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

ACIM Text Reading for August 12

Chapter 23 ~ The War Against Yourself

IV. Above the Battleground

Do not remain in conflict, for there is no war without attack. The fear of God is fear of life, and not of death. Yet He remains the only place of safety. In Him is no attack, and no illusion in any form stalks Heaven. Heaven is wholly true. No difference enters, and what is all the same cannot conflict. You are not asked to fight against your wish to murder. But you are asked to realise the form it takes conceals the same intent. And it is this you fear, and not the form. What is not love is murder. What is not loving must be an attack. Every illusion is an assault on truth, and every one does violence to the idea of love because it seems to be of equal truth.

What can be equal to the truth, yet different? Murder and love are incompatible. Yet if they both are true, then must they be the same, and indistinguishable from one another. So will they be to those who see God’s Son a body. For it is not the body that is like the Son’s Creator. And what is lifeless cannot be the Son of Life. How can a body be extended to hold the universe? Can it create, and be what it creates? And can it offer its creations all that it is and never suffer loss?

God does not share His function with a body. He gave the function to create unto His Son because it is His Own. It is not sinful to believe the function of the Son is murder, but it is insanity. What is the same can have no different function. Creation is the means for God’s extension, and what is His must be His Son’s as well. Either the Father and the Son are murderers, or neither is. Life makes not death, creating like itself.

The lovely light of your relationship is like the Love of God. It cannot yet assume the holy function God gave His Son, for your forgiveness of your brother is not complete as yet, and so it cannot be extended to all creation. Each form of murder and attack that still attracts you and that you do not recognise for what it is, limits the healing and the miracles you have the power to extend to all. Yet does the Holy Spirit understand how to increase your little gifts and make them mighty. Also He understands how your relationship is raised above the battleground, in it no more. This is your part; to realise that murder in any form is not your will. The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose.

Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it. From there will your perspective be quite different. Here in the midst of it, it does seem real. Here you have chosen to be part of it. Here murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle is not real, and easily escaped. Bodies may battle, but the clash of forms is meaningless. And it is over when you realise it never was begun. How can a battle be perceived as nothingness when you engage in it? How can the truth of miracles be recognised if murder is your choice?

When the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above. Even in forms you do not recognise, the signs you know. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. This you know well. When they occur leave not your place on high, but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder. And God Himself and all the lights of Heaven will gently lean to you, and hold you up. For you have chosen to remain where He would have you, and no illusion can attack the peace of God together with His Son.

See no one from the battleground, for there you look on him from nowhere. You have no reference point from where to look, where meaning can be given what you see. For only bodies could attack and murder, and if this is your purpose, then you must be one with them. Only a purpose unifies, and those who share a purpose have a mind as one. The body has no purpose of itself, and must be solitary. From below, it cannot be surmounted. From above, the limits it exerts on those in battle still are gone, and not perceived. The body stands between the Father and the Heaven He created for His Son because it has no purpose.

Think what is given those who share their Father’s purpose, and who know that it is theirs. They want for nothing. Sorrow of any kind is inconceivable. Only the light they love is in awareness, and only love shines upon them forever. It is their past, their present and their future; always the same, eternally complete and wholly shared. They know it is impossible their happiness could ever suffer change of any kind. Perhaps you think the battleground can offer something you can win. Can it be anything that offers you a perfect calmness, and a sense of love so deep and quiet that no touch of doubt can ever mar your certainty? And that will last forever?

Those with the strength of God in their awareness could never think of battle. What could they gain but loss of their perfection? For everything fought for on the battleground is of the body; something it seems to offer or to own. No one who knows that he has everything could seek for limitation, nor could he value the body’s offerings. The senselessness of conquest is quite apparent from the quiet sphere above the battleground. What can conflict with everything? And what is there that offers less, yet could be wanted more? Who with the Love of God upholding him could find the choice of miracles or murder hard to make?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 12

Lesson 208

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(188) The peace of God is shining in me now.

I will be still, and let the earth be still along with me. And
in that stillness we will find the peace of God. It is within
my heart, which witnesses to God Himself.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Since we have made ourselves separate, how come we all seem to perceive the same attributes of matter, and agree on its basic characteristics and experience its laws?

