A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 31

ACIM Reading for December 31

MOTHER OF THE WORLD
Peace is a woman, mother to the world,
Whom God has sent to lay a gentle hand
Across a thousand children’s fevered brows.
In its cool certainty there is no fear,
And from her breasts there comes a quietness
For them to lean against and to be still.
She brings a message to their frightened hearts
From Him Who sent her. Listen now to her
Who is your mother in your Father’s Name:
“Do not attend the voices of the world.
Do not attempt to crucify again
My first-born Son, and brother still to you.”
Heaven is in her eyes, because she looked
Upon this Son who was the first. And now
She looks to you to find him once again.
Do not deny the mother of the world
The only thing she ever wants to see,
For it is all you ever want to find.

~ Helen Schucman

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 31

This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You,Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

1. And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What does A Course in Miracles mean by forgiving your brother? What if he does not accept the forgiveness, or is no longer physically present? Does this mean I can no longer forgive him? 

A) Our answer is a continuation of the answer to the previous question. We are asked in the Course to forgive others for what they have not done to us. This is understood only by remembering that there is in truth no one out there to forgive. What we really forgive (or release) are the projections of guilt we have placed upon figures in our dreams that we scripted to be our special love or special hate partners.  Therefore, it does not matter if these persons are physically present, know us personally, or even if they have already died. They continue to be present in our minds through our unforgiving thoughts, and the opportunity to ask for help to forgive these thoughts and projected images always remains. 

The effects of our forgiveness are also fully present in our minds, joined with the minds of others. If other people choose not to accept our forgiveness in their dreams, the healed thought in our minds is no less efficacious. As the Course teaches, the Holy Spirit holds this forgiveness in the minds of the others until they are ready to accept it. That is the process Jesus is referring to as well when he says to us in the Course: 

I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance.  They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt (T-5.IV.8:3-5).

Likewise, he saves our loving thoughts towards others, and holds them until they are ready to accept them for themselves. 

Judy_Helen_Kenneth

 

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 17

ACIM Reading for January 17

A Course in Miracles

How It Came into Being

In 1977 in response to many requests for a brief introduction to A Course in Miracles, Helen Schucman wrote the following, which appears as the Preface to the Course. The first two parts: “How It Came” and “What It Is,” Helen wrote herself. The final part, “What It Says,” she scribed through the process of inner dictation.

How it Came

A Course in Miracles began with the sudden decision of two people to join in a common goal. Their names were Helen Schucman and William Thetford, Professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. They were anything but spiritual. Their relationship with each other was difficult and often strained, and they were concerned with personal and professional acceptance and status. In general, they had considerable investment in the values of the world. Their lives were hardly in accord with anything that the Course advocates. Helen, the one who received the material, describes herself:

“Psychologist, educator, conservative in theory and atheistic in belief, I was working in a prestigious and highly academic setting. And then something happened that triggered a chain of events I could never have predicted. The head of my department unexpectedly announced that he was tired of the angry and aggressive feelings our attitudes reflected, and concluded that, ‘there must be another way.’ As if on cue I agreed to help him find it. Apparently this Course is the other way.”

Although their intention was serious, they had great difficulty in starting out on their joint venture. But they had given the Holy Spirit the “little willingness” that, as the Course itself was to emphasize again and again, is sufficient to enable Him to use any situation for His purposes and provide it with His power.

To continue Helen’s first-person account:

“Three startling months preceded the actual writing, during which time Bill suggested that I write down the highly symbolic dreams and descriptions of the strange images that were coming to me. Although I had grown more accustomed to the unexpected by that time, I was still very surprised when I wrote, “This is a course in miracles.” That was my introduction to the Voice. It made no sound, but seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid, inner dictation which I took down in a shorthand notebook. The writing was never automatic. It could be interrupted at any time and later picked up again. It made me very uncomfortable, but it never seriously occurred to me to stop. It seemed to be a special assignment I had somehow, somewhere agreed to complete. It represented a truly collaborative venture between Bill and myself, and much of its significance, I am sure, lies in that. I would take down what the Voice “said” and read it to him the next day, and he typed it from my dictation. I expect he had his special assignment, too. Without his encouragement and support I would never have been able to fulfill mine. The whole process took about seven years. The Text came first, then the Workbook for Students, and finally the Manual for Teachers. Only a few minor changes have been made. Chapter titles and subheadings have been inserted in the Text, and some of the more personal references that occurred at the beginning have been omitted. Otherwise the material is substantially unchanged.”

