A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 31

ACIM Reading for December 31

MOTHER OF THE WORLD
Peace is a woman, mother to the world,
Whom God has sent to lay a gentle hand
Across a thousand children’s fevered brows.
In its cool certainty there is no fear,
And from her breasts there comes a quietness
For them to lean against and to be still.
She brings a message to their frightened hearts
From Him Who sent her. Listen now to her
Who is your mother in your Father’s Name:
“Do not attend the voices of the world.
Do not attempt to crucify again
My first-born Son, and brother still to you.”
Heaven is in her eyes, because she looked
Upon this Son who was the first. And now
She looks to you to find him once again.
Do not deny the mother of the world
The only thing she ever wants to see,
For it is all you ever want to find.

~ Helen Schucman

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 31

This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You,Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

1. And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What does A Course in Miracles mean by forgiving your brother? What if he does not accept the forgiveness, or is no longer physically present? Does this mean I can no longer forgive him? 

A) Our answer is a continuation of the answer to the previous question. We are asked in the Course to forgive others for what they have not done to us. This is understood only by remembering that there is in truth no one out there to forgive. What we really forgive (or release) are the projections of guilt we have placed upon figures in our dreams that we scripted to be our special love or special hate partners.  Therefore, it does not matter if these persons are physically present, know us personally, or even if they have already died. They continue to be present in our minds through our unforgiving thoughts, and the opportunity to ask for help to forgive these thoughts and projected images always remains. 

The effects of our forgiveness are also fully present in our minds, joined with the minds of others. If other people choose not to accept our forgiveness in their dreams, the healed thought in our minds is no less efficacious. As the Course teaches, the Holy Spirit holds this forgiveness in the minds of the others until they are ready to accept it. That is the process Jesus is referring to as well when he says to us in the Course: 

I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance.  They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt (T-5.IV.8:3-5).

Likewise, he saves our loving thoughts towards others, and holds them until they are ready to accept them for themselves. 

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 23

ACIM Reading for December 23

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

       AWAKE IN STILLNESS

    Peace cover you, within without the same,
    In shining silence and in peace so deep
    No dream of sin and evil can come near
    Your quiet mind. And then in stillness wake.
    First there is silence; then awakening.
    Now is the time appointed for the end
    Of dreaming. Still the cradle where you come
    To be reborn. The Christ is stirring in
    The home that He has chosen as His Own.
    His vision rests upon your eyes, and soon
    You will behold His face, and will forget
    The fantasies that seemed to be so real
    Until the stillness came. The Son of God
    Has come to join you now. His shining hand
    Is on your shoulder. And God’s silent Voice
    Speaks ceaselessly of Heaven. You will hear
    His single message calling to His Own
    From His abiding place, to wake in God.

             By Helen Schucman,
             January 15, 1974
             From The Gifts of God©, p. 73
             Published by the Foundation for Inner Peace
***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 23

Lesson 357

Truth answers every call we make to God,
Responding first with miracles, and then
Returning unto us to be itself.

Forgiveness, truth’s reflection, tells me how to offer miracles, and thus escape the prison house in which I think I live. Your holy Son is pointed out to me, first in my brother; then in me. Your Voice instructs me patiently to hear Your Word, and give as I receive. And as I look upon Your Son today, I hear Your Voice instructing me to find the way to You, as You appointed that the way shall be:

“Behold his sinlessness, and be you healed.”

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #729: Are Buddha and Christ the same, and is Enlightenment some kind of amnesia?

A: From the point of view of A Course in Miracles, the difference between Buddha and Christ is that Christ always remains part of God in Heaven as “the perfect Son of God, His one creation and His happiness, forever like Himself and one with Him” (C.5.3:1). Buddha would be considered, as would any other enlightened being, a symbol within the dream of separation representing the healed mind; that is, the separated mind that has accepted the Atonement and therefore knows the separation to be illusory. Christ, however, was never part of the illusion, but we retain within our minds (the right mind) the memory of our true Identity as Christ. Enlightenment, thus, is a remembrance, not a forgetting (amnesia), unless that were to mean forgetting everything that is not true. In the workbook Jesus explains his idea of enlightenment: “Why wait for Heaven? Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home” (W.pI.188.1).

See Question #261 for further comments about the path of Buddhism.


