A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 18

ACIM Text Reading for September 18

Chapter 27 ~ The Healing of the Dream

VIII. The ‘Hero’ of the Dream

The body is the central figure in the dreaming of the world. There is no dream without it, nor does it exist without the dream in which it acts as if it were a person to be seen and be believed. It takes the central place in every dream, which tells the story of how it was made by other bodies, born into the world outside the body, lives a little while and dies, to be united in the dust with other bodies dying like itself. In the brief time allotted it to live, it seeks for other bodies as its friends and enemies. Its safety is its main concern. Its comfort is its guiding rule. It tries to look for pleasure, and avoid the things that would be hurtful. Above all, it tries to teach itself its pains and joys are different and can be told apart.

The dreaming of the world takes many forms, because the body seeks in many ways to prove it is autonomous and real. It puts things on itself that it has bought with little metal discs or paper strips the world proclaims as valuable and real. It works to get them, doing senseless things, and tosses them away for senseless things it does not need and does not even want. It hires other bodies, that they may protect it and collect more senseless things that it can call its own. It looks about for special bodies that can share its dream. Sometimes it dreams it is a conqueror of bodies weaker than itself. But in some phases of the dream, it is the slave of bodies that would hurt and torture it.

The body’s serial adventures, from the time of birth to dying are the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The ‘hero’ of this dream will never change, nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms, and seems to show a great variety of places and events wherein its ‘hero’ finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways. This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more; that it is cause and not effect. And you are its effect, and cannot be its cause.

Thus are you not the dreamer, but the dream. And so you wander idly in and out of places and events that it contrives. That this is all the body does is true, for it is but a figure in a dream. But who reacts to figures in a dream unless he sees them as if they were real? The instant that he sees them as they are they have no more effects on him, because he understands he gave them their effects by causing them and making them seem real.

How willing are you to escape effects of all the dreams the world has ever had? Is it your wish to let no dream appear to be the cause of what it is you do? Then let us merely look upon the dream’s beginning, for the part you see is but the second part, whose cause lies in the first. No one asleep and dreaming in the world remembers his attack upon himself. No one believes there really was a time when he knew nothing of a body, and could never have conceived this world as real. He would have seen at once that these ideas are one illusion, too ridiculous for anything but to be laughed away. How serious they now appear to be! And no one can remember when they would have met with laughter and with disbelief. We can remember this, if we but look directly at their cause. And we will see the grounds for laughter, not a cause for fear.

Let us return the dream he gave away unto the dreamer, who perceives the dream as separate from himself and done to him. Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together, we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time.

A timelessness in which is time made real; a part of God that can attack itself; a separate brother as an enemy; a mind within a body all are forms of circularity whose ending starts at its beginning, ending at its cause. The world you see depicts exactly what you thought you did. Except that now you think that what you did is being done to you. The guilt for what you thought is being placed outside yourself, and on a guilty world that dreams your dreams and thinks your thoughts instead of you. It brings its vengeance, not your own. It keeps you narrowly confined within a body, which it punishes because of all the sinful things the body does within its dream. You have no power to make the body stop its evil deeds because you did not make it, and cannot control its actions nor its purpose nor its fate.

The world but demonstrates an ancient truth; you will believe that others do to you exactly what you think you did to them. But once deluded into blaming them you will not see the cause of what they do, because you want the guilt to rest on them. How childish is the petulant device to keep your innocence by pushing guilt outside yourself, but never letting go! It is not easy to perceive the jest when all around you do your eyes behold its heavy consequences, but without their trifling cause. Without the cause do its effects seem serious and sad indeed. Yet they but follow. And it is their cause that follows nothing and is but a jest.

In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause, and looks not to effects. How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely? He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him a while. You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgement are effects removed. Perhaps you come in tears. But hear Him say, ‘My brother, holy Son of God, behold your idle dream, in which this could occur’. And you will leave the holy instant with your laughter and your brother’s joined with His.

