A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 5, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 5

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

VIII. The Problem and the Answer

This is a very simple course. Perhaps you do not feel you need a course which, in the end, teaches that only reality is true. But do you believe it? When you perceive the real world, you will recognise that you did not believe it. Yet the swiftness with which your new and only real perception will be translated into knowledge will leave you but an instant to realise that this alone is true. And then everything you made will be forgotten; the good and the bad, the false and the true. For as Heaven and earth become one, even the real world will vanish from your sight. The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into Heaven. The reinterpretation of the world is the transfer of all perception to knowledge.

The Bible tells you to become as little children. Little children recognise that they do not understand what they perceive, and so they ask what it means. Do not make the mistake of believing that you understand what you perceive, for its meaning is lost to you. Yet the Holy Spirit has saved its meaning for you, and if you will let Him interpret it, He will restore to you what you have thrown away. Yet while you think you know its meaning, you will see no need to ask it of Him.

You do not know the meaning of anything you perceive. Not one thought you hold is wholly true. The recognition of this is your firm beginning. You are not misguided; you have accepted no guide at all. Instruction in perception is your great need, for you understand nothing. Recognise this but do not accept it, for understanding is your inheritance. Perceptions are learned, and you are not without a Teacher. Yet your willingness to learn of Him depends on your willingness to question everything you learned of yourself, for you who learned amiss should not be your own teacher.

No one can withhold truth except from himself. Yet God will not refuse you the Answer He gave. Ask, then, for what is yours, but which you did not make, and do not defend yourself against truth. You made the problem God has answered. Ask yourself, therefore, but one simple question:

Do I want the problem or do I want the answer?

Decide for the answer and you will have it, for you will see it as it is, and it is yours already.

You may complain that this course is not sufficiently specific for you to understand and use. Yet perhaps you have not done what it specifically advocates. This is not a course in the play of ideas, but in their practical application. Nothing could be more specific than to be told that if you ask you will receive. The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific. His answer is both many and one, as long as you believe that the One is many. You may be afraid of His specificity, for fear of what you think it will demand of you. Yet only by asking will you learn that nothing of God demands anything of you. God gives; He does not take. When you refuse to ask, it is because you believe that asking is taking rather than sharing.

The Holy Spirit will give you only what is yours, and will take nothing in return. For what is yours is everything, and you share it with God. That is its reality. Would the Holy Spirit, Who wills only to restore, be capable of misinterpreting the question you must ask to learn His answer? You have heard the answer, but you have misunderstood the question. You believe that to ask for guidance of the Holy Spirit is to ask for deprivation.

Little child of God, you do not understand your Father. You believe in a world that takes, because you believe that you can get by taking. And by that perception you have lost sight of the real world. You are afraid of the world as you see it, but the real world is still yours for the asking. Do not deny it to yourself, for it can only free you. Nothing of God will enslave His Son whom He created free and whose freedom is protected by His Being. Blessed are you who are willing to ask the truth of God without fear, for only thus can you learn that His answer is the release from fear.

Beautiful child of God, you are asking only for what I promised you. Do you believe I would deceive you? The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. Believe that the truth is in me, for I know that it is in you. God’s Sons have nothing they do not share. Ask for truth of any Son of God, and you have asked it of me. Not one of us but has the answer in him, to give to anyone who asks it of him.

Ask anything of God’s Son and his Father will answer you, for Christ is not deceived in His Father and His Father is not deceived in Him. Do not, then, be deceived in your brother, and see only his loving thoughts as his reality, for by denying that his mind is split you will heal yours. Accept him as his Father accepts him and heal him unto Christ, for Christ is his healing and yours. Christ is the Son of God Who is in no way separate from His Father, Whose every thought is as loving as the Thought of His Father by which He was created. Be not deceived in God’s Son, for thereby you must be deceived in yourself. And being deceived in yourself you are deceived in your Father, in Whom no deceit is possible.

In the real world there is no sickness, for there is no separation and no division. Only loving thoughts are recognised, and because no one is without your help, the Help of God goes with you everywhere. As you become willing to accept this Help by asking for It, you will give It because you want It. Nothing will be beyond your healing power, because nothing will be denied your simple request. What problems will not disappear in the presence of God’s Answer? Ask, then, to learn of the reality of your brother, because this is what you will perceive in him, and you will see your beauty reflected in his.

Do not accept your brother’s variable perception of himself for his split mind is yours, and you will not accept your healing without his. For you share the real world as you share Heaven, and his healing is yours. To love yourself is to heal yourself, and you cannot perceive part of you as sick and achieve your goal. Brother, we heal together as we live together and love together. Be not deceived in God’s Son, for he is one with himself and one with his Father. Love him who is beloved of his Father, and you will learn of the Father’s Love for you.

If you perceive offence in a brother pluck the offence from your mind, for you are offended by Christ and are deceived in Him. Heal in Christ and be not offended by Him, for there is no offence in Him. If what you perceive offends you, you are offended in yourself and are condemning God’s Son whom God condemneth not. Let the Holy Spirit remove all offences of God’s Son against himself and perceive no one but through His guidance, for He would save you from all condemnation. Accept His healing power and use it for all He sends you, for He wills to heal the Son of God, in whom He is not deceived.

Children perceive frightening ghosts and monsters and dragons, and they are terrified. Yet if they ask someone they trust for the meaning of what they perceive, and are willing to let their own interpretations go in favour of reality, their fear goes with them. When a child is helped to translate his ‘ghost’ into a curtain, his ‘monster’ into a shadow, and his ‘dragon’ into a dream he is no longer afraid, and laughs happily at his own fear.

You, my child, are afraid of your brothers and of your Father and of yourself. But you are merely deceived in them. Ask what they are of the Teacher of Reality, and hearing His answer, you too will laugh at your fears and replace them with peace. For fear lies not in reality, but in the minds of children who do not understand reality. It is only their lack of understanding that frightens them, and when they learn to perceive truly they are not afraid. And because of this they will ask for truth again when they are frightened. It is not the reality of your brothers or your Father or yourself that frightens you. You do not know what they are, and so you perceive them as ghosts and monsters and dragons. Ask what their reality is from the One Who knows it, and He will tell you what they are. For you do not understand them, and because you are deceived by what you see you need reality to dispel your fears.

Would you not exchange your fears for truth, if the exchange is yours for the asking? For if God is not deceived in you, you can be deceived only in yourself. Yet you can learn the truth about yourself from the Holy Spirit, Who will teach you that, as part of God, deceit in you is impossible. When you perceive yourself without deceit, you will accept the real world in place of the false one you have made. And then your Father will lean down to you and take the last step for you, by raising you unto Himself.


***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 5

Lesson 93

Light and joy and peace abide in me.

1. You think you are the home of evil, darkness and sin. You think if anyone could see the truth about you he would be re­pelled, recoiling from you as if from a poisonous snake. You think if what is true about you were revealed to you, you would be struck with horror so intense that you would rush to death by your own hand, living on after seeing this being impossible.

2. These are beliefs so firmly fixed that it is difficult to help you see that they are based on nothing. That you have made mistakes is obvious. That you have sought salvation in strange ways; have been deceived, deceiving and afraid of foolish fantasies and savage dreams; and have bowed down to idols made of dust,—all this is true by what you now believe.

3. Today we question this, not from the point of view of what you think, but from a very different reference point, from which such idle thoughts are meaningless. These thoughts are not according to God’s Will. These weird beliefs He does not share with you. This is enough to prove that they are wrong, but you do not perceive that this is so.

4. Why would you not be overjoyed to be assured that all the evil that you think you did was never done, that all your sins are nothing, that you are as pure and holy as you were created, and that light and joy and peace abide in you? Your image of your­self cannot withstand the Will of God. You think that this is death, but it is life. You think you are destroyed, but you are saved.

5. The self you made is not the Son of God. Therefore, this self does not exist at all. And anything it seems to do and think means nothing. It is neither bad nor good. It is unreal, and noth­ing more than that. It does not battle with the Son of God. It does not hurt him, nor attack his peace. It has not changed creation, nor reduced eternal sinlessness to sin, and love to hate. What power can this self you made possess, when it would contradict the Will of God?

6. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. Over and over this must be repeated, until it is accepted. It is true. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. Nothing can touch it, or change what God created as eternal. The self you made, evil and full of sin, is meaningless. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God, and light and joy and peace abide in you.

7. Salvation requires the acceptance of but one thought;—you are as God created you, not what you made of yourself. Whatever evil you may think you did, you are as God created you. What­ever mistakes you made, the truth about you is unchanged. Creation is eternal and unalterable. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. You are and will forever be exactly as you were created. Light and joy and peace abide in you because God put them there.

8. In our longer exercise periods today, which would be most profitable if done for the first five minutes of every waking hour, begin by stating the truth about your creation:

Light and joy and peace abide in me.
My sinlessness is guaranteed by God.

Then put away your foolish self-images, and spend the rest of the practice period in trying to experience what God has given you, in place of what you have decreed for yourself.

9. You are what God created or what you made. One Self is true; the other is not there. Try to experience the unity of your one Self. Try to appreciate Its Holiness and the love from which It was created. Try not to interfere with the Self which God created as you, by hiding Its majesty behind the tiny idols of evil and sinfulness you have made to replace It. Let It come into Its Own. Here you are; This is You. And light and joy and peace abide in you because this is so.

10. You may not be willing or even able to use the first five min­utes of each hour for these exercises. Try, however, to do so when you can. At least remember to repeat these thoughts each hour:

Light and joy and peace abide in me.
My sinlessness is guaranteed by God.

Then try to devote at least a minute or so to closing your eyes and realizing that this is a statement of the truth about you.

11. If a situation arises that seems to be disturbing, quickly dispel the illusion of fear by repeating these thoughts again. Should you be tempted to become angry with someone, tell him silently:

Light and joy and peace abide in you.
Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God.

You can do much for the world’s salvation today. You can do much today to bring you closer to the part in salvation that God has assigned to you. And you can do much today to bring the conviction to your mind that the idea for the day is true indeed.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

secret of salvation

 

 

 

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 4, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 4

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

VII. The Condition of Reality

The world as you perceive it cannot have been created by the Father, for the world is not as you see it. God created only the eternal, and everything you see is perishable. Therefore, there must be another world that you do not see. The Bible speaks of a new Heaven and a new earth, yet this cannot be literally true, for the eternal are not re-created. To perceive anew is merely to perceive again, implying that before, or in the interval between, you were not perceiving at all. What, then, is the world that awaits your perception when you see it?

Every loving thought that the Son of God ever had is eternal. The loving thoughts his mind perceives in this world are the world’s only reality. They are still perceptions, because he still believes that he is separate. Yet they are eternal because they are loving. And being loving they are like the Father, and therefore cannot die. The real world can actually be perceived. All that is necessary is a willingness to perceive nothing else. For if you perceive both good and evil, you are accepting both the false and the true and making no distinction between them.

