ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 8

ACIM Text Reading for October 8

Manual for Teachers

5. How Is Healing Accomplished?

Healing involves an understanding of what the illusion of sickness is for. Healing is impossible without this.

I. The Perceived Purpose of Sickness

Healing is accomplished the instant the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain. Who would choose suffering unless he thought it brought him something, and something of value to him? He must think it is a small price to pay for something of greater worth. For sickness is an election; a decision. It is the choice of weakness, in the mistaken conviction that it is strength. When this occurs, real strength is seen as threat and health as danger. Sickness is a method, conceived in madness, for placing God’s Son on his Father’s throne. God is seen as outside, fierce and powerful, eager to keep all power for Himself. Only by His death can He be conquered by His Son.

And what, in this insane conviction, does healing stand for? It symbolizes the defeat of God’s Son and the triumph of his Father over him. It represents the ultimate defiance in a direct form which the Son of God is forced to recognize. It stands for all that he would hide from himself to protect his “life.” If he is healed, he is responsible for his thoughts. And if he is responsible for his thoughts, he will be killed to prove to him how weak and pitiful he is. But if he chooses death himself, his weakness is his strength. Now has he given himself what God would give to him, and thus entirely usurped the throne of his Creator.

II. The Shift in Perception

Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognized. One need but say, “There is no gain at all to me in this” and he is healed. But to say this, one first must recognize certain facts. First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. If sickness is but a faulty problem-solving approach, it is a decision. And if it is a decision, it is the mind and not the body that makes it. The resistance to recognizing this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision maker. Terms like “instincts,” “reflexes” and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem. They do not answer it.

The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms. A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers. If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed. Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself. The outcome is what he decides that it is. Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice. He chooses them in order to bring tangible form to his desires. And it is this they do, and nothing else. They are not actually needed at all. The patient could merely rise up without their aid and say, “I have no use for this.” There is no form of sickness that would not be cured at once.

What is the single requisite for this shift in perception? It is simply this; the recognition that sickness is of the mind, and has nothing to do with the body. What does this recognition “cost”? It costs the whole world you see, for the world will never again appear to rule the mind. For with this recognition is responsibility placed where it belongs; not with the world, but on him who looks on the world and sees it as it is not. He looks on what he chooses to see. No more and no less. The world does nothing to him. He only thought it did. Nor does he do anything to the world, because he was mistaken about what it is. Herein is the release from guilt and sickness both, for they are one. Yet to accept this release, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea.

With this idea is pain forever gone. But with this idea goes also all confusion about creation. Does not this follow of necessity? Place cause and effect in their true sequence in one respect, and the learning will generalize and transform the world. The transfer value of one true idea has no end or limit. The final outcome of this lesson is the remembrance of God. What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone. And with them also go all the effects they seemed to cause. Cause and effect but replicate creation. Seen in their proper perspective, without distortion and without fear, they re-establish Heaven.

III. The Function of the Teacher of God

If the patient must change his mind in order to be healed, what does the teacher of God do? Can he change the patient’s mind for him? Certainly not. For those already willing to change their minds he has no function except to rejoice with them, for they have become teachers of God with him. He has, however, a more specific function for those who do not understand what healing is. These patients do not realize they have chosen sickness. On the contrary, they believe that sickness has chosen them. Nor are they open-minded on this point. The body tells them what to do and they obey. They have no idea how insane this concept is. If they even suspected it, they would be healed. Yet they suspect nothing. To them the separation is quite real.

To them God’s teachers come, to represent another choice which they had forgotten. The simple presence of a teacher of God is a reminder. His thoughts ask for the right to question what the patient has accepted as true. As God’s messengers, His teachers are the symbols of salvation. They ask the patient for forgiveness for God’s Son in his own Name. They stand for the Alternative. With God’s Word in their minds they come in benediction, not to heal the sick but to remind them of the remedy God has already given them. It is not their hands that heal. It is not their voice that speaks the Word of God. They merely give what has been given them. Very gently they call to their brothers to turn away from death: “Behold, you Son of God, what life can offer you. Would you choose sickness in place of this?”

