ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 9

ACIM Text Reading for March 9

Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back

III. The Holy Encounter

Glory to God in the highest, and to you because He has so willed it. Ask and it shall be given you, because it has already been given. Ask for light and learn that you are light. If you want understanding and enlightenment you will learn it, because your decision to learn it is the decision to listen to the Teacher Who knows of light, and can therefore teach it to you. There is no limit on your learning because there is no limit on your mind. There is no limit on his teaching because He was created to teach. Understanding His function perfectly He fulfills it perfectly, because that is His joy and yours.

To fulfill the Will of God perfectly is the only joy and peace that can be fully known, because it is the only function that can be fully experienced. When this is accomplished, then, there is no other experience. Yet the wish for other experience will block its accomplishment, because God’s Will cannot be forced upon you, being an experience of total willingness. The Holy Spirit understands how to teach this, but you do not. That is why you need Him, and why God gave Him to you. Only His teaching will release your will to God’s, uniting it with His power and glory and establishing them as yours. You share them as God shares them, because this is the natural outcome of their being.

The Will of the Father and of the Son are one, by their extension. Their extension is the result of Their Oneness, holding Their unity together by extending Their joint Will. This is perfect creation by the perfectly created, in union with the Perfect Creator. The Father must give fatherhood to His Son, because His Own Fatherhood must be extended outward. You who belong in God have the holy function of extending His Fatherhood by placing no limits upon it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you how to do this, for you can know what it means only of God Himself.

When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself. For I am always there with you, in remembrance of you.

The goal of the curriculum, regardless of the teacher you choose, is “Know thyself.” There is nothing else to seek. Everyone is looking for himself and for the power and glory he thinks he has lost. Whenever you are with anyone, you have another opportunity to find them. Your power and glory are in him because they are yours. The ego tries to find them in yourself alone, because it does not know where to look. The Holy Spirit teaches you that if you look only at yourself you cannot find yourself, because that is not what you are. Whenever you are with a brother, you are learning what you are because you are teaching what you are. He will respond either with pain or with joy, depending on which teacher you are following. He will be imprisoned or released according to your decision, and so will you. Never forget your responsibility to him, because it is your responsibility to yourself. Give him his place in the Kingdom and you will have yours.

The Kingdom cannot be found alone, and you who are the Kingdom cannot find yourself alone. To achieve the goal of the curriculum, then, you cannot listen to the ego, whose purpose is to defeat its own goal. The ego does not know this, because it does not know anything. But you can know it, and you will know it if you are willing to look at what the ego would make of you. This is your responsibility, because once you have really looked at it you will accept the Atonement for yourself. What other choice could you make? Having made this choice you will understand why you once believed that, when you met someone else, you thought he was someone else. And every holy encounter in which you enter fully will teach you this is not so.

You can encounter only part of yourself because you are part of God, Who is everything. His power and glory are everywhere, and you cannot be excluded from them. The ego teaches that your strength is in you alone. The Holy Spirit teaches that all strength is in God and therefore in you. God wills no one suffer. He does not will anyone to suffer for a wrong decision, including you. That is why He has given you the means for undoing it. Through His power and glory all your wrong decisions are undone completely, releasing you and your brother from every imprisoning thought any part of the Sonship holds. Wrong decisions have no power, because they are not true. The imprisonment they seem to produce is no more true than they are.

Power and glory belong to God alone. So do you. God gives whatever belongs to Him because He gives of Himself, and everything belongs to Him. Giving of yourself is the function He gave you. Fulfilling it perfectly will let you remember what you have of Him, and by this you will remember also what you are in Him. You cannot be powerless to do this, because this is your power. Glory is God’s gift to you, because that is what He is. See this glory everywhere to remember what you are.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 9

Lesson 68

Love holds no grievances.

You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death. Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind. It seems to split you off from your Source and make you unlike Him. It makes you believe that He is like what you think you have become, for no one can conceive of his Creator as unlike himself.

Shut off from your Self, which remains aware of Its likeness to Its Creator, your Self seems to sleep, while the part of your mind that weaves illusions in its sleep appears to be awake. Can all this arise from holding grievances? Oh, yes! For he who holds grievances denies he was created by love, and his Creator has become fearful to him in his dream of hate. Who can dream of hatred and not fear God?