The ego may see some good, but never only good. That is why its perceptions are so variable. It does not reject goodness entirely, for that you could not accept. But it always adds something that is not real to the real, thus confusing illusion and reality. For perceptions cannot be partly true. If you believe in truth and illusion, you cannot tell which is true. To establish your personal autonomy you tried to create unlike your Father, believing that what you made is capable of being unlike Him. Yet everything true is like Him. Perceiving only the real world will lead you to the real Heaven, because it will make you capable of understanding it.

The perception of goodness is not knowledge, but the denial of the opposite of goodness enables you to recognise a condition in which opposites do not exist. And this is the condition of knowledge. Without this awareness you have not met its conditions, and until you do you will not know it is yours already. You have made many ideas that you have placed between yourself and your Creator, and these beliefs are the world as you perceive it. Truth is not absent here, but it is obscure. You do not know the difference between what you have made and what God created, and so you do not know the difference between what you have made and whatyou have created. To believe that you can perceive the real world is to believe that you can know yourself. You can know God because it is His Will to be known. The real world is all that the Holy Spirit has saved for you out of what you have made, and to perceive only this is salvation, because it is the recognition that reality is only what is true.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 4

Lesson 92

Miracles are seen in light.

1. The idea for today is an extension of the previous one. You do not think of light in terms of strength, and darkness in terms of weakness. That is because your idea of what seeing means is tied up with the body and its eyes and brain. Thus you believe that you can change what you see by putting little bits of glass before your eyes. This is among the many magical beliefs that come from the conviction you are a body, and the body’s eyes can see.

2. You also believe the body’s brain can think. If you but under­stood the nature of thought, you could but laugh at this insane idea. It is as if you thought you held the match that lights the sun and gives it all its warmth; or that you held the world within your hand, securely bound until you let it go. Yet this is no more foolish than to believe the body’s eyes can see; the brain can think.

3. It is God’s strength in you that is the light in which you see, as it is His Mind with which you think. His strength denies your weakness. It is your weakness that sees through the body’s eyes, peering about in darkness to behold the likeness of itself; the small, the weak, the sickly and the dying, those in need, the help­less and afraid, the sad, the poor, the starving and the joyless. These are seen through eyes that cannot see and cannot bless.

4. Strength overlooks these things by seeing past appearances. It keeps its steady gaze upon the light that lies beyond them. It unites with light, of which it is a part. It sees itself. It brings the light in which your Self appears. In darkness you perceive a self that is not there. Strength is the truth about you; weakness is an idol falsely worshipped and adored that strength may be dis­pelled, and darkness rule where God appointed that there should be light.

5. Strength comes from truth, and shines with light its Source has given it; weakness reflects the darkness of its maker. It is sick and looks on sickness, which is like itself. Truth is a savior and can only will for happiness and peace for everyone. It gives its strength to everyone who asks, in limitless supply. It sees that lack in anyone would be a lack in all. And so it gives its light that all may see and benefit as one. Its strength is shared, that it may bring to all the miracle in which they will unite in purpose and forgiveness and in love.

6. Weakness, which looks in darkness, cannot see a purpose in forgiveness and in love. It sees all others different from itself, and nothing in the world that it would share. It judges and condemns, but does not love. In darkness it remains to hide itself, and dreams that it is strong and conquering, a victor over limita­tions that but grow in darkness to enormous size.

7. It fears and it attacks and hates itself, and darkness covers everything it sees, leaving its dreams as fearful as itself. No mir­acles are here, but only hate. It separates itself from what it sees, while light and strength perceive themselves as one. The light of strength is not the light you see. It does not change and flicker and go out. It does not shift from night to day, and back to darkness till the morning comes again.

8. The light of strength is constant, sure as love, forever glad to give itself away, because it cannot give but to itself. No one can ask in vain to share its sight, and none who enters its abode can leave without a miracle before his eyes, and strength and light abiding in his heart.

9. The strength in you will offer you the light, and guide your seeing so you do not dwell on idle shadows that the body’s eyes provide for self-deception. Strength and light unite in you, and where they meet, your Self stands ready to embrace you as Its Own. Such is the meeting place we try today to find and rest in, for the peace of God is where your Self, His Son, is waiting now to meet Itself again, and be as one.

10. Let us give twenty minutes twice today to join this meeting. Let yourself be brought unto your Self. Its strength will be the light in which the gift of sight is given you. Leave, then, the dark a little while today, and we will practice seeing in the light, clos­ing the body’s eyes and asking truth to show us how to find the meeting place of self and Self, where light and strength are one.

11. Morning and evening we will practice thus. After the morn­ing meeting, we will use the day in preparation for the time at night when we will meet again in trust. Let us repeat as often as we can the idea for today, and recognize that we are being introduced to sight, and led away from darkness to the light where only miracles can be perceived.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

If I practice A Course in Miracles faithfully, will I disappear?

This is a very commonly expressed concern of Course students, and reflects the same confusion of levels that we have commented on earlier. Level One, which is our term for the Course’s metaphysical foundation, is uncompromising in seeing no reconciliation between truth and illusion, eternity and time. On this level, it takes no time to return to the formlessness of Heaven because we have never left it. To recall this important and previously quoted line: “You are at home in God, dreaming of exile.” Our “journey without a distance” (T-8.VI.9:7) requires no time to complete. On Level Two, however, which reflects our temporal experience within the dream, our journey home takes as long as we require. In fact, early in the text, Jesus observes that the collective end of the dream will occur over “millions” of years (T-2.VIII.2:5), certainly suggesting that he is aware of the need to undo the Son’s fear slowly and gently. Indeed, as we have already seen, many, many passages in A Course in Miracles reflect this awareness. Therefore, students should take comfort in a line like the following, which indicates that their fears of disappearing “into the Heart of God” are groundless:

Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality (T-16.VI.8:1).

The process of growth that is fostered by A Course in Miracles is always a gradual one, under the gentle and patient guidance of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Using his own words, we can speak of a “slowly evolving training program,” which is a “fairly slow process” (M-9.1:7; 2:4). Students of A Course in Miracles should beware of those who counsel them to “speed-up” this process of forgiveness. While on the larger level the spirituality of A Course in Miracles does save time, as Jesus repeatedly emphasizes, there is a quite different emphasis on the level of individual experience. There, students must proceed slowly and gently, otherwise, as indicated above, they will precipitate a panic attack. This same concern on Jesus’ part is expressed at the very end of Chapter I in the text where he urges his students to prepare themselves for the later parts of their journey, so that they will not become “too fearful” and their experiences “traumatic.”

And so, students of A Course in Miracles need not be afraid of losing their identity or individuality. As they progress in their study and practice of the Course, what they will lose will be their guilt, anxiety, depression, fear, etc., and what they will discover will be learning to “smile more frequently” (W-pI.155.1:2). The “last step,” which belongs to God whereby He reaches down and “lifts us to Himself,” does not occur until we have completed all the “little steps He asks [us to] take to Him” (W-pI.193.13:7).

In conclusion, therefore, “instant enlightenment” is not something A Course in Miracles teaches, just as the “holy relationship” and the “real world” are not achieved in one year. The spirituality of the Course is beyond the platitudes and postures that the ego mind conjures up. There is nothing in A Course in Miracles that would reinforce such misguided endeavors as instant enlightenment, achieved through being in the presence of a realized individual, instantaneous acquisitions of holy relationships, or even entering into the real world. Followers of such magical hopes will ultimately find that their efforts have come to naught, for they but reinforce more hallucinatory experiences of salvation. Indeed, it requires serious study over long years of hard work and practice to achieve the ultimate holy instant, which is the attainment of the real world.

you have no idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 3, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 3

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

VI. Waking to Redemption

It is impossible not to believe what you see, but it is equally impossible to see what you do not believe. Perceptions are built up on the basis of experience, and experience leads to beliefs. It is not until beliefs are fixed that perceptions stabilise. In effect, then, what you believe you do see. That is what I meant when I said, ‘Blessed are ye who have not seen and still believe’, for those who believe in the resurrection will see it. The resurrection is the complete triumph of Christ over the ego, not by attack but by transcendence. For Christ does rise above the ego and all its works, and ascends to the Father and His Kingdom.

Would you join in the resurrection or the crucifixion? Would you condemn your brothers or free them? Would you transcend your prison and ascend to the Father? These questions are all the same, and are answered together. There has been much confusion about what perception means, because the word is used both for awareness and for the interpretation of awareness. Yet you cannot be aware without interpretation, for what you perceive is your interpretation.

This course is perfectly clear. If you do not see it clearly, it is because you are interpreting against it, and therefore do not believe it. And since belief determines perception, you do not perceive what it means and therefore do not accept it. Yet different experiences lead to different beliefs, and with them different perceptions. For perceptions are learned with beliefs, and experience does teach. I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny. Learning of Christ is easy, for to perceive with Him involves no strain at all. His perceptions are your natural awareness, and it is only the distortions you introduce that tire you. Let the Christ in you interpret for you, and do not try to limit what you see by narrow little beliefs that are unworthy of God’s Son. For until Christ comes into His Own, the Son of God will see himself as Fatherless.

I am your resurrection and your life. You live in me because you live in God. And everyone lives in you, as you live in everyone. Can you, then, perceive unworthiness in a brother and not perceive it in yourself? And can you perceive it in yourself and not perceive it in God? Believe in the resurrection because it has been accomplished, and it has been accomplished in you. This is as true now as it will ever be, for the resurrection is the Will of God, which knows no time and no exceptions. But make no exceptions yourself, or you will not perceive what has been accomplished for you. For we ascend unto the Father together, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, for such is the nature of God’s Son as his Father created him.

Do not underestimate the power of the devotion of God’s Son, nor the power the god he worships has over him. For he places himself at the altar of his god, whether it be the god he made or the God Who created him. That is why his slavery is as complete as his freedom, for he will obey only the god he accepts. The god of crucifixion demands that he crucify, and his worshippers obey. In his name they crucify themselves, believing that the power of the Son of God is born of sacrifice and pain. The God of resurrection demands nothing, for He does not will to take away. He does not require obedience, for obedience implies submission. He would only have you learn your will and follow it, not in the spirit of sacrifice and submission, but in the gladness of freedom.

Resurrection must compel your allegiance gladly, because it is the symbol of joy. Its whole compelling power lies in the fact that it represents what you want to be. The freedom to leave behind everything that hurts you and humbles you and frightens you cannot be thrust upon you, but it can be offered you through the grace of God. And you can accept it by His grace, for God is gracious to His Son, accepting him without question as His Own. Who, then, is your own? The Father has given you all that is His, and He Himself is yours with them. Guard them in their resurrection, for otherwise you will not awake in God, safely surrounded by what is yours forever.

