A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 9, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for May 9

Chapter 15

THE HOLY INSTANT

I. The Two Uses of Time

Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time? Yet that is what time is for; to learn just that and nothing more. God’s Teacher cannot be satisfied with His teaching until it constitutes all your learning. He has not fulfilled His teaching function until you have become such a consistent learner that you learn only of Him. When this has happened, you will no longer need a teacher or time in which to learn.

One source of perceived discouragement from which you may suffer is your belief that this takes time, and that the results of the Holy Spirit’s teaching are far in the future. This is not so. For the Holy Spirit uses time in His Own way, and is not bound by it. Time is His friend in teaching. It does not waste Him, as it does you. And all the waste that time seems to bring with it is due but to your identification with the ego, which uses time to support its belief in destruction. The ego, like the Holy Spirit, uses time to convince you of the inevitability of the goal and end of teaching. To the ego the goal is death, which is its end. But to the Holy Spirit the goal is life, which has no end.

The ego is an ally of time, but not a friend. For it is as mistrustful of death as it is of life, and what it wants for you it cannot tolerate. The ego wants you dead, but not itself. The outcome of its strange religion must therefore be the conviction that it can pursue you beyond the grave. And out of its unwillingness for you to find peace even in death, it offers you immortality in hell. It speaks to you of Heaven, but assures you that Heaven is not for you. How can the guilty hope for Heaven?

The belief in hell is inescapable to those who identify with the ego. Their nightmares and their fears are all associated with it. The ego teaches that hell is in the future, for this is what all its teaching is directed to. Hell is its goal. For although the ego aims at death and dissolution as an end, it does not believe it. The goal of death, which it craves for you, leaves it unsatisfied. No one who follows the ego’s teaching is without the fear of death. Yet if death were thought of merely as an end to pain, would it be feared? We have seen this strange paradox in the ego’s thought system before, but never so clearly as here. For the ego must seem to keep fear from you to hold your allegiance. Yet it must engender fear in order to maintain itself. Again the ego tries, and all too frequently succeeds, in doing both, by using dissociation for holding its contradictory aims together so that they seem to be reconciled. The ego teaches thus: Death is the end as far as hope of Heaven goes. Yet because you and the ego cannot be separated, and because it cannot conceive of its own death, it will pursue you still, because guilt is eternal. Such is the ego’s version of immortality. And it is this the ego’s version of time supports.

The ego teaches that Heaven is here and now because the future is hell. Even when it attacks so savagely that it tries to take the life of someone who thinks its is the only voice, it speaks of hell even to him. For it tells him hell is here as well, and bids him leap from hell into oblivion. The only time the ego allows anyone to look upon with equanimity is the past. And even there, its only value is that it is no more.

How bleak and despairing is the ego’s use of time! And how terrifying! For underneath its fanatical insistence that the past and future be the same is hidden a far more insidious threat to peace. The ego does not advertise its final threat, for it would have its worshippers still believe that it can offer them escape. But the belief in guilt must lead to the belief in hell, and always does. The only way in which the ego allows the fear of hell to be experienced is to bring hell here, but always as a foretaste of the future. For no one who considers himself as deserving of hell can believe that punishment will end in peace.

The Holy Spirit teaches thus: There is no hell. Hell is only what the ego has made of the present. The belief in hell is what prevents you from understanding the present, because you are afraid of it. The Holy Spirit leads as steadily to Heaven as the ego drives to hell. For the Holy Spirit, who knows only the present, uses it to undo the fear by which the ego would make the present useless. There is no escape from fear in the ego’s use of time. For time, according to its teaching, is nothing but a teaching device for compounding guilt until it becomes all-encompassing, demanding vengeance forever.

The Holy Spirit would undo all of this now. Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist. There is no fear in the present when each instant stands clear and separated from the past, without its shadow reaching out into the future. Each instant is a clean, untarnished birth, in which the Son of God emerges from the past into the present. And the present extends forever. It is so beautiful and so clean and free of guilt that nothing but happiness is there. No darkness is remembered, and immortality and joy are now.

This lesson takes no time. For what is time without a past and future? It has taken time to misguide you so completely, but it takes no time at all to be what you are. Begin to practise the Holy Spirit’s use of time as a teaching aid to happiness and peace. Take this very instant, now, and think of it as all there is of time. Nothing can reach you here out of the past, and it is here that you are completely absolved, completely free and wholly without condemnation. From this holy instant wherein holiness was born again you will go forth in time without fear, and with no sense of change with time.

Time is inconceivable without change, yet holiness does not change. Learn from this instant more than merely that hell does not exist. In this redeeming instant lies Heaven. And Heaven will not change, for the birth into the holy present is salvation from change. Change is an illusion, taught by those who cannot see themselves as guiltless. There is no change in Heaven because there is no change in God. In the holy instant, in which you see yourself as bright with freedom, you will remember God. For remembering Him is to remember freedom.

If you are tempted to be dispirited by thinking how long it would take to change your mind so completely, ask yourself, ‘How long is an instant?’ Could you not give so short a time to the Holy Spirit for your salvation? He asks no more, for He has no need of more. It takes far longer to teach you to be willing to give Him this than for Him to use this tiny instant to offer you the whole of Heaven. In exchange for this instant He stands ready to give you the remembrance of eternity.

You will never give this holy instant to the Holy Spirit on behalf of your release while you are unwilling to give it to your brothers on behalf of theirs. For the instant of holiness is shared, and cannot be yours alone. Remember, then, when you are tempted to attack a brother, that his instant of release is yours. Miracles are the instants of release you offer, and will receive. They attest to your willingness to be released, and to offer time to the Holy Spirit for His use of it.