A) When the thought of separation seemed to occur, it was a single thought in a single split mind. As the thought process of separation proceeded, culminating in the making of the physical universe, this one thought appeared to divide into billions and billions of fragments. Each of these fragments contains all aspects of the original thought of separation.  Therefore, each seeming fragment would experience all the effects from that illusory thought of separation, i.e., all the so-called laws of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, etc., that are an inherent part of the making of the universe. Thus the one ego thought appears as many.  This accounts for the paradox of people on the one hand sharing a common perception of the world, while on the other having very personal and individualized tastes, perceptions, and experiences. In the end, all seemingly separated minds are one — one thought of separation — yet each fragment appears to be separate, and believes itself to be unique and independent of the others.

tiny mad idea

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 29

ACIM Text Reading for July 29

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

IV. The Forgiveness of Specialness

Forgiveness is the end of specialness. Only illusions can be forgiven, and then they disappear. Forgiveness is release from all illusions, and that is why it is impossible but partly to forgive. No one who clings to one illusion can see himself as sinless, for he holds one error to himself as lovely still. And so he calls it “unforgivable,” and makes it sin. How can he then give his forgiveness wholly, when he would not receive it for himself? For it is sure he would receive it wholly the instant that he gave it so. And thus his secret guilt would disappear, forgiven by himself.

Whatever form of specialness you cherish, you have made sin. Inviolate it stands, strongly defended with all your puny might against the Will of God. And thus it stands against yourself; your enemy, not God’s. So does it seem to split you off from God, and make you separate from Him as its defender. You would protect what God created not. And yet, this idol that seems to give you power has taken it away. For you have given your brother’s birthright to it, leaving him alone and unforgiven, and yourself in sin beside him, both in misery, before the idol that can save you not.

It is not you who are so vulnerable and open to attack that just a word, a little whisper that you do not like, a circumstance that suits you not, or an event that you did not anticipate upsets your world, and hurls it into chaos. Truth is not frail. Illusions leave it perfectly unmoved and undisturbed. But specialness is not the truth in you. It can be thrown off balance by anything. What rests on nothing never can be stable. However large and overblown it seems to be, it still must rock and turn and whirl about with every breeze.

Without foundation nothing is secure. Would God have left His Son in such a state, where safety has no meaning? No, His Son is safe, resting on Him. It is your specialness that is attacked by everything that walks and breathes, or creeps or crawls, or even lives at all. Nothing is safe from its attack, and it is safe from nothing. It will forevermore be unforgiving, for that is what it is; a secret vow that what God wants for you will never be, and that you will oppose His Will forever. Nor is it possible the two can ever be the same, while specialness stands like a flaming sword of death between them, and makes them enemies.

God asks for your forgiveness. He would have no separation, like an alien will, rise between what He wills for you and what you will. They are the same, for neither One wills specialness. How could They will the death of love itself? Yet They are powerless to make attack upon illusions. They are not bodies; as one Mind They wait for all illusions to be brought to Them, and left behind. Salvation challenges not even death. And God Himself, Who knows that death is not your will, must say, “Thy will be done” because you think it is.

Forgive the great Creator of the universe, the Source of life, of love and holiness, the perfect Father of a perfect Son, for your illusions of your specialness. Here is the hell you chose to be your home. He chose not this for you. Ask not He enter this. The way is barred to love and to salvation. Yet if you would release your brother from the depths of hell, you have forgiven Him Whose Will it is you rest forever in the arms of peace, in perfect safety, and without the heat and malice of one thought of specialness to mar your rest. Forgive the Holy One the specialness He could not give, and that you made instead.

The special ones are all asleep, surrounded by a world of loveliness they do not see. Freedom and peace and joy stand there, beside the bier on which they sleep, and call them to come forth and waken from their dream of death. Yet they hear nothing. They are lost in dreams of specialness. They hate the call that would awaken them, and they curse God because He did not make their dream reality. Curse God and die, but not by Him Who made not death; but only in the dream. Open your eyes a little; see the savior God gave to you that you might look on him, and give him back his birthright. It is yours.

