A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 5, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for February 5

Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness

I. The Invitation to the Holy Spirit

Healing is a thought by which two minds perceive their oneness and become glad. This gladness calls to every part of the Sonship to rejoice with them, and lets God go out into them and through them. Only the healed mind can experience revelation with lasting effect, because revelation is an experience of pure joy. If you do not choose to be wholly joyous, your mind cannot have what it does not choose to be. Remember that spirit knows no difference between having and being. The higher mind thinks according to the laws spirit obeys, and therefore honours only the laws of God. To spirit getting is meaningless and giving is all. Having everything, spirit holds everything by giving it, and thus creates as the Father created. While this kind of thinking is totally alien to having things, even to the lower mind it is quite comprehensible in connection with ideas. If you share a physical possession, you do divide its ownership. If you share an idea, however, you do not lessen it. All of it is still yours although all of it has been given away. Further, if the one to whom you give it accepts it as his, he reinforces it in your mind and thus increases it. If you can accept the concept that the world is one of ideas, the whole belief in the false association the ego makes between giving and losing is gone.

Let us start our process of reawakening with just a few simple concepts:

Thoughts increase by being given away.
The more who believe in them the stronger they become.
Everything is an idea.
How, then, can giving and losing be associated?

This is the invitation to the Holy Spirit. I have said already that I can reach up and bring the Holy Spirit down to you, but I can bring Him to you only at your own invitation. The Holy Spirit is in your right mind, as He was in mine. The Bible says, ‘May the mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus’, and uses this as a blessing. It is the blessing of miracle-mindedness. It asks that you may think as I thought, joining with me in Christ thinking.

The Holy Spirit is the only part of the Holy Trinity that has a symbolic function. He is referred to as the Healer, the Comforter and the Guide. He is also described as something ‘separate’, apart from the Father and from the Son. I myself said, ‘If I go I will send you another Comforter and He will abide with you’. His symbolic function makes the Holy Spirit difficult to understand, because symbolism is open to different interpretations. As a man and also one of God’s creations, my right thinking, which came from the Holy Spirit or the Universal Inspiration, taught me first and foremost that this Inspiration is for all. I could not have It myself without knowing this. The word ‘know’ is proper in this context, because the Holy Spirit is so close to knowledge that He calls it forth; or better, allows it to come. I have spoken before of the higher or ‘true’ perception, which is so near to truth that God Himself can flow across the little gap. Knowledge is always ready to flow everywhere, but it cannot oppose. Therefore you can obstruct it, although you can never lose it.

The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception. He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time. Before that there was no need for healing, for no one was comfortless. The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind. When the Atonement is complete and the whole Sonship is healed there will be no call to return. But what God creates is eternal. The Holy Spirit will remain with the Sons of God, to bless their creations and keep them in the light of joy.

God honoured even the miscreations of His children because they had made them. But He also blessed His children with a way of thinking that could raise their perceptions so high they could reach almost back to Him. The Holy Spirit is the Mind of the Atonement. He represents a state of mind close enough to One-mindedness that transfer to it is at last possible. Perception is not knowledge, but it can be transferred to knowledge, or cross over into it. It might even be more helpful here to use the literal meaning of transferred or ‘carried over’, since the last step is taken by God.

The Holy Spirit, the shared Inspiration of all the Sonship, induces a kind of perception in which many elements are like those in the Kingdom of Heaven itself:

First, its universality is perfectly clear, and no one who attains it could believe for one instant that sharing it involves anything but gain.

Second, it is incapable of attack and is therefore truly open. This means that although it does not engender knowledge, it does not obstruct it in any way.

Finally, it points the way beyond the healing that it brings, and leads the mind beyond its own integration toward the paths of creation. It is at this point that sufficient quantitative change occurs to produce a real qualitative shift.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 5

Lesson 36

My holiness envelops everything I see.

1. Today’s idea extends the idea for yesterday from the perceiver to the perceived. You are holy because your mind is part of God’s. And because you are holy, your sight must be holy as well. “Sinless” means without sin. You cannot be without sin a little. You are sinless or not. If your mind is part of God’s you must be sinless, or a part of His Mind would be sinful. Your sight is related to His Holiness, not to your ego, and therefore not to your body.