Q #730: Is there any method Jesus teaches in the Course about how we can deal with the fact that, while we may have mentally understood that forgiveness and waiting, etc., are the prime tools of “reaching” Christ consciousness/God/coming home (whatever you want to call it), the emotional body/ego may not want to oblige with this? Is there a method to “heal” the emotional body? Reading the Course or books by the Dalai Lama, which are all about love, has a very positive effect on me, and I seem to be touching that “undoing” moment every now and then, but is there any “method” that would make it easier to keep these feelings/attitudes up throughout the day? I found that telling these things “mentally” to me, won’t always do the job. Neither does “re-programming” or any of these “methods”. Would regular meditation (with the Course) do? Does Jesus recommend meditation?

A: The approach of A Course in Miracles to resistance is different from what one would normally expect. Jesus teaches us that what would be most helpful is just to be aware of our resistance and not to fight it or force ourselves — via affirmations, for example — to say and think what we are “supposed” to think and say (the exercises in the lessons). An essential part of the healing process is the humble acknowledgment that in one part of our minds we are terrified of accepting the truth about ourselves and therefore strenuously resisting learning and practicing the Course. We do not want to lose this self, though false, that we have made such an effort to sustain; we do not want to have to admit that we have been wrong about everything. Those fears would account for our “forgetting” or not being able to keep the experiences of the holy instant when we have for the moment set aside our egos.

Thus, while this is a course in mind training, the focus of the training is largely on searching our minds for ego thoughts and then looking at them without judgment, while recognizing at the same time that these thoughts are costing us the awareness of the love and peace that also reside in our minds: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T.16.IV.6:1,2).

The lessons in the workbook are carefully designed to start us off where we are — namely, strongly identified with a physical/emotional self — and gradually lead us inward to the identity we have repressed, that of a decision-making mind that lucidly chooses every minute of every day to reinforce its belief that it is separate from God or to undo that belief through recognizing that we all share the same interest and goal. In general, this is Jesus’ approach to resistance. There is nothing wrong in your meditating, if that is helpful to you, but meditation is not a major aspect of the Course’s mind-training process.

Your concern is shared by most students, and we have discussed it in several other Questions — see, for example numbers: 3592125129210, and 302.

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 22

ACIM Reading for December 22

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

THE SINGING
There is a singing underneath the world
That holds it up, and enters in behind
All twisted thoughts, and comes to set them straight.
There is an ancient melody that still
Abides in every mind and sings of peace,
Eternity, and all the quiet things
That God created. Angels sing with joy,
And offer you their song, for it is yours.
You sing as ceaselessly. The Son of God
Can never sing alone. His voice is shared
By all the universe. It is the call
To God, and answered by His Voice Itself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 22

Lesson 356

Sickness is but another name for sin.
Healing is but another name for God.
The miracle is thus a call to Him.

Father, You promised You would never fail to answer any call Your Son might make to You. It does not matter where he is, what seems to be his problem, nor what he believes he has become. He is Your Son, and You will answer him. The miracle reflects Your Love, and thus it answers him. Your Name replaces every thought of sin, and who is sinless cannot suffer pain. Your Name gives answer to Your Son, because to call Your Name is but to call his own.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #731: I was brought up to believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient, knowing everything that is, that has been, and that ever will be. So before God created the world, He must have known what exactly was going to happen — who was going to go to hell and who wasn’t. So if, as A Course in Miracles says, the world is a dream that I am making up, then is what I have written just my ego strategy to hold God responsible for my sin and not myself, to say that I cannot be a sinner because I never really had a choice anyway since it was all pre-ordained in God’s Mind? Thus when I stand before God to be judged and my name is not in the book of life, I can present this as my defense to God before being cast into the lake of fire, to avoid damnation or at least to try to. But if God knows everything in advance, then God is powerless to change the future and He cannot be omnipotent. Is this my get-out- clause to avoid an imaginary punishment from God, my ego’s attempt to be innocent, to see itself or me as just an innocent victim not responsible for its own sin at all, putting the guilt on God and not myself?

A: You can look at what you’ve described, as you say, simply as your ego’s efforts to shift blame outside yourself onto an unfair, victimizing God, if you note these apparent contradictions but do not seriously question the basic premises you seemed to learn as a child. But you can also look at what you’re thinking as the beginning of a right-minded realization that there is something wrong with this traditional concept of God that is found in most religions of the world, where God is the Creator of the world, Who put you here along with everyone else. For there are some logical contradictions in this traditional view of an infinite and perfect God as the Creator of a finite and imperfect world, that many of the greatest religious and spiritual thinkers and philosophers across the ages have not been able to reconcile.

The Course is relatively unique among the world’s spiritualities in asserting that God has nothing to do with and can in no way be responsible for the limited world of time and space — some of the Gnostic teachings of two thousand years ago held to a similar position and presented arguments much like the ones you offer above (for a comprehensive presentation of these issues as found in the Western spiritual tradition, see Kenneth Wapnick’s Love Does Not Condemn: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil According to Platonism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and A Course in Miracles). And of course, the Course goes one step further to assert that this world is an illusion and does not exist in reality (e.g., W.pI.132.6:1,2,3), despite our experiences to the contrary.