The slaves of specialness will yet be free. Such is the Will of God and of His Son. Would God condemn Himself to hell and to damnation? And do you will that this be done unto your savior? God calls to you from him to join His Will to save you both from hell. Look on the print of nails upon his hands that he holds out for your forgiveness. God asks your mercy on His Son and on Himself. Deny Them not. They ask of you but that your will be done. They seek your love that you may love yourself. Love not your specialness instead of Them. The print of nails is on your hands as well. Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 29

Lesson 208

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(188) The peace of God is shining in me now.

I will be still, and let the earth be still along with me. And
in that stillness we will find the peace of God. It is within
my heart, which witnesses to God Himself.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #453: “Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified” (T.24.III.8:13) to me is one of the most important statements in A Course in Miracles. It contains the key to our release, yet it shows the main reason for our resistance to this release. Your comments on this statement would be most welcome.

A: Well said! Leading up to this grand conclusion, Jesus says, “Forgive the great Creator of the universe, the Source of life…for your illusions of your specialness. Here is the hell you chose to be your home. He chose not this for you. Ask not He enter this.…Forgive the Holy One the specialness He could not give, and that you made instead” (T.24.III.6:1,2,3,4,7). The ego has tried, from the very beginning, to implicate God in the horrors and suffering in the world, and in our personal lives. How wonderful it would be, for the ego, if God were held to be ultimately responsible for everything, which of course is exactly what is proclaimed in the Bible and the religions and philosophies based on the Bible.

Here in A Course in Miracles, and specifically in the passage you cite, Jesus is correcting that eons-old belief. God has nothing to do with the vicious world of specialness and crucifixion. He could not. Love can only love. That is why we have to forgive God; He is not part of our insanity, despite our desperately wanting Him to be.

Therefore, if crucifixion is in our lives, we are the ones who put it there, and want it there. That is a bitter pill to swallow for most of us, and we would resist it with all our might, because we would then have to admit that we have been wrong about every single thing we have ever thought. Our lives — our thoughts and emotions — are turned upside down, and we break out in a cold sweat in the face of such an awesome accusation. To hold others — ultimately God — responsible for our perceptions of crucifixion thus protects us from the deeply buried belief that we are the ones who crucified infinite love so that our own need for specialness could be satisfied. Jesus is exposing this deception, while assuring us that looking with him at this deep, dark secret is the only way we will ever be liberated permanently from all the pain and death that mark our lives in this world. There is nothing that stands in the way of this freedom other than our own choice to be right rather than happy. And that is not sinful — just silly.

*

Q #690: I am having great difficulty with one phrase that keeps recurring in A Course in Miracles and it has shown up in Question #453, which centers on the statement, “Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified” (T.24.III.8:13). The troublesome statement is: “That is why we have to forgive God; He is not part of our insanity…” In the common use of forgive, I would forgive someone for some wrong that they have done to me and I hold no grudge against them. How can I forgive God? He has not done anything to my detriment. I find this use very confusing.

A: What He has done “wrong” is that He does not notice us — the ultimate affront! God (the true God) is completely unaware of our existence, and therefore is not involved in our lives to bless our many sacrifices and efforts done in the name of goodness and innocence, and to justify our judgments of those who have treated us unfairly. Jesus teaches us it is insane to think that for one to win another must lose (T.25.VII), and that it is possible for love to be exclusive. But these principles are at the core of the thought system that governs our lives, and, indeed, are the very source of our existence as individuals. God, as perfect Oneness and Love, could not give rise to this insanity, which means it is not real. Our existence as individuals consequently is exposed as not linked to God in any way. Suffering, pain, and death, as well as heroism and triumphs are not His Will.