It is as sure that those who hold grievances will redefine God in their own image, as it is certain that God created them like Himself, and defined them as part of Him. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will suffer guilt, as it is certain that those who forgive will find peace. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will forget who they are, as it is certain that those who forgive will remember.

Would you not be willing to relinquish your grievances if you believed all this were so? Perhaps you do not think you can let your grievances go. That, however, is simply a matter of motivation. Today we will try to find out how you would feel without them. If you succeed even by ever so little, there will never be a problem in motivation ever again.

Begin today’s extended practice period by searching your mind for those against whom you hold what you regard as major grievances. Some of these will be quite easy to find. Then think of the seemingly minor grievances you hold against those you like and even think you love. It will quickly become apparent that there is no one against whom you do not cherish grievances of some sort. This has left you alone in all the universe in your perception of yourself.

Determine now to see all these people as friends. Say to them all, thinking of each one in turn as you do so:

I would see you as my friend, that I may remember you
are part of me and come to know myself.

Spend the remainder of the practice period trying to think of yourself as completely at peace with everyone and everything, safe in a world that protects you and loves you, and that you love in return. Try to feel safety surrounding you, hovering over you and holding you up. Try to believe, however briefly, that nothing can harm you in any way. At the end of the practice period tell yourself:

Love holds no grievances. When I let all my grievances
go I will know I am perfectly safe.

The short practice periods should include a quick application of today’s idea in this form, whenever any thought of grievance arises against anyone, physically present or not:

Love holds no grievances. Let me not betray my Self.

In addition, repeat the idea several times an hour in this form:

Love holds no grievances. I would wake to my Self by
laying all my grievances aside and wakening in Him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #711: Recently I had lunch with a friend and found that after we had talked about issues that were bothering us (which led to talking about other people we knew) I began to feel very sick. I knew we had begun gossiping and I just felt ill. If I have harmed someone by gossiping how do I make up for it? When I was growing up I had a cousin I adored, but she apparently didn’t adore me or so the gossip in the family went. In recent years I have tried very hard to heal with her, and a couple of months ago I went to visit her for 10 days but before I went to her home I said some things to another relative. I now have the feeling that she has been told what I said (or a modified version of it) and I can tell you she might be very hurt by it. Could you address the issue of gossiping and would stopping gossiping be my way of forgiving myself, or what do I have to do to make up for this. I am very serious about seeing this differently.

A: A Course in Miracles teaches that the only thing that can have any seeming effect on anyone is a choice made in the mind to identify with the ego/body. That is the only “harmful” thing that anyone can do to themselves. In the light of this teaching, it is impossible for anyone to do harm to someone else. Although it may seem that someone’s hurtful behavior is the cause of another person’s upset, the Course tells us the true source of any feeling is a choice in the mind. Finding yourself feeling sick after gossiping about others is the result of a choice in the mind to identify with the ego, which is a choice for separation. It is this that elicits profound feelings of guilt, which are then experienced in the world in a situation such as the one you describe. There seems to be an association related to the behavior of gossiping, but in fact the sickness is an expression in form of the guilt in the mind. It is the content of the mind that is the focus of the Course. What we are asked to see differently is this distinction between the seeming cause of feelings in a situation in form, and the real cause which is the content of the mind. This is a very important distinction to keep in mind as we train our minds to become aware of the judgments and attack thoughts that we experience in our relationships. This applies equally to your experience as a child, as to the recent incident of gossiping with your friend.

The Course does not teach anything about changing behavior or the need to make amends. We are asked only to look at our judgments, recognizing in them the choice to be separate from others, which reflects the choice to be separate from God. When you find yourself gossiping, you may stop to remember it is coming from a mistaken choice in your mind to identify with the ego by choosing separation. This places the origin of the situation in the right place (your mind), rather than on your behavior (the effect) or the behavior of those you are judging, and this is the beginning of the forgiveness process. We “forgive the Son of God [anyone] for what he did not do” (T.17.III.1:5) by recognizing that the true cause of sickness/gossiping is the mind’s choice for separation, without blaming past events or others. This would be the Course’s version of “making up.” It is also the only way to heal the real sickness that resides in the split mind that has chosen separation. All that is required is willingness to release our judgments. Even being willing to see how we want to hold on to them is a step in the right direction, because at least we won’t be blaming others for our sickness, distress, or misery. The important thing is to be vigilant in looking for the thoughts and judgments that reveal the mind’s choice for separation. When the cause is returned to the mind, judgment can be given to the Holy Spirit to be transformed. Under His guidance, any behavior will then change accordingly, without any effort or control on our part. In this regard Jesus tells us in the text: “When you are willing to accept sole responsibility for the ego’s existence you will have laid aside all anger and all attack, because they come from an attempt to project responsibility for your own errors. But having accepted the errors as yours, do not keep them. Give them over quickly to the Holy Spirit to be undone completely, so that all their effects will vanish from your mind and from the Sonship as a whole” (T.7.VIII.5:4,5,6). Thus, projection is replaced with the recognition that the mind is the true cause of all feelings, behavior, and judgment and ultimately the need to gossip “will vanish from your mind.”

