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

ACIM Text Reading for April 20

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

VI. Finding the Present

To perceive truly is to be aware of all reality through the awareness of your own. But for this no illusions can rise to meet your sight, for reality leaves no room for any error. This means that you perceive a brother only as you see him now. His past has no reality in the present, so you cannot see it. Your past reactions to him are also not there, and if it is to them that you react, you see but an image of him that you made and cherish instead of him. In your questioning of illusions, ask yourself if it is really sane to perceive what was as now. If you remember the past as you look upon your brother, you will be unable to perceive the reality that is now.

You consider it ‘natural’ to use your past experience as the reference point from which to judge the present. Yet this is unnaturalbecause it is delusional. When you have learned to look on everyone with no reference at all to the past, either his or yours as you perceive it, you will be able to learn from what you see now. For the past can cast no shadow to darken the present, unless you are afraid of light. And only if you are would you choose to bring darkness with you, and by holding it in your mind, see it as a dark cloud that shrouds your brothers and conceals their reality from your sight.

This darkness is in you. The Christ as revealed to you now has no past, for He is changeless, and in His changelessness lies your release. For if He is as He was created, there is no guilt in Him. No cloud of guilt has risen to obscure Him, and He stands revealed in everyone you meet because you see Him through Himself. To be born again is to let the past go, and look without condemnation upon the present. The cloud that obscures God’s Son to you is the past, and if you would have it past and gone, you must not see it now. If you see it now in your illusions, it has not gone from you, although it is not there.

Time can release as well as imprison, depending on whose interpretation of it you use. Past, present and future are not continuous, unless you force continuity on them. You can perceive them as continuous, and make them so for you. But do not be deceived, and then believe that this is how it is. For to believe reality is what you would have it be according to your use for it is delusional. You would destroy time’s continuity by breaking it into past, present and future for your own purposes. You would anticipate the future on the basis of your past experience, and plan for it accordingly. Yet by doing so you are aligning past and future, and not allowing the miracle, which could intervene between them, to free you to be born again.

The miracle enables you to see your brother without his past, and so perceive him as born again. His errors are all past, and by perceiving him without them you are releasing him. And since his past is yours, you share in this release. Let no dark cloud out of your past obscure him from you, for truth lies only in the present, and you will find it if you seek it there. You have looked for it where it is not, and therefore have not found it. Learn, then, to seek it where it is, and it will dawn on eyes that see. Your past was made in anger, and if you use it to attack the present, you will not see the freedom that the present holds.

Judgement and condemnation are behind you, and unless you bring them with you, you will see that you are free of them. Look lovingly upon the present, for it holds the only things that are forever true. All healing lies within it because its continuity is real. It extends to all aspects of the Sonship at the same time, and thus enables them to reach each other. The present is before time was, and will be when time is no more. In it are all things that are eternal, and they are one. Their continuity is timeless and their communication is unbroken, for they are not separated by the past. Only the past can separate, and it is nowhere.

The present offers you your brothers in the light that would unite you with them, and free you from the past. Would you, then, hold the past against them? For if you do, you are choosing to remain in the darkness that is not there, and refusing to accept the light that is offered you. For the light of perfect vision is freely given as it is freely received, and can be accepted only without limit. In this one, still dimension of time that does not change, and where there is no sight of what you were, you look at Christ and call His witnesses to shine on you because you called them forth. And they will not deny the truth in you, because you looked for it in them and found it there.

Now is the time of salvation, for now is the release from time. Reach out to all your brothers, and touch them with the touch of Christ. In timeless union with them is your continuity, unbroken because it is wholly shared. God’s guiltless Son is only light. There is no darkness in him anywhere, for he is whole. Call all your brothers to witness to his wholeness, as I am calling you to join with me. Each voice has a part in the song of redemption, the hymn of gladness and thanksgiving for the light to the Creator of light. The holy light that shines forth from God’s Son is the witness that his light is of his Father.

Shine on your brothers in remembrance of your Creator, for you will remember Him as you call forth the witnesses to His creation. Those whom you heal bear witness to your healing, for in their wholeness you will see your own. And as your hymns of praise and gladness rise to your Creator, He will return your thanks in His clear Answer to your call. For it can never be that His Son called upon Him and remained unanswered. His call to you is but your call to Him. And in Him you are answered by His peace.

Child of light, you know not that the light is in you. Yet you will find it through its witnesses, for having given light to them they will return it. Each one you see in light brings your light closer to your awareness. Love always leads to love, The sick, who ask for love, are grateful for it, and in their joy they shine with holy thanks. And this they offer you who gave them joy. They are your guides to joy, for having received it of you they would keep it. You have established them as guides to peace, for you have made it manifest in them. And seeing it, its beauty calls you home.

There is a light that this world cannot give. Yet you can give it, as it was given you. And as you give it, it shines forth to call you from the world and follow it. For this light will attract you as nothing in this world can do. And you will lay aside the world and find another. This other world is bright with love which you have given it. And here will everything remind you of your Father and His holy Son. Light is unlimited, and spreads across this world in quiet joy. All those you brought with you will shine on you, and you will shine on them in gratitude because they brought you here. Your light will join with theirs in power so compelling, that it will draw the others out of darkness as you look on them.

Awaking unto Christ is following the laws of love of your free will, and out of quiet recognition of the truth in them. The attraction of light must draw you willingly, and willingness is signified by giving. Those who accept love of you become your willing witnesses to the love you gave them, and it is they who hold it out to you. In sleep you are alone, and your awareness is narrowed to yourself. And that is why the nightmares come. You dream of isolation because your eyes are closed. You do not see your brothers, and in the darkness you cannot look upon the light you gave to them.

And yet the laws of love are not suspended because you sleep. And you have followed them through all your nightmares, and have been faithful in your giving, for you were not alone. Even in sleep has Christ protected you, ensuring the real world for you when you awake. In your name He has given for you, and given you the gifts He gave. God’s Son is still as loving as his Father. Continuous with his Father, he has no past apart from Him. So he has never ceased to be his Father’s witness and his own. Although he slept, Christ’s vision did not leave him. And so it is that he can call unto himself the witnesses that teach him that he never slept.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 20

Lesson 108

To give and receive are one in truth.

1. Vision depends upon today’s idea. The light is in it, for it rec­onciles all seeming opposites. And what is light except the resolution, born of peace, of all your conflicts and mistaken thoughts into one concept which is wholly true? Even that one will disappear, because the Thought behind it will appear instead to take its place. And now you are at peace forever, for the dream is over then.

