A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 15, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 15

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

I. Guiltlessness and Invulnerability

Earlier, I said that the Holy Spirit shares the goal of all good teachers, whose ultimate aim is to make themselves unnecessary by teaching their pupils all they know. The Holy Spirit wants only this, for sharing the Father’s Love for His Son, He seeks to remove all guilt from his mind that he may remember his Father in peace. Peace and guilt are antithetical, and the Father can be remembered only in peace. Love and guilt cannot coexist, and to accept one is to deny the other. Guilt hides Christ from your sight, for it is the denial of the blamelessness of God’s Son.

In the strange world that you have made the Son of God has sinned. How could you see him, then? By making him invisible, the world of retribution rose in the black cloud of guilt that you accepted, and you hold it dear. For the blamelessness of Christ is the proof that the ego never was, and can never be. Without guilt the ego has no life, and God’s Son is without guilt.

As you look upon yourself and judge what you do honestly, you may be tempted to wonder how you can be guiltless. Yet consider this: You are not guiltless in time, but in eternity. You have ‘sinned’ in the past, but there is no past. Always has no direction. Time seems to go in one direction, but when you reach its end it will roll up like a long carpet spread along the past behind you, and will disappear. As long as you believe the Son of God is guilty you will walk along this carpet, believing that it leads to death. And the journey will seem long and cruel and senseless, for so it is.

The journey the Son of God has set himself is useless indeed, but the journey on which his Father sets him is one of release and joy. The Father is not cruel, and His Son cannot hurt himself. The retaliation that he fears and that he sees will never touch him, for although he believes in it the Holy Spirit knows it is not true. The Holy Spirit stands at the end of time, where you must be because He is with you. He has already undone everything unworthy of the Son of God, for such was His mission, given Him by God. And what God gives has always been.

You will see me as you learn the Son of God is guiltless. He has always sought his guiltlessness, and he has found it. For everyone is seeking to escape from the prison he has made, and the way to find release is not denied him. Being in him, he has found it. When he finds it is only a matter of time, and time is but an illusion. For the Son of God is guiltless now, and the brightness of his purity shines untouched forever in God’s Mind. God’s Son will always be as he was created. Deny your world and judge him not, for his eternal guiltlessness is in the Mind of his Father, and protects him forever.

When you have accepted the Atonement for yourself, you will realise there is no guilt in God’s Son. And only as you look upon him as guiltless can you understand his oneness. For the idea of guilt brings a belief in condemnation of one by another, projecting separation in place of unity. You can condemn only yourself, and by so doing you cannot know that you are God’s Son. You have denied the condition of his being, which is his perfect blamelessness. Out of love he was created, and in love he abides. Goodness and mercy have always followed him, for he has always extended the Love of his Father.

As you perceive the holy companions who travel with you, you will realise that there is no journey, but only an awakening. The Son of God, who sleepeth not, has kept faith with his Father for you. There is no road to travel on, and no time to travel through. For God waits not for His Son in time, being forever unwilling to be without him. And so it has always been. Let the holiness of God’s Son shine away the cloud of guilt that darkens your mind, and by accepting his purity as yours, learn of him that it is yours.

You are invulnerable because you are guiltless. You can hold on to the past only through guilt. For guilt establishes that you will be punished for what you have done, and thus depends on one-dimensional time, proceeding from past to future. No one who believes this can understand what ‘always’ means, and therefore guilt must deprive you of the appreciation of eternity. You are immortal because you are eternal, and ‘always’ must be now. Guilt, then, is a way of holding past and future in your mind to ensure the ego’s continuity. For if what has been will be punished, the ego’s continuity is guaranteed. Yet the guarantee of your continuity is God’s, not the ego’s. And immortality is the opposite of time, for time passes away, while immortality is constant.

Accepting the Atonement teaches you what immortality is, for by accepting your guiltlessness you learn that the past has never been, and so the future is needless and will not be. The future, in time, is always associated with expiation, and only guilt could induce a sense of a need for expiation. Accepting the guiltlessness of the Son of God as yours is therefore God’s way of reminding you of His Son, and what he is in truth. For God has never condemned His Son, and being guiltless he is eternal.

You cannot dispel guilt by making it real, and then atoning for it. This is the ego’s plan, which it offers instead of dispelling it. The ego believes in atonement through attack, being fully committed to the insane notion that attack is salvation. And you who cherish guilt must also believe it, for how else but by identifying with the ego could you hold dear what you do not want?

The ego teaches you to attack yourself because you are guilty, and this must increase the guilt, for guilt is the result of attack. In the ego’s teaching, then, there is no escape from guilt. For attack makes guilt real, and if it is real there is no way to overcome it. The Holy Spirit dispels it simply through the calm recognition that it has never been. As He looks upon the guiltless Son of God, He knows that this is true. And being true for you, you cannot attack yourself, for without guilt attack is impossible. You, then, are saved because God’s Son is guiltless. And being wholly pure, you are invulnerable.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 15

Lesson 103

God, being Love, is also happiness.

1. Happiness is an attribute of love. It cannot be apart from it. Nor can it be experienced where love is not. Love has no limits, being everywhere. And therefore joy is everywhere as well. Yet can the mind deny that this is so, believing there are gaps in love where sin can enter, bringing pain instead of joy. This strange belief would limit happiness by redefining love as limited, and introducing opposition in what has no limit and no opposite.

2. Fear is associated then with love, and its results become the heritage of minds that think what they have made is real. These images, with no reality in truth, bear witness to the fear of God, forgetting being Love, He must be joy. This basic error we will try again to bring to truth today, and teach ourselves:

God, being Love, is also happiness.
To fear Him is to be afraid of joy.

Begin your periods of practicing today with this association, which corrects the false belief that God is fear. It also emphasizes happiness belongs to you, because of what He is.

3. Allow this one correction to be placed within your mind each waking hour today. Then welcome all the happiness it brings as truth replaces fear, and joy becomes what you expect to take the place of pain. God, being Love, it will be given you. Bolster this expectation frequently throughout the day, and quiet all your fears with this assurance, kind and wholly true:

God, being Love, is also happiness.
And it is happiness I seek today.
I cannot fail, because I seek the truth.

ACIM Q & A for Today

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

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

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

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

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 8

ACIM Text Reading for October 8

Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning

III. Beyond All Idols

Idols are quite specific. But your will is universal, being limitless. And so it has no form, nor is content for its expression in the terms of form. Idols are limits. They are the belief that there are forms that will bring happiness, and that, by limiting, is all attained. It is as if you said, ‘I have no need of everything. This little thing I want, and it will be as everything to me’. And this must fail to satisfy, because it is your will that everything be yours. Decide for idols and you ask for loss. Decide for truth and everything is yours.

