On the hour:

God’s peace and joy are mine.

On the half hour:

Let me be still and listen to the truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #15: I want to change my mind about death. I just had several loved ones “gently lay their bodies aside” yet it is grief that I am drawn to. Grief is not love, therefore it does not exist. Right? I must have made it? Can you articulate for me, based on various Course passages, a general response that would incorporate the Course’s theories so that I may apply them to this experience of grief in the world of illusion. What about repression and denial of this experience?

A: The Course never asks us to repress or deny what we are experiencing, whether it be grief or anger or pain or fear or any other ego-based reaction. But before we can change our mind about our feelings, we need first to understand what purpose they serve and why we have chosen to experience them. The feeling of grief reinforces the ego’s assertion that loss and death are real and that we can be and are deprived of love. Our experience cries out that Jesus is wrong, that we have been hurt and abandoned and left on our own. We are not being asked to deny that this is our experience. But that does not make it true.

In a graphic description of the world, Jesus says, “The world you see is the delusional system of those made mad by guilt…all the laws that seem to govern it are the laws of death. Children are born into it through pain and in pain. Their growth is attended by suffering, and they learn of sorrow and separation and death. Their minds seem to be trapped in their brain, and its powers to decline if their bodies are hurt. They seem to love, yet they desert and are deserted. They appear to lose what they love, perhaps the most insane belief of all. And their bodies wither and gasp and are laid in the ground, and are no more. Not one of them but has thought that God is cruel” (T.13.in.2:2,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11). And this is what we all believe. Would it not be better if we are wrong?

Jesus reminds us that his life, ending in apparent death, had the purpose of “teaching that communication remains unbroken even if the body is destroyed, provided that you see not the body as the necessary means of communication” (T.15.XI.7:2). But we still see the body as necessary for communication and believe that real communication ends with the death of the body, because we still want to see ourselves as a body. The body affirms our independent existence and its seeming experiences of loss and pain do not seem to reflect simply a choice in our minds. The ego does not want us to remember that the source of all our grief is the belief that we ourselves abandoned love and exiled ourselves from Heaven. Thanks to the ego defense of projection, it feels instead as if these are things that happen to us against our own will, that we are not responsible for how we feel. So we must begin by acknowledging that these are our feelings, but then we must also have a willingness to question whether our interpretation of the world and the events of our lives is correct.

The shift away from our pain and grief is a gradual process because we are afraid of the limitlessness of love, in which our individual lives, our personal selves with our unique personalities, have no meaning. And so Jesus gently reminds us both of the eventual outcome and the process: “Loss is not loss when properly perceived. Pain is impossible. There is no grief with any cause at all. And suffering of any kind is nothing but a dream. This is the truth, at first to be but said and then repeated many times; and next to be accepted as but partly true, with many reservations. Then to be considered seriously more and more, and finally accepted as the truth” (W.pII,284.1:1,2,3,4,5,6, italics added).

These words are not simply to be used as a “holy mantra” proclaiming what is true in order to drown out our ego’s interpretation and the accompanying feelings of loss and grief. Implicit in the process of changing our mind is the necessary but at times very unsettling task of looking at what we still want to believe and recognizing both its purpose — to keep separation and guilt alive — and its cost to us — suffering and pain. It is from a growing recognition of what we inflict on ourselves when we accept the ego as our teacher that the motivation develops to ask for help from a different Teacher. With that help, we can begin to see the losses of our lives in a different light, realizing that we do have a choice about what we experience and that we are not the victims of circumstances beyond our control.

Q #16: When I tell myself in meditation that I’m not a body and I’m free I feel peace of mind. But once I open my eyes, there it is — my body. This doesn’t upset me as much as it confuses me. When I look at myself I feel I’m beautiful, but I worry that I might be just feeding the ego again rather than appreciating what I have. It’s a puzzle. Any thoughts on this?

A: Although the Course tells us in many places that we are not a body (e.g., Lesson 199 and the following review lessons), it also recognizes that we have a strong investment in seeing ourselves as a body. Jesus observes, “Look at yourself and you will see a body….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.” (T.24.VII.9:1,3,4,5,6 italics added).

