A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 5

ACIM Text Reading for October 5

Chapter 30

THE NEW BEGINNING

Introduction

The new beginning now becomes the focus of the curriculum. The goal is clear, but now you need specific methods for attaining it. The speed by which it can be reached depends on this one thing alone; your willingness to practise every step. Each one will help a little, every time it is attempted. And together will these steps lead you from dreams of judgement to forgiving dreams and out of pain and fear. They are not new to you, but they are more ideas than rules of thought to you as yet. So now we need to practise them awhile, until they are the rules by which you live. We seek to make them habits now, so you will have them ready for whatever need.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 5

Lesson 243

Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

I will be honest with myself today. I will not think that I already know what must remain beyond my present grasp. I will not think I understand the whole from bits of my perception, which are all that I can see. Today I recognize that this is so. And so I am relieved of judgments that I cannot make. Thus do I free myself and what I look upon, to be in peace as God created us.

Father, today I leave creation free to be itself. I honor all its parts, in which I am included. We are one because each part contains Your memory, and truth must shine in all of us as one.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) Is A Course in Miracles best practiced in seclusion, without worldly
distractions?

A) Upon serious consideration of this question, one would recognize that it makes no sense. Within our individual dreams we are always alone, because there is no world outside our minds. To attempt to separate ourselves from the world, to move apart from it, is simply to fall into the ego’s trap of “making the error real” that we have already discussed. We would have again seen the problem as being outside the mind — in this case the busy and distracting world of separation and multiplicity — and would have therefore made it real, ensuring that it will never be undone. In truth, however, the problem is the busy and distracting thoughts of separation and multiplicity that are in our minds. Attempting to change the outer world to solve the problem of our inner world is a good working definition of what the Course means by magic. And so, by students believing that they can only study and learn A Course in Miracles by leaving the classroom of their lives, they are almost certainly following the guidance of their egos which would see to it that they would never learn their lessons of forgiveness; they had unknowingly separated themselves from them.

While there are always exceptions, we think it is a fair statement to make that almost all students of A Course in Miracles should practice its principles right where they are. That is why Jesus included the following question in the manual for teachers: “Are Changes Required in the Life Situation of God’s Teachers?” His answer explains that for the majority of students, “it is most unlikely that changes in attitudes would not be the first step in the newly made teacher of God’s training” (M-9.1:4). And those who are guided to change their situations “almost immediately,” are “generally special cases” (M-9.1:6).  Naturally, many students of A Course in Miracles think they fall into that special category. Most people’s lives are painful ones, filled with circumstances, relationships, and bodily conditions that are quite traumatic. It is difficult therefore for them to avoid the temptation to reinterpret the Course, or to “hear” the Holy Spirit “tell” them to leave their jobs and/or families, and simply be with Him to learn and teach the Course to others. It is always helpful to remember that there can be no “worldly distractions” unless you first wanted to be distracted, and therefore had a need that this be so. As Jesus states in the text in the context of evil:

Forget not that the witness to the world of evil cannot speak except for what has seen a need for evil in the world (T-27.VII.6:2).

The world, like the body, in and of itself is neutral. It simply does for us what we ask it to do for us.

We frequently like to remind students about the origins of A Course in Miracles. It did not begin in a desert, or a holy mountain top, nor was Helen a cloistered nun, “buried alive for God.” Jesus dictated his Course to Helen in the midst of a very stormy professional relationship with Bill, where both of them were quite busy in their hectic jobs at one of the world’s largest, most prestigious, and most ego-based medical centers, in the heart of what is among the world’s most important and busiest cities.  One’s “training is always highly individualized” (M-9.1:5), yet we believe that A Course in Miracles‘ very history provides a solid witness and example for how its students should apply their little willingness to learn it in the midst of their normal, everyday lives.

you cannot lose your soul

 

 

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 17

ACIM Text Reading for September 17

Chapter 27 ~ The Healing of the Dream

VII. The Dreamer of the Dream

Suffering is an emphasis upon all that the world has done to injure you. Here is the world’s demented version of salvation clearly shown. Like to a dream of punishment, in which the dreamer is unconscious of what brought on the attack against himself, he sees himself attacked unjustly and by something not himself. He is the victim of this ‘something else’, a thing outside himself, for which he has no reason to be held responsible. He must be innocent because he knows not what he does, but what is done to him. Yet is his own attack upon himself apparent still, for it is he who bears the suffering. And he cannot escape because its source is seen outside himself.

Now you are being shown you can escape. All that is needed is you look upon the problem as it is, and not the way that you have set it up. How could there be another way to solve a problem that is very simple, but has been obscured by heavy clouds of complication, which were made to keep the problem unresolved? Without the clouds the problem will emerge in all its primitive simplicity. The choice will not be difficult, because the problem is absurd when clearly seen. No one has difficulty making up his mind to let a simple problem be resolved if it is seen as hurting him, and also very easily removed.

The ‘reasoning’ by which the world is made, on which it rests, by which it is maintained, is simply this: ‘You are the cause of what I do. Your presence justifies my wrath, and you exist and think apart from me. While you attack I must be innocent. And what I suffer from is your attack’. No one who looks upon this ‘reasoning’ exactly as it is could fail to see it does not follow and it makes no sense. Yet it seems sensible, because it looks as if the world were hurting you. And so it seems as if there is no need to go beyond the obvious in terms of cause.

There is indeed a need. The world’s escape from condemnation is a need which those within the world are joined in sharing. Yet they do not recognise their common need. For each one thinks that if he does his part, the condemnation of the world will rest on him. And it is this that he perceives to be his part in its deliverance. Vengeance must have a focus. Otherwise is the avenger’s knife in his own hand, and pointed to himself. And he must see it in another’s and, if he would be a victim of attack he did not choose. And thus he suffers from the wounds a knife he does not hold has made upon himself.