The names of the collaborators in the recording of the Course do not appear on the cover because the Course can and should stand on its own. It is not intended to become the basis for another cult. Its only purpose is to provide a way in which some people will be able to find their own Internal Teacher.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 17

Workbook Introduction

A theoretical foundation such as the Text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this Workbook meaningful. Yet it is doing the exercises that will make the goal of the course possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of this Workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the Text sets forth.

The exercises are very simple. They do not require a great deal of time, and it does not matter where you do them. They need no preparation. The training period is one year. The exercises are numbered from 1 to 365. Do not undertake to do more than one set of exercises a day.

The Workbook is divided into two main sections, the first dealing with the undoing of the way you see now, and the second with the acquisition of true perception. With the exception of the review periods, each day’s exercises are planned around one central idea, which is stated first. This is followed by a description of the specific procedures by which the idea for the day is to be applied.

The purpose of the Workbook is to train your mind in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world. The exercises are planned to help you generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is equally applicable to everyone and everything you see.

Transfer of training in true perception does not proceed as does transfer of the training of the world. If true perception has been achieved in connection with any person, situation or event, total transfer to everyone and everything is certain. On the other hand, one exception held apart from true perception makes its accomplishments anywhere impossible.

The only general rules to be observed throughout, then, are: First, that the exercises be practiced with great specificity, as will be indicated. This will help you to generalize the ideas involved to every situation in which you find yourself, and to everyone and everything in it. Second, be sure that you do not decide for yourself that there are some people, situations or things to which the ideas are inapplicable. This will interfere with transfer of training. The very nature of true perception is that it has no limits. It is the opposite of the way you see now.

The overall aim of the exercises is to increase your ability to extend the ideas you will be practicing to include everything. This will require no effort on your part. The exercises themselves meet the conditions necessary for this kind of transfer.

Some of the ideas the Workbook presents you will find hard to believe, and others may seem to be quite startling. This does not matter. You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do. You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them. It is their use that will give them meaning to you, and will show you that they are true.

Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the Workbookcontains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required.

 

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1385: Are there any pointers or guidelines you can offer to help people make their way through the Course material? How can we get the most out of our study of the three books?

A: We will offer some general comments and then recommend other discussions and resources on this Web site.

Study Methods:

First, in keeping with its theory, there is no best or single method for studying A Course in Miracles. It is a curriculum undertaken by the student under the guidance of the Holy Spirit or Jesus, and as the manual for teachers specifically states, the training is “highly individualized” (M.9.1:5; M.29.2:6). Moreover, there can be no strict guidelines or rules that apply to every individual, as circumstances, backgrounds, and abilities, among other factors, differ greatly.

With regard to reading and studying the material, Jesus does not say which should be done first, the text, the workbook, or the manual. That decision is up to each student. There is no right or wrong way of proceeding with the material. Yet, to attain a comprehensive understanding of the thought system and a solid foundation for practicing the lessons, students are encouraged to study the text at some point in their process. Jesus advises us to study it carefully, but not proceed too quickly with it, lest we plunge unnecessarily into overwhelming fear (T.I.VII.4,5; see also Question #1163). Also, in the Introduction to the workbook he explains that the “theoretical foundation … the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this workbook meaningful” (W.in.1:1). Thus, Jesus clearly expects his students to spend time with the text at some point in their process.

A Course in Miracles: Form and Content

The Course uses metaphors, and in form has many contradictory passages. That is why it cannot be read and understood exclusively on an intellectual level. Its content and loving message of forgiveness can be understood only with the willingness of the mind that opens to the truth that it reflects. The Course’s teaching that the world is an illusion and the separation never happened is seemingly contra­dicted by the very fact that the Course itself exists in form. Clearly, then, from its inception the Course lovingly accommodates its form to be helpful to the guilt-ridden part of the mind of God’s Son who believes he is irretrievably lost because of his terrible sin. According to the ego’s logic, the guilt that follows the “sin” of separation engenders tremendous fear of punishment from an angry God. When the Course tells us God weeps and is lonely without us (T.5.VII.4; T.2.III.5), the message is that He is not an angry, vengeful God, but One Who loves us and misses us. These symbolic images are helpful to us who are able to relate to the concept of a loving father more easily than to the abstract nature of God. As Jesus tells us, “You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize” (T.18.VIII.1:7); and “Yet must It [Teacher of Oneness] use the language that this mind can understand, in the condition in which it thinks it is” (T.25.I.7:4).

These lines explain the metaphors used in the Course, as well as the levels of teaching. Since we believe we are in the world, Jesus teaches us from our level of experience. Having chosen to identify with the body, we think and act and “reason” like bodies, so the Course comes to us in a form we can understand, and uses numerous metaphors, poetic imagery, and symbols to speak to us of the Love we have denied and forgotten.

