A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 3, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 3

Chapter 4 ~ The Illusions of the Ego

VII. Creation and Communication

It is clear that while the content of any particular ego illusion does not matter, its correction is more helpful in a specific context. Ego illusions are quite specific, although the mind is naturally abstract. Part of the mind becomes concrete, however, when it splits. The concrete part believes in the ego, because the ego depends on the concrete. The ego is the part of the mind that believes your existence is defined by separation.

Everything the ego perceives is a separate whole, without the relationships that imply being. The ego is thus against communication, except insofar as it is utilised to establish separateness rather than to abolish it. The communication system of the ego is based on its own thought system, as is everything else it dictates. Its communication is controlled by its need to protect itself, and it will disrupt communication when it experiences threat. This disruption is a reaction to a specific person or persons. The specificity of the ego’s thinking, then, results in spurious generalisation which is really not abstract at all. It merely responds in certain specific ways to everything it perceives as related.

In contrast, spirit reacts in the same way to everything it knows is true, and does not respond at all to anything else. Nor does it make any attempt to establish what is true. It knows that what is true is everything that God created. It is in complete and direct communication with every aspect of creation, because it is in complete and direct communication with its Creator. This communication is the Will of God. Creation and communication are synonymous. God created every mind by communicating His Mind to it, thus establishing it forever as a channel for the reception of His Mind and Will. Since only beings of a like order can truly communicate, His creations naturally communicate with Him and like Him. This communication is perfectly abstract, since its quality is universal in application and not subject to any judgement, any exception or any alteration. God created you by this and for this. The mind can distort its function, but it cannot endow itself with functions it was not given. That is why the mind cannot totally lose the ability to communicate, even though it may refuse to utilise it on behalf of being.

Existence as well as being rest on communication. Existence, however, is specific in how, what and with whom communication is judged to be worth undertaking. Being is completely without these distinctions. It is a state in which the mind is in communication with everything that is real. To whatever extent you permit this state to be curtailed you are limiting your sense of your own reality, which becomes total only by recognising all reality in the glorious context of its real relationship to you. This is your reality. Do not desecrate it or recoil from it. It is your real home, your real temple and your real Self.

God, Who encompasses all being, created beings who have everything individually, but who want to share it to increase their joy. Nothing real can be increased except by sharing. That is why God created you. Divine Abstraction takes joy in sharing. That is what creation means. ‘How’, ‘what’ and ‘to whom’ are irrelevant, because real creation gives everything, since it can create only like itself. Remember that in the Kingdom there is no difference between having and being, as there is in existence. In the state of being the mind gives everything always.

The Bible repeatedly states that you should praise God. This hardly means that you should tell Him how wonderful He is. He has no ego with which to accept such praise, and no perception with which to judge it. But unless you take your part in the creation, His joy is not complete because yours is incomplete. And this He does know. He knows it in His Own Being and its experience of His Son’s experience. The constant going out of His Love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him.

God has kept your kingdom for you, but He cannot share His joy with you until you know it with your whole mind. Revelation is not enough, because it is only communication from God. God does not need revelation returned to Him, which would clearly be impossible, but He does want it brought to others. This cannot be done with the actual revelation; its content cannot be expressed, because it is intensely personal to the mind that receives it. It can, however, be returned by that mind to other minds, through the attitudes the knowledge from the revelation brings.

God is praised whenever any mind learns to be wholly helpful. This is impossible without being wholly harmless, because the two beliefs must coexist. The truly helpful are invulnerable, because they are not protecting their egos and so nothing can hurt them. Their helpfulness is their praise of God, and He will return their praise of Him because they are like Him, and they can rejoice together. God goes out to them and through them, and there is great joy throughout the Kingdom. Every mind that is changed adds to this joy with its individual willingness to share in it. The truly helpful are God’s miracle workers, whom I direct until we are all united in the joy of the Kingdom. I will direct you to wherever you can be truly helpful, and to whoever can follow my guidance through you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 3

Lesson 34

I could see peace instead of this.

1. The idea for today begins to describe the conditions that prevail in the other way of seeing. Peace of mind is clearly an inter­nal matter. It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises.

2. Three longer practice periods are required for today’s exercises. One in the morning and one in the evening are advised, with an additional one to be undertaken at any time in between that seems most conducive to readiness. All applications should be done with your eyes closed. It is your inner world to which the applications of today’s idea should be made.