How long is an instant? It is as short for your brother as it is for you. Practise giving this blessed instant of freedom to all who are enslaved by time, and thus make time their friend for them. The Holy Spirit gives their blessed instant to you through your giving it. As you give it, He offers it to you. Be not unwilling to give what you would receive of Him, for you join with Him in giving. In the crystal cleanness of the release you give is your instantaneous escape from guilt. You must be holy if you offer holiness.

How long is an instant? As long as it takes to re-establish perfect sanity, perfect peace and perfect love for everyone, for God and for yourself. As long as it takes to remember immortality, and your immortal creations who share it with you. As long as it takes to exchange hell for Heaven. Long enough to transcend all of the ego’s making, and ascend unto your Father.

Time is your friend, if you leave it to the Holy Spirit to use. He needs but very little to restore God’s whole power to you. He Who transcends time for you understands what time is for. Holiness lies not in time, but in eternity. There never was an instant in which God’s Son could lose his purity. His changeless state is beyond time, for his purity remains forever beyond attack and without variability. Time stands still in his holiness, and changes not. And so it is no longer time at all. For caught in the single instant of the eternal sanctity of God’s creation, it is transformed into forever. Give the eternal instant, that eternity may be remembered for you, in that shining instant of perfect release. Offer the miracle of the holy instant through the Holy Spirit, and leave His giving it to you to Him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 9

Lesson 125

In quiet I receive God’s word today.

1. Let this day be a day of stillness and of quiet listening. Your Father wills you hear His Word today. He calls to you from deep within your mind where He abides. Hear Him today. No peace is possible until His Word is heard around the world; until your mind, in quiet listening, accepts the message that the world must hear to usher in the quiet time of peace.

2. This world will change through you. No other means can save it, for God’s plan is simply this: The Son of God is free to save himself, given the Word of God to be his Guide, forever in his mind and at his side to lead him surely to his Father’s house by his own will, forever free as God’s. He is not led by force, but only love. He is not judged, but only sanctified.

3. In stillness we will hear God’s Voice today without intrusion of our petty thoughts, without our personal desires, and without all judgment of His holy Word. We will not judge ourselves today, for what we are can not be judged. We stand apart from all the judgments which the world has laid upon the Son of God. It knows him not. Today we will not listen to the world, but wait in silence for the Word of God.

4. Hear, holy Son of God, your Father speak. His Voice would give to you His holy Word, to spread across the world the tidings of salvation and the holy time of peace. We gather at the throne of God today, the quiet place within the mind where He abides forever, in the holiness that He created and will never leave.

5. He has not waited until you return your mind to Him to give His Word to you. He has not hid Himself from you, while you have wandered off a little while from Him. He does not cherish the illusions which you hold about yourself. He knows His Son, and wills that he remain as part of Him regardless of his dreams; regardless of his madness that his will is not his own.

6. Today He speaks to you. His Voice awaits your silence, for His Word can not be heard until your mind is quiet for a while, and meaningless desires have been stilled. Await His Word in quiet. There is peace within you to be called upon today, to help make ready your most holy mind to hear the Voice for its Creator speak.

7. Three times today, at times most suitable for silence, give ten minutes set apart from listening to the world, and choose instead a gentle listening to the Word of God. He speaks from nearer than your heart to you. His Voice is closer than your hand. His Love is everything you are and that He is; the same as you, and you the same as He.

8. It is your voice to which you listen as He speaks to you. It is your word He speaks. It is the Word of freedom and of peace, of unity of will and purpose, with no separation nor division in the single Mind of Father and of Son. In quiet listen to your Self to­day, and let Him tell you God has never left His Son, and you have never left your Self.

9. Only be quiet. You will need no rule but this, to let your practicing today lift you above the thinking of the world, and free your vision from the body’s eyes. Only be still and listen. You will hear the Word in which the Will of God the Son joins in His Father’s Will, at one with it, with no illusions interposed be­tween the wholly indivisible and true. As every hour passes by today, be still a moment and remind yourself you have a special purpose for this day; in quiet to receive the Word of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Are babies born innocent? 

A) The only true state of innocence is in Heaven, the real home of God’s Son. With very, very few exceptions — the Teachers of teachers referred to in the manual for teachers (M-26.2) — only those who retain guilt in their minds “come here” and are born. Workbook Lesson 182 provides a poignant portrait of all inhabitants of this world: 

We speak today for everyone who walks this world, for he is not at home. He goes uncertainly about in endless search, seeking in darkness what he cannot find; not recognizing what it is he seeks. A thousand homes he makes, yet none contents his restless mind. He does not understand he builds in vain. The home he seeks can not be made by him. There is no substitute for Heaven. All he ever made was hell (W-pI.182.3).

And yet it is this very belief that there is a substitute for Heaven that constitutes sin, and the resultant and inevitable guilt continually propels the separated Son to review mentally the thought of separation and its effects that have already gone by. Thus all who come here share this guilt over their lost innocence. Moreover, their egos’ purpose for their manifestation in the world is the reinforcement of this guilt. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit’s purpose once people believe they are here, is the unlearning of this guilt through the practice of forgiveness that undoes the belief in victimization. This eventually restores to all the separated ones their awareness of the innocence that is rightly and eternally theirs as God’s one Son, the Christ He created as One with Him. 

