A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 7, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for January 7

A Course in Miracles

Text – Chapter 1

The Meaning of Miracles


V. Wholeness and SpiritThe miracle is much like the body in that both are learning aids for facilitating a state in which they become unnecessary. When spirit’s original state of direct communication is reached, neither the body nor the miracle serves any purpose. While you believe you are in a body, however, you can choose between loveless and miraculous channels of expression. You can make an empty shell, but you cannot express nothing at all. You can wait, delay, paralyze yourself, or reduce your creativity almost to nothing. But you cannot abolish it. You can destroy your medium of communication, but not your potential. You did not create yourself.

The basic decision of the miracle-minded is not to wait on time any longer than is necessary. Time can waste as well as be wasted. The miracle worker, therefore, accepts the time-control factor gladly. He recognizes that every collapse of time brings everyone closer to the ultimate release from time, in which the Son and the Father are One. Equality does not imply equality now. When everyone recognizes that he has everything, individual contributions to the Sonship will no longer be necessary.

When the Atonement has been completed, all talents will be shared by all the Sons of God. God is not partial. All his children have his total love, and all his gifts are freely given to everyone alike. “Except ye become as little children” means that unless you fully recognize your complete dependence on God, you cannot know the real power of the Son in his true relationship with the Father. The specialness of God’s Sons does not stem from exclusion but from inclusion. All my brothers are special. If they believe they are deprived of anything, their perception becomes distorted. When this occurs the whole family of God, or the Sonship, is impaired in its relationships.

Ultimately, every member of the family of God must return. The miracle calls him to return because it blesses and honors him, even though he may be absent in spirit. “God is not mocked” is not a warning but a reassurance. God wouldbe mocked if any of his creations lacked holiness. The creation is whole, and the mark of wholeness is holiness. Miracles are affirmations of Sonship, which is a state of completion and abundance.

Whatever is true is eternal, and cannot change or be changed. Spirit is therefore unalterable because it is already perfect, but the mind can elect what it chooses to serve. The only limit put on its choice is that it cannot serve two masters. If it elects to do so, the mind can become the medium by which spirit creates along the line of its own creation. If it does not freely elect to do so, it retains its creative potential but places itself under tyrannous rather than Authoritative control. As a result it imprisons, because such are the dictates of tyrants. To change your mind means to place it at the disposal of true Authority.

The miracle is a sign that the mind has chosen to be led by me in Christ’s service. The abundance of Christ is the natural result of choosing to follow him. All shallow roots must be uprooted, because they are not deep enough to sustain you. The illusion that shallow roots can be deepened, and thus made to hold, is one of the distortions on which the reverse of the Golden Rule rests. As these false underpinnings are given up, the equilibrium is temporarily experienced as unstable. However, nothing is less stable than an upside-down orientation. Nor can anything that holds it upside down be conducive to increased stability.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 7

Lesson 7

I see only the past.

1. This idea is particularly difficult to believe at first. Yet it is the rationale for all of the preceding ones.

It is the reason why nothing that you see means anything.
It is the reason why you have given everything you see all the meaning that it has for you.
It is the reason why you do not understand anything you see.
It is the reason why your thoughts do not mean anything, and why they are like the things you see.
It is the reason why you are never upset for the reason you think.
It is the reason why you are upset because you see something that is not there.

2. Old ideas about time are very difficult to change, because everything you believe is rooted in time, and depends on your not learning these new ideas about it. Yet that is precisely why you need new ideas about time. This first time idea is not really so strange as it may sound at first.

3. Look at a cup, for example. Do you see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, be­ing thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on? Are not your aesthetic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences? How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it? What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past? You would have no idea what this cup is, except for your past learning. Do you, then, really see it?

4. Look about you. This is equally true of whatever you look at. Acknowledge this by applying the idea for today indiscrimi­nately to whatever catches your eye. For example:

I see only the past in this pencil.
I see only the past in this shoe.
I see only the past in this hand.
I see only the past in that body.
I see only the past in that face.

5. Do not linger over any one thing in particular, but remember to omit nothing specifically. Glance briefly at each subject, and then move on to the next. Three or four practice periods, each to last a minute or so, will be enough.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Can A Course in Miracles be done by myself, or do I need to have a partner? 

