A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 3

ACIM Text Reading for March 3

Chapter 8

THE JOURNEY BACK

I. The Direction of the Curriculum

Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is. This is the prerequisite for knowledge only because those who are in conflict are not peaceful, and peace is the condition of knowledge because it is the condition of the Kingdom. Knowledge can be restored only when you meet its conditions. This is not a bargain made by God, Who makes no bargains. It is merely the result of your misuse of His laws on behalf of an imaginary will that is not His. Knowledge is His Will. If you are opposing His Will, how can you have knowledge? I have told you what knowledge offers you, but perhaps you do not yet regard this as wholly desirable. If you did you would not be so ready to throw it away when the ego asks for your allegiance.

The distractions of the ego may seem to interfere with your learning, but the ego bas no power to distract you unless you give it the power to do so. The ego’s voice is an hallucination. You cannot expect it to say ‘I am not real’. Yet you are not asked to dispel your hallucinations alone. You are merely asked to evaluate them in terms of their results to you. If you do not want them on the basis of loss of peace, they will be removed from your mind for you.

Every response to the ego is a call to war, and war does deprive you of peace. Yet in this war there is no opponent. This is the reinterpretation of reality that you must make to secure peace, and the only one you need ever make. Those whom you perceive as opponents are part of your peace, which you are giving up by attacking them. How can you have what you give up? You share to have, but you do not give it up yourself. When you give up peace, you are excluding yourself from it. This is a condition so alien to the Kingdom that you cannot understand the state that prevails within it.

Your past learning must have taught you the wrong things, simply because it has not made you happy. On this basis alone its value should be questioned. If learning aims at change, and that is always its purpose, are you satisfied with the changes your learning has brought you? Dissatisfaction with learning outcomes is a sign of learning failure, since it means that you did not get what you wanted.

The curriculum of the Atonement is the opposite of the curriculum you have established for yourself, but so is its outcome. If the outcome of yours has made you unhappy, and if you want a different one, a change in the curriculum is obviously necessary. The first change to be introduced is a change in direction. A meaningful curriculum cannot be inconsistent. If it is planned by two teachers, each believing in diametrically opposed ideas, it cannot be integrated. If it is carried out by these two teachers simultaneously, each one merely interferes with the other. This leads to fluctuation, but not to change. The volatile have no direction. They cannot choose one because they cannot relinquish the other, even if it does not exist. Their conflicted curriculum teaches them that all directions exist, and gives them no rationale for choice.

The total senselessness of such a curriculum must be fully recognised before a real change in direction becomes possible. You cannot learn simultaneously from two teachers who are in total disagreement about everything. Their joint curriculum presents an impossible learning task. They are teaching you entirely different things in entirely different ways, which might be possible except that both are teaching you about yourself. Your reality is unaffected by both, but if you listen to both, your mind will be split about what your reality is.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 3

Lesson 63

The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.

1. How holy are you who have the power to bring peace to every mind! How blessed are you who can learn to recognize the means for letting this be done through you! What purpose could you have that would bring you greater happiness?

2. You are indeed the light of the world with such a function. The Son of God looks to you for his redemption. It is yours to give him, for it belongs to you. Accept no trivial purpose or meaningless desire in its place, or you will forget your function and leave the Son of God in hell. This is no idle request that is being asked of you. You are being asked to accept salvation that it may be yours to give.

3. Recognizing the importance of this function, we will be happy to remember it very often today. We will begin the day by ack­nowledging it, and close the day with the thought of it in our awareness. And throughout the day we will repeat this as often as we can:

The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness. I am the means God has appointed for the salvation of the world.

4. If you close your eyes, you will probably find it easier to let the related thoughts come to you in the minute or two that you should devote to considering this. Do not, however, wait for such an opportunity. No chance should be lost for reinforcing today’s idea. Remember that God’s Son looks to you for his sal­vation. And Who but your Self must be His Son?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Why does Jesus repeatedly say in A Course in Miracles that I need to forgive him? What for?

A) For many students of A Course in Miracles this is a problematic issue. Why, they ask, do I have to forgive Jesus; I am not angry at him. I (Gloria) remember many years ago when I had my own group that met to discuss the Course. This issue was almost responsible for World War III breaking out in my dining room, where the group met every week. It was certainly not a neutral topic, and forgiving Jesus is indeed a central issue that goes to the heart of the Course’s teaching about undoing the ego thought system. Let us begin our answer by looking at some representative passages from the Course where Jesus discusses this. The first two come in the section, “The Obstacles to Peace” in Chapter 19 of the text, where he states:

I am made welcome in the state of grace, which means you have at last forgiven me.  For I became the symbol of your sin, and so I had to die instead of you….Let me be to you the symbol of the end of guilt, and look upon your brother as you would look on me. Forgive me all the sins you think the Son of God committed. And in the light of your forgiveness he will remember who he is, and forget what never was.  I ask for your forgiveness, for if you are guilty, so must I be. But if I surmounted guilt and overcame the world, you were with me. Would you see in me the symbol of guilt or of the end of guilt, remembering that what I signify to you you see within yourself?  (T-19.IV-A.17:1-2; T-19.IV-B.6)