Again, the Course has to meet us where we are, and where we are is in a world that is very complex. But this is because our world has come from a very complex thought system, the thought system that dominates our minds. Therefore, if Jesus is going to be able to help us, the context of his teaching has to be this immense complexity of both our outer and inner worlds. That is what he means when he says, “This course remains within the ego framework, where it is needed” (C.in.3:1). Complexity is the name of the ego’s game, he tells us in the text (T-15.IV.6:2). His teachings must address this complexity in order to undo it.

Thus, when we start out with the Course, it can indeed appear to be hopelessly complex, but, again, that is because it is meeting us where we are. Its purpose, though, is to lead us out of that complexity to the “simplicity of salvation” (T.31.I), when we will all finally realize that “what is false is false, and what is true has never changed” (W.pII.10.1:1). That is the simple truth, hidden behind the vast complexity of both the ego thought system in our minds and the world that has come from it.

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

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

Finally, the structure and flow of the text can be likened more to a symphony with themes introduced, set aside, reintroduced, and developed than to the linear progression of ideas usually found in an aca­demic textbook, which systematically increase in complexity. This results in an interlocking matrix in which every part is integral and essential to the whole, while implicitly containing that whole within itself. Thus, the same material consistently recurs, both within the Course as a thought system as well as in the learning opportunities in our personal lives. The process of learning, therefore, resembles the ascent up a spiral staircase, with the reader led in a circular pattern, each revolution leading higher until the top of the spiral is reached, which opens unto God. The lovely rhythm of blank verse in much of the text enhances the impact of recurring themes.

The only specifications for the workbook lessons are given in its Introduction: “Do not undertake to do more than one set of exercises a day” (W.in.2:6). It is advisable for students to read this Introduction before beginning the lessons, and to reread it occasionally thereafter. Another important principle in the Introduction pertains to the student’s orientation: “Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required” (W.in.9).

Lessons may be repeated if desired. If it is a particularly meaningful or difficult lesson, it could be a good idea to stay with it for a couple of days or so. However, there is a risk in thinking that a lesson needs to be done perfectly before moving on to the next one. This would be a trap, because it is unlikely that many of us will ever do any of the lessons perfectly. If we could, we would have reached such an advanced state of spiritual growth that we would not need the lessons at all.

The middle of Lesson 95 is helpful in knowing what to do if several days or weeks are missed in practicing the lessons. Importantly, it is not necessary to begin all over again. The instruction in Lesson 95 focuses on recognizing the ways in which the ego creeps into the process, and that we ought to respond to “our lapses in diligence, and our failures to follow the instructions” (W.pI.95.8:3) with forgiveness. That is the key. Jesus does not keep track of how punctual we are in following the instructions for the day; his interest is only in helping us train our minds to think more and more in terms of forgiveness, and then eventually to generalize our learning to every aspect of our lives and experience.

The core idea is that we be sincere in our attempts to study and practice what the workbook teaches, aware that we all have strong resistance, yet are willing to forgive ourselves for our often inadequate efforts. As long as we continue to study and apply the lessons as we are instructed, we will make progress. It is important to focus on the content, rather than the form. What matters is making a sincere effort to follow the instructions as carefully as we can, without judging ourselves when we fail. Indeed, we can say that the purpose of doing the lessons is to do them wrong and then forgive our mis­takes. This would reflect our ultimate forgiveness of ourselves for the mistake of separating from our Creator-Source.

The manual for teachers, the third book, is the easiest and most approachable of the three. The Course helps us realize that we are all teachers and students of each other, and that there is no line separating teachers and students. As we teach we learn, and as we learn we teach; but this has nothing to do with a formal teaching setting. The meaning is that we teach by demonstration. A Course in Miracles is never concerned with form (body) but only content (mind). The manual comes in question and answer form, with the questions addressing some of the more important themes found in the Course itself. There is an appendix to the manual, which Helen took down a couple years after the Course was com­pleted. This is called the clarification of terms, which in a sense is like a glossary of some of the key terms that are used in the Course, the ostensible purpose being to define them for the Course’s stu­dents. What one finds, however, is that if you do not already know what the word means, the clarification of terms probably will not be helpful. What it is, however, is a lovely, and many times poetic summary of what these terms mean. It is another way of revisiting what we already have.
——–

Further discussion of the ideas discussed above, and other areas that may be of interest to those becoming acquainted with A Course in Miracles follow.

Clicking on any of the question numbers will take you to the full discussion of that issue. 