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March

ACIM Text Reading for March 9

Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back

VI. The Treasure of God

We are the joint will of the Sonship, whose wholeness is for all. We begin the journey back by setting out together, and gather in our brothers as we continue together. Every gain in our strength is offered for all, so they too can lay aside their weakness and add their strength to us. God’s welcome waits for us all, and He will welcome us as I am welcoming you. Forget not the Kingdom of God for anything the world has to offer.

The world can add nothing to the power and the glory of God and His holy Sons, but it can blind the Sons to the Father if they behold it. You cannot behold the world and know God. Only one is true. I am come to tell you that the choice of which is true is not yours to make. If it were, you would have destroyed yourself. Yet God did not will the destruction of His creations, having created them for eternity. His Will has saved you, not from yourself but from your illusion of yourself. He has saved you for yourself.

Let us glorify Him Whom the world denies, for over His Kingdom the world has no power. No one created by God can find joy in anything except the eternal; not because he is deprived of anything else, but because nothing else is worthy of him. What God and His Sons create is eternal, and in this and this only is their joy.

Listen to the story of the prodigal son, and learn what God’s treasure is and yours: This son of a loving father left his home and thought he had squandered everything for nothing of any value, although he had not understood its worthlessness at the time. He was ashamed to return to his father, because he thought he had hurt him. Yet when he came home the father welcomed him with joy, because the son himself was his father’s treasure. He wanted nothing else.

God wants only His Son because His Son is His only treasure. You want your creations as He wants His. Your creations are your gift to the Holy Trinity, created in gratitude for your creation. They do not leave you any more than you left your Creator, but they extend your creation as God extended Himself to you. Can the creations of God Himself take joy in what is not real? And what is real except the creations of God and those that are created like His? Your creations love you as you love your Father for the gift of creation. There is no other gift that is eternal, and therefore there is no other gift that is true. How, then, can you accept anything else or give anything else, and expect joy in return? And what else but joy would you want? You made neither yourself nor your function. You made only the decision to be unworthy of both. Yet you cannot make yourself unworthy because you are the treasure of God, and what He values is valuable. There can be no question of its worth, because its value lies in God’s sharing Himself with it and establishing its value forever.

Your function is to add to God’s treasure by creating yours. His Will to you is His Will for you. He would not withhold creation from you because His joy is in it. You cannot find joy except as God does. His joy lay in creating you, and He extends His Fatherhood to you so that you can extend yourself as He did. You do not understand this because you do not understand Him. No one who does not accept his function can understand what it is, and no one can accept his function unless he knows what he is. Creation is the Will of God. His Will created you to create. Your will was not created separate from His, and so you must will as He wills.

An ‘unwilling will’ does not mean anything, being a contradiction in terms that actually means nothing. When you think you are unwilling to will with God, you are not thinking. God’s Will is thought. It cannot be contradicted by thought. God does not contradict Himself, and His Sons, who are like Him, cannot contradict themselves or Him. Yet their thought is so powerful that they can even imprison the mind of God’s Son, if they so choose. This choice does make the Son’s function unknown to him, but never to his Creator. And because it is not unknown to his Creator, it is forever knowable to him.

There is no question but one you should ever ask of yourself;—’Do I want to know my Father’s Will for me?’ He will not hide it. He has revealed it to me because I asked it of Him, and learned of what He had already given. Our function is to work together, because apart from each other we cannot function at all. The whole power of God’s Son lies in all of us, but not in any of us alone. God would not have us be alone because He does not will to be alone. That is why He created His Son, and gave him the power to create with Him. Our creations are as holy as we are, and we are the Sons of God Himself, as holy as He is. Through our creations we extend our love, and thus increase the joy of the Holy Trinity. You do not understand this, because you who are God’s Own treasure do not regard yourself as valuable. Given this belief, you cannot understand anything.