The secret of salvation is but this: That you are doing this unto yourself. No matter what the form of the attack, this still is true. Whoever takes the role of enemy and of attacker, still is this the truth. Whatever seems to be the cause of any pain and suffering you feel, this is still true. For you could not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that you were dreaming. Let them be as hateful and as vicious as they may, they could have no effect on you unless you failed to recognise it is your dream.

This single lesson learned will set you free from suffering, whatever form it takes. The Holy Spirit will repeat this one inclusive lesson of deliverance until it has been learned, regardless of the form of suffering that brings you pain. Whatever hurt you bring to Him He will make answer with this very simple truth. For this one answer takes away the cause of every form of sorrow and of pain. The form affects His answer not at all, for He would teach you but the single cause of all of them, no matter what their form. And you will understand that miracles reflect the simple statement, ‘I have done this thing, and it is this I would undo’.

Bring, then, all forms of suffering to Him Who knows that every one is like the rest. He sees no differences where none exists, and He will teach you how each one is caused. None has a different cause from all the rest, and all of them are easily undone by but a single lesson truly learned. Salvation is a secret you have kept but from yourself. The universe proclaims it so. Yet to its witnesses you pay no heed at all. For they attest the thing you do not want to know. They seem to keep it secret from you. Yet you need but learn you chose but not to listen, not to see.

How differently will you perceive the world when this is recognised! When you forgive the world your guilt, you will be free of it. Its innocence does not demand your guilt, nor does your guiltlessness rest on its sins. This is the obvious; a secret kept from no one but yourself. And it is this that has maintained you separate from the world, and kept your brother separate from you. Now need you but to learn that both of you are innocent or guilty. The one thing that is impossible is that you be unlike each other; that they both be true. This is the only secret yet to learn. And it will be no secret you are healed.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 18

Lesson 244

I am in danger nowhere in the world.

Your Son is safe wherever he may be, for You are there with him. He need but call upon Your Name, and he will recollect his safety and Your Love, for they are one. How can he fear or doubt or fail to know he cannot suffer, be endangered, or experience unhappiness, when he belongs to You, beloved and loving, in the safety of Your Fatherly embrace?

And there we are in truth. No storms can come into the hallowed haven of our home. In God we are secure. For what can come to threaten God Himself, or make afraid what will forever be a part of Him?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Is the Jesus of A Course in Miracles the same Jesus written about in the Bible, and the same person who walked the earth in Palestine two thousand years ago?

A) Yes, it is definitely the same Jesus who appeared in the world two thousand years ago, with the same message of truth — in content obviously, not form. However, it is extremely hard to believe that the Jesus of A Course in Miracles is the same figure written about in the Bible, just as it would be difficult to accept that the biblical Jesus resembles the truly historical one. This is not the place to delve into issues of scripture scholarship and how the gospels were written, but suffice it to state for our purposes here that the figure found in the four gospels, as well as the teachings recorded in the other books of the New Testament, are often diametrically opposed to what we find in the Course. Rather than attempt a procrustean fit of a round peg in a square hole, it seems much safer and intellectually honest for students of A Course in Miracles to accept that the biblical Jesus represents the collective projections of the various authors of the gospels and epistles, while the voice and person of Jesus in A Course in Miracles represents the ego-free being who lived and taught two thousand years ago. In conclusion, the Jesus of the Bible and the Course are mutually exclusive figures, with only the common name linking them together.

For a more thorough discussion of these differences, the reader is referred to A Course in Miracles and Christianity: A Dialogue. [See excerpts from this book on the Web beginning at: http://www.miraclestudies.net/Dialogue_Pref.html]

the way to god

 

 

Advertisements

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 1

ACIM Text Reading for September 1

Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear

III. The Agreement to Join
What waits in perfect certainty beyond salvation is not our concern. For you have barely started to allow your first, uncertain steps to be directed up the ladder separation led you down. The miracle alone is your concern at present. Here is where we must begin. And having started, will the way be made serene and simple in the rising up to waking and the ending of the dream. When you accept a miracle, you do not add your dream of fear to one that is already being dreamed. Without support, the dream will fade away without effects. For it is your support that strengthens it.