A) As we have already mentioned, A Course in Miracles is inherently a self-study curriculum. One’s life — past, present, and anticipated future — is the classroom. All one’s relationships — whether falling into any of the three categories given in the manual ranging from superficial through a circumscribed intense relationship, to a lifetime one (M-3) — provide the “partners” needed for the practice of forgiveness. One does not need a partner “designated” for such practice, nor does the partner have to be a student of the Course, as we discussed briefly in question 31. Anyone and everyone will do. To insist that one’s partner be spiritually like-minded, and even more specifically, a student of A Course in Miracles, is to confuse form with content, and to fall into the trap of specialness that is the very thing the Course aims at undoing. As we discussed previously, the Course’s definition of joining has nothing to do with bodies or externals of any kind — “Minds are joined; bodies are not” (T-18.VI.3:1). Joining, rather, has to do with joining with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, in Whom are all members of the Sonship found as one, regardless of their spiritual path, or absence of it. 

Therefore, it does not really matter with whom one practices the lessons of forgiveness. Projection of guilt remains what it is, regardless of the form of the relationship or the nature of the person or situation on whom it is projected. Everyone and everything in the dream we call our lives offers the opportunities for recognizing that what we have perceived and made real outside our minds, has existence only within our minds. Therefore, nothing else is required for one’s work with A Course in Miracles except one’s life as the classroom, and the willingness to have Jesus teach us how to perceive it differently.

tiny mad idea


 

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 23

ACIM Text Reading for January 23

Chapter 1 ~ The Meaning of Miracles

III. Atonement and Miracles

I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. When you offer a miracle to any of my brothers, you do it to yourself and me. The reason you come before me is that I do not need miracles for my own Atonement, but I stand at the end in case you fail temporarily. My part in the Atonement is the canceling out of all errors that you could not otherwise correct. When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. As you share my unwillingness to accept error in yourself and others, you must join the great crusade to correct it; listen to my voice, learn to undo error and act to correct it. The power to work miracles belongs to you. I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing. Doing them will bring conviction in the ability, because conviction comes through accomplishment. The ability is the potential, the achievement is its expression, and the Atonement, which is the natural profession of the children of God, is the purpose.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away” means that they will not continue to exist as separate states. My word, which is the resurrection and the life, shall not pass away because life is eternal. You are the work of God, and his work is wholly lovable and wholly loving. This is how a man must think of himself in his heart, because this is what he is.

The forgiven are the means of the Atonement. Being filled with spirit, they forgive in return. Those who are released must join in releasing their brothers, for this is the plan of the Atonement. Miracles are the way in which minds that serve the Holy Spirit unite with me for the salvation or release of all of God’s creations.

I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement. You have a role in the Atonement which I will dictate to you. Ask me which miracles you should perform. This spares you needless effort, because you will be acting under direct communication. The impersonal nature of the miracle is an essential ingredient, because it enables me to direct its application, and under my guidance miracles lead to the highly personal experience of revelation. A guide does not control but he does direct, leaving it up to you to follow. “Lead us not into temptation” means “Recognize your errors and choose to abandon them by following my guidance. ”

Error cannot really threaten truth, which can always withstand it. Only the error is actually vulnerable. You are free to establish your kingdom where you see fit, but the right choice is inevitable if you remember this:

Spirit is in a state of grace forever.
Your reality is only spirit.
Therefore you are in a state of grace forever.
Atonement undoes all errors in this respect, and thus uproots the source of fear. Whenever you experience God’s reassurances as threat, it is always because you are defending misplaced or misdirected loyalty. When you project this to others you imprison them, but only to the extent to which you reinforce errors they have already made. This makes them vulnerable to the distortions of others, since their own perception of themselves is distorted. The miracle worker can only bless them, and this undoes their distortions and frees them from prison.

You respond to what you perceive, and as you perceive so shall you behave. The Golden Rule asks you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This means that the perception of both must be accurate. The Golden Rule is the rule for appropriate behavior. You cannot behave appropriately unless you perceive correctly. Since you and your neighbor are equal members of one family, as you perceive both so you will do to both. You should look out from the perception of your own holiness to the holiness of others.