The Course’s Christian context and masculine language: 15

The Course’s nondualistic metaphysics: 6851059231096iv1118

The symphonic nature of the Course: 1145

The academic, intellectual level of the text: 4011501170

Levels of teaching: 2172431068

The goal of the Course: 204235429885941

Having a partner with whom to learn the lessons: 223

Joining a group: 12105276493

Practicing the Course while part of mainstream religion: 23; see also, ACIM/other thought systems

Jesus as the author of the Course: 1101564799401096ii

Being normal: 634

Best study methods: 105203782ii1163

Suggested Readings available on the Foundation’s Web site:

http://www.facim.org/teach.htm

Glossary of major terms used in the Course—http://www.facim.org/acim/glossary.htm
Summary of the Theory of A Course in Miracles—http://www.facim.org/acim/theory.htm
Excerpts Series, “The Metaphysics of Separation and Forgiveness.”—
http://www.facim.org/excerpts/mpseries.htm

Online Bookstore—http://www.facim.org/bookstore

All publications authored by Kenneth Wapnick:

Introductory-level programs: A Talk Given on “A Course in Miracles” (book); What Is “A Course in Miracles”? – Theory and Practice (cd, mp3); An Introduction to “A Course in Miracles” (dvd).

Line-by-line commentaries: Journey through the Workbook of “A Course in Miracles”; Journey through the Manual for Teachers of “A Course in Miracles”; “What It Says”: From the Preface of “A Course in Miracles.” Forthcoming: Journey through the Text of “A Course in Miracles.”

The scribing of A Course in Miracles: Absence from Felicity: Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of “A Course in Miracles.”

In-depth analysis of theory and practice: The Message of “A Course in Miracles” – Vol. One: All Are Called; Vol. Two: Few Choose to Listen.

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 23

ACIM Reading for December 23

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

       AWAKE IN STILLNESS

    Peace cover you, within without the same,
    In shining silence and in peace so deep
    No dream of sin and evil can come near
    Your quiet mind. And then in stillness wake.
    First there is silence; then awakening.
    Now is the time appointed for the end
    Of dreaming. Still the cradle where you come
    To be reborn. The Christ is stirring in
    The home that He has chosen as His Own.
    His vision rests upon your eyes, and soon
    You will behold His face, and will forget
    The fantasies that seemed to be so real
    Until the stillness came. The Son of God
    Has come to join you now. His shining hand
    Is on your shoulder. And God’s silent Voice
    Speaks ceaselessly of Heaven. You will hear
    His single message calling to His Own
    From His abiding place, to wake in God.

             By Helen Schucman,
             January 15, 1974
             From The Gifts of God©, p. 73
             Published by the Foundation for Inner Peace
***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 23

Lesson 357

Truth answers every call we make to God,
Responding first with miracles, and then
Returning unto us to be itself.

Forgiveness, truth’s reflection, tells me how to offer miracles, and thus escape the prison house in which I think I live. Your holy Son is pointed out to me, first in my brother; then in me. Your Voice instructs me patiently to hear Your Word, and give as I receive. And as I look upon Your Son today, I hear Your Voice instructing me to find the way to You, as You appointed that the way shall be:

“Behold his sinlessness, and be you healed.”

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #729: Are Buddha and Christ the same, and is Enlightenment some kind of amnesia?

A: From the point of view of A Course in Miracles, the difference between Buddha and Christ is that Christ always remains part of God in Heaven as “the perfect Son of God, His one creation and His happiness, forever like Himself and one with Him” (C.5.3:1). Buddha would be considered, as would any other enlightened being, a symbol within the dream of separation representing the healed mind; that is, the separated mind that has accepted the Atonement and therefore knows the separation to be illusory. Christ, however, was never part of the illusion, but we retain within our minds (the right mind) the memory of our true Identity as Christ. Enlightenment, thus, is a remembrance, not a forgetting (amnesia), unless that were to mean forgetting everything that is not true. In the workbook Jesus explains his idea of enlightenment: “Why wait for Heaven? Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home” (W.pI.188.1).

See Question #261 for further comments about the path of Buddhism.


Q #730: Is there any method Jesus teaches in the Course about how we can deal with the fact that, while we may have mentally understood that forgiveness and waiting, etc., are the prime tools of “reaching” Christ consciousness/God/coming home (whatever you want to call it), the emotional body/ego may not want to oblige with this? Is there a method to “heal” the emotional body? Reading the Course or books by the Dalai Lama, which are all about love, has a very positive effect on me, and I seem to be touching that “undoing” moment every now and then, but is there any “method” that would make it easier to keep these feelings/attitudes up throughout the day? I found that telling these things “mentally” to me, won’t always do the job. Neither does “re-programming” or any of these “methods”. Would regular meditation (with the Course) do? Does Jesus recommend meditation?