If there were any force, personal or impersonal, outside of our own minds, that could be held responsible for any aspect of the world and our experience in it, then we would indeed be victims. But the Course’s position on this is uncompromising, presented clearly early in the workbook: “I am not the victim of the world I see” because “I have invented the world I see” (W.p.I.31,32). And so it is central to the Course’s teaching that neither God nor Jesus nor the Holy Spirit can intervene in either the world or in our minds (e.g., T.2.VII.1:4,5,6). For if they could, we would not have complete responsibility for our experience, and we could legitimately feel victimized by their failure to intervene. It is the purpose of the Course to return to our awareness the power of our mind to choose, and not to look outside of ourselves to find someone else either to blame or to supplicate.

In the Course’s own words, “Let us today be truly humble, and accept what we have made as what it is. The power of decision is our own. Decide but to accept your rightful place as co- creator of the universe [of spirit], and all you think you made [the world of bodies] will disappear. What rises to awareness then will be all that there ever was, eternally as it is now. And it will take the place of self-deceptions made but to usurp the altar to the Father and the Son” (W.p.I.152.8).

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 20

ACIM Reading for December 20

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

BENEDICTION
Angels are Thoughts that come from God to you.
Secure in their protection may you rest;
Quiet in certainty that comes from them,
At peace in mind and heart and holiness;
Unmindful of the world, and sure that they
Are with you, watching over you, and fixed
In their determination to maintain.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 20

Lesson 354

We stand together, Christ and I, in peace 
And certainty of purpose. And in Him 
Is His Creator, as He is in me.

My oneness with the Christ establishes me as Your Son, beyond the reach of time, and wholly free of every law but Yours. I have no self except the Christ in me. I have no purpose but His Own. And He is like His Father. Thus must I be one with You as well as Him. For who is Christ except Your Son as You created Him? And what am I except the Christ in me?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #305: Does “I need do nothing” mean that it’s not OK to consciously try to develop new habits to replace the old fear based ones, like avoiding eye contact or speaking softly or giving up too soon, etc….How can I get over these things if I don’t do anything about them? Lesson 135 in A Course in Miracles says that planning for things is a defense and should be avoided. However, I feel that if I don’t plan or practice ahead of time I won’t be able to function: I won’t know what to say or do when the moment arises. I am really quite stalled here. Perhaps I am misinterpreting all of this. Can you somehow clear this up for me?

A: When A Course in Miracles says: “I need do nothing except not to interfere” (T.16.I.3:12) it is telling us primarily not to interfere, because that is what we do. It is not telling us to do nothing in the world or with the body. We need do nothing to be who we are (God’s Son), except remove all the beliefs that oppose that truth. That is why the Course describes the ego thought system in all its diverse forms and expressions. Lesson 135 of the workbook is a very good example of this. It exposes the defense system that is set in motion when the mind chooses to identify with the body. In no way does it suggest that any of the defenses or behaviors should be changed or avoided. That is not its goal. The goal of the Course is clearly expressed in the following instruction: “…seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world”(T.21.in.7:1). We can paraphrase this important line replacing “the world” with “the body,” “your behavior,” “your habits,” “your defenses.” This is a Course in mind training, and nothing else. Understanding this distinction is essential to understanding, and more importantly, applying the principles of the Course.

Whenever the Course describes all the things we do as bodies, and the beliefs we hold, it does not tell us not to do them, nor not to believe them. It teaches by showing us the contrast between the effect of the ego belief system (pain) with the effect of the Holy Spirit’s thought system (peace). It tells us that what we do on the level of form neither causes nor resolves the problem of the separation on the level of the mind. Therefore, changing your behavioral habits because it will make you feel better about yourself is just as acceptable as any of the things we do to take care of our bodies, our houses, or our cars. As long as we believe we are bodies living in the world these things must be maintained in working order, and taken care as best we see fit.

Until our minds are healed of all belief in the separation and in our identity as bodies, our only goal must be to uncover all our hidden beliefs so they can be exchanged for the belief system of the Holy Spirit. Then the mind that is free of guilt will use the body, as described in this lesson, without defenses. This does not mean that the body will then be perfect, or not need food, or sleep, or eye glasses. It means the mind will not confuse itself with the body and will not look to it for safety or for anything. In the process of healing, we are not asked not to plan, or to try to live as if our minds were healed while they are still sick. It is always important in reading the Course to remember that it is addressing the decision making part of the mind. We are asked to choose which teacher we will consult in making our plans. The Holy Spirit tells us that as we make our plans we can remember to search our minds for all of the insane beliefs that interfere with our being able to allow His wisdom to lead us to our truth.

