A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 25, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for May 25

Chapter 16 ~ The Forgiveness of Illusions

VI. The Bridge to the Real World

The search for the special relationship is the sign that you equate yourself with the ego and not with God. For the special relationship has value only to the ego. To the ego, unless a relationship has special value it has no meaning, for it perceives all love as special. Yet this cannot be natural, for it is unlike the relationship of God and His Son, and all relationships that are unlike this one must be unnatural. For God created love as He would have it be, and gave it as it is. Love has no meaning except as its Creator defined it by His Will. It is impossible to define it otherwise and understand it.

Love is freedom. To look for it by placing yourself in bondage is to separate yourself from it. For the Love of God, no longer seek for union in separation, nor for freedom in bondage! As you release, so will you be released. Forget this not, or love will be unable to find you and comfort you.

There is a way in which the Holy Spirit asks your help, if you would have His. The holy instant is His most helpful aid in protecting you from the attraction of guilt, the real lure in the special relationship. You do not recognise that this is its real appeal, for the ego has taught you that freedom lies in it. Yet the closer you look at the special relationship, the more apparent it becomes that it must foster guilt and therefore must imprison.

The special relationship is totally meaningless without a body. If you value it, you must also value the body. And what you value you will keep. The special relationship is a device for limiting your self to a body, and for limiting your perception of others to theirs. The Great Rays would establish the total lack of value of the special relationship, if they were seen. For in seeing them the body would disappear, because its value would be lost. And so your whole investment in seeing it would be withdrawn from it.

You see the world you value. On this side of the bridge you see the world of separate bodies, seeking to join each other in separate unions and to become one by losing. When two individuals seek to become one, they are trying to decrease their magnitude. Each would deny his power, for the separate union excludes the universe. Far more is left outside than would be taken in, for God is left without and nothing taken in. If one such union were made in perfect faith, the universe would enter into it. Yet the special relationship the ego seeks does not include even one whole individual. The ego wants but part of him, and sees only this part and nothing else.

Across the bridge it is so different! For a time the body is still seen, but not exclusively, as it is seen here. The little spark that holds the Great Rays within it is also visible, and this spark cannot be limited long to littleness. Once you have crossed the bridge, the value of the body is so diminished in your sight that you will see no need at all to magnify it. For you will realise that the only value the body has is to enable you to bring your brothers to the bridge with you, and to be released together there.

The bridge itself is nothing more than a transition in the perspective of reality. On this side, everything you see is grossly distorted and completely out of perspective. What is little and insignificant is magnified, and what is strong and powerful cut down to littleness. In the transition there is a period of confusion, in which a sense of actual disorientation may occur. But fear it not, for it means only that you have been willing to let go your hold on the distorted frame of reference that seemed to hold your world together. This frame of reference is built around the special relationship. Without this illusion there could be no meaning you would still seek here.

Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality. Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition. The urgency is only in dislodging your mind from its fixed position here. This will not leave you homeless and without a frame of reference. The period of disorientation, which precedes the actual transition, is far shorter than the time it took to fix your mind so firmly on illusions. Delay will hurt you now more than before, only because you realise it isdelay, and that escape from pain is really possible. Find hope and comfort, rather than despair, in this: You could not long find even the illusion of love in any special relationship here. For you are no longer wholly insane, and you would soon recognise the guilt of self-betrayal for what it is.

Nothing you seek to strengthen in the special relationship is really part of you. And you cannot keep part of the thought system that taught you it was real, and understand the Thought that knows what you are. You have allowed the Thought of your reality to enter your mind, and because you invited it, it will abide with you. Your love for it will not allow you to betray yourself, and you could not enter into a relationship where it could not go with you, for you would not want to be apart from it.

Be glad you have escaped the mockery of salvation the ego offered you, and look not back with longing on the travesty it made of your relationships. Now no one need suffer, for you have come too far to yield to the illusion of the beauty and holiness of guilt. Only the wholly insane could look on death and suffering, sickness and despair, and see it thus. What guilt has wrought is ugly, fearful and very dangerous. See no illusion of truth and beauty there. And be you thankful that there is a place where truth and beauty wait for you. Go on to meet them gladly, and learn how much awaits you for the simple willingness to give up nothing because it is nothing.

The new perspective you will gain from crossing over will be the understanding of where Heaven is. From this side, it seems to be outside and across the bridge. Yet as you cross to join it, it will join with you and become one with you. And you will think, in glad astonishment, that for all this you gave up nothing! The joy of Heaven, which has no limit, is increased with each light that returns to take its rightful place within it. Wait no longer, for the Love of God and you. And may the holy instant speed you on the way, as it will surely do if you but let it come to you.

The Holy Spirit asks only this little help of you: Whenever your thoughts wander to a special relationship which still attracts you, enter with Him into a holy instant, and there let Him release you. He needs only your willingness to share His perspective to give it to you completely. And your willingness need not be complete because His is perfect. It is His task to atone for your unwillingness by His perfect faith, and it is His faith you share with Him there. Out of your recognition of your unwillingness for your release, His perfect willingness is given you. Call upon Him, for Heaven is at His call. And let Him call on Heaven for you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 25

Review IV

Introduction

1. Now we review again, this time aware we are preparing for the second part of learning how the truth can be applied. Today we will begin to concentrate on readiness for what will follow next. Such is our aim for this review, and for the lessons following. Thus, we review the recent lessons and their central thoughts in such a way as will facilitate the readiness that we would now achieve.

2. There is a central theme that unifies each step in the review we undertake, which can be simply stated in these words:

My mind holds only what I think with God.

That is a fact, and represents the truth of What you are and What your Father is. It is this thought by which the Father gave creation to the Son, establishing the Son as co-creator with Himself. It is this thought that fully guarantees salvation to the Son. For in his mind no thoughts can dwell but those his Father shares. Lack of forgiveness blocks this thought from his awareness. Yet it is forever true.

3. Let us begin our preparation with some understanding of the many forms in which the lack of true forgiveness may be care­fully concealed. Because they are illusions, they are not per­ceived to be but what they are; defenses that protect your unforgiving thoughts from being seen and recognized. Their purpose is to show you something else, and hold correction off through self-deceptions made to take its place.

4. And yet, your mind holds only what you think with God. Your self-deceptions cannot take the place of truth. No more than can a child who throws a stick into the ocean change the coming and the going of the tides, the warming of the water by the sun, the silver of the moon on it by night. So do we start each practice period in this review with readying our minds to under­stand the lessons that we read, and see the meaning that they offer us.

5. Begin each day with time devoted to the preparation of your mind to learn what each idea you will review that day can offer you in freedom and in peace. Open your mind, and clear it of all thoughts that would deceive, and let this thought alone engage it fully, and remove the rest:

My mind holds only what I think with God.

Five minutes with this thought will be enough to set the day along the lines which God appointed, and to place His Mind in charge of all the thoughts you will receive that day.

6. They will not come from you alone, for they will all be shared with Him. And so each one will bring the message of His Love to you, returning messages of yours to Him. So will communion with the Lord of Hosts be yours, as He Himself has willed it be. And as His Own completion joins with Him, so will He join with you who are complete as you unite with Him, and He with you.

7. After your preparation, merely read each of the two ideas assigned to you to be reviewed that day. Then close your eyes, and say them slowly to yourself. There is no hurry now, for you are using time for its intended purpose. Let each word shine with the meaning God has given it, as it was given to you through His Voice. Let each idea which you review that day give you the gift that He has laid in it for you to have of Him. And we will use no format for our practicing but this:

8. Each hour of the day, bring to your mind the thought with which the day began, and spend a quiet moment with it. Then repeat the two ideas you practice for the day unhurriedly, with time enough to see the gifts that they contain for you, and let them be received where they were meant to be.

9. We add no other thoughts, but let these be the messages they are. We need no more than this to give us happiness and rest, and endless quiet, perfect certainty, and all our Father wills that we receive as the inheritance we have of Him. Each day of practicing, as we review, we close as we began, repeating first the thought that made the day a special time of blessing and of happiness for us; and through our faithfulness restored the world from darkness to the light, from grief to joy, from pain to peace, from sin to holiness.

10. God offers thanks to you who practice thus the keeping of His Word. And as you give your mind to the ideas for the day again before you sleep, His gratitude surrounds you in the peace wherein He wills you be forever, and are learning now to claim again as your inheritance.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

 Q) Do Jesus or the Holy Spirit send me my lessons?

A) No, they do not. Here again, we see an example of students taking the words of A Course in Miracles literally, the result being that conclusions are drawn that are the exact opposite of what Jesus is actually teaching in his Course. To be sure, there are passages with words stating that the Holy Spirit (or Jesus) provide lessons for us, send people to us, or that we are sent to others. However, it is essential that students of A Course in Miracles, if they are to grow in their learning and practice of its principles, understand that statements such as these — clearly in the minority when taken against the whole of the Course’s teaching — are meant to reach those who are basically just beginning their spiritual journey with the Course. And so Jesus couches his teachings in words that his students — always referred to as children (or sometimes even younger) — can understand without fear.

Our experience is that we are very much a part of this physical world, just as we believe God is. There is, for example, this very important line in the text, which we have already quoted: “You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize” (T-18.Vlll.1:7). Therefore, as we discussed earlier in question 5, it would not be helpful nor practical for Jesus to impose a level of explanation beyond his students’ capacity to understand. As he states so clearly in the workbook: “For who can understand a language far beyond his simple grasp?” (W-pI.192.2:2). Thus, we can recognize again that Jesus uses language to serve as a bridge from the level of his students’ experience to his truth.

In fact, the Holy Spirit or Jesus do nothing in the world, because all correction and healing occur at the level of the mind. “There is no world!” as Jesus states emphatically in the workbook: “This is the central thought the course attempts to teach” (W-pI.132.6:2-3). Jesus’ presence exists only in our minds, since that is all there is. Ideas leave not their source, and so the dream has never left the mind of the dreamer, however compellingly real the world appears to be to us. This is similar to the experience everyone has when asleep at night and dreaming. While asleep, the dreamer actually believes that the activities occurring in the dream are quite real, and reacts accordingly with feelings of happiness, fear, joy, or anxiety, not to mention physical concomitants as well, such as tachycardia, excessive perspiration, etc. However, upon waking, the dreamer realizes that “it was only a dream.”  Similar to what we discussed before in question 22, we understand that nothing has occurred other than within the mind of the dreamer, which contained the various images and symbols that seemed to be so real.  As Jesus repeatedly points out in the Course, there is no difference whatsoever between our sleeping and waking experiences. They are both simply dreams occurring within the larger dream of separation. As he says in the text:

All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality, and your fixed and insane idea that you can change it. In your waking dreams, the special relationship has a special place. It is the means by which you try to make your sleeping dreams come true (T-18.11.5:12-17; italics ours).