A: The approach of A Course in Miracles to resistance is different from what one would normally expect. Jesus teaches us that what would be most helpful is just to be aware of our resistance and not to fight it or force ourselves — via affirmations, for example — to say and think what we are “supposed” to think and say (the exercises in the lessons). An essential part of the healing process is the humble acknowledgment that in one part of our minds we are terrified of accepting the truth about ourselves and therefore strenuously resisting learning and practicing the Course. We do not want to lose this self, though false, that we have made such an effort to sustain; we do not want to have to admit that we have been wrong about everything. Those fears would account for our “forgetting” or not being able to keep the experiences of the holy instant when we have for the moment set aside our egos.

Thus, while this is a course in mind training, the focus of the training is largely on searching our minds for ego thoughts and then looking at them without judgment, while recognizing at the same time that these thoughts are costing us the awareness of the love and peace that also reside in our minds: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T.16.IV.6:1,2).

The lessons in the workbook are carefully designed to start us off where we are — namely, strongly identified with a physical/emotional self — and gradually lead us inward to the identity we have repressed, that of a decision-making mind that lucidly chooses every minute of every day to reinforce its belief that it is separate from God or to undo that belief through recognizing that we all share the same interest and goal. In general, this is Jesus’ approach to resistance. There is nothing wrong in your meditating, if that is helpful to you, but meditation is not a major aspect of the Course’s mind-training process.

Your concern is shared by most students, and we have discussed it in several other Questions — see, for example numbers: 3592125129210, and 302.

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 22

ACIM Reading for December 22

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

THE SINGING
There is a singing underneath the world
That holds it up, and enters in behind
All twisted thoughts, and comes to set them straight.
There is an ancient melody that still
Abides in every mind and sings of peace,
Eternity, and all the quiet things
That God created. Angels sing with joy,
And offer you their song, for it is yours.
You sing as ceaselessly. The Son of God
Can never sing alone. His voice is shared
By all the universe. It is the call
To God, and answered by His Voice Itself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 22

Lesson 356

Sickness is but another name for sin.
Healing is but another name for God.
The miracle is thus a call to Him.

Father, You promised You would never fail to answer any call Your Son might make to You. It does not matter where he is, what seems to be his problem, nor what he believes he has become. He is Your Son, and You will answer him. The miracle reflects Your Love, and thus it answers him. Your Name replaces every thought of sin, and who is sinless cannot suffer pain. Your Name gives answer to Your Son, because to call Your Name is but to call his own.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #731: I was brought up to believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient, knowing everything that is, that has been, and that ever will be. So before God created the world, He must have known what exactly was going to happen — who was going to go to hell and who wasn’t. So if, as A Course in Miracles says, the world is a dream that I am making up, then is what I have written just my ego strategy to hold God responsible for my sin and not myself, to say that I cannot be a sinner because I never really had a choice anyway since it was all pre-ordained in God’s Mind? Thus when I stand before God to be judged and my name is not in the book of life, I can present this as my defense to God before being cast into the lake of fire, to avoid damnation or at least to try to. But if God knows everything in advance, then God is powerless to change the future and He cannot be omnipotent. Is this my get-out- clause to avoid an imaginary punishment from God, my ego’s attempt to be innocent, to see itself or me as just an innocent victim not responsible for its own sin at all, putting the guilt on God and not myself?

A: You can look at what you’ve described, as you say, simply as your ego’s efforts to shift blame outside yourself onto an unfair, victimizing God, if you note these apparent contradictions but do not seriously question the basic premises you seemed to learn as a child. But you can also look at what you’re thinking as the beginning of a right-minded realization that there is something wrong with this traditional concept of God that is found in most religions of the world, where God is the Creator of the world, Who put you here along with everyone else. For there are some logical contradictions in this traditional view of an infinite and perfect God as the Creator of a finite and imperfect world, that many of the greatest religious and spiritual thinkers and philosophers across the ages have not been able to reconcile.

The Course is relatively unique among the world’s spiritualities in asserting that God has nothing to do with and can in no way be responsible for the limited world of time and space — some of the Gnostic teachings of two thousand years ago held to a similar position and presented arguments much like the ones you offer above (for a comprehensive presentation of these issues as found in the Western spiritual tradition, see Kenneth Wapnick’s Love Does Not Condemn: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil According to Platonism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and A Course in Miracles). And of course, the Course goes one step further to assert that this world is an illusion and does not exist in reality (e.g., W.pI.132.6:1,2,3), despite our experiences to the contrary.