Miracles arise from a mind that is ready for them. By being united this mind goes out to everyone, even without the awareness of the miracle worker himself. The impersonal nature of miracles is because the Atonement itself is one, uniting all creations with their Creator. As an expression of what you truly are, the miracle places the mind in a state of grace. The mind then naturally welcomes the host within and the stranger without. When you bring in the stranger, he becomes your brother.

That the miracle may have effects on your brothers that you may not recognize is not your concern. The miracle will always bless you. Miracles you are not asked to perform have not lost their value. They are still expressions of your own state of grace, but the action aspect of the miracle should be controlled by me because of my complete awareness of the whole plan. The impersonal nature of miracle-mindedness ensures your grace, but only I am in a position to know where they can be bestowed.

Miracles are selective only in the sense that they are directed towards those who can use them for themselves. Since this makes it inevitable that they will extend them to others, a strong chain of Atonement is welded. However, this selectivity takes no account of the magnitude of the miracle itself, because the concept of size exists on a plane that is itself unreal. Since the miracle aims at restoring the awareness of reality, it would not be useful if it were bound by laws that govern the error it aims to correct.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 23

Lesson 7

I see only the past.

This idea is particularly difficult to believe at first. Yet it is the rationale for all of the preceding ones.

It is the reason why nothing that you see means anything.
It is the reason why you have given everything you see all the meaning that it has for you.
It is the reason why you do not understand anything you see.
It is the reason why your thoughts do not mean anything, and why they are like the things you see.
It is the reason why you are never upset for the reason you think.
It is the reason why you are upset because you see something that is not there.

Old ideas about time are very difficult to change, because everything you believe is rooted in time, and depends on your not learning these new ideas about it. Yet that is precisely why you need new ideas about time. This first time idea is not really so strange as it may sound at first.

Look at a cup, for example. Do you see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, being thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on? Are not your aesthetic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences? How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it? What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past? You would have no idea what this cup is, except for your past learning. Do you, then, really see it?

Look about you. This is equally true of whatever you look at. Acknowledge this by applying the idea for today indiscriminately to whatever catches your eye. For example:

I see only the past in this pencil.
I see only the past in this shoe.
I see only the past in this hand.
I see only the past in that body.
I see only the past in that face.

Do not linger over any one thing in particular, but remember to omit nothing specifically. Glance briefly at each subject, and then move on to the next. Three or four practice periods, each to last a minute or so, will be enough.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #482: What does the Introduction to A Course in Miracles mean by “It is a required Course?” Isn’t the Course supposed to be just one of the “ways” to regain truth?

A: The specific context for this phrase is related in Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick. In a somewhat humorous dialogue between Helen and Jesus, Helen expresses some resistance to the Course by calling it an “elective.” Jesus responds that no, “it’s a definite requirement” in both form and content for Helen (p.215, second edition).

What is universally required is the content of the Course’s teaching, not the form. The many “ways” or paths to truth are different forms. Everyone will ultimately accept the truth and return to God. There is nothing but the truth, and nowhere else to go but to our true home in Heaven. However, how we get there may vary. The manual offers a helpful clarification: “There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved. But the content of the course never changes. Its central theme is always, “God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation …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” (M.1.3:1,2,3,4,5,4:1,2).

It may be helpful to remember that the different forms do not necessarily refer to what are usually considered to be religions or spiritual paths. As stated in the manual, there is only one requirement for someone to embark on the path to truth: “…somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s” (M.1.1:2).

*

Q #483: In The Most Commonly Asked Questions About A Course in Miracles you said that it would be an expression of specialness if we thought ourselves superior to be a student of a “sophisticated book that comes from Jesus himself.” But I feel very proud and good about myself that I have been working through such a difficult thought system; I feel very brave. What do you think?

A: That’s fine, as long as you do not think you are better than others who accept a different spirituality, or none. “Comparison must be an ego device, for love makes none. Specialness always makes comparisons” (T.24.II.1:1,2). It is quite contradictory to the whole message of the Course — the Son of God is one — to judge oneself superior to another for any reason whatsoever. Then, too, it is rather humbling when you realize that Jesus is saying in a number of different ways throughout the Course that we are here (or at least we think we are here in this world) because we attacked Love and banished it from our minds, and then we made up our own version of love as a substitute. He addresses us as little children, and even babies at times, in essence telling us that we are just beginning to take our first steps on the path of salvation. That is humbling indeed — nothing to brag about. But we can indeed be grateful that we have accepted a loving teacher who gently and patiently teaches us how to recognize our mistakes and then choose again: “If you want to be like me I will help you, knowing that we are alike. If you want to be different, I will wait until you change your mind. I can teach you, but only you can choose to listen to my teaching (T.8.IV.6:3,4,5).