And then at the beginning of the next chapter, in the section “Holy Week” which was written during the week preceding Easter, Jesus returns to this important point:

You stand beside your brother, thorns in one hand and lilies in the other [thorns and lilies are the Course’s symbols, respectively, for attack and forgiveness, crucifixion and resurrection], uncertain which to give.  Join now with me and throw away the thorns, offering the lilies to replace them. This Easter I would have the gift of your forgiveness offered by you to me, and returned by me to you. We cannot be united in crucifixion and in death. Nor can the resurrection be complete until your forgiveness rests on Christ, along with mine …. I was a stranger and you took me in, not knowing who I was.  Yet for your gift of lilies you will know. In your forgiveness of this stranger, alien to you and yet your ancient Friend, lies his release and your redemption with him (T-20.I.2:6-10; 4:3-5).

Jesus has to be forgiven on two levels. The first relates to the “bitter idols” the world has made of him, which clearly reflects its projections and has nothing to do with him at all. These idols have come in both special hate and love forms, where he has either been made into a figure of judgment and punishment who demands suffering and sacrifice of his followers, or else a magical savior who, upon petition, will solve problems and reward good deeds and faithful discipleship with his love and beneficence. Once again, such images reflect the specialness needs of the image-makers, with no reference to the real Jesus at all, who clearly is beyond such ego concerns. And so it can be seen here that Jesus is to be forgiven for what he has never done, and even more to the point, forgiven for what he has never been.

To the ego, Jesus is the most threatening figure imaginable, as we have already indicated in our answers to earlier questions, for if he is real, then the ego thought system cannot be. And so the part of anyone’s mind that still clings to specialness and individuality — the hallmarks of the ego thought system — would inevitably fear, and therefore attack Jesus to protect itself.  This attack reflects the original ego thought that the Son of God had  sinfully separated himself from the Love of God. Guilt over such attacks on Jesus — the Western world’s greatest embodiment of this Love — can only lead to denial. Guilt (or self-hatred) is such an overwhelming experience that it is almost inevitably buried in our minds. This reflects the magical belief that, like the proverbial ostrich, if we do not see the problem, it is not there. This ego dynamic of avoiding the pain of our guilt culminates in projecting our belief in sin and guilt onto Jesus.

This is the meaning of the passages quoted above from the text. Rather than our accepting responsibility for our guilt — which the ego teaches us must lead to death as justified punishment for our sin — we hope, once again magically, that by projecting the guilt out onto Jesus, leading to his death, we will be off the hook. For the ego would kill rather than have its existence undone. And thus two thousand years of belief in vicarious salvation, which Christian theology espouses, proclaims that “Jesus did it for us.” This insane dynamic reflects the ego’s “bread-and-butter” dynamic of the guilt-attack cycle, wherein the guiltier we feel, the greater is our need to attack others in “self-defense,” which in turn reinforces the guilt which always remains repressed in our minds. And then the cycle begins all over again. This is why Christians have always worshiped a slain savior, and why Catholics specifically commemorate Jesus’ death by reenacting it every day at Mass. Our guilt impels us continually to kill him off. And so what we forgive in Jesus is simply the projection of what remains unforgiven in ourselves.

What we find here is that this first level of forgiving Jesus for our projections onto him, is really the defense against the underlying level which reflects our real need for forgiveness: Jesus has to be forgiven for who he truly is. Again, if the Jesus of reality is indeed present within our minds as the perfect embodiment of God’s Love — the pure expression of the Holy Spirit’s Atonement principle — then our entire identity as a separated physical and psychological being is undone. It is truly this that we hold against Jesus. He is the living proof within the dream of our own existence, that we are wrong and he is right. He is the clear and unmistakable presence from outside the dream that attests to our sleeping minds that the dream itself is unreal. To accept this is to accept that we are truly not here, but dreaming a dream where we made up an individual self to replace the Self that God created. And so to preserve this made-up self, we must attack and destroy the truth.  We have already examined this idea in some depth, but let us return to it once more by quoting some expressive lines from one of Helen’s later poems, “Stranger on the Road,” which so graphically portray this fear of confronting the truth of Jesus’ existence. In effect, Jesus’ presence in our minds denies the “truth” of our own thought system of fear and death, which in our strange insanity we believe is comforting to us and therefore needs to be protected from him:

The road is long. I will not lift my eyes,
For fear has gripped my heart, and fear I know —
The shield that keeps me safe from rising hope;
The friend that keeps You stranger still to me.Why should You walk with me along the road,
An unknown whom I almost think I fear
Because You seem like someone in a dream
Of deathlessness, when death alone is real?

Do not disturb me now. I am content
With death, for grief is kinder now than hope.
While there was hope I suffered. Now I go
In certainty, for death has surely come.