You will not find peace until you have removed the nails from the hands of God’s Son, and taken the last thorn from his forehead. The Love of God surrounds His Son whom the god of crucifixion condemns. Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you. For the undoing of the crucifixion of God’s Son is the work of the redemption, in which everyone has a part of equal value. God does not judge His guiltless Son. Having given Himself to him, how could it be otherwise?

You have nailed yourself to a cross, and placed a crown of thorns upon your own head. Yet you cannot crucify God’s Son, for the Will of God cannot die. His Son has been redeemed from his own crucifixion, and you cannot assign to death whom God has given eternal life. The dream of crucifixion still lies heavy on your eyes, but what you see in dreams is not reality. While you perceive the Son of God as crucified, you are asleep. And as long as you believe that you can crucify him, you are only having nightmares. You who are beginning to wake are still aware of dreams, and have not yet forgotten them. The forgetting of dreams and the awareness of Christ come with the awakening of others to share your redemption.

You will awaken to your own call, for the Call to awake is within you. If I live in you, you are awake. Yet you must see the works I do through you, or you will not perceive that I have done them unto you. Do not set limits on what you believe I can do through you, or you will not accept what I can do for you. Yet it is done already, and unless you give all that you have received you will not know that your Redeemer liveth, and that you have awakened with Him. Redemption is recognised only by sharing it.

God’s Son is saved. Bring only this awareness to the Sonship, and you will have a part in the redemption as valuable as mine. For your part must be like mine if you learn it of me. If you believe that yours is limited, you are limiting mine. There is no order of difficulty in miracles because all of God’s Sons are of equal value, and their equality is their oneness. The whole power of God is in every part of Him, and nothing contradictory to His Will is either great or small. What does not exist has no size and no measure. To God all things are possible. And to Christ it is given to be like the Father.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 3

Lesson 91

Miracles are seen in light.

1. It is important to remember that miracles and vision necessarily go together. This needs repeating, and frequent repeating. It is a central idea in your new thought system, and the perception that it produces. The miracle is always there. Its presence is not caused by your vision; its absence is not the result of your failure to see. It is only your awareness of miracles that is affected. You will see them in the light; you will not see them in the dark.

2. To you, then, light is crucial. While you remain in darkness, the miracle remains unseen. Thus you are convinced it is not there. This follows from the premises from which the darkness comes. Denial of light leads to failure to perceive it. Failure to perceive light is to perceive darkness. The light is useless to you then, even though it is there. You cannot use it because its pres­ence is unknown to you. And the seeming reality of the darkness makes the idea of light meaningless.

3. To be told that what you do not see is there sounds like insan­ity. It is very difficult to become convinced that it is insanity not to see what is there, and to see what is not there instead. You do not doubt that the body’s eyes can see. You do not doubt the images they show you are reality. Your faith lies in the darkness, not the light. How can this be reversed? For you it is impossible, but you are not alone in this.

4. Your efforts, however little they may be, have strong support. Did you but realize how great this strength, your doubts would vanish. Today we will devote ourselves to the attempt to let you feel this strength. When you have felt the strength in you, which makes all miracles within your easy reach, you will not doubt. The miracles your sense of weakness hides will leap into awareness as you feel the strength in you.

5. Three times today, set aside about ten minutes for a quiet time in which you try to leave your weakness behind. This is accomplished very simply, as you instruct yourself that you are not a body. Faith goes to what you want, and you instruct your mind accordingly. Your will remains your teacher, and your will has all the strength to do what it desires. You can escape the body if you choose. You can experience the strength in you.

6. Begin the longer practice periods with this statement of true cause and effect relationships:

Miracles are seen in light.
The body’s eyes do not perceive the light.
But I am not a body. What am I?

The question with which this statement ends is needed for our exercises today. What you think you are is a belief to be undone. But what you really are must be revealed to you. The belief you are a body calls for correction, being a mistake. The truth of what you are calls on the strength in you to bring to your awareness what the mistake conceals.

7. If you are not a body, what are you? You need to be aware of what the Holy Spirit uses to replace the image of a body in your mind. You need to feel something to put your faith in, as you lift it from the body. You need a real experience of something else, something more solid and more sure; more worthy of your faith, and really there.

8. If you are not a body, what are you? Ask this in honesty, and then devote several minutes to allowing your mistaken thoughts about your attributes to be corrected, and their opposites to take their place. Say, for example:

I am not weak, but strong.
I am not helpless, but all powerful.
I am not limited, but unlimited.
I am not doubtful, but certain.
I am not an illusion, but a reality.
I cannot see in darkness, but in light.

9. In the second phase of the exercise period, try to experience these truths about yourself. Concentrate particularly on the experience of strength. Remember that all sense of weakness is associated with the belief you are a body, a belief that is mistaken and deserves no faith. Try to remove your faith from it, if only for a moment. You will be accustomed to keeping faith with the more worthy in you as we go along.

10. Relax for the rest of the practice period, confident that your efforts, however meager, are fully supported by the strength of God and all His Thoughts. It is from Them that your strength will come. It is through Their strong support that you will feel the strength in you. They are united with you in this practice period, in which you share a purpose like Their Own. Theirs is the light in which you will see miracles, because Their strength is yours. Their strength becomes your eyes, that you may see.

11. Five or six times an hour, at reasonably regular intervals, re­mind yourself that miracles are seen in light. Also, be sure to meet temptation with today’s idea. This form would be helpful for this special purpose:

Miracles are seen in light. Let me not close my eyes because of this.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

 Q) It seems as if things are becoming worse since I began working with A Course in Miracles.  Is this common? Am I doing something wrong?

A) While it is always difficult to respond to students’ individual experiences without knowing much more about them, there are still some general observations we can make. It is indeed the case that with many students of A Course in Miracles, their work with it seems to intensify ego conflicts rather than alleviate them  In fact, what is often occurring is that ego thoughts which had been kept denied for so long are now being raised to awareness — an example of the important Course principle of bringing illusion to the truth, or darkness to the light — so that they can be looked at with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, and thus let go.   Since it is fear that keeps our guilt denied, raising this guilt to awareness — always expressed in some aspect of specialness — will inevitably lead to an experience of fear. This is what is meant by these two powerful statements in the text that specifically address this experience. The first relates to our choosing Jesus as our guide instead of the ego, and the ego’s angry response to such perceived treachery:

Would you know the Will of God for you? Ask it of me who know it for you and you will find it. I will deny you nothing, as God denies me nothing. Ours is simply the journey back to God Who is our home. Whenever fear intrudes anywhere along the road to peace, it is because the ego has attempted to join the journey with us and cannot do so.  Sensing defeat and angered by it, the ego regards itself as rejected and becomes retaliative (T-8.V.5:1-6; italics Ours).

The second passage, from the section “The Two Evaluations,” explains the ego’s reaction when we choose the Holy Spirit’s loving evaluation of ourselves, rather than the ego’s unloving one:

You, then, have two conflicting evaluations of yourself in your mind, and they cannot both be true. You do not yet realize how completely different these evaluations are, because you do not understand how lofty the Holy Spirit’s perception of you really is. He is not deceived by anything you do, because He never forgets what you are. The ego is deceived by everything you do, especially when you respond to the Holy Spirit, because at such times its confusion increases. The ego is, therefore, particularly likely to attack you when you react lovingly, because it has evaluated you as unloving and you are going against its judgment. The ego will attack your motives as soon as they become clearly out of accord with its perception of you.  This is when it will shift abruptly from suspiciousness to viciousness, since its uncertainty is increased (T-9.VII.4:1-7; italics ours).

Both of these passages must not be understood literally in the sense that the ego actually believes and feels these things that are attributed to it.  Jesus anthropomorphizes the ego in the Course so that it will be easier for his students to understand its dynamics. As he explains early in the text:

I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you can- not dismiss it lightly, and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed (T-4.VI.1:3-4).

The ego’s “retaliation” and “viciousness” are simply metaphors to describe students’ fear when confronted by the threat to their own special and individual identities. The loving presence of Jesus within our dream, reflecting the Holy Spirit’s evaluation of us, represents the core of this threat to the ego’s thought system. This fear is what leads to the defense of projection, which must take the form either of behaving or thinking viciously towards another (anger), or towards oneself (sickness). It is these “ego attacks” of anger or pain that lead to the perception and experience that “things are becoming worse.”

In summary, then, we can frequently see that these difficult periods — referred to in the manual for teachers as “periods of unsettling” — can be “good signs”; i.e., that students are actually progressing in their journey of forgiveness with the Course. However, this by no means should be taken to mean that this is always the case. Students must learn to discern these “positive” signs from the “negative” ones where they may be plunging further into the ego’s hell, and would then need some external help. Those students, in particular, who place themselves in the role of teacher or therapist of A Course in Miracles and have no training or supervised experience in these areas have to be vigilant against their own specialness needs interfering with the application of sound judgment in circumstances where another is in serious trouble and in deep need of help. Unfortunately, over a period of many years we have observed many painful and tragic consequences of untrained people serving as counselors and therapists for others who were in serious emotional difficulty. Their interventions sometimes exacerbated the problem rather than alleviating it, even to the point of precipitating breakdowns that required hospitalization.

certain as god

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

ACIM Text Reading for April 1

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

IV. The Inheritance of God’s Son

Never forget that the Sonship is your salvation, for the Sonship is your Self. As God’s creation It is yours, and belonging to you It is His. Your Self does not need salvation, but your mind needs to learn what salvation is. You are not saved from anything, but you are saved for glory. Glory is your inheritance, given you by your Creator that you might extend it. Yet if you hate part of your Self all your understanding is lost, because you are looking on what God created as yourself without love. And since what He created is part of Him, you are denying Him His place in His Own altar.

Could you try to make God homeless and know that you are at home? Can the Son deny the Father without believing that the Father has denied him? God’s laws hold only for your protection, and they never hold in vain. What you experience when you deny your Father is still for your protection, for the power of your will cannot be lessened without the intervention of God against it, and any limitation on your power is not the Will of God. Therefore, look only to the power that God gave to save you, remembering that it is yours because it is His, and join with your brothers in His peace.

Your peace lies in its limitlessness. Limit the peace you share, and your Self must be unknown to you. Every altar to God is part of you, because the light He created is one with Him. Would you cut off a brother from the light that is yours? You would not do so if you realised that you can darken only your own mind. As you bring him back, so will you return. That is the law of God, for the protection of the wholeness of His Son.

