A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for Today

ACIM Reading for Today

A Course in Miracles

What It Says

This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum.   It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.


This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.


This introduction is how A Course in Miracles begins. It makes a fundamental distinction between the real and the unreal; between knowledge and perception. Knowledge is truth, under one law, the law of love or God. Truth is unalterable, eternal, and unambiguous. It can be unrecognized, but it cannot be changed. It applies to everything that God created, and only what He created is real. It is beyond learning because it is beyond time and process. It has no opposite; no beginning and no end. It merely is.

The world of perception, on the other hand, is the world of time, of change, of beginnings and endings. It is based on interpretation, not on facts. It is the world of birth and death, founded on the belief in scarcity, loss, separation, and death. It is learned rather than given, selective in its perceptual emphases, unstable in its functioning, and inaccurate in its interpretations.

From knowledge and perception respectively, two distinct thought systems arise which are opposite in every respect. In the realm of knowledge no thoughts exist apart from God, because God and His Creation share one Will. The world of perception, however, is made by the belief in opposites and separate wills, in perpetual conflict with each other and with God. What perception sees and hears appears to be real because it permits into awareness only what conforms to the wishes of the perceiver. This leads to a world of illusions, a world which needs constant defense precisely because it is not real.

When you have been caughtWhen you have been caught in the world of perception you are caught in a dream. You cannot escape without help, because everything your senses show merely witnesses to the reality of the dream. God has provided the Answer, the only Way out, the true Helper. It is the function of His Voice, His Holy Spirit, to mediate between the two worlds. He can do this because, while on the one hand He knows the truth, on the other He also recognizes our illusions, but without believing in them. It is the Holy Spirit’s goal to help us escape from the dream world by teaching us how to reverse our thinking and unlearn our mistakes. Forgiveness is the Holy Spirit’s great learning aid in bringing this thought reversal about. However, the Course has its own definition of what forgiveness really is just as it defines the world in its own way.

The world we see merely reflects our own internal frame of reference—the dominant ideas, wishes and emotions in our minds. “Projection makes perception” (Text, p. 445). We look inside first, decide the kind of world we want to see and then project that world outside, making it the truth as we see it. We make it true by our interpretations of what it is we are seeing. If we are using perception to justify our own mistakes—our anger, our impulses to attack, our lack of love in whatever form it may take—we will see a world of evil, destruction, malice, envy and despair. All this we must learn to forgive, not because we are being “good” and “charitable,” but because what we are seeing is not true. We have distorted the world by our twisted defenses, and are therefore seeing what is not there. As we learn to recognize our perceptual errors, we also learn to look past them or “forgive.” At the same time we are forgiving ourselves, looking past our distorted self-concepts to the Self That God created in us and as us.

Sin is defined as “lack of love” (Text, p. 11). Since love is all there is, sin in the sight of the Holy Spirit is a mistake to be corrected, rather than an evil to be punished. Our sense of inadequacy, weakness, and incompletion comes from the strong investment in the “scarcity principle” that governs the whole world of illusions. From that point of view, we seek in others what we feel is wanting in ourselves. We “love” another in order to get something ourselves. That, in fact, is what passes for love in the dream world. There can be no greater mistake than that, for love is incapable of asking for anything.

Only Minds Can JoinOnly minds can really join, and whom God has joined no man can put asunder (Text, p. 356). It is, however, only at the level of Christ Mind that true union is possible, and has, in fact, never been lost. The “little I” seeks to enhance itself by external approval, external possessions, and external “love.” The Self That God created needs nothing. It is forever complete, safe, loved, and loving. It seeks to share rather than to get; to extend rather than project. It has no needs and wants to join with others out of their mutual awareness of abundance.

The special relationships of the world are destructive, selfish, and childishly egocentric. Yet, if given to the Holy Spirit, these relationships can become the holiest things on earth—the miracles that point the way to the return to Heaven. The world uses its special relationships as a final weapon of exclusion and a demonstration of separateness. The Holy Spirit transforms them into perfect lessons in forgiveness and in awakening from the dream. Each one is an opportunity to let perceptions be healed and errors corrected. Each one is another chance to forgive oneself by forgiving the other. And each one becomes still another invitation to the Holy Spirit and to the remembrance of God.

Perception is a function of the body, and therefore represents a limit on awareness. Perception sees through the body’s eyes and hears through the body’s ears. It evokes the limited responses which the body makes. The body appears to be largely self-motivated and independent, yet it actually responds only to the intentions of the mind. If the mind wants to use it for attack in any form, it becomes prey to sickness, age, and decay. If the mind accepts the Holy Spirit’s purpose for it instead, it becomes a useful way of communicating with others, invulnerable as long as it is needed, and to be gently laid by when its use is over. Of itself it is neutral, as is everything in the world of perception. Whether it is used for the goals of the ego or the Holy Spirit depends entirely on what the mind wants.

The opposite of seeing through the body’s eyes is the vision of Christ, which reflects strength rather than weakness, unity rather than separation, and love rather than fear. The opposite of hearing through the body’s ears is communication through the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit, which abides in each of us. His Voice seems distant and difficult to hear because the ego, which speaks for the little, separated self, seems to be much louder. This is actually reversed. The Holy Spirit speaks with unmistakable clarity and overwhelming appeal. No one who does not choose to identify with the body could possibly be deaf to His messages of release and hope, nor could he fail to accept joyously the vision of Christ in glad exchange for his miserable picture of himself.

Christ's VisionChrist’s vision is the Holy Spirit’s gift, God’s alternative to the illusion of separation and to the belief in the reality of sin, guilt, and death. It is the one correction for all errors of perception; the reconciliation of the seeming opposites on which this world is based. Its kindly light shows all things from another point of view, reflecting the thought system that arises from knowledge and making return to God not only possible but inevitable. What was regarded as injustices done to one by someone else, now becomes a call for help and for union. Sin, sickness, and attack are seen as misperceptions calling for remedy through gentleness and love. Defenses are laid down because where there is no attack there is no need for them. Our brothers’ needs become our own, because they are taking the journey with us as we go to God. Without us they would lose their way. Without them we could never find our own.

Forgiveness is unknown in Heaven, where the need for it would be inconceivable. However, in this world, forgiveness is a necessary correction for all the mistakes that we have made. To offer forgiveness is the only way for us to have it, for it reflects the law of Heaven that giving and receiving are the same. Heaven is the natural state of all the Sons of God as He created them. Such is their reality forever. It has not changed because it has been forgotten.

Forgiveness is the means by which we will remember. Through forgiveness the thinking of the world is reversed. The forgiven world becomes the gate of Heaven, because by its mercy we can at last forgive ourselves. Holding no one prisoner to guilt, we become free. Acknowledging Christ in all our brothers, we recognize His Presence in ourselves. Forgetting all our misperceptions, and with nothing from the past to hold us back, we can remember God. Beyond this, learning cannot go. When we are ready, God Himself will take the final step in our return to Him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Today

Lesson 3

I do not understand anything I see in this room
[on this street, from this window, in this place].

Apply this idea in the same way as the previous ones, without making distinctions of any kind. Whatever you see becomes a proper subject for applying the idea. Be sure that you do not question the suitability of anything for application of the idea. These are not exercises in judgment. Anything is suitable if you see it. Some of the things you see may have emotionally charged meaning for you. Try to lay such feelings aside, and merely use these things exactly as you would anything else.

The point of the exercises is to help you clear your mind of all past associations, to see things exactly as they appear to you now, and to realize how little you really understand about them. It is therefore essential that you keep a perfectly open mind, unhampered by judgment, in selecting the things to which the idea for the day is to be applied. For this purpose one thing is like another; equally suitable and therefore equally useful.


Each of the first three lessons should not be done more than twice a day each, preferably morning and evening. Nor should they be attempted for more than a minute or so, unless that entails a sense of hurry. A comfortable sense of leisure is essential.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1276I find the language at the end of paragraph 1 of the Introduction to A Course in Miracles does not logically follow. It says: “The opposite of love is fear, but what is all- encompassing can have no opposite” (T.in.1:8). Clearly what is all-encompassing must be love and not fear. Therefore, if love can have no opposite, its opposite cannot be fear. It would appear that the sentence should read: “The opposite of fear is love, but what is all- encompassing can have no opposite.”

A: We do not find a problem with the logic. Since love is all-encompassing, it cannot have an opposite. We would tend to think of fear as the opposite of love, but since there can be no opposite to what is all-encompassing, fear is impossible. That is the point — fear is not real.

*

Q #527: What is the distinction between paragraphs in regular type and paragraphs in italics in the workbook of A Course in Miracles? Many of the lessons in the latter part of the workbook have one paragraph in regular and one in italics.

A: Beginning with Lesson 221, the italicized paragraphs are all prayers from us to God, our Father, and the other paragraphs contain the teaching. It is purely a stylistic matter.

*


Q #528: If I gave myself a name and an identity, is that the reason that I feel myself so terrible, worthless and unreal? Is it only necessary to look at it and accept it?

A: It’s not only because you gave yourself a name and an identity, but what you believe you had to do to God in order to accomplish it, that explains why you — and everyone else here — feels terrible, worthless and unreal. In Heaven, there are no individual names and everyone shares the same Identity as Christ, God’s only Son. It is the desire for something else and the willingness to do whatever it takes to bring that something else about — including the destruction of God and His All-encompassing Love– that is the origin of our guilt and self-hatred. But in reality, God and our true Self remain unaffected. So even the feelings of worthlessness are nothing more than part of what we have chosen to experience to convince ourselves that we are separate. Making up a self with its own individual identity and name is just one further step in our insane attempt to prove we’ve done the impossible. But down deep we know it’s all a lie, and so feelings of fraudulent deception and unreality must lie underneath our sense of self here in the world. Everything we then attempt to do in the world to counter our feelings of unworthiness and falsity only serves to reinforce those underlying, unquestioned beliefs about ourselves. The ego is indeed very clever!

This is why we need help from outside our thought system to be released from our self-imposed delusions. You have part of the answer when you ask if we need only to look at what we have made. Anything more than looking, any attempt at intervention, makes our attack on God real and only reinforces the ego’s purpose of maintaining guilt and separation. So we look, not by ourselves, but with the part of our mind — A Course in Miracles calls it Jesus or the Holy Spirit — that knows our self is a lie but it is not a sin. And through that joined looking we can begin to question those underlying beliefs about ourselves and decide whether they really are serving our genuine best interests. The answer — if we look honestly and nonjudgmentally — is that they are not. Once we have begun to examine and then release those false judgments, we can then ask the Holy Spirit to replace them with a different perception of ourselves and everyone else, a true reflection of our reality as Christ.