Do not disturb the ending. What is done
Is done forever. Neither hope nor tears
Can touch finality. Do not arouse
The dead. Come, Stranger, let us say “Amen.”
                             (The Gifts of God, p. 103)

And so in all honesty we need to look at how we fear and hate Jesus, feelings that are almost always buried in our unconscious minds, under layers and layers of defenses. Through forgiving him for who he truly is, we learn at the same time to forgive ourselves for trying to pretend that we are not who we truly are, and then seeking to blame him for it. Were the presence of Jesus not so explicitly clear in A Course in Miracles, many students would not have the opportunity of dealing with this deeply buried layer of unforgiveness and guilt in themselves.

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 24

ACIM Text Reading for March 24

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

XI. The State of Grace

The Holy Spirit will always guide you truly, because your joy is His. This is His Will for everyone because He speaks for the Kingdom of God, which is joy. Following Him is therefore the easiest thing in the world, and the only thing that is easy, because it is not of the world. It is therefore natural. The world goes against your nature, being out of accord with God’s laws. The world perceives orders of difficulty in everything. This is because the ego perceives nothing as wholly desirable. By demonstrating to yourself there is no order of difficulty in miracles, you will convince yourself that, in your natural state, there is no difficulty at all because it is a state of grace.

Grace is the natural state of every Son of God. When he is not in a state of grace, he is out of his natural environment and does not function well. Everything he does becomes a strain, because he was not created for the environment that he has made. He therefore cannot adapt to it, nor can he adapt it to him. There is no point in trying. A Son of God is happy only when he knows he is with God. That is the only environment in which he will not experience strain, because that is where he belongs. It is also the only environment that is worthy of him, because his own worth is beyond anything he can make.

Consider the kingdom you have made and judge its worth fairly. Is it worthy to be a home for a child of God? Does it protect his peace and shine love upon him? Does it keep his heart untouched by fear, and allow him to give always, without any sense of loss? Does it teach him that this giving is his joy, and that God Himself thanks him for his giving? That is the only environment in which you can be happy. You cannot make it, any more than you can make yourself. It has been created for you, as you were created for it. God watches over His children and denies them nothing. Yet when they deny Him they do not know this, because they deny themselves everything. You who could give the Love of God to everything you see and touch and remember, are literally denying Heaven to yourself.

I call upon you to remember that I have chosen you to teach the Kingdom to the Kingdom. There are no exceptions to this lesson, because the lack of exceptions is the lesson. Every Son who returns to the Kingdom with this lesson in his heart has healed the Sonship and given thanks to God. Everyone who learns this lesson has become the perfect teacher, because he has learned it of the Holy Spirit.

When a mind has only light, it knows only light. Its own radiance shines all around it, and extends out into the darkness of other minds, transforming them into majesty. The Majesty of God is there, for you to recognise and appreciate and know. Recognising the Majesty of God as your brother is to accept your own inheritance. God gives only equally. If you recognise His gift in anyone, you have acknowledged what He has given you. Nothing is so easy to recognise as truth. This is the recognition that is immediate, clear and natural. You have trained yourself not to recognise it, and this has been very difficult for you.

Out of your natural environment you may well ask, ‘What is truth?’ since truth is the environment by which and for which you were created. You do not know yourself, because you do not know your Creator. You do not know your creations because you do not know your brothers, who created them with you. I have already said that only the whole Sonship is worthy to be co-creator with God, because only the whole Sonship can create like Him. Whenever you heal a brother by recognising his worth, you are acknowledging his power to create and yours. He cannot have lost what you recognise, and you must have the glory you see in him. He is a co-creator with God with you. Deny his creative power, and you are denying yours and that of God Who created you.

You cannot deny part of truth. You do not know your creations because you do not know their creator. You do not know yourself because you do not know yours. Your creations cannot establish your reality, any more than you can establish God’s. But you can know both. Being is known by sharing. Because God shared His Being with you, you can know Him. But you must also know all He created, to know what they have shared. Without your Father you will not know your fatherhood. The Kingdom of God includes all His Sons and their children, who are as like the Sons as they are like the Father. Know, then, the Sons of God, and you will know all creation.


***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 24

Lesson 63

The light of the world brings peace to every mind
through my forgiveness.

How holy are you who have the power to bring peace to every mind! How blessed are you who can learn to recognize the means for letting this be done through you! What purpose could you have that would bring you greater happiness?

You are indeed the light of the world with such a function. The Son of God looks to you for his redemption. It is yours to give him, for it belongs to you. Accept no trivial purpose or meaningless desire in its place, or you will forget your function and leave the Son of God in hell. This is no idle request that is being asked of you. You are being asked to accept salvation that it may be yours to give.

Recognizing the importance of this function, we will be happy to remember it very often today. We will begin the day by acknowledging it, and close the day with the thought of it in our awareness. And throughout the day we will repeat this as often as we can:

The light of the world brings peace to every mind
through my forgiveness. I am the means God has
appointed for the salvation of the world.