This is the purpose of the world he sees. And looked at thus, the world provides the means by which this purpose seems to be fulfilled. The means attest the purpose, but are not themselves a cause. Nor will the cause be changed by seeing it apart from its effects. The cause produces the effects, which then bear witness to the cause, and not themselves. Look, then, beyond effects. It is not here the cause of suffering and sin must lie. And dwell not on the suffering and sin, for they are but reflections of their cause.

The part you play in salvaging the world from condemnation is your own escape. Forget not that the witness to the world of evil cannot speak except for what has seen a need for evil in the world. And this is where your guilt was first beheld. In separation from your brother was the first attack upon yourself begun. And it is this the world bears witness to. Seek not another cause, nor look among the mighty legions of its witnesses for its undoing. They support its claim on your allegiance. What conceals the truth is not where you should look to find the truth.

The witnesses to sin all stand within one little space. And it is here you find the cause of your perspective on the world. Once you were unaware of what the cause of everything the world appeared to thrust upon you, uninvited and unasked, must really be. Of one thing you were sure: of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them. Nor did you in any way request them for yourself. This is how all illusions came about. The one who makes them does not see himself as making them, and their reality does not depend on him. Whatever cause they have is something quite apart from him, and what he sees is separate from his mind. He cannot doubt his dreams’ reality, because he does not see the part he plays in making them and making them seem real.

No one can waken from a dream the world is dreaming for him. He becomes a part of someone else’s dream. He cannot choose to waken from a dream he did not make. Helpless he stands, a victim to a dream conceived and cherished by a separate mind. Careless indeed of him this mind must be, as thoughtless of his peace and happiness as is the weather or the time of day. It loves him not, but casts him as it will in any role that satisfies its dream. So little is his worth that he is but a dancing shadow, leaping up and down according to a senseless plot conceived within the idle dreaming of the world.

This is the only picture you can see; the one alternative that you can choose, the other possibility of cause, if you be not the dreamer of your dreams. And this is what you choose if you deny the cause of suffering is in your mind. Be glad indeed it is, for thus are you the one decider of your destiny in time. The choice is yours to make between a sleeping death and dreams of evil or a happy wakening and joy of life.

What could you choose between but life or death, waking or sleeping, peace or war, your dreams or your reality? There is a risk of thinking death is peace, because the world equates the body with the Self Which God created. Yet a thing can never be its opposite. And death is opposite to peace, because it is the opposite of life. And life is peace. Awaken and forget all thoughts of death, and you will find you have the peace of God. Yet if the choice is really given you, then you must see the causes of the things you choose between exactly as they are and where they are.

What choices can be made between two states, but one of which is clearly recognised? Who could be free to choose between effects, when only one is seen as up to him? An honest choice could never be perceived as one in which the choice is split between a tiny you and an enormous world, with different dreams about the truth in you. The gap between reality and dreams lies not between the dreaming of the world and what you dream in secret. They are one. The dreaming of the world is but a part of your own dream you gave away, and saw as if it were its start and ending, both. Yet was it started by your secret dream, which you do not perceive although it caused the part you see and do not doubt is real. How could you doubt it while you lie asleep, and dream in secret that its cause is real?

A brother separated from yourself, an ancient enemy, a murderer who stalks you in the night and plots your death, yet plans that it be lingering and slow; of this you dream. Yet underneath this dream is yet another, in which you become the murderer, the secret enemy, the scavenger and the destroyer of your brother and the world alike. Here is the cause of suffering, the space between your little dreams and your reality. The little gap you do not even see, the birthplace of illusions and of fear, the time of terror and of ancient hate, the instant of disaster, all are here. Here is the cause of unreality. And it is here that it will be undone.

You are the dreamer of the world of dreams. No other cause it has, nor ever will. Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God’s Son, and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself. So fearful is the dream, so seeming real, he could not waken to reality without the sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear, unless a gentler dream preceded his awaking, and allowed his calmer mind to welcome, not to fear, the Voice That calls with love to waken him; a gentler dream, in which his suffering was healed and where his brother was his friend. God willed he waken gently and with joy, and gave him means to waken without fear.

Accept the dream He gave instead of yours. It is not difficult to change a dream when once the dreamer has been recognised. Rest in the Holy Spirit, and allow His gentle dreams to take the place of those you dreamed in terror and in fear of death. He brings forgiving dreams, in which the choice is not who is the murderer and who shall be the victim. In the dreams He brings there is no murder and there is no death. The dream of guilt is fading from your sight, although your eyes are closed. A smile has come to lighten up your sleeping face. The sleep is peaceful now, for these are happy dreams.

Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence. And from this dream the Lord of Heaven will Himself awaken His beloved Son. Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams. He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you.

Brother, He gives but life. Yet what you see as gifts your brother offers represent the gifts you dream your Father gives to you. Let all your brother’s gifts be seen in light of charity and kindness offered you. And let no pain disturb your dream of deep appreciation for his gifts to you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 17

Lesson 243

Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

I will be honest with myself today. I will not think that I already know what must remain beyond my present grasp. I will not think I understand the whole from bits of my perception, which are all that I can see. Today I recognize that this is so. And so I am relieved of judgments that I cannot make. Thus do I free myself and what I look upon, to be in peace as God created us.

Father, today I leave creation free to be itself. I honor all its parts, in which I am included. We are one because each part contains Your memory, and truth must shine in all of us as one.

***
ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If, as A Course in Miracles suggests, the world totally misunderstood Jesus’ message two thousand years ago, why did he wait so long to correct it?

A) Again, this thoughtful question is based upon a linear view of time, in which two thousand years appear to be an inordinately long period of time for the error to be corrected. Clearly, the ones asking such a question are projecting onto Jesus their own impatience and, most likely, their unforgiveness of the various Christian Churches that have superimposed the ego thought system onto the ego-free teachings of the true Jesus.

A more profound way of addressing this question is to consider that being ego-free, anyone in the real world — as is Jesus — does not really choose to do anything. Having chosen the Holy Spirit once and for all, there is nothing more to choose. Therefore, there is no longer a decision maker in the mind that activates the body and interacts with the world, as is the ego’s very important need. Truly advanced teachers of God — Teachers of teachers — God do not do; they are. They do not plan, choose, deliberate, or behave as does a person who believes in the reality of the ego thought system. Their simple presence of love takes its shape around the needs of those who still identify with a world of form, much as water takes its shape according to the container in which it has been put, or the bed of the river shapes the flow of the water coursing through it.