We may have brief experiences where we seem to transcend our bodily identification, as you describe, but we are not likely to maintain this for any length of time because we really don’t want to. Our “wish come true” is seeing ourselves as a separate, special, individual self and our body affirms that identity. The Course tells us that although we are the ones who have chosen and made this limited self as our identity (in fantasy but not in reality), we have not wanted to accept responsibility for that decision. And that is because buried deep in our unconscious is the (made- up) belief that we gained this separate self by attacking the Oneness of God and our true Identity as spirit, a horrendous sin of destruction and murder according to our ego. So once we seem to be bodies born to other bodies, our separate existence does not seem at all to be of our own making. Our parents made us. And we may even believe, much to our ego’s delight, that somehow God has been involved in this special “creation” of our individual self, as many religions teach.

So the Course’s goal, knowing how strongly identified we are with our body and how fearful we are of letting go of the protection we believe it affords us, is not to have us relinquish our bodily identification (that happens only at the very end). The Course is instructing us in how to give our body a purpose different from the ego’s original purpose of sin, guilt and fear. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the body becomes a vehicle for learning our lessons of forgiveness, in the context of our relationships with our brothers and sisters, also seen as bodies. And we will continue to see ourselves and everyone else as a body until the forgiveness process is complete and we no longer have any guilt in our mind that we need our body as a defense against.

And as to seeing yourself as beautiful, there is nothing wrong with that, so long as you realize that when the Course speaks of how beautiful we are (e.g., W.pII.313.2:2), it is not speaking of our physical body or our personality. It is referring to the reflected beauty of the Christ in all of us, a beauty which we all share equally as spirit.

sunburst eternity

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 28

ACIM Text Reading for April 28

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

III. The Decision for Guiltlessness

The happy learner cannot feel guilty about learning. This is so essential to learning that it should never be forgotten. The guiltless learner learns easily because his thoughts are free. Yet this entails the recognition that guilt is interference, not salvation, and serves no useful function at all.

Perhaps you are accustomed to using guiltlessness merely to offset the pain of guilt, and do not look upon it as having value in itself. You believe that guilt and guiltlessness are both of value, each representing an escape from what the other does not offer you. You do not want either alone, for without both you do not see yourself as whole and therefore happy. Yet you are whole only in your guiltlessness, and only in your guiltlessness can you be happy. There is no conflict here. To wish for guilt in any way, in any form, will lose appreciation of the value of your guiltlessness, and push it from your sight.

There is no compromise that you can make with guilt, and escape the pain that only guiltlessness allays. Learning is living here, as creating is being in Heaven. Whenever the pain of guilt seems to attract you, remember that if you yield to it, you are deciding against your happiness, and will not learn how to be happy. Say therefore, to yourself, gently, but with the conviction born of the Love of God and of His Son,

What I experience I will make manifest.

If I am guiltless, I have nothing to fear.

I choose to testify to my acceptance of the Atonement, not to its rejection.
I would accept my guiltlessness by making it manifest and sharing it.
Let me bring peace to God’s Son from his Father.

Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit the choice for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide between is fixed, because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion. And there is no overlap between them, because they are opposites which cannot be reconciled and cannot both be true. You are guilty or guiltless, bound or free, unhappy or happy.

The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom and joy. It is not a cause, but an effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt. Everyone you offer healing to returns it. Everyone you attack keeps it and cherishes it by holding it against you. Whether he does this or does it not will make no difference; you will think he does. It is impossible to offer what you do not want without this penalty. The cost of giving is receiving. Either it is a penalty from which you suffer, or the happy purchase of a treasure to hold dear.

No penalty is ever asked of God’s Son except by himself and of himself. Every chance given him to heal is another opportunity to replace darkness with light and fear with love. If he refuses it he binds himself to darkness, because he did not choose to free his brother and enter light with him. By giving power to nothing, he throws away the joyous opportunity to learn that nothing has no power. And by not dispelling darkness, he became afraid of darkness and of light. The joy of learning that darkness has no power over the Son of God is the happy lesson the Holy Spirit teaches, and would have you teach with Him. It is His joy to teach it, as it will be yours.

The way to teach this simple lesson is merely this: Guiltlessness is invulnerability. Therefore, make your invulnerability manifest to everyone. Teach him that, whatever he may try to do to you, your perfect freedom from the belief that you can be harmed shows him that he is guiltless. He can do nothing that can hurt you, and by refusing to allow him to think he can, you teach him that the Atonement, which you have accepted for yourself, is also his. There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt the Son of God. His guilt is wholly without cause, and being without cause, cannot exist.