A massive system of deception and lies is thus uncovered, shattering the foundation of our existence and the universe in which we appear to live, and forcing us to face what we swore we would never again look upon (T.19.IV.D.6:1). Everything that goes on in our personal worlds as well as the world at large is our will, not God’s. The implications of this recognition are staggering, which become the focus of Jesus’ teachings throughout his course. It seems far more tolerable to have God’s blessings on our struggles and suffering, justifying our perception of sin and victimizers “out there,” rather than to have to accept responsibility for all of it ourselves (as the one Son). It is for this that we need to forgive God. He gives no credence or validity to what is so real and meaningful to us: “Not one Thought of His makes any sense at all within this world. And nothing that the world believes as true has any meaning in His Mind at all” (T.25.VII.3:3,4). Therefore, since does God not support our thought system, He does not support us, either, as we know ourselves. What means so much to us is nothing to God. The same is true for Jesus, as well. He sees everything of the body and our individual identity as meaningless — all the events of our lives, which seem to have so much significance, are without meaning. We are presented with this in the very first lesson of the workbook, and many times in many ways throughout the rest of the lessons — Lesson 93, for example: “The self you made is not the Son of God. Therefore, this self does not exist at all. And anything it seems to do and think means nothing. It is neither bad nor good. It is unreal, and nothing more than that” (W.pI.93.5:1,2,3,4,5). This realization is bound to stir up some profound emotions in us — fear, anger, confusion, etc. Who likes to be told that they are unreal?

This is not the end of the story, though, because at some point in our work with the Course, we will find ourselves relieved to be unburdened of our guilty secret. We will be glad to have been proven wrong in all we thought to be the truth. But before reaching that stage comes the anger that God did not buy our story. It is not all that pleasant to be caught in a lie, and this is especially devastating when the deception involves our very identity. We suddenly become aware of the massive self-deception we have engaged in, and without the help of Jesus and his course, or some other loving reflection of truth outside our thought system, we would have a most difficult time coping with this situation and all the guilt and fear it arouses. All that supported us now is revealed as but strategic ways of keeping us from the truth about ourselves and reality — defenses against the truth. It is as if the bottom has fallen out. But Jesus helps us realize we need only have the willingness to change our choice of teachers in our minds from the ego to him, and peace will be restored in our awareness. We are merely awakening from a nightmare dream of separation from our Creator and Source.

not his will you be crucified.jpg

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 27

ACIM Text Reading for July 27

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

II. Specialness as a Substitute for Love

Love is extension. To withhold the smallest gift is not to know love’s purpose. Love offers everything forever. Hold back but one belief, one offering, and love is gone, because you asked a substitute to take its place. And now must war, the substitute for peace, come with the one alternative that you can choose for love. Your choosing it has given it all the reality it seems to have.

Beliefs will never openly attack each other because conflicting outcomes are impossible. But an unrecognized belief is a decision to war in secret, where the results of conflict are kept unknown and never brought to reason, to be considered sensible or not. And many senseless outcomes have been reached, and meaningless decisions have been made and kept hidden, to become beliefs now given power to direct all subsequent decisions. Mistake you not the power of these hidden warriors to disrupt your peace. For it is at their mercy while you decide to leave it there. The secret enemies of peace, your least decision to choose attack instead of love, unrecognized and swift to challenge you to combat and to violence far more inclusive than you think, are there by your election. Do not deny their presence nor their terrible results. All that can be denied is their reality, but not their outcome.

All that is ever cherished as a hidden belief, to be defended though unrecognized, is faith in specialness. This takes many forms, but always clashes with the reality of God’s creation and with the grandeur that He gave His Son. What else could justify attack? For who could hate someone whose Self is his, and Whom he knows? Only the special could have enemies, for they are different and not the same. And difference of any kind imposes orders of reality, and a need to judge that cannot be escaped.

What God created cannot be attacked, for there is nothing in the universe unlike itself. But what is different calls for judgment, and this must come from someone “better,” someone incapable of being like what he condemns, “above” it, sinless by comparison with it. And thus does specialness become a means and end at once. For specialness not only sets apart, but serves as grounds from which attack on those who seem “beneath” the special one is “natural” and “just.” The special ones feel weak and frail because of differences, for what would make them special is their enemy. Yet they protect its enmity and call it “friend.” On its behalf they fight against the universe, for nothing in the world they value more.

Specialness is the great dictator of the wrong decisions. Here is the grand illusion of what you are and what your brother is. And here is what must make the body dear and worth preserving. Specialness must be defended. Illusions can attack it, and they do. For what your brother must become to keep your specialness is an illusion. He who is “worse” than you must be attacked, so that your specialness can live on his defeat. For specialness is triumph, and its victory is his defeat and shame. How can he live, with all your sins upon him? And who must be his conqueror but you?