2. Four three-to-five-minute practice periods are required for today. Try to distribute them fairly evenly, and make the shorter applications frequently, to protect your protection throughout the day. The longer practice periods should take this form:

3. First, close your eyes and repeat the idea for today several times, slowly. Then open your eyes and look quite slowly about you, applying the idea specifically to whatever you note in your casual survey. Say, for example:

My holiness envelops that rug.
My holiness envelops that wall.
My holiness envelops these fingers.
My holiness envelops that chair.
My holiness envelops that body.
My holiness envelops this pen.

Several times during these practice periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea to yourself. Then open your eyes, and continue as before.

4. For the shorter exercise periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea; look about you as you repeat it again; and conclude with one more repetition with your eyes closed. All applications should, of course, be made quite slowly, as effortlessly and unhurriedly as possible.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What does A Course in Miracles mean by “releasing your brother”? How can I save him if the world is an hallucination in my mind?

A) The reader should recall our earlier discussion in question 5 of Jesus’ use of metaphor in the Course.  In other words, students of A Course in Miracles need to allow themselves to be led beyond the form of its words to their underlying content. This is a process that occurs slowly over time, beginning with a more literal understanding of the Course’s teachings. At first, therefore, phrases like “releasing your brother,” or parallel ones about being your brother’s savior, or the workbook emphasis on being the light of the world, help students undo their negative self-image such as is summarized in workbook
Lesson 93:

You think you are the home of evil, darkness and sin. You think if anyone could see the truth about you he would be repelled, recoiling from you as if from a poisonous snake. You think if what is true about you were revealed to you, you would be struck with horror so intense that you would rush to death by your own hand, living on after seeing this being impossible (W-pl.93.1).

It is a healing correction to be told that our thoughts about ourselves are not true, and that not only are we loved by God as an extension of His Will (as the rest of the lesson makes clear) but that we have the power to heal and bless others as well. It is only as we progress in our work with A Course in Miracles that it becomes clear that the process of “releasing” one’s brother has nothing to do with our brother, but everything to do with ourselves. Indeed, this process of forgiveness can have nothing to do with our brother because in truth it is our dream, and he is but a figure in this dream. In one rather strong passage, Jesus asks his students:

What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? (T-20.VIII.7:3-5)

In other words, our world and lives are our dreams, just as our sleeping dreams — with all their figures and events — are present only in our dreaming minds that in a sense are but hallucinations, too. Moreover, since the content of the ego’s dream is fear, hate, victimization, and unforgiveness, all dream figures will have the above themes scripted throughout the dreaming we call “life.” Therefore, there is no one to forgive because, again, all the people in our lives are simply made-up figures in our dreams. Who needs to be forgiven is ourselves — for dreaming in the first place instead of remembering our Identity as Christ, awake in God.

Our function of “releasing our brothers” through forgiveness relates to a function and process that truly occurs only within our minds — the home of dreams — although it is experienced by us as occurring between two separated individuals. By choosing Jesus as our teacher instead of the ego, by listening to his voice of forgiveness instead of the ego’s voice of attack, we join with him as expressions of the Alternative that is in everyone’s mind. And thus we become the reminders to our brothers that they can make the same choice we did, and thus be released from their guilt since we both scripted each other into our respective dreams. Therefore, we can choose either to be symbols of guilt or forgiveness for one another. This process of healing through forgiveness is summarized in this wonderfully clear passage from the manual for teachers, which discusses the role of the teacher of God when confronted by sickness:

To them [the sick] God’s teachers come, to represent another choice which they had forgotten. The simple presence of a teacher of God is a reminder … They stand for the Alternative. With God’s Word in their minds they come in benediction, not to heal the sick but to remind them of the remedy God has already given them…. Very gently they call to their brothers to turn away from death: “Behold, you Son of God, what Life can offer you. Would you choose sickness in place of this?” (M-5.III.2:1-2,6-7,11-12)

Therefore, we save the world and everyone in it by saving or changing our thoughts about the world. By releasing ourselves from our own guilt, we release the world because we are one with it, since it is our projection. That is what the Course means by saying that we “arose with him [Jesus] when he began to save the world” (C-6.5:5). Our minds are one, and Jesus’ remaining one with the Holy Spirit becomes the shining reminder in the Sonship’s mind to do the same. Our making that choice allows us to be Jesus’ manifestation to our brothers, just as he is the Holy Spirit’s manifestation for us all (C-6.5:1-2). It is this call to remember and to choose that is the true release that heals.