God is the only Cause, and guilt is not of Him. Teach no one he has hurt you, for if you do, you teach yourself that what is not of God has power over you. The causeless cannot be. Do not attest to it, and do not foster belief in it in any mind. Remember always that mind is one, and cause is one. You will learn communication with this oneness only when you learn to deny the causeless, and accept the Cause of God as yours. The power that God has given to His Son is his, and nothing else can His Son see or choose to look upon without imposing on himself the penalty of guilt, in place of all the happy teaching the Holy Spirit would gladly offer him.

Whenever you choose to make decisions for yourself you are thinking destructively, and the decision will be wrong. It will hurt you because of the concept of decision that led to it. It is not true that you can make decisions by yourself or for yourself alone. No thought of God’s Son can be separate or isolated in its effects. Every decision is made for the whole Sonship, directed in and out, and influencing a constellation larger than anything you ever dreamed of.

Those who accept the Atonement are invulnerable. But those who believe they are guilty will respond to guilt, because they think it is salvation, and will not refuse to see it and side with it. They believe that increasing guilt is self-protection. And they will fail to understand the simple fact that what they do not want must hurt them. All this arises because they do not believe that what they want is good. Yet will was given them because it is holy, and will bring to them all that they need, coming as naturally as peace that knows no limits. There is nothing their will fails to provide that offers them anything of value. Yet because they do not understand their will, the Holy Spirit quietly understands it for them, and gives them what they want without effort, strain, or the impossible burden of deciding what they want and need alone.

It will never happen that you must make decisions for yourself. You are not bereft of help, and Help that knows the answer. Would you be content with little, which is all that you alone can offer yourself, when He Who gives you everything will simply offer it to you? He will never ask what you have done to make you worthy of the gift of God. Ask it not therefore of yourself. Instead, accept His answer, for He knows that you are worthy of everything God wills for you. Do not try to escape the gift of God He so freely and so gladly offers you. He offers you but what God gave Him for you. You need not decide whether or not you are deserving of it. God knows you are.

Would you deny the truth of God’s decision, and place your pitiful appraisal of yourself in place of His calm and unswerving value of His Son? Nothing can shake God’s conviction of the perfect purity of everything that He created, for it is wholly pure. Do not decide against it, for being of Him it must be true. Peace abides in every mind that quietly accepts the plan God set for its Atonement, relinquishing its own. You know not of salvation, for you do not understand it. Make no decisions about what it is or where it lies, but ask the Holy Spirit everything, and leave all decisions to His gentle counsel.

The One Who knows the plan of God that God would have you follow can teach you what it is. Only His wisdom is capable of guiding you to follow it. Every decision you undertake alone but signifies that you would define what salvation is, and what you would be saved from. The Holy Spirit knows that all salvation is escape from guilt. You have no other ‘enemy’, and against this strange distortion of the purity of the Son of God the Holy Spirit is your only Friend. He is the strong protector of the innocence that sets you free. And it is His decision to undo everything that would obscure your innocence from your unclouded mind.

Let Him, therefore, be the only Guide that you would follow to salvation. He knows the way, and leads you gladly on it. With Him you will not fail to learn that what God wills for you is your will. Without His guidance you will think you know alone, and will decide against your peace as surely as you decided that salvation lay in you alone. Salvation is of Him to Whom God gave it for you. He has not forgotten it. Forget Him not and He will make every decision for you, for your salvation and the peace of God in you.

Seek not to appraise the worth of God’s Son whom He created holy, for to do so is to evaluate his Father and judge against Him. And you will feel guilty for this imagined crime, which no one in this world or Heaven could possibly commit. The Holy Spirit teaches only that the ‘sin’ of self-replacement on the throne of God is not a source of guilt. What cannot happen can have no effects to fear. Be quiet in your faith in Him Who loves you, and would lead you out of insanity. Madness may be your choice, but not your reality. Never forget the Love of God, Who has remembered you. For it is quite impossible that He could ever let His Son drop from the loving Mind wherein he was created, and where his abode was fixed in perfect peace forever.

Say to the Holy Spirit only, ‘Decide for me’, and it is done. For His decisions are reflections of what God knows about you, and in this light, error of any kind becomes impossible. Why would you struggle so frantically to anticipate all you cannot know, when all knowledge lies behind every decision the Holy Spirit makes for you? Learn of His wisdom and His Love, and teach His answer to everyone who struggles in the dark. For you decide for them and for yourself.