Webmaster’s note: see also questions #293 #289 #90.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 21

ACIM Reading for December 21

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

QUIETNESS
The world knows not of quiet. Restlessness
Is its abiding law. From there it goes
To pain and joylessness, and back again
To the unceasing restlessness on which
It stands, uncertain, insecure and frail,
Prey to illusions, victimized by guilt.
Yet quietness comes over it at last.
For when forgiveness comes, its certain gift
Is stillness, in which all the world is hushed;
A silence where the littleness of sin
Shrinks into nothingness before the Love
Forgiveness represents. And in His Name
Is everyone acknowledged as the same.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 21

Lesson 355

There is no end to all the peace and joy,
And all the miracles that I will give,
When I accept God’s Word. Why not today?

Why should I wait, my Father, for the joy You promised me? For You will keep Your Word You gave Your Son in exile. I am sure my treasure waits for me, and I need but reach out my hand to find it. Even now my fingers touch it. It is very close. I need not wait an instant more to be at peace forever. It is You I choose, and my Identity along with You. Your Son would be Himself, and know You as his Father and Creator, and his Love.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #303: My question is about grace. I’m working on Lesson 168-9 of A Course in Miracles…which says grace is not learned and grace is not the goal this course aspires to attain.…grace is the means to get vision first with knowledge but an instant later…I’m just trying to understand exactly what grace is and how one should try to attain it.

A: In the “Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick, grace is defined as “our natural state as spirit” and “an aspect of God’s love in this world (p.46). It may be helpful in reading passages in the Course which use the term grace, such as the Lessons you mention, to remember it is referring to the truth of who we are as spirit, and the reflection of God’s love present in our minds: “Spirit is in a state of grace forever. Your reality is only spirit. Therefore you are in a state of grace forever” (T.1.III.5:4,5,6). Grace is not, therefore, something that needs to be attained, nor can it be taught or learned. It is simply the truth that will be revealed of its own when we no longer believe in our guilty, sinful selves identified with the body. Our goal is to become aware of our true identity as spirit because it is what God created us to be. God’s grace, His gift, is the identity we share with Him. The process of forgiveness, whereby we uncover all the hidden beliefs about ourselves that are in opposition to this truth, is what will lead us to the awareness of this identity and acceptance of His grace.

In other places, however, grace is spoken about somewhat differently. Grace is vision in that it is awareness of our natural state. In the passage you refer to, the Course tells us that the vision of who we are in truth will be followed instantly by knowledge of our Oneness with God, and in that instant awareness of the world disappears. That is our goal, that is grace. It is “an aspect of God’s love in this world” (Glossary, p.46) because our minds hold the memory of God’s love and the memory of our true identity as spirit, God’s innocent Son. Whenever we are willing to choose to identify with this part of our minds, rather than with the ego, we accept the grace that is ours:“Grace is acceptance of the Love of God within a world of seeming hate and fear” (W.pI.169.2:1).


Q #304: I keep thinking about what A Course in Miracles refers to as the “authority” problem. I understand it to mean that there is a constant struggle within me between what I believe is the “reason” for being here and for my life, and what God “believes” is the reason for my being here and for my life. Unfortunately — like most concepts the Course teaches — I have a feeling my understanding is missing the mark. Am I even close?

A: Actually, you are not far off the mark at all. Someone once said: “If God is your co-pilot, switch seats!” Jesus tells us that the problem is much deeper than that: “The authority problem is still the only source of conflict, because the ego was made out of the wish of God’s Son to father Him. The ego, then, is nothing more than a delusional system in which you made your own father” (T.11.in.2:3,4). This obviously is insane, as Jesus himself remarks in the continuation of that passage; yet we continue to allow this conflict to rage in our minds and to project itself out all over the place in many forms, because we believe that to submit to God as our Author and Source would be a sentence of death. Or at the very least, we could not exist as we would like to.

Jesus explains: “The projection of the ego makes it appear as if God’s Will is outside yourself, and therefore not yours. In this interpretation it seems possible for God’s Will and yours to conflict. God, then, may seem to demand of you what you do not want to give, and thus deprive you of what you want.…You are afraid to know God’s Will, because you believe it is not yours. This belief is your whole sickness and your whole fear” (T.11.9:1,2,3; 10:3,4).