And so it would make no sense for our wise inner teacher, Jesus, to fall into the same trap that the world does, of making the error real by seeing problems existing there, and therefore their solutions as well. However, as long as we believe that we are here, with problems and answers here, our experience will be that our help will be here, too.  The loving presence of Jesus in our right minds — a mind which we have denied — will inevitably be experienced in the body and the world, even though he is not there. Participating in the process of forgiveness, students of A Course in Miracles gradually realize that they are the dreamers and not the dream, and that their existence is in the
mind and not the body. Eventually, the realization also occurs that Jesus or the Holy Spirit is only within their minds.

And what is Their function within the mind? To restate what we discussed previously, Their function is simply to remind the Son of God that he has made a faulty choice (by choosing the ego as his teacher), and now can make the correct one. His attention, via the miracle, has been restored to his mind, where the wrong decision was made and the presence of the Holy Spirit reminds him he can choose again. Early in the text, Jesus describes the functioning of the Holy Spirit this way:

The Voice of the Holy Spirit does not command, because It is incapable of arrogance.  It does not demand, because It does not seek control. It does not overcome, because It does not attack. It merely reminds. It is compelling only because of what It reminds you of. It brings to your mind the other way, remaining quiet even in the midst of the turmoil you may make (T-5.II.7:1-6).

And so we — the decision maker in our minds — are the ones who write and choose our scripts, and the role of Jesus is to remind us that we can make another choice in how we look at what we have chosen. That looking with his love beside us is the core of the Course’s meaning of forgiveness. We are the ones who chose wrongly, and therefore we are the ones who must choose differently, as Jesus exhorts us at the end of the text:

Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, “My brother, choose again” (T-31.Vlll.3:1-2).

Again, we are the ones who present ourselves with our scripts, and it is our minds that choose whether to have our egos or Jesus be the teacher guiding us through these experiences.

Therefore, it is not the Holy Spirit that brings us parking spaces, sends certain people to be helped by us or for us to be helped by, or causes us to be raped as a forgiveness lesson, as one poor student of A Course in Miracles believed about a very painful experience in her own life. Such mistaken thoughts about the Holy Spirit, besides having potentially tragic implications, help students to avoid responsibility for their own choices by transferring them over to the Holy Spirit or Jesus. And then they justify such misperceptions by quoting — out of context! — passages from the Course to support their positions of specialness.

And so it is extremely important, to make this point still once again, for students of A Course in Miracles not to confuse the form of the Course’s teaching with its underlyingcontent. Otherwise growth will not occur, and they would forever remain at the lower levels of their journey up the spiritual ladder that the Course provides. Therefore, the purpose for students being told that the Holy Spirit does things for them in the world, is to be healed of the ego’s basic thought system that teaches that there is no Holy Spirit, and even if there were, He certainly would not be a friendly Presence which would comfort and guide them. Thus, it is not the words (the form) that are the true teaching of the Course, but their underlying meaning (the content). Jesus’ purpose in using this metaphoric language is to help his students undo the ego thoughts that a wrathful and avenging God will punish them for their sin.

Once the belief is corrected that God (or the Holy Spirit or Jesus) is our enemy, we are able to advance along to the next steps of our journey. These include the increasing recognition, as we approach the journey’s end, of the essentially abstract reality of the Holy Spirit’s and Jesus’ presence in our split minds. What is at issue here is the crucial point of proceeding slowly and patiently along the spiritual path, minimizing the inevitable fear of eventually letting go of one’s individual identity. As Jesus so gently comforts us, using the metaphor of dreams:

The Holy Spirit, ever practical in His wisdom, accepts your dreams and uses them as means for waking. You would have used them to remain asleep. I said before that the first change, before dreams disappear, is that your dreams of fear are changed to happy dreams. That is what the Holy Spirit does in the special relationship. He does not destroy it, nor snatch it away from you. But He does use it differently, as a help to make His purpose real to you. The special relationship will remain, not as a source of pain and guilt, but as a source of joy and freedom …. In your relationship the Holy Spirit has gently laid the real world; the world of happy dreams, from which awaking is so easy and so natural (T-18.11.6:1-7; 9:4).

Thus students are not asked to progress directly from the illusory nightmares special relationships to the reality of the one relationship with God, but with Jesus as their guide, they first pass through the illusory dreams of forgiveness.  These happy dreams undo the ego interference, which then allows the Love of God to return to their awareness. Therefore, as students of A Course in Miracles, they first learn that God is a loving Father rather than a hateful one, and the Holy Spirit a comforting companion to them in the world rather than their enemy. Only then can they learn that there is in fact no world for Them to comfort us in. Metaphor has served its purpose, and now can give way to the simple truth of the Oneness in God that lies beyond all words, and which is the ultimate goal of A Course in Miracles.

the mind that serves spirit

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 26, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 26

Chapter 14

TEACHING FOR TRUTH

Introduction

Yes, you are blessed indeed. Yet in this world you do not know it. But you have the means for learning it and seeing it quite clearly. The Holy Spirit uses logic as easily and as well as does the ego, except that His conclusions are not insane. They take a direction exactly opposite, pointing as clearly to Heaven as the ego points to darkness and to death. We have followed much of the ego’s logic, and have seen its logical conclusions. And having seen them, we have realised that they cannot be seen except in illusions, for there alone their seeming clearness seems to be clearly seen. Let us now turn away from them, and follow the simple logic by which the Holy Spirit teaches the simple conclusions that speak for truth, and only truth.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 26

Lesson 113

For morning and evening review:

1. (95I am one Self, united with my Creator.

Serenity and perfect peace are mine, because I am one Self, completely whole, at one with all creation and with God.

2. (96Salvation comes from my one Self.

From my one Self, Whose knowledge still remains within my mind, I see God’s perfect plan for my salva­tion perfectly fulfilled.

3. On the hour:
I am one Self, united with my Creator.

On the half hour:
Salvation comes from my one Self.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does A Course in Miracles really mean that God did not create the entire physical universe?

A) We answer this question with a resounding affirmative! Since nothing of form, matter, or substance can be of God, then nothing of the physical universe can be real, and there is no exception to this. Workbook Lesson 43 states, in the context of perception, which is the realm of duality and separation:

Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge….In God you cannot see.  Perception has no function in God, and does not exist (W-pI.43.1:1-2; 2:1-2).

In the clarification of terms we find the following crystal clear statement about the illusory nature of the world of perception, which God did not create:

The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself. Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever. Some things will last in time a little while longer than others [e.g., the greater cosmos, as we shall see below in a passage from the text). But the time will come when all things visible will have an end (C-4. 1).

And finally, a similar statement in the text:

God’s laws do not obtain directly to a world perception rules, for such a world could not have been created by the Mind to which perception has no meaning. Yet are His laws reflected everywhere [through the Holy Spirit]. Not that the world where this reflection is, is real at all.  Only because His Son believes it is, and from His Son’s belief He could not let Himself be separate entirely. He could not enter His Son insanity with him … (T-25.111.2; italics ours).

These passages are important, because they clarify a source of misunderstanding for many students of A Course in Miracles who maintain that Jesus is teaching that God did in fact create the world. They assert that all the Course is teaching is that he did not create our misperceptions of it. Statements which contain the phrase “the world you see,” as in the above passage from the manual for teachers, do not apply simply to the world we perceive through our wrong-minded lens, but rather to the fact that we see at all. Again, the entire physical universe, the world of perception and form, is illusory and outside the Mind of God.

Therefore, nothing that can be observed — nothing that has form, physicality, moves, changes, deteriorates, and ultimately dies — is of God. A Course in Miracles is unequivocal about this, which is why we speak of it as being a perfect non-dualistic thought system: It contains no exceptions. And so the seeming majesty of the cosmos and perceived glory of nature are all expressions of the ego’s thought system of separation, as we see in this wonderful passage from the text:

What seems eternal all will have an end. The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is (T-29.VI.2:7- I0).

To attempt to make an exception to this fact is to attempt a compromise with truth, exactly what the ego wants in order to establish its own existence. As Jesus states in the workbook: “What is false is false, and what is true has never changed” (W-pII.10.1:1). And again in the text:

How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now, and never will be.  The impossible has not occurred, and can have no effects. And that is all (T-31.1.1:1-4).

In conclusion, therefore, no aspect of the illusion can be accorded truth, which means that absolutely nothing in the material universe has come from God, or is even known by Him. His reality is totally outside the world of dreams.

tiny mad idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 23, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for April 23

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

IX. The Cloud of Guilt

Guilt remains the only thing that hides the Father, for guilt is the attack upon His Son. The guilty always condemn, and having done so they will still condemn, linking the future to the past as is the ego’s law. Fidelity to this law lets no light in, for it demands fidelity to darkness and forbids awakening. The ego’s laws are strict, and breaches are severely punished. Therefore give no obedience to its laws, for they are laws of punishment. And those who follow them believe that they are guilty, and so they must condemn. Between the future and the past the laws of God must intervene, if you would free yourself. Atonement stands between them, like a lamp shining so brightly that the chain of darkness in which you bound yourself will disappear.

Release from guilt is the ego’s whole undoing. Make no one fearful, for his guilt is yours, and by obeying the ego’s harsh commandments you bring its condemnation on yourself, and you will not escape the punishment it offers those who obey it. The ego rewards fidelity to it with pain, for faith in it is pain. And faith can be rewarded only in terms of the belief in which the faith was placed. Faith makes the power of belief, and where it is invested. determines its reward. For faith is always given what is treasured, and what is treasured is returned to you.

The world can give you only what you gave it, for being nothing but your own projection, it has no meaning apart from what you found in it and placed your faith in. Be faithful unto darkness and you will not see, because your faith will be rewarded as you gave it. You will accept your treasure, and if you place your faith in the past, the future will be like it. Whatever you hold dear you think is yours. The power of your valuing will make it so.