If you close your eyes, you will probably find it easier to let the related thoughts come to you in the minute or two that you should devote to considering this. Do not, however, wait for such an opportunity. No chance should be lost for reinforcing today’s idea. Remember that God’s Son looks to you for his salvation. And Who but your Self must be His Son?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1320Several years ago I experienced a bout of depression basically because of my struggle with the idea that “there must be something more,” and there have been several occasions when it occurred to me that maybe this life is all a dream. I have read many of the questions regarding people’s reluctance to awaken. I want more than anything to awaken from this dream, so in my mind I have more than “a little willingness.” If that is what Jesus and the Holy Spirit want for us also, why can’t I awaken since I want to so badly? There is certainly nothing in this world that could possibly outdo Heaven and Oneness. I’m ready to wake up, why don’t I?

A: We cannot determine from your question whether this is the case with you or not, but many times an intense desire to return home is accompanied by an abhorrence or fear of the world, though this may not be apparent. Wanting to return home so badly, in other words, can reflect an underlying feeling that the world is such an awful place and that it is such a painful burden to be here that we would give anything to be released from it. This can actually be an interference to awakening, as it would indicate that the world is still regarded as real: we cannot abhor or fear what we know to be unreal. There must, then, be a sense of sinfulness and guilt still hidden in the mind that gets projected onto the world. That is why so much of our work with A Course in Miracles centers on recognizing how we are “making the error real” — that is, how our reactions and perceptions reveal an underlying belief that we are separate from God and feel guilty because of that. Once we make that connection, we can ask for help to choose to see everything differently.

Real deliverance from the world comes in the recognition that the world is the source of neither suffering or happiness, but is simply the projection of the mind caught in the illusory belief it is separate from God (W.pI.132; W.pII.226). We get to that stage by first becoming aware of how much we do see the world as the cause of both suffering and happiness. This is why Jesus teaches us that “Forgiveness is the key to happiness” and “Forgiveness offers me everything I want” (W.pI.121, 122) . This is the “real alternative” that Jesus discusses in the final chapter of the text (T.31.IV) , where he talks about the state of mind known as the real world, which precedes our awakening from the dream entirely.

As we continue on the path of forgiveness with Jesus as our teacher, we becomes less and less identified with life in the world, which actually makes living here easier, in the sense of relieving the pressure most of us feel from taking what goes on in our lives so seriously. As we choose the ego less often, the love in our right mind begins to direct our every thought and action, and our investment in being an individual special self diminishes greatly. We continue to fulfill our roles responsibly, but without pressure and conflict. In this state, there would be not be a feeling of urgency to awaken as quickly as possible because you would not experience yourself as separate from love. Being present to all things and all people with Jesus would be a source of security and quiet joy and peace. Peace, really, is the goal of our work with the Course, not knowledge (Heaven) (T.8.I.1; T.24.in.1:1) . And we are assured of peace by choosing the teacher of peace more and more often, who would help us experience our oneness with everyone. Patience and gentleness with yourself will help you through this process, as will trust in the process of forgiveness.

keep-calm-and-smile-like-nothing-happened-2

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 4

ACIM Text Reading for March 4

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

IX. The Extension of the Kingdom

Only you can limit your creative power, but God wills to release it. He no more wills you to deprive yourself of your creations than He wills to deprive Himself of His. Do not withhold your gifts to the Sonship, or you withhold yourself from God! Selfishness is of the ego, but Self-fullness is of spirit because that is how God created it. The Holy Spirit is in the part of the mind that lies between the ego and the spirit, mediating between them always in favor of the spirit. To the ego this is partiality, and it responds as if it were being sided against. To spirit this is truth, because it knows its fullness and cannot conceive of any part from which it is excluded.

Spirit knows that the awareness of all its brothers is included in its own, as it is included in God. The power of the whole Sonship and of its Creator is therefore spirit’s own fullness, rendering its creations equally whole and equal in perfection. The ego cannot prevail against a totality that includes God, and any totality must include God. Everything He created is given all His power, because it is part of Him and shares His Being with Him. Creating is the opposite of loss, as blessing is the opposite of sacrifice. Being must be extended. That is how it retains the knowledge of itself. Spirit yearns to share its being as its Creator did. Created by sharing, its will is to create. It does not wish to contain God, but wills to extend His Being.

The extension of God’s Being is spirit’s only function. Its fullness cannot be contained, any more than can the fullness of its Creator. Fullness is extension. The ego’s whole thought system blocks extension, and thus blocks your only function. It therefore blocks your joy, so that you perceive yourself as unfulfilled. Unless you create you are unfulfilled, but God does not know unfulfillment and therefore you must create. You may not know your own creations, but this can no more interfere with their reality than your unawareness of your spirit can interfere with its being.