How gracious it is to decide all things through Him Whose equal Love is given equally to all alike! He leaves you no one outside you. And so He gives you what is yours, because your Father would have you share it with Him. In everything be led by Him, and do not reconsider. Trust Him to answer quickly, surely, and with Love for everyone who will be touched in any way by the decision. And everyone will be. Would you take unto yourself the sole responsibility for deciding what can bring only good to everyone? Would you know this?

You taught yourself the most unnatural habit of not communicating with your Creator. Yet you remain in close communication with Him, and with everything that is within Him, as it is within yourself. Unlearn isolation through His loving guidance, and learn of all the happy communication that you have thrown away but could not lose.

Whenever you are in doubt what you should do, think of His Presence in you, and tell yourself this, and only this:

He leadeth me and knows the way, which I know not.
Yet He will never keep from me what He would have me learn.
And so I trust Him to communicate to me all that He knows for me.
Then let Him teach you quietly how to perceive your guiltlessness, which is already there.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 28

Lesson 117
For morning and evening review:

(103) God, being Love, is also happiness.

Let me remember love is happiness, and nothing else
brings joy. And so I choose to entertain no substitutes
for love.

(104) I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

Love is my heritage, and with it joy. These are the
gifts my Father gave to me. I would accept all that is
mine in truth.

On the hour:

God, being Love, is also happiness.

On the half hour:

I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #230: During the several times that I have worked with the workbook of A Course in Miracles, I find I have left things undone that belong to earlier lessons, e.g., meaning and meaninglessness. The instructions clearly say that only one lesson per day is to be worked. My intuition tells me to go back to the beginning, in order not to confuse the sequence of the workbook. I wonder if others have asked this question before, but have not been answered yet?

A: It is not necessary to begin the workbook again. You can always go back and do a lesson again or concentrate on a specific concept that you skipped over; but that does not mean that you should start all over again. Jesus does not expect us to do a lesson perfectly before we move on to the next one. He is far more aware of our resistance and fear than we are, so he knows we will misinterpret what he says, not do everything he asks, and when we do it, we will do it imperfectly. He is interested only in our willingness and humility as we practice the lessons. The middle of Lesson 95, in particular, discusses the attitude we should have when we run into problems in our work with the lessons. You might also wish to look at Questions #64 and #92, which pertain to the workbook.

Q #231: My question pertains to the world we see as an illusion. Is it safe to say that if we find “enjoyment” here we must keep in mind it is still only an illusion, otherwise we become attached to it in a negative way? Does this sort of parallel what the scriptures say that we are not of this world but only in this world? This makes for a tug of war within us because when we seem to desire something, we ask: which part is doing the desiring? At that point, can we justify the desire by keeping in mind that it really does not matter because it is only illusion and then go on and enjoy? Is justify the wrong word? Are we on the right track with this reasoning?

A: Your reasoning is partially correct. Anything we desire in the world of form is only an illusion, but we should not dismiss our seeking or desiring it too quickly. Although A Course in Miracles does not ask that we relinquish enjoyment in the dream, it does ask that we recognize the real motives for our pursuit of pleasurable experiences. It tells us that we are seeking to fill the void left by our seeming separation from God with substitutes for His Love that never fully satisfy us. This is at the root of all our seeking in the dream. The Course uncovers our motives in the hopes that we will learn not to seek outside ourselves for what will never truly bring us happiness. As long as we make the mistake of believing that the cause of our “enjoyment” is something or someone external to ourselves, we will seek in vain, in keeping with the ego’s maxim: “Seek but do not find” (M.13.5:8). The Course tells us that the only enjoyment possible in the dream is a peaceful state of mind, and that is achieved only by the choice to join with the Holy Spirit in the mind, and accept His interpretation of every experience or relationship we have. That is not to say that we cannot enjoy a pleasurable experience in the world. The point is that if our mind is at peace, it does not matter whether we are enjoying a beautiful concert or are stuck in hot traffic — our peacefulness remains undisturbed. This is not the same as indulging our desires for pleasure by saying it is all an illusion and it doesn’t matter. If we were at the point in our spiritual journey where we truly believed that this is all an illusion, we would not need A Course in Miracles to help us see how real we think the world is, and, we would not be in pursuit of enjoyment in the world. Meanwhile, all the things in the world we do seek are important reminders of how attached we are to our identity as bodies and the ego thought system, which makes separation and the world very real. Both negative emotions (pain) as well as positive emotions (enjoyment) which are evoked by our experiences are our “proof” that the world is real. We are learning to be aware of how desperately we seek this.