In this context, therefore, we can understand that the appearance of Jesus within the world’s dream two thousand years ago was the result of the Son’s readiness to experience the Love of God within his dream. It is as if the mind of the Son — the only true sphere of experience there is — partially opened the door of his mind that had screened out the presence of the Holy Spirit. The mind, previously darkened by guilt, thus allowed some light in, and this light took the form of Jesus, the Son of Light, whose presence within the ego’s world of darkness reminds us all that we too are children of the Light.

The fear that this light engendered — for it constitutes a grave threat to the ego’s thought system of darkness — led to the Son’s closing the door to protect his individual self, and this took the form of seeking to destroy Jesus and then his message, as the history of Christianity attests. This is why the gospel writers changed the entire message of Jesus and rooted it in the crucifixion, which reflected the ego’s underlying plan to perpetuate its own thought system of betrayal, suffering, and death. Jesus comments on this dynamic in the Course in several places. We look at two such passages; one general to the dynamics of the Son’s mind, and the other specific to Jesus himself.

As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear and sometimes to stark terror (T- 1 8.111.2: 1).All who believe in separation have a basic fear of retaliation and abandonment.  They believe in attack and rejection, so that is what they perceive and leach and learn.  These insane ideas are clearly the result of dissociation and projection. What you teach you are, but it is quite apparent that you can teach wrongly, and can therefore teach yourself wrong. Many thought I was attacking them, even though it was apparent I was not. An insane learner learns strange lessons. What you must recognize is that when you do not share a thought system, you are weakening it. Those who believe in it therefore perceive this as an attack on them. This is because everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are (T-6.V-B.1:1-9).

The reader should also consult “Atonement without Sacrifice” and “The Message of the Crucifixion,” the opening sections of Chapters 3 and 6 in the text, for even more specific comments by Jesus about the misunderstanding of his message, and how and why it happened.

And now, two thousand years later, we see that the door to the Son’s closed mind opened again to allow in the light of truth, and the result is the original message of Jesus, presented in a contemporary twentieth (soon to be twenty-first) century form. Needless to say, there have been other expressions of this light in the Christian (and non-Christian) world, but, again, we shall remain only within the context of A Course in Miracles.

The advantage of answering the question in this way is that one is able to avoid the anthropomorphizing of Jesus — making him think, plan, and behave the way we would — which would only once again foster the belief that we have captured him within the ego’s dream, making him one of us, instead of our becoming like him. Above all, it is always essential to keep in mind that God has no true response to the thought of separation, even though, as we have already seen, the metaphoric language of A Course in Miraclesoften portrays it so.  First and foremost, if God knew about the “tiny, mad idea,” it would have had to be real. Therefore, the Holy Spirit and Jesus — as messengers of God within the dream, and being the Voices of the plan of the Atonement which states that the dream of separation never happened — would also have to share in this non-response to error. It is Their simple light-filled presence within our minds — darkened by thoughts of sin, guilt, and fear — that help us. They do nothing; it is only our egos that act and react. And as long as we experience this thought of separation in the specific forms of specialness that comprise our individual lives, we must experience this Help in specific forms as well. But these forms are determined by our ego scripts, not by any specific intervention of the divine.

You but mistake interpretation

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 31

ACIM Text Reading for August 31

Chapter 27 ~ The Healing of the Dream

VIII. The “Hero” of the Dream

The body is the central figure in the dreaming of the world. There is no dream without it, nor does it exist without the dream in which it acts as if it were a person to be seen and be believed. It takes the central place in every dream, which tells the story of how it was made by other bodies, born into the world outside the body, lives a little while and dies, to be united in the dust with other bodies dying like itself. In the brief time allotted it to live, it seeks for other bodies as its friends and enemies. Its safety is its main concern. Its comfort is its guiding rule. It tries to look for pleasure, and avoid the things that would be hurtful. Above all, it tries to teach itself its pains and joys are different and can be told apart.

The dreaming of the world takes many forms, because the body seeks in many ways to prove it is autonomous and real. It puts things on itself that it has bought with little metal discs or paper strips the world proclaims as valuable and real. It works to get them, doing senseless things, and tosses them away for senseless things it does not need and does not even want. It hires other bodies, that they may protect it and collect more senseless things that it can call its own. It looks about for special bodies that can share its dream. Sometimes it dreams it is a conqueror of bodies weaker than itself. But in some phases of the dream, it is the slave of bodies that would hurt and torture it.

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. But who reacts to figures in a dream unless he sees them as if they were real? The instant that he sees them as they are they have no more effects on him, because he understands he gave them their effects by causing them and making them seem real.

How willing are you to escape effects of all the dreams the world has ever had? Is it your wish to let no dream appear to be the cause of what it is you do? Then let us merely look upon the dream’s beginning, for the part you see is but the second part, whose cause lies in the first. No one asleep and dreaming in the world remembers his attack upon himself. No one believes there really was a time when he knew nothing of a body, and could never have conceived this world as real. He would have seen at once that these ideas are one illusion, too ridiculous for anything but to be laughed away. How serious they now appear to be! And no one can remember when they would have met with laughter and with disbelief. We can remember this, if we but look directly at their cause. And we will see the grounds for laughter, not a cause for fear.

Let us return the dream he gave away unto the dreamer, who perceives the dream as separate from himself and done to him. Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together, we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time.

A timelessness in which is time made real; a part of God that can attack itself; a separate brother as an enemy; a mind within a body all are forms of circularity whose ending starts at its beginning, ending at its cause. The world you see depicts exactly what you thought you did. Except that now you think that what you did is being done to you. The guilt for what you thought is being placed outside yourself, and on a guilty world that dreams your dreams and thinks your thoughts instead of you. It brings its vengeance, not your own. It keeps you narrowly confined within a body, which it punishes because of all the sinful things the body does within its dream. You have no power to make the body stop its evil deeds because you did not make it, and cannot control its actions nor its purpose nor its fate.