Not once do the advanced teachers of God consider the forms of sickness in which their brother believes. To do this is to forget that all of them have the same purpose, and therefore are not really different. They seek for God’s Voice in this brother who would so deceive himself as to believe God’s Son can suffer. And they remind him that he did not make himself, and must remain as God created him. They recognize illusions can have no effect. The truth in their minds reaches out to the truth in the minds of their brothers, so that illusions are not reinforced. They are thus brought to truth; truth is not brought to them. So are they dispelled, not by the will of another, but by the union of the one Will with itself. And this is the function of God’s teachers; to see no will as separate from their own, nor theirs as separate from God’s.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 8

Lesson 281

Section 7. What is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit mediates between illusions and the truth. Since He must bridge the gap between reality and dreams, perception leads to knowledge through the grace that God has given Him, to be His gift to everyone who turns to Him for truth. Across the bridge that He provides are dreams all carried to the truth, to be dispelled before the light of knowledge. There are sights and sounds forever laid aside. And where they were perceived before, forgiveness has made possible perception’s tranquil end.

The goal the Holy Spirit’s teaching sets is just this end of dreams. For sights and sounds must be translated from the witnesses of fear to those of love. And when this is entirely accomplished, learning has achieved the only goal it has in truth. For learning, as the Holy Spirit guides it to the outcome He perceives for it, becomes the means to go beyond itself, to be replaced by the eternal truth.

If you but knew how much your Father yearns to have you recognize your sinlessness, you would not let His Voice appeal in vain, nor turn away from His replacement for the fearful images and dreams you made. The Holy Spirit understands the means you made, by which you would attain what is forever unattainable. And if you offer them to Him, He will employ the means you made for exile to restore your mind to where it truly is at home.

From knowledge, where He has been placed by God, the Holy Spirit calls to you, to let forgiveness rest upon your dreams, and be restored to sanity and peace of mind. Without forgiveness will your dreams remain to terrify you. And the memory of all your Father’s Love will not return to signify the end of dreams has come.

Accept your Father’s gift. It is a Call from Love to Love, that It be but Itself. The Holy Spirit is His gift, by which the quietness of Heaven is restored to God’s beloved Son. Would you refuse to take the function of completing God, when all He wills is that you be complete?


Lesson 281

I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts.

Father, Your Son is perfect. When I think that I am hurt in any way, it is because I have forgotten who I am, and that I am as You created me. Your Thoughts can only bring me happiness. If ever I am sad or hurt or ill, I have forgotten what You think, and put my little meaningless ideas in place of where Your Thoughts belong, and where they are. I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts. The Thoughts I think with You can only bless. The Thoughts I think with You alone are true.

I will not hurt myself today. For I am far beyond all pain. My Father placed me safe in Heaven, watching over me. And I would not attack the Son He loves, for what He loves is also mine to love.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #566: I understand that A Course in Miracles teaches that God does not know about the world, and as far as He is concerned we are one with Him dreaming of exile and separation. I am not clear how the decision was made to send us Jesus and the Holy Spirit; Jesus in charge of the Atonement and the Holy Spirit as our Voice, Comfort, and Guide. How did our Teacher even know we had and are continuing to make such a mess of things?

A: A reasonable question, asked by almost every student in one form or another. The statements in the Course pertaining to the Holy Spirit as being sent by God as the Answer to the separation are among those meant metaphorically. Other statements are meant literally; and if this distinction is not recognized, the Course can seem to be saying contradictory things, leaving a reader feeling rather baffled. The account of the separation and its undoing are presented as mythology, specifically within a framework that is meaningful to people in Western philosophical and religious traditions. The language used in the Course to present its teachings reflect these heritages; and further, a considerable part of its teachings are clearly corrections of what it views as the mistakes of biblically based religions. Its basic metaphysics is a strict non-dualism, which means therefore that it is not quite accurate to say that as far as God is concerned, “we are one with Him dreaming of exile and separation” — that is dualism. If that were true, then a state other than that of perfect Oneness is possible, which would be contrary to what is maintained throughout the Course. We return to these points frequently in our answers to students questions, because of their critical importance in students’ work with the Course.

We refer you to Love Does Not Condemn (pp. 419,420,421) for a full discussion of the Holy Spirit in the context of the metaphysical basis of A Course in Miracles. Briefly, the Course teaches that the Holy Spirit is really the memory of God’s perfect love that remained in the Son’s mind when he fell asleep; and therefore the Holy Spirit is not a person, but rather a Presence within each seemingly fragmented mind — a Call or a Voice, not of a separate being, but simply a part of the mind that retains the memory of its true Identity. The language used is biblical; thus, terms like Comforter. In keeping with the strict non-dualism of the Course, we would therefore have to say that God’s “Answer” is really, to quote from Love Does Not Condemn“His own unchanging and eternal love that forever shines in our split minds, as does a beacon of light shine out into the darkness. God’s love does not do anything; it simply is: an ongoing state of love’s presence which we call the Holy Spirit” (pp. 420,421).