The only part of our mind that desires anything, no matter how lofty it may seem to be, is the ego: “Appetites are ‘getting’ mechanisms, representing the ego’s need to confirm itself. This is as true of body appetites as it is of the so-called ‘higher ego needs.’ Body appetites are not physical in origin. The ego regards the body as its home, and tries to satisfy itself through the body. But the idea that this is possible is a decision of the mind, which has become completely confused about what is really possible” (T.II.7:5, 6,7,8,9). The Course is a mind training process because we are so confused, have taught ourselves upside down thinking, and do not know what makes us happy: “You no more recognize what is painful than you know what is joyful, and are, in fact, very apt to confuse the two. The Holy Spirit’s main function is to teach you to tell them apart. What is joyful to you is painful to the ego, and as long as you are in doubt about what you are, you will be confused about joy and pain” (T.7.X.3:4,5,6). This does not mean we should feel guilty for seeking enjoyment. It is no different than any of the other things we do to take care of ourselves in the illusion. While we still believe in our identity as bodies, we will find “enjoyment” in the world. Though the ego uses this to support the belief that the separation is real, the Holy Spirit can use it as part of His classroom to teach us that there is no satisfaction in this world, and that our only true happiness is found in God. We may also have experiences that are truly joyful because they reflect a choice in the mind to identify with the Holy Spirit. As we continue to practice what the Course teaches, we will eventually have truly joyful experiences that reflect the choice made in the mind to identify with the Holy Spirit. This joy comes from the content in the mind rather than anything in form.

Peace of God

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 27

ACIM Text Reading for April 27

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

II. The Happy Learner

The Holy Spirit needs a happy learner, in whom His mission can be happily accomplished. You who are steadfastly devoted to misery must first recognise that you are miserable and not happy. The Holy Spirit cannot teach without this contrast, for you believe that misery is happiness. This has so confused you that you have undertaken to learn to do what you can never do, believing that unless you learn it you will not be happy. You do not realise that the foundation on which this most peculiar learning goal depends means absolutely nothing. Yet it may still make sense to you. Have faith in nothing and you will find the ‘treasure’ that you seek. Yet you will add another burden to your already burdened mind. You will believe that nothing is of value, and will value it. A little piece of glass, a speck of dust, a body or a war are one to you. For if you value one thing made of nothing, you have believed that nothing can be precious, and that you can learn how to make the untrue true.

The Holy Spirit, seeing where you are but knowing you are elsewhere, begins His lesson in simplicity with the fundamental teaching that truth is true. This is the hardest lesson you will ever learn, and in the end the only one. Simplicity is very difficult for twisted minds. Consider all the distortions you have made of nothing; all the strange forms and feelings and actions and reactions that you have woven out of it. Nothing is so alien to you as the simple truth, and nothing are you less inclined to listen to. The contrast between what is true and what is not is perfectly apparent, yet you do not see it. The simple and the obvious are not apparent to those who would make palaces and royal robes of nothing, believing they are kings with golden crowns because of them.

All this the Holy Spirit sees, and teaches, simply, that all this is not true. To those unhappy learners who would teach themselves nothing, and delude themselves into believing that it is not nothing, the Holy Spirit says, with steadfast quietness:

The truth is true. Nothing else matters, nothing else is real, and everything beside it is not there. Let Me make the one distinction for you that you cannot make, but need to learn. Your faith in nothing is deceiving you. Offer your faith to Me, and I will place it gently in the holy place where it belongs. You will find no deception there, but only the simple truth. And you will love it because you will understand it.

Like you, the Holy Spirit did not make truth. Like God, He knows it to be true. He brings the light of truth into the darkness, and lets it shine on you. And as it shines your brothers see it, and realising that this light is not what you have made, they see in you more than you see. They will be happy learners of the lesson this light brings to them, because it teaches them release from nothing and from all the works of nothing. The heavy chains that seem to bind them to despair they do not see as nothing, until you bring the light to them. And then they see the chains have disappeared, and so they must have been nothing. And you will see it with them. Because you taught them gladness and release, they will become your teachers in release and gladness.

When you teach anyone that truth is true, you learn it with him. And so you learn that what seemed hardest was the easiest. Learn to be a happy learner. You will never learn how to make nothing everything. Yet see that this has been your goal, and recognise how foolish it has been. Be glad it is undone, for when you look at it in simple honesty, it is undone. I said before, ‘Be not content with nothing’, for you have believed that nothing could content you. It is not so.