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 7

ACIM Text Reading for January 7

Chapter 1 ~ The Meaning of Miracles

III. Atonement and Miracles
I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. When you offer a miracle to any of my brothers, you do it to yourself and me. The reason you come before me is that I do not need miracles for my own Atonement, but I stand at the end in case you fail temporarily. My part in the Atonement is the cancelling out of all errors that you could not otherwise correct. When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. As you share my unwillingness to accept error in yourself and others, you must join the great crusade to correct it; listen to my voice, learn to undo error and act to correct it. The power to work miracles belongs to you. I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing. Doing them will bring conviction in the ability, because conviction comes through accomplishment. The ability is the potential, the achievement is its expression, and the Atonement, which is the natural profession of the children of God, is the purpose.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away” means that they will not continue to exist as separate states. My word, which is the resurrection and the life, shall not pass away because life is eternal. You are the work of God, and His work is wholly lovable and wholly loving. This is how a man must think of himself in his heart, because this is what he is.

The forgiven are the means of the Atonement. Being filled with spirit, they forgive in return. Those who are released must join in releasing their brothers, for this is the plan of the Atonement. Miracles are the way in which minds that serve the Holy Spirit unite with me for the salvation or release of all of God’s creations.

I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement. You have a role in the Atonement which I will dictate to you. Ask me which miracles you should perform. This spares you needless effort, because you will be acting under direct communication. The impersonal nature of the miracle is an essential ingredient, because it enables me to direct its application, and under my guidance miracles lead to the highly personal experience of revelation. A guide does not control but he does direct, leaving it up to you to follow. “Lead us not into temptation” means “Recognize your errors and choose to abandon them by following my guidance”.

Error cannot really threaten truth, which can always withstand it. Only the error is actually vulnerable. You are free to establish your kingdom where you see fit, but the right choice is inevitable if you remember this:

Spirit is in a state of grace forever.
Your reality is only spirit.
Therefore you are in a state of grace forever.
Atonement undoes all errors in this respect, and thus uproots the source of fear. Whenever you experience God’s reassurances as threat, it is always because you are defending misplaced or misdirected loyalty. When you project this to others you imprison them, but only to the extent to which you reinforce errors they have already made. This makes them vulnerable to the distortions of others, since their own perception of themselves is distorted. The miracle worker can only bless them, and this undoes their distortions and frees them from prison.

You respond to what you perceive, and as you perceive so shall you behave. The Golden Rule asks you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This means that the perception of both must be accurate. The Golden Rule is the rule for appropriate behavior. You cannot behave appropriately unless you perceive correctly. Since you and your neighbor are equal members of one family, as you perceive both so you will do to both. You should look out from the perception of your own holiness to the holiness of others.

Miracles arise from a mind that is ready for them. By being united this mind goes out to everyone, even without the awareness of the miracle worker himself. The impersonal nature of miracles is because the Atonement itself is one, uniting all creations with their Creator. As an expression of what you truly are, the miracle places the mind in a state of grace. The mind then naturally welcomes the Host within and the stranger without. When you bring in the stranger, he becomes your brother.

That the miracle may have effects on your brothers that you may not recognize is not your concern. The miracle will always bless you. Miracles you are not asked to perform have not lost their value. They are still expressions of your own state of grace, but the action aspect of the miracle should be controlled by me because of my complete awareness of the whole plan. The impersonal nature of miracle-mindedness ensures your grace, but only I am in a position to know where they can be bestowed.

Miracles are selective only in the sense that they are directed towards those who can use them for themselves. Since this makes it inevitable that they will extend them to others, a strong chain of Atonement is welded. However, this selectivity takes no account of the magnitude of the miracle itself, because the concept of size exists on a plane that is itself unreal. Since the miracle aims at restoring the awareness of reality, it would not be useful if it were bound by laws that govern the error it aims to correct.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 7

Lesson 7
I see only the past.