Only you can deprive yourself of anything. Do not oppose this realisation, for it is truly the beginning of the dawn of light. Remember also that the denial of this simple fact takes many forms, and these you must learn to recognise and to oppose steadfastly, without exception. This is a crucial step in the reawakening. The beginning phases of this reversal are often quite painful, for as blame is withdrawn from without, there is a strong tendency to harbour it within. It is difficult at first to realise that this is exactly the same thing, for there is no distinction between within and without.

If your brothers are part of you and you blame them for your deprivation, you are blaming yourself. And you cannot blame yourself without blaming them. That is why blame must be undone, not seen elsewhere. Lay it to yourself and you cannot know yourself, for only the ego blames at all. Self-blame is therefore ego identification, and as much an ego defence as blaming others. You cannot enter God’s Presence if you attack His Son. When His Son lifts his voice in praise of his Creator, he will hear the Voice for his Father. Yet the Creator cannot be praised without His Son, for their glory is shared and they are glorified together.

Christ is at God’s altar, waiting to welcome His Son. But come wholly without condemnation, for otherwise you will believe that the door is barred and you cannot enter. The door is not barred, and it is impossible that you cannot enter the place where God would have you be. But love yourself with the Love of Christ, for so does your Father love you. You can refuse to enter, but you cannot bar the door that Christ holds open. Come unto me who holds it open for you, for while I live it cannot be shut, and I live forever. God is my life and yours, and nothing is denied by God to His Son.

At God’s altar Christ waits for the restoration of Himself in you. God knows His Son as wholly blameless as Himself, and He is approached through the appreciation of His Son. Christ waits for your acceptance of Him as yourself, and of His Wholeness as yours. For Christ is the Son of God, who lives in his Creator and shines with His glory. Christ is the extension of the Love and the Loveliness of God, as perfect as His Creator and at peace with Him.

Blessed is the Son of God whose radiance is of his Father, and whose glory he wills to share as his Father shares it with him. There is no condemnation in the Son, for there is no condemnation in the Father. Sharing the perfect Love of the Father the Son must share what belongs to Him, for otherwise he will not know the Father or the Son. Peace be unto you who rest in God, and in whom the whole Sonship rests.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 1

Lesson 89

These are our review ideas for today:

1. (77I am entitled to miracles.

I am entitled to miracles because I am under no laws but God’s. His laws release me from all grievances, and replace them with miracles. And I would accept the miracles in place of the griev­ances, which are but illusions that hide the miracles beyond. Now I would accept only what the laws of God entitle me to have, that I may use it on behalf of the function He has given me.

2. You might use these suggestions for specific applications of this idea:

Behind this is a miracle to which I am entitled.
Let me not hold a grievance against you, [name], but offer you the miracle that belongs to you instead.
Seen truly, this offers me a miracle.

3. (78Let miracles replace all grievances.

By this idea do I unite my will with the Holy Spirit’s, and per­ceive them as one. By this idea do I accept my release from hell. By this idea do I express my willingness to have all my illusions be replaced with truth, according to God’s plan for my salvation. I would make no exceptions and no substitutes. I want all of Heaven and only Heaven, as God wills me to have.

4. Useful specific forms for applying this idea would be:

I would not hold this grievance apart from my salvation.
Let our grievances be replaced by miracles, [name].
Beyond this is the miracle by which all my grievances are replaced.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What should one say to a stranger, family member, or friend who asks what A Course in Miracles is?

A) Basically, there is no wrong or right way to answer this question, whether it be a stranger, family member, or friend that is asking about the Course.  Ultimately, everyone must go within and try to get the ego self out of the way, and then ask for help in how to respond. Specifically, one should pay careful attention to any of the various forms of ego specialness that would interfere in speaking to others about A Course in Miracles. These include: 1) feeling oneself to be important because one is associated with such a spiritually advanced teaching that comes from Jesus himself, and therefore one wants the listeners to be impressed, if not depressed because they are not Course students; 2) discomfort related to the figure of Jesus, both as the author of A Course in Miracles as well as its central figure; and 3) discomfort related to the Course itself — its religious and distinctively Christian and patriarchal language, not to mention its radical teachings which include the key metaphysical principle that God did not create the physical or material universe.

Therefore, while there are no correct or incorrect words to use in talking about A Course in Miracles, there is a correct way to proceed. And this entails asking Jesus or the Holy Spirit for help in getting one’s ego out of the way so that the most loving words will flow through us. In truly letting Them be the Guides for speaking, one can be sure that the Course’s integrity will be maintained, and at the same time one is free to be sensitive to the needs and level of understanding of the person being spoken to. Here, as elsewhere, we can see that the process is always the same, regardless of the specific situation. That is why Jesus repeatedly speaks of his Course as being simple.

teach not that i died in vain

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 31, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for March 31

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

III. From Darkness to Light

When you are weary, remember you have hurt yourself. Your Comforter will rest you, but you cannot. You do not know how, for if you did you could never have grown weary. Unless you hurt yourself you could never suffer in any way, for that is not God’s Will for His Son. Pain is not of Him, for He knows no attack and His peace surrounds you silently. God is very quiet, for there is no conflict in Him. Conflict is the root of all evil, for being blind it does not see whom it attacks. Yet it always attacks the Son of God, and the Son of God is you.

God’s Son is indeed in need of comfort, for he knows not what he does, believing his will is not his own. The Kingdom is his, and yet he wanders homeless. At home in God he is lonely, and amid all his brothers he is friendless. Would God let this be real, when He did not will to be alone Himself? And if your will is His it cannot be true of you, because it is not true of Him.

O my child, if you knew what God wills for you, your joy would be complete! And what He wills has happened, for it was always true. When the light comes and you have said, ‘God’s Will is mine’, you will see such beauty that you will know it is not of you. Out of your joy you will create beauty in His Name, for your joy could no more be contained than His. The bleak little world will vanish into nothingness, and your heart will be so filled with joy that it will leap into Heaven, and into the Presence of God. I cannot tell you what this will be like, for your heart is not ready. Yet I can tell you, and remind you often, that what God wills for Himself He wills for you, and what He wills for you is yours.

The way is not hard, but it is very different. Yours is the way of pain, of which God knows nothing. That way is hard indeed, and very lonely. Fear and grief are your guests, and they go with you and abide with you on the way. But the dark journey is not the way of God’s Son. Walk in light and do not see the dark companions, for they are not fit companions for the Son of God, who was created of light and in light. The Great Light always surrounds you and shines out from you. How can you see the dark companions in a light such as this? If you see them, it is only because you are denying the light. But deny them instead, for the light is here and the way is clear.

God hides nothing from His Son, even though His Son would hide himself. Yet the Son of God cannot hide his glory, for God wills him to be glorious, and gave him the light that shines in him. You will never lose your way, for God leads you. When you wander, you but undertake a journey that is not real. The dark companions, the dark way, are all illusions. Turn toward the light, for the little spark in you is part of a Light so great that it can sweep you out of all darkness forever. For your Father is your Creator, and you arelike Him.

The children of light cannot abide in darkness, for darkness is not in them. Do not be deceived by the dark comforters, and never let them enter the mind of God’s Son, for they have no place in His temple. When you are tempted to deny Him remember that there areno other gods to place before Him, and accept His Will for you in peace. For you cannot accept it otherwise.

Only God’s Comforter can comfort you. In the quiet of His temple, He waits to give you the peace that is yours. Give His peace, that you may enter the temple and find it waiting for you. But be holy in the Presence of God, or you will not know that you are there. For what is unlike God cannot enter His Mind, because it was not His Thought and therefore does not belong to Him. And your mind must be as pure as His, if you would know what belongs to you. Guard carefully His temple, for He Himself dwells there and abides in peace. You cannot enter God’s Presence with the dark companions beside you, but you also cannot enter alone. All your brothers must enter with you, for until you have accepted them you cannot enter. For you cannot understand Wholeness unless you are whole, and no part of the Son can be excluded if he would know the Wholeness of his Father.

In your mind you can accept the whole Sonship and bless it with the light your Father gave it. Then you will be worthy to dwell in the temple with Him, because it is your will not to be alone. God blessed His Son forever. If you will bless him in time, you will be in eternity. Time cannot separate you from God if you use it on behalf of the eternal.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 31

Lesson 88

Today we will review these ideas:

1. (75The light has come.

In choosing salvation rather than attack, I merely choose to rec­ognize what is already there. Salvation is a decision made already. Attack and grievances are not there to choose. That is why I always choose between truth and illusion; between what is there and what is not. The light has come. I can but choose the light, for it has no alternative. It has replaced the darkness, and the darkness has gone.

2. These would prove useful forms for specific applications of this idea:

This cannot show me darkness, for the light has come.
The light in you is all that I would see, [name].
I would see in this only what is there.

3. (76I am under no laws but God’s.

Here is the perfect statement of my freedom. I am under no laws but God’s. I am constantly tempted to make up other laws and give them power over me. I suffer only because of my belief in them. They have no real effect on me at all. I am perfectly free of the effects of all laws save God’s. And His are the laws of freedom.

4. For specific forms in applying this idea, these would be useful:

My perception of this shows me I believe in laws that do not exist.
I see only the laws of God at work in this.
Let me allow God’s laws to work in this, and not my own.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Have there been people who have successfully completed A Course in Miracles (and are in the real world), and who are they?

A) When this is asked during workshops, we sometimes tell people (with a straight face) that there is a list, but we keep it locked in a safe in the office.  In truth, however, this is a question no one could truly answer, for how would one know? To begin with, the chances are that someone who is truly in the real world would not go around broadcasting the fact. Second, people usually think of “success” in the Course in terms of certain external criteria that can be seen, and these criteria would clearly not be shared by everyone. One of our favorite stories to illustrate this last point is the earnest young man who came up to Kenneth after a week-end workshop in a midwestern city saying: “I know you must be a very advanced person, because you don’t smoke cigarettes, don’t drink coffee, and don’t keep running to the bathroom.”  Other criteria of “spirituality” include not locking one’s car door or house because one “trust[s] my brothers, who are one with me” (W-pI.181), or giving up insurance policies because one “place[s] the future in the Hands of God” (W-pI. 194). The point naturally is that such judgments about spiritual advancement are always based on externals, without the one who judges knowing what the content is behind the form, regardless of the form’s “spiritual” appearance.

Moreover, implicit in questions like this is a latent fear of being unable to achieve the Course’s goal. Hearing about others who have often can provide the external witness, when Jesus’ expressed confidence in his students is not enough.