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Introducing A Course in Miracles

PLEASE NOTE: This is the first section of an introduction to A Course in Miracles that I wrote as a way of being “truly helpful” to those of us who would like to truly understand the Course. Please stay tuned for further updates after today, and thank you for reading!

AN INTRO TO THE INTRO:

Why A Course in Miracles Needs An Introduction

    A Course in Miracles requires an introduction or “way in” to it because it is just so challenging to read and understand on its own. Many have picked it up and attempted to plow through it, only to put it back on the shelf, often just to gather dust. Mark Twain once said that a classic is a book that everybody has and wants to read, but nobody actually does. Just over 5 decades old, the Course is definitely on its way to becoming something like that. It’s the Moby Dick of the spiritual world, up there with the Urantia Book, Madame Blavatsky’s writings, and the Zohar.

 

So an introduction that helps explain why the Course is so important and potentially useful, as well as to elucidate some of its challenging language and concepts, can be very helpful. The thing is, every introduction to the Course is its own interpretation of sorts, including the one you are about to read. So in the end, the Course really is best approached on its own terms. And yet, again, those terms are just so elusive to most of us!

 

     In what follows, I attempt to get out of the way and point you toward those who I feel really are tried, true and trustworthy guides and resources for the spiritual masterpiece that is A Course in Miracles, thank you for listening…

 

 ***

 Questions That Everyone Has About ACIM

(and which we will attempt to get some clarity on…)

 

~  Who is the author of ACIM? Jesus? Really? How can we know this is so?

 

~ How is the Course similar to and how does it differ from traditional Christianity?

 

~ What is the ego and where did the ego come from? Is it a thing?

 

~ The Course says that God did not create the world. Well, if not, who the hell did? In other words, how did the whole shebang come to be?

 

~ I find it hard to believe/accept that this world with all of its majestic beauty is an illusion, besides the fact that it all feels so real. Please help me with this!

 

~ I’m scared of letting go of my ego, I don’t feel ready to wake up just yet. It’s so hard to forgive some things. Should I continue on this path?

 

~ How do I know if I’m making progress with ACIM? Sometimes it feels like things are getting worse, not better!

 

~ The Course says that it is pointing to an experience of Perfect Love (Oneness) beyond all symbols. Do we know if anyone has ever had this experience? If so, where are they, I need to talk to them!

 

~ There are so many teachers of ACIM, and I’m discovering that not all of them agree with one another. How do I know which teacher to follow?

 

~ How do I distinguish between the voice of the ego and the voice of Spirit (or, the Holy Spirit)?

 

~ How do I practically apply the Course to my daily life, especially considering that the Course says nothing specific about what to do/how to live?

 

~ Can it all really be as simple as the Course suggests?

***

A Course in Miracles in One Page

(more or less)

 

To distill the message of ACIM in one page is kind of ridiculous as the Course calls to be read, and read and studied and practiced on its own terms. That said, perhaps someone who reads this will feel inspired to actually pick up the darn tome and be willing to wade through its difficult language in order to reap the benefits of working with it.  For clearly it is the case that many who are, in fact, interested in ACIM do not get very far due to being hung up on the words and wordiness of it all.  So! Without further ado

 

The Course presents us with what Jesus was really wanting to get at 2,000 years ago, if only his followers could have understood the mystic basis of his teaching. They couldn’t, of course, because he was teaching at such a high level, and as its said, it “takes one to know one.”

 

But essentially, Jesus’ message was/is very simple, and because it is so simple, it has the unique ability to save you a lot of time in your life and on the path of awakening.

 

And the simple message is to recognize that we are always doing either one of two things: Living from fear, or living from love. Otherwise put, we are always either choosing to follow the ego, or choosing Spirit as our teacher. The problem is that we are generally not conscious that we even have this choice moment to moment, because we are already so deeply identified with the ego that we have allowed much of our decision-making to be unconscious. Because of this, we think that the world is somehow being done to us (victim-consciousness), rather than that we are fully responsible for our life and liberation.

 

And because we are so identified with the ego, we don’t even realize that we have chosen to identify so deeply with our body and personhood because the ego has as its mission to convince us that we are limited, that we are not what we truly are. And it uses every means necessary (variations on the themes of sin, guilt and fear) to keep us asleep so that we will never wake up to the reality that the ego is actually nothing but a false idea about who we are, and that we are really still safe at home in God (Perfect Love, Absolute Oneness).

 

Now, the most important tactical weapon in the ego’s psychic arsenal is “projection.” Projection works through seemingly projecting outside of the mind what is actually within it. So ultimately, the whole universe of time and space is actually a projection of the mind, but on the level most of us are at right now, we can see how projection works if we begin to recognize how invested we are in continually seeing the “problem” out there, rather than in here.

 

Which is where forgiveness comes in. Forgiveness means recognizing that there is nothing being done to you by anyone, and it is actually up to you to choose to make the unconscious conscious and realize that you always have a choice to see peace and innocence and perfection and unity everywhere, or not. And as you learn — slowly, slowly — to lay aside judgment and see everyone and everything this way, not only will you become happier and more at peace, but at some point along the way, you will have an experience (and perhaps more than one) of what it feels like to be Home again. And like the road less traveled, this experience will make all of the difference.

 

But you gotta do the work. It’s up to you. You are the one you’ve been waiting for, you are the only one that needs to wake up, and both the problem and the solution lie inside of you.

 

And the truth is, this is all so mind-blowingly elegantly simple, yet not so easy. Which is why so few ever go all the way with this process of “undoing the ego” and unwinding the mind back to God. In fact, there has only been one who has ever fully done this.

 

Maybe you will be the One? ; )

 

certain as god

 

 

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for November 4

ACIM Reading for November 4

Clarification of Terms

The Ego – The Miracle

Illusions will not last. Their death is sure and this alone is certain in their world. It is the ego’s world because of this. What is the ego? But a dream of what you really are. A thought you are apart from your Creator and a wish to be what He created not. It is a thing of madness, not reality at all. A name for namelessness is all it is. A symbol of impossibility; a choice for options that do not exist. We name it but to help us understand that it is nothing but an ancient thought that what is made has immortality. But what could come of this except a dream which, like all dreams, can only end in death?

What is the ego? Nothingness, but in a form that seems like something. In a world of form the ego cannot be denied for it alone seems real. Yet could God’s Son as He created him abide in form or in a world of form? Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so.

There is no definition for a lie that serves to make it true. Nor can there be a truth that lies conceal effectively. The ego’s unreality is not denied by words nor is its meaning clear because its nature seems to have a form. Who can define the undefinable? And yet there is an answer even here.

We cannot really make a definition for what the ego is, but we can say what it is not. And this is shown to us with perfect clarity. It is from this that we deduce all that the ego is. Look at its opposite and you can see the only answer that is meaningful.

The ego’s opposite in every way,–in origin, effect and consequence–we call a miracle. And here we find all that is not the ego in this world. Here is the ego’s opposite and here alone we look on what the ego was, for here we see all that it seemed to do, and cause and its effects must still be one.

Where there was darkness now we see the light. What is the ego? What the darkness was. Where is the ego? Where the darkness was. What is it now and where can it be found? Nothing and nowhere. Now the light has come: Its opposite has gone without a trace. Where evil was there now is holiness. What is the ego? What the evil was. Where is the ego? In an evil dream that but seemed real while you were dreaming it. Where there was crucifixion stands God’s Son. What is the ego? Who has need to ask? Where is the ego? Who has need to seek for an illusion now that dreams are gone?

What is a miracle? A dream as well. But look at all the aspects of this dream and you will never question any more. Look at the kindly world you see extend before you as you walk in gentleness. Look at the helpers all along the way you travel, happy in the certainty of Heaven and the surety of peace. And look an instant, too, on what you left behind at last and finally passed by.

This was the ego–all the cruel hate, the need for vengeance and the cries of pain, the fear of dying and the urge to kill, the brotherless illusion and the self that seemed alone in all the universe. This terrible mistake about yourself the miracle corrects as gently as a loving mother sings her child to rest. Is not a song like this what you would hear? Would it not answer all you thought to ask, and even make the question meaningless?

Your questions have no answer, being made to still God’s Voice, which asks of everyone one question only: “Are you ready yet to help Me save the world?” Ask this instead of what the ego is, and you will see a sudden brightness cover up the world the ego made. No miracle is now withheld from anyone. The world is saved from what you thought it was. And what it is, is wholly uncondemned and wholly pure.

The miracle forgives; the ego damns. Neither need be defined except by this. Yet could a definition be more sure, or more in line with what salvation is? Problem and answer lie together here, and having met at last the choice is clear. Who chooses hell when it is recognized? And who would not go on a little while when it is given him to understand the way is short and Heaven is his goal?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 4

Lesson 308

This instant is the only time there is.

I have conceived of time in such a way that I defeat my aim. If I elect to reach past time to timelessness, I must change my perception of what time is for. Time’s purpose cannot be to keep the past and future one. The only interval in which I can be saved from time is now. For in this instant has forgiveness come to set me free. The birth of Christ is now, without a past or future. He has come to give His present blessing to the world, restoring it to timelessness and love. And love is ever-present, here and now.

Thanks for this instant, Father. It is now I am redeemed. This instant is the time You have appointed for Your Son’s release, and for salvation of the world in him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #636: How many planes or levels of consciousness are there? All of us are familiar with the physical, since that’s where we are focused, and many of us are also familiar with the astral plane, since it seems to be ‘right next door’, and it appears that we just bounce back and forth between these two states. But what is the significance — within the illusion, of course — of the mental and causal planes (and even other planes of existence way beyond these) spoken about by so many metaphysicians? Is there a hierarchy — again, within the illusion – – of consciousness? Is finding our way back to God like climbing Mount Everest, where we have to establish several base camps in each plane of consciousness that we sometimes have to return to before we can reach our final destination?