3. Some five minutes of mind searching are required for each of the longer practice periods. Search your mind for fear thoughts, anxiety-provoking situations, “offending” personalities or events, or anything else about which you are harboring unloving thoughts. Note them all casually, repeating the idea for today slowly as you watch them arise in your mind, and let each one go, to be replaced by the next.

4. If you begin to experience difficulty in thinking of specific subjects, continue to repeat the idea to yourself in an unhurried man­ner, without applying it to anything in particular. Be sure, however, not to make any specific exclusions.

5. The shorter applications are to be frequent, and made when­ever you feel your peace of mind is threatened in any way. The purpose is to protect yourself from temptation throughout the day. If a specific form of temptation arises in your awareness, the exercise should take this form:

I could see peace in this situation instead of what I now see in it.

6. If the inroads on your peace of mind take the form of more generalized adverse emotions, such as depression, anxiety or worry, use the idea in its original form. If you find you need more than one application of today’s idea to help you change your mind in any specific context, try to take several minutes and devote them to repeating the idea until you feel some sense of relief. It will help you if you tell yourself specifically:

I can replace my feelings of depression, anxiety or worry [or my thoughts about this situation, personality or event] with peace.


***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Is it a bad sign if I do not “hear” an inner Voice? Does that mean that I am not being a good student of A Course in Miracles?

A) In actuality, within the dream there are literally two “inner voices,”– one of the wrong mind (the ego) and that of the right mind (the Holy Spirit), and the differences between them, as we have already seen, cannot be as easily discerned as students might hope and believe. In order to maintain its individuality and uniqueness, each member of the Sonship has listened to the ego’s voice and followed its plan. A cursory view of the history of this planet, along with its current affairs, will testify and witness heavily to such a fact.

Indeed, it is not the easiest thing in the world to be able to “hear” the Voice for God, the Course’s term for the Holy Spirit. In fact, A Course in Miracles itself says that “very few can hear God’s Voice at all, and even they cannot communicate His messages directly through the Spirit which gave them” (M-12.3:3).  Our investments in specialness and the need to maintain our individuality, almost always unconscious,  make it very difficult to hear the Voice that speaks for the undoing of specialness.  In the previous question, we quoted a passage that explicitly addresses this problem. All too often, sincere students of A Course in Miracles are convinced that they are hearing the Voice of the Holy Spirit, when all they are really listening to is their own egos extolling their specialness and uniqueness, within the framework of what they want to believe is a special mission.

Another source of misunderstanding for many students of A Course in Miracles is the specific Identity of the Holy Spirit’s Voice. One does not fail the Course if a “Voice” is not heard internally as Helen heard. Furthermore, we should not try to limit how and in which way the Holy Spirit can reach us. For example, a dream at night, a conversation with a friend, an intuitive thought, a book we read, a class we take — can all be used by the Holy Spirit to present us with a correction for our wrong-minded thinking.

In conclusion, to restate this important point, we can say that the only criterion for being a “good” Course student is having the little willingness to learn the Holy Spirit’s lessons of undoing our egos through forgiveness. Specifically hearing an inner voice –again, as did Helen — can therefore be understood as irrelevant in this context.

tiny mad idea

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 18

ACIM Text Reading for February 18

Chapter 4 ~ The Illusions of the Ego

V. The Ego-Body Illusion

All things work together for good. There are no exceptions except in the ego’s judgement. The ego exerts maximal vigilance about what it permits into awareness, and this is not the way a balanced mind holds together. The ego is thrown further off balance because it keeps its primary motivation from your awareness, and raises control rather than sanity to predominance. The ego has every reason to do this, according to the thought system which gave rise to it and which it serves. Sane judgement would inevitably judge against the ego, and must be obliterated by the ego in the interest of its self-preservation.

A major source of the ego’s off-balanced state is its lack of discrimination between the body and the Thoughts of God. Thoughts of God are unacceptable to the ego, because they clearly point to the non-existence of the ego itself. The ego therefore either distorts them or refuses to accept them. It cannot, however, make them cease to be. It therefore tries to conceal not only ‘unacceptable’ body impulses, but also the Thoughts of God, because both are threatening to it. Being concerned primarily with its own preservation in the face of threat, the ego perceives them as the same. By perceiving them as the same, the ego attempts to save itself from being swept away, as it would surely be in the presence of knowledge.

Any thought system that confuses God and the body must be insane. Yet this confusion is essential to the ego, which judges only in terms of threat or non-threat to itself. In one sense the ego’s fear of God is at least logical, since the idea of Him does dispel the ego. But fear of the body, with which the ego identifies so closely, makes no sense at all.