I share with God the knowledge of the value He puts upon you. My devotion to you is of Him, being born of my knowledge of myself and Him. We cannot be separated. Whom God has joined cannot be separated, and God has joined all His Sons with Himself. Can you be separated from your life and your being? The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. Truth can only be experienced. It cannot be described and it cannot be explained. I can make you aware of the conditions of truth, but the experience is of God. Together we can meet its conditions, but truth will dawn upon you of itself.

What God has willed for you is yours. He has given His Will to His treasure, whose treasure it is. Your heart lies where your treasure is, as His does. You who are beloved of God are wholly blessed. Learn this of me, and free the holy will of all those who are as blessed as you are.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 9

Lesson 68
Love holds no grievances.

You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death. Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind. It seems to split you off from your Source and make you unlike Him. It makes you believe that He is like what you think you have become, for no one can conceive of his Creator as unlike himself.

Shut off from your Self, which remains aware of Its likeness to Its Creator, your Self seems to sleep, while the part of your mind that weaves illusions in its sleep appears to be awake. Can all this arise from holding grievances? Oh, yes! For he who holds grievances denies he was created by love, and his Creator has become fearful to him in his dream of hate. Who can dream of hatred and not fear God?

It is as sure that those who hold grievances will redefine God in their own image, as it is certain that God created them like Himself, and defined them as part of Him. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will suffer guilt, as it is certain that those who forgive will find peace. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will forget who they are, as it is certain that those who forgive will remember.

Would you not be willing to relinquish your grievances if you believed all this were so? Perhaps you do not think you can let your grievances go. That, however, is simply a matter of motivation. Today we will try to find out how you would feel without them. If you succeed even by ever so little, there will never be a problem in motivation ever again.

Begin today’s extended practice period by searching your mind for those against whom you hold what you regard as major grievances. Some of these will be quite easy to find. Then think of the seemingly minor grievances you hold against those you like and even think you love. It will quickly become apparent that there is no one against whom you do not cherish grievances of some sort. This has left you alone in all the universe in your perception of yourself.

Determine now to see all these people as friends. Say to them all, thinking of each one in turn as you do so:

I would see you as my friend, that I may remember you
are part of me and come to know myself.

Spend the remainder of the practice period trying to think of yourself as completely at peace with everyone and everything, safe in a world that protects you and loves you, and that you love in return. Try to feel safety surrounding you, hovering over you and holding you up. Try to believe, however briefly, that nothing can harm you in any way. At the end of the practice period tell yourself:

Love holds no grievances. When I let all my grievances
go I will know I am perfectly safe.

The short practice periods should include a quick application of today’s idea in this form, whenever any thought of grievance arises against anyone, physically present or not:

Love holds no grievances. Let me not betray my Self.

In addition, repeat the idea several times an hour in this form:

Love holds no grievances. I would wake to my Self by
laying all my grievances aside and wakening in Him.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #29: When Jesus turned over the table in the Temple, it seemed to reinforce the ego thought system. He was angry, and ultimately was punished, by being crucified. I keep repeating in my mind, there must be a different way of looking at this, to speed up the healing I submitted this question to the Foundation.

A: In “Forgiveness and Jesus: The Meeting Place of A Course in Miracles and Christianity” and “A Talk Given on A Course in Miracles; An Introduction” (by Kenneth Wapnick, published by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles) this Gospel passage is discussed at length. The full explanation presented in these books is summarized here.