It is not form you seek. What form can be a substitute for God the Father’s Love? What form can take the place of all the love in the Divinity of God the Son? What idol can make two of what is one? And can the limitless be limited? You do not want an idol. It is not your will to have one. It will not bestow on you the gift you seek. When you decide upon the form of what you want, you lose the understanding of its purpose. So you see your will within the idol, thus reducing it to a specific form. Yet this could never be your will, because what shares in all creation cannot be content with small ideas and little things.

Behind the search for every idol lies the yearning for completion. Wholeness has no form because it is unlimited. To seek a special person or a thing to add to you to make yourself complete, can only mean that you believe some form is missing. And by finding this, you will achieve completion in a form you like. This is the purpose of an idol; that you will not look beyond it, to the source of the belief that you are incomplete. Only if you had sinned could this be so. For sin is the idea you are alone and separated off from what is whole. And thus it would be necessary for the search for wholeness to be made beyond the boundaries of limits on yourself.

It never is the idol that you want. But what you think it offers you, you want indeed and have the right to ask for. Nor could it be possible it be denied. Your will to be complete is but God’s Will, and this is given you by being His. God knows not form. He cannot answer you in terms that have no meaning. And your will could not be satisfied with empty forms, made but to fill a gap that is not there. It is not this you want. Creation gives no separate person and no separate thing the power to complete the Son of God. What idol can be called upon to give the Son of God what he already has?

Completion is the function of God’s Son. He has no need to seek for it at all. Beyond all idols stands his holy will to be but what he is. For more than whole is meaningless. If there were change in him, if he could be reduced to any form and limited to what is not in him, he would not be as God created him. What idol can he need to be himself? For can he give a part of him away? What is not whole cannot make whole. But what is really asked for cannot be denied. Your will is granted. Not in any form that would content you not, but in the whole completely lovely Thought God holds of you.

Nothing that God knows not exists. And what He knows exists forever, changelessly. For thoughts endure as long as does the mind that thought of them. And in the Mind of God there is no ending, nor a time in which His Thoughts were absent or could suffer change. Thoughts are not born and cannot die. They share the attributes of their creator, nor have they a separate life apart from his. The thoughts you think are in your mind, as you are in the Mind Which thought of you. And so there are no separate parts in what exists within God’s Mind. It is forever one, eternally united and at peace.

Thoughts seem to come and go. Yet all this means is that you are sometimes aware of them, and sometimes not. An unremembered thought is born again to you when it returns to your awareness. Yet it did not die when you forgot it. It was always there, but you were unaware of it. The Thought God holds of you is perfectly unchanged by your forgetting. It will always be exactly as it was before the time when you forgot, and will be just the same when you remember. And it is the same within the interval when you forgot.

The Thoughts of God are far beyond all change, and shine forever. They await not birth. They wait for welcome and remembering. The Thought God holds of you is like a star, unchangeable in an eternal sky. So high in Heaven is it set that those outside of Heaven know not it is there. Yet still and white and lovely will it shine through all eternity. There was no time it was not there; no instant when its lights grew dimmer or less perfect ever was.

Who knows the Father knows this light, for He is the eternal sky that holds it safe, forever lifted up and anchored sure. Its perfect purity does not depend on whether it is seen on earth or not. The sky embraces it and softly holds it in its perfect place, which is as far from earth as earth from Heaven. It is not the distance nor the time that keeps this star invisible to earth. But those who seek for idols cannot know the star is there.

Beyond all idols is the Thought God holds of you. Completely unaffected by the turmoil and the terror of the world, the dreams of birth and death that here are dreamed, the myriad of forms that fear can take; quite undisturbed, the Thought God holds of you remains exactly as it always was. Surrounded by a stillness so complete no sound of battle comes remotely near, it rests in certainty and perfect peace. Here is your one reality kept safe, completely unaware of all the world that worships idols, and that knows not God. In perfect sureness of its changelessness and of its rest in its eternal home, the Thought God holds of you has never left the Mind of its Creator, Whom it knows as its Creator knows that it is there.

Where could the Thought God holds of you exist but where you are? Is your reality a thing apart from you, and in a world which your reality knows nothing of ? Outside you there is no eternal sky, no changeless star and no reality. The mind of Heaven’s Son in Heaven is, for there the Mind of Father and of Son joined in creation which can have no end. You have not two realities, but one. Nor can you be aware of more than one. An idol or the Thought God holds of you is your reality. Forget not, then, that idols must keep hidden what you are, not from the Mind of God, but from your own. The star shines still; the sky has never changed. But you, the holy Son of God Himself, are unaware of your reality.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 8

Lesson 246

To love my Father is to love His Son.

Let me not think that I can find the way to God, if I have hatred in my heart. Let me not try to hurt God’s Son, and think that I can know his Father or my Self. Let me not fail to recognize myself, and still believe that my awareness can contain my Father, or my mind conceive of all the love my Father has for me, and all the love which I return to Him.

I will accept the way You choose for me to come to You, my Father. For in that will I succeed, because it is Your Will. And I would recognize that what You will is what I will as well, and only that. And so I choose to love Your Son. Amen.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is the nature of God?

A) To begin with, it is imperative to recognize that the true living God spoken of in A Course in Miracles is a non-dualistic Being, in Whom absolutely no opposites reside. The Holy One is the Creator of all life, a Being of pure Love and the Source and First Cause of non-physical reality and totality, the perfect One Who is all-encompassing, outside of Whom is literally nothing, for He is Everything. Our Source’s nature cannot be described or really understood at all, as Jesus comments in the workbook:

Oneness is simply the idea God is. And in His Being, He encompasses all things. No mind holds anything but Him. We say “God is,” and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless. There are no lips to speak them, and no part of mind sufficiently distinct to feel that it is now aware of something not itself. It has united with its Source. And like its Source Itself, it merely is. We cannot speak nor write nor even think of this at all (W-pI.169.5:1-6: 1).

Jesus states that the nature of God and His Oneness cannot be written about because it is a pure non-dualistic reality, and the spoken and written word which expresses the thinking of a split mind is dualistic. Therefore, any attempt to describe non-dualism must fail, and inevitably fall short of expressing the reality of oneness that lies beyond all expression. Again, it simply is. At best, therefore, all we can do is describe God’s nature, always keeping in mind that our words are but “symbols of symbols,” and “are thus twice removed from reality” (M-21.1:9-10).

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for June 4

ACIM Text Reading for June 4

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

VI. The Holy Instant and the Laws of God

It is impossible to use one relationship at the expense of another and not to suffer guilt. And it is equally impossible to condemn part of a relationship and find peace within it. Under the Holy Spirit’s teaching all relationships are seen as total commitments, yet they do not conflict with one another in any way. Perfect faith in each one, for its ability to satisfy you completely, arises only from perfect faith in yourself. And this you cannot have while guilt remains. And there will be guilt as long as you accept the possibility, and cherish it, that you can make a brother into what he is not, because you would have him so.