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 20

ACIM Text Reading for February 20

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 20

Lesson 36

My holiness envelops everything I see.

Today’s idea extends the idea for yesterday from the perceiver to the perceived. You are holy because your mind is part of God’s. And because you are holy, your sight must be holy as well. “Sinless” means without sin. You cannot be without sin a little. You are sinless or not. If your mind is part of God’s you must be sinless, or a part of His Mind would be sinful. Your sight is related to His Holiness, not to your ego, and therefore not to your body.

Four three-to-five-minute practice periods are required for today. Try to distribute them fairly evenly, and make the shorter applications frequently, to protect your protection throughout the day. The longer practice periods should take this form:

First, close your eyes and repeat the idea for today several times, slowly. Then open your eyes and look quite slowly about you, applying the idea specifically to whatever you note in your casual survey. Say, for example:

My holiness envelops that rug.
My holiness envelops that wall.
My holiness envelops these fingers.
My holiness envelops that chair.
My holiness envelops that body.
My holiness envelops this pen.

Several times during these practice periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea to yourself. Then open your eyes, and continue as before.

For the shorter exercise periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea; look about you as you repeat it again; and conclude with one more repetition with your eyes closed. All applications should, of course, be made quite slowly, as effortlessly and unhurriedly as possible.

***

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.

*

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 sharingextending 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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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 5

ACIM Text Reading for February 5

Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness

I. Introduction

To heal is to make happy. I have told you to think how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many you have refused. This is the same as telling you that you have refused to heal yourself. The light that belongs to you is the light of joy. Radiance is not associated with sorrow. Joy calls forth an integrated willingness to share it, and promotes the mind’s natural impulse to respond as one. Those who attempt to heal without being wholly joyous themselves call forth different kinds of responses at the same time, and thus deprive others of the joy of responding wholeheartedly.

To be whole-hearted you must be happy. If fear and love cannot coexist, and if it is impossible to be wholly fearful and remain alive, the only possible whole state is that of love. There is no difference between love and joy. Therefore, the only possible whole state is the wholly joyous. To heal or to make joyous is therefore the same as to integrate and to make one. That is why it makes no difference to what part or by what part of the Sonship the healing is offered. Every part benefits, and benefits equally.

You are being blessed by every beneficent thought of any of your brothers anywhere. You should want to bless them in return, out of gratitude. You need not know them individually, or they you. The light is so strong that it radiates throughout the Sonship and returns thanks to the Father for radiating His joy upon it. Only God’s holy children are worthy channels of His beautiful joy, because only they are beautiful enough to hold it by sharing it. It is impossible for a child of God to love his neighbor except as himself. That is why the healer’s prayer is:

“Let me know this brother as I know myself.”

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 5th

Lesson 36

My holiness envelops everything I see.

Today’s idea extends the idea for yesterday from the perceiver to the perceived. You are holy because your mind is part of God’s. And because you are holy, your sight must be holy as well. “Sinless” means without sin. You cannot be without sin a little. You are sinless or not. If your mind is part of God’s you must be sinless, or a part of His Mind would be sinful. Your sight is related to His Holiness, not to your ego, and therefore not to your body.

Four three-to-five-minute practice periods are required for today. Try to distribute them fairly evenly, and make the shorter applications frequently, to protect your protection throughout the day. The longer practice periods should take this form:

First, close your eyes and repeat the idea for today several times, slowly. Then open your eyes and look quite slowly about you, applying the idea specifically to whatever you note in your casual survey. Say, for example:

My holiness envelops that rug.
My holiness envelops that wall.
My holiness envelops these fingers.
My holiness envelops that chair.
My holiness envelops that body.
My holiness envelops this pen.

Several times during these practice periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea to yourself. Then open your eyes, and continue as before.