The Kingdom is forever extending because it is in the Mind of God. You do not know your joy because you do not know your own Self-fullness. Exclude any part of the Kingdom from yourself and you are not whole. A split mind cannot perceive its fullness, and needs the miracle of its wholeness to dawn upon it and heal it. This reawakens the wholeness in it, and restores it to the Kingdom because of its acceptance of wholeness. The full appreciation of the mind’s Self-fullness makes selfishness impossible and extension inevitable. That is why there is perfect peace in the Kingdom. Spirit is fulfilling its function, and only complete fulfillment is peace.

Your creations are protected for you because the Holy Spirit, Who is in your mind, knows of them and can bring them into your awareness whenever you will let Him. They are there as part of your own being, because your fulfillment includes them. The creations of every Son of God are yours, since every creation belongs to everyone, being created for the Sonship as a whole.

You have not failed to increase the inheritance of the Sons of God, and thus have not failed to secure it for yourself. Since it was the Will of God to give it to you, He gave it forever. Since it was His Will that you have it forever, He gave you the means for keeping it. And you have done so. Disobeying God’s Will is meaningful only to the insane. In truth it is impossible. Your Self-fullness is as boundless as God’s. Like His, it extends forever and in perfect peace. Its radiance is so intense that it creates in perfect joy, and only the whole can be born of its wholeness.

Be confident that you have never lost your Identity and the extensions which maintain It in wholeness and peace. Miracles are an expression of this confidence. They are reflections of both your proper identification with your brothers, and of your awareness that your identification is maintained by extension. The miracle is a lesson in total perception. By including any part of totality in the lesson, you have included the whole.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 4

Lesson 63

The light of the world brings peace to every mind
through my forgiveness.

How holy are you who have the power to bring peace to every mind! How blessed are you who can learn to recognize the means for letting this be done through you! What purpose could you have that would bring you greater happiness?

You are indeed the light of the world with such a function. The Son of God looks to you for his redemption. It is yours to give him, for it belongs to you. Accept no trivial purpose or meaningless desire in its place, or you will forget your function and leave the Son of God in hell. This is no idle request that is being asked of you. You are being asked to accept salvation that it may be yours to give.

Recognizing the importance of this function, we will be happy to remember it very often today. We will begin the day by acknowledging it, and close the day with the thought of it in our awareness. And throughout the day we will repeat this as often as we can:

The light of the world brings peace to every mind
through my forgiveness. I am the means God has
appointed for the salvation of the world.

If you close your eyes, you will probably find it easier to let the related thoughts come to you in the minute or two that you should devote to considering this. Do not, however, wait for such an opportunity. No chance should be lost for reinforcing today’s idea. Remember that God’s Son looks to you for his salvation. And Who but your Self must be His Son?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1002: I am new to the Course and am confused about how to forgive, how to continue to work as a massage therapist since the body is an illusion, how to practice another belief system while learning the Course. I was intensely abused by someone who believed that their system was the only way and I was to go against my nature and be part of them. I am afraid that I may be misled again. Are there things here that can help us in our learning, even though we do not know where we are going?

A: Since A Course in Miracles is a thought system that completely reverses the ego’s thinking, it is important to be gentle and patient in applying its teachings to our lives. This reversal means allowing the Holy Spirit to transform every judgment we have about everything. Obviously this is a process that takes time, not because time is real, but because we believe it is real, along with everything else in the illusory world. The first change from the ego’s perception to the Holy Spirit’s is to see one’s life as a classroom for learning the lessons of forgiveness. This lays the foundation for all subsequent steps in reversing our thinking. Each step requires that we not skip steps. Remembering how invested we are in identifying with the body helps to set the gentle pace of looking at everything differently. While learning to apply the principles of the Course to our lives, we continue to live and work as usual. It is not helpful to deny our experience as bodies, nor to try to believe that our perceived needs, experiences, and relationships are illusory, since we still believe they are real. The Holy Spirit needs them as teaching tools in His classroom for learning forgiveness.

We are not being coerced or pressured in any way to do anything we are unwilling to do. “ …God’s Will cannot be forced upon you, being an experience of total willingness” (T.8.III.2:3) . In fact, there is a safeguard against coercion in the Course, for it tells us we will not learn anything we do not want to learn. Our practice and learning is therefore commensurate with our willingness. Willingness is the only requirement for our practice of the Course. Neither perfection nor complete understanding is required. It begins with willingness to look at every grievance as the projection of the mind’s guilt for having chosen to believe the separation is real. Thus every relationship, indeed everything in our lives, is useful in the practice of forgiveness. Anything that is not perfect peace, from a slight annoyance to raging anger (See W.pI.21:2) , reflects back to us the mind’s decision to listen to the ego’s tale of separation, rather than the Holy Spirit’s truth of our oneness as God’s Son. Forgiveness means recognizing that this decision is the true source of all pain and conflict in our lives and in the world. Thus, the problem is in the mind, not in other people or the world, or even one’s own body. The solution, therefore, is found in the mind as well. The goal of the Course is to train us to look at everything in our lives from this perspective (See W.in.) , and to gradually learn that nothing external to the mind has any effect on it.