Atonement brings a re-evaluation of everything you cherish, for it is the means by which the Holy Spirit can separate the false and the true, which you have accepted into your mind without distinction. Therefore you cannot value one without the other, and guilt has become as true for you as innocence. You do not believe the Son of God is guiltless because you see the past, and see him not. When you condemn a brother you are saying, ‘I who was guilty choose to remain so’. You have denied his freedom, and by so doing you have denied the witness unto yours. You could as easily have freed him from the past, and lifted from his mind the cloud of guilt that binds him to it. And in his freedom would have been your own.

Lay not his guilt upon him, for his guilt lies in his secret thought that he has done this unto you. Would you, then, teach him he is right in his delusion? The idea that the guiltless Son of God can attack himself and make himself guilty is insane. In any form, in anyone, believe this not. For sin and condemnation are the same, and the belief in one is faith in the other, calling for punishment instead of love. Nothing can justify insanity, and to call for punishment upon yourself must be insane.

See no one, then, as guilty, and you will affirm the truth of guiltlessness unto yourself. In every condemnation that you offer the Son of God lies the conviction of your own guilt. If you would have the Holy Spirit make you free of it, accept His offer of Atonement for all your brothers. For so you learn that it is true for you. Remember always that it is impossible to condemn the Son of God in part. Those whom you see as guilty become the witnesses to guilt in you, and you will see it there, for it is there until it is undone. Guilt is always in your mind, which has condemned itself. Project it not, for while you do, it cannot be undone. With everyone whom you release from guilt great is the joy in Heaven, where the witnesses to your fatherhood rejoice.

Guilt makes you blind, for while you see one spot of guilt within you, you will not see the light. And by projecting it the world seems dark, and shrouded in your guilt. You throw a dark veil over it, and cannot see it because you cannot look within. You are afraid of what you would see there, but it is not there. The thing you fear is gone. If you would look within you would see only the Atonement, shining in quiet and in peace upon the altar to your Father.

Do not be afraid to look within. The ego tells you all is black with guilt within you, and bids you not to look. Instead, it bids you look upon your brothers, and see the guilt in them. Yet this you cannot do without remaining blind. For those who see their brothers in the dark, and guilty in the dark in which they shroud them, are too afraid to look upon the light within. Within you is not what you believe is there, and what you put your faith in. Within you is the holy sign of perfect faith your Father has in you. He does not value you as you do. He knows Himself, and knows the truth in you. He knows there is no difference, for He knows not of differences. Can you see guilt where God knows there is perfect innocence? You can deny His knowledge, but you cannot change it. Look, then, upon the light He placed within you, and learn that what you feared was there has been replaced with love.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 23

Review III

Introduction

1. Our next review begins today. We will review two recent lessons every day for ten successive days of practicing. We will observe a special format for these practice periods, that you are urged to follow just as closely as you can.

2. We understand, of course, that it may be impossible for you to undertake what is suggested here as optimal each day and every hour of the day. Learning will not be hampered when you miss a practice period because it is impossible at the appointed time. Nor is it necessary that you make excessive efforts to be sure that you catch up in terms of numbers. Rituals are not our aim, and would defeat our goal.

3. But learning will be hampered when you skip a practice period because you are unwilling to devote the time to it that you are asked to give. Do not deceive yourself in this. Unwillingness can be most carefully concealed behind a cloak of situations you cannot control. Learn to distinguish situations that are poorly suited to your practicing from those that you establish to uphold a camouflage for your unwillingness.

4. Those practice periods that you have lost because you did not want to do them, for whatever reason, should be done as soon as you have changed your mind about your goal. You are unwilling to cooperate in practicing salvation only if it interferes with goals you hold more dear. When you withdraw the value given them, allow your practice periods to be replacements for your litanies to them. They gave you nothing. But your practicing can offer everything to you. And so accept their offering and be at peace.

5. The format you should use for these reviews is this: Devote five minutes twice a day, or longer if you would prefer it, to con­sidering the thoughts that are assigned. Read over the ideas and comments that are written down for each day’s exercise. And then begin to think about them, while letting your mind relate them to your needs, your seeming problems and all your concerns.

6. Place the ideas within your mind, and let it use them as it chooses. Give it faith that it will use them wisely, being helped in its decisions by the One Who gave the thoughts to you. What can you trust but what is in your mind? Have faith, in these reviews, the means the Holy Spirit uses will not fail. The wisdom of your mind will come to your assistance. Give direction at the outset; then lean back in quiet faith, and let the mind employ the thoughts you gave as they were given you for it to use.

7. You have been given them in perfect trust; in perfect confidence that you would use them well; in perfect faith that you would see their messages and use them for yourself. Offer them to your mind in that same trust and confidence and faith. It will not fail. It is the Holy Spirit’s chosen means for your salvation. Since it has His trust, His means must surely merit yours as well.

8. We emphasize the benefits to you if you devote the first five minutes of the day to your reviews, and also give the last five minutes of your waking day to them. If this cannot be done, at least try to divide them so you undertake one in the morning, and the other in the hour just before you go to sleep.

9. The exercises to be done throughout the day are equally important, and perhaps of even greater value. You have been inclined to practice only at appointed times, and then go on your way to other things, without applying what you learned to them. As a result, you have gained little reinforcement, and have not given your learning a fair chance to prove how great are its potential gifts to you. Here is another chance to use it well.

10. In these reviews, we stress the need to let your learning not lie idly by between your longer practice periods. Attempt to give your daily two ideas a brief but serious review each hour. Use one on the hour, and the other one a half an hour later. You need not give more than just a moment to each one. Repeat it, and allow your mind to rest a little time in silence and in peace. Then turn to other things, but try to keep the thought with you, and let it serve to help you keep your peace throughout the day as well.

11. If you are shaken, think of it again. These practice periods are planned to help you form the habit of applying what you learn each day to everything you do. Do not repeat the thought and lay it down. Its usefulness is limitless to you. And it is meant to serve you in all ways, all times and places, and whenever you need help of any kind. Try, then, to take it with you in the business of the day and make it holy, worthy of God’s Son, acceptable to God and to your Self.

12. Each day’s review assignments will conclude with a restatement of the thought to use each hour, and the one to be applied on each half hour as well. Forget them not. This second chance with each of these ideas will bring such large advances that we come from these reviews with learning gains so great we will continue on more solid ground, with firmer footsteps and with stronger faith.

13. Do not forget how little you have learned.
Do not forget how much you can learn now.
Do not forget your Father’s need of you,
As you review these thoughts He gave to you.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today 

Q) How did the ego originate, and what is to prevent the separation from happening again?

A) This is unquestionably the most frequently asked question of all, and it seems as if every student of A Course in Miracles has wondered about this at one time or another. We have been impressed over the years by the ingenuity with which Course students have framed this question in many different forms; yet the basic question itself can be restated in this way: “If God is perfect and unified, and has a perfect and unified Son, how could an imperfect thought of separation and division have possibly arisen within such a Mind?”‘

Jesus’ answer to this question in the Course comes within a non-dualistic framework, and will hardly satisfy an intellectually inquisitive mind that demands an answer on its own terms. However, within the dualistic framework that we experience as our reality, the question is really a statement masquerading in question form, “asked” by an ego mind in order to establish its own reality and unique identity. Therefore, the questioner is really saying: “I believe I am here, and now I want you to explain to me how I got here.”

Consciousness, being the first split introduced into the mind of the dreaming Son, is an ego state where a perceiver and a perceived seem to exist as separate “realities.” Consciousness results in a concept of a limited false self that is separate and uncertain, seeming to experience an opposite to the true Self as God created It. And it is this false self that believes it is “here” and “asks” the question about its own seeming origin, thereby seeking to verify it. In truth, however, imperfection cannot emanate from perfection, and an imperfect thought of separation and division cannot arise from the perfect Mind of God’s perfect Son, in which opposites cannot exist. Only in a world of dreams can these absurdities, and the beliefs that foster such uncertainty lead to musings like this.

The question therefore can only be asked by those who believe and experience that they are indeed separate and distinct, and it can only be answered by someone who agrees with this premise that the impossible has in fact happened, and therefore requires and even demands an explanation. Thus, only a dreaming ego would ask such a question, since a Son of God, certain of his Identity in Heaven and awake in God, could not even conceive of the separation which is the basis for asking the question in the first place. And obviously, if in reality the separation never happened once, how could it possibly happen a second time? Therefore, once again, it is a trick question, much like the comedian’s question, “When did you stop beating your wife?” which, if answered, can only incriminate the person responding.

Jesus directly addresses this question two times: The first is found in the text, where he gives a very practical answer to what was originally a question posed by William Thetford, Helen’s colleague and friend, as she was taking down the dictation:

It is reasonable to ask how the mind could ever have made the ego. In fact, it is the best question you could ask, There is, however, no point in giving an answer in terms of the past because the past does not matter, and history would not exist if the same errors were not being repeated in the present (T-4.II.1:1-3).

In other words, why worry about how and why the separation happened in the distant past, when you are still making the same choice to be separate in the present?

The next answer comes in two parts, and is found in the clarification of terms, the appendix to the manual for teachers. Here, Jesus’ answer is much more to the point as it addresses the pseudo-nature of the question itself, and his answer is reflected in our discussion above:

The ego will demand many answers that this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, “How did the impossible occur?”, “To what did the impossible happen?”, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you (C-in.4).Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so.

There is no definition for a lie that serves to make it true (C-2.2:5-3: 1).

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 28, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for March 28

Chapter 11

GOD OR THE EGO

Introduction

Either God or the ego is insane. If you will examine the evidence on both sides fairly, you will realise this must be true. Neither God nor the ego proposes a partial thought system. Each is internally consistent, but they are diametrically opposed in all respects so that partial allegiance is impossible. Remember, too, that their results are as different as their foundations, and their fundamentally irreconcilable natures cannot be reconciled by vacillations between them. Nothing alive is fatherless, for life is creation. Therefore, your decision is always an answer to the question, ‘Who is my father?’ And you will be faithful to the father you choose.