Would it be possible for you to hate your brother if you were like him? Could you attack him if you realized you journey with him, to a goal that is the same? Would you not help him reach it in every way you could, if his attainment of it were perceived as yours? You are his enemy in specialness; his friend in a shared purpose. Specialness can never share, for it depends on goals that you alone can reach. And he must never reach them, or your goal is jeopardized. Can love have meaning where the goal is triumph? And what decision can be made for this that will not hurt you?

Your brother is your friend because his Father created him like you. There is no difference. You have been given to your brother that love might be extended, not cut off from him. What you keep is lost to you. God gave you and your brother Himself, and to remember this is now the only purpose that you share. And so it is the only one you have. Could you attack your brother if you chose to see no specialness of any kind between you and him? Look fairly at whatever makes you give your brother only partial welcome, or would let you think that you are better off apart. Is it not always your belief your specialness is limited by your relationship? And is not this the “enemy” that makes you and your brother illusions to each other?

The fear of God and of your brother comes from each unrecognized belief in specialness. For you demand your brother bow to it against his will. And God Himself must honor it or suffer vengeance. Every twinge of malice, or stab of hate or wish to separate arises here. For here the purpose that you and your brother share becomes obscured from both of you. You would oppose this course because it teaches you you and your brother are alike. You have no purpose that is not the same, and none your Father does not share with you. For your relationship has been made clean of special goals. And would you now defeat the goal of holiness that Heaven gave it? What perspective can the special have that does not change with every seeming blow, each slight, or fancied judgment on itself? Those who are special must defend illusions against the truth. For what is specialness but an attack upon the Will of God? You love your brother not while it is this you would defend against him. This is what he attacks, and you protect. Here is the ground of battle which you wage against him. Here must he be your enemy and not your friend. Never can there be peace among the different. He is your friend because you are the same.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 27

Lesson 208

I am not a body. I am free. 
For I am still as God created me.

(188) The peace of God is shining in me now.

I will be still, and let the earth be still along with me. And
in that stillness we will find the peace of God. It is within
my heart, which witnesses to God Himself.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #44: How do I act in the world of form before I have been able to forgive a situation? If I act lovingly without really feeling it I will feel resentment. If I act according to my true feelings I will feel guilty. Either way I lose!!!

A: The key is always to be aware of your motivation in a conflict with someone else — the underlying purpose it serves, as you seem to struggle over how to act. “What you do comes from what you think”(T.2.VI.2:7), as Jesus points out. “It is only at this level that you can exercise choice…It is pointless to believe that controlling the outcome of misthought can result in healing….You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of willingness….Change does not mean anything at the symptom level, where it cannot work” (2:6; 3:1,4,7).

We are stubborn creatures, not prone to forgiveness, although it is the most natural thing we can do in this world. But the world is an unnatural place. And so we resist what really would be kindest and most helpful to ourselves. So long as I think that acting lovingly towards others is a charitable whim I bestow on an undeserving someone outside of myself (W.pI.126.4:1), I will resent not getting in my “justified” licks against you if I feel you have treated me unfairly. But if I can honestly look at how a retaliatory attack on you will really make me feel, I may be more open to a right-minded solution. If I can begin to recognize that my reaction to you has nothing to do with what you have done and everything to do with the guilt in my own mind, which is the cause of all my pain and for which I am always seeking a target on which to project it, I may think twice about reinforcing that guilt in my own mind by a further overt attack on you. Forgiveness is not a gift bestowed on someone else, unmerited and unjustified. It is a gift I offer first and foremost to myself. When I accept that gift for myself, then I will automatically know how to respond to you who had seemed to offend me, offering you the same gift I have just accepted for myself, in the form in which you will most likely be able to accept it. And I will have no sense of resentment or loss associated with it.