The world but demonstrates an ancient truth; you will believe that others do to you exactly what you think you did to them. But once deluded into blaming them you will not see the cause of what they do, because you want the guilt to rest on them. How childish is the petulant device to keep your innocence by pushing guilt outside yourself, but never letting go! It is not easy to perceive the jest when all around you do your eyes behold its heavy consequences, but without their trifling cause. Without the cause do its effects seem serious and sad indeed. Yet they but follow. And it is their cause that follows nothing and is but a jest.

In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause, and looks not to effects. How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely? He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him a while. You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed. Perhaps you come in tears. But hear Him say, “My brother, holy Son of God, behold your idle dream, in which this could occur.” And you will leave the holy instant with your laughter and your brother’s joined with His.

The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself. No matter what the form of the attack, this still is true. Whoever takes the role of enemy and of attacker, still is this the truth. Whatever seems to be the cause of any pain and suffering you feel, this is still true. For you would not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that you were dreaming. Let them be as hateful and as vicious as they may, they could have no effect on you unless you failed to recognize it is your dream.

This single lesson learned will set you free from suffering, whatever form it takes. The Holy Spirit will repeat this one inclusive lesson of deliverance until it has been learned, regardless of the form of suffering that brings you pain. Whatever hurt you bring to Him He will make answer with this very simple truth. For this one answer takes away the cause of every form of sorrow and of pain. The form affects His answer not at all, for He would teach you but the single cause of all of them, no matter what their form. And you will understand that miracles reflect the simple statement, “I have done this thing, and it is this I would undo.”

Bring, then, all forms of suffering to Him Who knows that every one is like the rest. He sees no differences where none exists, and He will teach you how each one is caused. None has a different cause from all the rest, and all of them are easily undone by but a single lesson truly learned. Salvation is a secret you have kept but from yourself. The universe proclaims it so. Yet to its witnesses you pay no heed at all. For they attest the thing you do not want to know. They seem to keep it secret from you. Yet you need but learn you chose but not to listen, not to see.

How differently will you perceive the world when this is recognized! When you forgive the world your guilt, you will be free of it. Its innocence does not demand your guilt, nor does your guiltlessness rest on its sins. This is the obvious; a secret kept from no one but yourself. And it is this that has maintained you separate from the world, and kept your brother separate from you. Now need you but to learn that both of you are innocent or guilty. The one thing that is impossible is that you be unlike each other; that they both be true. This is the only secret yet to learn. And it will be no secret you are healed.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 31

Lesson 243

Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

I will be honest with myself today. I will not think that I already know what must remain beyond my present grasp. I will not think I understand the whole from bits of my perception, which are all that I can see. Today I recognize that this is so. And so I am relieved of judgments that I cannot make. Thus do I free myself and what I look upon, to be in peace as God created us.

Father, today I leave creation free to be itself. I honor all its parts, in which I am included. We are one because each part contains Your memory, and truth must shine in all of us as one.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #677: Would you kindly assist me in understanding section VIII of Chapter 27, titled “The ‘Hero’ of the Dream,” in particular, the meaning of the following quote:

“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.”

A: This passage is saying that the ego’s purpose for the dream is to deceive us into believing that we are each a single, lonely figure in the dream of the world, each with our own separate interests and needs, rather than the dreamer of the dream of the world and all the figures in it. If we are a figure — a body — in the dream, then we are the dream’s effect and the dream is our cause. But if we are the dreamer, we are the cause and the dream/world is the effect.

To help understand this passage further, consider what is really happening in the split mind and what the ego wants us to believe, described in the sentences you quote. The “you” Jesus is addressing and is always referring to in A Course in Miracles is our mind, outside of time and space and outside the dream. It is the split mind of the Son of God, after we have seemingly fallen asleep and begun to dream of separation. Much like what we experience in our nighttime dreams, we do not remember that we are the dreamer but think instead that we are one of the figures in the dream, a body, the “hero” of the dream. So we have accepted the body as our identity and believe that all of the rest of the dream — the world — is outside of ourselves, beyond our control, exerting its influence on us against our will. And yet all along, we, as the dreaming mind, are making the whole thing up.

But this confusion about our identity is exactly what the ego wants us to believe in order to achieve its purpose — to keep us asleep and dreaming the dream of separation, without ever realizing that it is our dream. So the world we seem to be experiencing outside of our physical selves, which includes our parents and their parents, etc., seems to be the cause of the self we think we are — the body. In other words, the ego has convinced us that we, as a body which contains a brain which reacts and thinks and feels, are the effect of the world, and how we feel is a result of our interactions with that outside world and all the people in it. So we never consider the possibility that we, as a mind, are not the effect but rather the cause of the world, of the dream. And this subterfuge serves a very deliberate purpose, for now the cause of all of our unhappiness and pain and loss seems to be the world/the dream, rather than the decision we are making within our mind to see ourselves as separate from love. If we really knew our own choice is the cause, we would not remain asleep and dreaming much longer, and the ego — the thought of separation — would then simply disappear.

Think again of your dreams at night. We may have all kinds of experiences in the dream that we attribute to the other figures and the “outer world” of our dream while we are still asleep and dreaming. But upon awakening, we recognize that all those feelings were not caused by anything in the dream itself but rather by our mind that was dreaming the entire contents of the dream, including both the dream figure we thought we were and everything seemingly separate from it. The dream is one, single, unitary illusion that continues to fool us about reality while we remain asleep. So one of Jesus’ primary objectives with the Course is to help us understand the real nature of cause and effect, so we can undo our confusion and eventually remember Who we truly are, beyond even the illusory split mind.

In a lovely passage early in the text, Jesus calls to us: “Hear, then, the one answer of the Holy Spirit to all the questions the ego raises: You are a child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists and only this is real. You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real and God calls you to awake. There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him, because you will awaken. Your dreams contain many of the ego’s symbols and they have confused you. Yet that was only because you were asleep and did not know. When you wake you will see the truth around you and in you, and you will no longer believe in dreams because they will have no reality for you. Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you, because they are beautiful and true” (T.6.IV.6).