In this context, one can understand that the popular view that babies are born innocent and are corrupted by society — Rousseau’s “noble savage” thesis — falls very nicely within the ego’s strategic plan to convince us that the world is real and has victimizing effects on us. The ego thought system upholds the idea that we are not the dreamer of the dream that is the world, but that rather the dream is dreaming us. Therefore, it is the world that is responsible for the loss of my innocence. It was not that I gave it away by my thoughts, but rather that it was taken from me, the innocent victim of a world I did not make or choose. This fundamental ego principle is the subject of the following passage from “The Hero of the Dream”: 

The body’s serial adventures, from the time of birth to dying are the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The “hero” of this dream will never change, nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms, and seems to show a great variety of places and events wherein its “hero” finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways. This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more; that it is cause and not effect, And you are its effect, and cannot be its cause. Thus are you not the dreamer, but the dream. And so you wander idly in and out of places and events that it contrives. That this is all the body does is true, for it is but a figure in a dream (T-27.VIII.3:1-4:3; italics ours).

Since ultimately our lives are our dreams — the outpicturing of the thoughts in our minds — only we can be responsible for the loss of innocence that is the central theme of everyone’s dream. No one is born innocent; only Christ is innocent, and He was never born. But through the process of forgiveness and accepting the correction for our mistaken thoughts, we can remember that we never truly sinned. In truth, therefore, we are innocent of any belief that we separated ourselves from Innocence Itself. 

present love

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

ACIM Text Reading for May 25

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

VII. Sharing Perception with the Holy Spirit

What do you want? Light or darkness, knowledge or ignorance are yours, but not both. Opposites must be brought together, not kept apart. For their separation is only in your mind, and they are reconciled by union, as you are. In union, everything that is not real must disappear, for truth is union. As darkness disappears in light, so ignorance fades away when knowledge dawns. Perception is the medium by which ignorance is brought to knowledge. Yet the perception must be without deceit, for otherwise it becomes the messenger of ignorance rather than a helper in the search for truth.

The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth. Truth is. It can neither be lost nor sought nor found. It is there, wherever you are, being within you. Yet it can be recognised or unrecognised, real or false to you. If you hide it, it becomes unreal to you because you hid it and surrounded it with fear. Under each cornerstone of fear on which you have erected your insane system of belief, the truth lies hidden. Yet you cannot know this, for by hiding truth in fear, you see no reason to believe that the more you look at fear the less you see it, and the clearer what it conceals becomes.

It is not possible to convince the unknowing that they know. From their point of view it is not true. Yet it is true because God knows it. These are clearly opposite viewpoints on what the ‘unknowing’ are. To God, unknowing is impossible. It is therefore not a point of view at all, but merely a belief in something that does not exist. It is only this belief that the unknowing have, and by it they are wrong about themselves. They have defined themselves as they were not created. Their creation was not a point of view, but rather a certainty. Uncertainty brought to certainty does not retain any conviction of reality.

Our emphasis has been on bringing what is undesirable to the desirable; what you do not want to what you do. You will realise that salvation must come to you this way, if you consider what dissociation is. Dissociation is a distorted process of thinking whereby two systems of belief which cannot coexist are both maintained. If they are brought together, their joint acceptance becomes impossible. But if one is kept in darkness from the other, their separation seems to keep them both alive and equal in their reality. Their joining thus becomes the source of fear, for if they meet, acceptance must be withdrawn from one of them. You cannot have them both, for each denies the other. Apart, this fact is lost from sight, for each in a separate place can be endowed with firm belief. Bring them together, and the fact of their complete incompatibility is instantly apparent. One will go, because the other is seen in the same place.

Light cannot enter darkness when a mind believes in darkness, and will not let it go. Truth does not struggle against ignorance, and love does not attack fear. What needs no protection does not defend itself. Defence is of your making. God knows it not. The Holy Spirit uses defences on behalf of truth only because you made them against it. His perception of them, according to His purpose, merely changes them into a call for what you have attacked with them. Defences, like everything you made, must be gently turned to your own good, translated by the Holy Spirit from means of self- destruction to means of preservation and release. His task is mighty, but the power of God is with Him. Therefore, to Him it is so easy that it was accomplished the instant it was given Him for you. Do not delay in your return to peace by wondering how He can fulfil what God has given Him to do. Leave that to Him Who knows. You are not asked to do mighty tasks yourself. You are merely asked to do the little He suggests you do, trusting Him only to the small extent of believing that, if He asks it, you can do it. You will see how easily all that He asks can be accomplished.

The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him. Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon. He sees for you, and unless you look with Him He cannot see. The vision of Christ is not for Him alone, but for Him with you. Bring, therefore, all your dark and secret thoughts to Him, and look upon them with Him. He holds the light, and you the darkness. They cannot coexist when both of you together look on them. His judgement must prevail, and He will give it to you as you join your perception to His.

Joining with Him in seeing is the way in which you learn to share with Him the interpretation of perception that leads to knowledge. You cannot see alone. Sharing perception with Him Whom God has given you teaches you how to recognise what you see. It is the recognition that nothing you see means anything alone. Seeing with Him will show you that all meaning, including yours, comes not from double vision, but from the gentle fusing of everything into one meaning, one emotion and one purpose. God has one Purpose which He shares with you. The single vision which the Holy Spirit offers you will bring this oneness to your mind with clarity and brightness so intense you could not wish, for all the world, not to accept what God would have you have. Behold your will, accepting it as His, with all His Love as yours. All honour to you through Him, and through Him unto God.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 25

Lesson 125

In quiet I receive God’s Word today.

Let this day be a day of stillness and of quiet listening. Your Father wills you hear His Word today. He calls to you from deep within your mind where He abides. Hear Him today. No peace is possible until His Word is heard around the world; until your mind, in quiet listening, accepts the message that the world must hear to usher in the quiet time of peace.

This world will change through you. No other means can save it, for God’s plan is simply this: The Son of God is free to save himself, given the Word of God to be his Guide, forever in his mind and at his side to lead him surely to his Father’s house by his own will, forever free as God’s. He is not led by force, but only love. He is not judged, but only sanctified.