The Course is not the only spiritual path that leads us back home. As we are told in the manual, it is one among many forms (See M.1.3,4) . Every mind will eventually choose to accept the truth of our oneness with each other and with God. That is the content at the heart of the Course’s teaching. As you familiarize yourself with its fundamental principles, you will find that they are distinct from the teachings of other spiritual paths. In many cases they are in striking contrast to most theological and spiritual disciplines. Trying to follow another belief system while learning the Course will eventually introduce conflict in your practice and impede progress. And since the ego already presents us with a vast array of distractions and obstacles, another conflict is an unnecessary burden. If you resonate to the Course’s teaching and choose to take it as your spiritual path, you will find that it requires only that you proceed gently and patiently, one step at a time, at a pace set only by your own desire and willingness. This may mean combining the Course with other paths for a time. The Holy Spirit will never take them away from you. If we are willing to question our interpretation of things, and ask for help, the Holy Spirit will use everything as a learning tool, and “…will respond fully to [the] slightest invitation” (T.5.VII.6:6).

teach not that i died in vain

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 4

ACIM Text Reading for March 4

Chapter 8 ~ THE JOURNEY BACK

I. The Direction of the Curriculum

Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is. This is the prerequisite for knowledge only because those who are in conflict are not peaceful, and peace is the condition of knowledge because it is the condition of the Kingdom. Knowledge can be restored only when you meet its conditions. This is not a bargain made by God, Who makes no bargains. It is merely the result of your misuse of His laws on behalf of an imaginary will that is not His. Knowledge is His Will. If you are opposing His Will, how can you have knowledge? I have told you what knowledge offers you, but perhaps you do not yet regard this as wholly desirable. If you did you would not be so ready to throw it away when the ego asks for your allegiance.

The distractions of the ego may seem to interfere with your learning, but the ego bas no power to distract you unless you give it the power to do so. The ego’s voice is an hallucination. You cannot expect it to say ‘I am not real’. Yet you are not asked to dispel your hallucinations alone. You are merely asked to evaluate them in terms of their results to you. If you do not want them on the basis of loss of peace, they will be removed from your mind for you.

Every response to the ego is a call to war, and war does deprive you of peace. Yet in this war there is no opponent. This is the reinterpretation of reality that you must make to secure peace, and the only one you need ever make. Those whom you perceive as opponents are part of your peace, which you are giving up by attacking them. How can you have what you give up? You share to have, but you do not give it up yourself. When you give up peace, you are excluding yourself from it. This is a condition so alien to the Kingdom that you cannot understand the state that prevails within it.

Your past learning must have taught you the wrong things, simply because it has not made you happy. On this basis alone its value should be questioned. If learning aims at change, and that is always its purpose, are you satisfied with the changes your learning has brought you? Dissatisfaction with learning outcomes is a sign of learning failure, since it means that you did not get what you wanted.

The curriculum of the Atonement is the opposite of the curriculum you have established for yourself, but so is its outcome. If the outcome of yours has made you unhappy, and if you want a different one, a change in the curriculum is obviously necessary. The first change to be introduced is a change in direction. A meaningful curriculum cannot be inconsistent. If it is planned by two teachers, each believing in diametrically opposed ideas, it cannot be integrated. If it is carried out by these two teachers simultaneously, each one merely interferes with the other. This leads to fluctuation, but not to change. The volatile have no direction. They cannot choose one because they cannot relinquish the other, even if it does not exist. Their conflicted curriculum teaches them that all directions exist, and gives them no rationale for choice.

The total senselessness of such a curriculum must be fully recognised before a real change in direction becomes possible. You cannot learn simultaneously from two teachers who are in total disagreement about everything. Their joint curriculum presents an impossible learning task. They are teaching you entirely different things in entirely different ways, which might be possible except that both are teaching you about yourself. Your reality is unaffected by both, but if you listen to both, your mind will be split about what your reality is.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 4

Lesson 63
The light of the world brings peace to every mind
through my forgiveness.

How holy are you who have the power to bring peace to every mind! How blessed are you who can learn to recognize the means for letting this be done through you! What purpose could you have that would bring you greater happiness?

You are indeed the light of the world with such a function. The Son of God looks to you for his redemption. It is yours to give him, for it belongs to you. Accept no trivial purpose or meaningless desire in its place, or you will forget your function and leave the Son of God in hell. This is no idle request that is being asked of you. You are being asked to accept salvation that it may be yours to give.

Recognizing the importance of this function, we will be happy to remember it very often today. We will begin the day by acknowledging it, and close the day with the thought of it in our awareness. And throughout the day we will repeat this as often as we can:

The light of the world brings peace to every mind
through my forgiveness. I am the means God has
appointed for the salvation of the world.

If you close your eyes, you will probably find it easier to let the related thoughts come to you in the minute or two that you should devote to considering this. Do not, however, wait for such an opportunity. No chance should be lost for reinforcing today’s idea. Remember that God’s Son looks to you for his salvation. And Who but your Self must be His Son?