Yet what would you say to someone who believed this question really involves conflict? If you made the ego, how can the ego have made you? The authority problem is still the only source of conflict, because the ego was made out of the wish of God’s Son to father Him. The ego, then, is nothing more than a delusional system in which you made your own father. Make no mistake about this. It sounds insane when it is stated with perfect honesty, but the ego never looks on what it does with perfect honesty. Yet that is its insane premise, which is carefully hidden in the dark cornerstone of its thought system. And either the ego, which you made, is your father, or its whole thought system will not stand.

You make by projection, but God creates by extension. The cornerstone of God’s creation is you, for His thought system is light. Remember the Rays that are there unseen. The more you approach the centre of His thought system, the clearer the light becomes. The closer you come to the foundation of the ego’s thought system, the darker and more obscure becomes the way. Yet even the little spark in your mind is enough to lighten it. Bring this light fearlessly with you, and bravely hold it up to the foundation of the ego’s thought system. Be willing to judge it with perfect honesty. Open the dark cornerstone of terror on which it rests, and bring it out into the light. There you will see that it rested on meaninglessness, and that everything of which you have been afraid was based on nothing.

My brother, you are part of God and part of me. When you have at last looked at the ego’s foundation without shrinking you will also have looked upon ours. I come to you from our Father to offer you everything again. Do not refuse it in order to keep a dark cornerstone hidden, for its protection will not save you. I give you the lamp and I will go with you. You will not take this journey alone. I will lead you to your true Father, Who hath need of you, as I have. Will you not answer the call of love with joy?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 28

Lesson 85

Today’s review will cover these ideas:

1. (69My grievances hide the light of the world in me.

My grievances show me what is not there, and hide from me what I would see. Recognizing this, what do I want my griev­ances for? They keep me in darkness and hide the light. Griev­ances and light cannot go together, but light and vision must be joined for me to see. To see, I must lay grievances aside. I want to see, and this will be the means by which I will succeed.

2. Specific applications for this idea might be made in these forms:

Let me not use this as a block to sight.
The light of the world will shine all this away.
I have no need for this. I want to see.

3. (70My salvation comes from me.

Today I will recognize where my salvation is. It is in me because its Source is there. It has not left its Source, and so it cannot have left my mind. I will not look for it outside myself. It is not found outside and then brought in. But from within me it will reach beyond, and everything I see will but reflect the light that shines in me and in itself.

4. These forms of the idea are suitable for more specific applications:

Let this not tempt me to look away from me for my salvation.
I will not let this interfere with my awareness of the Source of my salvation.
This has no power to remove salvation from me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Is the God in A Course in Miracles the same as the God in the Bible?

A) Jesus unequivocally states in the Course that God did not create this world, and thus on this basis alone He is distinctly different from the Judaeo-Christian deity. The biblical God is a dualistic creator of a material universe that he creates by the spoken word, as noted in Genesis’ first account of creation: “And God said, let there be …… Thus this world and all creatures came into existence as separated entities, existing outside of him. In effect, therefore, the biblical God creates by projecting a thought or concept outside himself, where it becomes a physical “reality,” as witnessed, again, in the creation story in the Book of Genesis.

But the distinctions between the two are even more profound. The biblical God is very much a person who sees sin as real, and must therefore respond to it, first by punishment, and then by the plan of the atonement wherein salvation and forgiveness are won through the suffering and sacrifice of his holy Servant (the Suffering Servant in Isaiah — Old Testament) and his only begotten Son Jesus (New Testament). The God of A Course in Miracles, on the other hand, is not a person and therefore has none of the anthropomorphic qualities of homo sapiens. This God does not even know about the separation (the Course’s equivalent of the biblical notion of original sin), and thus does not and cannot respond to it.

Therefore, the God of the Course is not the God of formal religion, and certainly not the God of the Bible. In truth, our Source is beyond all concepts and anthropomorphisms, and has nothing in common with the biblical God who has all the attributes of special love (a God who has a chosen people) and special hate (a God of punishment) that are associated with the ego thought system. The previously mentioned section “The Laws of Chaos” contains a graphic portrait of this biblical God who has made sin real and thus revealed his ego origins, or better, the egos of the writers of the books of the Bible:

The arrogance on which the laws of chaos stand could not be more apparent than emerges here. Here is a principle that would define what the Creator of reality must be; what He must think and what He must believe; and how He must respond, believing it. It is not seen as even necessary that He be asked about the truth of what has been established for His belief [the reality of sin]. His Son can tell Him this, and He has but the choice whether to take his word for it or be mistaken…. [But] if God cannot be mistaken, He must accept His Son’s belief in what he is [a sinner], and hate him for it.See how the fear of God is reinforced by this… principle. Now it become impossible to turn to Him for help in misery. For now He has become the “enemy” Who caused it, to Whom appeal is useless …. And now is conflict made inevitable, beyond the help of God. For now salvation must remain impossible, because the savior has become the enemy.

There can be no release and no escape. Atonement thus becomes a myth, and vengeance, not forgiveness, is the Will of God. From where all this begins [the belief in the reality of sin], there is no sight of help that can succeed. Only destruction can be the outcome. And God Himself seems to be siding with it, to overcome His Son (T-23.11.6:1-4,6; 7:1-3,5-6; 8:1-5).

This portrait, as is clear, is not only of the archetypal ego god that lies at the heart of every one’s mind who believes in separation, but is also what has been so powerfully expressed in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. This god is a figure, to make the point again, who believes in the reality of sin and in its atonement through punishment, the principal components of which — suffering and sacrifice — become the great plan of salvation or redemption. And as A Course in Miracles teaches, once belief in separation is accorded any reality, it is inevitable in the wrong-minded ego thought system   that the ego’s god be perceived as an avenger. This reflects the ego’s “unholy trinity” of sin, guilt, and fear: The ego thought system posits the separation as accomplished, and calls it sin. Then the psychological experience of sin follows and guilt is born. And now the ego god demands punishment, the origin of fear as we have already seen in the above quotation. And behind all this insanity remains the true God of Love, Who simply “waits” for the minds of His sleeping children to awaken from their nightmare dreams and return to Him Whom they never left.

health is inner peace

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

ACIM Text Reading for March 23

Chapter 10 ~ The Idols of Sickness

I. At Home in God

You do not know your creations simply because you would decide against them as long as your mind is split, and to attack what you have created is impossible. But remember that it is as impossible for God. The law of creation is that you love your creations as yourself, because they are part of you. Everything that was created is therefore perfectly safe, because the laws of God protect it by His Love. Any part of your mind that does not know this has banished itself from knowledge, because it has not met its conditions. Who could have done this but you? Recognise this gladly, for in this recognition lies the realisation that your banishment is not of God, and therefore does not exist.

You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality. Is it your decision to do so? You recognise from your own experience that what you see in dreams you think is real while you are asleep. Yet the instant you waken you realise that everything that seemed to happen in the dream did not happen at all. You do not think this strange, even though all the laws of what you awaken to were violated while you slept. Is it not possible that you merely shifted from one dream to another, without really waking?

Would you bother to reconcile what happened in conflicting dreams, or would you dismiss both together if you discovered that reality is in accord with neither? You do not remember being awake. When you hear the Holy Spirit you may feel better because loving then seems possible to you, but you do not remember yet that it once was so. And it is in this remembering that you will know it can be so again. What is possible has not yet been accomplished. Yet what has once been is so now, if it is eternal. When you remember, you will know that what you remember is eternal, and therefore is now.

You will remember everything the instant you desire it wholly, for if to desire wholly is to create, you will have willed away the separation, returning your mind simultaneously to your Creator and your creations. Knowing them you will have no wish to sleep, but only the desire to waken and be glad. Dreams will be impossible because you will want only truth, and being at last your will, it will be yours.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 23

Review II

Introduction

1. We are now ready for another review. We will begin where our last review left off, and cover two ideas each day. The earlier part of each day will be devoted to one of these ideas, and the latter part of the day to the other. We will have one longer exercise period, and frequent shorter ones in which we practice each of them.

2. The longer practice periods will follow this general form: Take about fifteen minutes for each of them, and begin by thinking about the ideas for the day, and the comments that are included in the assignments. Devote some three or four minutes to read­ing them over slowly, several times if you wish, and then close your eyes and listen.

3. Repeat the first phase of the exercise period if you find your mind wandering, but try to spend the major part of the time lis­tening quietly but attentively. There is a message waiting for you. Be confident that you will receive it. Remember that it belongs to you, and that you want it.

4. Do not allow your intent to waver in the face of distracting thoughts. Realize that, whatever form such thoughts may take, they have no meaning and no power. Replace them with your determination to succeed. Do not forget that your will has power over all fantasies and dreams. Trust it to see you through, and carry you beyond them all.

5. Regard these practice periods as dedications to the way, the truth and the life. Refuse to be sidetracked into detours, illusions and thoughts of death. You are dedicated to salvation. Be determined each day not to leave your function unfulfilled.

6. Reaffirm your determination in the shorter practice periods as well, using the original form of the idea for general applications, and more specific forms when needed. Some specific forms are included in the comments which follow the statement of the ideas. These, however, are merely suggestions. It is not the particular words you use that matter.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

 Q) Is learning cumulative? That is, do I take what I have learned with me when I die, so that when I “come back” I do not 
have to begin all over again? 

A) The premise of this question is that time is linear, and therefore one’s learning can be measured within an evolving linear dimension. However, as we learn in A Course in Miracles, also discussed in the previous chapter, time is not linear since everything within the dream of time and space occurred within the original instant. And so learning does not really occur within the seemingly linear-based dream figure we call ourselves.  Rather, our learning is simply the acceptance of the correction of forgiveness within our minds. This correction, held for us by the Holy Spirit, undoes — or unlearns — the ego’s thought system of separation. It existed before the world of time and space was made, and it still remains in our minds. Our ability to choose this correction is also in our minds. And so it is what we have referred to as the decision maker — the part of our tripartite minds that chooses — that learns the difference between the ego’s lies and the Holy Spirit’s truth. The physical and psychological self with which we identify, and which we believe does the learning, is simply the reflection in a world of time and space of the decision maker, whose choosing occurs outside the temporal and spatial dimensions. 

This of course is not understandable to a brain that has been programmed to think only within the dimension of time and space, life and death. But we are assured by Jesus that our understanding is not necessary: 

You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little, to receive so much. And it is very hard for you to realize it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit’s are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing (T-18.IV.7:3-6).