You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you. And so you seek without for what you cannot find without. I offer you my perfect faith in you, in place of all your doubts. But forget not that my faith must be as perfect in all your brothers as it is in you, or it would be a limited gift to you. In the holy instant we share our faith in God’s Son because we recognise, together, that he is wholly worthy of it, and in our appreciation of his worth we cannot doubt his holiness. And so we love him.

All separation vanishes as holiness is shared. For holiness is power, and by sharing it, it gains in strength. If you seek for satisfaction in gratifying your needs as you perceive them, you must believe that strength comes from another, and what you gain he loses. Someone must always lose if you perceive yourself as weak. Yet there is another interpretation of relationships that transcends the concept of loss of power completely.

You do not find it difficult to believe that when another calls on God for love, your call remains as strong. Nor do you think that when God answers him, your hope of answer is diminished. On the contrary, you are more inclined to regard his success as witness to the possibility of yours. That is because you recognise, however dimly, that God is an idea, and so your faith in Him is strengthened by sharing. What you find difficult to accept is the fact that, like your Father, you are an idea. And like Him, you can give yourself completely, wholly without loss and only with gain. Herein lies peace, for here there is no conflict.

In the world of scarcity, love has no meaning and peace is impossible. For gain and loss are both accepted, and so no one is aware that perfect love is in him. In the holy instant you recognise the idea of love in you, and unite this idea with the Mind that thought it, and could not relinquish it. By holding it within itself, there is no loss. The holy instant thus becomes a lesson in how to hold all of your brothers in your mind, experiencing not loss but completion. From this it follows you can only give. And this is love, for this alone is natural under the laws of God. In the holy instant the laws of God prevail, and only they have meaning. The laws of this world cease to hold any meaning at all. When the Son of God accepts the laws of God as what he gladly wills, it is impossible that he be bound, or limited in any way. In that instant he is as free as God would have him be. For the instant he refuses to be bound, he is not bound.

In the holy instant nothing happens that has not always been. Only the veil that has been drawn across reality is lifted. Nothing has changed. Yet the awareness of changelessness comes swiftly as the veil of time is pushed aside. No one who has not yet experienced the lifting of the veil, and felt himself drawn irresistibly into the light behind it, can have faith in love without fear. Yet the Holy Spirit gives you this faith, because He offered it to me and I accepted it. Fear not the holy instant will be denied you, for I denied it not. And through me the Holy Spirit gives it unto you, as you will give it. Let no need you perceive obscure your need of this. For in the holy instant you will recognise the only need the Sons of God share equally, and by this recognition you will join with me in offering what is needed.

It is through us that peace will come. Join me in the idea of peace, for in ideas minds can communicate. If you would give yourself as your Father gives His Self, you will learn to understand Selfhood. And therein is love’s meaning understood. But remember that understanding is of the mind, and only of the mind. Knowledge is therefore of the mind, and its conditions are in the mind with it. If you were not an idea, and nothing but an idea, you could not be in full communication with all that ever was. Yet as long as you prefer to be something else, or would attempt to be nothing else and something else together, you will not remember the language of communication, which you know perfectly.

In the holy instant God is remembered, and the language of communication with all your brothers is remembered with Him. For communication is remembered together, as is truth. There is no exclusion in the holy instant because the past is gone, and with it goes the whole basis for exclusion. Without its source exclusion vanishes. And this permits your Source, and That of all your brothers, to replace it in your awareness. God and the power of God will take Their rightful place in you, and you will experience the full communication of ideas with ideas. Through your ability to do this you will learn what you must be, for you will begin to understand what your Creator is, and what His creation is along with Him.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 4

Lesson 137

When I am healed I am not healed alone.

Today’s idea remains the central thought on which salvation rests. For healing is the opposite of all the world’s ideas which dwell on sickness and on separate states. Sickness is a retreat from others, and a shutting off of joining. It becomes a door that closes on a separate self, and keeps it isolated and alone.

Sickness is isolation. For it seems to keep one self apart from all the rest, to suffer what the others do not feel. It gives the body final power to make the separation real, and keep the mind in solitary prison, split apart and held in pieces by a solid wall of sickened flesh, which it can not surmount.

The world obeys the laws that sickness serves, but healing operates apart from them. It is impossible that anyone be healed alone. In sickness must he be apart and separate. But healing is his own decision to be one again, and to accept his Self with all Its parts intact and unassailed. In sickness does his Self appear to be dismembered, and without the unity that gives It life. But healing is accomplished as he sees the body has no power to attack the universal Oneness of God’s Son.

Sickness would prove that lies must be the truth. But healing demonstrates that truth is true. The separation sickness would impose has never really happened. To be healed is merely to accept what always was the simple truth, and always will remain exactly as it has forever been. Yet eyes accustomed to illusions must be shown that what they look upon is false. So healing, never needed by the truth, must demonstrate that sickness is not real.

Healing might thus be called a counter-dream, which cancels out the dream of sickness in the name of truth, but not in truth itself. Just as forgiveness overlooks all sins that never were accomplished, healing but removes illusions that have not occurred. Just as the real world will arise to take the place of what has never been at all, healing but offers restitution for imagined states and false ideas which dreams embroider into pictures of the truth.

Yet think not healing is unworthy of your function here. For anti-Christ becomes more powerful than Christ to those who dream the world is real. The body seems to be more solid and more stable than the mind. And love becomes a dream, while fear remains the one reality that can be seen and justified and fully understood.

Just as forgiveness shines away all sin and the real world will occupy the place of what you made, so healing must replace the fantasies of sickness which you hold before the simple truth. When sickness has been seen to disappear in spite of all the laws that hold it cannot but be real, then questions have been answered. And the laws can be no longer cherished nor obeyed.

Healing is freedom. For it demonstrates that dreams will not prevail against the truth. Healing is shared. And by this attribute it proves that laws unlike the ones which hold that sickness is inevitable are more potent than their sickly opposites. Healing is strength. For by its gentle hand is weakness overcome, and minds that were walled off within a body free to join with other minds, to be forever strong.

Healing, forgiveness, and the glad exchange of all the world of sorrow for a world where sadness cannot enter, are the means by which the Holy Spirit urges you to follow Him. His gentle lessons teach how easily salvation can be yours; how little practice you need undertake to let His laws replace the ones you made to hold yourself a prisoner to death. His life becomes your own, as you extend the little help He asks in freeing you from everything that ever caused you pain.

And as you let yourself be healed, you see all those around you, or who cross your mind, or whom you touch or those who seem to have no contact with you, healed along with you. Perhaps you will not recognize them all, nor realize how great your offering to all the world, when you let healing come to you. But you are never healed alone. And legions upon legions will receive the gift that you receive when you are healed.