A: However many planes or levels of consciousness there may be is not the concern of A Course in Miracles: “The structure of ‘individual consciousness’ is essentially irrelevant because it is a concept representing the ‘original error’ [separation] or the ‘original sin’ (C.in.1:4). The Course tells us our problem is that we believe the thought of separation that introduced consciousness (all levels and planes) in the first place (See:T.3.IV.2) is real. The goal of the Holy Spirit’s curriculum, as set forth in the Course, is to heal the mind of this thought. This healing is accomplished through the process of forgiveness, whereby the ego’s perception is replaced by the Holy Spirit’s. These principles are the foundation of the Course’s teaching and provide us with the steps we are to take if we choose it as our path back to God.

In studying the Course it is helpful to remember that whenever it refers to the body or the world it includes every aspect of each (including astral bodies, energy fields, consciousness, and planes of all types). They are all equally part of the illusion of separation, and are therefore not real. Jesus asks us some very unsettling questions in this regard: “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination?” (T.20.VIII.7:3) and “Is it harder to dispel the belief of the insane in a larger hallucination as opposed to a smaller one? (M.8.5:2) This greatly simplifies things for us. However, we have great resistance to learning this important message of the Course, due to our attachment to identifying with the body. One way to make the separation and the world real is to establish a hierarchy of values, by which we measure the worth of all parts of the illusion.(See:T.23.II.2:1,2,3) The mind that is addressed in the Course is outside of time and space, beyond all levels of consciousness, mental planes, or astral bodies. It is the mind choosing to identify with the Holy Spirit, Who represents the memory of God, that will enable us eventually to disidentify with every part of the hallucination.

In this process it is not necessary to unravel, nor travel the winding “circuitous routes” of the ego’s complexities: 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” (T.15.X.5:1,2,3). This passage contains not only the principles that respond to your question, but important information regarding the process of undoing the thought that put consciousness on the map, so to speak. The thought of separation has taken a multitude of forms. We are asked to become aware of how we use these many forms to disguise this single thought, so we can learn that they are all the same. We use them all to prove the world and the body are real. The Holy Spirit uses them to teach us they are nothing and will never give us what we truly want. Learning to identify more and more with the Holy Spirit in our minds instead of with the body is what leads us home. The only camp we need to set up is in our minds. That is where we find the light that will dispel the darkness of consciousness and the separation that gave it birth.

you cannot lose your soul

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 13

ACIM Text Reading for February 13

Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness

VIII. The Decision for God

Do you really believe you can make a voice that can drown out God’s? Do you really believe you can devise a thought system that can separate you from Him? Do you really believe you can plan for your safety and joy better than He can? You need be neither careful nor careless; you need merely cast your cares upon Him because He careth for you. You are His care because He loves you. His Voice reminds you always that all hope is yours because of His care. You cannot choose to escape His care because that is not His Will, but you can choose to accept His care and use the infinite power of His care for all those He created by it.

There have been many healers who did not heal themselves. They have not moved mountains by their faith because their faith was not whole. Some of them have healed the sick at times, but they have not raised the dead. Unless the healer heals himself, he cannot believe that there is no order of difficulty in miracles. He has not learned that every mind God created is equally worthy of being healed because God created it whole. You are merely asked to return to God the mind as He created it. He asks you only for what He gave, knowing that this giving will heal you. Sanity is wholeness, and the sanity of your brothers is yours.

Why should you listen to the endless insane calls you think are made upon you, when you can know the Voice for God is in you? God commended His Spirit to you, and asks that you commend yours to Him. He wills to keep it in perfect peace, because you are of one mind and spirit with Him. Excluding yourself from the Atonement is the ego’s last-ditch defense of its own existence. It reflects both the ego’s need to separate, and your willingness to side with its separateness. This willingness means that you do not want to be healed.

But the time is now. You have not been asked to work out the plan of salvation yourself because, as I told you before, the remedy could not be of your making. God Himself gave you the perfect Correction for everything you made that is not in accord with His holy Will. I am making His plan perfectly explicit to you, and will also tell you of your part in it, and how urgent it is to fulfill it. God weeps at the “sacrifice” of His children who believe they are lost to Him.

Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations. Perceiving this as “sin” you become defensive because you expect attack. The decision to react in this way is yours, and can therefore be undone. It cannot be undone by repentance in the usual sense, because this implies guilt. If you allow yourself to feel guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you.

Decision cannot be difficult. This is obvious, if you realize that you must already have decided not to be wholly joyous if that is how you feel. Therefore, the first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise. Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there. Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation:

I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 13

Lesson 44

God is the light in which I see.

Today we are continuing the idea for yesterday, adding another dimension to it. You cannot see in darkness, and you cannot make light. You can make darkness and then think you see in it, but light reflects life, and is therefore an aspect of creation. Creation and darkness cannot coexist, but light and life must go together, being but different aspects of creation.

In order to see, you must recognize that light is within, not without. You do not see outside yourself, nor is the equipment for seeing outside you. An essential part of this equipment is the light that makes seeing possible. It is with you always, making vision possible in every circumstance.

Today we are going to attempt to reach that light. For this purpose, we will use a form of exercise which has been suggested before, and which we will utilize increasingly. It is a particularly difficult form for the undisciplined mind, and represents a major goal of mind training. It requires precisely what the untrained mind lacks. Yet this training must be accomplished if you are to see.

Have at least three practice periods today, each lasting three to five minutes. A longer time is highly recommended, but only if you find the time slipping by with little or no sense of strain. The form of practice we will use today is the most natural and easy one in the world for the trained mind, just as it seems to be the most unnatural and difficult for the untrained mind.

Your mind is no longer wholly untrained. You are quite ready to learn the form of exercise we will use today, but you may find that you will encounter strong resistance. The reason is very simple. While you practice in this way, you leave behind everything that you now believe, and all the thoughts that you have made up. Properly speaking, this is the release from hell. Yet perceived through the ego’s eyes, it is loss of identity and a descent into hell.

If you can stand aside from the ego by ever so little, you will have no difficulty in recognizing that its opposition and its fears are meaningless. You might find it helpful to remind yourself, from time to time, that to reach light is to escape from darkness, whatever you may believe to the contrary. God is the light in which you see. You are attempting to reach Him.

Begin the practice period by repeating today’s idea with your eyes open, and close them slowly, repeating the idea several times more. Then try to sink into your mind, letting go every kind of interference and intrusion by quietly sinking past them. Your mind cannot be stopped in this unless you choose to stop it. It is merely taking its natural course. Try to observe your passing thoughts without involvement, and slip quietly by them.

While no particular approach is advocated for this form of exercise, what is needful is a sense of the importance of what you are doing; its inestimable value to you, and an awareness that you are attempting something very holy. Salvation is your happiest accomplishment. It is also the only one that has any meaning, because it is the only one that has any real use to you at all.

If resistance rises in any form, pause long enough to repeat today’s idea, keeping your eyes closed unless you are aware of fear. In that case, you will probably find it more reassuring to open your eyes briefly. Try, however, to return to the exercises with eyes closed as soon as possible.

If you are doing the exercises correctly, you should experience some sense of relaxation, and even a feeling that you are approaching, if not actually entering into light. Try to think of light, formless and without limit, as you pass by the thoughts of this world. And do not forget that they cannot hold you to the world unless you give them the power to do so.

Throughout the day repeat the idea often, with eyes open or closed as seems better to you at the time. But do not forget. Above all, be determined not to forget today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #59: After all this time of studying the Course, I’m still not real clear on what forgiveness really is. Let’s say my ego mind labels someone as being a jerk. Well, I know on one level that I can’t possibly be right in that evaluation — I don’t really know this person and besides, I can’t judge another even if sometimes I do. So, what’s the next step? Not only have I made an unfair judgment; I’ve ended up feeling guilty for it.

A: When you take a minute or two to think differently about your judgment of another person, as you describe in your question, you have begun the forgiveness process, “A light has entered the darkness” (M.1.1:4). The first step is being willing to admit that we are wrong in our evaluation, and that there is another way of looking at the person. The next steps are being willing to let go of the original judgment, ask for another way of perceiving, and accept the new perception when it comes to you. This does not mean that you will no longer see people do foolish things. It means that you will not confuse the person’s true identity with the foolish behavior, nor condemn him for it, nor consider it a “sin.” People do and say foolish things; that is a fact. There are then two interpretations: one according to the ego, which says this foolish behavior makes this person a “jerk”; the other according to the Holy Spirit (forgiveness), which says the foolish behavior does not change the real fact that this person is not a “sinner,” and does not deserve my condemnation. This applies as well to the judgment against yourself. We might say that calling another person a “jerk” is foolish behavior. This does not mean you are a sinner deserving of punishment, but that you have made a mistake, and are in need of a new perception, a correction, forgiveness. The guilt that seems to be at the end of the process, after judging a person as a “jerk,” was actually already present in the mind prior to the “attack.” The guilt was projected out to the “jerk” in the form of the judgment, which then seems to cause the guilt. This is an example of the Course teaching: “Ideas leave not their source, and their effects but seem to be apart from them. Ideas are of the mind. What is projected out, and seems to be external to the mind, is not outside at all, but an effect of what is in, and has not left its source” (T.26.VII.4:7,8,9). The origin of the process is a thought of separation in the mind, followed by a judgment against yourself for the thought, and guilt for having thought it. The guilt is then projected out to someone else in the form of an attack, and it then returns to the mind in the form of guilt for the attack. This is the circular thinking of the ego’s game of guilt. Forgiveness asks that we recognize the original thought, and accept responsibility for the process. The way to forgive yourself for the original thought of separation is to offer forgiveness to the “jerk” by seeing him as no different from yourself; i.e., being in need of healing and of correction, and no different in his true identity as a holy Son of God: “Let not the form of his mistakes keep you from him whose holiness is yours. Let not the vision of his holiness, the sight of which would show you your forgiveness, be kept from you by what the body’s eyes can see. Let your awareness of your brother not be blocked by your perception of his sins and of his body. What is there in him that you would attack except what you associate with his body, which you believe can sin? Beyond his errors is his holiness and your salvation. You gave him not his holiness, but tried to see your sins in him to save yourself. And yet, his holiness is your forgiveness” (T.22.III.8:1,2,3,4,5,6,7).


Q #60: I seem to remember a passage that states the use of “white lies” may at times be appropriate in dealing with some relationships. What is Jesus saying here? I can only seem to relate it to the 12-step saying where we should always try to make amends except when to do so would cause more harm.