Okay, but what if I’m still too stubborn to believe and accept what is truly in my own best interest for a particular situation — I am not ready to forgive because I still want to hold on to my grievance against you so that I can believe the guilt is in you and not in me? Then I would want at least to be able to acknowledge that I am still identified with my ego, where my “choices” seem to be limited to either overtly attacking you in retaliation or sacrificing my right to retaliation in a feigned “loving” show of “forgiveness” (still an attack). Either option will reinforce my guilt if I act without awareness of my underlying motivation. And so these are not really different choices at all, at the level of content. So now it will be important that I at least be honest with myself, and recognize that it is neither kindness nor righteousness nor any evil within me that is guiding me to act in whatever way I finally choose with my ego, since I have already decided against choosing at the only level that can really help. It is my own fear of love and of the quiet, gentle peace that accompanies the release of grievances that is behind my resistance to asking for help from a different Teacher. If I can recognize that and not judge myself for it, then I have at least minimized the guilt that I am reinforcing in my own mind for continuing to identify with my ego. And that is always a goal of the Course.


awake & remember

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 27

ACIM Text Reading for July 27

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

V. Specialness versus Sinlessness
Specialness is a lack of trust in anyone except yourself. Faith is invested in yourself alone. Everything else becomes your enemy; feared and attacked, deadly and dangerous, hated and worthy only of destruction. Whatever gentleness it offers is but deception, but its hate is real. In danger of destruction it must kill, and you are drawn to it to kill it first. And such is guilt’s attraction. Here is death enthroned as savior; crucifixion is now redemption, and salvation can only mean destruction of the world, except yourself.

What could the purpose of the body be but specialness? And it is this that makes it frail and helpless in its own defense. It was conceived to make you frail and helpless. The goal of separation is its curse. Yet bodies have no goal. Purpose is of the mind. And minds can change as they desire. What they are, and all their attributes, they cannot change. But what they hold as purpose can be changed, and body states must shift accordingly. Of itself the body can do nothing. See it as means to hurt, and it is hurt. See it as means to heal, and it is healed.

You can but hurt yourself. This has been oft repeated, but is difficult to grasp as yet. To minds intent on specialness it is impossible. Yet to those who wish to heal and not attack, it is quite obvious. The purpose of attack is in the mind, and its effects are felt but where it is. Nor is the mind limited; so must it be that harmful purpose hurts the mind as one. Nothing could make less sense to specialness. Nothing could make more sense to miracles. For miracles are merely change of purpose from hurt to healing. This shift in purpose does “endanger” specialness, but only in the sense that all illusions are “threatened” by the truth. They will not stand before it. Yet what comfort has ever been in them, that you would keep the gift your Father asks from Him, and give it there instead? Given to Him, the universe is yours. Offered to them, no gifts can be returned. What you have given specialness has left you bankrupt and your treasure house barren and empty, with an open door inviting everything that would disturb your peace to enter and destroy.

Earlier I said consider not the means by which salvation is attained, nor how to reach it. But do consider, and consider well, whether it is your wish that you might see your brother sinless. To specialness the answer must be “no.” A sinless brother is its enemy, while sin, if it were possible, would be its friend. Your brother’s sin would justify itself, and give it meaning that the truth denies. All that is real proclaims his sinlessness. All that is false proclaims his sins as real. If he is sinful, then is your reality not real, but just a dream of specialness that lasts an instant, crumbling into dust.

Do not defend this senseless dream, in which God is bereft of what He loves, and you remain beyond salvation. Only this is certain in this shifting world that has no meaning in reality: When peace is not with you entirely, and when you suffer pain of any kind, you have beheld some sin within your brother, and have rejoiced at what you thought was there. Your specialness seemed safe because of it. And thus you saved what you appointed to be your savior, and crucified the one whom God has given you instead. So are you bound with him, for you are one. And so is specialness his “enemy,” and yours as well.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 27

Lesson 208
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(188) The peace of God is shining in me now.

I will be still, and let the earth be still along with me. And
in that stillness we will find the peace of God. It is within
my heart, which witnesses to God Himself.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #145: In answering Question #74, the statement was made that “either we have chosen to reinforce our belief in separation or to undo this belief, and there is never an instant when we are not making this choice.” It is really difficult to deal with a decision you have made when you don’t even know what it is you have done. What is a simple way of knowing that we are making the choice to undo separation?