2. True light that makes true vision possible is not the light the body’s eyes behold. It is a state of mind that has become so unified that darkness cannot be perceived at all. And thus what is the same is seen as one, while what is not the same remains un­noticed, for it is not there.

3. This is the light that shows no opposites, and vision, being healed, has power to heal. This is the light that brings your peace of mind to other minds, to share it and be glad that they are one with you and with themselves. This is the light that heals because it brings single perception, based upon one frame of ref­erence, from which one meaning comes.

4. Here are both giving and receiving seen as different aspects of one Thought whose truth does not depend on which is seen as first, nor which appears to be in second place. Here it is under­stood that both occur together, that the Thought remain complete. And in this understanding is the base on which all opposites are reconciled, because they are perceived from the same frame of reference which unifies this Thought.

5. One thought, completely unified, will serve to unify all thought. This is the same as saying one correction will suffice for all correction, or that to forgive one brother wholly is enough to bring salvation to all minds. For these are but some special cases of one law which holds for every kind of learning, if it be directed by the One Who knows the truth.

6. To learn that giving and receiving are the same has special usefulness, because it can be tried so easily and seen as true. And when this special case has proved it always works, in every circumstance where it is tried, the thought behind it can be gener­alized to other areas of doubt and double vision. And from there it will extend, and finally arrive at the one Thought which under­lies them all.

7. Today we practice with the special case of giving and receiv­ing. We will use this simple lesson in the obvious because it has results we cannot miss. To give is to receive. Today we will attempt to offer peace to everyone, and see how quickly peace returns to us. Light is tranquility, and in that peace is vision given us, and we can see.

8. So we begin the practice periods with the instruction for today, and say:

To give and to receive are one in truth.
I will receive what I am giving now.

Then close your eyes, and for five minutes think of what you would hold out to everyone, to have it yours. You might, for instance, say:

To everyone I offer quietness.
To everyone I offer peace of mind.
To everyone I offer gentleness.

9. Say each one slowly and then pause a while, expecting to receive the gift you gave. And it will come to you in the amount in which you gave it. You will find you have exact return, for that is what you asked. It might be helpful, too, to think of one to whom to give your gifts. He represents the others, and through him you give to all.

10. Our very simple lesson for today will teach you much. Effect and cause will be far better understood from this time on, and we will make much faster progress now. Think of the exercises for today as quick advances in your learning, made still faster and more sure each time you say, “To give and to receive are one in truth.”

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is the nature of life?

A) In A Course in Miracles, life as created by God has nothing to do with what we call or know of as life in the body. Life is spirit: non-material, non-dualistic, and eternal. Perhaps the clearest statement in the Course on the essence of life — what it is and what it is not — comes in this very powerful passage from “The Laws of Chaos” in Chapter 23 of the text. It begins with a telling and gentle mockery of our worship of the body:

Can you paint rosy lips upon a skeleton, dress it in loveliness, pet it and pamper it, and make it live? And can you be content with an illusion that you are living?There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life [Heaven], there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven [in the physical world] life is illusion. At best it seems like life [when the body is “alive”]; at worst, like death [when the body “dies”]. Yet both are judgments on what is not life, equal in their inaccuracy and lack of meaning. Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere. Outside of Heaven, only the conflict of illusion stands; senseless, impossible and beyond all reason, and yet perceived as an eternal barrier to Heaven. Illusions are  but forms. Their content is never true (T-23.11.18:8-19:9).

Very carefully, therefore, Jesus is explaining that life is Oneness with our Source in Heaven where the Mind of Christ and the Mind of God are One. Life, spirit, and Mind are terms basically synonymous with each other, sharing the characteristics of formlessness, changelessness, and eternal life. What we in the world have identified as life in the body, such as brain waves and heartbeats, is clearly not what the Course calls life. Indeed, one workbook lesson (167) is entitled: “There is one life, and that I share with God.” Therefore, what we experience as life, as a physical and psychological organism, is a travesty or parody of our true Self, the Christ that God created as true life. It is important to understand how life is seen in A Course in Miracles; otherwise students will end up confusing themselves, both in understanding the Course’s non-dualistic teachings, as well as applying them to their personal lives.

forgiveness is still

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 8

A Course in Miracles Text Reading for May 8

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

IV. The Function of Time

And now the reason why you are afraid of this course should be apparent. For this is a course on love, because it is about you. You have been told that your function in this world is healing, and your function in Heaven is creating. The ego teaches that your function on earth is destruction, and you have no function at all in Heaven. It would thus destroy you here and bury you here, leaving you no inheritance except the dust out of which it thinks you were made. As long as it is reasonably satisfied with you, as its reasoning goes, it offers you oblivion. When it becomes overtly savage, it offers you hell.

Yet neither oblivion nor hell is as unacceptable to you as Heaven. Your definition of Heaven is hell and oblivion, and the real Heaven is the greatest threat you think you could experience. For hell and oblivion are ideas that you made up, and you are bent on demonstrating their reality to establish yours. If their reality is questioned, you believe that yours is. For you believe that attack is your reality, and that your destruction is the final proof that you were right.

Under the circumstances, would it not be more desirable to have been wrong, even apart from the fact that you were wrong? While it could perhaps be argued that death suggests there was life, no one would claim that it proves there is life. Even the past life that death might indicate, could only have been futile if it must come to this, and needs this to prove that it was at all. You question Heaven, but you do not question this. Yet. you could heal and be healed if you did question it. And even though you know not Heaven, might it not be more desirable than death? You have been as selective in your questioning as in your perception. An open mind is more honest than this.

The ego has a strange notion of time, and it is with this notion that your questioning might well begin. The ego invests heavily in the past, and in the end believes that the past is the only aspect of time that is meaningful. Remember that its emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future like the past, and thus avoiding the present. By the notion of paying for the past in the future, the past becomes the determiner of the future, making them continuous without an intervening present. For the ego regards the present only as a brief transition to the future, in which it brings the past to the future by interpreting the present in past terms.

‘Now’ has no meaning to the ego. The present merely reminds it of past hurts, and it reacts to the present as if it were the past. The ego cannot tolerate release from the past, and although the past is over, the ego tries to preserve its image by responding as if it were present. It dictates your reactions to those you meet in the present from a past reference point, obscuring their present reality. In effect, if you follow the ego’s dictates you will react to your brother as though he were someone else, and this will surely prevent you from recognising him as he is. And you will receive messages from him out of your own past because, by making it real in the present, you are forbidding yourself to let it go. You thus deny yourself the message of release that every brother offers you now.