The body is the ego’s home by its own election. It is the only identification with which the ego feels safe, since the body’s vulnerability is its own best argument that you cannot be of God. This is the belief that the ego sponsors eagerly. Yet the ego hates the body, because it cannot accept it as good enough to be its home. Here is where the mind becomes actually dazed. Being told by the ego that it is really part of the body and that the body is its protector, the mind is also told that the body cannot protect it. Therefore, the mind asks, ‘Where can I go for protection?’ to which the ego replies, ‘Turn to me’. The mind, and not without cause, reminds the ego that it has itself insisted that it is identified with the body, so there is no point in turning to it for protection. The ego has no real answer to this because there is none, but it does have a typical solution. It obliterates the question from the mind’s awareness. Once out of awareness the question can and does produce uneasiness, but it cannot be answered because it cannot be asked.

This is the question that must be asked: ‘Where can I go for protection?’ ‘Seek and ye shall find’ does not mean that you should seek blindly and desperately for something you would not recognise. Meaningful seeking is consciously undertaken, consciously organised and consciously directed. The goal must be formulated clearly and kept in mind. Learning and wanting to learn are inseparable. You learn best when you believe what you are trying to learn is of value to you. However, not everything you may want to learn has lasting value. Indeed, many of the things you want to learn may be chosen because their value will not last.

The ego thinks it is an advantage not to commit itself to anything that is eternal, because the eternal must come from God. Eternalness is the one function the ego has tried to develop, but has systematically failed to achieve. The ego compromises with the issue of the eternal, just as it does with all issues touching on the real question in any way. By becoming involved with tangential issues, it hopes to hide the real question and keep it out of mind. The ego’s characteristic busyness with nonessentials is for precisely that purpose. Preoccupations with problems set up to be incapable of solution are favourite ego devices for impeding learning progress. In all these diversionary tactics, however, the one question that is never asked by those who pursue them is, ‘What for?’ This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, it will direct your efforts automatically. When you make a decision of purpose, then, you have made a decision about your future effort; a decision that will remain in effect unless you change your mind.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 18

Lesson 34

I could see peace instead of this.

The idea for today begins to describe the conditions that prevail in the other way of seeing. Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter. It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises.

Three longer practice periods are required for today’s exercises. One in the morning and one in the evening are advised, with an additional one to be undertaken at any time in between that seems most conducive to readiness. All applications should be done with your eyes closed. It is your inner world to which the applications of today’s idea should be made.

Some five minutes of mind searching are required for each of the longer practice periods. Search your mind for fear thoughts, anxiety-provoking situations, “offending” personalities or events, or anything else about which you are harboring unloving thoughts. Note them all casually, repeating the idea for today slowly as you watch them arise in your mind, and let each one go, to be replaced by the next.

If you begin to experience difficulty in thinking of specific subjects, continue to repeat the idea to yourself in an unhurried manner, without applying it to anything in particular. Be sure, however, not to make any specific exclusions.

The shorter applications are to be frequent, and made whenever you feel your peace of mind is threatened in any way. The purpose is to protect yourself from temptation throughout the day. If a specific form of temptation arises in your awareness, the exercise should take this form:

I could see peace in this situation instead of what I now see in it.

If the inroads on your peace of mind take the form of more generalized adverse emotions, such as depression, anxiety or worry, use the idea in its original form. If you find you need more than one application of today’s idea to help you change your mind in any specific context, try to take several minutes and devote them to repeating the idea until you feel some sense of relief. It will help you if you tell yourself specifically:

I can replace my feelings of depression, anxiety or worry [or my thoughts about this situation, personality or event] with peace.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1204Even though I studied Lessons 28-29 some years ago, I realize I’m still confused about illusions and the universe. If nothing I see means anything, and this is all an illusion (which I am embracing with time), how can a table, or anything else I see with my eyes,  share a purpose with the universe, which is also an illusion. And, how can any of this be shared with the purpose of God? Learning how to look on all things with love, appreciation and open-mindedness seems to make the illusion, and all things in it, a reality instead of a dream. Please explain the holy purpose talked about in the lesson. “Above all else I want to see things differently.”