A: We have all experienced occasions when it is obvious that telling someone the truth on the level of form is simply not the loving thing to do. While there are no passages in the Course that specifically mention “white lies,” there are two passages that address this issue, and that relate to the 12-step saying you mention: “The value of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed. In fact, if it is used truly, it will inevitably be expressed in whatever way is most helpful to the receiver.This means that a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language that the recipient can understand without fear. This does not necessarily mean that it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable. It does mean, however, that it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable now. The whole aim of the miracle is to raise the level of communication, not to lower it by increasing fear” (T.2.IV.5).

In another passage Jesus says, Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something ‘outrageous,’ do it because it does not matter” (T.12.III.4:1). Importantly, he qualifies this later by saying, “I have said that if a brother asks a foolish thing of you to do it. But be certain that this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other” (T.16.I.6:4,5).

The key element in the Course’s approach is honesty, which is the second of the ten characteristics of a teacher of God, discussed in the manual for teachers (M.4). Jesus states there that honesty means consistency: “There is nothing you say that contradicts what you think or do; no thought opposes any other thought…” (M.4.II.1). In other words, there is a consistency between your words (form) and your thoughts (content). If we set aside any ego investment in the situation, then only love will flow though us, and it will be expressed in a form that would be appropriate in that specific situation. The emphasis is on the content in our minds. If we are kind within, we will be kind on the outside. Our attention, thus, should be on searching for any unkindness lurking in our thoughts, and asking for help to let that go. Once we have gotten past the unkindness, whatever we say or do will be kind, in a form that is appropriate to the circumstances.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 1

ACIM Text Reading for February 1

Chapter 4 ~ The Illusions of the Ego

V. This Need Not Be

If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen. That you do listen to the voice of your ego is demonstrated by your attitudes, your feelings and your behavior. Yet this is what you want. This is what you are fighting to keep, and what you are vigilant to save. Your mind is filled with schemes to save the face of your ego, and you do not seek the face of Christ. The glass in which the ego seeks to see its face is dark indeed. How can it maintain the trick of its existence except with mirrors? But where you look to find yourself is up to you.

I have said that you cannot change your mind by changing your behavior, but I have also said, and many times, that you can change your mind. When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know this need not be. In every case you have thought wrongly about some brother God created, and are perceiving images your ego makes in a darkened glass. Think honestly what you have thought that God would not have thought, and what you have not thought that God would have you think. Search sincerely for what you have done and left undone accordingly, and then change your mind to think with God’s. This may seem hard to do, but it is much easier than trying to think against it. Your mind is one with God’s. Denying this and thinking otherwise has held your ego together, but has literally split your mind. As a loving brother I am deeply concerned with your mind, and urge you to follow my example as you look at yourself and at your brother, and see in both the glorious creations of a glorious Father.

When you are sad, know this need not be. Depression comes from a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have. Remember that you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise.

When you are anxious, realize that anxiety comes from the capriciousness of the ego, and know this need not be. You can be as vigilant against the ego’s dictates as for them.

When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the “sins” of the ego to me. That is what Atonement is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. While you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be.

Watch your mind for the temptations of the ego, and do not be deceived by it. It offers you nothing. When you have given up this voluntary dis-spiriting, you will see how your mind can focus and rise above fatigue and heal. Yet you are not sufficiently vigilant against the demands of the ego to disengage yourself. This need not be.

The habit of engaging with God and His creations is easily made if you actively refuse to let your mind slip away. The problem is not one of concentration; it is the belief that no one, including yourself, is worth consistent effort. Side with me consistently against this deception, and do not permit this shabby belief to pull you back. The disheartened are useless to themselves and to me, but only the ego can be disheartened.

Have you really considered how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many of them you have refused? There is no limit to the power of a Son of God, but he can limit the expression of his power as much as he chooses. Your mind and mine can unite in shining your ego away, releasing the strength of God into everything you think and do. Do not settle for anything less than this, and refuse to accept anything but this as your goal. Watch your mind carefully for any beliefs that hinder its accomplishment, and step away from them. Judge how well you have done this by your own feelings, for this is the one right use of judgment. Judgment, like any other defense, can be used to attack or protect; to hurt or to heal. The ego should be brought to judgment and found wanting there. Without your own allegiance, protection and love, the ego cannot exist. Let it be judged truly and you must withdraw allegiance, protection and love from it.

You are a mirror of truth, in which God Himself shines in perfect light. To the ego’s dark glass you need but say, “I will not look there because I know these images are not true.” Then let the Holy One shine on you in peace, knowing that this and only this must be. His Mind shone on you in your creation and brought your mind into being. His Mind still shines on you and must shine through you. Your ego cannot prevent Him from shining on you, but it can prevent you from letting Him shine through you.

The First Coming of Christ is merely another name for the creation, for Christ is the Son of God. The Second Coming of Christ means nothing more than the end of the ego’s rule and the healing of the mind. I was created like you in the first, and I have called you to join with me in the second. I am in charge of the Second Coming, and my judgment, which is used only for protection, cannot be wrong because it never attacks. Yours may be so distorted that you believe I was mistaken in choosing you. I assure you this is a mistake of your ego. Do not mistake it for humility. Your ego is trying to convince you that it is real and I am not, because if I am real, I am no more real than you are. That knowledge, and I assure you that it is knowledge, means that Christ has come into your mind and healed it.

I do not attack your ego. I do work with your higher mind, the home of the Holy Spirit, whether you are asleep or awake, just as your ego does with your lower mind, which is its home. I am your vigilance in this, because you are too confused to recognize your own hope. I am not mistaken. Your mind will elect to join with mine, and together we are invincible. You and your brother will yet come together in my name, and your sanity will be restored. I raised the dead by knowing that life is an eternal attribute of everything that the living God created. Why do you believe it is harder for me to inspire the dis-spirited or to stabilize the unstable? I do not believe that there is an order of difficulty in miracles; you do. I have called and you will answer. I understand that miracles are natural, because they are expressions of love. My calling you is as natural as your answer, and as inevitable.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 1

Lesson 32

I have invented the world I see.

Today we are continuing to develop the theme of cause and effect. You are not the victim of the world you see because you invented it. You can give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish. While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want it, it will not be there for you to see.

The idea for today, like the preceding ones, applies to your inner and outer worlds, which are actually the same. However, since you see them as different, the practice periods for today will again include two phases, one involving the world you see outside you, and the other the world you see in your mind. In today’s exercises, try to introduce the thought that both are in your own imagination.

Again we will begin the practice periods for the morning and evening by repeating the idea for today two or three times while looking around at the world you see as outside yourself. Then close your eyes and look around your inner world. Try to treat them both as equally as possible. Repeat the idea for today unhurriedly as often as you wish, as you watch the images your imagination presents to your awareness.

For the two longer practice periods three to five minutes are recommended, with not less than three required. More than five can be utilized, if you find the exercise restful. To facilitate this, select a time when few distractions are anticipated, and when you yourself feel reasonably ready.

These exercises are also to be continued during the day, as often as possible. The shorter applications consist of repeating the idea slowly, as you survey either your inner or outer world. It does not matter which you choose.

The idea for today should also be applied immediately to any situation that may distress you. Apply the idea by telling yourself:

I have invented this situation as I see it.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1026: “Your ego is trying to convince you that it is real and I am not, because if I am real, I am no more real than you are” (T.4.IV.10.8). Would you comment on this sentence? It confuses me. I am not sure what Jesus is saying here.

A: There are two parts to this statement. The first part — “The ego is trying to convince you that it is real and I am not” — is what we would expect of the ego, that it would try to convince us that separation, which the ego symbolizes, is reality, and oneness, which Jesus symbolizes, is not. The purpose of A Course in Miracles is to lead us to accept the Atonement for ourselves, which means that we come to recognize that the separation never happened. So if Jesus, as the symbol of oneness, is real, then the ego is not. Since the ego’s only purpose is self-preservation, regardless of the truth, it must make every effort to persuade us that the Jesus of the Course is not real.

The second part of the statement — “because if I am real, I am no more real than you are” — is another way of saying that if Jesus is real, we are all the same, and ultimately we are all one. The ego, confronted with the reality of Jesus, can only hope to persuade us that he is very different from us — God’s only Son, divine, innocent while we are guilty, existing before us through all of eternity. If the Jesus the ego is willing for us to embrace were real, the ego could remain in business, for the separation would be confirmed. That is what has made Christianity and its central figure Jesus so popular across the centuries — they affirm the reality of separation and differences and sin, as well as attack and victimization.

But the Course’s message is that we are all the same because we are all one. There are no differences that mean anything. If the Jesus who is like us is real and exists, then the ego and all its perceived differences are meaningless. And sin and guilt are nothing but idle fantasies with no effects. And all of this, to the ego, is blasphemous.

Q #1027: I have a compulsion to make to-do lists and set goals. Is this an ego thing? How do I let go of it? I feel like I’m supposed to surrender my will and life over to the Holy Spirit and let Him run the show, but every time I try, I end up back making lists. I feel like I’m doing something wrong and it’s creating a lot of tension in my life.

A: Fortunately, nowhere in A Course in Miracles does it say you cannot make to-do lists. Nor does it tell us to change our behavior or personality traits in any way. The Holy Spirit has indeed come to help us, but He will not pay the bills, wash the dishes or clean the garage. Putting ourselves under the Holy Spirit’s guidance means becoming mindful of the thoughts of judgment about ourselves and others that continually re-cycle the guilt in the mind for not choosing the Holy Spirit. The true source of tension is in the split mind that is in conflict between choosing the ego and the Holy Spirit. That is the real problem. The first thing on the Holy Spirit’s list is to see the problem where it is (in the mind), not where it has been projected ( making or not making lists).