Those who are healed become the instruments of healing. Nor does time elapse between the instant they are healed, and all the grace of healing it is given them to give. What is opposed to God does not exist, and who accepts it not within his mind becomes a haven where the weary can remain to rest. For here is truth bestowed, and here are all illusions brought to truth.

Would you not offer shelter to God’s Will? You but invite your Self to be at home. And can this invitation be refused? Ask the inevitable to occur, and you will never fail. The other choice is but to ask what cannot be to be, and this can not succeed. Today we ask that only truth will occupy our minds; that thoughts of healing will this day go forth from what is healed to what must yet be healed, aware that they will both occur as one.

We will remember, as the hour strikes, our function is to let our minds be healed, that we may carry healing to the world, exchanging curse for blessing, pain for joy, and separation for the peace of God. Is not a minute of the hour worth the giving to receive a gift like this? Is not a little time a small expense to offer for the gift of everything?

Yet must we be prepared for such a gift. And so we will begin the day with this, and give ten minutes to these thoughts with which we will conclude today at night as well:

When I am healed I am not healed alone.
And I would share my healing with the world,
that sickness may be banished from the mind of
God’s one Son, Who is my only Self.

Let healing be through you this very day. And as you rest in quiet, be prepared to give as you receive, to hold but what you give, and to receive the Word of God to take the place of all the foolish thoughts that ever were imagined. Now we come together to make well all that was sick, and offer blessing where there was attack. Nor will we let this function be forgot as every hour of the day slips by, remembering our purpose with this thought:

When I am healed I am not healed alone.
And I would bless my brothers, for I would
be healed with them, as they are healed with me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #726: I have been getting counseling for the last seven months. Recently, the process has become rather painful. I have done a great deal of reading on the subject of transference and I guess I am not the first client who has (or thinks he has) fallen in love with his therapist. I have spoken with her about this, but I am trying to make sense of all my feelings from A Course in Miracles’ perspective. Is transference simply the same projection that happens in everyday life? Is it significant that I know very little about her? Is this another example of a special love relationship? Aside from the obvious (a married man falling in love with a woman), what is the role of forgiveness in this situation? Whom do I forgive? I don’t even know whom I’m transferring from.

A: Yes, whenever we feel someone else has something that we don’t have — peace, love, insight, answers, etc. — the situation is ripe for specialness and all the pain that accompanies it. For it reminds us of the guilt and lack we feel within and desperately want to cover over with our fantasies surrounding the new relationship. And this is why the projection works better the less we know about the new person, since the reality of that person will interfere with our fantasy (T.17.III.4:5,6,7,8).

Within psychoanalytic theory, transference involves projecting thoughts and feelings associated with other people from the client’s past, beginning with the parents, onto the relationship with the therapist. The Course, however, would say that even the parental relationships are not primary, for we have projected the experience of our initial special relationship with God onto our parents. So, in Course terms, transference involves bringing our ego fantasies about God into the relationship with the therapist. And these fantasies would include both special love and special hate, because we have seen God as having what we lack and we have been willing to attack as well as seduce Him in order to attain what we desire. And we must resent Him for not simply giving us the specialness that we want (T.16.V.4:1,2; T.24.III.6).

And so the therapist simply has become the current screen onto which these feelings of unrequited specialness are being projected. It is an easy trap to fall into, with the nonjudgmental acceptance and focused attention the therapist most likely offers each visit for that well-defined, circumscribed period of time. And there could be latent if not overt resentment that the time is indeed so limited. And so, yes, the relationship does offer another opportunity to practice forgiveness. But it is not really the therapist, nor any of the shadow figures from your past that you are bringing into the relationship (T.17.III), including God, who need your forgiveness. For each of them is really nothing more than a symbol for the guilt and sin you believe is real in your own mind, from which you believe you need to be saved. And so that is where the forgiveness is really needed, within your own mind. And the Therapist — the Holy Spirit — also there in your mind, is available to you at any time, in any place or circumstance you need Him, to help you remember the truth about yourself, that you remain God’s wholly perfect and innocent Son (T.10.V.12), no matter what foolish beliefs you cling to about who you really are and what you need to be happy.


Q #727: I just read an introductory book on the Kabbalah. It said that it is impossible to escape the ego while we are on this earth in the form of a body. This makes sense to me. The Kabbalah talks about achieving a balance of giving and receiving in order to achieve harmony. What do you think?

A: A Course in Miracles takes very different positions on both of the issues you raise, because it holds a radically different view of who we are and where the world and bodies have come from. Reversing the world’s teaching, the Course says we will continue to believe we are in this world in a body until we escape our identification with the ego in our mind, since the experience of the body and the world is the ego’s defense to prove that the separation — and the ego — is real (T.4.I.4:4,5; T.4.V.4:1,2,3; T.6.IV.5; T.7.VI.8:1,2,3,4,5,6; T.23.I.3:3,4,5; W.pI.68.1:3,4; W.pI.72.2). That is, the world and bodies are the outcome of choosing to identify with the ego — they are simply part of its illusion to convince us that we have indeed separated from God and left our true home in Heaven. And they have worked so well that most of us are now convinced that the body is the problem, that it is the source of our feelings of limitation and pain and unhappiness. In other words, the ego has very cleverly persuaded us to reverse cause and effect in our mind (T.28.II.8,9). The body, according to the Course, is neutral, and our experience depends simply on what purpose we give the body — either to reinforce our guilt over the separation or to undo it (T.26.VIII.3:7,8; W.pII.294).

From the Course’s perspective, giving and receiving must always be “in balance” because “giving and receiving are the same” (e.g., T.25.IX.10:6; T.26.I.3:6; W.pI.108:6:1; M.2.5:5). This simply reflects the fact that mind is one, so that whatever is given, is given to oneself (W.pI.126). And so this principle applies both to the wrong mind and to the right mind. If we attempt to give guilt to others through projection, we reinforce it in our own mind, receiving what we have attempted to give away or get rid of (T.13.II.1). And if we allow the Holy Spirit to extend His Love through us to others, we too must experience that joy and peace. So any experience of harmony comes not from any balancing act on our part between giving and receiving, but simply from releasing the ego, with its dedication to sin and conflict and pain, and accepting the Holy Spirit as our Teacher. While it is true within the world of form that what we give in terms of objects, money, time, etc. we no longer have (T.5.I.1:10,11,12,13,14), the Course would consider these simply as symbols representing the purpose we hold in our mind, depending on which teacher we have chosen. Giving under the ego’s direction will always represent the desire to get rid of our guilt, whatever form it takes, while giving under the Holy Spirit’s guidance will always reflect the desire to share love by undoing guilt through forgiveness.

total commitment

 

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for Today

ACIM Reading for Today

A Course in Miracles

What It Says

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


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

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Today

Lesson 3

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

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

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


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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

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

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

*

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

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

*


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

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

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

Introducing A Course in Miracles, Instillment #2

NOTE: This is the 2nd Installment (or “Instillment” : ) of the Introduction to the Course that I began posting yesterday.