The bottom line, whenever one is tempted to indulge in such thoughts of spiritual specialness, is always to focus on one’s own Atonement lessons, thereby avoiding the distraction of thinking of others who have or have not “made it.” As peace returns to the student’s mind, the question will already have departed from it.

tiny mad idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 30

ACIM Text Reading for March 30

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

II. The Invitation to Healing

If sickness is separation, the decision to heal and to be healed is the first step toward recognising what you truly want. Every attack is a step away from this, and every healing thought brings it closer. The Son of God has both Father and Son, because he is both Father and Son. To unite having and being is to unite your will with His, for He wills you Himself. And you will yourself to Him because, in your perfect understanding of Him, you know there is but one Will. Yet when you attack any part of God and His Kingdom your understanding is not perfect, and what you really want is therefore lost to you.

Healing thus becomes a lesson in understanding; and the more you practise it the better teacher and learner you become. If you have denied truth, what better witnesses to its reality could you have than those who have been healed by it? But be sure to count yourself among them, for in your willingness to join them is your healing accomplished. Every miracle that you accomplish speaks to you of the Fatherhood of God. Every healing thought that you accept, either from your brother or in your own mind, teaches you that you are God’s Son. In every hurtful thought you hold, wherever you perceive it, lies the denial of God’s Fatherhood and of your Sonship.

And denial is as total as love. You cannot deny part of yourself, because the rest will seem to be separate and therefore without meaning. And being without meaning to you, you will not understand it. To deny meaning is to fail to understand. You can heal only yourself, for only. God’s Son needs healing. You need it because you do not understand yourself, and therefore know not what you do. Having forgotten your will, you do not know what you really want.

Healing is a sign that you want to make whole. And this willingness opens your ears to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, Whose message is wholeness. He will enable you to go far beyond the healing you would undertake, for beside your small willingness to make whole He will lay His Own complete Will and make yours whole. What can the Son of God not accomplish with the Fatherhood of God in Him? And yet the invitation must come from you, for you have surely learned that whom you invite as your guest will abide with you.

The Holy Spirit cannot speak to an unwelcoming host, because He will not be heard. The Eternal Guest remains, but His Voice grows faint in alien company. He needs your protection, only because your care is a sign that you want Him. Think like Him ever so slightly, and the little spark becomes a blazing light that fills your mind so that He becomes your only Guest. Whenever you ask the ego to enter, you lessen His welcome. He will remain, but you have allied yourself against Him. Whatever journey you choose to take, He will go with you, waiting. You can safely trust His patience, for He cannot leave a part of God. Yet you need far more than patience.

You will never rest until you know your function and fulfil it, for only in this can your will and your Father’s be wholly joined. To have Him is to be like Him, and He has given Himself to you. You who have God must be as God, for His function became yours with His gift. Invite this knowledge back into your mind, and let nothing that obscures it enter. The Guest Whom God sent you will teach you how to do this, if you but recognise the little spark and are willing to let it grow. Your willingness need not be perfect, because His is. If you will merely offer Him a little place, He will lighten it so much that you will gladly let it be increased. And by this increase, you will begin to remember creation.

Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God? You will accept only whom you invite. You are free to determine who shall be your guest, and how long he shall remain with you. Yet this is not real freedom, for it still depends on how you see it. The Holy Spirit is there; although He cannot help you without your invitation. And the ego is nothing, whether you invite it in or not. Real freedom depends on welcoming reality, and of your guests only the Holy Spirit is real. Know, then, Who abides with you merely by recognising what is there already, and do not be satisfied with imaginary comforters, for the Comforter of God is in you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 30

Lesson 87

Our review today will cover these ideas:

1. (73I will there be light.

I will use the power of my will today. It is not my will to grope about in darkness, fearful of shadows and afraid of things unseen and unreal. Light shall be my guide today. I will follow it where it leads me, and I will look only on what it shows me. This day I will experience the peace of true perception.

2. These forms of this idea would be helpful for specific applications:

This cannot hide the light I will to see.
You stand with me in light, [name].
In the light this will look different.

3. (74There is no will but God’s.

I am safe today because there is no will but God’s. I can become afraid only when I believe there is another will. I try to attack only when I am afraid, and only when I try to attack can I believe that my eternal safety is threatened. Today I will recognize that all this has not occurred. I am safe because there is no will but God’s.

4. These are some useful forms of this idea for specific applications:

Let me perceive this in accordance with the Will of God.
It is God’s Will you are His Son, [name], and mine as well.
This is part of God’s Will for me, however I may see it.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

 Can A Course in Miracles be completed in one year, as the workbook seems to suggest?

This question rests on the premise that only the one-year training program of the workbook for students comprises the total mind-training (or mind-retraining) that is the principal goal of A Course in Miracles. Not so. The workbook is only one aspect of a curriculum that consists of three parts: the text, which contains the theory and theology of  the Course; the workbook for students, the one-year series of lessons that help the student begin the mind-training program of the Course; and the manual for teachers, which serves as a summary of many of the Course’s teachings, as well as helping to define what Jesus means by a teacher of God.

Any serious student of A Course in Miracles recognizes that the total curriculum cannot in any way be completed in one year. Rather, it is a lifetime’s work, and the workbook, which, again, is a specific one-year training program, is the means which would ensure that students proceed in the correct manner. Once they are in touch with their right minds and understand the process of forgiveness that the Course sets forth, students are then able to spend the rest of their lives in daily practice with Jesus or the Holy Spirit as their Teachers. As the workbook states at the end:

This course is a beginning, not an end. Your Friend goes with you (W-ep.1:1-2).

complete forgiveness

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 29, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for March 29

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

I. The Gifts of Fatherhood

You have learned your need of healing. Would you bring anything else to the Sonship, recognising your need of healing for yourself? For in this lies the beginning of the return to knowledge; the foundation on which God will help build again the thought system you share with Him. Not one stone you place upon it but will be blessed by Him, for you will be restoring the holy dwelling place of His Son, where He wills His Son to be and where he is. In whatever part of the mind of God’s Son you restore this reality, you restore it to yourself. You dwell in the Mind of God with your brother, for God Himself did not will to be alone.

To be alone is to be separated from infinity, but how can this be if infinity has no end? No one can be beyond the limitless, because what has no limits must be everywhere. There are no beginnings and no endings in God, Whose universe is Himself. Can you exclude yourself from the universe, or from God Who is the universe? I and my Father are one with you, for you are part of us. Do you really believe that part of God can be missing or lost to Him?

If you were not part of God, His Will would not be unified. Is this conceivable? Can part of His Mind contain nothing? If your place in His Mind cannot be filled by anyone except you, and your filling it was your creation, without you there would be an empty place in God’s Mind. Extension cannot be blocked, and it has no voids. It continues forever, however much it is denied. Your denial of its reality may arrest it in time, but not in eternity. That is why your creations have not ceased to be extended, and why so much is waiting for your return.

Waiting is possible only in time, but time has no meaning. You who made delay can leave time behind simply by recognising that neither beginnings nor endings were created by the Eternal, Who placed no limits on His creation or upon those who create like Him. You do not know this simply because you have tried to limit what He created, and so you believe that all creation is limited. How, then, could you know your creations, having denied infinity?

The laws of the universe do not permit contradiction. What holds for God holds for you. If you believe you are absent from God, you will believe that He is absent from you. Infinity is meaningless without you, and you are meaningless without God. There is no end to God and His Son, for we are the universe. God is not incomplete, and He is not childless. Because He did not will to be alone, He created a Son like Himself. Do not deny Him His Son, for your unwillingness to accept His Fatherhood has denied you yours. See His creations as His Son, for yours were created in honour of Him. The universe of love does not stop because you do not see it, nor have your closed eyes lost the ability to see. Look upon the glory of His creation, and you will learn what God has kept for you.

God has given you a place in His Mind that is yours forever. Yet you can keep it only by giving it, as it was given you. Could you be alone there, when it was given you because God did not will to be alone? God’s Mind cannot be lessened. It can only be increased, for everything He creates has the function of creating. Love does not limit, and what it creates is not limited. To give without limit is God’s Will for you, because only this can bring you the joy that is His and that He wills to share with you. Your love is as boundless as His because it is His.

Could any part of God be without His Love, and could any part of His Love be contained? God is your heritage, because His one gift is Himself. How can you give except like Him if you would know His gift to you? Give, then, without limit and without end, to learn how much He has given you. Your ability to accept Him depends on your willingness to give as He gives. Your fatherhood and your Father are one. God wills to create, and your will is His. It follows, then, that you will to create, since your will follows from His. And being an extension of His Will, yours must be the same.

Yet what you will you do not know. This is not strange when you realise that to deny is to ‘not know’ God’s Will is that you are His Son. By denying this you deny your own will, and therefore do not know what it is. You must ask what God’s Will is in everything, because it is yours. You do not know what it is, but the Holy Spirit remembers it for you. Ask Him, therefore, what God’s Will is for you, and He will tell you yours. It cannot be too often repeated that you do not know it. Whenever what the Holy Spirit tells you appears to be coercive, it is only because you have not recognised your will.

The projection of the ego makes it appear as if God’s Will is outside yourself, and therefore not yours. In this interpretation it seems possible for God’s Will and yours to conflict. God, then, may seem to demand of you what you do not want to give, and thus deprive you of what you want. Would God, Who wants only your will, be capable of this? Your will is His life, which He has given to you. Even in time you cannot live apart from Him. Sleep is not death. What He created can sleep, but cannot die. Immortality is His Will for His Son, and His Son’s will for himself. God’s Son cannot will death for himself because His Father is Life, and His Son is like Him. Creation is your will because it is His.

You cannot be happy unless you do what you will truly, and you cannot change this because it is immutable. It is immutable by God’s Will and yours, for otherwise His Will would not be extended. You are afraid to know God’s Will, because you believe it is not yours. This belief is your whole sickness and your whole fear. Every symptom of sickness and fear arises here, because this is the belief that makes you want not to know. Believing this you hide in darkness, denying that the light is in you.

You are asked to trust the Holy Spirit only because He speaks for you. He is the Voice for God, but never forget that God did not will to be alone. He shares His Will with you; He does not thrust it upon you. Always remember that what He gives He keeps, so that nothing He gives can contradict Him. You who share His Life must share it to know it, for sharing is knowing. Blessed are you who learn that to hear the Will of your Father is to know your own. For it is your will to be like Him, Whose Will it is that it be so. God’s Will is that His Son be one, and united with Him in His Oneness. That is why healing is the beginning of the recognition that your will is His.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 29

Lesson 86

These ideas are for review today:

1. (71Only God’s plan for salvation will work.

It is senseless for me to search wildly about for salvation. I have seen it in many people and in many things, but when I reached for it, it was not there. I was mistaken about where it is. I was mistaken about what it is. I will undertake no more idle seeking. Only God’s plan for salvation will work. And I will rejoice because His plan can never fail.

2. These are some suggested forms for applying this idea specifically:

God’s plan for salvation will save me from my perception of this.
This is no exception in God’s plan for my salvation.
Let me perceive this only in the light of God’s plan for salvation.