As long as we believe the world is real, there is a place for making lists and setting goals. Things need to be done. Jesus acknowledges this in The Song of Prayer : There are decisions to make here, and they must be made whether they be illusions or not (S.1.I.2:4) The important question to ask is with whom the decisions are made (See: Rules for Decision T.30.I) . Guided by the ego, making lists and setting goals are activities driven by compulsion and need. The underlying belief is that salvation lies in the security of having lists and accomplishing tasks, and peace is lost when task goals are not set and met. They are thus used as attacks against peace. The Holy Spirit’s goal is the healing of the mind, and the only task needed to achieve this goal is forgiveness. His help is not directed toward behavior of any kind, but with the mind that chooses to believe that certain behaviors are valuable and then judges that decision as sinful. Lists cannot keep you from Heaven any more than they can get you in, unless, of course, returning to Heaven is on the list. In that case, the work to be done is the practice of forgiveness, which begins with awareness of the judgments against oneself and others. Looking at these judgments with the Holy Spirit means seeing that their true purpose is to keep Him away. That is how we beat the ego at its own game, so to speak, and invite the Holy Spirit to be in charge. It is a process of learning to see everything, from making lists to accomplishing the tasks on the lists, as opportunities for forgiveness. If that is at the top of the list, everything will serve the Holy Spirit’s purpose of healing, thereby putting Him in charge, rather than the ego.

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 20

ACIM Text Reading for January 20

Chapter 2 ~ The Separation and the Atonement

IX. The Meaning of the Last Judgment
One of the ways in which you can correct the magic-miracle confusion is to remember that you did not create yourself. You are apt to forget this when you become egocentric, and this puts you in a position where a belief in magic is virtually inevitable. Your will to create was given you by your Creator, Who was expressing the same Will in His creation. Since creative ability rests in the mind, everything you create is necessarily a matter of will. It also follows that whatever you alone make is real in your own sight, though not in the Mind of God. This basic distinction leads directly into the real meaning of the Last Judgment.

The Last Judgment is one of the most threatening ideas in your thinking. This is because you do not understand it. Judgment is not an attribute of God. It was brought into being only after the separation, when it became one of the many learning devices to be built into the overall plan. Just as the separation occurred over millions of years, the Last Judgment will extend over a similarly long period, and perhaps an even longer one. Its length can, however, be greatly shortened by miracles, the device for shortening but not abolishing time. If a sufficient number become truly miracle-minded, this shortening process can be virtually immeasurable. It is essential, however, that you free yourself quickly, because you must emerge from the conflict if you are to bring peace to other minds.

The Last Judgment is generally thought of as a procedure undertaken by God. Actually it will be undertaken by my brothers with my help. It is a final healing rather than a meting out of punishment, however much you may think that punishment is deserved. Punishment is a concept totally opposed to right-mindedness, and the aim of the Last Judgment is to restore right-mindedness to you. The Last Judgment might be called a process of right evaluation. It simply means that everyone will finally come to understand what is worthy and what is not. After this, the ability to choose can be directed rationally. Until this distinction is made, however, the vacillations between free and imprisoned will cannot but continue.

The first step toward freedom involves a sorting out of the false from the true. This is a process of separation in the constructive sense, and reflects the true meaning of the Apocalypse. Everyone will ultimately look upon his own creations and choose to preserve only what is good, just as God Himself looked upon what He had created and knew that it was good. At this point, the mind can begin to look with love on its own creations because of their worthiness. At the same time the mind will inevitably disown its miscreations which, without belief, will no longer exist.

The term “Last Judgment” is frightening not only because it has been projected onto God, but also because of the association of “last” with death. This is an outstanding example of upside-down perception. If the meaning of the Last Judgment is objectively examined, it is quite apparent that it is really the doorway to life. No one who lives in fear is really alive. Your own last judgment cannot be directed toward yourself, because you are not your own creation. You can, however, apply it meaningfully and at any time to everything you have made, and retain in your memory only what is creative and good. This is what your right-mindedness cannot but dictate. The purpose of time is solely to “give you time” to achieve this judgment. It is your own perfect judgment of your own perfect creations. When everything you retain is lovable, there is no reason for fear to remain with you. This is your part in the Atonement.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 20

Lesson 20
I am determined to see.

We have been quite casual about our practice periods thus far. There has been virtually no attempt to direct the time for undertaking them, minimal effort has been required, and not even active cooperation and interest have been asked. This approach has been intentional, and very carefully planned. We have not lost sight of the crucial importance of the reversal of your thinking. The salvation of the world depends on it. Yet you will not see if you regard yourself as being coerced, and if you give in to resentment and opposition.

This is our first attempt to introduce structure. Do not misconstrue it as an effort to exert force or pressure. You want salvation. You want to be happy. You want peace. You do not have them now, because your mind is totally undisciplined, and you cannot distinguish between joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, love and fear. You are now learning how to tell them apart. And great indeed will be your reward.

Your decision to see is all that vision requires. What you want is yours. Do not mistake the little effort that is asked of you for an indication that our goal is of little worth. Can the salvation of the world be a trivial purpose? And can the world be saved if you are not? God has one Son, and he is the resurrection and the life. His will is done because all power is given him in Heaven and on earth. In your determination to see is vision given you.

The exercises for today consist in reminding yourself throughout the day that you want to see. Today’s idea also tacitly implies the recognition that you do not see now. Therefore, as you repeat the idea, you are stating that you are determined to change your present state for a better one, and one you really want.

Repeat today’s idea slowly and positively at least twice an hour today, attempting to do so every half hour. Do not be distressed if you forget to do so, but make a real effort to remember. The extra repetitions should be applied to any situation, person or event that upsets you. You can see them differently, and you will. What you desire you will see. Such is the real law of cause and effect as it operates in the world.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1223: I had an experience of God recently that I don’t know how to connect with my work with A Course in Miracles . Briefly, here is what happened. My cat, Ben, became seriously ill, and I was terribly upset. After leaving Ben in the care of the veterinarian, I returned home, still very anxious, and I found myself repeating, “Please forgive me, Ben, I am so very sorry.” I did this for hours, as if compelled to. Then I became aware that I was directing this to myself — that I was sorry to the core of my being for the harm I had done to myself over many years of abuse. Then came a powerful feeling that I was not alone. I experienced this as God, and for the first time in my life I felt alive and real. The power of His presence was beyond words. I was nothing; but I was everything. Fear did not exist, and there was a realization of beauty in death and in all things. This lasted for the weekend, but after that I felt very vulnerable, and my defenses built up again. I am still seeking to recover that feeling of being so real and alive.

A: Without knowing a great deal more about you, it is difficult to for us to say what all of this means for you specifically. We can simply point out a few concepts and teachings in the Course that we hope will be of help.

First, Jesus reminds us that we are “very new to the ways of salvation” (T.17.9:1) , which means if a profound experience does not last, such as the one you had, then it can serve the purpose of showing us what our permanent experience will be as we continue to get in touch with the interferences that must still be operating in our minds. He describes this in another place in the text in terms of light and darkness: “… the journey into darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it. A little flicker of your eyelids, closed so long, has not yet been sufficient to give you confidence in yourself, so long despised” (T.18.III.3:3,4). The experience you had seems to be much more than “a little flicker of your eyelids,” but that assessment is from our point of view, not from where Jesus is outside the dream. It may be helpful to read this entire section, “Light in the Dream,” as you will see there that Jesus is very encouraging, and is basically saying that our unconscious fear of total release causes us to retreat back into darkness after we glimpse the light. He assures us that we will succeed, however: “But you will advance, because your goal is the advance from fear to truth” (T.18.III.2:2). Notice, though, that in this section Jesus does not advise us to concentrate on God, but rather on our relationships — looking for grievances we are holding onto, or something else that would keep us separate from others — perhaps feeling that some people do not deserve to experience God’s Love and peace. Our fear of release is expressed that way, and therefore if we focus on becoming aware of what is keeping us separate from others, and then look at all that with Jesus or the Holy Spirit (which means without judgment), we will be letting go of what is blocking our awareness of God’s love and peace that is reflected in our right minds. Patience and gentleness are essential as you proceed with this process.

*

Q #1050: After reading fully the text of A Course in Miracles and committing myself to the students’ program for a year, I find myself in a position of “belief,” but want to go to the level of “knowledge.” I ask for something to show me that I am on the right path, that I am going in the right direction. I have looked at the various aspects of my life, be it career, creative projects, or relationships, and all things seem at a standstill. I let go and give the future to God to lead me….and nothing happens……I have worked through being anxious about the future and ask that what I feel inside be reflected on the outside somehow, but, there does not seem to be congruency. I want so much to have my beliefs validated because I don’t want to believe that God would withhold happiness and fulfillment from one of his Sons who wants so much to be joined with Him.

A: In the simplicity of its message, the Course offers only one path for its students: the practice of forgiveness. This will lead to knowledge, which lies beyond forgiveness and beyond any path. The one-year study program of the workbook is only the beginning of a lifetime of practice: “This course is a beginning, not an end” (W.ep.1:1) . So, although the Course is a “fast track,” the process of applying its teachings to our lives is a slow road that requires patience and practice. The process is slow only because resistance is great, and attachment to the ego’s belief system is deeper than we think. That is why Jesus repeats his message in many different ways throughout the Course.

What seems to be a lack of congruency in your process, therefore, is only evidence of the inevitable resistance. This is no cause for distress. Jesus acknowledges our resistance and recommends that we proceed gently and patiently. He assures us that God is not withholding anything from His Son. Nothing is missing in the equation of oneness; rather, something has been added that blocks awareness of the oneness: the decision to be a separate self. The mind’s choice to believe in separation is the only thing that keeps knowledge of our oneness with God from awareness. Thus, the way to return to knowledge and love, is to accept the mind’s healing of the thought of separation through forgiveness. That is all we are asked to do. Jesus tells us the plan will not fail because its success lies in the power of the mind that chose separation, and can choose differently: God’s guarantee will hold against all obstacles, for it rests on certainty and not contingency. It rests on you (T.20.IV.8:10,11).