And so, even if we cannot truly understand how we learn the lessons of the Holy Spirit, we can at least understand how we do not learn them. 

you have no idea

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 22, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for March 22

Chapter 10

THE IDOLS OF SICKNESS

Introduction

Nothing beyond yourself can make you fearful or loving, because nothing is beyond you. Time and eternity are both in your mind, and will conflict until you perceive time solely as a means to regain eternity. You cannot do this as long as you believe that anything happening to you is caused by factors outside yourself. You must learn that time is solely at your disposal, and that nothing in the world can take this responsibility from you. You can violate God’s laws in your imagination, but you cannot escape from them. They were established for your protection and are as inviolate as your safety.

God created nothing beside you and nothing beside you exists, for you are part of Him. What except Him can exist? Nothing beyond Him can happen, because nothing except Him is real. Your creations add to Him as you do, but nothing is added that is different because everything has always been. What can upset you except the ephemeral, and how can the ephemeral be real if you are God’s only creation and He created you eternal? Your holy mind establishes everything that happens to you. Every response you make to everything you perceive is up to you, because your mind determines your perception of it.

God does not change His Mind about you, for He is not uncertain of Himself. And what He knows can be known, because He does not know it only for Himself. He created you for Himself, but He gave you the power to create for yourself so you would be like Him. That is why your mind is holy. Can anything exceed the Love of God? Can anything, then, exceed your will? Nothing can reach you from beyond it because, being in God, you encompass everything. Believe this, and you will realise how much is up to you. When anything threatens your peace of mind, ask yourself, ‘Has God changed His Mind about me?’ Then accept His decision, for it is indeed changeless, and refuse to change your mind about yourself. God will never decide against you, or He would be deciding against Himself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 22

Lesson 80

Let me recognize that my problems have been solved.

1. If you are willing to recognize your problems, you will recognize that you have no problems. Your one central problem has been answered, and you have no other. Therefore, you must be at peace. Salvation thus depends on recognizing this one prob­lem, and understanding that it has been solved. One problem, one solution. Salvation is accomplished. Freedom from conflict has been given you. Accept that fact, and you are ready to take your rightful place in God’s plan for salvation.

2. Your only problem has been solved! Repeat this over and over to yourself today, with gratitude and conviction. You have recog­nized your only problem, opening the way for the Holy Spirit to give you God’s answer. You have laid deception aside, and seen the light of truth. You have accepted salvation for yourself by bringing the problem to the answer. And you can recognize the answer, because the problem has been identified.

3. You are entitled to peace today. A problem that has been resolved cannot trouble you. Only be certain you do not forget that all problems are the same. Their many forms will not deceive you while you remember this. One problem, one solution. Accept the peace this simple statement brings.

4. In our longer practice periods today, we will claim the peace that must be ours when the problem and the answer have been brought together. The problem must be gone, because God’s an­swer cannot fail. Having recognized one, you have recognized the other. The solution is inherent in the problem. You are answered, and have accepted the answer. You are saved.

5. Now let the peace that your acceptance brings be given you. Close your eyes, and receive your reward. Recognize that your problems have been solved. Recognize that you are out of conflict; free and at peace. Above all, remember that you have one problem, and that the problem has one solution. It is in this that the simplicity of salvation lies. It is because of this that it is guar­anteed to work.

6. Assure yourself often today that your problems have been solved. Repeat the idea with deep conviction, as frequently as possible. And be particularly sure to apply the idea for today to any specific problem that may arise. Say quickly:

Let me recognize this problem has been solved.

7. Let us be determined not to collect grievances today. Let us be determined to be free of problems that do not exist. The means is simple honesty. Do not deceive yourself about what the problem is, and you must recognize it has been solved.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If God has one Son, why does A Course in Miracles use the term Sons of God?

A) Many times Jesus uses the plural to address the children of God who believe they are separate and many. This is another example of Jesus’ flexible use of language so that he can meet his students at a level of separation or duality they can accept and understand. But this should not be taken to mean that there is individuality and separation in Heaven. In reality, as A Course in Miracles repeatedly asserts, there can be only one Son, since Unity can only create unity, and multiplicity cannot originate from Oneness. This is underscored in these important passages from the text and workbook:

It should especially be noted that God has only one Son. If all His creations are His Sons, every one must be an integral part of the whole Sonship. The Sonship in its oneness transcends the sum of its parts (T-2.VII.6:1-3).We are creation; we the Sons of God. We seem to be discrete, and unaware of our eternal unity with Him. Yet back of all our doubts, past all our fears, there still is certainty.  For love remains with all its Thoughts, its sureness being theirs. God’s memory is in our holy minds, which know their oneness and their unity with their Creator (W-pII.11.4:1-5).

Therefore the term Sons of God is used for convenience when Jesus is addressing his students as they believe they are. On the other hand, Son of God is the term used to denote who we truly are as Christ, the Identity of Oneness we shall awaken to after our dream of multiplicity is undone.

sun of god guiltless

 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 20, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 20

Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love

V. The Lessons of the Holy Spirit

C. Be Vigilant Only for God and His Kingdom

We said before that the Holy Spirit is evaluative, and must be. He sorts out the true from the false in your mind, and teaches you to judge every thought you allow to enter it in the light of what God put there. Whatever is in accord with this light He retains, to strengthen the Kingdom in you. What is partly in accord with it He accepts and purifies. But what is out of accord entirely He rejects by judging against. This is how He keeps the Kingdom perfectly consistent and perfectly unified. Remember, however, that what the Holy Spirit rejects the ego accepts. This is because they are in fundamental disagreement about everything, being in fundamental disagreement about what you are. The ego’s beliefs on this crucial issue vary, and that is why it promotes different moods. The Holy Spirit never varies on this point, and so the one mood He engenders is joy. He protects it by rejecting everything that does not foster joy, and so He alone can keep you wholly joyous.

The Holy Spirit does not teach you to judge others, because He does not want you to teach error and learn it yourself. He would hardly be consistent if He allowed you to strengthen what you must learn to avoid. In the mind of the thinker, then, He isjudgemental, but only in order to unify the mind so it can perceive without judgement. This enables the mind to teach without judgement, and therefore to learn to be without judgement. The undoing is necessary only in your mind, so that you will not project, instead of extend. God Himself has established what you can extend with perfect safety. Therefore, the Holy Spirit’s third lesson is:

Be vigilant only for God and His Kingdom.

This is a major step toward fundamental change. Yet it still has an aspect of thought reversal, since it implies that there is something you must be vigilant against. It has advanced far from the first lesson, which is merely the beginning of the thought reversal, and also from the second, which is essentially the identification of what is more desirable. This step, which follows from the second as the second follows from the first, emphasises the dichotomy between the desirable and the undesirable. It therefore makes the ultimate choice inevitable.

While the first step seems to increase conflict and the second may still entail conflict to some extent, this step calls for consistent vigilance against it. I have already told you that you can be as vigilant against the ego as for it. This lesson teaches not only that you can be, but that you must be. It does not concern itself with order of difficulty, but with clear-cut priority for vigilance. This lesson is unequivocal in that it teaches there must be no exceptions, although it does not deny that the temptation to make exceptions will occur. Here, then, your consistency is called on despite chaos. Yet chaos and consistency cannot coexist for long, since they are mutually exclusive. As long as you must be vigilant against anything, however, you are not recognising this mutual exclusiveness, and still believe that you can choose either one. By teaching what to choose, the Holy Spirit will ultimately teach you that you need not choose at all. This will finally liberate your mind from choice, and direct it towards creation within the Kingdom.

Choosing through the Holy Spirit will lead you to the Kingdom. You create by your true being, but what you are you must learn to remember. The way to remember it is inherent in the third step, which brings together the lessons implied in the others, and goes beyond them towards real integration. If you allow yourself to have in your mind only what God put there, you are acknowledging your mind as God created it. Therefore, you are accepting it as it is. Since it is whole, you are teaching peace because you believe in it. The final step will still be taken for you by God, but by the third step the Holy Spirit has prepared you for God. He is getting you ready for the translation of having into being by the very nature of the steps you must take with Him.

You learn first that having rests on giving, and not on getting. Next you learn that you learn what you teach, and that you want to learn peace. This is the condition for identifying with the Kingdom, since it is the condition of the Kingdom. You have believed that you are without the Kingdom, and have therefore excluded yourself from it in your belief. It is therefore essential to teach you that you must be included, and that the belief that you are not is the only thing that you must exclude.

The third step is thus one of protection for your mind, allowing you to identify only with the centre, where God placed the altar to Himself. Altars are beliefs, but God and His creations are beyond belief because they are beyond question. The Voice for God speaks only for belief beyond question, which is the preparation for being without question. As long as belief in God and His Kingdom is assailed by any doubts in your mind, His perfect accomplishment is not apparent to you. This is why you must be vigilant on God’s behalf. The ego speaks against His creation, and therefore engenders doubt. You cannot go beyond belief until you believe fully.

To teach the whole Sonship without exception demonstrates that you perceive its wholeness, and have learned that it is one. Now you must be vigilant to hold its oneness in your mind because, if you let doubt enter, you will lose awareness of its wholeness and will be unable to teach it. The wholeness of the Kingdom does not depend on your perception, but your awareness of its wholeness does. It is only your awareness that needs protection, since being cannot be assailed. Yet a real sense of being cannot be yours while you are doubtful of what you are. This is why vigilance is essential. Doubts about being must not enter your mind, or you cannot know what you are with certainty. Certainty is of God for you. Vigilance is not necessary for truth, but it is necessary against illusions.

Truth is without illusions and therefore within the Kingdom. Everything outside the Kingdom is illusion. When you threw truth away you saw yourself as if you were without it. By making another kingdom that you valued, you did not keep only the Kingdom of God in your mind, and thus placed part of your mind outside it. What you made has imprisoned your will, and given you a sick mind that must be healed. Your vigilance against this sickness is the way to heal it. Once your mind is healed it radiates health, and thereby teaches healing. This establishes you as a teacher who teaches like me. Vigilance was required of me as much as of you, and those who choose to teach the same thing must be in agreement about what they believe.