3. (72Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.

Holding grievances is an attempt to prove that God’s plan for salvation will not work. Yet only His plan will work. By holding grievances, I am therefore excluding my only hope of salvation from my awareness. I would no longer defeat my own best inter­ests in this insane way. I would accept God’s plan for salvation, and be happy.

4. Specific applications for this idea might be in these forms:

I am choosing between misperception and salvation as I look on this.
If I see grounds for grievances in this, I will not see the grounds for my salvation.
This calls for salvation, not attack.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) I have need for a psychotherapist, but I only want a therapist who is a student of A Course in Miracles, or at least is familiar with it and sympathetic to its teachings. What should I do?

A) As a therapist, I (Kenneth) am frequently asked by Course students around the country to recommend a therapist who is a student of A Course in Miracles.  My response is usually something to the effect of: “If you require surgery, would you want someone who is a Course surgeon, or someone who is a fine surgeon?” Similarly, what any person wants who requires therapy is someone who is well trained and supervised, and is a person that can be related to and trusted. There are relatively few students of A Course in Miracles who meet these qualifications of a psychotherapist, when compared to the majority of professional therapists that are available.  Simply being a student of the Course and “asking” the Holy Spirit for guidance to help others is hardly sufficient, especially given the amount of specialness that is usually present in such “therapists,” a situation we have commented on before.

Therefore, if a student of the Course finds a professional therapist who is also a student of A Course in Miracles, all well and good. But if that student truly needs a sensitive and competent psychotherapist, a therapist’s lack of background in the Course should hardly be a consideration against choosing such a therapist for oneself. Students seeking therapy should be wary of “training programs” in psychotherapy that are run by non-professional Course students, who then recommend these “trainees” to others; or those who have referral lists of “Course therapists.” Once again, you do not want a person to cut open your stomach who has been trained by other students of the Course, but rather a trained and competent surgeon who has been trained by other trained and competent physicians. It should not be any different in choosing a therapist to help with a personal problem. Legitimate training programs in psychotherapy may not be free from the ego’s thought system, as Jesus points out in the pamphlet “Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice” (P-3.II.2:2-4) [Note that this pamphlet is now included in the Third Edition of ACIM], but they at least guarantee a certain amount of training and supervised experience that form a solid foundation of expertise that ensures that the patient is in competent professional hands. One can be very effectively helped to overcome ego blocks by a therapist who is not a student of A Course in Miracles, or of any other spiritual path for that matter.

Holy Encounter copy

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 28, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for March 28

Chapter 11

GOD OR THE EGO

Introduction

Either God or the ego is insane. If you will examine the evidence on both sides fairly, you will realise this must be true. Neither God nor the ego proposes a partial thought system. Each is internally consistent, but they are diametrically opposed in all respects so that partial allegiance is impossible. Remember, too, that their results are as different as their foundations, and their fundamentally irreconcilable natures cannot be reconciled by vacillations between them. Nothing alive is fatherless, for life is creation. Therefore, your decision is always an answer to the question, ‘Who is my father?’ And you will be faithful to the father you choose.

Yet what would you say to someone who believed this question really involves conflict? If you made the ego, how can the ego have made you? The authority problem is still the only source of conflict, because the ego was made out of the wish of God’s Son to father Him. The ego, then, is nothing more than a delusional system in which you made your own father. Make no mistake about this. It sounds insane when it is stated with perfect honesty, but the ego never looks on what it does with perfect honesty. Yet that is its insane premise, which is carefully hidden in the dark cornerstone of its thought system. And either the ego, which you made, is your father, or its whole thought system will not stand.

You make by projection, but God creates by extension. The cornerstone of God’s creation is you, for His thought system is light. Remember the Rays that are there unseen. The more you approach the centre of His thought system, the clearer the light becomes. The closer you come to the foundation of the ego’s thought system, the darker and more obscure becomes the way. Yet even the little spark in your mind is enough to lighten it. Bring this light fearlessly with you, and bravely hold it up to the foundation of the ego’s thought system. Be willing to judge it with perfect honesty. Open the dark cornerstone of terror on which it rests, and bring it out into the light. There you will see that it rested on meaninglessness, and that everything of which you have been afraid was based on nothing.

My brother, you are part of God and part of me. When you have at last looked at the ego’s foundation without shrinking you will also have looked upon ours. I come to you from our Father to offer you everything again. Do not refuse it in order to keep a dark cornerstone hidden, for its protection will not save you. I give you the lamp and I will go with you. You will not take this journey alone. I will lead you to your true Father, Who hath need of you, as I have. Will you not answer the call of love with joy?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 28

Lesson 85

Today’s review will cover these ideas:

1. (69My grievances hide the light of the world in me.

My grievances show me what is not there, and hide from me what I would see. Recognizing this, what do I want my griev­ances for? They keep me in darkness and hide the light. Griev­ances and light cannot go together, but light and vision must be joined for me to see. To see, I must lay grievances aside. I want to see, and this will be the means by which I will succeed.

2. Specific applications for this idea might be made in these forms:

Let me not use this as a block to sight.
The light of the world will shine all this away.
I have no need for this. I want to see.

3. (70My salvation comes from me.

Today I will recognize where my salvation is. It is in me because its Source is there. It has not left its Source, and so it cannot have left my mind. I will not look for it outside myself. It is not found outside and then brought in. But from within me it will reach beyond, and everything I see will but reflect the light that shines in me and in itself.

4. These forms of the idea are suitable for more specific applications:

Let this not tempt me to look away from me for my salvation.
I will not let this interfere with my awareness of the Source of my salvation.
This has no power to remove salvation from me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Is the God in A Course in Miracles the same as the God in the Bible?

A) Jesus unequivocally states in the Course that God did not create this world, and thus on this basis alone He is distinctly different from the Judaeo-Christian deity. The biblical God is a dualistic creator of a material universe that he creates by the spoken word, as noted in Genesis’ first account of creation: “And God said, let there be …… Thus this world and all creatures came into existence as separated entities, existing outside of him. In effect, therefore, the biblical God creates by projecting a thought or concept outside himself, where it becomes a physical “reality,” as witnessed, again, in the creation story in the Book of Genesis.

But the distinctions between the two are even more profound. The biblical God is very much a person who sees sin as real, and must therefore respond to it, first by punishment, and then by the plan of the atonement wherein salvation and forgiveness are won through the suffering and sacrifice of his holy Servant (the Suffering Servant in Isaiah — Old Testament) and his only begotten Son Jesus (New Testament). The God of A Course in Miracles, on the other hand, is not a person and therefore has none of the anthropomorphic qualities of homo sapiens. This God does not even know about the separation (the Course’s equivalent of the biblical notion of original sin), and thus does not and cannot respond to it.

Therefore, the God of the Course is not the God of formal religion, and certainly not the God of the Bible. In truth, our Source is beyond all concepts and anthropomorphisms, and has nothing in common with the biblical God who has all the attributes of special love (a God who has a chosen people) and special hate (a God of punishment) that are associated with the ego thought system. The previously mentioned section “The Laws of Chaos” contains a graphic portrait of this biblical God who has made sin real and thus revealed his ego origins, or better, the egos of the writers of the books of the Bible:

The arrogance on which the laws of chaos stand could not be more apparent than emerges here. Here is a principle that would define what the Creator of reality must be; what He must think and what He must believe; and how He must respond, believing it. It is not seen as even necessary that He be asked about the truth of what has been established for His belief [the reality of sin]. His Son can tell Him this, and He has but the choice whether to take his word for it or be mistaken…. [But] if God cannot be mistaken, He must accept His Son’s belief in what he is [a sinner], and hate him for it.See how the fear of God is reinforced by this… principle. Now it become impossible to turn to Him for help in misery. For now He has become the “enemy” Who caused it, to Whom appeal is useless …. And now is conflict made inevitable, beyond the help of God. For now salvation must remain impossible, because the savior has become the enemy.

There can be no release and no escape. Atonement thus becomes a myth, and vengeance, not forgiveness, is the Will of God. From where all this begins [the belief in the reality of sin], there is no sight of help that can succeed. Only destruction can be the outcome. And God Himself seems to be siding with it, to overcome His Son (T-23.11.6:1-4,6; 7:1-3,5-6; 8:1-5).

This portrait, as is clear, is not only of the archetypal ego god that lies at the heart of every one’s mind who believes in separation, but is also what has been so powerfully expressed in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. This god is a figure, to make the point again, who believes in the reality of sin and in its atonement through punishment, the principal components of which — suffering and sacrifice — become the great plan of salvation or redemption. And as A Course in Miracles teaches, once belief in separation is accorded any reality, it is inevitable in the wrong-minded ego thought system   that the ego’s god be perceived as an avenger. This reflects the ego’s “unholy trinity” of sin, guilt, and fear: The ego thought system posits the separation as accomplished, and calls it sin. Then the psychological experience of sin follows and guilt is born. And now the ego god demands punishment, the origin of fear as we have already seen in the above quotation. And behind all this insanity remains the true God of Love, Who simply “waits” for the minds of His sleeping children to awaken from their nightmare dreams and return to Him Whom they never left.

health is inner peace

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

ACIM Text Reading for April 25

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

VIII. The Problem and the Answer

This is a very simple course. Perhaps you do not feel you need a course which, in the end, teaches that only reality is true. But do you believe it? When you perceive the real world, you will recognise that you did not believe it. Yet the swiftness with which your new and only real perception will be translated into knowledge will leave you but an instant to realise that this alone is true. And then everything you made will be forgotten; the good and the bad, the false and the true. For as Heaven and earth become one, even the real world will vanish from your sight. The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into Heaven. The reinterpretation of the world is the transfer of all perception to knowledge.

The Bible tells you to become as little children. Little children recognise that they do not understand what they perceive, and so they ask what it means. Do not make the mistake of believing that you understand what you perceive, for its meaning is lost to you. Yet the Holy Spirit has saved its meaning for you, and if you will let Him interpret it, He will restore to you what you have thrown away. Yet while you think you know its meaning, you will see no need to ask it of Him.

You do not know the meaning of anything you perceive. Not one thought you hold is wholly true. The recognition of this is your firm beginning. You are not misguided; you have accepted no guide at all. Instruction in perception is your great need, for you understand nothing. Recognise this but do not accept it, for understanding is your inheritance. Perceptions are learned, and you are not without a Teacher. Yet your willingness to learn of Him depends on your willingness to question everything you learned of yourself, for you who learned amiss should not be your own teacher.

No one can withhold truth except from himself. Yet God will not refuse you the Answer He gave. Ask, then, for what is yours, but which you did not make, and do not defend yourself against truth. You made the problem God has answered. Ask yourself, therefore, but one simple question:

Do I want the problem or do I want the answer?