The shadowy figures from the past are precisely what you must escape. They are not real, and have no hold over you unless you bring them with you. They carry the spots of pain in your mind, directing you to attack in the present in retaliation for a past that is no more. And this decision is one of future pain. Unless you learn that past pain is an illusion, you are choosing a future of illusions and losing the many opportunities you could find for release in the present. The ego would preserve your nightmares, and prevent you from awakening and understanding they are past. Would you recognise a holy encounter if you are merely perceiving it as a meeting with your own past? For you would be meeting no one, and the sharing of salvation, which makes the encounter holy, would be excluded from your sight. The Holy Spirit teaches that you always meet yourself, and the encounter is holy because you are. The ego teaches that you always encounter your past, and because your dreams were not holy, the future cannot be, and the present is without meaning.

It is evident that the Holy Spirit’s perception of time is the exact opposite of the ego’s. The reason is equally clear, for they perceive the goal of time as diametrically opposed. The Holy Spirit interprets time’s purpose as rendering the need for time unnecessary. He regards the function of time as temporary, serving only His teaching function, which is temporary by definition. His emphasis is therefore on the only aspect of time that can extend to the infinite, for now is the closest approximation of eternity that this world offers. It is in the reality of ‘now’, without past or future, that the beginning of the appreciation of eternity lies. For only ‘now’ is here, and only ‘now’ presents the opportunities for the holy encounters in which salvation can be found.

The ego, on the other hand, regards the function of time as one of extending itself in place of eternity, for like the Holy Spirit, the ego interprets the goal of time as its own. The continuity of past and future, under its direction, is the only purpose the ego perceives in time, and it closes over the present so that no gap in its own continuity can occur, Its continuity, then, would keep you in time, while the Holy Spirit would release you from it. It is His interpretation of the means of salvation that you must learn to accept, if you would share His goal of salvation for you.

You, too, will interpret the function of time as you interpret yours. If you accept your function in the world of time as one of healing, you will emphasise only the aspect of time in which healing can occur. Healing cannot be accomplished in the past. It must be accomplished in the present to release the future. This interpretation ties the future to the present, and extends the present rather than the past. But if you interpret your function as destruction, you will lose sight of the present and hold on to the past to ensure a destructive future. And time will be as you interpret it, for of itself it is nothing.

***

A Course in Miracles Workbook Lesson for May 8

Lesson 108

To give and to receive are one in truth.

Vision depends upon today’s idea. The light is in it, for it reconciles all seeming opposites. And what is light except the resolution, born of peace, of all your conflicts and mistaken thoughts into one concept which is wholly true? Even that one will disappear, because the Thought behind it will appear instead to take its place. And now you are at peace forever, for the dream is over then.

True light that makes true vision possible is not the light the body’s eyes behold. It is a state of mind that has become so unified that darkness cannot be perceived at all. And thus what is the same is seen as one, while what is not the same remains unnoticed, for it is not there.

This is the light that shows no opposites, and vision, being healed, has power to heal. This is the light that brings your peace of mind to other minds, to share it and be glad that they are one with you and with themselves. This is the light that heals because it brings single perception, based upon one frame of reference, from which one meaning comes.

Here are both giving and receiving seen as different aspects of one Thought whose truth does not depend on which is seen as first, nor which appears to be in second place. Here it is understood that both occur together, that the Thought remain complete. And in this understanding is the base on which all opposites are reconciled, because they are perceived from the same frame of reference which unifies this Thought.

One thought, completely unified, will serve to unify all thought. This is the same as saying one correction will suffice for all correction, or that to forgive one brother wholly is enough to bring salvation to all minds. For these are but some special cases of one law which holds for every kind of learning, if it be directed by the One Who knows the truth.

To learn that giving and receiving are the same has special usefulness, because it can be tried so easily and seen as true. And when this special case has proved it always works, in every circumstance where it is tried, the thought behind it can be generalized to other areas of doubt and double vision. And from there it will extend, and finally arrive at the one Thought which underlies them all.

Today we practice with the special case of giving and receiving. We will use this simple lesson in the obvious because it has results we cannot miss. To give is to receive. Today we will attempt to offer peace to everyone, and see how quickly peace returns to us. Light is tranquility, and in that peace is vision given us, and we can see.

So we begin the practice periods with the instruction for today, and say:

To give and to receive are one in truth.
I will receive what I am giving now.

Then close your eyes, and for five minutes think of what you would hold out to everyone, to have it yours. You might, for instance, say:

To everyone I offer quietness.
To everyone I offer peace of mind.
To everyone I offer gentleness.

Say each one slowly and then pause a while, expecting to receive the gift you gave. And it will come to you in the amount in which you gave it. You will find you have exact return, for that is what you asked. It might be helpful, too, to think of one to whom to give your gifts. He represents the others, and through him you give to all.

Our very simple lesson for today will teach you much. Effect and cause will be far better understood from this time on, and we will make much faster progress now. Think of the exercises for today as quick advances in your learning, made still faster and more sure each time you say, “To give and to receive are one in truth.”

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1301Would you kindly explain the following sentence: “Under the circumstances, would it not be more desirable to have been wrong, even apart from the fact that you were wrong?” (T.13.IV.3) What is the difference between “you have been” and “you were”?

A: In the context of the two paragraphs that precede this passage, Jesus is saying that we were wrong in believing that attack is our reality and that our destruction is the final proof that we were right. In other words, we were wrong about everything we believed. So he is saying that we should really want to be wrong — to be glad we have been wrong — because our identification with the ego has led only to unhappiness and hopelessness. Recall the question he asks us later in the text of A Course in Miracles “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” (T.29.VII.1:9) . It is the same idea — we should be glad that we have been totally wrong about ourselves and reality, and happily accept the truth that we have been denying.


Q #1302When I shut the doors, confine myself in a room, and immerse myself in reading A Course in Miracles , I feel such elation because everything it says rings true. I literally wish that when I open the doors, the illusory world would not exist anymore. This brings instantaneous fear and anxiety, of course. I sometimes picture the “cunning” ego asserting specialness, as if mocking me to say “see, God does not really love you; you’re stuck here.” I get so confused and sad, I just weep as I always have. It seems as if there is a constant battle raging inside me, and peace, even when it comes, is fleeting. It seems as if I have to remember to “choose once again” constantly and unrelentingly. When all is said and done, I truly want only God. I also honestly believe that God waits for me. But why the seeming distance and the muck that shields the light?