No mind is sick until another mind agrees that they are separate. And thus it is their joint decision to be sick. If you withhold agreement and accept the part you play in making sickness real, the other mind cannot project its guilt without your aid in letting it perceive itself as separate and apart from you. Thus is the body not perceived as sick by both your minds from separate points of view. Uniting with a brother’s mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects. Healing is the effect of minds that join, as sickness comes from minds that separate.

The miracle does nothing just because the minds are joined, and cannot separate. Yet in the dreaming has this been reversed, and separate minds are seen as bodies, which are separated and which cannot join. Do not allow your brother to be sick, for if he is, have you abandoned him to his own dream by sharing it with him. He has not seen the cause of sickness where it is, and you have overlooked the gap between you, where the sickness has been bred. Thus are you joined in sickness, to preserve the little gap unhealed, where sickness is kept carefully protected, cherished, and upheld by firm belief, lest God should come to bridge the little gap that leads to Him. Fight not His coming with illusions, for it is His coming that you want above all things that seem to glisten in the dream.

The end of dreaming is the end of fear, and love was never in the world of dreams. The gap is little. Yet it holds the seeds of pestilence and every form of ill, because it is a wish to keep apart and not to join. And thus it seems to give a cause to sickness which is not its cause. The purpose of the gap is all the cause that sickness has. For it was made to keep you separated, in a body which you see as if it were the cause of pain.

The cause of pain is separation, not the body, which is only its effect. Yet separation is but empty space, enclosing nothing, doing nothing, and as unsubstantial as the empty place between the ripples that a ship has made in passing by. And covered just as fast, as water rushes in to close the gap, and as the waves in joining cover it. Where is the gap between the waves when they have joined, and covered up the space which seemed to keep them separate for a little while? Where are the grounds for sickness when the minds have joined to close the little gap between them, where the seeds of sickness seemed to grow?

God builds the bridge, but only in the space left clean and vacant by the miracle. The seeds of sickness and the shame of guilt He cannot bridge, for He can not destroy the alien will that He created not. Let its effects be gone and clutch them not with eager hands, to keep them for yourself. The miracle will brush them all aside, and thus make room for Him Who wills to come and bridge His Son’s returning to Himself.

Count, then, the silver miracles and golden dreams of happiness as all the treasures you would keep within the storehouse of the world. The door is open, not to thieves, but to your starving brothers, who mistook for gold the shining of a pebble, and who stored a heap of snow that shone like silver. They have nothing left behind the open door. What is the world except a little gap perceived to tear eternity apart, and break it into days and months and years? And what are you who live within the world except a picture of the Son of God in broken pieces, each concealed within a separate and uncertain bit of clay?

Be not afraid, my child, but let your world be gently lit by miracles. And where the little gap was seen to stand between you and your brother, join him there. And so sickness will now be seen without a cause. The dream of healing in forgiveness lies, and gently shows you that you never sinned. The miracle would leave no proof of guilt to bring you witness to what never was. And in your storehouse it will make a place of welcome for your Father and your Self. The door is open, that all those may come who would no longer starve, and would enjoy the feast of plenty set before them there. And they will meet with your invited Guests the miracle has asked to come to you.

This is a feast unlike indeed to those the dreaming of the world has shown. For here, the more that anyone receives, the more is left for all the rest to share. The Guests have brought unlimited supply with Them. And no one is deprived or can deprive. Here is a feast the Father lays before His Son, and shares it equally with him. And in Their sharing there can be no gap in which abundance falters and grows thin. Here can the lean years enter not, for time waits not upon this feast, which has no end. For love has set its table in the space that seemed to keep your Guests apart from you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 1

Lesson 244
I am in danger nowhere in the world.

Your Son is safe wherever he may be, for You are there with him. He need but call upon Your Name, and he will recollect his safety and Your Love, for they are one. How can he fear or doubt or fail to know he cannot suffer, be endangered, or experience unhappiness, when he belongs to You, beloved and loving, in the safety of Your Fatherly embrace?