This idea is particularly difficult to believe at first. Yet it is the rationale for all of the preceding ones.

It is the reason why nothing that you see means anything.
It is the reason why you have given everything you see all the meaning that it has for you.
It is the reason why you do not understand anything you see.
It is the reason why your thoughts do not mean anything, and why they are like the things you see.
It is the reason why you are never upset for the reason you think.
It is the reason why you are upset because you see something that is not there.

Old ideas about time are very difficult to change, because everything you believe is rooted in time, and depends on your not learning these new ideas about it. Yet that is precisely why you need new ideas about time. This first time idea is not really so strange as it may sound at first.

Look at a cup, for example. Do you see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, being thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on? Are not your aesthetic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences? How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it? What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past? You would have no idea what this cup is, except for your past learning. Do you, then, really see it?

Look about you. This is equally true of whatever you look at. Acknowledge this by applying the idea for today indiscriminately to whatever catches your eye. For example:

I see only the past in this pencil.
I see only the past in this shoe.
I see only the past in this hand.
I see only the past in that body.
I see only the past in that face.

Do not linger over any one thing in particular, but remember to omit nothing specifically. Glance briefly at each subject, and then move on to the next. Three or four practice periods, each to last a minute or so, will be enough.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #966: “Miracles you are not asked to perform have not lost their value” (T.1.III.8:3). I cannot seem to grasp the meaning of this sentence, although I feel the meaning of the rest of the text in 8 and 9.

A: The basic idea is that the content is always there in our minds; it may not find expression right now, but it is never lost. There is a beautiful song-like rendering of this idea later in Chapter 5 — the first one of its kind in A Course in Miracles : “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. They came from the Holy Spirit within you, and we know what God creates is eternal” (T.5.IV.8:3,4,5,6).

*

Q #259: This question has two parts. The first starts from an observation. As I have been advancing through the workbook, I have often found that the daily lesson corresponds uncannily with a need or preoccupation which has only just begun to make itself felt in my mind — as though some subtle synchronicity were at work between the unfolding Course and my own changing inner state. (This has also happened on occasions when reading the text). Do you think this is a frequent experience among students of A Course in Miracles? Maybe my first question goes some way to answering my second, but I’ll ask it anyway. In the workbook, Jesus frequently tells his student about how he or she is responding at that particular point. For example, in Lesson 123, he says, “Today let us be thankful.…There is no thought of turning back, and no implacable resistance to the truth. A bit of wavering remains, some small objections and a little hesitance…” (W.pI.123.1:1,3,4). But how can Jesus make such general pronouncements when referring to thousands of individuals, each with their own way of responding to and progressing with the Course?

A: With regard to the first question: Occasionally, we have had students relate experiences similar to the kind you described, but we have no way of knowing how common this type of experience is. Many students have said that when they were reading certain parts of the Course, they felt that Jesus was speaking very personally to them.

Second, as we know, most of what is written in the Course was given specifically to Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford for their personal spiritual process, and so the wording reflects that context. Jesus was helping Helen, in particular, with undoing what was left of her ego; so he would include comments, observations, gentle rebukes, emphatic directives, etc., that pertained to her personal process. At the same time, though, the Course can easily be understood as reflecting the more general pattern of spiritual advancement that applies to everyone. An excellent example of this are the six stages in the development of trust described in the manual for teachers (M.4.I.A). This discussion of the development of trust is meant to give us a general sense of what occurs during the process of undoing our ego.

It is not surprising that you would experience the kind of synchronicity that you describe. Recall that (a) time is not linear or real; (b) the content of the split mind never changes: the wrong mind is 100% ego — innumerable ways of expressing the one content of separation and sin, guilt, and fear; the right mind is 100% Holy Spirit — innumerable ways of accepting the Atonement through forgiveness; (c) having acceded to the ego’s strategy of making ourselves mindless, we are not aware of the full dimension of the content or dynamics in our minds. And we surely are not aware of the full content of each lesson Jesus gives us.