The third step, then, is a statement of what you want to believe, and entails a willingness to relinquish everything else. The Holy Spirit will enable you to take this step, if you follow Him. Your vigilance is the sign that you want Him to guide you. Vigilance does require effort, but only until you learn that effort itself is unnecessary. You have exerted great effort to preserve what you made because it was not true. Therefore, you must now turn your effort against it. Only this can cancel out the need for effort, and call upon the being which you both have and are. This recognition is wholly without effort since it is already true and needs no protection. It is in the perfect safety of God. Therefore, inclusion is total and creation is without limit.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 20

REVIEW I

Introduction

1. Beginning with today we will have a series of review periods. Each of them will cover five of the ideas already presented, starting with the first and ending with the fiftieth. There will be a few short comments after each of the ideas, which you should consider in your review. In the practice periods, the exercises should be done as follows:

2. Begin the day by reading the five ideas, with the comments included. Thereafter, it is not necessary to follow any particular order in considering them, though each one should be practiced at least once. Devote two minutes or more to each practice period, thinking about the idea and the related comments after reading them over. Do this as often as possible during the day. If any one of the five ideas appeals to you more than the others, concentrate on that one. At the end of the day, however, be sure to review all of them once more.

3. It is not necessary to cover the comments that follow each idea either literally or thoroughly in the practice periods. Try, rather, to emphasize the central point, and think about it as part of your review of the idea to which it relates. After you have read the idea and the related comments, the exercises should be done with your eyes closed and when you are alone in a quiet place, if possible.

4. This is emphasized for practice periods at your stage of learn­ing. It will be necessary, however, that you learn to require no special settings in which to apply what you have learned. You will need your learning most in situations that appear to be upsetting, rather than in those that already seem to be calm and quiet. The purpose of your learning is to enable you to bring the quiet with you, and to heal distress and turmoil. This is not done by avoiding them and seeking a haven of isolation for yourself.

5. You will yet learn that peace is part of you, and requires only that you be there to embrace any situation in which you are. And finally you will learn that there is no limit to where you are, so that your peace is everywhere, as you are.

6. You will note that, for review purposes, some of the ideas are not given in quite their original form. Use them as they are given here. It is not necessary to return to the original statements, nor to apply the ideas as was suggested then. We are now emphasiz­ing the relationships among the first fifty of the ideas we have covered, and the cohesiveness of the thought system to which they are leading you.

*

LESSON 51

The review for today covers the following ideas:

1. (1Nothing I see means anything.

The reason this is so is that I see nothing, and nothing has no meaning. It is necessary that I recognize this, that I may learn to see. What I think I see now is taking the place of vision. I must let it go by realizing it has no meaning, so that vision may take its place.

2. (2I have given what I see all the meaning it has for me.

I have judged everything I look upon, and it is this and only this I see. This is not vision. It is merely an illusion of reality, because my judgments have been made quite apart from reality. I am willing to recognize the lack of validity in my judgments, because I want to see. My judgments have hurt me, and I do not want to see according to them.

3. (3I do not understand anything I see.

How could I understand what I see when I have judged it amiss? What I see is the projection of my own errors of thought. I do not understand what I see because it is not understandable. There is no sense in trying to understand it. But there is every reason to let it go, and make room for what can be seen and understood and loved. I can exchange what I see now for this merely by being willing to do so. Is not this a better choice than the one I made before?

4. (4These thoughts do not mean anything.

The thoughts of which I am aware do not mean anything be­cause I am trying to think without God. What I call “my” thoughts are not my real thoughts. My real thoughts are the thoughts I think with God. I am not aware of them because I have made my thoughts to take their place. I am willing to rec­ognize that my thoughts do not mean anything, and to let them go. I choose to have them be replaced by what they were in­tended to replace. My thoughts are meaningless, but all creation lies in the thoughts I think with God.

5. (5I am never upset for the reason I think.

I am never upset for the reason I think because I am constantly trying to justify my thoughts. I am constantly trying to make them true. I make all things my enemies, so that my anger is justified and my attacks are warranted. I have not realized how much I have misused everything I see by assigning this role to it. I have done this to defend a thought system that has hurt me, and that I no longer want. I am willing to let it go.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Do Jesus or the Holy Spirit send me my lessons?

A) No, they do not. Here again, we see an example of students taking the words of A Course in Miracles literally, the result being that conclusions are drawn that are the exact opposite of what Jesus is actually teaching in his Course. To be sure, there are passages with words stating that the Holy Spirit (or Jesus) provide lessons for us, send people to us, or that we are sent to others. However, it is essential that students of A Course in Miracles, if they are to grow in their learning and practice of its principles, understand that statements such as these — clearly in the minority when taken against the whole of the Course’s teaching — are meant to reach those who are basically just beginning their spiritual journey with the Course. And so Jesus couches his teachings in words that his students — always referred to as children (or sometimes even younger) — can understand without fear.

Our experience is that we are very much a part of this physical world, just as we believe God is. There is, for example, this very important line in the text, which we have already quoted: “You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize” (T-18.Vlll.1:7). Therefore, as we discussed earlier in question 5, it would not be helpful nor practical for Jesus to impose a level of explanation beyond his students’ capacity to understand. As he states so clearly in the workbook: “For who can understand a language far beyond his simple grasp?” (W-pI.192.2:2). Thus, we can recognize again that Jesus uses language to serve as a bridge from the level of his students’ experience to his truth.

In fact, the Holy Spirit or Jesus do nothing in the world, because all correction and healing occur at the level of the mind. “There is no world!” as Jesus states emphatically in the workbook: “This is the central thought the course attempts to teach” (W-pI.132.6:2-3). Jesus’ presence exists only in our minds, since that is all there is. Ideas leave not their source, and so the dream has never left the mind of the dreamer, however compellingly real the world appears to be to us. This is similar to the experience everyone has when asleep at night and dreaming. While asleep, the dreamer actually believes that the activities occurring in the dream are quite real, and reacts accordingly with feelings of happiness, fear, joy, or anxiety, not to mention physical concomitants as well, such as tachycardia, excessive perspiration, etc. However, upon waking, the dreamer realizes that “it was only a dream.”  Similar to what we discussed before in question 22, we understand that nothing has occurred other than within the mind of the dreamer, which contained the various images and symbols that seemed to be so real.  As Jesus repeatedly points out in the Course, there is no difference whatsoever between our sleeping and waking experiences. They are both simply dreams occurring within the larger dream of separation. As he says in the text:

All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality, and your fixed and insane idea that you can change it. In your waking dreams, the special relationship has a special place. It is the means by which you try to make your sleeping dreams come true (T-18.11.5:12-17; italics ours).

And so it would make no sense for our wise inner teacher, Jesus, to fall into the same trap that the world does, of making the error real by seeing problems existing there, and therefore their solutions as well. However, as long as we believe that we are here, with problems and answers here, our experience will be that our help will be here, too.  The loving presence of Jesus in our right minds — a mind which we have denied — will inevitably be experienced in the body and the world, even though he is not there. Participating in the process of forgiveness, students of A Course in Miracles gradually realize that they are the dreamers and not the dream, and that their existence is in the
mind and not the body. Eventually, the realization also occurs that Jesus or the Holy Spirit is only within their minds.

And what is Their function within the mind? To restate what we discussed previously, Their function is simply to remind the Son of God that he has made a faulty choice (by choosing the ego as his teacher), and now can make the correct one. His attention, via the miracle, has been restored to his mind, where the wrong decision was made and the presence of the Holy Spirit reminds him he can choose again. Early in the text, Jesus describes the functioning of the Holy Spirit this way:

The Voice of the Holy Spirit does not command, because It is incapable of arrogance.  It does not demand, because It does not seek control. It does not overcome, because It does not attack. It merely reminds. It is compelling only because of what It reminds you of. It brings to your mind the other way, remaining quiet even in the midst of the turmoil you may make (T-5.II.7:1-6).

And so we — the decision maker in our minds — are the ones who write and choose our scripts, and the role of Jesus is to remind us that we can make another choice in how we look at what we have chosen. That looking with his love beside us is the core of the Course’s meaning of forgiveness. We are the ones who chose wrongly, and therefore we are the ones who must choose differently, as Jesus exhorts us at the end of the text:

Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, “My brother, choose again” (T-31.Vlll.3:1-2).

Again, we are the ones who present ourselves with our scripts, and it is our minds that choose whether to have our egos or Jesus be the teacher guiding us through these experiences.

Therefore, it is not the Holy Spirit that brings us parking spaces, sends certain people to be helped by us or for us to be helped by, or causes us to be raped as a forgiveness lesson, as one poor student of A Course in Miracles believed about a very painful experience in her own life. Such mistaken thoughts about the Holy Spirit, besides having potentially tragic implications, help students to avoid responsibility for their own choices by transferring them over to the Holy Spirit or Jesus. And then they justify such misperceptions by quoting — out of context! — passages from the Course to support their positions of specialness.

And so it is extremely important, to make this point still once again, for students of A Course in Miracles not to confuse the form of the Course’s teaching with its underlyingcontent. Otherwise growth will not occur, and they would forever remain at the lower levels of their journey up the spiritual ladder that the Course provides. Therefore, the purpose for students being told that the Holy Spirit does things for them in the world, is to be healed of the ego’s basic thought system that teaches that there is no Holy Spirit, and even if there were, He certainly would not be a friendly Presence which would comfort and guide them. Thus, it is not the words (the form) that are the true teaching of the Course, but their underlying meaning (the content). Jesus’ purpose in using this metaphoric language is to help his students undo the ego thoughts that a wrathful and avenging God will punish them for their sin.

Once the belief is corrected that God (or the Holy Spirit or Jesus) is our enemy, we are able to advance along to the next steps of our journey. These include the increasing recognition, as we approach the journey’s end, of the essentially abstract reality of the Holy Spirit’s and Jesus’ presence in our split minds. What is at issue here is the crucial point of proceeding slowly and patiently along the spiritual path, minimizing the inevitable fear of eventually letting go of one’s individual identity. As Jesus so gently comforts us, using the metaphor of dreams:

The Holy Spirit, ever practical in His wisdom, accepts your dreams and uses them as means for waking. You would have used them to remain asleep. I said before that the first change, before dreams disappear, is that your dreams of fear are changed to happy dreams. That is what the Holy Spirit does in the special relationship. He does not destroy it, nor snatch it away from you. But He does use it differently, as a help to make His purpose real to you. The special relationship will remain, not as a source of pain and guilt, but as a source of joy and freedom …. In your relationship the Holy Spirit has gently laid the real world; the world of happy dreams, from which awaking is so easy and so natural (T-18.11.6:1-7; 9:4).