For the shorter exercise periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea; look about you as you repeat it again; and conclude with one more repetition with your eyes closed. All applications should, of course, be made quite slowly, as effortlessly and unhurriedly as possible.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1327: I am confused! Jesus tells us we are not real, the separation never occurred, there is no ego, no body, no world, not even the dream is real; yet we experience so much grief, pain, loss, etc. So whose consciousness are we? How are we responsible for everything we experience? Who are we anyway? I just don’t get our essence, if we are not real, if we don’t exist, if God doesn’t even know we are here, what are we ? If this is Jesus’ dream, how are we responsible for all we painfully experience in what seems to never end? Are we just stage puppets in a dream, as we cannot seem to wake from this nightmare! I feel unbelievably alone since I read that God doesn’t know we exist.

A: Yes, this aspect of the Course’s teachings can be very upsetting and disorienting — many people have felt the same kind of distress you are feeling. But, fortunately, the Course itself rescues us from our confusion, and in fact gives us great hope and comfort as we deal with what certainly does seem like a nightmare. What will help ease your anxiety is to realize that A Course in Miracles is presented on two levels. Level One teaches us the absolute truth about reality — all the statements that say in one way or another that the separation from God never truly happened, and therefore that nothing of the world or the body is real. But since that level of absolute truth is just about meaningless to us, the Course is presented on another level. Level Two meets us where we are ( see T.25.I.5,6,7) — as individuals living in a physical universe, experiencing grief, pain, loss, loneliness, etc. On this level, Jesus teaches us how to use all of these experiences to help us get back in touch with the truth that is still in our minds, but covered over. Thus, Level Two teaches us that we can use our bodies and the world either for a wrong-minded or right-minded purpose; we can choose to have the ego as our teacher or Jesus (or the Holy Spirit) as our teacher as we go through our daily lives. So Jesus relates to us in the context of what we experience as real, and then helps us to transform it so that it will be helpful to us, not harmful.

The goal of our work with the Course, thus, is to become more and more right-minded in our thinking, which means gradually letting go of guilt, fear, and all of our judgments and hatred. We then will be more kind to ourselves and others, and much more peaceful much more often. The key point of these Level Two teachings is that we have within our minds the power to choose which teacher we will follow (Jesus or the ego), and that we are always choosing one or the other, even though we are not aware of doing that. Through our study and practice of the Course’s principles, though, we will gradually become aware that we are making these choices, and we will be able to see from our experiences which thought system we have chosen in our minds.

We thus are not puppets because we all have this power of choice, of which the Course reminds us over and over. The objective of Jesus’ training is to put us back in touch with our real strength as minds. That is what will free us from the awful burden of feeling trapped in what seems like a never-ending nightmare of pain, conflict, and struggle. He assures us that we cannot fail in this, and that his loving presence is always beside us, as he says in Lesson 302: “Our Love awaits us as we go to Him, and walks beside us showing us the way. He fails in nothing. He the End we seek, and He the Means by which we go to Him” (W.pII.302.2).

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 5

ACIM Text Reading for February 5

Chapter 5

HEALING AND WHOLENESS

Introduction

To heal is to make happy. I have told you to think how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many you have refused. This is the same as telling you that you have refused to heal yourself. The light that belongs to you is the light of joy. Radiance is not associated with sorrow. Joy calls forth an integrated willingness to share it, and promotes the mind’s natural impulse to respond as one. Those who attempt to heal without being wholly joyous themselves call forth different kinds of responses at the same time, and thus deprive others of the joy of responding wholeheartedly.

To be wholehearted you must be happy. If fear and love cannot coexist, and if it is impossible to be wholly fearful and remain alive, the only possible whole state is that of love. There is no difference between love and joy. Therefore, the only possible whole state is the wholly joyous. To heal or to make joyous is therefore the same as to integrate and to make one. That is why it makes no difference to what part or by what part of the Sonship the healing is offered. Every part benefits, and benefits equally.