To further lighten our burden, we are not asked to evaluate our progress. In fact, Jesus tells us : “Put yourself not in charge of this, for you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success (T.18.V.1:5,6) . Clearly, then, we are most gentle with ourselves if we agree to proceed calmly in the simple, though not easy, practice of forgiveness. Diligence in this practice is what will make the inner and outer more congruent, as every relationship and experience in daily life become opportunities to apply the principles of the Course’s teaching, thereby unifying their purpose in service of a single goal. Having found the right path and a curriculum that guarantees results, the only thing to do is stay with the program. The pace of the learning process is commensurate with willingness to look at the ego’s arsenal of resistance techniques without judging them. Jesus offers encouraging words to every student of his Course: “If the way seems long, let him be content. He has decided on the direction he wants to take. What more was asked of him? And having done what was required, would God withhold the rest?” (M.22.2:6,7,8,9).

health is inner peace

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Is A Course in Miracles a CIA Mind Control Experiment?

https://truthinreality.com/2012/09/08/a-course-in-miracles-and-mk-ultra-mind-control/

http://www.eldontaylor.com/blog/2015/10/21/spirituality-as-a-tool-for-mind-control/

https://inpursuitofhappiness.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/a-course-in-miracles-a-cia-exercise-in-mind-control/

I am writing this post today to help us separate truth from fiction. Recently two friends whose opinions I respect sent me the links above which claim that A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is none other than a CIA mind control experiment. This has led both of my friends to have doubts about ACIM and question my involvement with it.

First, I want to say that these claims against ACIM are nothing new, nor do they particularly disturb me. Nor am I much bothered that my friends have a bad taste in their mouth now in regard to ACIM. So why am I writing this? I could definitely simply ignore these (and other) claims, which is what many in the ACIM community do, because they are pretty far-fetched and maybe don’t even deserve comment. But in this case, and actually in most cases, I do feel that it is appropriate to defend the truth when it is being attacked. As a yoga and ACIM student, I am by now very familiar with separating truth from untruth in my own mind, and this piece is just a kind of extension of that, if you will.

Perhaps the most important thing I will say here is this: It is just so easy to write something and sound like you know what you’re talking about, but in reality have not much of a clue about the thing you’re criticizing. As we know, talk is cheap, and opinions are even cheaper. In this case, someone might claim to be an CIA-member, or have been an ACIM student for years, but so what? If your “facts” are off, they’re off, no matter what your alleged level of experience is.

Conspiracy theories are a cottage industry these days, they clearly are proliferating on the internet. Which is not to say that they are all bogus, there is no doubt at least some truth to some of them. And in this particular case, there may indeed be some truth to the claims being made (for example, that Dr. William Thetford worked for the CIA, this is an established fact). Yet anyone who is more familiar with ACIM would see these claims as just so much speculation and conjecture.

We can also rightly ask from the very outset, why are these anti-ACIM pieces being written? Is there a bias, some stake in things turning out one way or another? Clearly there is a fundamentalist Christian bias against ACIM, and I am leaving aside for now all of the arguments against ACIM from a biblical perspective, just focusing on this one topic at hand.

Turning this question back on myself, do I have an investment in this matter? No, I do not. If someone could convincingly prove that ACIM is none other than a mind control experiment that somehow the CIA concocted as a way to control the masses, or even as a mass personality study, I would gladly accept such news. Yet as we will see, there is (as yet) only conjecture and speculation, no convincing proof…

I really don’t sense that those making these claims against ACIM are really informed about ACIM or aware of certain materials that might help them to understand the context in which it came to be. It is not my purpose to go into all of those details here, but merely to provide some primary sources for you to educate yourself more about ACIM. Here are just a few such sources. These sources make it clear that Helen Schucman was the scribe of the Course. Was the “voice” that came to her implanted somehow by Bill or someone in the MK Ultra project? Anything is possible, of course, but very highly improbable. Bill didn’t even start working for MK Ultra until 1971, and the scribing of the Course began in 1965. The entire Course was nearly complete by 1971. Why not believe what Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford and Ken Wapnick all say about the origins of the Course, instead of concluding that they all were either victims of mind control, or that Bill Thetford somehow sinisterly implanted the entire Course into Helen Schulman’s brain? Are these people not rational, sensible people, just like you and me? Why not give them the benefit of the doubt? If and when you do, you just might find yourself more at peace, and that, I maintain, is what we are all truly seeking.

Finally, read this: http://www.facimoutreach.org/qa/questions/ACIM_Manuscript_History.pdf

Thank you for listening!

 

ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for November 25

ACIM Supplemental Reading for November 25

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process & Practice

THE PROCESS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY

Introduction

Psychotherapy is a process that changes the view of the self. At best this “new” self is a more beneficent self-concept, but psychotherapy can hardly be expected to establish reality. That is not its function. If it can make way for reality, it has achieved its ultimate success. Its whole function, in the end, is to help the patient deal with one fundamental error; the belief that anger brings him something he really wants, and that by justifying attack he is protecting himself. To whatever extent he comes to realize that this is an error, to that extent is he truly saved.

Patients do not enter the therapeutic relationship with this goal in mind. On the contrary, such concepts mean little to them, or they would not need help. Their aim is to be able to retain their self-concept exactly as it is, but without the suffering that it entails. Their whole equilibrium rests on the insane belief that this is possible. And because to the sane mind it is so clearly impossible, what they seek is magic. In illusions the impossible is easily accomplished, but only at the cost of making illusions true. The patient has already paid this price. Now he wants a “better” illusion.

At the beginning, then, the patient’s goal and the therapist’s are at variance. The therapist as well as the patient may cherish false self-concepts, but their respective perceptions of “improvement” still must differ. The patient hopes to learn how to get the changes he wants without changing his self-concept to any significant extent. He hopes, in fact, to stabilize it sufficiently to include within it the magical powers he seeks in psychotherapy. He wants to make the vulnerable invulnerable and the finite limitless. The self he sees is his god, and he seeks only to serve it better.

Regardless of how sincere the therapist himself may be, he must want to change the patient’s self-concept in some way that he believes is real. The task of therapy is one of reconciling these differences. Hopefully, both will learn to give up their original goals, for it is only in relationships that salvation can be found. At the beginning, it is inevitable that patients and therapists alike accept unrealistic goals not completely free of magical overtones. They are finally given up in the minds of both.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 25

Lesson 324
I merely follow, for I would not lead.

Father, You are the One Who gave the plan for my salvation to me. You have set the way I am to go, the role to take, and every step in my appointed path. I cannot lose the way. I can but choose to wander off a while, and then return. Your loving Voice will always call me back, and guide my feet aright. My brothers all can follow in the way I lead them. Yet I merely follow in the way to You, as You direct me and would have me go.

So let us follow One Who knows the way. We need not tarry, and we cannot stray except an instant from His loving Hand. We walk together, for we follow Him. And it is He Who makes the ending sure, and guarantees a safe returning home.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #144: How would one deal with anxiety from the perspective of A Course in Miracles? If you’ve used cognitive behavioral techniques to deal with feelings of anxiety, and you’ve looked at your anxiety from a psychotherapeutic angle, and you also approach it as a student with the Course’s principles but still find yourself anxious in a particular situation, what are you doing wrong?

A: You don’t say how specifically you have approached your anxiety using the Course’s principles. But the fact that you are continuing to feel anxiety does not mean that you are doing anything wrong other than continuing to identify with your ego thought system. Maintaining a false separate identity is very anxiety-producing as we have set it up in our mind.

The Course refers to the source of anxiety in several passages: “When you are anxious, realize that anxiety comes from the capriciousness of the ego” (T.4.IV.4:1). “The ingeniousness of the ego to preserve itself is enormous, but it stems from the very power of the mind the ego denies. This means that the ego attacks what is preserving it, which must result in extreme anxiety” (T.7.VI.3:1,2). “If you…distort reality you will experience anxiety, depression and ultimately panic, because you are trying to make yourself unreal” (T.9.I.14:4). By establishing a false ego self, we believe we have set ourselves up in opposition to God, Whom we perceive as an insurmountable force Who will in the end seize back what we have stolen from Him — our separate, individual existence. So trying to maintain that identity has to arouse intense anxiety.

You also don’t say what the particular anxiety-arousing situation is, but it must be a symbol in your mind for the separation, which means that it is a situation in which you are perceiving your interests as separate from, and so in competition with, others. It does not matter who you perceive as right or justified in the situation, the fact that you’re not recognizing your shared interests at a deeper level with everyone else in the situation is the source of the anxiety. For it is a reminder of your initial attack on God, when you perceived your interests as separate from His.

The first step in dealing with your anxiety is to recognize that you have displaced this existential anxiety on to an external situation so that you do not remember its source in the mind, where you could do something about it. Jesus points out how we deceive ourselves: “Even if he is fully aware of anxiety he does not perceive its source as his own ego identification, and he always tries to handle it by making some sort of insane ‘arrangement’ with the world. He always perceives this world as outside himself, for this is crucial to his adjustment. He does not realize that he makes this world, for there is no world outside of him” (T.12.III.6:5,6,7).

Once we return our focus from the outer to the inner, where Jesus or the Holy Spirit are waiting for us, we can ask for Their help in seeing the real source of anxiety — the belief in separation — differently. By joining with Them and asking for Their help, we have moved beyond separate interests. For we are now joined with their love, which reminds us that the Love of God that we thought we had attacked and destroyed remains unchanged and available in our mind.

forgiveness is still

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 29

ACIM Text Reading for September 29
Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision
V. Self Concept versus Self

The learning of the world is built upon a concept of the self adjusted to the world’s reality. It fits it well. For this an image is that suits a world of shadows and illusions. Here it walks at home, where what it sees is one with it. The building of a concept of the self is what the learning of the world is for. This is its purpose; that you come without a self, and make one as you go along. And by the time you reach “maturity” you have perfected it, to meet the world on equal terms, at one with its demands.

A concept of the self is made by you. It bears no likeness to yourself at all. It is an idol, made to take the place of your reality as Son of God. The concept of the self the world would teach is not the thing that it appears to be. For it is made to serve two purposes, but one of which the mind can recognize. The first presents the face of innocence, the aspect acted on. It is this face that smiles and charms and even seems to love. It searches for companions and it looks, at times with pity, on the suffering, and sometimes offers solace. It believes that it is good within an evil world.

This aspect can grow angry, for the world is wicked and unable to provide the love and shelter innocence deserves. And so this face is often wet with tears at the injustices the world accords to those who would be generous and good. This aspect never makes the first attack. But every day a hundred little things make small assaults upon its innocence, provoking it to irritation, and at last to open insult and abuse.

The face of innocence the concept of the self so proudly wears can tolerate attack in self-defense, for is it not a well-known fact the world deals harshly with defenseless innocence? No one who makes a picture of himself omits this face, for he has need of it. The other side he does not want to see. Yet it is here the learning of the world has set its sights, for it is here the world’s “reality” is set, to see to it the idol lasts.