Jesus, then, is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit — a symbol in our minds that have become so identified with specifics that we can relate most comfortably and meaningfully only to specifics. Thus, in his loving gentleness as our teacher, he ultimately reflects to us the love that we have split off from our awareness. We relate to him as a separate person at first, but as we grow to trust him more and experience his love more and more, the differences between ourselves and Jesus fade until we, like him, are totally identified with love. Our individuality lessens in significance and meaning as this process takes place, which begins with our feeling that he has been sent and ends with our complete transcendence of that and all other concepts of separation.


Q #567: Is it possible to be in a sales position and still be a teacher of God? It seems that sales positions are all based around manipulation and selling techniques. I am kind of stuck in that I feel that the only way that I can begin to make some money is to get a job with commission. What would you advise?

A: Purpose is everything! If the content in your mind is that your position in sales is a classroom in which you can be guided by Jesus or the Holy Spirit to undo the separation, there will be no conflict. You will then do whatever competent sales people do, but for a different purpose — not to intentionally manipulate others to get what you want, which could only result in guilt and conflict. Your purpose, as you carry out your responsibilities conscientiously, would be to recognize more and more that the only aspect of value in your interaction with your customer is your learning that you both share the same interests: you both have a split mind and a decision maker that can choose to follow either the ego’s thought system of separation or the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness. That is the content; and that is what makes you a teacher of God, not the form (the role), as Jesus states in A Course in Miracles“A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s” (M.1.1:1,2). The Holy Spirit can use anything we made to harm (everything in the world!) to heal our minds of their mistaken belief in sin, guilt, and fear (T.25.VI.4,5,6).

Other students have had similar concerns about other roles: see for example Questions #3, #179, #195, #284, and #560

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 8

ACIM Text Reading for October 8

How Is Healing Accomplished?

Healing involves an understanding of what the illusion of sickness is for. Healing is impossible without this.

I. The Perceived Purpose of Sickness

Healing is accomplished the instant the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain. Who would choose suffering unless he thought it brought him something, and something of value to him? He must think it is a small price to pay for something of greater worth. For sickness is an election; a decision. It is the choice of weakness, in the mistaken conviction that it is strength. When this occurs, real strength is seen as threat and health as danger. Sickness is a method, conceived in madness, for placing God’s Son on his Father’s throne. God is seen as outside, fierce and powerful, eager to keep all power for Himself. Only by His death can He be conquered by His Son.

And what, in this insane conviction, does healing stand for? It symbolizes the defeat of God’s Son and the triumph of his Father over him. It represents the ultimate defiance in a direct form which the Son of God is forced to recognize. It stands for all that he would hide from himself to protect his “life.” If he is healed, he is responsible for his thoughts. And if he is responsible for his thoughts, he will be killed to prove to him how weak and pitiful he is. But if he chooses death himself, his weakness is his strength. Now has he given himself what God would give to him, and thus entirely usurped the throne of his Creator.

II. The Shift in Perception

Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognized. One need but say, “There is no gain at all to me in this” and he is healed. But to say this, one first must recognize certain facts. First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. If sickness is but a faulty problem-solving approach, it is a decision. And if it is a decision, it is the mind and not the body that makes it. The resistance to recognizing this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision maker. Terms like “instincts,” “reflexes” and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem. They do not answer it.

The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms. A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers. If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed. Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself. The outcome is what he decides that it is. Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice. He chooses them in order to bring tangible form to his desires. And it is this they do, and nothing else. They are not actually needed at all. The patient could merely rise up without their aid and say, “I have no use for this.” There is no form of sickness that would not be cured at once.

What is the single requisite for this shift in perception? It is simply this; the recognition that sickness is of the mind, and has nothing to do with the body. What does this recognition “cost”? It costs the whole world you see, for the world will never again appear to rule the mind. For with this recognition is responsibility placed where it belongs; not with the world, but on him who looks on the world and sees it as it is not. He looks on what he chooses to see. No more and no less. The world does nothing to him. He only thought it did. Nor does he do anything to the world, because he was mistaken about what it is. Herein is the release from guilt and sickness both, for they are one. Yet to accept this release, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea.

With this idea is pain forever gone. But with this idea goes also all confusion about creation. Does not this follow of necessity? Place cause and effect in their true sequence in one respect, and the learning will generalize and transform the world. The transfer value of one true idea has no end or limit. The final outcome of this lesson is the remembrance of God. What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone. And with them also go all the effects they seemed to cause. Cause and effect but replicate creation. Seen in their proper perspective, without distortion and without fear, they re-establish Heaven.