*

Q #100: I wonder about the passage T.27.VIII.6:2. I know my ego is quite resourceful and finds ways to delay progress, which is why I have grown to walk over this passage. Now, with all my basic human understanding, the only way to remember not to laugh is that at one time, for some reason, prior to this event, we had also not laughed; for it is not possible for a mind to “remember” or to “re-call” what has never entered the mind. And at this section, Jesus is not talking about us reliving that instant, hence, creating our world and its constancy. If we understand oneness, perfection, Love, how can something that is not oneness, perfection, Love be remembered? How could it had been part of our existence?

A. The language of A Course in Miracles can be a stumbling block for many people, which appears to be the case here. In one sense, your analysis of the function of memory is logical; but logical analysis can often get in the way of truly understanding Jesus’ message. The Course is not written as would an academic or scholarly treatise, in which precision and consistency in language is essential. While intellectually on a high, sophisticated level—with a clearly recognizable, internally consistent metaphysics—the Course is nonetheless expressed in more of a poetic fashion, where the meanings of words and concepts are permitted to be stretched, and as a result are not always consistent. There are several other instances of seeming inconsistency, in addition to the one you point out.

Anticipating this type of question no doubt, Jesus explains in the introduction to the clarification of terms: “This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception…All terms are potentially controversial, and those who seek controversy will find it. Yet those who seek clarification will find it as well. They must, however, be willing to overlook controversy, recognizing that it is a defense against the truth in the form of a delaying maneuver.…A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed. Here alone consistency becomes possible because here alone uncertainty ends” (C.in.1:1,2; 2:1,2,3,4,5,6,7).

As these passages indicate, the Course does not lend itself to the kind of logical analysis you engaged in, as that is not its purpose. It was not meant to be approached that way, and if it is, one will not get very far with it before being tempted to dismiss it because of the looseness of its language and apparent changes in meaning. What is also helpful is to recognize that the meaning of words is often relative to the point that Jesus is making, or to the essence of what he is teaching in that particular passage, which could differ when he is making some other point. This can be frustrating to readers, without a doubt. On the other hand, though, it is purposeful, in that it forces readers to pay very careful attention to what they are reading in order not to miss the point Jesus is making.

Moreover, the Course makes it clear that the human intellect itself is often an impediment in the quest for truth: “You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is” (T.18.IV.7:5). It is a paradox that we must learn, by first using our intellectual powers, that our intellectual powers are a defense against the truth, which goes along with the Holy Spirit directing us to use the world and time as a means of learning that the world and time are illusory. We are just challenged on every single level to examine the premises and the values and expectations we bring to our study of the Course, so that we can identify exactly what we are thinking and doing that keeps love and truth out of our awareness.

For some further study of this issue, you might want to consult our tape album, “Duality As Metaphor in A Course in Miracles” and Chapter 2 “The Course’s Use of Language — I” in Few Choose to Listen, Volume II of The Message of A Course in Miracles.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 31

ACIM Text Reading for August 31

Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear

II. Reversing Effect and Cause

Without a cause there can be no effects, and yet without effects there is no cause. The cause a cause is made by its effects; the Father is a Father by His Son. Effects do not create their cause, but they establish its causation. Thus, the Son gives Fatherhood to his Creator, and receives the gift that he has given Him. It is because he is God’s Son that he must also be a father, who creates as God created him. The circle of creation has no end. Its starting and its ending are the same. But in itself it holds the universe of all creation, without beginning and without an end.

Fatherhood is creation. Love must be extended. Purity is not confined. It is the nature of the innocent to be forever uncontained, without a barrier or limitation. Thus is purity not of the body. Nor can it be found where limitation is. The body can be healed by its effects, which are as limitless as is itself. Yet must all healing come about because the mind is recognized as not within the body, and its innocence is quite apart from it, and where all healing is. Where, then, is healing? Only where its cause is given its effects. For sickness is a meaningless attempt to give effects to causelessness, and make it be a cause.

Always in sickness does the Son of God attempt to make himself his cause, and not allow himself to be his Father’s Son. For this impossible desire, he does not believe that he is Love’s Effect, and must be cause because of what he is. The cause of healing is the only Cause of everything. It has but one effect. And in that recognition, causelessness is given no effects and none is seen. A mind within a body and a world of other bodies, each with separate minds, are your “creations,” you the “other” mind, creating with effects unlike yourself. And as their “father,” you must be like them.

Nothing at all has happened but that you have put yourself to sleep, and dreamed a dream in which you were an alien to yourself, and but a part of someone else’s dream. The miracle does not awaken you, but merely shows you who the dreamer is. It teaches you there is a choice of dreams while you are still asleep, depending on the purpose of your dreaming. Do you wish for dreams of healing, or for dreams of death? A dream is like a memory in that it pictures what you wanted shown to you.

An empty storehouse, with an open door, holds all your shreds of memories and dreams. Yet if you are the dreamer, you perceive this much at least: that you have caused the dream, and can accept another dream as well. But for this change in content of the dream, it must be realized that it is you who dreamed the dreaming that you do not like. It is but an effect that you have caused, and you would not be cause of this effect. In dreams of murder and attack are you the victim in a dying body slain. But in forgiving dreams is no one asked to be the victim and the sufferer. These are the happy dreams the miracle exchanges for your own. It does not ask you make another; only that you see you made the one you would exchange for this.

This world is causeless, as is every dream that anyone has dreamed within the world. No plans are possible, and no design exists that could be found and understood. What else could be expected from a thing that has no cause? Yet if it has no cause, it has no purpose. You may cause a dream, but never will you give it real effects. For that would change its cause, and it is this you cannot do. The dreamer of a dream is not awake, but does not know he sleeps. He sees illusions of himself as sick or well, depressed or happy, but without a stable cause with guaranteed effects.