In stillness we will hear God’s Voice today without intrusion of our petty thoughts, without our personal desires, and without all judgment of His holy Word. We will not judge ourselves today, for what we are can not be judged. We stand apart from all the judgments which the world has laid upon the Son of God. It knows him not. Today we will not listen to the world, but wait in silence for the Word of God.

Hear, holy Son of God, your Father speak. His Voice would give to you His holy Word, to spread across the world the tidings of salvation and the holy time of peace. We gather at the throne of God today, the quiet place within the mind where He abides forever, in the holiness that He created and will never leave.

He has not waited until you return your mind to Him to give His Word to you. He has not hid Himself from you, while you have wandered off a little while from Him. He does not cherish the illusions which you hold about yourself. He knows His Son, and wills that he remain as part of Him regardless of his dreams; regardless of his madness that his will is not his own.

Today He speaks to you. His Voice awaits your silence, for His Word can not be heard until your mind is quiet for a while, and meaningless desires have been stilled. Await His Word in quiet. There is peace within you to be called upon today, to help make ready your most holy mind to hear the Voice for its Creator speak.

Three times today, at times most suitable for silence, give ten minutes set apart from listening to the world, and choose instead a gentle listening to the Word of God. He speaks from nearer than your heart to you. His Voice is closer than your hand. His Love is everything you are and that He is; the same as you, and you the same as He.

It is your voice to which you listen as He speaks to you. It is your word He speaks. It is the Word of freedom and of peace, of unity of will and purpose, with no separation nor division in the single Mind of Father and of Son. In quiet listen to your Self today, and let Him tell you God has never left His Son, and you have never left your Self.

Only be quiet. You will need no rule but this, to let your practicing today lift you above the thinking of the world, and free your vision from the body’s eyes. Only be still and listen. You will hear the Word in which the Will of God the Son joins in his Father’s Will, at one with it, with no illusions interposed between the wholly indivisible and true. As every hour passes by today, be still a moment and remind yourself you have a special purpose for this day; in quiet to receive the Word of God.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for today

Q #103: What does Jesus mean when He refers to our “creations”?

A: Our creations exist only on the level of spirit. They are not things or beings, and are not part of the illusory world of form. The term is used in the Course to refer to the love that is present in the mind of the Sonship. Our creations are the loving thoughts in the Christ Mind. The term is used as a symbol to help us understand that in truth we are the Father’s creation, and like Him we “create” by the Thoughts of love that extend throughout the Sonship and return to the Father. They are “the extensions of our spirit…as extensions of Christ, our creations are part of the Second Person of the Trinity; creation is ongoing in Heaven, beyond time and space, and independent of the son’s lack of awareness of it in the world” (Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles, Kenneth Wapnick). When we fully let go of our ego identity, and accept who we really are as God created us, we will know and accept our creations. This occurs outside of the dream, where we are at home in God. That is where we find our creations. The Course uses this beautiful image to encourage us to seek our truth; “Heaven waits silently, and your creations are holding out their hands to help you cross and welcome them. For it is they you seek. You seek but for your own completion, and it is they who render you complete…Acceptance of your creations is the acceptance of the Oneness of creation, without which you could never be complete” (T.16.IV.8:1,2,3,6).


Q #104: A question about “to forgive” or “to give over.” I am studying A Course in Miracles in German, my native tongue, but am also using the English version as a cross reference. An identical semantic problem arises in both German and English. In the Text I found three places where Jesus is using “to give over” instead of “to forgive.” They are T.3.VI.9.1; T.13.VII.6.6 and T.15.IV.4.2.

I have been studying the Course for nearly 10 years and always had a difficulty with “to forgive” because the dictionary definition for it is “to give up,” while “to give over” seems much more to the point particularly when we come to the place where Jesus is asking us to forgive him. This is something I can only understand in the sense that we should give over to him our critical thoughts we have about him. Could you please explain why “to give over” is hardly ever used, and “to forgive” so frequently?

A: It is always helpful to remember that the Course has come as a correction — first as a correction for our ego, but then also as a correction for some of the ego’s specific expressions, including its distortion within traditional Christianity of Jesus’ original message of love and forgiveness. So the Course uses the words of traditional Christianity, such as crucifixion and resurrection, Atonementmiracle and forgiveness, but gives them a different meaning. This reflects the Course’s basic approach to all of our special relationships — keeping the same form but providing it a different content, as a reminder that the problem is not the form (in this case, the word) but the ego content we have given it. It is our ego that always focuses on form so that we overlook the content.

So it is important to develop an understanding of how Jesus is using these concepts in the Course and not rely on our prior understanding of their meaning or dictionary definitions, which will reflect the meaning our egos have given those terms. In the case of forgiveness, the ego has told us that to forgive means to give up our need to right the wrongs of others through punishing them or extracting some kind of payment from them, all the time holding on to the reality of their transgressions, or sins. Contrast this with the Course’s use of the term: “Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven. What is sin, except a false idea about God’s Son. Forgiveness merely sees its falsity, and therefore lets it go” (W.pII.1.1:6; italics added).

In the Course’s use of the word, we are not really talking about anyone else when we are speaking of forgiveness. We are speaking of releasing ourselves from the very same judgments that we had projected on to our brothers, including Jesus, believing that we had relieved ourselves of that burden of guilt by placing it on them. The Course teaches us that blame can not be gotten rid of by seeing it elsewhere (T.11.IV.5:3). It must be undone at its source, in our own mind. And that involves simply a letting go, a releasing, a giving over, or a giving up, to the light of forgiveness, in which the unreality of sin and guilt becomes apparent.