III. The Function of the Teacher of God

If the patient must change his mind in order to be healed, what does the teacher of God do? Can he change the patient’s mind for him? Certainly not. For those already willing to change their minds he has no function except to rejoice with them, for they have become teachers of God with him. He has, however, a more specific function for those who do not understand what healing is. These patients do not realize they have chosen sickness. On the contrary, they believe that sickness has chosen them. Nor are they open-minded on this point. The body tells them what to do and they obey. They have no idea how insane this concept is. If they even suspected it, they would be healed. Yet they suspect nothing. To them the separation is quite real.

To them God’s teachers come, to represent another choice which they had forgotten. The simple presence of a teacher of God is a reminder. His thoughts ask for the right to question what the patient has accepted as true. As God’s messengers, His teachers are the symbols of salvation. They ask the patient for forgiveness for God’s Son in his own Name. They stand for the Alternative. With God’s Word in their minds they come in benediction, not to heal the sick but to remind them of the remedy God has already given them. It is not their hands that heal. It is not their voice that speaks the Word of God. They merely give what has been given them. Very gently they call to their brothers to turn away from death: “Behold, you Son of God, what life can offer you. Would you choose sickness in place of this?”

Not once do the advanced teachers of God consider the forms of sickness in which their brother believes. To do this is to forget that all of them have the same purpose, and therefore are not really different. They seek for God’s Voice in this brother who would so deceive himself as to believe God’s Son can suffer. And they remind him that he did not make himself, and must remain as God created him. They recognize illusions can have no effect. The truth in their minds reaches out to the truth in the minds of their brothers, so that illusions are not reinforced. They are thus brought to truth; truth is not brought to them. So are they dispelled, not by the will of another, but by the union of the one Will with itself. And this is the function of God’s teachers; to see no will as separate from their own, nor theirs as separate from God’s.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 8

Lesson 280

What limits can I lay upon God’s Son?

Whom God created limitless is free. I can invent imprisonment for him, but only in illusions, not in truth. No Thought of God has left its Father’s Mind. No Thought of God is limited at all. No Thought of God but is forever pure. Can I lay limits on the Son of God, whose Father willed that he be limitless, and like Himself in freedom and in love?

Today let me give honor to Your Son, for thus alone I find the way to You. Father, I lay no limits on the Son You love and You created limitless. The honor that I give to him is Yours, and what is Yours belongs to me as well.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1359(i): ( The following two questions were submitted by the same person.)

I have only been studying A Course in Miracles for two months. At the end of the first month I felt elated — people commented about their perceived change in my face. But just today I ended Lesson 31 in tears — I did not know before I began the Course that I held such anger and fear. Is it normal to feel the strength of my ego growing the more I am learning about love and forgiveness? Are ego and evil synonymous? I want to escape from this illusory dream world today.

A: It would help you a great deal to remind yourself often that the ego is not an entity that has power over you; it is nothing more than an erroneous thought that you (and everyone else) are holding on to. You simply have forgotten that it is only a mistaken way of thinking that you adopted and then forgot you did it. Thus, the purpose of your work with the Course is to ask Jesus to help you look at — not change — these beliefs, so that you will see them for what they are. To look without judgment is to join with Jesus, and your fear then will be kept to a minimum. He never judges you when you choose your ego; he never does anything but love you and invite you to look with him at the silliness of your ego.

A major point in the Course’s teachings is that the ego has only as much power as we give it; it has none of its own. That is why it can’t hurt us and we needn’t be afraid of it. There really is no “it” — Jesus speaks of the ego as though it were an entity because that is a way of meeting us where we are (T.4.VI.1) . But as we continue to bring the darkness of our ego to the light of his love, we will gradually realize that our feelings of guilt and fear are not justified, and then their power to disturb our inner peace will fade and eventually disappear. It is like turning on a light in a darkened room — the darkness just disappears. But at first, the fear and anger that were buried begin to rise to the surface and then it feels as if things are getting worse. Things were always bad — for all of us! Our defenses protected us from the madness and chaos in our minds, that’s all. That is why this is a process of undoing what we believe we have done. So it is important that you be very gentle with yourself and not try to force or rush the process. If you do, you will only be making it real, and that will not help.

There is no need to make the ego go away; there is only a need to look at it without judgment — then its seeming power will begin to dissipate. Progress comes in realizing that you are undoing something that never even happened (that you separated from God), so it makes no sense to pressure yourself into letting go of the ego immediately. That is the wisdom of Jesus’ gentle approach of simply looking with him, quietly and calmly, at the thought system of separation that you have made real in your mind, but that is not real at all (T.11.V.1) .