 

INTRODUCING A COURSE IN MIRACLES

 

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

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

 Peace of God

“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.”

     

    And here is a beautiful “prayer” from the Course that I would like to once again share with you here at the outset, especially as it highlights my role as both a teacher AND student, as well as your role as student AND teacher…

i-am-here-only-meditation-6

I am here only to be truly helpful.

I am here to represent Him who sent me. 

I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do,

Because He Who sent me will direct me.

I am content to be wherever he Wishes,

Knowing He goes there with me.

 

I will be healed as I let him teach me to heal

*

“Every good teacher hopes to give his students so much of his own learning that they will no longer need him. 

This is the one true goal of the teacher.”

 

~ A Course in Miracles[1]

 

The intention behind this presentation is to provide a contemporary, up-to-date introduction to the phenomenon that is A Course in Miracles (aka “ACIM” and/or “the Course”), one that brings together the most helpful information about the Course from the Web and other resources.  This is primarily intended for those who are new to ACIM, but it could also very well prove helpful to those who are already somewhat familiar with it or even “seasoned.”  Keeping with the Course’s own emphasis on simplicity, every attempt will be made to keep this as simple and clear as possible, as well as fair and balanced.   Because of this, feedback on this presentation is most certainly welcome.

 

So let’s begin…

 

FINDING ANOTHER WAY, A BETTER WAY

 

“Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit.

Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly,

that there must be a better way.

As this recognition becomes more firmly established,

it becomes a turning point.

This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously

weakening the investment in physical sight.

The alternating investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute.

But the outcome is as certain as God.”

                                                      ~ A Course in Miracles[2]

 

The writing of the Course actually began with the decision of two people (Helen Schucman and William Thetford, research psychologists at Columbia University from the ‘50s onward) to find “another way” to communicate and be with each other harmoniously as opposed to their usual antagonistic encounters.  Perhaps you are now coming to the Course because you, too, are seeking “another way” in your life.  Well, you should know that although the Course was ostensibly a way to help Helen and Bill to find peace in their relationship with each other, it is really meant for all of us, as the Course teaches that at essence we all have a shared interest in peace, love and understanding, and in finding our true self (Self).   To help to understand this point, here are some of the issues that might have led you to this point (i.e., reading this book), see if one or more of these applies to your life:

 

~ A failed or troubled relationship, whether with a spouse or significant other, parent, sibling, or friend.

 

~ Achievement of worldly success, only to find that you are still not happy.

 

~ Or conversely, failure to achieve success in life, leaving you feeling hopeless.

 

~ A sense that there must be more to life than this.

 

~ Fear about dying, or anxiety/panic about the future, for you or someone close to you.

 

~ A sense of deep regret and/or guilt about your past actions.

 

~ Confusion about spirituality and religion and how to know what the truth is regarding them.

 

~ A falling out with your birth religion, or religion in general.

 

~ A deep sense of loneliness and despair, or otherwise depression.

 

~ An unshakeable feeling that you are a fraud, a phony and/or that you really don’t like yourself, or worse.

 

~  Putting your trust in someone or something, only to be betrayed.

 

~ A perfectionism that leaves you paralyzed.

 

~ Recognizing that nothing is bringing you the happiness (love, peace, etc.) you truly seek.

 

~ A spiritual experience that left you with questions as to its meaning, one that you cannot seem to find in the world of traditional religion.

And so on…

 

Now, if any of these applied to you, then the Course might just be for you.  And in fact, the Course really is for every body, and isn’t it the case that everybody experiences one or more of those things that were just listed?    The thing is that not everybody is ready yet for the Course because it either might not be the right spiritual path for them, or they might not be at the point where they are ready to seek its guidance.

 

This idea can be summed up in a very simple statement:

 

“The Course is for everybody,

but not everybody is for the Course.”

 

(Or: The Course is for everyone who thinks they’re a body – more on this soon…)

 

The Course itself says:

 

‘Many are called but few are chosen’ should be,

‘All are called but few choose to listen.'”

 

I sense that your being here right now means that you have in some sense heard the “call” and are in a place to really listen to and consider what the Course says and has to offer you.  Given this, let’s get waste no time to get into the thick of it…

[To Be Continued Tomorrow]

 

[1] ACIM, T 4.I. 5:1-2.

 

[2]  ACIM, T2.III.3.5-10.

 

Peace of God

HelenandBillat1W.81stStreetNYC             Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford, the scribes of A Course in Miracles.

sun of god guiltless

Judy_Helen_Kenneth                                                Helen Schucman with Ken Wapnick

Holy Encounter copy

Introducing A Course in Miracles

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

AN INTRO TO THE INTRO:

Why A Course in Miracles Needs An Introduction

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

 

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

 

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

 

 ***

 Questions That Everyone Has About ACIM

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

***

A Course in Miracles in One Page

(more or less)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Maybe you will be the One? ; )

 

certain as god

 

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 27

ACIM Text Reading for April 27

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

XI. Release from Guilt

You are accustomed to the notion that the mind can see the source of pain where it is not. The doubtful service of such displacement is to hide the real source of guilt, and keep from your awareness the full perception that it is insane. Displacement always is maintained by the illusion that the source of guilt, from which attention is diverted, must be true; and must be fearful, or you would not have displaced the guilt onto what you believed to be less fearful. You are therefore willing to look upon all kinds of “sources,” provided they are not the deeper source to which they bear no real relationship at all.

Insane ideas have no real relationships, for that is why they are insane. No real relationship can rest on guilt, or even hold one spot of it to mar its purity. For all relationships that guilt has touched are used but to avoid the person and the guilt. What strange relationships you have made for this strange purpose! And you forgot that real relationships are holy, and cannot be used by you at all. They are used only by the Holy Spirit, and it is that which makes them pure. If you pre-empt for your own ends what you should have given Him, He cannot use it for your release. No one who would unite in any way with anyone for his individual salvation will find it in that strange relationship. It is not shared, and so it is not real.

In any union with a brother in which you seek to lay your guilt upon him, or share it with him or perceive his own, you will feel guilty. Nor will you find satisfaction and peace with him, because your union with him is not real. You will see guilt in that relationship because you put it there. It is inevitable that those who suffer guilt will attempt to displace it, because they do believe in it. Yet though they suffer, they will not look within and let it go. They cannot know they love, and cannot understand what loving is. Their main concern is to perceive the source of guilt outside themselves, beyond their own control.