And there we are in truth. No storms can come into the hallowed haven of our home. In God we are secure. For what can come to threaten God Himself, or make afraid what will forever be a part of Him?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1299: The sections of A Course in Miracles titled The Agreement to Join (T.28.III.2:5) and The Greater Joining (T.28.IV.4) seem very important with respect to practically dealing with ‘others’ and our perceptions of them, and therefore our perceptions of ourselves. However, I am unclear as to the practical application of their meaning. Take, for example, the statement, “Uniting with a brother’s mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects” (T.28.III.2:5). If I see a brother who is sick (in whatever form that may take), I know that I have joined him in that illusion. But what is it that I am to see, look for, become aware of, etc. in order to prove him and myself wrong in this perception?

A: Discussing practical applications of Course principles is always tricky. On one hand, the Course is very practical because it tells us exactly how to follow its teachings. On the other hand, when most of us think of practical applications, we envision something we can do behaviorally. But the Course is never about behavior. Thus, to answer your question, there is nothing you are supposed to see, look for, or become aware of externally . How could there be when the Course’s overarching message is that there is nothing external to your own mind? And the Course certainly does not ask you to prove your perceptions or those of your brother wrong.

What, then, is it telling us to do? We can begin to answer this by carefully reading the very sentence you referred to. “Uniting with a brother’s mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects” (T.28.III.2:5 italics ours ). In other words, we are asked to join on the level of mind. Jesus says nothing about joining as bodies or doing anything on the level of form. Obviously, a body cannot join with a mind. Clearly, this has to mean that the place in which we join our brother is in our thoughts. This prevents the cause of sickness. It does this because the cause of sickness is our belief in guilt and separation. Therefore, by recognizing in our own mind that guilt and separation are illusory and that we are united with our brother — both in our sense of guilt within this dream and as God’s beloved Son in reality — we disarm the guilt and fear that caused the need for sickness as a potent defense against the truth within this dream.

This does not mean that our internal shift will heal either our brother’s body or our own. However, it does mean that if we fully made this shift, we could have a body filled with cancer and still be at peace. Likewise, we could be with a brother who is dying of cancer and know that the disease has no effect on the reality of who he is. From that place, we would see that while his body appears to be sick, he is not a body and therefore he is not sick. Behaviorally, we would probably still do all the loving things one normally does for another who is experiencing pain. We would not try to make the sickness go away or tell the person that it was illusory. If the person were ready to accept that, he would not be sick. For this reason, we would instead comfort the person in whatever way would be most helpful to him in the moment.

Another key to grasping what the Course is getting at in the sections you mentioned is the realization that when Jesus talks about sickness, he does not mean a physical ailment in the body. To Jesus, simply thinking that we are here is sick. Believing that we need to breathe, eat, sleep, and so forth is an illness — not because these things are bad, but because they represent our clearly insane choice to believe that we could be limited by this “wall of flesh around the mind, keeping it prisoner in a tiny spot of space and time, beholden unto death, and given but an instant in which to sigh and grieve and die” (T.20.IV.11:2). From Jesus’ healed perspective then, your need to breathe is no more or less a sickness than your brother’s cancer. This is why “Accepting the Atonement for yourself means not to give support to someone’s dream of sickness and of death” (T.28.IV.1:1). Accepting the Atonement means recognizing that the entirety of our experience is but a bad dream of sickness and of death, and this is true whether the body currently appears to be what the world would label as healthy or ill.

Fortunately, Jesus does not ask us to make this dramatic shift in our thinking on our own. He lets us know that the Holy Spirit is already in our mind, ready to help us change our thoughts whenever we ask Him to. Again, you do not have to try to look for or prove anything. “Your willingness to let illusions go is all the Healer of God’s Son requires” (T.28.IV.10:9) .

guiltless mind

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 1

ACIM Text Reading for September 1

Chapter 29 ~ The Awakening

II. The Coming of the Guest

Why would you not perceive it as release from suffering to learn that you are free? Why would you not acclaim the truth instead of looking on it as an enemy? Why does an easy path, so clearly marked it is impossible to lose the way, seem thorny, rough and far too difficult for you to follow? Is it not because you see it as the road to hell instead of looking on it as a simple way, without a sacrifice or any loss, to find yourself in Heaven and in God? Until you realise you give up nothing, until you understand there is no loss, you will have some regrets about the way that you have chosen. And you will not see the many gains your choice has offered you. Yet though you do not see them, they are there. Their cause has been effected, and they must be present where their cause has entered in.