Finally, remember that the ego does not take kindly to one’s decision to learn and practice A Course in Miracles — it senses a threat and therefore fights back in an attempt to maintain its dominance. That is when our discomfort can increase dramatically. Jesus tells us that the ego’s range of response varies from suspiciousness to viciousness (T.9.VII.3,4) , and that sometimes we will rush right back into darkness after having had a glimpse of the glorious light of forgiveness (T.18.III.2; T.25.VI.2) .

It might help you to look at some other discussions of the kind of difficulty you are experiencing – – many students go through this as they work with the Course in undoing the ego thought system. See, for example, Questions #384, #533, #812, #843, #913, #943, and #963.

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ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 7

ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for October 7

5. How is Healing Accomplished?

III. The Function of the Teacher of God

If the patient must change his mind in order to be healed, what does the teacher of God do? Can he change the patient’s mind for him? Certainly not. For those already willing to change their minds he has no function except to rejoice with them, for they have become teachers of God with him. He has, however, a more specific function for those who do not understand what healing is. These patients do not realise they have chosen sickness. On the contrary, they believe that sickness has chosen them. Nor are they open-minded on this point. The body tells them what to do and they obey. They have no idea how insane this concept is. If they even suspected it, they would be healed. Yet they suspect nothing. To them the separation is quite real.

To them God’s teachers come, to represent another choice which they had forgotten. The simple presence of a teacher of God is a reminder. His thoughts ask for the right to question what the patient has accepted as true. As God’s messengers, His teachers are the symbols of salvation. They ask the patient for forgiveness for God’s Son in his own Name. They stand for the Alternative. With God’s Word in their minds they come in benediction, not to heal the sick but to remind them of the remedy God has already given them. It is not their hands that heal. It is not their voice that speaks the Word of God. They merely give what has been given them. Very gently they call to their brothers to turn away from death. Behold, you Son of God, what life can offer you. Would you choose sickness in place of this?

Not once do the advanced teachers of God consider the forms of sickness in which their brother believes. To do this is to forget that all of them have the same purpose, and therefore are not really different. They seek for God’s Voice in this brother who would so deceive himself as to believe God’s Son can suffer. And they remind him that he did not make himself, and must remain as God created him. They recognise illusions can have no effect. The truth in their minds reaches out to the truth in the minds of their brothers, so that illusions are not reinforced. They are thus brought to truth; truth is not brought to them. So are they dispelled, not by the will of another, but by the One Will with itself. And this is the function of God’s teachers; to see no will as separate from their own, nor theirs as separate from God’s.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 7

Lesson 280
What limits can I lay upon God’s Son?

Whom God created limitless is free. I can invent imprisonment for him, but only in illusions, not in truth. No Thought of God has left its Father’s Mind. No Thought of God is limited at all. No Thought of God but is forever pure. Can I lay limits on the Son of God, whose Father willed that he be limitless, and like Himself in freedom and in love?

Today let me give honor to Your Son, for thus alone I find the way to You. Father, I lay no limits on the Son You love and You created limitless. The honor that I give to him is Yours, and what is Yours belongs to me as well.

For a Free Downloadable Audio of Today’s Manual for Teachers Reading & Workbook Lesson, Click HERE

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ACIM Miracle Principle for October 7

Excerpted from “The Fifty Miracle Principles of A Course in Miracles” 
by Kenneth Wapnick

Principle 38

The Holy Spirit is the mechanism of miracles. He recognizes both God’s creations and your illusions.
He separates the true from the false by His ability to perceive totally rather than selectively.
This means that the Holy Spirit is a “switch-hitter” and, as the Course says later on, He is “the only part of the Trinity that has a symbolic function” (text, p. 67; T-5.1.4:1). This means He can function in a world of symbols. There are no symbols in Heaven, only in this world.

Q: If the separation is an illusion, and the Holy Spirit came into existence to solve that, is not the Holy Spirit an illusion?

A: No, because God created Him. It is a good question, though. The Course’s answer is that when the separation is totally healed and the Holy Spirit is no longer needed, He still exists because God created Him. And then the Course says that He returns to Heaven and blesses our creations (text, p. 68; T-5. 1.5:7).

Q: But it seems like He was created to solve a problem that does not exist.

A: That is right, and because he was created by God, which really means He is just an extension of God, once He does that, He cannot disappear. His function is an illusion, for it is to correct a problem which is inherently illusory, which means that this function, too, must be an illusion, as is the form in which the content of His Love is experienced by us.