As you may know the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ sayings and actions are not necessarily historical fact. It is likely that the incident in the Temple did not happen in the way that it is depicted in the Gospel. This view is accepted even by many Christian Scripture scholars. It is also important to note that the Gospel account does not say that Jesus was angry, although in the movies of Jesus’ life he has been portrayed as angry. If something of this nature did occur in which Jesus appears to be angry, without truly feeling any anger, he would have been using this outburst as a teaching tool to make a point for the large crowd of people present in the Temple at the time of the Passover. In this case the point would have been that the “chosen people” had distorted the Old Testament teaching by using the Temple for purposes other than as a “house of prayer.” This is close to the traditional interpretation of this incident by Christian scholars. As a good teacher Jesus acted in a dramatic way to more effectively draw attention to his message. One could also consider a final option; that Jesus was actually angry, having an “ego attack.” If this were the case there are at least three conditions that would have to be present; Jesus would not be at peace, God would not be his in his awareness, he would perceive the money lenders as his enemy. It is inconceivable that Jesus, whose message and presence were filled only with love and peace, would have “lost it” in this way. It is also possible to believe that Jesus did have an ego attack, but if one chose to believe that, why would one then choose to identify with his ego, rather than with the love and forgiveness he teaches us in A Course in Miracles? Moreover, even if it were possible for Jesus to have such an ego attack, the Course tells us he would certainly not be punished for his “sin” by being crucified. “There is no sin.” (T.26.VII.10:5) The central teaching of the Course is that God’s Son is innocent; “You are still My holy Son, forever innocent, forever loving and forever loved, as limitless as your Creator, and completely changeless and forever pure” (WpII.10:5). Since there is no sin there can be no punishment. The Course’s teaching on the crucifixion, therefore, is from a very different perspective. In Jesus’ words “The crucifixion is nothing more than an extreme example” (T.6I.2:1), much like the example of the Temple incident, if it did in fact occur. Jesus says later: “The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible, and are therefore regarding yourself insanely” (T.6.I.4:6). Jesus would not regard himself insanely, and since he knew he was not a body he remained at peace during the crucifixion, fully aware that nothing was happening.

As we learn our true identity as God’s innocent Son, we also learn that we too can be at peace in the midst of seeming persecution. We, like Jesus, cannot be harmed in any way. This true identity is not to be confused with the ego identities we choose as bodies which do die. Since there is no real life here in the body, there is also no real death. This is what Jesus knew when his body was crucified. This is what he is teaching us.

*

Q #576: Let me see if I have this right — all of this world and everything in it is a thought we are all having — part of a tiny, mad idea that slipped into the sleeping Son’s mind for just one tiny instant. In fact my identity as the person I think I am is just a fragment in the dream of Christ — and everyone in the dream is also a fragment in the dream and we are all dreaming, or rather One of us is dreaming he is many yet in truth he is not — just for an instant dreaming but still dreaming. So my big question is — how did Jesus get into the dream and know that it was just a dream? If it’s true that it must have been the “right” part of the Christ-mind that sent him — which I think means in truth the Oneness of the Sonship sent him — how did he get here without being affected by the illusion. I mean how did he come with the knowledge that it was not real? I can understand that perhaps one can figure it out but it seems that he came with it figured out — how is that possible?

A: First of all, a point of clarification. A Course in Miracles does not refer to Christ as having fallen asleep and dreaming. Christ is the extension of the Mind of God that has never forgotten Its true Identity. The Course uses the Son of God to refer both to the Christ and to the illusory part — the split mind — that seems to have fallen asleep and had a dream of separation from God. But in reality, the dream has never happened and Christ remains unaffected (W.pII.6:1,2,3).

As for your “big question” — it is helpful to remember that the story of the Son of God falling asleep and dreaming of a world of separation from his Father is a myth, a set of symbols to correct the story the ego has told us of sin, guilt and fear, and an angry Father bent on destroying His Son for his attack on Him. The Mind outside the dream is not acting on the dream to awaken the sleeping Son and all the fragments that he has seemingly splintered into. And there is no Jesus from outside the dream who could be “sent” into the dream.

There is a memory of oneness that remains in the mind of the Son after he seems to have fallen asleep. And that memory can be symbolically represented either more abstractly by the Holy Spirit or more specifically and concretely by the figure of Jesus (among other figures who represent awakening). But both are symbols for that memory we carried into the dream, which is present in each separate fragment — all our various individual identities.

Just as when you are sleeping and dreaming at night and some figures in your dream may represent your ego guilt and fears, and others may be symbols of your right-minded sanity, so too the figures in our collective waking dream may serve the same functions. And just as there is no one outside our mind sending figures into our sleeping dreams, it is the split mind itself manifesting symbols in our waking dreams to represent the only two choice that are available to us — continuing to sleep and dream or moving towards awakening.

You may also find Question #473 on Jesus helpful, as well as Kenneth’s tape set, Jesus: Symbol and Reality.

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