Decide for the answer and you will have it, for you will see it as it is, and it is yours already.

You may complain that this course is not sufficiently specific for you to understand and use. Yet perhaps you have not done what it specifically advocates. This is not a course in the play of ideas, but in their practical application. Nothing could be more specific than to be told that if you ask you will receive. The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific. His answer is both many and one, as long as you believe that the One is many. You may be afraid of His specificity, for fear of what you think it will demand of you. Yet only by asking will you learn that nothing of God demands anything of you. God gives; He does not take. When you refuse to ask, it is because you believe that asking is taking rather than sharing.

The Holy Spirit will give you only what is yours, and will take nothing in return. For what is yours is everything, and you share it with God. That is its reality. Would the Holy Spirit, Who wills only to restore, be capable of misinterpreting the question you must ask to learn His answer? You have heard the answer, but you have misunderstood the question. You believe that to ask for guidance of the Holy Spirit is to ask for deprivation.

Little child of God, you do not understand your Father. You believe in a world that takes, because you believe that you can get by taking. And by that perception you have lost sight of the real world. You are afraid of the world as you see it, but the real world is still yours for the asking. Do not deny it to yourself, for it can only free you. Nothing of God will enslave His Son whom He created free and whose freedom is protected by His Being. Blessed are you who are willing to ask the truth of God without fear, for only thus can you learn that His answer is the release from fear.

Beautiful child of God, you are asking only for what I promised you. Do you believe I would deceive you? The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. Believe that the truth is in me, for I know that it is in you. God’s Sons have nothing they do not share. Ask for truth of any Son of God, and you have asked it of me. Not one of us but has the answer in him, to give to anyone who asks it of him.

Ask anything of God’s Son and his Father will answer you, for Christ is not deceived in His Father and His Father is not deceived in Him. Do not, then, be deceived in your brother, and see only his loving thoughts as his reality, for by denying that his mind is split you will heal yours. Accept him as his Father accepts him and heal him unto Christ, for Christ is his healing and yours. Christ is the Son of God Who is in no way separate from His Father, Whose every thought is as loving as the Thought of His Father by which He was created. Be not deceived in God’s Son, for thereby you must be deceived in yourself. And being deceived in yourself you are deceived in your Father, in Whom no deceit is possible.

In the real world there is no sickness, for there is no separation and no division. Only loving thoughts are recognised, and because no one is without your help, the Help of God goes with you everywhere. As you become willing to accept this Help by asking for It, you will give It because you want It. Nothing will be beyond your healing power, because nothing will be denied your simple request. What problems will not disappear in the presence of God’s Answer? Ask, then, to learn of the reality of your brother, because this is what you will perceive in him, and you will see your beauty reflected in his.

Do not accept your brother’s variable perception of himself for his split mind is yours, and you will not accept your healing without his. For you share the real world as you share Heaven, and his healing is yours. To love yourself is to heal yourself, and you cannot perceive part of you as sick and achieve your goal. Brother, we heal together as we live together and love together. Be not deceived in God’s Son, for he is one with himself and one with his Father. Love him who is beloved of his Father, and you will learn of the Father’s Love for you.

If you perceive offence in a brother pluck the offence from your mind, for you are offended by Christ and are deceived in Him. Heal in Christ and be not offended by Him, for there is no offence in Him. If what you perceive offends you, you are offended in yourself and are condemning God’s Son whom God condemneth not. Let the Holy Spirit remove all offences of God’s Son against himself and perceive no one but through His guidance, for He would save you from all condemnation. Accept His healing power and use it for all He sends you, for He wills to heal the Son of God, in whom He is not deceived.

Children perceive frightening ghosts and monsters and dragons, and they are terrified. Yet if they ask someone they trust for the meaning of what they perceive, and are willing to let their own interpretations go in favour of reality, their fear goes with them. When a child is helped to translate his ‘ghost’ into a curtain, his ‘monster’ into a shadow, and his ‘dragon’ into a dream he is no longer afraid, and laughs happily at his own fear.

You, my child, are afraid of your brothers and of your Father and of yourself. But you are merely deceived in them. Ask what they are of the Teacher of Reality, and hearing His answer, you too will laugh at your fears and replace them with peace. For fear lies not in reality, but in the minds of children who do not understand reality. It is only their lack of understanding that frightens them, and when they learn to perceive truly they are not afraid. And because of this they will ask for truth again when they are frightened. It is not the reality of your brothers or your Father or yourself that frightens you. You do not know what they are, and so you perceive them as ghosts and monsters and dragons. Ask what their reality is from the One Who knows it, and He will tell you what they are. For you do not understand them, and because you are deceived by what you see you need reality to dispel your fears.

Would you not exchange your fears for truth, if the exchange is yours for the asking? For if God is not deceived in you, you can be deceived only in yourself. Yet you can learn the truth about yourself from the Holy Spirit, Who will teach you that, as part of God, deceit in you is impossible. When you perceive yourself without deceit, you will accept the real world in place of the false one you have made. And then your Father will lean down to you and take the last step for you, by raising you unto Himself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 25

Lesson 95

I am one Self, united with my Creator.

Today’s idea accurately describes you as God created you. You are one within yourself, and one with Him. Yours is the unity of all creation. Your perfect unity makes change in you impossible. You do not accept this, and you fail to realize it must be so, only because you believe that you have changed yourself already.

You see yourself as a ridiculous parody on God’s creation; weak, vicious, ugly and sinful, miserable and beset with pain. Such is your version of yourself; a self divided into many warring parts, separate from God, and tenuously held together by its erratic and capricious maker, to which you pray. It does not hear your prayers, for it is deaf. It does not see the oneness in you, for it is blind. It does not understand you are the Son of God, for it is senseless and understands nothing.

We will attempt today to be aware only of what can hear and see, and what makes perfect sense. We will again direct our exercises towards reaching your one Self, which is united with Its Creator. In patience and in hope we try again today.

The use of the first five minutes of every waking hour for practicing the idea for the day has special advantages at the stage of learning in which you are at present. It is difficult at this point not to allow your mind to wander, if it undertakes extended practice. You have surely realized this by now. You have seen the extent of your lack of mental discipline, and of your need for mind training. It is necessary that you be aware of this, for it is indeed a hindrance to your advance.

Frequent but shorter practice periods have other advantages for you at this time. In addition to recognizing your difficulties with sustained attention, you must also have noticed that, unless you are reminded of your purpose frequently, you tend to forget about it for long periods of time. You often fail to remember the short applications of the idea for the day, and you have not yet formed the habit of using the idea as an automatic response to temptation.

Structure, then, is necessary for you at this time, planned to include frequent reminders of your goal and regular attempts to reach it. Regularity in terms of time is not the ideal requirement for the most beneficial form of practice in salvation. It is advantageous, however, for those whose motivation is inconsistent, and who remain heavily defended against learning.

We will, therefore, keep to the five-minutes-an-hour practice periods for a while, and urge you to omit as few as possible. Using the first five minutes of the hour will be particularly helpful, since it imposes firmer structure. Do not, however, use your lapses from this schedule as an excuse not to return to it again as soon as you can. There may well be a temptation to regard the day as lost because you have already failed to do what is required. This should, however, merely be recognized as what it is; a refusal to let your mistake be corrected, and an unwillingness to try again.

The Holy Spirit is not delayed in His teaching by your mistakes. He can be held back only by your unwillingness to let them go. Let us therefore be determined, particularly for the next week or so, to be willing to forgive ourselves for our lapses in diligence, and our failures to follow the instructions for practicing the day’s idea. This tolerance for weakness will enable us to overlook it, rather than give it power to delay our learning. If we give it power to do this, we are regarding it as strength, and are confusing strength with weakness.

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

Let all these errors go by recognizing them for what they are. They are attempts to keep you unaware you are one Self, united with your Creator, at one with every aspect of creation, and limitless in power and in peace. This is the truth, and nothing else is true. Today we will affirm this truth again, and try to reach the place in you in which there is no doubt that only this is true.

Begin the practice periods today with this assurance, offered to your mind with all the certainty that you can give:

I am one Self, united with my Creator, at one with every
aspect of creation, and limitless in power and in peace.

Then close your eyes and tell yourself again, slowly and thoughtfully, attempting to allow the meaning of the words to sink into your mind, replacing false ideas:

I am one Self.

Repeat this several times, and then attempt to feel the meaning that the words convey.

You are one Self, united and secure in light and joy and peace. You are God’s Son, one Self, with one Creator and one goal; to bring awareness of this oneness to all minds, that true creation may extend the allness and the unity of God. You are one Self, complete and healed and whole, with power to lift the veil of darkness from the world, and let the light in you come through to teach the world the truth about yourself.

You are one Self, in perfect harmony with all there is, and all that there will be. You are one Self, the holy Son of God, united with your brothers in that Self; united with your Father in His Will. Feel this one Self in you, and let It shine away all your illusions and your doubts. This is your Self, the Son of God Himself, sinless as Its Creator, with His strength within you and His Love forever yours. You are one Self, and it is given you to feel this Self within you, and to cast all your illusions out of the one Mind that is this Self, the holy truth in you.

Do not forget today. We need your help; your little part in bringing happiness to all the world. And Heaven looks to you in confidence that you will try today. Share, then, its surety, for it is yours. Be vigilant. Do not forget today. Throughout the day do not forget your goal. Repeat today’s idea as frequently as possible, and understand each time you do so, someone hears the voice of hope, the stirring of the truth within his mind, the gentle rustling of the wings of peace.

Your own acknowledgment you are one Self, united with your Father, is a call to all the world to be at one with you. To everyone you meet today, be sure to give the promise of today’s idea and tell him this:

You are one Self with me, united with our Creator in this Self.
I honor you because of What I am, and What He is,
Who loves us both as One.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #11: In seeking the “Voice” of the Holy Spirit is there any particular method or practice that facilitates the hearing of this Voice? A Course in Miracles seems to say that few ever even hear it and this seems to inhibit the practice of forgiveness.

A: The greatest obstacle to hearing the Voice of the Holy Spirit is the ego’s raucous shrieking. The Course tells us the Holy Spirit is “a still small Voice” (T.21.V.1:6). Rather than seeking this Voice (which is always with us) we can practice forgiveness by paying attention to the thoughts giving voice to the shrieking in our minds, which is drowning out the Voice of the Holy Spirit. The thoughts of separation, judgment, and attack can be seen for what they are; attempts to defend our ego identity, prove that we are right and God is wrong, guilt is justified, just to name a few. Recognizing these thoughts and accepting responsibility for having chosen them for the specific purpose of nothearing the Holy Spirit’s Voice is the beginning of the practice of forgiveness and of hearing His Voice. If we want to, we then have the opportunity to choose to listen to the Holy Spirit’s Voice, which may not actually be a voice, but perhaps the recognition that I am wrong about how I see a situation, person or event, and being willing to see it differently. In this moment then, the recognition, the willingness and the seeing differently is the Voice of the Holy Spirit. Everyone is called to hear the Holy Spirit in this way. Few may hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit as an actual voice, which is not necessary for the practice of forgiveness. 