Holy Encounter copy


 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 5

ACIM Text Reading for May 5

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

VII. The Light of Communication

The journey that we undertake together is the exchange of dark for light, of ignorance for understanding. Nothing you understand is fearful. It is only in darkness and in ignorance that you perceive the frightening, and shrink away from it to further darkness. And yet it is only the hidden that can terrify, not for what it is, but for its hiddenness. The obscure is frightening because you do not understand its meaning. If you did, it would be clear and you would be no longer in the dark. Nothing has hidden value, for what is hidden cannot be shared, and so its value is unknown. The hidden is kept apart, but value always lies in joint appreciation. What is concealed cannot be loved, and so it must be feared.

The quiet light in which the Holy Spirit dwells within you is merely perfect openness, in which nothing is hidden and therefore nothing is fearful. Attack will always yield to love if it is brought to love, not hidden from it. There is no darkness that the light of love will not dispel, unless it is concealed from love’s beneficence. What is kept apart from love cannot share its healing power, because it has been separated off and kept in darkness. The sentinels of darkness watch over it carefully, and you who made these guardians of illusion out of nothing are now afraid of them.

Would you continue to give imagined power to these strange ideas of safety? They are neither safe nor unsafe. They do not protect; neither do they attack. They do nothing at all, being nothing at all. As guardians of darkness and of ignorance look to them only for fear, for what they keep obscure is fearful. But let them go, and what was fearful will be so no longer. Without protection of obscurity only the light of love remains, for only this has meaning and can live in light. Everything else must disappear.

Death yields to life simply because destruction is not true. The light of guiltlessness shines guilt away because, when they are brought together, the truth of one must make the falsity of its opposite perfectly clear. Keep not guilt and guiltlessness apart, for your belief that you can have them both is meaningless. All you have done by keeping them apart is lose their meaning by confusing them with each other. And so you do not realize that only one means anything. The other is wholly without sense of any kind.

You have regarded the separation as a means for breaking your communication with your Father. The Holy Spirit reinterprets it as a means of re-establishing what was not broken, but has been made obscure. All things you made have use to Him, for His most holy purpose. He knows you are not separate from God, but He perceives much in your mind that lets you think you are. All this and nothing else would He separate from you. The power of decision, which you made in place of the power of creation, He would teach you how to use on your behalf. You who made it to crucify yourself must learn of Him how to apply it to the holy cause of restoration.

You who speak in dark and devious symbols do not understand the language you have made. It has no meaning, for its purpose is not communication, but rather the disruption of communication. If the purpose of language is communication, how can this tongue mean anything? Yet even this strange and twisted effort to communicate through not communicating holds enough of love to make it meaningful if its Interpreter is not its maker. You who made it are but expressing conflict, from which the Holy Spirit would release you. Leave what you would communicate to Him. He will interpret it to you with perfect clarity, for He knows with Whom you are in perfect communication.

You know not what you say, and so you know not what is said to you. Yet your Interpreter perceives the meaning in your alien language. He will not attempt to communicate the meaningless. But he will separate out all that has meaning, dropping off the rest and offering your true communication to those who would communicate as truly with you. You speak two languages at once, and this must lead to unintelligibility. Yet if one means nothing and the other everything, only that one is possible for purposes of communication. The other but interferes with it.

The Holy Spirit’s function is entirely communication. He therefore must remove whatever interferes with communication in order to restore it. Therefore, keep no source of interference from His sight, for He will not attack your sentinels. But bring them to Him and let His gentleness teach you that, in the light, they are not fearful, and cannot serve to guard the dark doors behind which nothing at all is carefully concealed. We must open all doors and let the light come streaming through. There are no hidden chambers in God’s temple. Its gates are open wide to greet His Son. No one can fail to come where God has called him, if he close not the door himself upon his Father’s welcome.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 5

Lesson 125

In quiet I receive God’s Word today.

Let this day be a day of stillness and of quiet listening. Your Father wills you hear His Word today. He calls to you from deep within your mind where He abides. Hear Him today. No peace is possible until His Word is heard around the world; until your mind, in quiet listening, accepts the message that the world must hear to usher in the quiet time of peace.

This world will change through you. No other means can save it, for God’s plan is simply this: The Son of God is free to save himself, given the Word of God to be his Guide, forever in his mind and at his side to lead him surely to his Father’s house by his own will, forever free as God’s. He is not led by force, but only love. He is not judged, but only sanctified.

In stillness we will hear God’s Voice today without intrusion of our petty thoughts, without our personal desires, and without all judgment of His holy Word. We will not judge ourselves today, for what we are can not be judged. We stand apart from all the judgments which the world has laid upon the Son of God. It knows him not. Today we will not listen to the world, but wait in silence for the Word of God.

Hear, holy Son of God, your Father speak. His Voice would give to you His holy Word, to spread across the world the tidings of salvation and the holy time of peace. We gather at the throne of God today, the quiet place within the mind where He abides forever, in the holiness that He created and will never leave.

He has not waited until you return your mind to Him to give His Word to you. He has not hid Himself from you, while you have wandered off a little while from Him. He does not cherish the illusions which you hold about yourself. He knows His Son, and wills that he remain as part of Him regardless of his dreams; regardless of his madness that his will is not his own.

Today He speaks to you. His Voice awaits your silence, for His Word can not be heard until your mind is quiet for a while, and meaningless desires have been stilled. Await His Word in quiet. There is peace within you to be called upon today, to help make ready your most holy mind to hear the Voice for its Creator speak.

Three times today, at times most suitable for silence, give ten minutes set apart from listening to the world, and choose instead a gentle listening to the Word of God. He speaks from nearer than your heart to you. His Voice is closer than your hand. His Love is everything you are and that He is; the same as you, and you the same as He.