Thus students are not asked to progress directly from the illusory nightmares special relationships to the reality of the one relationship with God, but with Jesus as their guide, they first pass through the illusory dreams of forgiveness.  These happy dreams undo the ego interference, which then allows the Love of God to return to their awareness. Therefore, as students of A Course in Miracles, they first learn that God is a loving Father rather than a hateful one, and the Holy Spirit a comforting companion to them in the world rather than their enemy. Only then can they learn that there is in fact no world for Them to comfort us in. Metaphor has served its purpose, and now can give way to the simple truth of the Oneness in God that lies beyond all words, and which is the ultimate goal of A Course in Miracles.

guiltless mind

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 12

ACIM Text Reading for February 12

Chapter 6

THE LESSONS OF LOVE

Introduction

The relationship of anger to attack is obvious, but the relationship of anger to fear is not always so apparent. Anger always involves projection of separation, which must ultimately be accepted as one’s own responsibility, rather than being blamed on others. Anger cannot occur unless you believe that you have been attacked, that your attack is justified in return, and that you are in no way responsible for it. Given these three wholly irrational premises, the equally irrational conclusion that a brother is worthy of attack rather than of love must follow. What can be expected from insane premises except an insane conclusion? The way to undo an insane conclusion is to consider the sanity of the premises on which it rests. You cannot be attacked, attack has no justification, and you are responsible for what you believe.

You have been asked to take me as your model for learning, since an extreme example is a particularly helpful learning device. Everyone teaches, and teaches all the time. This is a responsibility you inevitably assume the moment you accept any premise at all, and no one can organise his life without some thought system. Once you have developed a thought system of any kind, you live by it and teach it. Your capacity for allegiance to a thought system may be misplaced, but it is still a form of faith and can be redirected.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 12

Lesson 43

God is my source. I cannot see apart from Him.

1. Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge. Yet He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge. Without this link with God, perception would have replaced knowledge forever in your mind. With this link with God, perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge. That is its function as the Holy Spirit sees it. Therefore, that is its function in truth.

2. In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God, and does not exist. Yet in salvation, which is the undoing of what never was, perception has a mighty purpose. Made by the Son of God for an unholy purpose, it must become the means for the restoration of his holiness to his awareness. Perception has no meaning. Yet does the Holy Spirit give it a meaning very close to God’s. Healed perception becomes the means by which the Son of God forgives his brother, and thus forgives himself.

3. You cannot see apart from God because you cannot be apart from God. Whatever you do you do in Him, because whatever you think, you think with His Mind. If vision is real, and it is real to the extent to which it shares the Holy Spirit’s purpose, then you cannot see apart from God.

4. Three five-minute practice periods are required today, one as early and one as late as possible in the day. The third may be undertaken at the most convenient and suitable time that circumstances and readiness permit. At the beginning of these practice periods, repeat the idea for today to yourself with eyes open. Then glance around you for a short time, applying the idea specifically to what you see. Four or five subjects for this phase of the practice period are sufficient. You might say, for example:

God is my Source. I cannot see this desk apart from Him.
God is my Source. I cannot see that picture apart from Him.

5. Although this part of the exercise period should be relatively short, be sure that you select the subjects for this phase of prac­tice indiscriminately, without self-directed inclusion or exclusion. For the second and longer phase, close your eyes, repeat today’s idea again, and then let whatever relevant thoughts occur to you add to the idea in your own personal way. Thoughts such as:

I see through the eyes of forgiveness.
I see the world as blessed.
The world can show me myself.
I see my own thoughts, which are like God’s.

Any thought related more or less directly to today’s idea is suit­able. The thoughts need not bear any obvious relationship to the idea, but they should not be in opposition to it.

6. If you find your mind wandering; if you begin to be aware of thoughts which are clearly out of accord with today’s idea, or if you seem to be unable to think of anything, open your eyes, repeat the first phase of the exercise period, and then attempt the second phase again. Do not allow any protracted period to occur in which you become preoccupied with irrelevant thoughts. Return to the first phase of the exercises as often as necessary to prevent this.

7. In applying today’s idea in the shorter practice periods, the form may vary according to the circumstances and situations in which you find yourself during the day. When you are with someone else, for example, try to remember to tell him silently:

God is my Source. I cannot see you apart from Him.

This form is equally applicable to strangers as it is to those you think are closer to you. In fact, try not to make distinctions of this kind at all.

8. Today’s idea should also be applied throughout the day to various situations and events that may occur, particularly to those which seem to distress you in any way. For this purpose, apply the idea in this form:

God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him.

9. If no particular subject presents itself to your awareness at the time, merely repeat the idea in its original form. Try today not to allow any long periods of time to slip by without remembering today’s idea, and thus remembering your function.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Where does it say in A Course in Miracles that Jesus is the author, and why is there no author’s name given in the book? Moreover, why are there sections on Jesus in the manual for teachers written in the third person? Is there another voice dictating here?

A) Almost the entire text of A Course in Miracles is written in  the first person, where the “I” is clearly identified throughout as Jesus. Moreover, there are many places where he specifically-   discusses the crucifixion and resurrection. There are relatively few obvious first person references in the workbook for students and manual for teachers, but when they do occur, their impact is quite dramatic, as seen for example in workbook Lesson 70, the Introduction to the fifth review lesson, and the poem that ends the manual.

Interestingly enough, there is one section in the manual proper — “Does Jesus Have a Special Place in Healing?” — and two in the manual’s appendix, the clarification of terms — “Jesus – Christ” and “The Holy Spirit” — where Jesus is spoken about in the third person. Some students have understood this shift to be a significant one that indicated that Helen was hearing another voice here. This was definitely not the case, as she was always clear that there was only one voice — Jesus — that was dictating to her. These three sections specifically deal with Jesus, and the shift in the person of the “voice” was made for stylistic purposes, and has no other significance.  If students wish, however, they can understand these third-person sections to be the Holy Spirit speaking about Jesus. 

It is in the aforementioned section in the manual for teachers where one finds this very specific statement that the source of A Course in Miracles is Jesus, as spoken, again if the reader wishes, by the Holy Spirit:

This course has come from him because his words have reached you in a language you can love and understand. Are other teachers possible, to lead the way to those who speak in different tongues and appeal to different symbols? Certainly there are.  Would God leave anyone without a very present help in time of trouble; a savior who can symbolize Himself? Yet do we need a many-faceted curriculum, not because of content differences, but because symbols must shift and change to suit the need.  Jesus has come to answer yours. In him you find God’s Answer (M-23.7:1-7; italics ours).

The reason no author’s name is given in A Course in Miracles is a very simple one:
Jesus was quite explicit in his instructions to Helen that this be the case. Helen was
also personally clear about not having her own name appear, since she was always emphatically unambiguous with people that she was not the author of the course.

teach not that i died in vain

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 4, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 4

Chapter 5

HEALING AND WHOLENESS

Introduction

To heal is to make happy. I have told you to think how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many you have refused. This is the same as telling you that you have refused to heal yourself. The light that belongs to you is the light of joy. Radiance is not associated with sorrow. Joy calls forth an integrated willingness to share it, and promotes the mind’s natural impulse to respond as one. Those who attempt to heal without being wholly joyous themselves call forth different kinds of responses at the same time, and thus deprive others of the joy of responding wholeheartedly.

To be wholehearted you must be happy. If fear and love cannot coexist, and if it is impossible to be wholly fearful and remain alive, the only possible whole state is that of love. There is no difference between love and joy. Therefore, the only possible whole state is the wholly joyous. To heal or to make joyous is therefore the same as to integrate and to make one. That is why it makes no difference to what part or by what part of the Sonship the healing is offered. Every part benefits, and benefits equally.

You are being blessed by every beneficent thought of any of your brothers anywhere. You should want to bless them in return, out of gratitude. You need not know them individually, or they you. The light is so strong that it radiates throughout the Sonship and returns thanks to the Father for radiating His joy upon it. Only God’s holy children are worthy channels of His beautiful joy, because only they are beautiful enough to hold it by sharing it. It is impossible for a child of God to love his neighbour except as himself. That is why the healer’s prayer is:

Let me know this brother as I know myself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 4

Lesson 35

My mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.

1. Today’s idea does not describe the way you see yourself now. It does, however, describe what vision will show you. It is difficult for anyone who thinks he is in this world to believe this of himself. Yet the reason he thinks he is in this world is because he does not believe it.

2. You will believe that you are part of where you think you are. That is because you surround yourself with the environment you want. And you want it to protect the image of yourself that you have made. The image is part of this environment. What you see while you believe you are in it is seen through the eyes of the image. This is not vision. Images cannot see.

3. The idea for today presents a very different view of yourself. By establishing your Source it establishes your Identity, and it describes you as you must really be in truth. We will use a some­what different kind of application for today’s idea because the emphasis for today is on the perceiver, rather than on what he perceives.

4. For each of the three five-minute practice periods today, begin by repeating today’s idea to yourself, and then close your eyes and search your mind for the various kinds of descriptive terms in which you see yourself. Include all the ego-based attributes which you ascribe to yourself, positive or negative, desirable or undesirable, grandiose or debased. All of them are equally unreal, because you do not look upon yourself through the eyes of holiness.

5. In the earlier part of the mind-searching period, you will prob­ably emphasize what you consider to be the more negative aspects of your perception of yourself. Toward the latter part of the exercise period, however, more self-inflating descriptive terms may well cross your mind. Try to recognize that the direction of your fantasies about yourself does not matter. Illusions have no direction in reality. They are merely not true.

6. A suitable unselected list for applying the idea for today might be as follows:

I see myself as imposed on.
I see myself as depressed.
I see myself as failing.
I see myself as endangered.
I see myself as helpless.
I see myself as victorious.
I see myself as losing out.
I see myself as charitable.
I see myself as virtuous.

7. You should not think of these terms in an abstract way. They will occur to you as various situations, personalities and events in which you figure cross your mind. Pick up any specific situ­ation that occurs to you, identify the descriptive term or terms you feel are applicable to your reactions to that situation, and use them in applying today’s idea. After you have named each one, add:

But my mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.