The miracle establishes you dream a dream, and that its content is not true. This is a crucial step in dealing with illusions. No one is afraid of them when he perceives he made them up. The fear was held in place because he did not see that he was author of the dream, and not a figure in the dream. He gives himself the consequences that he dreams he gave his brother. And it is but this the dream has put together and has offered him, to show him that his wishes have been done. Thus does he fear his own attack, but sees it at another’s hands. As victim, he is suffering from its effects, but not their cause. He authored not his own attack, and he is innocent of what he caused. The miracle does nothing but to show him that he has done nothing. What he fears is cause without the consequences that would make it cause. And so it never was.

The separation started with the dream the Father was deprived of His Effects, and powerless to keep them since He was no longer their Creator. In the dream, the dreamer made himself. But what he made has turned against him, taking on the role of its creator, as the dreamer had. And as he hated his Creator, so the figures in the dream have hated him. His body is their slave, which they abuse because the motives he has given it have they adopted as their own. And hate it for the vengeance it would offer them. It is their vengeance on the body which appears to prove the dreamer could not be the maker of the dream. Effect and cause are first split off, and then reversed, so that effect becomes a cause; the cause, effect.

This is the separation’s final step, with which salvation, which proceeds to go the other way, begins. This final step is an effect of what has gone before, appearing as a cause. The miracle is the first step in giving back to cause the function of causation, not effect. For this confusion has produced the dream, and while it lasts will wakening be feared. Nor will the call to wakening be heard, because it seems to be the call to fear.

Like every lesson that the Holy Spirit requests you learn, the miracle is clear. It demonstrates what He would have you learn, and shows you its effects are what you want. In His forgiving dreams are the effects of yours undone, and hated enemies perceived as friends with merciful intent. Their enmity is seen as causeless now, because they did not make it. And you can accept the role of maker of their hate, because you see that it has no effects. Now are you freed from this much of the dream; the world is neutral, and the bodies that still seem to move about as separate things need not be feared. And so they are not sick.

The miracle returns the cause of fear to you who made it. But it also shows that, having no effects, it is not cause, because the function of causation is to have effects. And where effects are gone, there is no cause. Thus is the body healed by miracles because they show the mind made sickness, and employed the body to be victim, or effect, of what it made. Yet half the lesson will not teach the whole. The miracle is useless if you learn but that the body can be healed, for this is not the lesson it was sent to teach. The lesson is the mind was sick that thought the body could be sick; projecting out its guilt caused nothing, and had no effects.

This world is full of miracles. They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. They are the dream’s alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream. They are the glad effects of taking back the consequence of sickness to its cause. The body is released because the mind acknowledges “this is not done to me, but I am doing this.” And thus the mind is free to make another choice instead. Beginning here, salvation will proceed to change the course of every step in the descent to separation, until all the steps have been retraced, the ladder gone, and all the dreaming of the world undone.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 31

Lesson 243
Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

I will be honest with myself today. I will not think that I already know what must remain beyond my present grasp. I will not think I understand the whole from bits of my perception, which are all that I can see. Today I recognize that this is so. And so I am relieved of judgments that I cannot make. Thus do I free myself and what I look upon, to be in peace as God created us.

Father, today I leave creation free to be itself. I honor all its parts, in which I am included. We are one because each part contains Your memory, and truth must shine in all of us as one.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #941: Please explain the Holy Spirit, specifics, and A Course in Miracles ‘ ultimate goal.

A: Jesus tells us in the Course that the Holy Spirit ” is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception” (T.5.I.5: 1) and ” is in your right mind, as He was in mine” (T.5.I.3). In other words, the Holy Spirit is the memory of God’s Love that remained in our mind when we fell asleep and dreamt up this world of separation. We can think of Him as an internal Teacher to whom we can turn for guidance. He will correct our painful thoughts of separation with forgiving thoughts, which reflect the truth that we are still “home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality” (T.10.I.2: 1) .

Of specifics, the Course says, “The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific” (T.11.VIII.5: 5). Then it goes on to tell us that “Problems are not specific but they take specific forms, and these specific shapes make up the world” (T. 27.V.8: 1). So, the Course lets us know that there is a loving presence to which we can turn for help with the specific challenges we seem to face in our lives. At the same time, it sets out a curriculum that will lead us to realize that the multitude of specific problems we think we have are just reflections of our one real problem — our belief that we exist at God’s expense and deserve to be punished for it.

Jesus wants us to use the specific problems in our lives as classrooms that will ultimately help us to awaken. The first step in this process is to bring our problems to the light of the Holy Spirit in our mind so He can reinterpret them for us in a loving way. This will not necessarily change a problem on the level of form, but it will take away all our pain and conflict about it. Over time, all our specifics will begin to seem more and more alike and we will automatically stop asking the Holy Spirit for help with our specific problems and instead ask Him to help us (to paraphrase the Course) change our mind about our problems.

This brings us to the Course’s ultimate goal. The rather ambitious goal of the Course is to teach us that this world is nothing more than an “outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1: 5) , that this condition is making us miserable, and that — with the Holy Spirit’s help — we have the ability to change it. The Course would have changing this inward condition become the central focus of our lives. We could think of studying this Course as taking the initial step on a lifelong journey of forgiveness and ever-increasing self-awareness.

As Course students, it is important to remember that “This course is a beginning, not an end” (W.ep.1: 1) . The end of the journey — the real world — will be when we, like Jesus, have nothing but the Holy Spirit in our mind. Happily, when that happens and what it looks like is not our concern.

Q # 942: I don’t understand how A Course in Miracles views the use of personal effort in advancing oneself or in helping others. Is making an effort to do anything worthwhile in terms of the Course? For instance, I do volunteer work with children. Is this worth doing? What about donating money to help others who have less than I do? Is doing so just a reflection of my guilt? How about getting an education? According to the Course, is this just my ego trying to better itself and bring accolades and a bigger salary? Finally, what about exercising and living a healthy lifestyle? By my understanding of the Course, attempts to improve physical health only reaffirm an attachment to the ego. So why bother trying?