Beneath the face of innocence there is a lesson that the concept of the self was made to teach. It is a lesson in a terrible displacement, and a fear so devastating that the face that smiles above it must forever look away, lest it perceive the treachery it hides. The lesson teaches this: “I am the thing you made of me, and as you look on me, you stand condemned because of what I am.” On this conception of the self the world smiles with approval, for it guarantees the pathways of the world are safely kept, and those who walk on them will not escape.

Here is the central lesson that ensures your brother is condemned eternally. For what you are has now become his sin. For this is no forgiveness possible. No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering and deadly in its aim. It points to you as well, but this is kept still deeper in the mists below the face of innocence. And in these shrouded vaults are all his sins and yours preserved and kept in darkness, where they cannot be perceived as errors, which the light would surely show. You can be neither blamed for what you are, nor can you change the things it makes you do. Your brother then is symbol of your sins to you who are but silently, and yet with ceaseless urgency, condemning still your brother for the hated thing you are.

Concepts are learned. They are not natural. Apart from learning they do not exist. They are not given, so they must be made. Not one of them is true, and many come from feverish imaginations, hot with hatred and distortions born of fear. What is a concept but a thought to which its maker gives a meaning of his own? Concepts maintain the world. But they can not be used to demonstrate the world is real. For all of them are made within the world, born in its shadow, growing in its ways and finally “maturing” in its thought. They are ideas of idols, painted with the brushes of the world, which cannot make a single picture representing truth.

A concept of the self is meaningless, for no one here can see what it is for, and therefore cannot picture what it is. Yet is all learning that the world directs begun and ended with the single aim of teaching you this concept of yourself, that you will choose to follow this world’s laws, and never seek to go beyond its roads nor realize the way you see yourself. Now must the Holy Spirit find a way to help you see this concept of the self must be undone, if any peace of mind is to be given you. Nor can it be unlearned except by lessons aimed to teach that you are something else. For otherwise, you would be asked to make exchange of what you now believe for total loss of self, and greater terror would arise in you.

Thus are the Holy Spirit’s lesson plans arranged in easy steps, that though there be some lack of ease at times and some distress, there is no shattering of what was learned, but just a re-translation of what seems to be the evidence on its behalf. Let us consider, then, what proof there is that you are what your brother made of you. For even though you do not yet perceive that this is what you think, you surely learned by now that you behave as if it were. Does he react for you? And does he know exactly what would happen? Can he see your future and ordain, before it comes, what you should do in every circumstance? He must have made the world as well as you to have such prescience in the things to come.

That you are what your brother made of you seems most unlikely. Even if he did, who gave the face of innocence to you? Is this your contribution? Who is, then, the “you” who made it? And who is deceived by all your goodness, and attacks it so? Let us forget the concept’s foolishness, and merely think of this; there are two parts to what you think yourself to be. If one were generated by your brother, who was there to make the other? And from whom must something be kept hidden? If the world be evil, there is still no need to hide what you are made of. Who is there to see? And what but is attacked could need defense?

Perhaps the reason why this concept must be kept in darkness is that, in the light, the one who would not think it true is you. And what would happen to the world you see, if all its underpinnings were removed? Your concept of the world depends upon this concept of the self. And both would go, if either one were ever raised to doubt. The Holy Spirit does not seek to throw you into panic. So He merely asks if just a little question might be raised.

There are alternatives about the thing that you must be. You might, for instance, be the thing you chose to have your brother be. This shifts the concept of the self from what is wholly passive, and at least makes way for active choice, and some acknowledgment that interaction must have entered in. There is some understanding that you chose for both of you, and what he represents has meaning that was given it by you. It also shows some glimmering of sight into perception’s law that what you see reflects the state of the perceiver’s mind. Yet who was it that did the choosing first? If you are what you chose your brother be, alternatives were there to choose among, and someone must have first decided on the one to choose, and let the other go.

Although this step has gains, it does not yet approach a basic question. Something must have gone before these concepts of the self. And something must have done the learning which gave rise to them. Nor can this be explained by either view. The main advantage of the shifting to the second from the first is that you somehow entered in the choice by your decision. But this gain is paid in almost equal loss, for now you stand accused of guilt for what your brother is. And you must share his guilt, because you chose it for him in the image of your own. While only he was treacherous before, now must you be condemned along with him.

The concept of the self has always been the great preoccupation of the world. And everyone believes that he must find the answer to the riddle of himself. Salvation can be seen as nothing more than the escape from concepts. It does not concern itself with content of the mind, but with the simple statement that it thinks. And what can think has choice, and can be shown that different thoughts have different consequence. So it can learn that everything it thinks reflects the deep confusion that it feels about how it was made and what it is. And vaguely does the concept of the self appear to answer what it does not know.

Seek not your Self in symbols. There can be no concept that can stand for what you are. What matters it which concept you accept while you perceive a self that interacts with evil, and reacts to wicked things? Your concept of yourself will still remain quite meaningless. And you will not perceive that you can interact but with yourself. To see a guilty world is but the sign your learning has been guided by the world, and you behold it as you see yourself. The concept of the self embraces all you look upon, and nothing is outside of this perception. If you can be hurt by anything, you see a picture of your secret wishes. Nothing more than this. And in your suffering of any kind you see your own concealed desire to kill.

You will make many concepts of the self as learning goes along. Each one will show the changes in your own relationships, as your perception of yourself is changed. There will be some confusion every time there is a shift, but be you thankful that the learning of the world is loosening its grasp upon your mind. And be you sure and happy in the confidence that it will go at last, and leave your mind at peace. The role of the accuser will appear in many places and in many forms. And each will seem to be accusing you. Yet have no fear it will not be undone.

The world can teach no images of you unless you want to learn them. There will come a time when images have all gone by, and you will see you know not what you are. It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound. Where concepts of the self have been laid by is truth revealed exactly as it is. When every concept has been raised to doubt and question, and been recognized as made on no assumptions that would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt. There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this:

“I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing,
where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself.”

Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 29
Lesson 271
Section 6. What is the Christ?

Christ is God’s Son as He created Him. He is the Self we share, uniting us with one another, and with God as well. He is the Thought which still abides within the Mind that is His Source. He has not left His holy home, nor lost the innocence in which He was created. He abides unchanged forever in the Mind of God.

Christ is the link that keeps you one with God, and guarantees that separation is no more than an illusion of despair, for hope forever will abide in Him. Your mind is part of His, and His of yours. He is the part in which God’s Answer lies; where all decisions are already made, and dreams are over. He remains untouched by anything the body’s eyes perceive. For though in Him His Father placed the means for your salvation, yet does He remain the Self Who, like His Father, knows no sin.

Home of the Holy Spirit, and at home in God alone, does Christ remain at peace within the Heaven of your holy mind. This is the only part of you that has reality in truth. The rest is dreams. Yet will these dreams be given unto Christ, to fade before His glory and reveal your holy Self, the Christ, to you at last.

The Holy Spirit reaches from the Christ in you to all your dreams, and bids them come to Him, to be translated into truth. He will exchange them for the final dream which God appointed as the end of dreams. For when forgiveness rests upon the world and peace has come to every Son of God, what could there be to keep things separate, for what remains to see except Christ’s face?

And how long will this holy face be seen, when it is but the symbol that the time for learning now is over, and the goal of the Atonement has been reached at last? So therefore let us seek to find Christ’s face and look on nothing else. As we behold His glory, will we know we have no need of learning or perception or of time, or anything except the holy Self, the Christ Whom God created as His Son.


Lesson 271

Christ’s is the vision I will use today.

Each day, each hour, every instant, I am choosing what I want to look upon, the sounds I want to hear, the witnesses to what I want to be the truth for me. Today I choose to look upon what Christ would have me see, to listen to God’s Voice, and seek the witnesses to what is true in God’s creation. In Christ’s sight, the world and God’s creation meet, and as they come together all perception disappears. His kindly sight redeems the world from death, for nothing that He looks on but must live, remembering the Father and the Son; Creator and creation unified.

Father, Christ’s vision is the way to You. What He beholds invites Your memory to be restored to me. And this I choose, to be what I would look upon today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #186: In Chapter 31 of A Course in Miracles, Section V, “Self-Concept vs Self,” Jesus says, “The role of the accuser will appear in many places and in many forms. And each will seem to be accusing you” (T.31.V.16:5,6). Can you explain what is meant by this?

A: As earlier parts of this section make clear, each judgment we hold against another is really a deeply buried self-accusation. Perhaps most graphic is the following; “No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering in its deadly aim. It points to you as well, but this is kept deeper in the mists below the face of innocence” (T.31.V.6:4,5).

The section then goes on (T.31.V.15,16) to discuss how we will assume various concepts or roles for our self-identity over time (e.g., child, sibling, student, lover, spouse, parent, employee, boss) — all the while believing that we are a victim in these various relationships, treated unfairly by a world of evil that exists outside ourselves. But all the accusations we hold against others as we assume the various roles of our lives (i.e., “the role of the accuser…in many places and in many forms”) really represent the hidden accusations of guilt and sin over the original separation thought and all its seeming ramifications that we hold against ourselves. And so as we accept and put into practice the Course’s teaching on projection, it will now seem that the finger we have pointed at others is, in each case, now pointing at ourselves. But the reality of our true Self is beyond all these roles and concepts And so Jesus reassures us, “Yet have no fear it [each role] will not be undone” (T.31.V.16:7). For none of the images of good or evil that we have made of both our brother and ourselves is real. And when we no longer want any of them, we will know Who we truly are (T.31.V.17).


Q #187: So what happens when one is finally able to let go of one’s ego? Does one, as an individual, cease to exist? I know I am attached to my individuality. I like my life, basically. I don’t want to disappear into….what? I like the world and think it is beautiful. I don’t want the world to disappear. What happens when our bodies die? What happens when we awake from the dream? Do we awake from the dream when our bodies die?

A: You can rest assured that so long as you want an individual self and the world to be your reality, they will be. Jesus makes this clear in a number of passages. Speaking of the world we see, he says, “…you invented it. You can give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish. While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want it, it will not be there for you to see” (W.pI.32.1:2,3,4,5). And later in the workbook, “There is no world apart from what you wish, and herein lies your ultimate release….It is not pride which tells you that you made the world you see, and that it changes as you change your mind” (W.pI.132.5:1,5). And earlier in the text, he assures us, “Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality” (T.16.VI.8:1).