Q: But He is one of us …

A: No, He is not one of us. We are part of the Second Person of the Trinity — Christ — and the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity. On another level, of course, the Trinity is One. Nonetheless, A Course in Miracles does speak of Levels of the Trinity. This is more than a fine, theological distinction. It is important to correct the idea that the Holy Spirit’s Voice is our own. This is similar to the belief that we are God, which the Course quite clearly states we are not. To believe that God’s Voice is our own, let alone that we are God Himself, is just another expression of the basic separation belief that got us all in trouble in the first place.

Q: You used another kind of example. You said that God sent the Holy Spirit into the dream; He is not part of the dream, but He came into the dream to speak to us within it.

A: The question still is, “What happens when the dream is over?” It is one of those things no one could understand anyway. I can just tell you what A Course in Miracles says about it. But the idea is that the Holy Spirit has a foot in reality, in Heaven, and He has a foot in the dream (assuming He has two feet). He is within the dream, but yet He is not part of the dream. He is within our separated minds and works within them; yet He also is in touch with the Christ Mind. He is like an intermediary.

God, of course, does not even know about the dream, or the world of illusion. An analogy would be that of a parent looking in on a sleeping child at night and seeing the child thrashing around, obviously having a nightmare. The parent does not know what the child is dreaming, for it is outside his or her mind, but the parent does know that the child is in pain and would obviously like to alleviate that pain. That is the situation God is in. Therefore, He extends Himself into the dream, into the mind of His sleeping Son. The “Holy Spirit” is the name A Course in Miracles gives to this extension, the Voice for God. And within that dream He tells us, “My brother, choose again. You can look at your dream differently.” Thus, He screens out what does not truly meet our need; i.e., special relationships. He helps us to unify our perception, to see all things as lessons God would have us learn. That is what is meant by “He separates the true from the false,” and “to perceive totally rather than selectively.” That was the point I was making earlier, that He would see all aspects of a situation. We would see a situation only in terms of our specific needs. He recognizes all situations as opportunities for healing all people who are involved.

Q: The aspect of the Holy Spirit that has one foot in one world, Heaven, and another foot in our world, the dream — does that mean that He can have both knowledge and perception at the .same time?

A. Right.

Q: What does the Course mean by teaching that we are never in the wrong place at the wrong time?

A: We can never be in the wrong place at the wrong time because we can always learn from any and every thing. The Holy Spirit can use all situations and relationships to teach us the single lesson that the separation is unreal. On a deeper level, the statement reflects the idea that the script is already written. We have already been through all this. We are merely, as the Course says, reviewing mentally what has already gone by (workbook, p. 291; W-pI.158.4:5). And we can review or re-experience what has already happened either by choosing the ego or the Holy Spirit. Therefore, being in the right or wrong place has no meaning. The way that we review this place gives it its meaning.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #513: Is it correct that the Holy Spirit, of A Course in Miracles, and the witness/watcher in Eastern teachings, are similarly defined?

A: It would be more accurate to say that the decision-making part of the mind, when it is aligned with the Holy Spirit and observing the ego without judgment, is similar to the witness in Eastern teachings. While the Course speaks of the Holy Spirit as if He were a distinct entity that performs certain functions, such as Guide, Comforter, Interpreter, Teacher, and Voice for God, as we progress with the Course, we will come to see that these are only useful symbols or metaphors for a mind that still believes in duality and so still believes Help is needed from a Source outside itself (for further discussion on the Course’s symbolic or metaphorical use of language, see Questions #72 and #156). The Holy Spirit plays no active role in the mind but is simply a Thought or a Presence that reminds. It reminds us of the other way, the peaceful, conflict-free, alternative to the ego (T.5.II.7:1,2,3,4,5,6,7). And it is that reminder that allows us to look at our ego without guilt or fear or condemnation.

today belongs to love

ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 6

ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for October 6

5. How Is Healing Accomplished?

II. The Shift in Perception

Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognised. One need but say, “There is no gain at all to me in this” and he is healed. But to say this, one first must recognise certain facts. First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. If sickness is but a faulty problem-solving approach, it is a decision. And if it is a decision, it is the mind and not the body that makes it. The resistance to recognising this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision-maker. Terms like “instincts”, “reflexes” and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem. They do not answer it.

The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms. A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers. If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed. Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself. The outcome is what he decides that it is. Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice. He chooses them in order to bring tangible form to his desires. And it is this they do, and nothing else. They are not actually needed at all. The patient could merely rise up without their aid and say, “I have no use for this”. There is no form of sickness that would not be cured at once.