You are being blessed by every beneficent thought of any of your brothers anywhere. You should want to bless them in return, out of gratitude. You need not know them individually, or they you. The light is so strong that it radiates throughout the Sonship and returns thanks to the Father for radiating His joy upon it. Only God’s holy children are worthy channels of His beautiful joy, because only they are beautiful enough to hold it by sharing it. It is impossible for a child of God to love his neighbour except as himself. That is why the healer’s prayer is:

Let me know this brother as I know myself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 5

Lesson 36
My holiness envelops everything I see.

Today’s idea extends the idea for yesterday from the perceiver to the perceived. You are holy because your mind is part of God’s. And because you are holy, your sight must be holy as well. “Sinless” means without sin. You cannot be without sin a little. You are sinless or not. If your mind is part of God’s you must be sinless, or a part of His Mind would be sinful. Your sight is related to His Holiness, not to your ego, and therefore not to your body.

Four three-to-five-minute practice periods are required for today. Try to distribute them fairly evenly, and make the shorter applications frequently, to protect your protection throughout the day. The longer practice periods should take this form:

First, close your eyes and repeat the idea for today several times, slowly. Then open your eyes and look quite slowly about you, applying the idea specifically to whatever you note in your casual survey. Say, for example:

My holiness envelops that rug.
My holiness envelops that wall.
My holiness envelops these fingers.
My holiness envelops that chair.
My holiness envelops that body.
My holiness envelops this pen.

Several times during these practice periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea to yourself. Then open your eyes, and continue as before.

For the shorter exercise periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea; look about you as you repeat it again; and conclude with one more repetition with your eyes closed. All applications should, of course, be made quite slowly, as effortlessly and unhurriedly as possible.

***

ACIM Q & A for February 5

Q #996: Given A Course in Miracles’ distinction between form and content, it seems to me that Jesus’ words [that we will (can) do “even greater things” than he did] refer to content and not form (e.g., moving mountains, walking on water, raising the dead). But as I puzzle over his words in the context of content I wonder what “greater things” are.

A: In the Bible Jesus is reported to have made this statement, though scripture scholars have found no historical data to support most of the Biblical sayings of Jesus, nor the miracles he is said to have performed. If he did say and do the things that are recorded in the Gospels, you are correct in distinguishing form and content. Whether as a historical figure, or the author of the Course, Jesus is a symbol for the part of the mind that chooses God’s Love rather than the ego. He does not identify with the body and would therefore never refer to form. In the Course, Jesus does not make any statement about our doing greater things than he. In fact, every reference to our relationship with him and with one another speaks only of the equality of the Sonship (e.g. T.8.IV.6, T.1.II.3, T.5.II.9, T.6.I.5) . There is nothing greater than to accept the Atonement for oneself just as he did. The perfect equality of the Sonship reflects the Course’s non-dualistic teaching that there is one Son in union with the Father. Equality and sameness, therefore, are very important concepts in the Holy Spirit’s curriculum. They are corrections for the ego’s use of difference, inequality, and comparison to establish and maintain belief in the separation.

Jesus asks that we make the same choice he did: to listen only to the Voice that speaks for God. He tells us: “ I have assured you that the Mind that decided for me is also in you, and that you can let it change you just as it changed me” (T.5.II.10:1). There is no real difference between him and us. There is only a difference in our experience while we continue to choose separation. When the mind chooses the Holy Spirit, Who represents the memory of God’s Love, there are no comparisons, no degrees of greater or lesser. The choice is complete in the instant it is made, and it is the same for everyone. It is the same and only choice Jesus made. As we are told in the workbook: “Love makes no comparisons” (W.p.I.195.4:2). We are learning to make love the only choice we make by seeing how painful it is to choose the ego. When we are ready, we will make one final choice for God; the greatest, and only true thing we can do.

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Q #265: Although I really love your questions and answers I have such issues with the blonde blue eyed Jesus picture you’re selling. As a black woman I do not identify with it at all. Why do you sell it — wasn’t he Mediterranean anyway!