When you maintain that you are guilty but the source of your guilt lies in the past, you are not looking inward. The past is not in you. Your weird associations to it have no meaning in the present. Yet you let them stand between you and your brothers, with whom you find no real relationships at all. Can you expect to use your brothers as a means to “solve” the past, and still to see them as they really are? Salvation is not found by those who use their brothers to resolve problems that are not there. You wanted not salvation in the past. Would you impose your idle wishes on the present, and hope to find salvation now?

Determine, then, to be not as you were. Use no relationship to hold you to the past, but with each one each day be born again. A minute, even less, will be enough to free you from the past, and give your mind in peace over to the Atonement. When everyone is welcome to you as you would have yourself be welcome to your Father, you will see no guilt in you. For you will have accepted the Atonement, which shone within you all the while you dreamed of guilt, and would not look within and see it.

As long as you believe that guilt is justified in any way, in anyone, whatever he may do, you will not look within, where you would always find Atonement. The end of guilt will never come as long as you believe there is a reason for it. For you must learn that guilt is always totally insane, and has no reason. The Holy Spirit seeks not to dispel reality. If guilt were real, Atonement would not be. The purpose of Atonement is to dispel illusions, not to establish them as real and then forgive them.

The Holy Spirit does not keep illusions in your mind to frighten you, and show them to you fearfully to demonstrate what He has saved you from. What He has saved you from is gone. Give no reality to guilt, and see no reason for it. The Holy Spirit does what God would have Him do, and has always done so. He has seen separation, but knows of union. He teaches healing, but He also knows of creation. He would have you see and teach as He does, and through Him. Yet what He knows you do not know, though it is yours.

Now it is given you to heal and teach, to make what will be now. As yet it is not now. The Son of God believes that he is lost in guilt, alone in a dark world where pain is pressing everywhere upon him from without. When he has looked within and seen the radiance there, he will remember how much his Father loves him. And it will seem incredible that he ever thought his Father loved him not, and looked upon him as condemned. The moment that you realize guilt is insane, wholly unjustified and wholly without reason, you will not fear to look upon the Atonement and accept it wholly.

You who have been unmerciful to yourself do not remember your Father’s Love. And looking without mercy upon your brothers, you do not remember how much you love Him. Yet it is forever true. In shining peace within you is the perfect purity in which you were created. Fear not to look upon the lovely truth in you. Look through the cloud of guilt that dims your vision, and look past darkness to the holy place where you will see the light. The altar to your Father is as pure as He Who raised it to Himself. Nothing can keep from you what Christ would have you see. His Will is like His Father’s, and He offers mercy to every child of God, as He would have you do.

Release from guilt as you would be released. There is no other way to look within and see the light of love, shining as steadily and as surely as God Himself has always loved His Son. And as His Son loves Him. There is no fear in love, for love is guiltless. You who have always loved your Father can have no fear, for any reason, to look within and see your holiness. You cannot be as you believed you were. Your guilt is without reason because it is not in the Mind of God, where you are. And this is reason, which the Holy Spirit would restore to you. He would remove only illusions. All else He would have you see. And in Christ’s vision He would show you the perfect purity that is forever within God’s Son.

You cannot enter into real relationships with any of God’s Sons unless you love them all and equally. Love is not special. If you single out part of the Sonship for your love, you are imposing guilt on all your relationships and making them unreal. You can love only as God loves. Seek not to love unlike Him, for there is no love apart from His. Until you recognize that this is true, you will have no idea what love is like. No one who condemns a brother can see himself as guiltless and in the peace of God. If he is guiltless and in peace and sees it not, he is delusional, and has not looked upon himself. To him I say:

“Behold the Son of God, and look upon his purity and be still.
In quiet look upon his holiness, and offer thanks unto his Father
that no guilt has ever touched him.”

No illusion that you have ever held against him has touched his innocence in any way. His shining purity, wholly untouched by guilt and wholly loving, is bright within you. Let us look upon him together and love him. For in love of him is your guiltlessness. But look upon yourself, and gladness and appreciation for what you see will banish guilt forever. I thank You, Father, for the purity of Your most holy Son, whom You have created guiltless forever.

Like you, my faith and my belief are centered on what I treasure. The difference is that I love only what God loves with me, and because of this I treasure you beyond the value that you set on yourself, even unto the worth that God has placed upon you. I love all that He created, and all my faith and my belief I offer unto it. My faith in you is as strong as all the love I give my Father. My trust in you is without limit, and without the fear that you will hear me not. I thank the Father for your loveliness, and for the many gifts that you will let me offer to the Kingdom in honor of its wholeness that is of God.

Praise be to you who make the Father one with His Own Son. Alone we are all lowly, but together we shine with brightness so intense that none of us alone can even think of it. Before the glorious radiance of the Kingdom guilt melts away, and transformed into kindness will never more be what it was. Every reaction you experience will be so purified that it is fitting as a hymn of praise unto your Father. See only praise of Him in what He has created, for He will never cease His praise of you. United in this praise we stand before the gates of Heaven where we will surely enter in our sinlessness. God loves you. Could I, then, lack faith in you and love Him perfectly?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 27

Lesson 117

For morning and evening review:

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

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

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

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

On the hour:

God, being Love, is also happiness.

On the half hour:

I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #78: I recently watched a movie based on a true story of a prisoner in Alcatraz who was put in solitary confinement for over a three year period. In this time, he was in total darkness, had no contact with people, with the exception of ½ hour per year, at Christmas, and lived in the most horrendous conditions imaginable. Consequently, he went insane (based of course on what would be considered insanity in the world of illusions). I am having a great deal of trouble with how a person in his situation would apply the Course, with absolutely no contact with people or the outside world. How could he join with his brother? How could he practice forgiveness, or experience miracles? If it were Jesus stuck in there, what would he do? This type of scenario obviously brings up a great deal of fear for me, and I’ve been pondering this for days. I guess I am trying to figure out, that in even in this most horrific a situation, can one still find the peace of God?

A: Since the Course teaches that everything occurs in the mind, there is no need for contact with people in order to practice forgiveness: “…there is no world outside….(T.12.III.6:7). All of our relationships (thoughts) remain within, so we are able to practice forgiveness with those who are seemingly alive, as well as those who are seemingly dead: “Like you, your brother thinks he is a dream….Think…of him as a mind in which illusions still persist, but as a mind which brother is to you. He is not brother made by what he dreams, nor is his body, ‘hero’ of the dream, your brother….Your mind and his are joined in brotherhood (T.28.IV.3:1,2,3,4,5,6).

In the section, “Shadows of the Past” (T.17.III), Jesus explains how we always see people in terms of the past, whether it be things we believe others have done to us or other people, or it be the needs we believed we had, which were not met. In essence, it explains that we don’t ever really have a relationship with anyone in the present, since these “shadows” are always with us, until they are forgiven. This simply reiterates the teaching that you do not need a physical body present in order to join or forgive.