A: Yes, other students have these kinds of experiences — they are not uncommon at all. Patience and gentleness are essential in working through this process. If we could simply accept the peace of God without reservation the first time we open our minds to it, we would not need A Course in Miracles ; and, indeed, we probably would not even be here. It is perhaps far more helpful and realistic to assume that we don’t really want it — or, that we want it only our terms — because we are terrified of what it would mean to fully accept it. Deep down we realize that our identity as we know it would disappear, as would the world. We thus are highly conflicted — we both desperately want peace, yet are terrified of accepting it. We think it would be the most wonderful thing ever to awaken from this burdensome dream of suffering, yet we are not sure we want to let go of our identity as an self. This is the theme Jesus discusses in “The Fear of Redemption” (T.13.III) , and it is also the subject of Kenneth’s recent book, Ending Our Resistance to Love . However, Jesus reassures us of the gentleness of the journey on which he is leading us: we will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it (T.13.VII.9:1) ; and we will not be “abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality” (T.16.VI.8:1).

It certainly does seem as if a battle is being waged in our minds, but this is true only from the ego’s vantage point. (Note the section in the text called “Above the Battleground” (T.23.IV. ) The ego senses a mortal threat to its existence, and that threat is our mind’s power to decide against the ego and for the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness. To make this choice is the beginning of the end of the ego, which is why it devised its strategy to shield us from our identities as decision-making minds. Thus, for the ego there is definitely a life-and-death struggle, because both sides are real in its eyes. This is the tension we cannot help feeling when we identify with the ego. From Jesus vantage point, however, there is no battle, for he knows that the ego and everything it stands for is made up — you cannot do battle with something that does not exist, unless you’re Don Quixote! Asking our questions — what is the ego and where can it found? — Jesus answers: “Nothing and nowhere!” (C.2.6:7). Jesus thus guides us on our journey back into our minds where we can get in touch with our erroneous beliefs and then choose against them.

But because we think we are bodies living in a world and are no longer aware of our identity as minds with the power of choice, Jesus starts us off on that level and uses our experiences in the world to lead us back to the content in our minds, and eventually back to our identity as minds. He teaches us how to treat our reactions to the goings-on in our daily lives as reflections of the contents we have chosen to make real in our minds: “the outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1:5). That is why our interactions are important — they constitute the curriculum Jesus can use as our teacher. This is A Course in Miracles’ distinctive path.

If you retreat from the world out of fear, ultimately it is because you have given the world a power it does not really have, forgetting that it is a projection of your mind (part of the ego’s strategy) and that you therefore have given it the only meaning it has — a major principle in all of the Course’s teachings (in addition to the reference to Chapter 21 above, see also T.13.IX.3:1 and W.pI.2 ). Succumbing to the ego’s threats about the danger of remaining in your mind, you are overlooking the real strength that is still there. Depression is one of the consequences of taking the ego seriously. To choose the ego is to deny truth, separate yourself from the source of true peace and happiness, and have it appear that you are just a helpless victim of forces beyond your control. Jesus’ teaching objective, thus, is to lead us back within to the place where we make the choice to believe in his truth or to deny it. His method takes into consideration our unfortunate condition of not even realizing there is a “within” to which we can return. This, again, points to the value of our interactions in the world — we can now learn to focus on their purpose (content) while still acting responsibly in our roles (form): “Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has” (T.24.VI.1,2). This is where our hope lies, upheld by Jesus’ promise to be with us each step of the way, and by his guarantee that we cannot fail, for all that we are doing is denying our denial of truth (T.12.II.1:5) , and remembering what we chose to forget.

not his will you be crucified

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 17

ACIM Text Reading for April 17

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

II. Guiltlessness and Invulnerability

Earlier, I said that the Holy Spirit shares the goal of all good teachers, whose ultimate aim is to make themselves unnecessary by teaching their pupils all they know. The Holy Spirit wants only this, for sharing the Father’s Love for His Son, He seeks to remove all guilt from his mind that he may remember his Father in peace. Peace and guilt are antithetical, and the Father can be remembered only in peace. Love and guilt cannot coexist, and to accept one is to deny the other. Guilt hides Christ from your sight, for it is the denial of the blamelessness of God’s Son.

In the strange world that you have made the Son of God has sinned. How could you see him, then? By making him invisible, the world of retribution rose in the black cloud of guilt that you accepted, and you hold it dear. For the blamelessness of Christ is the proof that the ego never was, and can never be. Without guilt the ego has no life, and God’s Son is without guilt.

As you look upon yourself and judge what you do honestly, you may be tempted to wonder how you can be guiltless. Yet consider this: You are not guiltless in time, but in eternity. You have “sinned” in the past, but there is no past. Always has no direction. Time seems to go in one direction, but when you reach its end it will roll up like a long carpet spread along the past behind you, and will disappear. As long as you believe the Son of God is guilty you will walk along this carpet, believing that it leads to death. And the journey will seem long and cruel and senseless, for so it is.

The journey the Son of God has set himself is useless indeed, but the journey on which his Father sets him is one of release and joy. The Father is not cruel, and His Son cannot hurt himself. The retaliation that he fears and that he sees will never touch him, for although he believes in it the Holy Spirit knows it is not true. The Holy Spirit stands at the end of time, where you must be because he is with you. He has already undone everything unworthy of the Son of God, for such was His mission, given Him by God. And what God gives has always been.

You will see me as you learn the Son of God is guiltless. He has always sought his guiltlessness, and he has found it. For everyone is seeking to escape from the prison he has made, and the way to find release is not denied him. Being in him, he has found it. When he finds it is only a matter of time, and time is but an illusion. For the Son of God is guiltless now, and the brightness of his purity shines untouched forever in God’s Mind. God’s Son will always be as he was created. Deny your world and judge him not, for his eternal guiltlessness is in the Mind of his Father, and protects him forever.

When you have accepted the Atonement for yourself, you will realize there is no guilt in God’s Son. And only as you look upon him as guiltless can you understand his oneness. For the idea of guilt brings a belief in condemnation of one by another, projecting separation in place of unity. You can condemn only yourself, and by so doing you cannot know that you are God’s Son. You have denied the condition of his being, which is his perfect blamelessness. Out of love he was created, and in love he abides. Goodness and mercy have always followed him, for he has always extended the Love of his Father.

As you perceive the holy companions who travel with you, you will realize that there is no journey, but only an awakening. The Son of God, who sleepeth not, has kept faith with his Father for you. There is no road to travel on, and no time to travel through. For God waits not for His Son in time, being forever unwilling to be without him. And so it has always been. Let the holiness of God’s Son shine away the cloud of guilt that darkens your mind, and by accepting his purity as yours, learn of him that it is yours.