A: The first 50 lessons of the workbook build on one another, contrasting the fundamental principles of the ego thought system with those of the Holy Spirit. All the metaphysical principles of the Course are contained in these lessons. They are the foundation for achieving the workbook’s goal of “… [training our minds] in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world” (W.in.4:1) . It is helpful to keep this in mind when reviewing the workbook. To see anything differently means to first see the meaning that has been given to it by the ego. For example: based on past experience, a table is seen as an object to place things on, although of itself the table has no meaning. In like manner, we think we know what everything in the universe is for. What we are not aware of, however, is the purposegiven to everything by the mind, depending on its decision to side with the ego’s goal — separation; or the Holy Spirit’s — healing the separation. Nothing means anything because nothing outside of Heaven exists in reality; however, everything shares the purpose the mind attributes to it. Its meaning supports belief in the ego thought system or the Holy Spirit’s, Who has a correction for every meaning given to anything by the ego. Thus, His plan for the illusory world shares the purpose of God, because it leads us back to Him. In the practice of the Course we are asked to recognize that we have given meaning to everything we perceive; justifying and defending this meaning (sometimes adamantly), and perhaps even refusing to question our interpretations. These are the blocks to allowing the Holy Spirit to transform the perception of illusion to the memory of reality so that we may awaken from the dream. All we are asked to do is have a little willingness to question our interpretation and ask for the Holy Spirit’s help: “The great Transformer of perception will undertake with you the careful searching of the mind that made this world, and uncover to you the seeming reasons for your making it” (T.17.II.5:2).

Accepting the Holy Spirit’s plan of forgiveness for everything does not make the illusion real; it makes it useful: “ Illusion makes illusion. Except one. Forgiveness is illusion that is answer to the rest” (W.pI.198.2:8, 9,10). The love and gratitude that is brought to everything is found in forgiveness. To see everything differently is to see it in its light, the core of which is to recognize that nothing outside of the mind has any effect on it. This shift in perception removes all blame from the universe of relationships, places, and situations for the feelings we experience. Forgiveness, therefore, serves as a bridge between the illusory dream and the reality of Heaven, giving everything in the illusion a holy purpose. The bridge is needed because of the belief that the dream is real, and it indeed seems to be. When every illusion has been forgiven, everything will be perceived through the eyes of the love that was always present in the mind, with no effort on our part.


Q #1205Ken conducted a workshop at A.R.E. in September 2005. Can you highlight some of the differences and similarities between the Edgar Cayce teachings and the Course?

A: Cayce’s work focused, for the most part, on helping individual people with their specific conditions. His readings, therefore, were not intended as a comprehensive philosophical or theological system, although there clearly are philosophical and theological aspects to the readings. He spoke of mind or thought as the builder, for example. In contrast, one of the purposes of A Course in Miracles is to provide us with a universal thought system that can be applied on the individual level of our everyday lives. In addition, reincarnation came up frequently in Cayce’s readings, whereas in the Course reincarnation is not central to its teachings.


Q #1206What I’ve learned so far in studying A Course in Miracles is that there is no real love in this world, and that forgiveness cannot change anything in the world, only our perception of it. We then can look on devastation and know it is false; but we would still be “seeing” the devastation, correct? How does that work? In the crucifixion, for example, was Jesus, as the observer, watching it all happen, as the apostles later reported “seeing it,” while at the same time untouched by it? No fear? No pain?

A: Yes, you are correct about there being no real love in this world. The reason is that this world was made by our minds (and remains in our minds, since ideas leave not their source ) to cover the guilt we felt over having destroyed the Love of God. Of course the Love of God cannot be destroyed, but we believed we did it and now are dealing with the consequences of that belief. But we always retain in our minds the memory of our true Identity as one with God, and by choosing to have Jesus be our teacher and model, we can learn to be reflections of that love by undoing all the barriers we have built to hide it — barriers made of judgment, specialness, hatred, and the wish to be separate. But the love is in our minds, not the world.

In your second point you appear to be referring to one of the Course’s definitions of the miracle, which emphasizes its role as a correction: “It does not create, nor really change at all. It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false” (W.pII.13.1:1,2). Jesus then speaks of forgiveness as “the home of miracles” (W.pII.13.3:1);therefore, it does not change anything in the world, only the perceptions in our minds. Remember, “There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach” (W.pI.132.6:2,3) ; so Jesus would not be teaching us how to change things in the world when he knows there is no world. But since we believe there is a world, he helps us see that it is but a projection of our own minds, and that we give it all the meaning it has, and that is what he wants us to focus on: the world “is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. . . . Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world” (T.21.in.1:5,7). We first accept the ego or Jesus as our teacher; then our perception or interpretation of what our eyes see reflects that choice: “Perception seems to teach you what you see. Yet it but witnesses to what you taught. It is the outward picture of a wish; an image that you wanted to be true” (T.24.VII.8:8,9,10; see also T.21.V.1:7; W.pII.304.1:3).