Thus, what we actually experience is almost always just a miniscule portion of what is going on in our minds, and is almost always in a defined form, rather than its original abstract nature — the tip of the iceberg, to switch metaphors. To simplify, as Jesus does, there is “only one problem, one solution” (W.pI.80.3:5); and we are either calling out for love or extending love. Therefore, our readiness and openness to learn from Jesus reflects the call for love in our minds, and it has already been answered. We would experience this process as something new that is happening as we read words in the workbook, when all it is is our mind’s decision to stop blocking the truth that is always there. It is a perfect match, you might say, between our call for love and the answer to that call, experienced in the only way that would be intelligible to us at that moment. It is a process that happens in our minds outside time and space; but because we are still identified with a body that seems to exist in time and space, that is how we will experience it. Jesus did not know “ahead of time” how his students would respond and what they would be ready for at any given instant. To think that is to make time real. The process is experienced in time, because that is the only form in which we (the decision-making part of ours minds) can accept the truth about ourselves. We are still too invested in our identities as separate, special beings, and too frightened to get beyond them. That is quite normal, and as we continue to practice forgiveness, we will be drawn more and more to the love that inspired the words of the Course that are so meaningful to us.

jesus there is no death

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 7

ACIM Text Reading for January 7

A Course in Miracles

Text – Chapter 1

The Meaning of Miracles

III. Atonement and Miracles

I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. When you offer a miracle to any of my brothers, you do it to yourself and me. The reason you come before me is that I do not need miracles for my own Atonement, but I stand at the end in case you fail temporarily. My part in the Atonement is the canceling out of all errors that you could not otherwise correct. When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. As you share my unwillingness to accept error in yourself and others, you must join the great crusade to correct it; listen to my voice, learn to undo error and act to correct it. The power to work miracles belongs to you. I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing. Doing them will bring conviction in the ability, because conviction comes through accomplishment. The ability is the potential, the achievement is its expression, and the Atonement, which is the natural profession of the children of God, is the purpose.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away” means that they will not continue to exist as separate states. My word, which is the resurrection and the life, shall not pass away because life is eternal. You are the work of God, and his work is wholly lovable and wholly loving. This is how a man must think of himself in his heart, because this is what he is.

The forgiven are the means of the Atonement. Being filled with spirit, they forgive in return. Those who are released must join in releasing their brothers, for this is the plan of the Atonement. Miracles are the way in which minds that serve the Holy Spirit unite with me for the salvation or release of all of God’s creations.

I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement. You have a role in the Atonement which I will dictate to you. Ask me which miracles you should perform. This spares you needless effort, because you will be acting under direct communication. The impersonal nature of the miracle is an essential ingredient, because it enables me to direct its application, and under my guidance miracles lead to the highly personal experience of revelation. A guide does not control but he does direct, leaving it up to you to follow. “Lead us not into temptation” means “Recognize your errors and choose to abandon them by following my guidance. ”

Error cannot really threaten truth, which can always withstand it. Only the error is actually vulnerable. You are free to establish your kingdom where you see fit, but the right choice is inevitable if you remember this:

Spirit is in a state of grace forever.
Your reality is only spirit.
Therefore you are in a state of grace forever.

Atonement undoes all errors in this respect, and thus uproots the source of fear. Whenever you experience God’s reassurances as threat, it is always because you are defending misplaced or misdirected loyalty. When you project this to others you imprison them, but only to the extent to which you reinforce errors they have already made. This makes them vulnerable to the distortions of others, since their own perception of themselves is distorted. The miracle worker can only bless them, and this undoes their distortions and frees them from prison.

You respond to what you perceive, and as you perceive so shall you behave. The Golden Rule asks you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This means that the perception of both must be accurate. The Golden Rule is the rule for appropriate behavior. You cannot behave appropriately unless you perceive correctly. Since you and your neighbor are equal members of one family, as you perceive both so you will do to both. You should look out from the perception of your own holiness to the holiness of others.

Miracles arise from a mind that is ready for them. By being united this mind goes out to everyone, even without the awareness of the miracle worker himself. The impersonal nature of miracles is because the Atonement itself is one, uniting all creations with their Creator. As an expression of what you truly are, the miracle places the mind in a state of grace. The mind then naturally welcomes the host within and the stranger without. When you bring in the stranger, he becomes your brother.