You have accepted healing’s cause, and so it must be you are healed. And being healed, the power to heal must also now be yours. The miracle is not a separate thing that happens suddenly, as an effect without a cause. Nor is it, in itself, a cause. But where its cause is must it be. Now is it caused, though not as yet perceived. And its effects are there, though not yet seen. Look inward now, and you will not behold a reason for regret, but cause indeed for glad rejoicing and for hope of peace.

It has been hopeless to attempt to find the hope of peace upon a battleground. It has been futile to demand escape from sin and pain of what was made to serve the function of retaining sin and pain. For pain and sin are one illusion, as are hate and fear, attack and guilt but one. Where they are causeless their effects are gone, and love must come wherever they are not. Why are you not rejoicing? You are free of pain and sickness, misery and loss, and all effects of hatred and attack. No more is pain your friend and guilt your god, and you should welcome the effects of love.

Your Guest has come. You asked Him, and He came. You did not hear Him enter, for you did not wholly welcome Him. And yet His gifts came with Him. He has laid them at your feet, and asks you now that you will look on them and take them for your own. He needs your help in giving them to all who walk apart, believing they are separate and alone. They will be healed when you accept your gifts, because your Guest will welcome everyone whose feet have touched the holy ground whereon you stand, and where His gifts for them are laid.

You do not see how much you now can give, because of everything you have received. Yet He Who entered in but waits for you to come where you invited Him to be. There is no other place where He can find His host, nor where His host can meet with Him. And nowhere else His gifts of peace and joy, and all the happiness His Presence brings, can be obtained. For they are where He is Who brought them with Him, that they might be yours. You cannot see your Guest, but you can see the gifts He brought. And when you look on them, you will believe His Presence must be there. For what you now can do could not be done without the love and grace His Presence holds.

Such is the promise of the living God; His Son have life and every living thing be part of him, and nothing else have life. What you have given ‘life’ is not alive, and symbolises but your wish to be alive apart from life, alive in death, with death perceived as life, and living, death. Confusion follows on confusion here, for on confusion has this world been based, and there is nothing else it rests upon. Its basis does not change, although it seems to be in constant change. Yet what is that except the state confusion really means? Stability to those who are confused is meaningless, and shift and change become the law on which they predicate their lives.

The body does not change. It represents the larger dream that change is possible. To change is to attain a state unlike the one in which you found yourself before. There is no change in immortality, and Heaven knows it not. Yet here on earth it has a double purpose, for it can be made to teach opposing things. And they reflect the teacher who is teaching them. The body can appear to change with time, with sickness or with health, and with events that seem to alter it. Yet this but means the mind remains unchanged in its belief of what the purpose of the body is.

Sickness is a demand the body be a thing that it is not. Its nothingness is guarantee that it can not be sick. In your demand that it be more than this lies the idea of sickness. For it asks that God be less than all He really is. What, then, becomes of you, for it is you of whom the sacrifice is asked? For He is told that part of Him belongs to Him no longer. He must sacrifice your self, and in His sacrifice are you made more and He is lessened by the loss of you. And what is gone from Him becomes your god, protecting you from being part of Him.

The body that is asked to be a god will be attacked, because its nothingness has not been recognised. And so it seems to be a thing with power in itself. As something, it can be perceived and thought to feel and act, and hold you in its grasp as prisoner to itself. And it can fail to be what you demanded that it be. And you will hate it for its littleness, unmindful that the failure does not lie in that it is not more than it should be, but only in your failure to perceive that it is nothing. Yet its nothingness is your salvation, from which you would flee.