You are invulnerable because you are guiltless. You can hold on to the past only through guilt. For guilt establishes that you will be punished for what you have done, and thus depends on one-dimensional time, proceeding from past to future. No one who believes this can understand what “always” means, and therefore guilt must deprive you of the appreciation of eternity. You are immortal because you are eternal, and “always” must be now. Guilt, then, is a way of holding past and future in your mind to ensure the ego’s continuity. For if what has been will be punished, the ego’s continuity is guaranteed. Yet the guarantee of your continuity is God’s, not the ego’s. And immortality is the opposite of time, for time passes away, while immortality is constant.

Accepting the Atonement teaches you what immortality is, for by accepting your guiltlessness you learn that the past has never been, and so the future is needless and will not be. The future, in time, is always associated with expiation, and only guilt could induce a sense of a need for expiation. Accepting the guiltlessness of the Son of God as yours is therefore God’s way of reminding you of His Son, and what he is in truth. For God has never condemned His Son, and being guiltless he is eternal.

You cannot dispel guilt by making it real, and then atoning for it. This is the ego’s plan, which it offers instead of dispelling it. The ego believes in atonement through attack, being fully committed to the insane notion that attack is salvation. And you who cherish guilt must also believe it, for how else but by identifying with the ego could you hold dear what you do not want?

The ego teaches you to attack yourself because you are guilty, and this must increase the guilt, for guilt is the result of attack. In the ego’s teaching, then, there is no escape from guilt. For attack makes guilt real, and if it is real there is no way to overcome it. The Holy Spirit dispels it simply through the calm recognition that it has never been. As He looks upon the guiltless Son of God, He knows that this is true. And being true for you, you cannot attack yourself, for without guilt attack is impossible. You, then, are saved because God’s Son is guiltless. And being wholly pure, you are invulnerable.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 17

Lesson 108

To give and to receive are one in truth.

Vision depends upon today’s idea. The light is in it, for it reconciles all seeming opposites. And what is light except the resolution, born of peace, of all your conflicts and mistaken thoughts into one concept which is wholly true? Even that one will disappear, because the Thought behind it will appear instead to take its place. And now you are at peace forever, for the dream is over then.

True light that makes true vision possible is not the light the body’s eyes behold. It is a state of mind that has become so unified that darkness cannot be perceived at all. And thus what is the same is seen as one, while what is not the same remains unnoticed, for it is not there.

This is the light that shows no opposites, and vision, being healed, has power to heal. This is the light that brings your peace of mind to other minds, to share it and be glad that they are one with you and with themselves. This is the light that heals because it brings single perception, based upon one frame of reference, from which one meaning comes.

Here are both giving and receiving seen as different aspects of one Thought whose truth does not depend on which is seen as first, nor which appears to be in second place. Here it is understood that both occur together, that the Thought remain complete. And in this understanding is the base on which all opposites are reconciled, because they are perceived from the same frame of reference which unifies this Thought.

One thought, completely unified, will serve to unify all thought. This is the same as saying one correction will suffice for all correction, or that to forgive one brother wholly is enough to bring salvation to all minds. For these are but some special cases of one law which holds for every kind of learning, if it be directed by the One Who knows the truth.

To learn that giving and receiving are the same has special usefulness, because it can be tried so easily and seen as true. And when this special case has proved it always works, in every circumstance where it is tried, the thought behind it can be generalized to other areas of doubt and double vision. And from there it will extend, and finally arrive at the one Thought which underlies them all.

Today we practice with the special case of giving and receiving. We will use this simple lesson in the obvious because it has results we cannot miss. To give is to receive. Today we will attempt to offer peace to everyone, and see how quickly peace returns to us. Light is tranquility, and in that peace is vision given us, and we can see.

So we begin the practice periods with the instruction for today, and say:

To give and to receive are one in truth.
I will receive what I am giving now.

Then close your eyes, and for five minutes think of what you would hold out to everyone, to have it yours. You might, for instance, say:

To everyone I offer quietness.
To everyone I offer peace of mind.
To everyone I offer gentleness.

Say each one slowly and then pause a while, expecting to receive the gift you gave. And it will come to you in the amount in which you gave it. You will find you have exact return, for that is what you asked. It might be helpful, too, to think of one to whom to give your gifts. He represents the others, and through him you give to all.

Our very simple lesson for today will teach you much. Effect and cause will be far better understood from this time on, and we will make much faster progress now. Think of the exercises for today as quick advances in your learning, made still faster and more sure each time you say, “To give and to receive are one in truth.”

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #275: I am struggling with the exact meaning of the verb “to extend” in A Course in Miracles. I learn in the Glossary-Index and on page 114 of the text that the laws of mind in the world are different from the laws of mind in the Kingdom: the mind of the world projects and perceives and cannot go beyond this, while the Mind of spirit only extends. Since I am from a non-English-speaking culture, I am struggling to understand what seems to be a very fundamental concept. I would really appreciate your help.

A: As you may have noticed in the Glossary-Index, to extend, or extension, has two levels of meaning in the Course. At the level of knowledge — the oneness and totality of Heaven or the Kingdom, which the Course says is our only reality — extension is synonymous with creation (e.g., T.11.I.3:4,5; T.14.V.3:4). But the meaning of neither of these words is comprehensible to our finite minds, since they refer to a totally abstract activity or process of Mind/spirit that has nothing to do with time or space or bodies — all illusory dimensions of the physical world made by the false ego mind. In Heaven, we are God’s extensions or creations, and like Him, we can extend or create. But even this statement cannot be taken literally, for it suggests that we and God are separate, that He has somehow brought us into being as an entity separate from Him. Because our non-dualistic reality is one, unified, perfect and eternal, extension of that reality cannot involve adding more to it or increasing it in any way that our limited minds would understand (W.pI.105.4:2,3,4,5). And so there is little more to be said about the meaning of extension at this level that would be helpful.

The Course’s other meaning of extension refers to the level of perception, the level of the illusory, dualistic, split mind. The meaning is still somewhat abstract, but a little more comprehensible than at the completely abstract level of knowledge or Heaven. Our experience in the world of time and space and separate bodies is based on the law of mind that governs all thought at this level, the inevitable dynamic that leads us to perceive outside of ourselves the content within our minds that we have chosen to see as real. And there are only two contents to choose between within the split mind: the ego’s guilt or the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness. We see outside ourselves whatever content we have chosen within. If we have chosen the Holy Spirit as the guide for our thoughts, the Course refers to the process as extension. If the ego is our guide, the process is called projection.