It is your voice to which you listen as He speaks to you. It is your word He speaks. It is the Word of freedom and of peace, of unity of will and purpose, with no separation nor division in the single Mind of Father and of Son. In quiet listen to your Self today, and let Him tell you God has never left His Son, and you have never left your Self.

Only be quiet. You will need no rule but this, to let your practicing today lift you above the thinking of the world, and free your vision from the body’s eyes. Only be still and listen. You will hear the Word in which the Will of God the Son joins in his Father’s Will, at one with it, with no illusions interposed between the wholly indivisible and true. As every hour passes by today, be still a moment and remind yourself you have a special purpose for this day; in quiet to receive the Word of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #615: About three weeks ago I had a very unusual meditation. My heart started to race and beat very heavy. I was very scared. “I trust in you Holy Spirit, whatever is happening is okay”, I prayed. I kept going and my body felt like it was expanding and contracting. Also, I became aware of my body as a fluid, not solid. This has happened four or five times since then. I feel very scared when it happens, but I think it is part of the process. Is this kind of thing normal?

A: Everything that our bodies seem to experience is a symbol of a thought in the mind, where the experience is actually occurring. And, as with all things that seem to happen to our bodies and in the world, what you are experiencing is neutral (T.26.VIII.3:7;T.28.II.10:6; W.pII.294) but your perception of it depends on which teacher you have chosen to interpret it for you. Because you have a split mind, it is possible, even likely, that you will vacillate between the two interpretations, shifting from fear to acceptance and back to fear again.

The ego’s interpretation begins from the premise that you are your body and anything that challenges its solidity and defined boundaries is to be feared, for it threatens you and the separate, individual self you believe you are (T.26.I.2,3). The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, begins from the premise that your reality is mind, not body, that the separation is an illusion and the body is not real, and anything that supports and reinforces that recognition is helpful (T.6.V.A.2,3). Quantum physics asserts that matter is not solid and that what we perceive as solid is nearly all empty space, but this kind of recognition, despite its widespread dissemination in our culture, is certainly not something that has been incorporated into our everyday consciousness yet.

The symbols that each of us experience in our lives are highly individualized, as is our learning curriculum (M.29.2:6). So whether, as you compare your meditation experiences with others, you find some who share specific experiences similar to yours is not really relevant. It is at the level of content that the experience can be universal, as all of us, in our own individual ways, are returning to the realization that perception lies and that the world and our seeming selves are not what they appear to be. So whether you continue to have your specific fluid meditation episodes is not so important as that you are willing to use them to learn that we truly have no solid grounds for making our judgments in the world (T.23.II.13:4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13) and only the gentle, accepting perspective of the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness makes any sense at all.

For some other Questions that address some of the various experiences encountered in meditation, you may wish to refer to #181 and #307.

be of good cheer

ACIM Text Reading for May 6

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

XI. The Test of Truth

Yet the essential thing is learning that you do not know. Knowledge is power, and all power is of God. You who have tried to keep power for yourself have ‘lost’ it. You still have the power, but you have interposed so much between it and your awareness of it that you cannot use it. Everything you have taught yourself has made your power more and more obscure to you. You know not what it is, nor where. You have made a semblance of power and a show of strength so pitiful that it must fail you. For power is not a seeming strength, and truth is beyond semblance of any kind. Yet all that stands between you and the power of God in you is but your learning of the false, and of your attempts to undo the true.

Be willing, then, for all of it to be undone, and be glad that you are not bound to it forever. For you have taught yourself how to imprison the Son of God, a lesson so unthinkable that only the insane, in deepest sleep, could even dream of it. Can God learn how not to be God? And can His Son, given all power by Him, learn to be powerless? What have you taught yourself that you can possibly prefer to keep, in place of what you have and what you are?

Atonement teaches you how to escape forever from everything that you have taught yourself in the past, by showing you only what you are now. Learning has been accomplished before its effects are manifest. Learning is therefore in the past, but its influence determines the present by giving it whatever meaning it holds for you. Your learning gives the present no meaning at all. Nothing you have ever learned can help you understand the present, or teach you how to undo the past. Your past is what you have taught yourself. Let it all go. Do not attempt to understand any event or anything or anyone in its ‘light’, for the darkness in which you try to see can only obscure. Put no confidence at all in darkness to illuminate your understanding, for if you do you contradict the light, and thereby think you see the darkness. Yet darkness cannot be seen, for it is nothing more than a condition in which seeing becomes impossible.

You who have not yet brought all of the darkness you have taught yourself into the light in you, can hardly judge the truth and value of this course. Yet God did not abandon you. And so you have another lesson sent from Him, already learned for every child of light by Him to Whom God gave it. This lesson shines with God’s glory, for in it lies His power, which He shares so gladly with His Son. Learn of His happiness, which is yours. But to accomplish this, all your dark lessons must be brought willingly to truth, and joyously laid down by hands open to receive, not closed to take. Every dark lesson that you bring to Him Who teaches light He will accept from you, because you do not want it. And He will gladly exchange each one for the bright lesson He has learned for you. Never believe that any lesson you have learned apart from Him means anything.

You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognise if what you learned is true. If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and 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. Unless all this is true, there are dark lessons in your mind that hurt and hinder you, and everyone around you. The absence of perfect peace means but one thing: You think you do not will for God’s Son what his Father wills for him. Every dark lesson teaches this, in one form or another. And each bright lesson with which the Holy Spirit will replace the dark ones you do not accept, teaches you that you will with the Father and His Son.

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 recognise 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.

You cannot be your guide to miracles, for it is you who made them necessary. And because you did, the means on which you can depend for miracles has been provided for you. God’s Son can make no needs His Father will not meet, if he but turn to Him ever so little. Yet He cannot compel His Son to turn to Him and remain Himself. It is impossible that God lose His Identity, for if He did, you would lose yours. And being yours He cannot change Himself, for your Identity is changeless. The miracle acknowledges His changelessness by seeing His Son as he always was, and not as he would make himself. The miracle brings the effects that only guiltlessness can bring, and thus establishes the fact that guiltlessness must be.