A: Undoubtedly, many students of A Course in Miracles have asked themselves those questions. But it is important to remember that the Course is not a guide for behavior. It is only concerned with motivating us to exchange the ego for the Holy Spirit as our internal Teacher. This is why Jesus never says anything in the Course about what we should do . Rather he tells us to ask of everything, “What is the purpose” (T.4.V.6: 8,9). He also tells us that we give everything we see all the meaning that it has for us (W.pI.1) . In other words, nothing here has any inherent meaning — things mean whatever they symbolize in our mind.

Now, it is true that we initially fell asleep and dreamt up this world because we listened to the ego. So on one hand, everything here is a symbol of our apparent separation and triumph over God. On the other hand, now that we are having this dream, we can choose to reinterpret it with the Holy Spirit as our Guide. When we do that, everything becomes a symbol of forgiveness, helping us to get closer and closer to reawakening to God’s Love. That is what the Course urges us to do — use this world as a classroom in forgiveness until we do not need it anymore.

It is very helpful to realize that the Course is written on two levels. On level one — the level of absolute truth — this world is a dream. But on level two — within the dream, where we all believe ourselves to be — this world can either be a prison or a classroom. And so Jesus does not want us to pretend we think this world is an illusion. Rather he advises us to “Use all the little names and symbols which delineate the world of darkness. Yet accept them not as your reality” (W.pI.184.11:1,2) . That means we should keep doing everything so called normal people do, but do so with a different purpose. Were we to stop all activities that we judge as wrong minded, we would be denying the Holy Spirit the only arena He has for correcting our thinking. And so again, we do not change what we do, only how we think about what we do.

You asked whether giving money to others and getting an education are worth doing from a Course perspective. The answer is: From a Course perspective, extending love is worth doing, while projecting guilt is not. Whether or not you should engage in a specific activity depends upon what it symbolizes to you. This is why Jesus says “The curriculum is highly individualized ” (M.29.2:6) . If you suspect you are drawn to doing something for the wrong reasons, that is the perfect time to simply ask the Holy Spirit to look at it with you. He will bring love to the situation and then you will know what to do.

You also asked if attempts to improve the body reaffirm an attachment to the ego. The Course informs us that the “body is a wholly neutral thing” (Lesson 294) and that to deny its existence is to engage in “a particularly unworthy form of denial” (T.2.IV.3: 11) . Clearly, Jesus does not want us to stop caring for the body as a path to letting go of the ego. This is because denying the body is merely the flip side of indulging it. As long as we are identified with the body, we should simply give it the care and attention it requires while asking for help to recognize that it does not have the power to affect our mind.

The fact that you are wondering, “why bother trying,” makes it seem likely that you have fallen into one of the ego’s classic traps. We adopted the ego as our guide because it convinced us that to do otherwise would destroy us. Then along comes the Course telling us we would be much better off if we chose the Holy Spirit as our internal Teacher. The ego knows that if we believed that message, its gig would be up. So it sends out a warning signal telling us, “If you accept Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness, you will lose!” It does not tell us that we will lose only our pain and guilt, and that we will gain the lasting inner peace and true happiness we have always wanted.

When you feel a gnawing sense of loss or despair in relation to being a Course student, it is because the ego slithered its way into becoming your study partner. Rest assured, our journey back to Heaven and into God’s Loving Arms is not predicated on sacrifice. And neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit will ever make us give up anything we really want.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 31

ACIM Text Reading for August 31

Chapter 29 ~ THE AWAKENING

I. The Closing of the Gap

There is no time, no place, no state where God is absent. There is nothing to be feared. There is no way in which a gap could be conceived of in the Wholeness that is His. The compromise the least and the littlest gap would represent in His eternal Love is quite impossible. For it would mean His Love could harbour just a hint of hate, His gentleness turn sometimes to attack, and His eternal patience sometimes fail. All this do you believe, when you perceive a gap between your brother and yourself. How could you trust Him then? For He must be deceptive in His Love. Be wary, then; let Him not come too close, and leave a gap between you and His Love, through which you can escape if there be need for you to flee.

Here is the fear of God most plainly seen. For love is treacherous to those who fear, since fear and hate can never be apart. No one who hates but is afraid of love, and therefore must he be afraid of God. Certain it is he knows not what love means. He fears to love and loves to hate, and so he thinks that love is fearful; hate is love. This is the consequence the little gap must bring to those who cherish it, and think that it is their salvation and their hope.

The fear of God! The greatest obstacle that peace must flow across has not yet gone. The rest are past, but this one still remains to block your path, and make the way to light seem dark and fearful, perilous and bleak. You had decided that your brother is your enemy. Sometimes a friend, perhaps, provided that your separate interests made your friendship possible a little while. But not without a gap perceived between you and him, lest he turn again into an enemy. Let him come close to you, and you jumped back; as you approached, did he but instantly withdraw. A cautious friendship, and limited in scope and carefully restricted in amount, became the treaty that you had made with him. Thus you and your brother but shared a qualified entente, in which a clause of separation was a point you both agreed to keep intact. And violating this was thought to be a breach of treaty not to be allowed.

The gap between you and your brother is not one of space between two separate bodies. And this but seems to be dividing off your separate minds. It is the symbol of a promise made to meet when you prefer, and separate until you and he elect to meet again. And then your bodies seem to get in touch, and thereby signify a meeting place to join. But always is it possible for you and him to go your separate ways. Conditional upon the ‘right’ to separate will you and he agree to meet from time to time, and keep apart in intervals of separation, which do protect you from the ‘sacrifice’ of love. The body saves you, for it gets away from total sacrifice and gives you the time in which to build again your separate self, which you truly believes diminishes as you and your brother meet.

The body could not separate your mind from your brother’s unless you wanted it to be a cause of separation and of distance seen between you and him. Thus do you endow it with a power that lies not within itself. And herein lies its power over you. For now you think that it determines when your brother and you meet, and limits your ability to make communion with your brother’s mind. And now it tells you where to go and how to go there, what is feasible for you to undertake, and what you cannot do. It dictates what its health can tolerate, and what will tire it and make it sick. And its ‘inherent’ weaknesses set up the limitations on what you would do, and keep your purpose limited and weak.