Q #12: I have been studying the Course for some years now, and being a psychologist would like to establish a workshop and/or a support group for people trying to live according to its principles. My idea is basically to help people see their projections on others and then make a group effort of asking for help to the Holy Spirit. Would this type of work be in accordance to the principles of the Course and do you have any more suggestions or opinions? I know I have to teach what I need to learn.

A: The bottom line answer to your question is that there are no guidelines in A Course in Miracles for behavior; i.e., “What should I do?” Jesus reminds us that his is a course in cause (the mind), and not in effect (the body, or behavior) (T.21.VII.7:8). Thus, our only function is to ask for help in getting our egos out of the way so that we may be free to be guided in whatever action (or non- action) would be most helpful and loving to all people involved in the situation. The following statement is representative of this all-important Course teaching: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T.16.IV.6:1,2). And so, before knowing how you should (or should not) proceed with your thought of starting a group, bring to the Holy Spirit any ego investment you might have in having such a group. When you are reasonably sure your ego is safely out of the way, then simply follow His guidance.

One other point: a temptation in any group, especially the kind that you envision, is to circumvent the difficult individual effort students are asked to make in order to bring their egos to the Holy Spirit , by diluting the process and displacing the “work” onto the group. At best, groups facilitate this individual work we are all asked to do; at worst, they depreciate the power of our minds to change our decisions and misperceptions, not to mention reinforce the ego’s specialness. Good luck!

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 24

ACIM Text Reading for April 24

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

VII. The Condition of Reality

The world as you perceive it cannot have been created by the Father, for the world is not as you see it. God created only the eternal, and everything you see is perishable. Therefore, there must be another world that you do not see. The Bible speaks of a new Heaven and a new earth, yet this cannot be literally true, for the eternal are not re-created. To perceive anew is merely to perceive again, implying that before, or in the interval between, you were not perceiving at all. What, then, is the world that awaits your perception when you see it?

Every loving thought that the Son of God ever had is eternal. The loving thoughts his mind perceives in this world are the world’s only reality. They are still perceptions, because he still believes that he is separate. Yet they are eternal because they are loving. And being loving they are like the Father, and therefore cannot die. The real world can actually be perceived. All that is necessary is a willingness to perceive nothing else. For if you perceive both good and evil, you are accepting both the false and the true and making no distinction between them.

The ego may see some good, but never only good. That is why its perceptions are so variable. It does not reject goodness entirely, for that you could not accept. But it always adds something that is not real to the real, thus confusing illusion and reality. For perceptions cannot be partly true. If you believe in truth and illusion, you cannot tell which is true. To establish your personal autonomy you tried to create unlike your Father, believing that what you made is capable of being unlike Him. Yet everything true is like Him. Perceiving only the real world will lead you to the real Heaven, because it will make you capable of understanding it.

The perception of goodness is not knowledge, but the denial of the opposite of goodness enables you to recognise a condition in which opposites do not exist. And this is the condition of knowledge. Without this awareness you have not met its conditions, and until you do you will not know it is yours already. You have made many ideas that you have placed between yourself and your Creator, and these beliefs are the world as you perceive it. Truth is not absent here, but it is obscure. You do not know the difference between what you have made and what God created, and so you do not know the difference between what you have made and what you have created. To believe that you can perceive the real world is to believe that you can know yourself. You can know God because it is His Will to be known. The real world is all that the Holy Spirit has saved for you out of what you have made, and to perceive only this is salvation, because it is the recognition that reality is only what is true.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 24

Lesson 94

I am as God created me.

Today we continue with the one idea which brings complete salvation; the one statement which makes all forms of temptation powerless; the one thought which renders the ego silent and entirely undone. You are as God created you. The sounds of this world are still, the sights of this world disappear, and all the thoughts that this world ever held are wiped away forever by this one idea. Here is salvation accomplished. Here is sanity restored.

True light is strength, and strength is sinlessness. If you remain as God created you, you must be strong and light must be in you. He Who ensured your sinlessness must be the guarantee of strength and light as well. You are as God created you. Darkness cannot obscure the glory of God’s Son. You stand in light, strong in the sinlessness in which you were created, and in which you will remain throughout eternity.

Today we will again devote the first five minutes of each waking hour to the attempt to feel the truth in you. Begin these times of searching with these words:

I am as God created me.
I am His Son eternally.

Now try to reach the Son of God in you. This is the Self that never sinned, nor made an image to replace reality. This is the Self that never left Its home in God to walk the world uncertainly. This is the Self that knows no fear, nor could conceive of loss or suffering or death.

Nothing is required of you to reach this goal except to lay all idols and self-images aside; go past the list of attributes, both good and bad, you have ascribed to yourself; and wait in silent expectancy for the truth. God has Himself promised that it will be revealed to all who ask for it. You are asking now. You cannot fail because He cannot fail.

If you do not meet the requirement of practicing for the first five minutes of every hour, at least remind yourself hourly:

I am as God created me.
I am His Son eternally.

Tell yourself frequently today that you are as God created you. And be sure to respond to anyone who seems to irritate you with these words:

You are as God created you.
You are His Son eternally.

Make every effort to do the hourly exercises today. Each one you do will be a giant stride toward your release, and a milestone in learning the thought system which this course sets forth.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #815Two different questions from the same questioner, with a combined answer: a) Every time I read info related to A Course in Miracles I seem to get agitated. I love the words but always come away with “so what in the hell am I supposed to do?” b) With the illusory nature of this world how is one to function? I post the quote “you are asked to act as if you had no ego.” But to live a life free of judgment seems to be a blissninny way to go.

A: The agitation you experience when you read the Course is probably not coming from not understanding what it is saying, but fromunderstanding. You are not alone in feeling agitated by its message, and with good reason. The goal of the Course is the undoing of the ego’s thought system, which ultimately means undoing all belief in the world, the body, and separation. It is not an easy message for the ego to hear, considering its investment in keeping us rooted in the world, its treasured home. The first thing to do is not to try not to be agitated, but to understand where the agitation is coming from: a choice in the mind to believe the separation is real, and resistance to learning a thought system that teaches that it is not. In this regard, Jesus offers us clear advice: “ Do not fight yourself ” (T.30.I.1:7). What we are supposed to do is follow his instructions to look calmly at the ego in operation without fear, and without judgment: “No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous. We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth” (T.11.V.1:1,2,3,4).

Since the introduction to the text tells us our goal in studying this course is to remove “…the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence” (T.in.1:7) , it is reasonable to conclude that the blocks must be seen before they can be removed. That is why we are asked to look for them: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T.16.IV.6:1,2). That is what we are supposed to do . The instruction to look is repeated frequently in the Course, because it is the correction for the ego’s strategy of defending its thought system by keeping its origin (the mind), its goal (mindlessness), and its effects (pain) hidden. When we find the blocks (e.g., any judgment, all forms of specialness), we then are asked not to be deceived by their disguises, but to see in them the mind’s choice to collude with the ego’s scheme to keep the world real.

To no longer identify with the ego’s judgment is the ultimate goal of the Course. That is how we will eventually live “as if we had no ego.” Daily practice of the Course will lead us there, but it is not yet fully accomplished. We can easily avoid the blissninny approach through vigilant observation of the many judgments that flood into awareness during the course of the day. The ones we catch are enough to keep us humble, not to mention those we miss. Since blissninny’s mother is denial, not denying our judgments and feelings keeps us focused and headed in the right direction. The Holy Spirit is here to tell us there is another way of looking at everything in our lives. As we are told in the introduction to the workbook: “The purpose of the workbook is to train your mind in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world” (W.in.4:1) . This “different perception” is not the ego’s. So, as we develop this new way of thinking and learn to live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we “live as if we had no ego.” It does not mean the ego disappears, nor that it is denied. It means that when the ego makes an appearance, it does not have to be given the best seat in the house. When it is recognized, and its secret agenda is exposed, it no longer carries the weight it previously did. Even the simple fact of knowing there is another Guest to Whom we can turn diminishes the ego’s hold Yes, in truth the world is an illusion, but as long as we believe it is real we continue to function normally. The only difference is we learn to interpret everything in the light of the Course’s teaching of forgiveness, and its goal of removing the blocks to love’s awareness. When resistance in the form of agitation presents itself, it may be helpful to remember only a “little willingness” is required, and it “…need not be perfect, because His [Holy Spirit] is. If you will merely offer Him a little place, He will lighten it so much that you will gladly let it be increased. And by this increase, you will begin to remember creation”(T.11.II.6:6,7,8).


Q #816If it’s true that we are all one then why is not Jesus’ return to God ours as well?

A: It is. We are with him at home in God. The only difference between Jesus (as well as others who have awakened) and the rest of us is that he is aware only of his oneness with God’s Love. We have chosen to forget it, dream of separation, and only catch a glimpse of love’s reflection when we are willing to forget the dream for an instant. Knowing we perceive him as different from us, Jesus explains the seeming difference in the first chapter of the text: “ There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God. The difference between us now is that I have nothing else. This leaves me in a state which is only potential in you” (T.1.II.3:10,11,12,13).

What we have, that he does not, are all our illusions of specialness that keep us separate from him, from one another, and from our Selves. By choosing the “tiny mad idea” (T.27.VIII.6:2) of separation, we keep awareness of our oneness with God blocked. This insane thought did not truly shatter our oneness; it is only our choosing it that makes it real in our experience: “The tiny instant you would keep and make eternal, passed away in Heaven too soon for anything to notice it had come …Yet in each unforgiving act or thought, in every judgment and in all belief in sin, is that one instant still called back, as if it could be made again in time. You keep an ancient memory [the thought of separation] before your eyes. And he who lives in memories alone is unaware of where he is” (T.26.V.5:1,5,6). We do not know where we are; Jesus knows where he is. We dream of being bodies in a world of form, which literally takes us out of our minds.

Our hope lies in the fact that we cannot completely obliterate all memory of the truth of our oneness from our minds. This is witnessed to by the very fact of having Jesus come to us in the form of A Course in Miracles to awaken us from the nightmare of exile. His message of forgiveness reflects the part of our minds that remembers oneness. The practice of forgiveness that he teaches gently wakens us by leading us back to the mind; the source of every experience. Each step in forgiveness strengthens our identity with Jesus and weakens identity with the body. Eventually, his identity and his experience will become ours because we will have accepted what was always there.

certain as god