If there were any force, personal or impersonal, outside of our own minds, that could be held responsible for any aspect of the world and our experience in it, then we would indeed be victims. But the Course’s position on this is uncompromising, presented clearly early in the workbook: “I am not the victim of the world I see” because “I have invented the world I see” (W.p.I.31,32). And so it is central to the Course’s teaching that neither God nor Jesus nor the Holy Spirit can intervene in either the world or in our minds (e.g., T.2.VII.1:4,5,6). For if they could, we would not have complete responsibility for our experience, and we could legitimately feel victimized by their failure to intervene. It is the purpose of the Course to return to our awareness the power of our mind to choose, and not to look outside of ourselves to find someone else either to blame or to supplicate.

In the Course’s own words, “Let us today be truly humble, and accept what we have made as what it is. The power of decision is our own. Decide but to accept your rightful place as co- creator of the universe [of spirit], and all you think you made [the world of bodies] will disappear. What rises to awareness then will be all that there ever was, eternally as it is now. And it will take the place of self-deceptions made but to usurp the altar to the Father and the Son” (W.p.I.152.8).

HelenandBillat1W.81stStreetNYC

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 20

ACIM Reading for December 20

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

BENEDICTION
Angels are Thoughts that come from God to you.
Secure in their protection may you rest;
Quiet in certainty that comes from them,
At peace in mind and heart and holiness;
Unmindful of the world, and sure that they
Are with you, watching over you, and fixed
In their determination to maintain.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 20

Lesson 354

We stand together, Christ and I, in peace 
And certainty of purpose. And in Him 
Is His Creator, as He is in me.

My oneness with the Christ establishes me as Your Son, beyond the reach of time, and wholly free of every law but Yours. I have no self except the Christ in me. I have no purpose but His Own. And He is like His Father. Thus must I be one with You as well as Him. For who is Christ except Your Son as You created Him? And what am I except the Christ in me?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #305: Does “I need do nothing” mean that it’s not OK to consciously try to develop new habits to replace the old fear based ones, like avoiding eye contact or speaking softly or giving up too soon, etc….How can I get over these things if I don’t do anything about them? Lesson 135 in A Course in Miracles says that planning for things is a defense and should be avoided. However, I feel that if I don’t plan or practice ahead of time I won’t be able to function: I won’t know what to say or do when the moment arises. I am really quite stalled here. Perhaps I am misinterpreting all of this. Can you somehow clear this up for me?

A: When A Course in Miracles says: “I need do nothing except not to interfere” (T.16.I.3:12) it is telling us primarily not to interfere, because that is what we do. It is not telling us to do nothing in the world or with the body. We need do nothing to be who we are (God’s Son), except remove all the beliefs that oppose that truth. That is why the Course describes the ego thought system in all its diverse forms and expressions. Lesson 135 of the workbook is a very good example of this. It exposes the defense system that is set in motion when the mind chooses to identify with the body. In no way does it suggest that any of the defenses or behaviors should be changed or avoided. That is not its goal. The goal of the Course is clearly expressed in the following instruction: “…seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world”(T.21.in.7:1). We can paraphrase this important line replacing “the world” with “the body,” “your behavior,” “your habits,” “your defenses.” This is a Course in mind training, and nothing else. Understanding this distinction is essential to understanding, and more importantly, applying the principles of the Course.

Whenever the Course describes all the things we do as bodies, and the beliefs we hold, it does not tell us not to do them, nor not to believe them. It teaches by showing us the contrast between the effect of the ego belief system (pain) with the effect of the Holy Spirit’s thought system (peace). It tells us that what we do on the level of form neither causes nor resolves the problem of the separation on the level of the mind. Therefore, changing your behavioral habits because it will make you feel better about yourself is just as acceptable as any of the things we do to take care of our bodies, our houses, or our cars. As long as we believe we are bodies living in the world these things must be maintained in working order, and taken care as best we see fit.

Until our minds are healed of all belief in the separation and in our identity as bodies, our only goal must be to uncover all our hidden beliefs so they can be exchanged for the belief system of the Holy Spirit. Then the mind that is free of guilt will use the body, as described in this lesson, without defenses. This does not mean that the body will then be perfect, or not need food, or sleep, or eye glasses. It means the mind will not confuse itself with the body and will not look to it for safety or for anything. In the process of healing, we are not asked not to plan, or to try to live as if our minds were healed while they are still sick. It is always important in reading the Course to remember that it is addressing the decision making part of the mind. We are asked to choose which teacher we will consult in making our plans. The Holy Spirit tells us that as we make our plans we can remember to search our minds for all of the insane beliefs that interfere with our being able to allow His wisdom to lead us to our truth.