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

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1306: I have been studying A Course in Miracles for seven years, and my mind has changed for sure! Now I would like to ask your opinion about a situation that is causing conflict in my life. I fired my maid, who had been working for me for nine years, when I discovered that she had been stealing money from me. I feel at peace about what I did, and I don’t feel any anger toward her. I am still in touch with her, but feel that I cannot trust her enough to give her a job in my house again. A professional colleague told me that by firing the maid, I did the opposite of what A Course in Miracles teaches — a few other Course students agreed with that. But I still feel that I did the right thing, and feel peaceful about it.

A: From the Course’s perspective, the issue is not about the behavior of firing your maid. Firing an employee is neither loving nor unloving in itself. Only the content in your mind determines whether it is loving or not, which means you can be motivated by the ego or the Holy Spirit. With your ego, you would perceive yourself as the victim and your maid as the victimizer, and therefore you would feel justified in being angry and punitive. With the Holy Spirit, you would not perceive a victim and a victimizer; and therefore the love in your right mind would direct you to do whatever is best for both of you in that situation. That could mean firing her or not firing her; but there would be no hatred, anger, guilt, or fear. You would feel peaceful.

There is nothing wrong in recognizing another person’s ego at work and then limiting that person’s ability to act it out. You would not hire a known pedophile to stay with your children while you were away; but that does not mean you would not see him as a Son of God with the same right mind, wrong mind, and decision maker that you have. It is just common sense not to allow him to stay with your children while you are not there. Similarly, if you served on a jury, you could be motivated by love to vote “guilty,” which could result in the defendant going to jail for a very long time. Again, you would see the judge, the defendant, and the person bringing the charges as part of the Sonship with you — no hatred, no anger, no one or the other . It is a serious mistake to think that forgiveness means that you must keep a dishonest person on your staff, have a pedophile take care of your children, or never vote “guilty” on a jury.

Without realizing it, many Course students are saying there is a hierarchy of illusions — that some things and behaviors are always holy or spiritual and others are always unholy or unspiritual. How can that be, though, if everything here is illusory? One part of an illusion cannot be better or worse than another. The very first lesson in the workbook points us in that direction: “Nothing I see in this room . . . means anything” (W.pI.1). Jesus is training us to focus on the choices we are making in our minds rather than on the external behavior; and he wants us to learn also that there are only two choice we can ever make: to believe that our existence as separate from God is real, or that that is just a mistaken belief that we can now correct through the practice of forgiveness. All of the interactions  in our lives, then, can reflect back to us which of these choice we have made. That is the only meaningful part of our lives here.

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Q #1010: Within the world of form, in our daily interactions with people, how is it recommended we conduct ourselves without judgment? We meet people and carry on conversation of one type or another, but, invariably, someone else’s name will come up and a “judgment” seems to be made; or in conversing about the current events — political, spiritual, or otherwise — judgments are made. I have felt it very difficult to maintain a “right mind” while living in this world, and have wondered what I will talk about — if not about expressing an opinion about one thing or another, be it positive or negative.

A: It is normal within the world that emanates from the thought of separation to have a point of view and to express it; in fact, it would be impossible not to have preferences and to spend time with some people and not others. Right-mindedness does not mean you cannot have a point of view; you would just not take it seriously; and when you are called upon to make an objective judgment or evaluation, you would do so without the element of condemnation that reinforces differences and separation. A helpful guideline to follow — in terms of the content in your mind — is that if what you say about someone is not true of everyone, it must be coming from your ego, and therefore is an attack. People’s forms differ of course — including opinions — but the forms have nothing to do with what is real about us. Content alone is meaningful, and that content is that everyone, without exception, has a wrong mind, a right mind, and the power to choose between the two. That is the vision that should inform the content in your mind. Once you are clear about that, and you have no investment in one side or the other in a discussion, you automatically will do or say whatever is most loving. That could mean participating in the discussion, not participating, or leaving the gathering.

Course students many times reinforce separation and differences by not participating in conversations that involve judgments about others — gossip and the like. They assume it could never be the right thing to do, without their first having asked for help and remembering that the content of joining with others, not the form of joining is all that matters. They wind up judging people for judging others, thus making the very mistake they accuse others of making. In terms of content, it may be a loving thing to do what others are doing so that you do not make yourself separate. There is no right or wrong behavior in these situations — only on the level of thought. Jesus tells us to do the “outrageous” thing a brother asks of us (T.12.4:1) , but he cautions us not to do it if it is going to harm oneself or someone else (T.16.I.6:4) . Discernment is therefore needed.

What will also help is to keep in mind that the emphasis in Jesus’ teachings about judgment is that it is not sinful; it is just impossible — meaning we do not have the knowledge needed to make judgments. We got ourselves into trouble at the beginning by judging against what was in our best interests — we chose to listen to the ego instead of the Holy Spirit; so we should not put much stock in our ability to make good judgments. That is Jesus’ point, and so he encourages us to proceed from a base of humility. These ideas are discussed in “How Is Judgment Relinquished?” in the manual for teachers (M.10) , and in Lesson 151 in the workbook (W.pI.151) . An attitude of humility helps keep our minds open to have the Voice for God judge through us.