That the miracle may have effects on your brothers that you may not recognize is not your concern. The miracle will always bless you. Miracles you are not asked to perform have not lost their value. They are still expressions of your own state of grace, but the action aspect of the miracle should be controlled by me because of my complete awareness of the whole plan. The impersonal nature of miracle-mindedness ensures your grace, but only I am in a position to know where they can be bestowed.

Miracles are selective only in the sense that they are directed towards those who can use them for themselves. Since this makes it inevitable that they will extend them to others, a strong chain of Atonement is welded. However, this selectivity takes no account of the magnitude of the miracle itself, because the concept of size exists on a plane that is itself unreal. Since the miracle aims at restoring the awareness of reality, it would not be useful if it were bound by laws that govern the error it aims to correct.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 7

Lesson 7
I see only the past.

This idea is particularly difficult to believe at first. Yet it is the rationale for all of the preceding ones.

It is the reason why nothing that you see means anything.
It is the reason why you have given everything you see all the meaning that it has for you.
It is the reason why you do not understand anything you see.
It is the reason why your thoughts do not mean anything, and why they are like the things you see.
It is the reason why you are never upset for the reason you think.
It is the reason why you are upset because you see something that is not there.

Old ideas about time are very difficult to change, because everything you believe is rooted in time, and depends on your not learning these new ideas about it. Yet that is precisely why you need new ideas about time. This first time idea is not really so strange as it may sound at first.

Look at a cup, for example. Do you see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, being thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on? Are not your aesthetic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences? How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it? What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past? You would have no idea what this cup is, except for your past learning. Do you, then, really see it?

Look about you. This is equally true of whatever you look at. Acknowledge this by applying the idea for today indiscriminately to whatever catches your eye. For example:

I see only the past in this pencil.
I see only the past in this shoe.
I see only the past in this hand.
I see only the past in that body.
I see only the past in that face.

Do not linger over any one thing in particular, but remember to omit nothing specifically. Glance briefly at each subject, and then move on to the next. Three or four practice periods, each to last a minute or so, will be enough.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #958: In what way does studying and applying A Course in Miracles save us time? Will it cause us to live fewer lives? Does this idea imply a belief in, or recognition of, the phenomenon of reincarnation on the part of Jesus? Doesn’t the Course also say that we could be with Jesus now , if we only saw (as in vision)? Does this mean that there is no shortcut to enlightenment? No direct access to God?

Also, what is the ultimate definition of miracle in the Course? I know that there are 50 miracle principles, and the term miracle is used frequently in the text. But I find that these are just hints pointing to the real meaning of miracle . The Course doesn’t seem to be referring to what we usually describe as a miracle.

A: Jesus tells us in the Course that “The miracle substitutes for learning that might have taken thousands of years” (T.1.2.6:7) . So let us start by examining what he means by miracle . He means a shift of internal teachers in our mind. It is a choice to listen to the Holy Spirit’s or Jesus’ guidance (which will always lead us to extend love) rather than to the ego’s raucous shrieking (which will always compel us to project guilt). Notice that the miracle is not the extension of love — the extension is a reflection of the miracle that occurred in the mind, and it can take many different forms. The miracle, as defined by Jesus in the Course, has nothing to do with bodies, physical phenomena, or anything in the world. It is solely a shift in thinking. However, it is a shift so profound that it automatically transforms us from a mindset of trying to get our perceived needs met at any cost, to one of knowing that our only real need is to remember God’s Love — a need we share with everyone else who believes that they are here. As a result, in the moment when we truly experience the miracle, there is no way we could say, do, or think anything that is not motivated by love. The aim of the Course is to help us set up the conditions in our mind to experience the miracle more and more.

One of the ways Jesus motivates us to listen to his message is by promising to save us time. And it is true that doing what he asks of us will seem to save us time. Using this world as a classroom in forgiveness will gradually decrease our compulsion to repeat painful and destructive patterns in our lives. So, for example, rather than spending an entire life unconsciously drawing experiences to us in which we feel like victims, Jesus or the Holy Spirit will help us remove (through forgiveness) the ontological guilt from our mind that compelled us to use victimization as a defense against God’s Love. In this way, we can actually use our time here to get closer to awakening to our true home in Heaven rather than as an indefinite prison sentence.