How can you, so firmly bound to guilt and committed so to remain, establish for yourself your guiltlessness? That is impossible. But be sure that you are willing to acknowledge that it is impossible. It is only because you think that you can run some little part, or deal with certain aspects of your life alone, that the guidance of the Holy Spirit is limited. Thus would you make Him undependable, and use this fancied undependability as an excuse for keeping certain dark lessons from Him. And by so limiting the guidance that you would accept, you are unable to depend on miracles to answer all your problems for you.

Do you think that what the Holy Spirit would have you give, He would withhold from you? You have no problems that He cannot solve by offering you a miracle. Miracles are for you. And every fear or pain or trial you have has been undone. He has brought all of them to light, having accepted them instead of you, and recognised they never were. There are no dark lessons He has not already lightened for you. The lessons you would teach yourself He has corrected already. They do not exist in His Mind at all. For the past binds Him not, and therefore binds not you. He does not see time as you do. And each miracle He offers you corrects your use of time, and makes it His.

He Who has freed you from the past would teach you are free of it. He would but have you accept His accomplishments as yours, because He did them for you. And because He did, they are yours. He has made you free of what you made. You can deny Him, but you cannot call on Him in vain. He always gives His gifts in place of yours. He would establish His bright teaching so firmly in your mind, that no dark lesson of guilt can abide in what He has established as holy by His Presence. Thank God that He is there and works through you. And all His works are yours. He offers you a miracle with every one you let Him do through you.

God’s Son will always be indivisible. As we are held as one in God, so do we learn as one in Him. God’s Teacher is as like to His Creator as is His Son, and through His Teacher does God proclaim His Oneness and His Son’s. Listen in silence, and do not raise your voice against Him. For He teaches the miracle of oneness, and before His lesson division disappears. Teach like Him here, and you will remember that you have always created like your Father. The miracle of creation has never ceased, having the holy stamp of immortality upon it. This is the Will of God for all creation, and all creation joins in willing this.

Those who remember always that they know nothing, and who have become willing to learn everything, will learn it. But whenever they trust themselves, they will not learn. They have destroyed their motivation for learning by thinking they already know. Think not you understand anything until you pass the test of perfect peace, for peace and understanding go together and never can be found alone. Each brings the other with it, for it is the law of God they be not separate. They are cause and effect, each to the other, so where one is absent the other cannot be.

Only those who recognise they cannot know unless the effects of understanding are with them, can really learn at all. For this it must be peace they want, and nothing else. Whenever you think you know, peace will depart from you, because you have abandoned the Teacher of peace. Whenever you fully realise that you know not, peace will return, for you will have invited Him to do so by abandoning the ego on behalf of Him. Call not upon the ego for anything; it is only this that you need do. The Holy Spirit will, of Himself, fill every mind that so makes room for Him.

If you want peace you must abandon the teacher of attack. The Teacher of peace will never abandon you. You can desert Him but He will never reciprocate, for His faith in you is His understanding. It is as firm as is His faith in His Creator, and He knows that faith in His Creator must encompass faith in His creation. In this consistency lies His holiness which He cannot abandon, for it is not His will to do so. With your perfection ever in His sight, He gives the gift of peace to everyone who perceives the need for peace, and who would have it. Make way for peace, and it will come. For understanding is in you, and from it peace must come.

The power of God, from which they both arise, is yours as surely as it is His. You think you know Him not, only because, alone, it is impossible to know Him. Yet see the mighty works that He will do through you, and you must be convinced you did them through Him. It is impossible to deny the Source of effects so powerful they could not be of you. Leave room for Him, and you will find yourself so filled with power that nothing will prevail against your peace. And this will be the test by which you recognise that you have understood.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 6

Lesson 125

In quiet I receive God’s Word today.

Let this day be a day of stillness and of quiet listening. Your Father wills you hear His Word today. He calls to you from deep within your mind where He abides. Hear Him today. No peace is possible until His Word is heard around the world; until your mind, in quiet listening, accepts the message that the world must hear to usher in the quiet time of peace.

This world will change through you. No other means can save it, for God’s plan is simply this: The Son of God is free to save himself, given the Word of God to be his Guide, forever in his mind and at his side to lead him surely to his Father’s house by his own will, forever free as God’s. He is not led by force, but only love. He is not judged, but only sanctified.

In stillness we will hear God’s Voice today without intrusion of our petty thoughts, without our personal desires, and without all judgment of His holy Word. We will not judge ourselves today, for what we are can not be judged. We stand apart from all the judgments which the world has laid upon the Son of God. It knows him not. Today we will not listen to the world, but wait in silence for the Word of God.

Hear, holy Son of God, your Father speak. His Voice would give to you His holy Word, to spread across the world the tidings of salvation and the holy time of peace. We gather at the throne of God today, the quiet place within the mind where He abides forever, in the holiness that He created and will never leave.

He has not waited until you return your mind to Him to give His Word to you. He has not hid Himself from you, while you have wandered off a little while from Him. He does not cherish the illusions which you hold about yourself. He knows His Son, and wills that he remain as part of Him regardless of his dreams; regardless of his madness that his will is not his own.

Today He speaks to you. His Voice awaits your silence, for His Word can not be heard until your mind is quiet for a while, and meaningless desires have been stilled. Await His Word in quiet. There is peace within you to be called upon today, to help make ready your most holy mind to hear the Voice for its Creator speak.