So to the extent that you value an individual, autonomous existence, you will unconsciously believe that you usurped God’s power in order to get and keep that existence and that He is coming after you to get it back. This is the one-or-the-other principle at the heart of the ego thought system, and fear is its unfortunate consequence. “To deny His Authorship is to deny yourself the reason for your peace, so that you see yourself only in segments. This strange perception isthe authority problem” (T.3.VI.10.6,7).

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 14

ACIM Reading for December 14

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

SONG TO MY SELF
I cannot be replaced. I am unique
In God’s creation. I am held so dear
By Him that it is madness to believe
That I could suffer pain or loss or fear.
Holy am I; in sinlessness complete,
In wisdom infinite, in love secure,
In patience perfect, and in faithfulness
Beyond all thought of sin, and wholly pure.
Who could conceive of suffering for me?
Surely the mind that thought it is insane.
I never left my Father’s house. What need
Have I to journey back to Him again?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 14

Lesson 348

I have no cause for anger or for fear,
For You surround me. And in every need
That I perceive, Your grace suffices me.

Father, let me remember You are here, and I am not alone. Surrounding me is everlasting Love. I have no cause for anything except the perfect peace and joy I share with You. What need have I for anger or for fear? Surrounding me is perfect safety. Can I be afraid, when Your eternal promise goes with me? Surrounding me is perfect sinlessness. What can I fear, when You created me in holiness as perfect as Your Own?

God’s grace suffices us in everything that He would have us do. And only that we choose to be our will as well as His.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #691: Discerning the Voice of Holy Spirit is a most important but very ambiguous issue in practicing A Course in Miracles. Helen heard this Voice clearly and unambiguously. I’m inclined to think that many lessons of the workbook took this capability of Helen into account. The designed short period of practice (one year) reinforces that in my opinion. One year seems to be too short for radically reversing the thought system of the average person. What made Helen so sensitive and attuned to this Voice? Could we be helped by inquiring into this, so that we might develop this capability?

A: Kenneth talks about Helen’s “hearing” ability in his biography of Helen, Absence from Felicity. Her hearing was somewhat “rusty” at first, he reports, but then the interferences that were there initially cleared up and the Voice was heard in its purity from then on. The lessons began about three and a half years after the scribing commenced in 1965. What made Helen “so sensitive and attuned to this Voice” was her willingness to set aside her ego completely and be in her right mind. She did not regard this as anything exceptional that she alone could do. She always told people who were tempted to see her as spiritually blessed that they could do exactly what she did; all that was required was the willingness to set aside their ego, if only for an instant. The abstract presence of love is part of everyone’s mind and hearing the Voice is only one form in which that love can be experienced. Each of us will experience it in the form we can best relate to and accept without excessive fear. The form is illusory and will fade when enough fear subsides to allow the full experience of that love into one’s awareness. Therefore, it would not make sense to make the form into a big deal.

Moreover, there is no way of our knowing where we are on our Atonement path, or where anyone else is, either. Comparisons therefore are not likely to be spiritually beneficial. Learning and practicing this Course is carried out in the context of the relationship between the student and the Holy Spirit or Jesus. The events and circumstances of our lives are meaningful, thus, only to the extent that they reflect back to us whether we have chosen the ego or Jesus as our teacher.

Finally, there certainly are lessons and parts of lessons that assume an advanced spiritual state, yet there are many others that explicitly refer to a process of learning and practice that could extend over many years, even lifetimes. And then at the very end of the workbook Jesus tells us that “this course is a beginning, not an end” (W.ep.1:1). Similarly, toward the end of the text, the beginnings of chapters 30 and 31, Jesus is basically telling Helen that she is moving along well but has not yet reached the end of her process. The ability to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit is simply the process of learning to let go of one’s ego, as Jesus so clearly states in this passage, to single out one of many such passages: “You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it. They speak a different language and they fall on different ears” (T.24.II.5:1,2). That was the essence of Helen’s process and is ours as well.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 13

ACIM Reading for December 13

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

With Thanks

No one can know just what his part will mean

When God from little lights completes a star

From what we give to Him. Each is unseen

Until the other parts from near and far

Are joined by Him into a form that He

can use to light the darkness.  In His hand

The stars are born, to shine upon the sea

And to enchant all things upon the land

And raise them Heavenward. Perhaps your gift

Is set upon a star tip, or perhaps

It shimmers at the center point, to lift

A heart from sadness. Or perhaps it caps

a silver star-side. Do not then forget

In what we value little God may see

A new-born star, unknown to us as yet

Who cannot look on glory still to be.

 

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 13

Lesson 347

Anger must come from judgment. Judgment is
The weapon I would use against myself,
To keep the miracle away from me.