Regarding maintaining one’s peace in such an extreme condition as you suggest, while it does seem formidable, it is nonetheless possible in principle. Otherwise, you are saying that the peace of God is limited to certain people, places, or situations. It would be very difficult to be a serious student of A Course in Miracles, practicing your lessons of forgiveness, all the while holding in the back of your mind the nagging doubt: “What if God abandons me now?” (Of course the ego would like nothing more than this, but that’s another topic!)

Throughout history there have been many people who have maintained their peace in the cruelest of circumstances. Many such stories have come out of the concentration camps, like those involving the Ten Boom sisters, Victor Frankl, etc. From the point of view of the Course, all these people had right-minded experiences, wherein someone elses interests where not seen as separate from their own. This is difficult enough to do on a day-to-day basis here and now, let alone in such extreme circumstances. But it has, and can be done.


Q #79: The relationship I have with my 5 siblings is, for the most part, one of special hate. Our conflicts have been escalating around the care of my mom and the dispersal of her property. I find it easiest simply to disassociate myself from the family and the conflict. This does not give me peace but it does minimize the anxiety. I do know that this is my classroom but I feel like avoiding my family to the point of not attending my mom’s funeral when the time comes. My question is: can I work on forgiveness with my siblings while I am choosing to avoid them?

A: You are wise to recognize that avoiding your siblings does not give you peace or eliminate your anxiety, but only minimizes it. The ego is very clever at offering us ways that seem to reduce the guilt and conflict and fear, through denial or avoidance, so that we never address the problem, thereby assuring that the conflict remains and never is resolved. “Minimizing fear, but not its undoing, is the ego’s constant effort, and is indeed a skill at which it is very ingenious” (T.11.V.9:2).

So it may be becoming apparent to you already that there is no way you can really avoid the conflict, whether or not you are actually in contact or in the physical presence of your siblings. That is because all relationships exist only in the mind and, believe it or not, the real conflict has nothing to do with your siblings. But it has everything to do with what they symbolize for you, because the real conflict also is only within your own mind. And so any changes in your relationships will have to begin first within your mind.

Alluding to this process, Jesus observes, “Everyone makes an ego or a self for himself, which is subject to enormous variation because of its instability. He also makes an ego for everyone else he perceives, which is equally variable. Their interaction is a process that alters both, because they were not made by or with the Unalterable. It is important to realize that this alteration can and does occur as readily when the interaction takes place in the mind as when it involves physical proximity. Thinking about another ego is as effective in changing relative perception as is physical interaction. There could be no better example that the ego is only an idea and not a fact” (T.4.II:2; italics added).

So, yes, you can work on your forgiveness lessons with your siblings without being in contact or around them physically, provided you are not also determined to avoid looking within your own mind at the conflict they represent to you, projected out into the world. Your siblings are providing you with the opportunity to get in touch with the guilt that is buried deep within your own mind that you have not wanted to look at, but have preferred to see outside yourself in others, in this case, your siblings. So once you recognize where the real problem lies, your siblings move from the foreground to the background in the forgiveness process.

What then is the next step in the process? Jesus tells us that “there is a very simple way to find the door to true forgiveness, and perceive it open wide in welcome. When you feel that you are tempted to accuse someone of sin in any form, do not allow your mind to dwell on what you think he did, for that is self-deception. Ask instead, ‘Would I accuse myself of doing this?’” (W.pII.134.9).

To uncover the self-accusation, you simply need to identify, at the level of content rather than the specific form of what your siblings may be doing, what you are accusing them of. It will most likely be some aspect of putting their own self-interests above everyone else’s, wanting to control or manipulate the situation to make sure that their own needs are met, with no real concern for anyone else. And so you need then to be honest with yourself in acknowledging that you at times operate in exactly the same way, even if you may not be in this particular situation involving your mother.

It is then that self-accusation that you will want to bring to Jesus or the Holy Spirit to heal, for Their perception of you will be different from your own. Theirs is a nonjudgmental acceptance that always perceives fear and a call for love in place of attack and sin. When you can share Their perception of yourself, you will release the guilt in your own mind, simultaneously releasing your siblings from the chain of guilt you’ve been binding them with. Now this release is not likely to be total and complete, once and for all, in a single attempt, for our own fear is too great to accept total release for ourselves. When we let the guilt back in, we will need once again to project it. And siblings with whom we have a long history of grievances make easy targets. And so the forgiveness process with your siblings will be a process that will most likely take time. But at least now you know where the real problem lies.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 13

ACIM Text Reading for April 13

Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

V. The Sane Curriculum

Only love is strong because it is undivided. The strong do not attack because they see no need to do so. Before the idea of attack can enter your mind, you must have perceived yourself as weak. Because you attacked yourself and believed that the attack was effective, you behold yourself as weakened. No longer perceiving yourself and your brothers as equal, and regarding yourself as weaker, you attempt to “equalize” the situation you made. You use attack to do so because you believe that attack was successful in weakening you.

That is why the recognition of your own invulnerability is so important to the restoration of your sanity. For if you accept your invulnerability, you are recognizing that attack has no effect. Although you have attacked yourself, you will be demonstrating that nothing really happened. Therefore, by attacking you have not done anything. Once you realize this you will no longer see any sense in attack, for it manifestly does not work and cannot protect you. Yet the recognition of your invulnerability has more than negative value. If your attacks on yourself have failed to weaken you, you are still strong. You therefore have no need to “equalize” the situation to establish your strength.

You will never realize the utter uselessness of attack except by recognizing that your attack on yourself has no effects. For others do react to attack if they perceive it, and if you are trying to attack them you will be unable to avoid interpreting this as reinforcement. The only place you can cancel out all reinforcement is in yourself. For you are always the first point of your attack, and if this has never been, it has no consequences.

The Holy Spirit’s Love is your strength, for yours is divided and therefore not real. You cannot trust your own love when you attack it. You cannot learn of perfect love with a split mind, because a split mind has made itself a poor learner. You tried to make the separation eternal, because you wanted to retain the characteristics of creation, but with your own content. Yet creation is not of you, and poor learners do need special teaching.

You have learning handicaps in a very literal sense. There are areas in your learning skills that are so impaired that you can progress only under constant, clear-cut direction, provided by a Teacher Who can transcend your limited resources. He becomes your Resource because of yourself you cannot learn. The learning situation in which you placed yourself is impossible, and in this situation you clearly require a special Teacher and a special curriculum. Poor learners are not good choices as teachers, either for themselves or for anyone else. You would hardly turn to them to establish the curriculum by which they can escape from their limitations. If they understood what is beyond them, they would not be handicapped.

You do not know the meaning of love, and that is your handicap. Do not attempt to teach yourself what you do not understand, and do not try to set up curriculum goals where yours have clearly failed. Your learning goal has been not to learn, and this cannot lead to successful learning. You cannot transfer what you have not learned, and the impairment of the ability to generalize is a crucial learning failure. Would you ask those who have failed to learn what learning aids are for? They do not know. If they could interpret the aids correctly, they would have learned from them.