If you would be a happy learner, you must give everything you have learned to the Holy Spirit, to be unlearned for you. And then begin to learn the joyous lessons that come quickly on the firm foundation that truth is true. For what is builded there is true, and built on truth. The universe of learning will open up before you in all its gracious simplicity. With truth before you, you will not look back.

The happy learner meets the conditions of learning here, as he meets the conditions of knowledge in the Kingdom. All this lies in the Holy Spirit’s plan to free you from the past, and open up the way to freedom for you. For truth is true. What else could ever be, or ever was? This simple lesson holds the key to the dark door that you believe is locked forever. You made this door of nothing, and behind it is nothing. The key is only the light that shines away the shapes and forms and fears of nothing. Accept this key to freedom from the hands of Christ Who gives it to you, that you may join Him in the holy task of bringing light. For, like your brothers, you do not realise the light has come and freed you from the sleep of darkness.

Behold your brothers in their freedom, and learn of them how to be free of darkness. The light in you will waken them, and they will not leave you asleep. The vision of Christ is given the very instant that it is perceived. Where everything is clear, it is all holy. The quietness of its simplicity is so compelling that you will realise it is impossible to deny the simple truth. For there is nothing else. God is everywhere, and His Son is in Him with everything. Can he sing the dirge of sorrow when this is true?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 27

Lesson 116
For morning and evening review:

(101) God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.

God’s Will is perfect happiness for me. And I can suffer
but from the belief there is another will apart from His.

(102) I share God’s Will for happiness for me.

I share my Father’s Will for me, His Son.
What He has given me is all I want.
What He has given me is all there is.

On the hour:

God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.

On the half hour:

I share God’s Will for happiness for me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #312: I just finished a meditation on why I haven’t had an intimate relationship for so long. Most of the reasons that occurred to me were ego-based. The one I didn’t think was ego-based was that I’m just too lazy to put in all the effort it takes. I don’t know if this is an appropriate question to be asking, but I think about relationships a lot and I don’t seem to be able to help it. I know the Course says that special relationships are just a device to keep you away from the truth and I notice that the A Course in Miracles never addresses the issue of sex or sexuality directly, but I must ask for some guidance here. I have these desires and I don’t feel like they’re being met. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s wrong to have these feelings. I’m becoming very frustrated with my life and with this Course. Am I misinterpreting something? I think I must be missing something? Can you help?

A: Yes, it does sound like you’re doing some misinterpreting. By the way, you don’t say what the other thoughts were that came to you in your meditation about having an intimate relationship, but the one you mention still sounds ego-based — like someone’s mother making a judgment! Rest assured, Jesus or the Holy Spirit do not sound like our mothers’ nagging! And the truth is that fear is more likely the reason you’re not experiencing an intimate relationship, whatever answers you think you heard.

It’s true special relationships were made by the ego to distract us from the Holy Spirit’s answer — the Course refers to them as “the ego’s most boasted gift” (T.16.V.3:1) — for they hold out the hope that we can find in someone else the special love that God could never give us (T.16.V.4). But once we seem to find ourselves in the world of separation, the Course does not teach that special relationships are to be avoided or given up. On the contrary, they become the necessary classrooms in which we learn our forgiveness lessons. In Jesus’ own words, “I have said repeatedly that the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships, but would transform them (T.17.IV.2:3).

So while the Course is telling us that our special relationships — and that would include ones involving sex and physical intimacy — won’t bring us the joy of Heaven, nowhere in the Course does Jesus say that those feelings are wrong or bad or sinful. And furthermore, through our participation in those relationships, we have the opportunity to heal the guilt in our minds that we have projected on to them. It could be that we feel victimized either by the special relationships we are in or have been in, or by the fact that we are not now in the ones we believe we want. In the end, the different forms are all the same, but along the way, our part is merely to be willing to be open to the relationships that are already a part of our lives. For each one, whether or not it involves physical intimacy, will offer us an opportunity to find the love that has always been ours, just buried and hidden beneath the guilt and sin in our own minds.

You may wish to ask then, not for a specific relationship, but for help in releasing the guilt and the fear that seem to be preventing you from experiencing love. You may be surprised at what opportunities show up in your life when you have that willingness, but don’t make the mistake of deciding and defining in advance what those opportunities should look like. Trust that we always find what we need to practice our forgiveness lessons, as we are ready to take our next steps.

You may find Ken Wapnick’s recent tape on “Form vs Content: Sex and Money” of value in thinking about your issues around relationships. You may also wish to take a look at Question #184 for a related discussion.

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