Father, I want what goes against my will, and do not want what is my will to have. Straighten my mind, my Father. It is sick. But You have offered freedom, and I choose to claim Your gift today. And so I give all judgment to the One You gave to me to judge for me. He sees what I behold, and yet He knows the truth. He looks on pain, and yet He understands it is not real, and in His understanding it is healed. He gives the miracles my dreams would hide from my awareness. Let Him judge today. I do not know my will, but He is sure it is Your Own. And He will speak for me, and call Your miracles to come to me.

Listen today. Be very still, and hear the gentle Voice for God assuring you that He has judged you as the Son He loves.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #850What does the successful completion of A Course in Miracles look like? I was disappointed to read that Helen did not make it. When I was reading Absence from Felicity , I was horrified to read about the nature of Helen’s death; it seemed gruesome. How could this be? One year ago I read about the illusion of sickness and what it means. I was a chronically sick person, but once I believed that sickness was an illusion like the Matrix, I never was never sick again. This made quite an impression on me. How could Helen have died that way when I could remove sickness with a minor revelation?

A: It appears that you are confusing form and content by concluding that Helen “did not make it” because of the nature of her death. Most people would look to that as a kind of criterion of her spiritual advancement; but it would be a mistake to do so. Kenneth also stated in his account of her death that there was a totally peaceful look on her face. Jesus had told her that he would come for her when she died, and her peaceful countenance seemed to confirm that.

When we use the nature of a person’s death as a criterion, we would have to ask ourselves, Well, what about Jesus? His death was rather gruesome if you judge entirely by what appeared to happen to his body. Yet he tells us in the Course that he did not experience it as a gruesome event at all (T.6.I.5) . That was the lesson he was passing on to us and asking us to demonstrate as well: “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 condition of one’s body (the form) is not necessarily an indicator of the content of one’s mind — of whether or not Jesus lives in us. In this sense, there is no way of saying what the successful completion of the Course would look like, perhaps other than to say that an inner state of undisturbed peace would somehow radiate through a person who would appear to be “normal” in every other respect. This could be a person paralyzed from a spinal cord injury, the plumber who just fixed a broken pipe in your kitchen, or the surgeon who just transplanted a liver. The beginning of Lesson 155 says of such a person that he or she would “smile more frequently” (W.pI.155.1:2) . That is all that would stand out, so to speak.

There is no way we can know the whole of another person’s Atonement path, anymore than we can know our own, and therefore we should not judge where we think a person is, spiritually. As we move along in our journey back to God and our true Self, Jesus encourages us to approach everything in our lives as classrooms in which we can gradually and gently learn that everything outside Heaven, including our individual selves, is an illusion. Thus, when we are sick or even dying, Jesus can guide us through that experience to help us learn that the peace in our minds cannot be affected by anything of the body. What a valuable lesson! He starts with wherever we are at, whatever the condition of our bodies, and he just invites us to ask him in as our teacher. That is the way most of us learn.

As your experience testifies, though, we can also learn in one instant that our bodies are completely under the control of our minds, and then there would no longer be any symptoms, unless the mind chose to use the body that way. That is not necessarily an indicator of spiritual advancement, though. We do have very powerful minds, and our bodies do only what our minds tell them to do; but the completion of our Atonement path involves much more than that.

Question #262 discusses the suffering and death of enlightened beings, along with other pertinent issues about death.

 

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 10

ACIM Reading for December 10

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

THE SINGING
There is a singing underneath the world
That holds it up, and enters in behind
All twisted thoughts, and comes to set them straight.
There is an ancient melody that still
Abides in every mind and sings of peace,
Eternity, and all the quiet things
That God created. Angels sing with joy,
And offer you their song, for it is yours.
You sing as ceaselessly. The Son of God
Can never sing alone. His voice is shared
By all the universe. It is the call
To God, and answered by His Voice Itself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 10

Lesson 344

Today I learn the law of love; that what
I give my brother is my gift to me.

This is Your law, my Father, not my own. I have not understood what giving means, and thought to save what I desired for myself alone. And as I looked upon the treasure that I thought I had, I found an empty place where nothing ever was or is or will be. Who can share a dream? And what can an illusion offer me? Yet he whom I forgive will give me gifts beyond the worth of anything on earth. Let my forgiven brothers fill my store with Heaven’s treasures, which alone are real. Thus is the law of love fulfilled. And thus Your Son arises and returns to You.

How near we are to one another, as we go to God. How near is He to us. How close the ending of the dream of sin, and the redemption of the Son of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #192: “I do not choose God’s channels wrongly” (T.4.VI.6:3). This line has always had a strong emotional impact on me (it made me cry, boosted my confidence, etc.), but sometimes I think this line perhaps was meant only personally for Helen?