As ‘something’ is the body asked to be God’s enemy, replacing what He is with littleness and limit and despair. It is His loss you celebrate when you behold the body as a thing you love, or look upon it as a thing you hate. For if He be the Sum of everything, then what is not in Him does not exist, and His completion is its nothingness. Your saviour is not dead, nor does he dwell in what was built as a temple unto death. He lives in God, and it is this that makes him saviour unto you, and only this. His body’s nothingness releases yours from sickness and from death. For what is yours cannot be more or less than what is his.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 1

Lesson 244
I am in danger nowhere in the world.

Your Son is safe wherever he may be, for You are there with him. He need but call upon Your Name, and he will recollect his safety and Your Love, for they are one. How can he fear or doubt or fail to know he cannot suffer, be endangered, or experience unhappiness, when he belongs to You, beloved and loving, in the safety of Your Fatherly embrace?

And there we are in truth. No storms can come into the hallowed haven of our home. In God we are secure. For what can come to threaten God Himself, or make afraid what will forever be a part of Him?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #29: When Jesus turned over the table in the Temple, it seemed to reinforce the ego thought system. He was angry, and ultimately was punished, by being crucified. I keep repeating in my mind, there must be a different way of looking at this, to speed up the healing I submitted this question to the Foundation.

A: In “Forgiveness and Jesus: The Meeting Place of A Course in Miracles and Christianity” and “A Talk Given on A Course in Miracles; An Introduction” (by Kenneth Wapnick, published by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles) this Gospel passage is discussed at length. The full explanation presented in these books is summarized here.

As you may know the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ sayings and actions are not necessarily historical fact. It is likely that the incident in the Temple did not happen in the way that it is depicted in the Gospel. This view is accepted even by many Christian Scripture scholars. It is also important to note that the Gospel account does not say that Jesus was angry, although in the movies of Jesus’ life he has been portrayed as angry. If something of this nature did occur in which Jesus appears to be angry, without truly feeling any anger, he would have been using this outburst as a teaching tool to make a point for the large crowd of people present in the Temple at the time of the Passover. In this case the point would have been that the “chosen people” had distorted the Old Testament teaching by using the Temple for purposes other than as a “house of prayer.” This is close to the traditional interpretation of this incident by Christian scholars. As a good teacher Jesus acted in a dramatic way to more effectively draw attention to his message. One could also consider a final option; that Jesus was actually angry, having an “ego attack.” If this were the case there are at least three conditions that would have to be present; Jesus would not be at peace, God would not be his in his awareness, he would perceive the money lenders as his enemy. It is inconceivable that Jesus, whose message and presence were filled only with love and peace, would have “lost it” in this way. It is also possible to believe that Jesus did have an ego attack, but if one chose to believe that, why would one then choose to identify with his ego, rather than with the love and forgiveness he teaches us in A Course in Miracles? Moreover, even if it were possible for Jesus to have such an ego attack, the Course tells us he would certainly not be punished for his “sin” by being crucified. “There is no sin.” (T.26.VII.10:5) The central teaching of the Course is that God’s Son is innocent; “You are still My holy Son, forever innocent, forever loving and forever loved, as limitless as your Creator, and completely changeless and forever pure” (WpII.10:5). Since there is no sin there can be no punishment. The Course’s teaching on the crucifixion, therefore, is from a very different perspective. In Jesus’ words “The crucifixion is nothing more than an extreme example” (T.6I.2:1), much like the example of the Temple incident, if it did in fact occur. Jesus says later: “The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible, and are therefore regarding yourself insanely” (T.6.I.4:6). Jesus would not regard himself insanely, and since he knew he was not a body he remained at peace during the crucifixion, fully aware that nothing was happening.

As we learn our true identity as God’s innocent Son, we also learn that we too can be at peace in the midst of seeming persecution. We, like Jesus, cannot be harmed in any way. This true identity is not to be confused with the ego identities we choose as bodies which do die. Since there is no real life here in the body, there is also no real death. This is what Jesus knew when his body was crucified. This is what he is teaching us.

there is nothing to fear

ACI

ACIM Q & A for Today

ACI