The ego seeks to use the dynamic of projection to place the guilt outside of our minds and then to deny its origin in our minds. In other words, rather than seeing the guilt outside us as an extension of the same guilt in our minds — which it is — the ego wants us to believe that we can literally project the guilt outside of our minds so that it is now separate from us, thereby supposedly regaining for us the innocence we believe we lost with the thought of separation. And for this defense to work, we have to forget that we projected the guilt from our own mind. Of course, this is not how mind works, for denial does not alter the fact that the mind is indeed the source and “ideas leave not their source” (T.26.VII.4:7,8,9).

The Holy Spirit’s goal, in contrast, is to teach us to recognize the correspondence between what we perceive outside and what content we have chosen in our mind so that we can make an informed choice about what we will extend or project until our split mind is healed. The ego desperately attempts to hide this dynamic from us, for the success of its projection depends on our failing to recognize that we project or extend only our own thoughts (W.pI.30.2). And the ego’s strategy is very successful most of the time, for our anger and judgment reflect our belief that the outside world is indeed independent of us. So the Holy Spirit seeks to reinforce our awareness of the continuity between within and without as a result of extension, while the ego always seeks to deny the source in our mind and assert that what we see outside of ourselves — guilt — exists separate from and independent of us. The Course’s purpose is to help us see that the choice of what we extend or project is ours alone — each with its own consequences for our peace of mind.


Q #276: I belong to a group that meets weekly to study A Course in Miracles. It is essentially a leaderless group, in that we meet at each others’ homes, and the host(ess) sets the form and tone of the meeting. Overall, there is an agreement that we will study the Course, and that to understand and practice it is our purpose. However, over the years, it has regularly happened that someone will bring up the ideas put forth elsewhere. Sometimes these thoughts are brought up, discussed, etc., and we’re back to the main theme again. Other times, the meeting gets quite sidetracked and the theme becomes decidedly un-Course-like. What to do then? Sometimes one of us will make a comment to get things back on track, and that works fine, but sometimes that comment is clumsy, and others don’t make any indication that they support it. Other times no one says anything at all. We have tried, over the years, to make a better definition of our purpose, but our egos have a field day with that, and we have really argued with each other, and at one point part of us split off and formed another group. So, the question I think is, “How can I practice the loving lessons of the Course, when I’m still in the process of learning those lessons?” I will appreciate your comments.

A: Readiness does not mean mastery, Jesus tells us (T.2.VII.7). You simply practice as best you can; then review what happened, bring your mistakes to the love of Jesus, and ask his help to forgive yourself for not being perfect. There actually is no more effective way to learn this Course. The willingness to apply whatever you have learned is all that counts in the end, not how well you applied it. The ego would be thrilled if you put the practice of the Course on hold until you thought you had learned everything. Jesus, on the other hand, just asks that we turn to him and ask his help every step of the way, without judging ourselves. The essence of the process is learning how to trust, and identify with, his loving presence in our minds. He asks us to “trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this, and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it” (T.18.IV.2:3,4,5,6,7).

There is nothing in the Course about how to conduct group study, and it is not essential to be part of a group in order to learn and practice the Course. If you want to be in a group, however, it can be an excellent opportunity to practice what you have learned about special relationships and the authority problem. You can be there with the Holy Spirit or Jesus guiding you, in which case you would be learning how to perceive your interests as the same as everyone else’s, despite the differences in form and behavior. Or you can be there with the ego, in which case you would be reinforcing the ego’s view that your interests conflict with others’ interests and that the differences among you are serious and meaningful. It is no different than any other special relationship in that sense. You may choose to leave the group and form another one with the ego guiding you — which will result in condemnation, resentment, frustration, specialness, etc., or with the Holy Spirit or Jesus guiding you — which will result in your being peaceful, and without judgment of yourself or anyone else.

keep-calm-and-smile-like-nothing-happened-2

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 19

ACIM Text Reading for April 19

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

VI. Finding the Present

To perceive truly is to be aware of all reality through the awareness of your own. But for this no illusions can rise to meet your sight, for reality leaves no room for any error. This means that you perceive a brother only as you see him now. His past has no reality in the present, so you cannot see it. Your past reactions to him are also not there, and if it is to them that you react, you see but an image of him that you made and cherish instead of him. In your questioning of illusions, ask yourself if it is really sane to perceive what was as now. If you remember the past as you look upon your brother, you will be unable to perceive the reality that is now.

You consider it ‘natural’ to use your past experience as the reference point from which to judge the present. Yet this is unnatural because it is delusional. When you have learned to look on everyone with no reference at all to the past, either his or yours as you perceive it, you will be able to learn from what you see now. For the past can cast no shadow to darken the present, unless you are afraid of light. And only if you are would you choose to bring darkness with you, and by holding it in your mind, see it as a dark cloud that shrouds your brothers and conceals their reality from your sight.

This darkness is in you. The Christ as revealed to you now has no past, for He is changeless, and in His changelessness lies your release. For if He is as He was created, there is no guilt in Him. No cloud of guilt has risen to obscure Him, and He stands revealed in everyone you meet because you see Him through Himself. To be born again is to let the past go, and look without condemnation upon the present. The cloud that obscures God’s Son to you is the past, and if you would have it past and gone, you must not see it now. If you see it now in your illusions, it has not gone from you, although it is not there.

Time can release as well as imprison, depending on whose interpretation of it you use. Past, present and future are not continuous, unless you force continuity on them. You can perceive them as continuous, and make them so for you. But do not be deceived, and then believe that this is how it is. For to believe reality is what you would have it be according to your use for it is delusional. You would destroy time’s continuity by breaking it into past, present and future for your own purposes. You would anticipate the future on the basis of your past experience, and plan for it accordingly. Yet by doing so you are aligning past and future, and not allowing the miracle, which could intervene between them, to free you to be born again.

The miracle enables you to see your brother without his past, and so perceive him as born again. His errors are all past, and by perceiving him without them you are releasing him. And since his past is yours, you share in this release. Let no dark cloud out of your past obscure him from you, for truth lies only in the present, and you will find it if you seek it there. You have looked for it where it is not, and therefore have not found it. Learn, then, to seek it where it is, and it will dawn on eyes that see. Your past was made in anger, and if you use it to attack the present, you will not see the freedom that the present holds.