What is the single requisite for this shift in perception? It is simply this; the recognition that sickness is of the mind, and has nothing to do with the body. What does this recognition “cost”? It costs the whole world you see, for the world will never again appear to rule the mind. For with this recognition is responsibility placed where it belongs; not with the world, but on him who looks on the world and sees it as it is not. He looks on what he chooses to see. No more and no less. The world does nothing to him. He only thought it did. Nor does he do anything to the world, because he was mistaken about what it is. Herein is the release from guilt and sickness both, for they are one. Yet to accept this release, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea.

With this idea is pain forever gone. But with this idea goes also all confusion about creation. Does not this follow of necessity? Place cause and effect in their true sequence in one respect, and the learning will generalise and transform the world. The transfer value of one true idea has no end or limit. The final outcome of this lesson is the remembrance of God. What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone. And with them also go all the effects they seemed to cause. Cause and effect but replicate creation. Seen in their proper perspective, without distortion and without fear, they re-establish Heaven.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 6

Lesson 279
Creation’s freedom promises my own.

The end of dreams is promised me, because God’s Son is not abandoned by His Love. Only in dreams is there a time when he appears to be in prison, and awaits a future freedom, if it be at all. Yet in reality his dreams are gone, with truth established in their place. And now is freedom his already. Should I wait in chains which have been severed for release, when God is offering me freedom now?

I will accept Your promises today, and give my faith to them. My Father loves the Son Whom He created as His Own. Would You withhold the gifts You gave to me?

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #516: For years I studied about reincarnation, past lives, hypnotic regression, soul mates, communication with spirit guides, guardian angels, and deceased loved one, etc. I learned how divine friends help us plan each lifetime — selecting our family, country, trials and tribulations, etc. — in order to balance our karma and progress spiritually by overcoming our problems here. Now A Course in Miracles tells me that the ego has set up our lives, not to experience spiritual growth, but to continue to be victimized and victimize others. If all these guides and helpers are miscreations of our egos, can they serve a holy purpose? Are past life memories stored in the brain or are they in the ego mind? I also studied the power of thought to attract all the worldly things we may want. Is this the brain or just our ego mind miscreating by wanting something? I learned through religion to pray to God through Jesus for help and received many, many answers, for which I thanked them. Now the Course tells me they weren’t listening. So how were all those prayers answered — the ego mind again, or the brain?

I see now what a distraction all this was for me. Some of what I was sure was the “gospel truth” (according to the ego) certainly kept me from looking elsewhere. But through it all many truths showed up that prepared me for the Course. So how should I look at all this?

A: Perhaps it would be most helpful simply to remind you that everything, including A Course in Miracles, comes within an ego framework (C.in.3:1). And the only criterion for evaluating anything in the world of form (which includes everything you’ve listed in your question) is to ask whether it has been helpful in learning to forgive ourselves and our brothers and sisters. And what is helpful depends on where we are in our process of remembering who we are (M.25).

It is only the ego that would want to judge whether the manner in which we have spent our time in the past has been helpful or not. If what we have done has prepared us for accepting the truth of who we are at a deeper level, that is surely enough. And if it has provided us comfort in knowing that we are loved and that guilt serves no useful purpose, it has been a reflection of the one Love that joins us all, in a form that our fearful minds could accept.

Yes, if we remain stuck in any particular form, it is likely that we will fall into the trap of using it to reinforce specialness and separation. But anything that leads us to recognize that there is more to us than the limited reality of our meager lives in this world of conflict and pain is helpful. And anyone or anything, although appearing separate from us — be it angels or guides or ascended masters or whatever — that helps us learn that we deserve to escape from our limitations has served a holy purpose.

No matter what the form of our lives as we have set them up, they always have two possible purposes, depending on which teacher we choose to learn from. The Holy Spirit, in contrast to the ego, will never direct us to do anything that will deliberately cause us pain. Rather He will support our choice to learn from our experiences that there is an alternative to pain and suffering. And so guidance from the Holy Spirit, whether it seems to occur prior to or during a specific lifetime, may direct us to participate in certain relationships — not to be victimized again, but to heal them by learning that victimization is impossible.

It is the mind — and never the brain, which only follows the programing of the mind — which determines what our experiences will be. And the mind, not the brain, holds all the memories that it can choose to access as either past, present, or future lifetimes. In the “reality” of the split mind, they are all simultaneous.