Your eyes could be looking at the twisted wreckage of cars and bodies on the highway, for example, but your perception/interpretation of this event would depend on whether you have chosen the ego or Jesus as your teacher. If you are perceiving with Jesus, your inner peace would not be affected by the outer events, which does not mean, however, that you might not stop and offer assistance if you could — we are talking only about the content in your mind, not behavior. The ego’s interpretation would always center on victims and victimizers, tragedy, loss, fear, anxiety — anything that would support the reality of separate bodies vulnerable to outside forces and conditions, making their peace and happiness dependent on these externals. (In this context, you might find it helpful to look at Questions 1111 and #1187.)

Jesus was the perfect manifestation of love. As a totally healed mind — no ego with guilt to be projected — he could not fearfully or angrily experience himself as a crucified body or an unfairly treated victim, as he explains in “The Message of the Crucifixion” (T.6.I.5:3; 9:1,2). His mind could do only one thing: love. We are the ones who give form to that love, as our fear and needs allow. The problem we have in comprehending this is that we usually try to understand it from our reference point as bodies. But it can never be understood on that level because our perception of ourselves as bodies is itself a choice to separate ourselves from our minds and from the truth. So our concentration should be on the process of forgiveness, which will undo the many ways in which we interfere with love’s communication in our minds. A clear understanding of these “theories” will then emerge.

Several other questions on this Service provide a comprehensive discussion of the crucifixion and Jesus’ life from the point of view of A Course in Miracles : see, for example, Questions #401b, #505, #510, and #563.

I Have Nothing Else

ACIM Text Reading for February 3

Chapter 4 ~ The Illusions of the Ego

VII. The Rewards of God

The ego does not recognize the real source of “threat,” and if you associate yourself with the ego, you do not understand the situation as it is. Only your allegiance to it gives the ego any power over you. I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly, and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed. We cannot safely let it go at that, however, or you will regard yourself as necessarily conflicted as long as you are here, or as long as you believe that you are here. The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself. Your other life has continued without interruption, and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate it.

In learning to escape from illusions, your debt to your brother is something you must never forget. It is the same debt that you owe to me. Whenever you act egotistically towards another, you are throwing away the graciousness of your indebtedness and the holy perception it would produce. The term “holy” can be used here because, as you learn how much you are indebted to the whole Sonship, which includes me, you come as close to knowledge as perception can. The gap is then so small that knowledge can easily flow across it and obliterate it forever.

You have very little trust in me as yet, but it will increase as you turn more and more often to me instead of to your ego for guidance. The results will convince you increasingly that this choice is the only sane one you can make. No one who learns from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs additional convincing. Learning through rewards is more effective than learning through pain, because pain is an ego illusion, and can never induce more than a temporary effect. The rewards of God, however, are immediately recognized as eternal. Since this recognition is made by you and not the ego, the recognition itself establishes that you and your ego cannot be identical. You may believe that you have already accepted this difference, but you are by no means convinced as yet. The fact that you believe you must escape from the ego shows this; but you cannot escape from the ego by humbling it or controlling it or punishing it.

The ego and the spirit do not know each other. The separated mind cannot maintain the separation except by dissociating. Having done this, it denies all truly natural impulses, not because the ego is a separate thing, but because you want to believe that you are. The ego is a device for maintaining this belief, but it is still only your decision to use the device that enables it to endure.

How can you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away? He must have thrown it away because he did not value it. You can only show him how miserable he is without it, and slowly bring it nearer so he can learn how his misery lessens as he approaches it. This teaches him to associate his misery with its absence, and the opposite of misery with its presence. It gradually becomes desirable as he changes his mind about its worth. I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit. You have taught yourself the opposite. You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?

My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way. Your mission is very simple. You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego, and I do not choose God’s channels wrongly. The Holy One shares my trust, and accepts my Atonement decisions because my will is never out of accord with His. I have said before that I am in charge of the Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man, and can now complete it through others. My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting.

I will go with you to the Holy One, and through my perception He can bridge the little gap. Your gratitude to your brother is the only gift I want. I will bring it to God for you, knowing that to know your brother is to know God. If you are grateful to your brother, you are grateful to God for what He created. Through your gratitude you come to know your brother, and one moment of real recognition makes everyone your brother because each of them is of your Father. Love does not conquer all things, but it does set all things right. Because you are the Kingdom of God I can lead you back to your own creations. You do not recognize them now, but what has been dissociated is still there.