Judgement and condemnation are behind you, and unless you bring them with you, you will see that you are free of them. Look lovingly upon the present, for it holds the only things that are forever true. All healing lies within it because its continuity is real. It extends to all aspects of the Sonship at the same time, and thus enables them to reach each other. The present is before time was, and will be when time is no more. In it are all things that are eternal, and they are one. Their continuity is timeless and their communication is unbroken, for they are not separated by the past. Only the past can separate, and it is nowhere.

The present offers you your brothers in the light that would unite you with them, and free you from the past. Would you, then, hold the past against them? For if you do, you are choosing to remain in the darkness that is not there, and refusing to accept the light that is offered you. For the light of perfect vision is freely given as it is freely received, and can be accepted only without limit. In this one, still dimension of time that does not change, and where there is no sight of what you were, you look at Christ and call His witnesses to shine on you because you called them forth. And they will not deny the truth in you, because you looked for it in them and found it there.

Now is the time of salvation, for now is the release from time. Reach out to all your brothers, and touch them with the touch of Christ. In timeless union with them is your continuity, unbroken because it is wholly shared. God’s guiltless Son is only light. There is no darkness in him anywhere, for he is whole. Call all your brothers to witness to his wholeness, as I am calling you to join with me. Each voice has a part in the song of redemption, the hymn of gladness and thanksgiving for the light to the Creator of light. The holy light that shines forth from God’s Son is the witness that his light is of his Father.

Shine on your brothers in remembrance of your Creator, for you will remember Him as you call forth the witnesses to His creation. Those whom you heal bear witness to your healing, for in their wholeness you will see your own. And as your hymns of praise and gladness rise to your Creator, He will return your thanks in His clear Answer to your call. For it can never be that His Son called upon Him and remained unanswered. His call to you is but your call to Him. And in Him you are answered by His peace.

Child of light, you know not that the light is in you. Yet you will find it through its witnesses, for having given light to them they will return it. Each one you see in light brings your light closer to your awareness. Love always leads to love, The sick, who ask for love, are grateful for it, and in their joy they shine with holy thanks. And this they offer you who gave them joy. They are your guides to joy, for having received it of you they would keep it. You have established them as guides to peace, for you have made it manifest in them. And seeing it, its beauty calls you home.

There is a light that this world cannot give. Yet you can give it, as it was given you. And as you give it, it shines forth to call you from the world and follow it. For this light will attract you as nothing in this world can do. And you will lay aside the world and find another. This other world is bright with love which you have given it. And here will everything remind you of your Father and His holy Son. Light is unlimited, and spreads across this world in quiet joy. All those you brought with you will shine on you, and you will shine on them in gratitude because they brought you here. Your light will join with theirs in power so compelling, that it will draw the others out of darkness as you look on them.

Awaking unto Christ is following the laws of love of your free will, and out of quiet recognition of the truth in them. The attraction of light must draw you willingly, and willingness is signified by giving. Those who accept love of you become your willing witnesses to the love you gave them, and it is they who hold it out to you. In sleep you are alone, and your awareness is narrowed to yourself. And that is why the nightmares come. You dream of isolation because your eyes are closed. You do not see your brothers, and in the darkness you cannot look upon the light you gave to them.

And yet the laws of love are not suspended because you sleep. And you have followed them through all your nightmares, and have been faithful in your giving, for you were not alone. Even in sleep has Christ protected you, ensuring the real world for you when you awake. In your name He has given for you, and given you the gifts He gave. God’s Son is still as loving as his Father. Continuous with his Father, he has no past apart from Him. So he has never ceased to be his Father’s witness and his own. Although he slept, Christ’s vision did not leave him. And so it is that he can call unto himself the witnesses that teach him that he never slept.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 19

Lesson 108
To give and to receive are one in truth.

Vision depends upon today’s idea. The light is in it, for it reconciles all seeming opposites. And what is light except the resolution, born of peace, of all your conflicts and mistaken thoughts into one concept which is wholly true? Even that one will disappear, because the Thought behind it will appear instead to take its place. And now you are at peace forever, for the dream is over then.

True light that makes true vision possible is not the light the body’s eyes behold. It is a state of mind that has become so unified that darkness cannot be perceived at all. And thus what is the same is seen as one, while what is not the same remains unnoticed, for it is not there.

This is the light that shows no opposites, and vision, being healed, has power to heal. This is the light that brings your peace of mind to other minds, to share it and be glad that they are one with you and with themselves. This is the light that heals because it brings single perception, based upon one frame of reference, from which one meaning comes.

Here are both giving and receiving seen as different aspects of one Thought whose truth does not depend on which is seen as first, nor which appears to be in second place. Here it is understood that both occur together, that the Thought remain complete. And in this understanding is the base on which all opposites are reconciled, because they are perceived from the same frame of reference which unifies this Thought.

One thought, completely unified, will serve to unify all thought. This is the same as saying one correction will suffice for all correction, or that to forgive one brother wholly is enough to bring salvation to all minds. For these are but some special cases of one law which holds for every kind of learning, if it be directed by the One Who knows the truth.

To learn that giving and receiving are the same has special usefulness, because it can be tried so easily and seen as true. And when this special case has proved it always works, in every circumstance where it is tried, the thought behind it can be generalized to other areas of doubt and double vision. And from there it will extend, and finally arrive at the one Thought which underlies them all.

Today we practice with the special case of giving and receiving. We will use this simple lesson in the obvious because it has results we cannot miss. To give is to receive. Today we will attempt to offer peace to everyone, and see how quickly peace returns to us. Light is tranquility, and in that peace is vision given us, and we can see.

So we begin the practice periods with the instruction for today, and say:

To give and to receive are one in truth.
I will receive what I am giving now.

Then close your eyes, and for five minutes think of what you would hold out to everyone, to have it yours. You might, for instance, say:

To everyone I offer quietness.
To everyone I offer peace of mind.
To everyone I offer gentleness.

Say each one slowly and then pause a while, expecting to receive the gift you gave. And it will come to you in the amount in which you gave it. You will find you have exact return, for that is what you asked. It might be helpful, too, to think of one to whom to give your gifts. He represents the others, and through him you give to all.

Our very simple lesson for today will teach you much. Effect and cause will be far better understood from this time on, and we will make much faster progress now. Think of the exercises for today as quick advances in your learning, made still faster and more sure each time you say, “To give and to receive are one in truth.”