8. During the longer exercise periods, there will probably be intervals in which nothing specific occurs to you. Do not strain to think up specific things to fill the interval, but merely relax and repeat today’s idea slowly until something occurs to you. Al­though nothing that does occur should be omitted from the exercises, nothing should be “dug out” with effort. Neither force nor discrimination should be used.

9. As often as possible during the day, pick up a specific attribute or attributes you are ascribing to yourself at the time and apply the idea for today to them, adding the idea in the form stated above to each of them. If nothing particular occurs to you, merely repeat the idea to yourself, with closed eyes.

 

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) How does one tell the difference between the Holy Spirit and the ego?

A) We begin with a statement from the Course. It comes in “The Test of Truth” in Chapter 14 of the text, and is the answer to this question, given in the context of discerning between the “dark lessons” of the ego and the “bright lessons” of the Holy Spirit:

You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true.  [1 ] If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and [2] if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson, and not your own (T-14.XI.5:1-2).

In other words, Jesus is providing his students with two criteria with which to evaluate whether they have chosen the ego or himself as their teacher. The first deals only with individual students, whether or not they are at peace. The second involves other people, those who live and work with us, not to mention everyone else.  We all would have to admit that it is relatively simple to delude ourselves into thinking we have chosen the Holy Spirit, when in truth we have chosen our own specialness. But it is more difficult to fool other people, especially those who know us well and who see us regularly over periods of time. Incidentally, students of A Course in Miracles sometimes wonder if that second criterion would have to exclude Jesus, since obviously the biblical figure (who, by the way, should never be taken for the historical Jesus — see question 52 ) was crucified by angry people who quite clearly did not “share in [his] perfect peace.” However, one should understand this situation to mean that people may experience your perfect peace, but may be so threatened by it that they try to attack it and you. But they could not be doing so had they not first experienced this peace as authentic, and thenbecome threatened by it.

This test of truth is applicable to students over the long run because, again, it is difficult to fool others and even oneself over a period of time. However, in any given instant when one wishes to know which teacher has been consulted, it is almost impossible to know for certain. As all students of A Course in Miracles already know, and as we have already commented, the ego can quite deceptively pose like the Holy Spirit. Given the tremendous investment all people in this world have in maintaining their specialness, it should come as no surprise that this would be so. In this very important passage, Jesus cautions his students about underestimating the power their specialness has to mask the Holy Spirit’s Voice. It is from one of the major sections in the text that deals specifically with the treacherous nature of specialness:

You are not special. If you think you are, and would defend your specialness against the truth of what you really are, how can you know the truth? What answer that the Holy Spirit gives can reach you, when it is your specialness to which you listen, and which asks and answers. Its tiny answer, soundless in the melody that pours from God to you eternally in loving praise of what you are, is all you listen to. And that vast song of honor and of love for what you are seems silent and unheard before its “mightiness.  ” You strain your ears to hear its soundless voice, and yet the Call of God Himself is soundless to you.You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it (T-24.II.4:1-5:1, italics ours).

Therefore, our response to this question is to state, that because of students’ over-identification with their egos, it is really the wrong question to ask. Rather, the focus should be on eliminating the interference to hearing the Holy Spirit’s Voice, which would then simply allow the Voice for God to be Itself. Thus, the question should be: “Why don’t I practice the forgiveness lessons the Holy Spirit asks me to do so that I can better hear His Voice?”  With this new question, the focus is now shifted to eliminating the problem so that the Answer can be given us.  As Jesus exhorts his students:

Your task is not to seek for love [or hear the Holy Spirit’s Voice], but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false (T-I6.IV.6:1-2).

And returning to “The Test of Truth,” we find Jesus making the same point to his students who despair over being able to actually hear the Holy Spirit, given the strength of their investment in their ego’s “dark lessons”:

Do not be concerned about how you can learn a lesson so completely different from everything that you have taught yourself. How would you know? Your part is very simple.  You need only recognize that everything you learned you do not want. Ask to be taught, and do not use your experiences to confirm what you have learned. When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself:

I do not know what anything, including this, means. 
And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will 
not use my own past learning as the light to guide me
now.

By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you will speak to you. He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it, and offer it to Him (T-14.XI.6).

The primary focus of Jesus’ Course is always on removing the interferences to the awareness of love’s presence (T-in.1:7), and not on the love itself. And so, once again, the students’ focus will remain on asking Jesus’ help to set aside their ego thought system, rather than on asking him directly for help or guidance with things in the world. Finally, we cite one important passage in the text that underscores this major emphasis:

The task of the miracle worker … becomes to deny the denial of truth (T-12.II.1:5).

The “denial of truth” is of course the ego thought system, which denies the truth of God. Our responsibility is to ask the Holy Spirit’s help to “deny” the validity of what the ego teaches, hereby affirming His truth of the Atonement.

forgiveness is still

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 2, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for January 2

A Course in Miracles

 

Introduction 

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

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

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 2

LESSON 2

I have given everything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] all the meaning that it has for me.

1. The exercises with this idea are the same as those for the first one. Begin with the things that are near you, and apply the idea to whatever your glance rests on. Then increase the range outward. Turn your head so that you include whatever is on either side. If possible, turn around and apply the idea to what was behind you. Remain as indiscriminate as possible in selecting subjects for its application, do not concentrate on anything in particular, and do not attempt to include everything you see in a given area, or you will introduce strain.

2. Merely glance easily and fairly quickly around you, trying to avoid selection by size, brightness, color, material, or relative importance to you. Take the subjects simply as you see them. Try to apply the exercise with equal ease to a body or a button, a fly or a floor, an arm or an apple. The sole criterion for applying the idea to anything is merely that your eyes have lighted on it. Make no attempt to include anything particular, but be sure that nothing is specifically excluded.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is the relationship of A Course in Miracles to other spiritual paths, and specifically to the Bible?

A) This is an extremely important question, because the incorrect understanding of the answer inevitably leads to serious distortion of what A Course in Miracles actually teaches and how it is meant to be practiced. We live in an age where many followers of spiritual paths — usually grouped together in what is termed the “new age” — emphasize unity instead of diversity. While this is an admirable spiritual goal, certainly, it does serve to deny the “fact” of our separated world; namely, that we are all different, and that different spiritual paths are thus required.  Once this is accepted, then it is clear that different paths will be different. This is clearly obvious on one level, but is frequently obscured by the need to blur differences for the sake of a spurious unity. This does every spiritual path a disservice, and Jesus always made it clear to Helen personally, as well as in A Course in Miracles itself, how different his Course was from other paths. This does not necessarily mean it is better, but it does mean that it is unique.

Near the beginning of the manual for teachers, Jesus says of A Course in Miracles:

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-1.4:1-2).

And we have already examined Jesus’ special message to Helen — “I Need Do Nothing” — where Jesus contrasts his Course with other spiritualities that emphasize meditation and contemplation.

Therefore, on the one hand, the Course’s relationship to other spiritual paths is that it shares the same goal of returning home to God. It is different, however, because its theology and practice are different. Jesus summarizes this relationship in his pithy comment:

A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary (C-in.2:5).

As we have already seen, A Course in Miracles is a non-dualistic spirituality, while almost all others are dualistic. Confusing the Course with other spiritual thought systems, saying “the Course is just like … (fill in your favorite spirituality)” is simply in the end a subtle ego ploy for changing A Course in Miracles so that its teachings will be less threatening. We, of course, have seen in our Western history a notable example of this ego device when the Christian world made Jesus and his teachings into an extension of Judaism and the Old Testament, rather than accepting him and his message as the radical gift it was, independent of all that preceded it. Students of A Course in Miracles should profit from this mistake of the past, and grow into the Course, rather than attempting to scale it down to their own level of understanding.

Another form of this mistake is the common practice of including A Course in Miracles with what Aldous Huxley termed “the perennial philosophy,” a catch-all phrase used to embrace the major mystical traditions of the world.  Again, this does the Course a profound disservice, because it blurs what is its distinctive contribution to the world’s spiritualities: the idea that not only was the physical universe an illusion that God did not create, but that it was also “made as an attack” on Him (W-pII.3.2:1). This profound and sophisticated psychological principle, integrated with a pure non-dualistic metaphysics is what renders A Course in Miracles unique among the spiritual and religious thought systems of the world.

Comparing A Course in Miracles specifically with the Bible, we can see four major areas of differences, making these two spiritual paths totally incompatible. We quote from the introduction to A Course in Miracles and ChristianityA Dialogue by Kenneth and the Jesuit philosopher Father Norris Clarke, which explores these differences in greater depth:

1) A Course in Miracles teaches that God did not create the physical universe, which includes all matter, form, and the body; the Bible states that He did.2) The God of A Course in Miracles does not even know about the sin of separation (since to know about it would make it real), let alone react to it; the God of the Bible perceives sin directly, as is portrayed in the Garden of Eden story … and His responses to it are vigorous, dramatic, and at times
punitive, to say the very least.

3) A Course in Miracles‘ Jesus is equal to everyone else, a part of God’s one Son or Christ; the Bible’s Jesus is seen as special, apart, and therefore ontologically different from everyone else, being God’s only begotten Son, the second person of the Trinity.

4) The Jesus of A Course in Miracles is not sent by God to suffer and die on the cross in a sacrificial act of atonement for sin, but rather teaches that there is no sin by demonstrating that nothing happened to him in reality, for sin has no effect on the Love of God; the Jesus of the Bible agonizes, suffers, and dies for the sins of the world in an act that brings vicarious salvation to humanity, thereby establishing sin and death as real, and moreover clearly reflecting that God has been affected by Adam’s sin and must respond to its actual presence in the world by sacrificing His beloved Son. (pp. 2-3 from the Dialogue)

While our answer has focused on the Bible, the same basic message can be given regarding any other spiritual path. While there certainly can be nothing wrong with reading other spiritualities or being interested in learning more about them, nor in attending religious services, spiritual meetings, etc., a student of A Course in Miracles should at least be cautious — to make the point again — about attempting to blend together theologies or spiritual approaches that ultimately do not mix. Some spiritualities lend themselves to such “blending together”; A Course in Miracles does not.

INTERESTED READERS WILL FIND EXCERPTS FROM A COURSE IN MIRACLES AND CHRISTIANITY: A DIALOGUE
BEGINNING AT http://www.miraclestudies.net/Dialogue_Pref.html

SOURCE: http://www.miraclestudies.net/Question56.html

 

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