I have said that the ego’s rule is, “Seek and do not find.” Translated into curricular terms this means, “Try to learn but do not succeed.” The result of this curriculum goal is obvious. Every legitimate teaching aid, every real instruction, and every sensible guide to learning will be misinterpreted, since they are all for facilitating the learning this strange curriculum is against. If you are trying to learn how not to learn, and the aim of your teaching is to defeat itself, what can you expect but confusion? Such a curriculum does not make sense. This attempt at “learning” has so weakened your mind that you cannot love, for the curriculum you have chosen is against love, and amounts to a course in how to attack yourself. A supplementary goal in this curriculum is learning how not to overcome the split that makes its primary aim believable. And you will not overcome the split in this curriculum, for all your learning will be on its behalf. Yet your mind speaks against your learning as your learning speaks against your mind, and so you fight against all learning and succeed, for that is what you want. But perhaps you do not realize, even yet, that there is something you want to learn, and that you can learn it because it is your choice to do so.

You who have tried to learn what you do not want should take heart, for although the curriculum you set yourself is depressing indeed, it is merely ridiculous if you look at it. Is it possible that the way to achieve a goal is not to attain it? Resign now as your own teacher. This resignation will not lead to depression. It is merely the result of an honest appraisal of what you have taught yourself, and of the learning outcomes that have resulted. Under the proper learning conditions, which you can neither provide nor understand, you will become an excellent learner and an excellent teacher. But it is not so yet, and will not be so until the whole learning situation as you have set it up is reversed.

Your learning potential, properly understood, is limitless because it will lead you to God. You can teach the way to Him and learn it, if you follow the Teacher Who knows the way to Him and understands His curriculum for learning it. The curriculum is totally unambiguous, because the goal is not divided and the means and the end are in complete accord. You need offer only undivided attention. Everything else will be given you. For you really want to learn aright, and nothing can oppose the decision of God’s Son. His learning is as unlimited as he is.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 13

Lesson 103

God, being Love, is also happiness.

Happiness is an attribute of love. It cannot be apart from it. Nor can it be experienced where love is not. Love has no limits, being everywhere. And therefore joy is everywhere as well. Yet can the mind deny that this is so, believing there are gaps in love where sin can enter, bringing pain instead of joy. This strange belief would limit happiness by redefining love as limited, and introducing opposition in what has no limit and no opposite.

Fear is associated then with love, and its results become the heritage of minds that think what they have made is real. These images, with no reality in truth, bear witness to the fear of God, forgetting being Love, He must be joy. This basic error we will try again to bring to truth today, and teach ourselves:

God, being Love, is also happiness.
To fear Him is to be afraid of joy.

Begin your periods of practicing today with this association, which corrects the false belief that God is fear. It also emphasizes happiness belongs to you, because of what He is.

Allow this one correction to be placed within your mind each waking hour today. Then welcome all the happiness it brings as truth replaces fear, and joy becomes what you expect to take the place of pain. God, being Love, it will be given you. Bolster this expectation frequently throughout the day, and quiet all your fears with this assurance, kind and wholly true:

God, being Love, is also happiness.
And it is happiness I seek today.
I cannot fail, because I seek the truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1324: I was playing chess on the computer and began to think that I was wasting my life doing this; I’m not being spiritual enough. The other side of the coin is thinking I’m good because I spent a lot of time with my kids. I am aware of the ego traps in this, but I think underneath it is the idea that I have to sacrifice things of the world to let go enough to undo the ego, especially in light of passages from the Course that seem to teach that if we don’t fulfill our function, we have indeed wasted our life. That’s intimidating. What would it mean to fulfill your function? Is watching myself getting mad at myself for playing on the computer part of fulfilling my function? Is it possible to fulfill your function a little, or for a little while, then slip? I always feel like I’m being graded!!!

A: The last statement is quite important: “I always feel like I’m being graded” — spoken as a good healthy ego! That is what you want to look at, because that indicates your study of A Course in Miracles must be being guided by the ego. Guilt distorts. That is why there is so much emphasis in the Course on bringing the darkness to the light. Therein lies your function: bringing your guilt to the presence of love in your right mind, or looking at your guilt with the healing eyes of love. And you can do this whether you are playing chess on the computer or spending time with your kids. It’s not the form — it’s the content. You can play chess with guilt or without guilt; you can play with your kids with guilt or without guilt. It is always a question of which teacher you choose beforehand in your mind.

This is the message of two important sections in the text: “Setting the Goal” (T.17.VI) and “The Consistency of Means and End” (T.20.VII). We first decide on the goal or end we want to attain: for example, peace, seeing our interests as shared with everyone else. Then the activity will be seen as the means to achieve this end. The activity itself (the form) won’t matter. The content alone will provide the meaning for you. So, it is not what you do that is important, but the purpose you have given to it — with whom you do it, the ego or Jesus. There is no hierarchy of illusions: some activities are not “good” for us and others “bad”; some are not holy and others unholy. The world is not the problem; therefore, we need sacrifice nothing. If we truly want the peace of God, then we will look at how we are using things in the world to interfere with that peace, and then ask for help to use them to undo the interference.

This really is the core of what Jesus discusses in “The Special Function” where he tells us that “forgiveness is the only function meaningful in time” (T.25.VI.5:3) ; that is a matter of choosing against the ego’s purpose for our bodies and relationships (separation and specialness), and for the Holy Spirit’s (forgiveness and peace). The Course is constantly training us to look within and focus on the purpose we are always giving to the interactions and activities in our lives. And, fortunately, there are only two possible choices, only one of which will undo the separation, bring us peace, and lead us home.

It is quite normal to be inconsistent in this process of shifting from outside to within, and from the ego’s purpose to the Holy Spirit’s. We are tremendously fearful of the implications of letting go of our ego, and so we bounce back and forth. But as we experience more and more the peace and calmness of mind that comes when we forgive, we will be motivated to choose it more frequently. Then the discomfort of being in our wrong minds will become more noticeable, and could be experienced as a kind of external pressure to do better. It is just that we are denying less, and the pain that was always there is coming into our awareness. Jesus never exerts pressure or imposes sanctions — that would be the ego’s Jesus. Our egos, eager to subvert our work with the Course, will tempt us to distort Jesus’ gentle message of forgiveness into a threatening message of judgment. The more we recognize that intrusion, the more we can learn to simply smile at its silliness and allow the non-judgmental, comforting presence of love in our minds to be the source of all we do.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 20

ACIM Text Reading for January 20

Chapter 2 ~ The Separation and the Atonement

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

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 20

Lesson 20
I am determined to see.

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

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

health is inner peace

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Is A Course in Miracles a CIA Mind Control Experiment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for listening!