A: If you are perceiving another’s interests as the same as yours, you are undoing the separation. If you respect another person’s choice for the ego, do not take his attacks personally, and see only a call for help mirroring your own, you are undoing the separation. If you would rather be happy than right, you are undoing the separation. In most cases, though, it is easier to recognize when we are upholding the separation, because that is what we do most of the time. For example, it is almost second nature to us to perceive other people’s interests and goals as clashing with ours, as it is almost second nature to us to get upset over what other people are doing, and then oppose them and try to get them to “see the error of their ways.” We are right and they are wrong! So when we don’t see another’s interests as separate from our own, when we don’t take sides, when we don’t oppose, we are undoing the separation. We are speaking here, though, only about what takes place in one’s mind. We are not talking about behavior. Perceiving others’ interests as the same as ours means recognizing that we all share the same insanity (the wrong mind) and the same sanity (the right mind). The forms become irrelevant. We all share the same hell of the ego, and we all share the same longing to go home and be met with love not punishment.

We think we truly want to get beyond all thoughts of separation and return to our home in Heaven; but our fear of totally undoing our belief in separation is far more intense than we normally realize, because on a deep level we know that to undo the separation is to undo the individual identity we work so hard to sustain. Most students experience strong resistance to letting go, as witnessed to by the recurrence of grievances and conflict. By not judging ourselves for these thoughts, and being more and more consistent in bringing them to the love of Jesus in our right minds, we gradually undo the guilt that is the source of our perceptions of ourselves and others.

Q #146: I have been a student of A Course in Miracles for a little over a year. I thought I had only loving feelings towards Jesus, and therefore I have been perplexed about another part of me that seems to be fearful of Jesus’ love and closeness — especially since my goal of being a student of the Course is to join with him and practice forgiveness. Also, I was thinking that since the decision making part of my mind had already decided there must be another way (i.e., choose Jesus as my teacher instead of the ego), why would part of my mind now tell Jesus to stay away from me and not to hurt me? Can you help me understand this?

A: This is a good example of the split mind spoken of in the Course. One part is sane, reflecting Heaven’s love; the other part is insane, filled with the hatred of the ego. We all — as part of the one Son of God — have both parts, and our decision maker is always choosing one or the other. Jesus reminds us time and time again in the Course that there are only these two choices open to us. We can usually tell by our experience whether we have chosen the ego or the Holy Spirit as our teacher, but we are generally not consciously aware of making the choice. Jesus teaches us, however, that even though our decisions seem to take place out of our awareness, that really is not what happens. See for example, Lesson 136, paragraphs 3,4,5.

While other factors may be responsible for the fear in individual cases, in general we can say that the ego part of our minds would have to be intensely afraid of Jesus and also hate him because of what he represents. What sustains the ego is guilt, and therefore someone such as Jesus who represents the end of guilt would be hated and feared. Thus, “to the ego, the guiltless are guilty” (T.13.II.4:2). Jesus represents the end of our identity as an ego, so to the extent to which we identify with our egos, we will fear and hate him. Of course that is not our total identity, but that is what we must learn, and what Jesus goes to great lengths to teach us. So until we can let go of our identification with the thought system of the ego, we will want to keep Jesus at a safe distance, at the very least, and at other times we will experience outright hatred of him. The idea is not to feel guilty about this fear and hatred, but to understand where it is coming from, so that we can give ourselves a chance to make a different choice. Jesus already knows about it, which is why he asks us in the Course to forgive him (T.19.IV.B.6) and why he talks about the “bitter idols [that] have been made of him who would be only brother to the world” (C.5.5:7,8). We project our own guilt on to him and give him our own ego-based traits. This is largely the image of Jesus portrayed in biblical Christianity. But in essence, the true Jesus, the Jesus of A Course in Miracles, stands for the opposite of everything we are — as egos. That engenders tremendous conflict in our relationship with him. We both love him and are drawn to him, but we also fear him and would rather he be more like us so that we do not have to change.

The only mistake we can make is to deny these “blasphemous” (to the ego) thoughts and hide them, and then attempt to replace them with lovely, beautiful thoughts of our dear sweet Jesus. This defense will never work; it will lead only to further guilt, which will lead to an endless cycle of projection and attack. The most helpful approach is to look calmly at these thoughts, not be horrified by them or ashamed of them, and bring them to the true Jesus in our right minds. He will lovingly and gently teach us where they came from, and help us distinguish clearly between the gifts the ego offers us and the gifts he offers us.

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