A: It must always be remembered that A Course in Miracles came for Helen and Bill in response to their joining together to find a better way of relating. Therefore, many of the comments — especially in the early chapters — were meant for them; but clearly they can be seen as applying to all of us who struggle with the same issues with which they struggled. The statement you refer to, therefore, in no way implies that they were special, a meaning our egos would immediately see in it, as the ego knows only of separation. Helen did not see herself as specially blessed in any way, and very quickly corrected anyone who regarded her as special.

Connecting this statement with two other key statements further clarifies the meaning: “All my brothers are special” and “All are called” (T.1.V.3; T.3.IV.7). While using the language of the Bible, Jesus clearly corrects the traditional view that singles out certain special people: “many are called, but few are chosen,” or groups of people: “the chosen people.” He is basically telling us that we are not mistaken in thinking that we are dear to him.

At the beginning of Lesson 93, he describes the horribly negative self-concept we harbor deep within our minds — sometimes not very far beneath the surface. And then he tells us that we are so convinced that this is the truth about us that it is difficult for him to help us see that it is all based on nothing (W.pI.93.1,2). That explains why we would tend to think that Jesus was referring only to Helen and Bill, not us, a trend of thought he later calls arrogant. When we think that way, we ought to stop and reflect on where those thoughts are coming from, and how in feeling unworthy we are really telling Jesus he is wrong about us.

 

Then, too, we must remember that although our experience at first may be that of being chosen, that is not the reality. As we get further up the ladder, our experience will be that we are really allowing ourselves to experience love more and more, and resisting it less and less.

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ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 31

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 31

ACIM Special Text Reading for New Years Eve

XI. Christmas as the End of Sacrifice

Fear not to recognize the whole idea of sacrifice as solely of your making. And seek not safety by attempting to protect yourself from where it is not. Your brothers and your Father have become very fearful to you. And you would bargain with them for a few special relationships, in which you think you see some scraps of safety. Do not try longer to keep apart your thoughts and the Thought that has been given you. When they are brought together and perceived where they are, the choice between them is nothing more than a gentle awakening, and as simple as opening your eyes to daylight when you have no more need of sleep.

The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind, of anyone, is asked by Him. In His Presence the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For He is Host to God. And you need but invite Him in Who is there already, by recognizing that His Host is One, and no thought alien to His Oneness can abide with Him there. Love must be total to give Him welcome, for the Presence of holiness creates the holiness that surrounds it. No fear can touch the Host Who cradles God in the time of Christ, for the Host is as holy as the Perfect Innocence which He protects, and Whose power protects Him.

This Christmas give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you. Let yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing, and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us. Leave nothing behind, for release is total, and when you have accepted it with me you will give it with me. All pain and sacrifice and littleness will disappear in our relationship, which is as innocent as our relationship with our Father, and as powerful. Pain will be brought to us and disappear in our presence, and without pain there can be no sacrifice. And without sacrifice there love must be.

You who believe that sacrifice is love must learn that sacrifice is separation from love. For sacrifice brings guilt as surely as love brings peace. Guilt is the condition of sacrifice, as peace is the condition for the awareness of your relationship with God. Through guilt you exclude your Father and your brothers from yourself. Through peace you invite them back, realizing that they are where your invitation bids them be. What you exclude from yourself seems fearful, for you endow it with fear and try to cast it out, though it is part of you. Who can perceive part of himself as loathsome, and live within himself in peace? And who can try to resolve the “conflict” of Heaven and hell in him by casting Heaven out and giving it the attributes of hell, without experiencing himself as incomplete and lonely?

As long as you perceive the body as your reality, so long will you perceive yourself as lonely and deprived. And so long will you also perceive yourself as a victim of sacrifice, justified in sacrificing others. For who could thrust Heaven and its Creator aside without a sense of sacrifice and loss? And who could suffer sacrifice and loss without attempting to restore himself? Yet how could you accomplish this yourself, when the basis of your attempts is the belief in the reality of the deprivation? Deprivation breeds attack, being the belief that attack is justified. And as long as you would retain the deprivation, attack becomes salvation and sacrifice becomes love.

So is it that, in all your seeking for love, you seek for sacrifice and find it. Yet you find not love. It is impossible to deny what love is and still recognize it. The meaning of love lies in what you have cast outside yourself, and it has no meaning apart from you. It is what you prefer to keep that has no meaning, while all that you would keep away holds all the meaning of the universe, and holds the universe together in its meaning. Unless the universe were joined in you it would be apart from God, and to be without Him is to be without meaning.