This common problem in students’ processing of the Course’s teachings is addressed in our tape albums, “To Judge or Not to Judge” and “The Meaning of Judgment.” Question #692 on this Service also is relevant.

here to represent

 

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 4

ACIM Text Reading for March 4

Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom

XI. The State of Grace

The Holy Spirit will always guide you truly, because your joy is His. This is His Will for everyone because He speaks for the Kingdom of God, which is joy. Following Him is therefore the easiest thing in the world, and the only thing that is easy, because it is not of the world. It is therefore natural. The world goes against your nature, being out of accord with God’s laws. The world perceives orders of difficulty in everything. This is because the ego perceives nothing as wholly desirable. By demonstrating to yourself there is no order of difficulty in miracles, you will convince yourself that, in your natural state, there is no difficulty at all because it is a state of grace.

Grace is the natural state of every Son of God. When he is not in a state of grace, he is out of his natural environment and does not function well. Everything he does becomes a strain, because he was not created for the environment that he has made. He therefore cannot adapt to it, nor can he adapt it to him. There is no point in trying. A Son of God is happy only when he knows he is with God. That is the only environment in which he will not experience strain, because that is where he belongs. It is also the only environment that is worthy of him, because his own worth is beyond anything he can make.

Consider the kingdom you have made and judge its worth fairly. Is it worthy to be a home for a child of God? Does it protect his peace and shine love upon him? Does it keep his heart untouched by fear, and allow him to give always, without any sense of loss? Does it teach him that this giving is his joy, and that God Himself thanks him for his giving? That is the only environment in which you can be happy. You cannot make it, any more than you can make yourself. It has been created for you, as you were created for it. God watches over His children and denies them nothing. Yet when they deny Him they do not know this, because they deny themselves everything. You who could give the Love of God to everything you see and touch and remember, are literally denying Heaven to yourself.

I call upon you to remember that I have chosen you to teach the Kingdom to the Kingdom. There are no exceptions to this lesson, because the lack of exceptions is the lesson. Every Son who returns to the Kingdom with this lesson in his heart has healed the Sonship and given thanks to God. Everyone who learns this lesson has become the perfect teacher, because he has learned it of the Holy Spirit.

When a mind has only light, it knows only light. Its own radiance shines all around it, and extends out into the darkness of other minds, transforming them into majesty. The Majesty of God is there, for you to recognise and appreciate and know. Recognising the Majesty of God as your brother is to accept your own inheritance. God gives only equally. If you recognise His gift in anyone, you have acknowledged what He has given you. Nothing is so easy to recognise as truth. This is the recognition that is immediate, clear and natural. You have trained yourself not to recognise it, and this has been very difficult for you.

Out of your natural environment you may well ask, ‘What is truth?’ since truth is the environment by which and for which you were created. You do not know yourself, because you do not know your Creator. You do not know your creations because you do not know your brothers, who created them with you. I have already said that only the whole Sonship is worthy to be co-creator with God, because only the whole Sonship can create like Him. Whenever you heal a brother by recognising his worth, you are acknowledging his power to create and yours. He cannot have lost what you recognise, and you must have the glory you see in him. He is a co-creator with God with you. Deny his creative power, and you are denying yours and that of God Who created you.

You cannot deny part of truth. You do not know your creations because you do not know their creator. You do not know yourself because you do not know yours. Your creations cannot establish your reality, any more than you can establish God’s. But you can know both. Being is known by sharing. Because God shared His Being with you, you can know Him. But you must also know all He created, to know what they have shared. Without your Father you will not know your fatherhood. The Kingdom of God includes all His Sons and their children, who are as like the Sons as they are like the Father. Know, then, the Sons of God, and you will know all creation.

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

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 4

Lesson 63

The light of the world brings peace to every mind
through my forgiveness.

How holy are you who have the power to bring peace to every mind! How blessed are you who can learn to recognize the means for letting this be done through you! What purpose could you have that would bring you greater happiness?

You are indeed the light of the world with such a function. The Son of God looks to you for his redemption. It is yours to give him, for it belongs to you. Accept no trivial purpose or meaningless desire in its place, or you will forget your function and leave the Son of God in hell. This is no idle request that is being asked of you. You are being asked to accept salvation that it may be yours to give.

Recognizing the importance of this function, we will be happy to remember it very often today. We will begin the day by acknowledging it, and close the day with the thought of it in our awareness. And throughout the day we will repeat this as often as we can:

The light of the world brings peace to every mind
through my forgiveness. I am the means God has
appointed for the salvation of the world.

If you close your eyes, you will probably find it easier to let the related thoughts come to you in the minute or two that you should devote to considering this. Do not, however, wait for such an opportunity. No chance should be lost for reinforcing today’s idea. Remember that God’s Son looks to you for his salvation. And Who but your Self must be His Son?

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

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