The body will accommodate to this, if you would have it so. It will allow but limited indulgences in ‘love’, with intervals of hatred in between. And it will take command of when to ‘love’, and when to shrink more safely into fear. It will be sick because you do not know what loving means. And so you must misuse each circumstance and everyone you meet, and see in them a purpose not your own. It is not love that asks a sacrifice. But fear demands the sacrifice of love, for in love’s presence fear cannot abide. For hate to be maintained, love must be feared; and only sometimes present, sometimes gone. Thus is love seen as treacherous, because it seems to come and go uncertainly, and offer no stability to you. You do not see how limited and weak is your allegiance, and how frequently you have demanded that love go away, and leave you quietly alone in ‘peace’.

The body, innocent of goals, is your excuse for variable goals you hold, and force the body to maintain. You do not fear its weakness, but its lack of strength or weakness. Would you know that nothing stands between you and your brother? Would you know there is no gap behind which you can hide? There is a shock that comes to those who learn their saviour is their enemy no more. There is a wariness that is aroused by learning that the body is not real. And there are overtones of seeming fear around the happy message, ‘God is Love’.

Yet all that happens when the gap is gone is peace eternal. Nothing more than that, and nothing less. Without the fear of God, what could induce you to abandon Him? What toys or trinkets in the gap could serve to hold you back an instant from His Love? Would you allow the body to say ‘no’ to Heaven’s calling, were you not afraid to find a loss of self in finding God? Yet can your self be lost by being found?

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 31

Lesson 243
Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

I will be honest with myself today. I will not think that I already know what must remain beyond my present grasp. I will not think I understand the whole from bits of my perception, which are all that I can see. Today I recognize that this is so. And so I am relieved of judgments that I cannot make. Thus do I free myself and what I look upon, to be in peace as God created us.

Father, today I leave creation free to be itself. I honor all its parts, in which I am included. We are one because each part contains Your memory, and truth must shine in all of us as one.

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

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #20: I would like to understand why many of my relationships with men begin with a notion of romance but do not sustain themselves as friendships. I value the people I meet and I would like to develop and grow to the point where I can express brotherly love for women and men. As a single woman, I meet men who are often attracted to me, then we date or whatever, and then it ends. I’m responsible for what and how I am communicating. Is there a way to communicate “let’s be friends” when something more was expected or desired and disappointment has set in?

A: Our egos are not proud and will use whatever forms of specialness work to get us involved in relationships that in the end do not meet our needs. Although we are usually not aware of this, we have an underlying goal of demonstrating that love can only fail us and that we are the unwitting victim of others’ misleading and confusing overtures. The Course is unique — and for this reason probably also not that popular — among spiritual paths in identifying this underlying intent behind all our relationships in the world, no matter how good we believe our intentions may be at the start, until they are given over to the Holy Spirit for healing.

And, often to our disappointment, the Holy Spirit only works with content and not form, so that there can be no guarantee of what will happen in our relationships except that we will be given another opportunity to get in touch with our own buried guilt and feelings of unworthiness and self-hatred so that they can be healed. But if we are able to put the Course’s principles of forgiveness into practice, we will find that over time we experience a sense of peace and joy in our relationships, regardless of whether our brothers or sisters reciprocate in any way on the level of form. And we will know that we are truly “friends” who have a shared purpose of healing the pain buried in our minds. But this is a process that can take time to achieve. So, in the meantime, just know that you are doing the best that you can and don’t stop trying. Jesus needs our special relationships to teach us the other way. It is only fear that ever stops any of us from allowing ourselves to experience greater intimacy in any form.

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Q #200: I am in my first year with A Course in Miracles. I was sexually molested as a child. The severe shame I feel from this has made relationships difficult. With each new failure to keep or maintain a relationship, they seem to become progressively more difficult. I don’t mind being in the constant process of forgiving the perpetrators. But my life struggle seems to be in sustaining forgiveness of myself. Is there any way I can address this specifically in my renewed relationship with God?

A: It is your ego that has convinced you that the shame you feel now is the result of those traumatic and shameful abusive experiences of your childhood. That way, the problem remains in the past, never really capable of being undone. But you are not alone in thinking this way. This is the purpose of the world, to keep our focus away from the real problem in the mind, the original and only source of guilt and shame, and on events in our lives that have happened to us and cannot be reversed.

This is not to say that those childhood experiences were not horrific or that you don’t continue to be haunted by thoughts related to those experiences. But what the Course offers you now is another way in the present of looking at all of that so that it need not maintain the grip on your life and your mind that it has up until now.

The guilt buried deep in our mind over the thought that we would want to and could separate ourselves from love is the real source of all of our shame. And it is a shame so severe that we believe that we do not deserve to be loved, that a lifetime beginning with abuse by those who are responsible for us is a fitting punishment for our “crime” of assaulting love. We carry the belief that we are somehow fatally flawed and that is the real cause of our shame.

But we never go back and look at that source of shame in our mind, where with the gentle support of Jesus, God’s symbol of love in our mind, we might begin to question the validity of that original self-accusation. Instead, we shift our focus to the world of bodies and the shame associated with being helpless and abused by others over whom we have no power or control. And then this seems to be the shame that poisons our whole life, and all the relationships we embark upon in search of the love that is missing that we yearn for. But the good news of the Course is that the problem is not where we are seeing it, in the world of bodies, but rather in our minds, where the solution — forgiveness — is as well.

And so this is where your renewed relationship with God and His representative, Jesus, and his Course, offers hope. For as you are willing to uncover the deeper ontological guilt and shame that your lifetime of personal shame is pointing to, looking at it with Jesus’ love beside you, you will gradually allow yourself to recognize that there is nothing to be ashamed of. For with his love there with you, you will begin to recognize that you have not abandoned or betrayed love, and love has not abandoned or betrayed you.

For a discussion about forgiving the perpetrators, see also Q#174.

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