A: The picture of Jesus that the Foundation makes available is not meant to be the likeness of the historical Jesus. Obviously no image of him is available. The voice that Helen Schucman heard and identified as Jesus’ voice is not associated with a body at all. So in neither case is the Foundation offering an image that can be said to actually portray Jesus in form. The image you refer to was used as the cover of one of the Foundation’s publications “Forgiveness and Jesus” by Kenneth Wapnick, and was made available to the public by request. The original painting by Howard Chandler Christy was later given to the Foundation. Some people like it, though it is certainly not appealing to everyone. You may find there is another representation of Jesus in form that you find inspiring and helps you to relate to Jesus in a more personal way. However, it is important for students of the Course not to confuse the voice Helen Schucman heard and identified as Jesus’, with the Jesus of traditional Christianity, nor to associate it with any particular image in form. The Course uses the term Jesus and the Holy Spirit as symbols reflecting the part of the mind of the Sonship that holds the memory of God. They are not real persons: “The name of Jesus is the name of one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God. So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but at one with God. The man was an illusion, for he seemed to be a separate being, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold his self from Self, as all illusions do” (C.5.2:1,2,3). However, as long as we believe we are individuals in bodies, it is helpful for us to relate to these symbols as persons in any specific form that is meaningful. This is what the Course refers to when it tells us: “You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize” (T.18.VIII.1:7). Jesus himself joins with us in our perception of the body: “Reach, therefore, for my hand because you want to transcend the ego” (T.8.V.6:8, italics ours).

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Q #709: In Absence From Felicity, Jesus talks of taking on a human form to Helen. But if you look at the tenor of his argument that may not be really so, and it may have well been Helen’s fearful state of mind as Kenneth states. After all the body is an illusion and the resurrected mind recognizes an illusion as an illusion. I should think that Jesus’ resurrection meant that his body identity disappeared and hence the physical body, as we also (apostles too) recognized it, disappeared from his mind. To have recognized Jesus after the crucifixion and death of his body, we need to be in an equally enlightened mind-frame to behold him lovingly in a state of vision. His body miraculously disappeared from the tomb due to this paradigm shift. But the resurrection meant that we discern him at another level. Please comment.

A: In Chapter 17 of Absence From Felicity, Kenneth discusses the illusion and the reality of both Helen and Jesus. All form is illusory and therefore ultimately meaningless, its value lying solely in our (the mind that believes it is separate from God’s Mind) use of it to get to the content beyond the form, just as symbols are useful only in pointing us to what they symbolize — their source. Only the abstract, formless Love of God is real. Within the dream, however, this abstract, formless Love is reflected in the split mind in a form that can be recognized and accepted by that mind. Thus, in Helen’s mind, this Love took the form of Jesus giving his course to her. In reality, there is no Jesus or Helen. Again, Chapter 17 discusses these levels, which are quite difficult for us to grasp.

In A Course in Miracles, resurrection is not defined in relation to the crucifixion; it is entirely different in meaning from the traditional biblical view, in which a dead body is resurrected. Resurrection in the Course pertains only to awakening from the dream of separation from God: “the awakening from the dream of death; the total change in mind that transcends the ego and its perceptions of the world, the body, and death, allowing us to identify completely with our true Self. . .” (Glossary-Index, p. 176; see also M.28.1:1,2). In view of the Course’s definition of the body as simply a projection of a thought within the mind, this awakening can occur only in the mind. Thus, “given Jesus’ perfectly egoless reactions at the end of his life (see T.6.I), it would be safe to conclude that his resurrection preceded the crucifixion. It is that healing of the mind, therefore, that he asks us to take as our model for learning (T.6.in.2:1; T.6.I.3:6; 7:2), and forgiveness is his great teaching message that brings about the mind-reversal that alone can heal” (from our Christian Psychology in “A Course in Miracles,” pp. 74,75). This is why Jesus implores us, “Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you” (T.11.VI.7:3,4).

The meaning and significance of Jesus’ life as presented in the Course is radically different from that of the Bible, and its metaphysics is radically different as well (there is no world created by God, for example). It is essential that these irreconcilable differences be recognized if one is to understand and then be able to put into practice the teaching in A Course in Miracles. You may be interested in consulting the dialogue between Kenneth and a Catholic priest, which brings these differences clearly into the light (“A Course in Miracles” and Christianity: A Dialogue).

There also are several other Questions on our Service that discuss these important issues; see for example numbers: 1, 97, 439, and 505.

Into Christ's Presence