No doubt more questions will continue to arise in our minds, curious to know how this illusory world and the self that we made and still seem to love work. And yet, in the end, all of our questioning will cease and our need for all forms, including the Course itself, will subside. And then we will be ready to accept Jesus’ gentle suggestion:

Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God (W.pI.189.7).

sun of god guiltless

ACIM Manual for Teachers and Workbook Lesson for October 5

ACIM Manual for Teachers for October 5

5. HOW IS HEALING ACCOMPLISHED?

Healing involves an understanding of what the illusion of sickness is for. Healing is impossible without this.

I. The Perceived Purpose of Sickness

Healing is accomplished the instant the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain. Who would choose suffering unless he thought it brought him something, and something of value to him? He must think it is a small price to pay for something of greater worth. For sickness is an election; a decision. It is the choice of weakness, in the mistaken conviction that it is strength. When this occurs, real strength is seen as threat and health as danger. Sickness is a method, conceived in madness, for placing God’s Son on his Father’s throne. God is seen as outside, fierce and powerful, eager to keep all power for Himself. Only by His death can He be conquered by His Son.

And what, in this insane conviction, does healing stand for? It symbolises the defeat of God’s Son and the triumph of his Father over him. It represents the ultimate defiance in a direct form which the Son of God is forced to recognise. It stands for all that he would hide from himself to protect his “life”. If he is healed, he is responsible for his thoughts. And if he is responsible for his thoughts, he will be killed to prove to him how weak and pitiful he is. But if he chooses death himself, his weakness is his strength. Now has he given himself what God would give to him, and thus entirely usurped the throne of his Creator.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 5

Lesson 278

If I am bound, my Father is not free.

If I accept that I am prisoner within a body, in a world in which all things that seem to live appear to die, then is my Father prisoner with me. And this do I believe, when I maintain the laws the world obeys must I obey; the frailties and the sins which I perceive are real, and cannot be escaped. If I am bound in any way, I do not know my Father nor my Self. And I am lost to all reality. For truth is free, and what is bound is not a part of truth.

Father, I ask for nothing but the truth. I have had many foolish thoughts about myself and my creation, and have brought a dream of fear into my mind. Today, I would not dream. I choose the way to You instead of madness and instead of fear. For truth is safe, and only love is sure.

For a Free Downloadable Audio of Today’s Manual for Teachers Reading & Workbook Lesson, Click HERE

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #105: What is the best method to study A Course in Miracles? In my experience, study groups bear little resemblance in content to what is expressed by the Foundation, so I do the work alone. Should the text be read first, before beginning the workbook, or hand in hand? If I begin the workbook and miss several days or weeks, do I need to begin again or pick up where I left off? Does it matter? I would prefer to work with other people, but most of them I’ve spoken to aren’t even aware of the non-dualistic nature of the Course. I find when I try to explain that aspect, generally people are not willing to hear it and try to convince me that I have it wrong. Also I’ve heard people say they like the Course because they can combine it easily with their other spiritual practice – – I find it nearly impossible to do that and have moved away from spiritual teachings I used to hold dear. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the one who is confused. Please advise.

A. (1) In keeping with the actual theory of the Course, there actually is no best method for studying it. It in essence is a curriculum undertaken by the student under the guidance of the Holy Spirit or Jesus. The “training is always highly individualized” (M.9.1:5). Jesus advises us to study the text very carefully and not proceed too quickly lest we plunge unnecessarily into overwhelming fear (T.I.VII.4,5), and he also 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), so he clearly expects his students to spend time with the text at some point in their process. But he does not say which should be done first. So if you are comfortable studying the text while you are doing the lessons, that is what you should do.

He also tells us not to do more than one workbook lesson a day (W.in.1:6). The middle of Lesson 95 might be helpful in answering your question about what to do if you miss several days or weeks in your practice of the lessons. The instruction there 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 for practicing the day’s idea” with forgiveness (W.pI.95.8:3). That is the key. Jesus does not keep track of how punctual we are in following he instructions for the day; his interest is only in helping us train our minds to think more and more in terms of forgiveness. It makes the most sense, though, to pick up where you left off, rather than begin all over again.

(2) The Course says nothing about groups. Some people find it helpful to study with others; some do not. It depends entirely on the preference of the individual. In our experience, it is more common than uncommon that people find the uncompromising nature of the Course’s non-dualism intolerable and fear provoking, which then causes them to dilute its message to make it say something that it does not, or to mix it with other systems, thereby doing justice to neither. One of the Course’s strengths is the manner in which it integrates a metaphysics of non-dualism with living in the world. This is quite a challenge, but the Course gives us all the support we need in our journey back to our home in Heaven, the state of perfect Oneness.

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