Webmaster’s note: see also questions #293 #289 #90.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 21

ACIM Reading for December 21

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

QUIETNESS
The world knows not of quiet. Restlessness
Is its abiding law. From there it goes
To pain and joylessness, and back again
To the unceasing restlessness on which
It stands, uncertain, insecure and frail,
Prey to illusions, victimized by guilt.
Yet quietness comes over it at last.
For when forgiveness comes, its certain gift
Is stillness, in which all the world is hushed;
A silence where the littleness of sin
Shrinks into nothingness before the Love
Forgiveness represents. And in His Name
Is everyone acknowledged as the same.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 21

Lesson 355

There is no end to all the peace and joy,
And all the miracles that I will give,
When I accept God’s Word. Why not today?

Why should I wait, my Father, for the joy You promised me? For You will keep Your Word You gave Your Son in exile. I am sure my treasure waits for me, and I need but reach out my hand to find it. Even now my fingers touch it. It is very close. I need not wait an instant more to be at peace forever. It is You I choose, and my Identity along with You. Your Son would be Himself, and know You as his Father and Creator, and his Love.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #303: My question is about grace. I’m working on Lesson 168-9 of A Course in Miracles…which says grace is not learned and grace is not the goal this course aspires to attain.…grace is the means to get vision first with knowledge but an instant later…I’m just trying to understand exactly what grace is and how one should try to attain it.

A: In the “Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick, grace is defined as “our natural state as spirit” and “an aspect of God’s love in this world (p.46). It may be helpful in reading passages in the Course which use the term grace, such as the Lessons you mention, to remember it is referring to the truth of who we are as spirit, and the reflection of God’s love present in our minds: “Spirit is in a state of grace forever. Your reality is only spirit. Therefore you are in a state of grace forever” (T.1.III.5:4,5,6). Grace is not, therefore, something that needs to be attained, nor can it be taught or learned. It is simply the truth that will be revealed of its own when we no longer believe in our guilty, sinful selves identified with the body. Our goal is to become aware of our true identity as spirit because it is what God created us to be. God’s grace, His gift, is the identity we share with Him. The process of forgiveness, whereby we uncover all the hidden beliefs about ourselves that are in opposition to this truth, is what will lead us to the awareness of this identity and acceptance of His grace.

In other places, however, grace is spoken about somewhat differently. Grace is vision in that it is awareness of our natural state. In the passage you refer to, the Course tells us that the vision of who we are in truth will be followed instantly by knowledge of our Oneness with God, and in that instant awareness of the world disappears. That is our goal, that is grace. It is “an aspect of God’s love in this world” (Glossary, p.46) because our minds hold the memory of God’s love and the memory of our true identity as spirit, God’s innocent Son. Whenever we are willing to choose to identify with this part of our minds, rather than with the ego, we accept the grace that is ours:“Grace is acceptance of the Love of God within a world of seeming hate and fear” (W.pI.169.2:1).


Q #304: I keep thinking about what A Course in Miracles refers to as the “authority” problem. I understand it to mean that there is a constant struggle within me between what I believe is the “reason” for being here and for my life, and what God “believes” is the reason for my being here and for my life. Unfortunately — like most concepts the Course teaches — I have a feeling my understanding is missing the mark. Am I even close?

A: Actually, you are not far off the mark at all. Someone once said: “If God is your co-pilot, switch seats!” Jesus tells us that the problem is much deeper than that: “The authority problem is still the only source of conflict, because the ego was made out of the wish of God’s Son to father Him. The ego, then, is nothing more than a delusional system in which you made your own father” (T.11.in.2:3,4). This obviously is insane, as Jesus himself remarks in the continuation of that passage; yet we continue to allow this conflict to rage in our minds and to project itself out all over the place in many forms, because we believe that to submit to God as our Author and Source would be a sentence of death. Or at the very least, we could not exist as we would like to.

Jesus explains: “The projection of the ego makes it appear as if God’s Will is outside yourself, and therefore not yours. In this interpretation it seems possible for God’s Will and yours to conflict. God, then, may seem to demand of you what you do not want to give, and thus deprive you of what you want.…You are afraid to know God’s Will, because you believe it is not yours. This belief is your whole sickness and your whole fear” (T.11.9:1,2,3; 10:3,4).

So to the extent that you value an individual, autonomous existence, you will unconsciously believe that you usurped God’s power in order to get and keep that existence and that He is coming after you to get it back. This is the one-or-the-other principle at the heart of the ego thought system, and fear is its unfortunate consequence. “To deny His Authorship is to deny yourself the reason for your peace, so that you see yourself only in segments. This strange perception isthe authority problem” (T.3.VI.10.6,7).