This does not mean, however, that Jesus believes in time. He tells us that “time but lasted an instant in your mind, with no effect upon eternity” (T.26.3:3) and that truth is “far beyond time” (T.15.II.1:9). Thus, it is clear that he speaks about time in the Course only because he knows we believe in it. It is one of the symbols in our dream that Jesus must use in order to motivate us and help us grasp what he is talking about.

In keeping with his knowledge of the unreality of time, Jesus tells us, “In the ultimate sense, reincarnation is impossible. There is no past or future, and the idea of birth into a body has no meaning either once or many times. Reincarnation cannot, then, be true in any real sense” (M.24.1:1,2,3). But he also says that ” the way to salvation can be found by those who believe in reincarnation and by those who do not” (M.24.2:8) , and that “There is always some good in any thought which strengthens the idea that life and the body are not the same” (M.24.2:8). There are passages in the Course in which Jesus seems to imply that reincarnation is a real phenomenon. But that would make it real only in that it happens within the dream. Jesus’ primary message is that nothing that happens within this dream is real. And so, ultimately, Jesus and his course are not concerned with reincarnation or anything involving bodies. Like the concept of time, if reincarnation is a meaningful concept to us , Jesus is happy to work with it. But he does so only as part of his strategy for helping us move beyond all concepts that obscure our reality as the one changeless Son of God.

Finally, about your question of being with Jesus now , direct access to God, and a shortcut to enlightenment: The Course states, “Sometimes a teacher of God may have a brief experience of direct union with God. In this world, it is almost impossible that this endure. It can, perhaps, be won after much devotion and dedication, and then be maintained for much of the time on earth. But this is so rare that it cannot be considered a realistic goal. If it happens, so be it. If it does not happen, so be it as well. All worldly states must be illusory. If God were reached directly in sustained awareness, the body would not be long maintained” (M.26.3:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8). We must read this passage with awareness that (despite its frequent use of anthropomorphic language to describe Him) the God the Course refers to is not a being but a state. It is “a Oneness which unites all things within Itself” (T.25.I.7:2) . Were we to fully understand what this means and achieve sustained awareness of it, we would not be here long because we would have awakened to the fact that we are not here. Knowing that we are safely at home in Heaven, most of us would no longer have any purpose for continuing this dream. But that is the end of the journey the Course takes us on. As such, it is really not our concern.

Far more helpful to us at this point, is to focus on the Course’s emphasis that Jesus, as a teacher, is in our mind, and that if we choose to listen to him now , we will experience the Love of God, which is also in our mind now . Therefore, we already have direct access to everything we need for enlightenment — the Course’s curriculum for embracing it is the shortcut.

For related discussion of miracles see Questions #288 and #559. For more about reincarnation, see Question #24. And for more about direct access to God, please see Question #101.

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Q #327: I would appreciate some clarification of the concept of oneness and the following excerpt from the text of A Course in Miracles: “God, Who encompasses all being, created beings who have everything individually” (W.4.VII.5:1).

A: Jesus is simply using the words of our symbolic, dualistic thought system to reassure us that releasing our investment and identification with the ego will not result in any real or meaningful loss. The concept of a hologram can be helpful here, for Jesus in essence is saying that the whole is contained in every part. In reality, any experience of oneness must be beyond all concepts we may employ to attempt to describe it. It is simply an experience of total love that knows no limits, no differences, no perception of an other. That it does not encompass individuality in any real sense becomes clear in Jesus’ words later in the Course:

“Oneness is simply the idea God is. And in His Being, He encompasses all things. No mind holds anything but Him. We say “God is,” and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless. There are no lips to speak them, and no part of mind sufficiently distinct to feel that it is now aware of something not itself. It has united with its Source. And like its Source Itself, it merely is” (W.pI.169.5).

But Jesus is also aware of our desperate desire to cling to a sense of a separate identity, and so he reassures us, “Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality” (T.16.VI.8:1). In other words, any shift towards releasing the ego is completely our choice. If it were not, we would be a victims of forces beyond our control, a situation totally antithetical to the Course’s gentle teachings on forgiveness.

See Question #17 for a related discussion on releasing our sense of individuality.