For a Free Audio Download of Today’s Text Reading & Workbook Lesson, Click HERE

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #108: As I continue to study A Course in Miracles, I am beginning to understand that the emotion that is commonly called “love” in this world is not at all the same as the “love” referred to in the Course. In fact, I have discovered that in many cases, my ego uses the idea of “love” to cover up a lot of very dysfunctional thinking and behavior. What is the relationship between love as we understand it in the world, and love as expressed in the Course, and how can we use that to guide our lives?

A: The distinction you make between the “love” the Course is referring to and what is called “love” in this world is correct. They are not the same thing. The love of this world is always what the Course calls “special love,” and it is the foundation of the “special relationship.” It not only has properties that are in direct opposition to the love the Course refers to, it is actually a mask for hatred: “It is in the special relationship, born of the hidden wish for special love from God, that the ego’s hatred triumphs. For the special relationship is the renunciation of the Love of God, and the attempt to secure for the self the specialness that He denied” (T.16.V.4:1,2). We are secretly saying to anyone or anything we have a special love relationship with: “God did not love me with the specialness I want, so I will use you to get the special love I think I cannot live without.” What we call “love,” therefore, is our substitute for God’s love. Furthermore, the Course tells us it is hate: “…any brother with whom you have a limited relationship, you hate” (T.21.III1:3). This “hate” is based on the misperception that we are different, incomplete, and needy. In the special love relationship an agreement is made for mutual needs to be met, and thus we seek to fill the void left by our seeming separation from God. And, true to the ego’s mandate “seek but do not find” (T.16.V.6:5), this substitute for God’s love will never satisfy our need, no matter how we try to make it work. Even the most fulfilling “love” relationship will eventually end in death.

What the Course is inviting us to do is to look at our special love relationships from this new perspective, as shocking as it may seem to be, so that we will become willing to open ourselves to a new purpose, and a new interpretation: “A holy relationship starts from a different premise. Each one has looked within and seen no lack. Accepting his completion, he would extend it by joining with another, whole as himself. He sees no difference between these selves, for differences are only of the body. Therefore, he looks on nothing he would take. He denies not his own reality because it is the truth”(T.22.in.3:1,2,3,4,5,6).

The important thing to remember is that it is normal, not sinful, to have special relationships, and they will not be taken away. In fact, they can be useful in our lives if we give them to the Holy Spirit to be transformed into holy relationships: “I have said repeatedly that the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships, but would transform them” (T.17.IV.2:3). In this way, the love we experience with another person becomes a reflection of the love of God in the dream, not a substitute for it.

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Q #1134: I have a question regarding how to “approach” special love and hate relationships, which are the same if I understand A Course in Miracles correctly. They keep us from “real” love.

The Course “recommends” handing them over to the Holy Spirit. I have been trying to come to terms with one special relationship which involved both love and hate. At first I rejected it, then returned to it with the argument of the Course saying “you should love your special relationships in order to have a happy dream and then “awaken” (sort of!).” However, how can we love something that is ultimately “made” to attack God and ourselves as well? Isn’t that a contradiction, and perhaps even counter-productive to our “healing”? Would it not then be better to “reject” someone and walk away?

I find it very difficult, in that relationship, to “give only love.” There are issues that I feel need to be addressed, and when I do, ultimately the true nature of this relationship — hate — comes forth. How can we ever give true love in this world? What is more, how do we recognize it?

A: You do understand correctly; every special love relationship is a mask for special hate. If it is special, it is hateful, not necessarily in form, but certainly in content. In the Course, the term “special” is synonymous with “separate” because every special relationship has belief in separation at its core. Keeping this in mind is helpful since it explains why specialness is “hateful” even when it looks loving. Separation is a murderous thought by which the Son of God believes he can usurp God’s power, steal life from Him, and live in a body independent of His Love. That is the content of every special relationship, no matter how loving the form may seem. This distinction between form and content is the key to unraveling the confusion regarding special relationships. In content they are all the same. The problem in any relationship is not the seeming love or hate that characterizes its form, but the mind’s decision to use it to sustain belief in separation, thereby defending itself against God’s Love. Willingness to recognize this ego dynamic at work in the relationship you refer to is how to give it to the Holy Spirit. We need not lose the special relationships; Jesus says we will not be deprived of them: “I have said repeatedly that the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships, but would transform them” (T.17.IV.2:3). The “hate” you experience in the relationship is the projection of the mind’s guilt for having attacked God by choosing the ego. It has nothing to do with the other person. However, it is possible to work out any issues you may have on the level of form, while remaining aware of the mind’s projection. The Holy Spirit is present in your willingness to recognize that the “issues” are not the cause of conflict in the relationship; guilt is.

Although there is no true love in this world, its reflection begins with the simple acknowledgment that the origin of hate masquerading as special love is the mind’s decision to choose the ego as teacher instead of the Holy Spirit. The ego focuses on form, blaming external agents for its discomfort, while the Holy Spirit asks us to see everything as a reflection of the mind’s choice. You know you have chosen the Holy Spirit when you find yourself becoming increasingly mindful of your projections, regardless of the judgments or hateful feelings that arise in a relationship. This is the first step in the practice of forgiveness as the Course teaches it. It is the way that everything the ego made as an attack on God can be transformed and used by the Holy Spirit to undo the belief in separation and lead us back to Him. You have taken a step in the right direction by not denying the hatred you find in the relationship. It is important not to try to change the feelings or fight against them, but to recognize that their true source is the mind’s belief in separation, as we said earlier.

In the introduction to the text, Jesus makes it clear that the goal of the Course is not love: 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 (T.in.1:6,7). The blocks are all the thoughts and judgments that flow from the mind’s decision to identify with the ego. They cannot be removed until they are recognized, which is why there is much emphasis, in the practice of the Course, on looking at the ego. Exposing it to the light of the Holy Spirit’s teaching is how it is undone; not by any effort on our part, but by a little willingness to see that one’s own thoughts are blocking the memory of God’s Love. The love that flows naturally when the mind chooses the Holy Spirit is not special because it excludes no one. It is not the “love” of one person for some people to the exclusion of others. The way is opened to this love when projections are acknowledged without judgment, and no attempt is made to interfere. Since everything the ego made is an attack on God, it isn’t necessary to seek out situations or persons that upset you. There is nothing wrong with keeping a distance from a disturbing relationship. As with idols, if one relationship seems too much to handle, “Another can be found” (W.p.I.170.8:7) . Everything and everyone is equally important in the classroom of forgiveness. They are the form love takes until every judgment is laid aside and the Holy Spirit’s Love flows uninterruptedly.

want only love