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Introducing A Course in Miracles, Instillment #3

[NOTE: So here is Part #3 of the Intro to ACIM that I have been blogging about the last few days, and btw, I would love your feedback, thank you. : ) ]

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GO TO THE SOURCE

First off, as the Course itself advises us in various ways, it’s generally a good idea to “consider the source” and start with the original source material (though on a deeper level, “consider the source” would mean the Source, aka God, Spirit, the Ground of Being, Love, etc.), and for that you might want to purchase the following comprehensive edition of the Course put out by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles, click HERE .  To the best of my knowledge, this is the most complete edition of the Course available, and it’s also the “standard” edition in the sense that most people citing chapter and verse are referring to this edition.

The entire Course can also be read for free online HERE .

 

For a summary background on how the Course came to be written and what it says, I recommend starting with the following:

 

Introduction to A Course in Miracles by ACIM.org

 

“A Course in Miracles is a complete self-study spiritual thought system. As a three-volume curriculum consisting of a Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers, it teaches that the way to universal love and peace—or remembering God—is by undoing guilt through forgiving others. The Course thus focuses on the healing of relationships and making them holy. A Course in Miracles also emphasizes that it is but one version of the universal curriculum, of which there are “many thousands.” Consequently, even though the language of the Course is that of traditional Christianity, it expresses a non-sectarian, non-denominational spirituality. A Course in Miracles therefore is a universal spiritual teaching, not a religion.”

“There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved…. This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome.”

~ A Course in Miracles[1]

 

The Introduction to the Course by Jesus and Helen Schucman (“How It Came,” “What It Is,” and “What It Says” – found in the Foundation’s printed edition of the Course).

 

After you read these, I would also highly recommend watching at least the first part of the following film (free on Youtube) that goes into more detail about how the Course came into existence: The Story of A Course in Miracles . It’s a very beautiful film and had my eyes welling up the first time I watched it.

 

SECONDARY SOURCES – BOOKS ABOUT THE COURSE

 

Ironically, most people don’t get into the Course by actually reading it first, however, because it is initially so challenging to understand; rather, people generally get into it through secondary sources such as books that have been written about the Course.  The potential pitfall and caution with secondary sources is that they are only as good as the author themselves understand the Course (every “translation” is an interpretation).  So with that cautionary word to the wise, here are a few of the most popular of these books about ACIM, and please keep in mind there are many other very helpful ones, these are just a few of the bestsellers:

 

Love Is Letting Go of Fear, Gerald G. Jampolsky

 

A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson

 

The Disappearance of the Universe, Gary Renard

 

A Course in Miracles Made Easy, Alan Cohen

 

YIR-Gary-DU

Of these, it appears that Gary Renard’s book has been the most helpful on a mass level in serving as a kind of “primer” or preparation for the Course.  Not only has the “D.U.” (as it’s been called) brought many new students to the Course, but it has also brought back many “lapsed” Course students and/or those who had difficulty understanding its message.  So of the 3 books above, I am recommending that you read Renard’s book to help get started with ACIM, yet with the following caveat …

 

There has been one big issue with Renard’s book, and it is this: While it purports to be a dialogue between the author and two ascended masters (Arten and Pursah) who teach him all about the Course in a series of meetings over the course of a decade, some have cast doubt upon this claim.   Renard’s detractors, some of whom are also long-time students of the Course and Renard’s peers, argue that D.U. draws heavily upon the teachings of Ken Wapnick, the first teacher of the Course and one of its earliest editors.

 

Without saying more about this controversy here (I might go into it more later), I would just like to acknowledge that if it weren’t for Renard’s book, many people, myself included, might never have gotten interested in the Course.  So whether Gary’s book is based on a true story or not, it definitely served its purpose for me, and many others as well.  This is why I do recommend it for those who would like to get a kind of overview of the Course before they actually dive into the Course itself. [Note: Two contemporaries of mine who also got into the Course through Gary Renard’s book deserve mentioning here: Kenneth Bok, creator a popular ACIM video series on Youtube; and Alexander Marchand, author of The Universe is a Dream. The latter is a particularly helpful and fun way to explore the teachings of ACIM.]

 

[1] Manual for Teachers 1.3:1,2,4:1,2.

Into Christ's Presence

want only love

 

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

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 20

ACIM Text Reading for January 20

Chapter 2 ~ The Separation and the Atonement

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

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 20

Lesson 20
I am determined to see.

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

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

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

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

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

health is inner peace

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Is A Course in Miracles a CIA Mind Control Experiment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for listening!