As you come closer to a brother you approach me, and as you withdraw from him I become distant to you. Salvation is a collaborative venture. It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me. God will come to you only as you will give Him to your brothers. Learn first of them and you will be ready to hear God. That is because the function of Love is one.
***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 3

Lesson 34
I could see peace instead of this.

The idea for today begins to describe the conditions that prevail in the other way of seeing. Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter. It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises.

Three longer practice periods are required for today’s exercises. One in the morning and one in the evening are advised, with an additional one to be undertaken at any time in between that seems most conducive to readiness. All applications should be done with your eyes closed. It is your inner world to which the applications of today’s idea should be made.

Some five minutes of mind searching are required for each of the longer practice periods. Search your mind for fear thoughts, anxiety-provoking situations, “offending” personalities or events, or anything else about which you are harboring unloving thoughts. Note them all casually, repeating the idea for today slowly as you watch them arise in your mind, and let each one go, to be replaced by the next.

If you begin to experience difficulty in thinking of specific subjects, continue to repeat the idea to yourself in an unhurried manner, without applying it to anything in particular. Be sure, however, not to make any specific exclusions.

The shorter applications are to be frequent, and made whenever you feel your peace of mind is threatened in any way. The purpose is to protect yourself from temptation throughout the day. If a specific form of temptation arises in your awareness, the exercise should take this form:

I could see peace in this situation instead of what I now see in it.

If the inroads on your peace of mind take the form of more generalized adverse emotions, such as depression, anxiety or worry, use the idea in its original form. If you find you need more than one application of today’s idea to help you change your mind in any specific context, try to take several minutes and devote them to repeating the idea until you feel some sense of relief. It will help you if you tell yourself specifically:

I can replace my feelings of depression, anxiety or worry [or my thoughts about this situation, personality or event] with peace.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #327: I would appreciate some clarification of the concept of oneness and the following excerpt from the text of A Course in Miracles: “God, Who encompasses all being, created beings who have everything individually” (W.4.VII.5:1).

A: Jesus is simply using the words of our symbolic, dualistic thought system to reassure us that releasing our investment and identification with the ego will not result in any real or meaningful loss. The concept of a hologram can be helpful here, for Jesus in essence is saying that the whole is contained in every part. In reality, any experience of oneness must be beyond all concepts we may employ to attempt to describe it. It is simply an experience of total love that knows no limits, no differences, no perception of an other. That it does not encompass individuality in any real sense becomes clear in Jesus’ words later in the Course:

“Oneness is simply the idea God is. And in His Being, He encompasses all things. No mind holds anything but Him. We say “God is,” and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless. There are no lips to speak them, and no part of mind sufficiently distinct to feel that it is now aware of something not itself. It has united with its Source. And like its Source Itself, it merely is” (W.pI.169.5).

But Jesus is also aware of our desperate desire to cling to a sense of a separate identity, and so he reassures us, “Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality” (T.16.VI.8:1). In other words, any shift towards releasing the ego is completely our choice. If it were not, we would be a victims of forces beyond our control, a situation totally antithetical to the Course’s gentle teachings on forgiveness.

See Question #17 for a related discussion on releasing our sense of individuality.

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Q #395: “God, Who encompasses all being, created beings who have everything individually, but who want to share it to increase their joy. Nothing real can be increased except by sharing (T.4.VII.5:1,2). Does this mean that the Christ is actually a corporate being consisting of individual entities who share all their thoughts? The reason I pose this question is that the concept of sharing seems to be inherently dualistic, while A Course in Miracles is based on non-dualistic metaphysics. What am I missing?

A: This passage came early in the dictation of the Course, and Jesus was using words that reflect the Oneness of Heaven but come in a form that Helen and Bill, as well as all of us, might more easily be able to understand and accept. It is a correction for the ego’s foundational belief in separate interests. Any concept as we usually use it, including sharing, extending and creating, will necessarily have a dualistic meaning, made as it was by a dualistic mind. But Jesus uses these words and gives them a different meaning from the ego’s, to help our limited minds begin to grasp what cannot truly be grasped and to begin to undo our faulty beliefs about where joy and happiness lie. So, despite the use of words that suggest multiple entities and individuality, we need to recognize Jesus’ intent here, and consider these words in the context of passages that come later in the Course that make it clear that the nature of God and Heaven is only perfect Oneness (e.g., T.25.I.5; W.pI.132.12:3,4; W.pI.169.5,6).

See also Questions #72 and #85 for further discussion of the Course’s use of dualistic language.

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