Three times today, at times most suitable for silence, give ten minutes set apart from listening to the world, and choose instead a gentle listening to the Word of God. He speaks from nearer than your heart to you. His Voice is closer than your hand. His Love is everything you are and that He is; the same as you, and you the same as He.

It is your voice to which you listen as He speaks to you. It is your word He speaks. It is the Word of freedom and of peace, of unity of will and purpose, with no separation nor division in the single Mind of Father and of Son. In quiet listen to your Self today, and let Him tell you God has never left His Son, and you have never left your Self.

Only be quiet. You will need no rule but this, to let your practicing today lift you above the thinking of the world, and free your vision from the body’s eyes. Only be still and listen. You will hear the Word in which the Will of God the Son joins in his Father’s Will, at one with it, with no illusions interposed between the wholly indivisible and true. As every hour passes by today, be still a moment and remind yourself you have a special purpose for this day; in quiet to receive the Word of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #490: I understand that when we (the decision maker) make a decision to identify with the ego mind, that we forget that we have another part of our mind with which to identify with. If accessing the right mind requires that we are first aware that another mind exists, and second that we understand the defenses the ego puts up in order to insure that we don’t go there, what mind was I identifying with when I made the decision to begin to read and study A Course in Miracles? I understand now that during all my years of learning ego management skills, that I was probably always coming from the ego’s thought system, so how did my ego mind ever choose to pick up a book that could be the undoing of it? When we come to the conclusion “there has to be another way” is the ego obliged to get out of the way? Please enlighten me.

Q #490: I understand that when we (the decision maker) make a decision to identify with the ego mind, that we forget that we have another part of our mind with which to identify with. If accessing the right mind requires that we are first aware that another mind exists, and second that we understand the defenses the ego puts up in order to insure that we don’t go there, what mind was I identifying with when I made the decision to begin to read and study A Course in Miracles? I understand now that during all my years of learning ego management skills, that I was probably always coming from the ego’s thought system, so how did my ego mind ever choose to pick up a book that could be the undoing of it? When we come to the conclusion “there has to be another way” is the ego obliged to get out of the way? Please enlighten me.

A: First, approaching the mind in terms of three parts certainly corresponds to the way Jesus speaks of it in the Course, but we need to remember as well that he is describing a process that in the end is illusory. So we should not regard this description of the separated (therefore illusory) mind and its dynamics as a blueprint or schematic for an actual mind that exists in reality. It should be regarded more as a teaching aid, and all teaching aids, while serving a useful purpose, have limits. So compartmentalizing the mind in this fashion is a way of helping us undo the mistaken way in which we have thought about ourselves, as well as helping us understand why we function in the world the way we do.

Perhaps the key point in answering your question is Jesus’ reassurance that we are not wholly insane and that there is a limit on our ability to miscreate (T.2.III.3:3). Moreover, he tells us that “tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way” (T.2.III.3:5,6). The decision maker can continually uphold its decision to conceal the Holy Spirit’s thought system and its own decision-making capacity, but that does not mean that there no longer is a right mind or a decision maker. They are just concealed, and well concealed, as we all can attest to. Nevertheless, the decision maker is always functioning as a decision maker, while trying to pretend that it is not.

Furthermore, continuing to speak in anthropomorphic terms, the ego always senses a threat to its existence, as would anyone involved in faking something. And therefore somewhere in our minds there would be the thought that things aren’t what they appear to be, and we are not what we appear to be. For most people it seems, that thought does not surface until something horrendous happens, or they reach a stage where they throw up their hands in despair or frustration in a way they never have before. The motivation, again, is a level of pain that becomes intolerable. (Obviously, many people just go right back into the ego thought system for a solution.) It is not the ego, though, that does this — remember, the ego is just a belief that the decision maker has accepted. So it is as if the decision maker responds to its own dimly perceived misgivings about the beliefs it has identified with. And in that instant, it has disidentified with the ego and allowed itself to see just a glimmer of the light beaming from the right mind. The expression of that shift may take any number of forms, one of which would be the appearance in one’s life of A Course in Miracles. But it could be anything that would help heal the mind of its belief that separation from God is a reality.

Q #491: A Course in Miracles says I must choose between teachers: the Holy Spirit or the ego. I choose the Holy Spirit, but how do I actually do this? Since I don’t know what anything means, how do I know when the Holy Spirit is teaching me?

A: We choose the Holy Spirit by being willing to look honestly at our attack thoughts and judgments, with willingness to let Him transform them. This requires that we recognize the defenses we employ to maintain our fierce attachment to our belief in the separation and the reality of the world and the body. Although the Course tells us we do not really know what anything means, we think we do know. We have agreed with the ego that our attacks, along with our feelings of anger, resentment, and victimization are justified. We believe in our identity as bodies. We believe that situations that are external to the mind can have an effect on us by taking away our peace. Questioning these beliefs and our interpretation of our experiences, allowing that perhaps we are wrong, invites the Holy Spirit to offer His interpretation. This new interpretation is the forgiveness process. We accept His teaching with every application of forgiveness in our relationships, and the events of our lives.

The first step is to pay attention to any upsetting feeling, acknowledging that its true source is a choice in the mind to be separate, and not whatever external situation seems to have caused the upset. Because we are so fiercely attached to our beliefs it is not easy to do this. Fortunately, Jesus tells us we do not have to do it perfectly: “Your willingness need not be perfect, because His [Holy Spirit] is” (T.11.II.6:6). However haltingly you may take the first step in questioning your interpretation of your relationships and experiences, it is enough to allow the Holy Spirit to enter. We are asked only to do our part: “Call not upon the ego for anything; it is only this that you need do. The Holy Spirit will, of Himself, fill every mind that so makes room for Him”(T.14.XI.13:5,6).

teach not that i died in vain