So you are not at this point looking for release — that is fine. Jesus has no judgment about that. He may question your sanity (T.23.II.13:4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13). But he does not judge you for preferring the world to his love. Most of us do not recognize or believe that this is the choice we are making. And so one of the purposes of A Course in Miracles is to help us see that we are choosing the world and our individual self, and that choice represents a choice against love and peace. Genuine love and peace can only be found in unity, not in separation and differences.

If the world still holds great appeal for you, the Course will be less desirable as a spiritual path. It will teach you the value of letting go of your judgments and, as a result, of having less pain, guilt and anxiety in your relationships. But the metaphysics that is the Course’s foundation for forgiveness asserts the unreality of the separation, the individual self, and the world. Such a teaching runs counter to your expressed preference for the world and at some point you may experience conflict. But the truth is, none of us would find ourselves here in the world if it were not our preference and our choice, as the passages cited above make clear.

So what is most important is that you are honest with yourself and Jesus about what you want right now and how you feel. If, over time, you come to accept that the choice you are making has a cost to you, you can reconsider your decision at that point.

When you are ready to release completely your identification with the ego self and the world, which is its defense, nothing really will happen. You will simply experience a profound shift in perception. Death has nothing to do with this shift anymore than birth has. The death of the body does not change the decision being made in the mind to be separate — it may in fact reinforce that choice, if the death in any way feels like a punishment or a deprivation or an escape. And then we will simply choose another lifetime to continue our experience of individuality and specialness.

Everything is happening in the mind and when your mind lets go of the ego, you will simply awaken to the fact that you have only been dreaming a dream of separation, And so there is no separation, no separate self and no external world. The dream may appear to continue, but you will not take it seriously, knowing it is simply a fantasy or illusion that has no real meaning or effects. You will know you are limitless mind and not a limited bodily self. And the joy that comes from the realization that the mind is truly one will make whatever joy and beauty the world seemed to offer you before seem like a pale, lifeless shadow in comparison.

See also Question #68 for a discussion of the relationship between the mind and death of the body.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 28

ACIM Text Reading for September 28

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

IV. The Real Alternative

There is a tendency to think the world can offer consolation and escape from problems that its purpose is to keep. Why should this be? Because it is a place where choice among illusions seems to be the only choice. And you are in control of outcomes of your choosing. Thus you think, within the narrow band from birth to death, a little time is given you to use for you alone; a time when everyone conflicts with you, but you can choose which road will lead you out of conflict, and away from difficulties that concern you not. Yet they are your concern. How, then, can you escape from them by leaving them behind? What must go with you, you will take with you whatever road you choose to walk along.

Real choice is no illusion. But the world has none to offer. All its roads but lead to disappointment, nothingness and death. There is no choice in its alternatives. Seek not escape from problems here. The world was made that problems could not be escaped. Be not deceived by all the different names its roads are given. They have but one end. And each is but the means to gain that end, for it is here that all its roads will lead, however differently they seem to start; however differently they seem to go. Their end is certain, for there is no choice among them. All of them will lead to death. On some you travel gaily for a while, before the bleakness enters. And on some the thorns are felt at once. The choice is not what will the ending be, but when it comes.

There is no choice where every end is sure. Perhaps you would prefer to try them all, before you really learn they are but one. The roads this world can offer seem to be quite large in number, but the time must come when everyone begins to see how like they are to one another. Men have died on seeing this, because they saw no way except the pathways offered by the world. And learning they led nowhere, lost their hope. And yet this was the time they could have learned their greatest lesson. All must reach this point, and go beyond it. It is true indeed there is no choice at all within the world. But this is not the lesson in itself. The lesson has a purpose, and in this you come to understand what it is for.

Why would you seek to try another road, another person or another place, when you have learned the way the lesson starts, but do not yet perceive what it is for? Its purpose is the answer to the search that all must undertake who still believe there is another answer to be found. Learn now, without despair, there is no hope of answer in the world. But do not judge the lesson that is but begun with this. Seek not another signpost in the world that seems to point to still another road. No longer look for hope where there is none. Make fast your learning now, and understand you but waste time unless you go beyond what you have learned to what is yet to learn. For from this lowest point will learning lead to heights of happiness, in which you see the purpose of the lesson shining clear, and perfectly within your learning grasp.

Who would be willing to be turned away from all the roadways of the world, unless he understood their real futility? Is it not needful that he should begin with this, to seek another way instead? For while he sees a choice where there is none, what power of decision can he use? The great release of power must begin with learning where it really has a use. And what decision has power if it be applied in situations without choice?

The learning that the world can offer but one choice, no matter what its form may be, is the beginning of acceptance that there is a real alternative instead. To fight against this step is to defeat your purpose here. You did not come to learn to find a road the world does not contain. The search for different pathways in the world is but the search for different forms of truth. And this would keep the truth from being reached.

Think not that happiness is ever found by following a road away from it. This makes no sense, and cannot be the way. To you who seem to find this course to be too difficult to learn, let me repeat that to achieve a goal you must proceed in its direction, not away from it. And every road that leads the other way will not advance the purpose to be found. If this be difficult to understand, then is this course impossible to learn. But only then. For otherwise, it is a simple teaching in the obvious.

There is a choice that you have power to make when you have seen the real alternatives. Until that point is reached you have no choice, and you can but decide how you would choose the better to deceive yourself again. This course attempts to teach no more than that the power of decision cannot lie in choosing different forms of what is still the same illusion and the same mistake. All choices in the world depend on this; you choose between your brother and yourself, and you will gain as much as he will lose, and what you lose is what is given him. How utterly opposed to truth is this, when all the lesson’s purpose is to teach that what your brother loses you have lost, and what he gains is what is given you.

He has not left His Thoughts! But you forgot His Presence and remembered not His Love. No pathway in the world can lead to Him, nor any worldly goal be one with His. What road in all the world will lead within, when every road was made to separate the journey from the purpose it must have unless it be but futile wandering? All roads that lead away from what you are will lead you to confusion and despair. Yet has He never left His Thoughts to die, without their Source forever in themselves.

He has not left His Thoughts! He could no more depart from them than they could keep Him out. In unity with Him do they abide, and in Their Oneness Both are kept complete. There is no road that leads away from Him. A journey from yourself does not exist. How foolish and insane it is to think that there could be a road with such an aim! Where could it go? And how could you be made to travel on it, walking there without your own reality at one with you?

Forgive yourself your madness, and forget all senseless journeys and all goal-less aims. They have no meaning. You can not escape from what you are. For God is merciful, and did not let His Son abandon Him. For what He is be thankful, for in that is your escape from madness and from death. Nowhere but where He is can you be found. There is no path that does not lead to Him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 28

Lesson 270

I will not use the body’s eyes today.

Father, Christ’s vision is Your gift to me, and it has power to translate all that the body’s eyes behold into the sight of a forgiven world. How glorious and gracious is this world! Yet how much more will I perceive in it than sight can give. The world forgiven signifies Your Son acknowledges his Father, lets his dreams be brought to truth, and waits expectantly the one remaining instant more of time which ends forever, as Your memory returns to him. And now his will is one with Yours. His function now is but Your Own, and every thought except Your Own is gone.

The quiet of today will bless our hearts, and through them peace will come to everyone. Christ is our eyes today. And through His sight we offer healing to the world through Him, the holy Son whom God created whole; the holy Son whom God created One.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1151(i): (The following two questions were posed by the same person.) Could you please explain the meaning of the following passage from A Course in Miracles : “He has not left His Thoughts! But you forgot His Presence and remembered not His Love” (T.31.lV.9:1,2).

A: “His Thoughts” refers to the extension of God, which is Christ, His Son — the capital T indicates that it refers to Christ. Jesus is using the plural form because of the context of his message in this section. The content of the statement is that Love is perfect Oneness that can never be divided or changed in any way. Contrary to what the ego says of God, Jesus is reminding us that Love never abandons. God leaving His Son is an absolute impossibility. But the Son can believe he has left his Source, even though, in truth, that is an impossibility as well. That is the Atonement principle running throughout the Course: the separation from God never truly happened.


Q #1151(ii): Also, what would be the formula for seeing a brother you disliked in the past, but now with spiritual vision instead of judgment? What thoughts/prayers are best to use while with my brothers/sisters in order to let go of judgment?

A: There is no formula as such in the Course, but in many ways seeing your brother as sinless is what the whole Course is about, for when you see the face of Christ in your brother, you then remember God. There are two important parts to the process that leads to this vision of sinless­ness: recognizing the purpose judgment serves and the cost judging. Judgment is the life-blood of the ego; it keeps the belief in differences alive, and the belief in differences keeps separation real. Thus, we judge because we want to remain separate but not be held responsible for that choice. Locating our problems and lack of peace in what others to do us, thereby judging them as sinful and guilty, effectively hides the choice we are upholding in our minds.

Therefore, what we need to do, as Jesus teaches in many different ways, is to look with him at our need to judge, and to learn that the price we are willing to pay to continue to judge is the loss of our own peace. Jesus thus appeals to us: “You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment. When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning. In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you are judging them” (T.3.VI.3:1,2,3). Judging costs us dearly! We lose our peace and all sense of the identity we share with each other. In return we get to be right (at least some of the time), and we keep our special individuality. Is it worth it? We need only look at this, and not force ourselves to stop judging when it is still so meaningful to us. Eventually we will let ourselves feel the pain of continued judgment, and then we will be less willing to pay the price, especially when we also realize that it is not a sacrifice to give up judgment, in view of the fact that we are incapable of judging in the first place ( see M.10.2).

Lesson 335, “I choose to see my brother’s sinlessness” (W.pII.335), might be helpful in keep­ing these teachings present in your mind. Remember, though, you never want to fight against your need to judge others (or yourself). That will only force you into denial and then your progress will be halted. It is far more helpful to be honest about not wanting to see your brother sinless, and then not condemn yourself for that, yet remind yourself that there’s a price to be paid for such resistance. Gentleness and patience are essential.

In summary: “Your function here on earth is only to forgive him [your brother] , that you may accept him back as your Identity. He is as God created him. And you are what he is. Forgive him now his sins, and you will see that you are one with him” (W.pI.192.10:6,7,8,9).

guiltless mind