In the holy instant the condition of love is met, for minds are joined without the body’s interference, and where there is communication there is peace. The Prince of Peace was born to re-establish the condition of love by teaching that communication remains unbroken even if the body is destroyed, provided that you see not the body as the necessary means of communication. And if you understand this lesson, you will realize that to sacrifice the body is to sacrifice nothing, and communication, which must be of the mind, cannot be sacrificed. Where, then, is sacrifice? The lesson I was born to teach, and still would teach to all my brothers, is that sacrifice is nowhere and love is everywhere. For communication embraces everything, and in the peace it re-establishes, love comes of itself.

Let no despair darken the joy of Christmas, for the time of Christ is meaningless apart from joy. Let us join in celebrating peace by demanding no sacrifice of anyone, for so you offer me the love I offer you. What can be more joyous than to perceive we are deprived of nothing? Such is the message of the time of Christ, which I give you that you may give it and return it to the Father, Who gave it to me. For in the time of Christ communication is restored, and He joins us in the celebration of His Son’s creation.

God offers thanks to the holy host who would receive Him, and lets Him enter and abide where He would be. And by your welcome does He welcome you into Himself, for what is contained in you who welcome Him is returned to Him. And we but celebrate His Wholeness as we welcome Him into ourselves. Those who receive the Father are one with Him, being host to Him Who created them. And by allowing Him to enter, the remembrance of the Father enters with Him, and with Him they remember the only relationship they ever had, and ever want to have.

This is the time in which a new year will soon be born from the time of Christ. I have perfect faith in you to do all that you would accomplish. Nothing will be lacking, and you will make complete and not destroy. Say, then, to your brother:

“I give you to the Holy Spirit as part of myself.
I know that you will be released, unless I want to use you to imprison myself.
In the name of my freedom I choose your release, because I recognize that we will be released together.”

So will the year begin in joy and freedom. There is much to do, and we have been long delayed. Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening. Make this year different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you. This is our will. Amen.

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

The Singing Reed

My eyes would look upon the Son of God. For this I came; to overlook the world, And seeing it forgiven, understand
Its holiness is but the truth in me.

The Christ walks forth in every step I take. God shines within me, lighting up the world In radiant joy. The Holy Spirit comes
With me, lest I should turn and lose the way.

for God has given me a goal to reach, And has made certain that I cannot fail. And so He gave me eyes to see beyond Appearances and shadows. I will see the Son of God exactly as he is.

And in that sight is all the world transformed, And blessed forever with the Love of God. How holy are my footsteps, which but go
To do the Will of God, Whose Son I am.

And how forever perfect is my will,
Which is in no way separate from His Own.

 

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 31

Lesson 361
FINAL LESSONS

Introduction

Our final lessons will be left as free of words as possible. We use them but at the beginning of our practicing, and only to remind us that we seek to go beyond them. Let us turn to Him Who leads the way and makes our footsteps sure. To Him we leave these lessons, as to Him we give our lives henceforth. For we would not return again to the belief in sin that made the world seem ugly and unsafe, attacking and destroying, dangerous in all its ways, and treacherous beyond the hope of trust and the escape from pain.

His is the only way to find the peace that God has given us. It is His way that everyone must travel in the end, because it is this ending God Himself appointed. In the dream of time it seems to be far off. And yet, in truth, it is already here; already serving us as gracious guidance in the way to go. Let us together follow in the way that truth points out to us. And let us be the leaders of our many brothers who are seeking for the way, but find it not.

And to this purpose let us dedicate our minds, directing all our thoughts to serve the function of salvation. Unto us the aim is given to forgive the world. It is the goal that God has given us. It is His ending to the dream we seek, and not our own. For all that we forgive we will not fail to recognize as part of God Himself. And thus His memory is given back, completely and complete.

It is our function to remember Him on earth, as it is given us to be His Own completion in reality. So let us not forget our goal is shared, for it is that remembrance which contains the memory of God, and points the way to Him and to the Heaven of His peace. And shall we not forgive our brother, who can offer this to us? He is the way, the truth and life that shows the way to us. In him resides salvation, offered us through our forgiveness, given unto him.

We will not end this year without the gift our Father promised to His holy Son. We are forgiven now. And we are saved from all the wrath we thought belonged to God, and found it was a dream. We are restored to sanity, in which we understand that anger is insane, attack is mad, and vengeance merely foolish fantasy. We have been saved from wrath because we learned we were mistaken. Nothing more than that. And is a father angry at his son because he failed to understand the truth?

We come in honesty to God and say we did not understand, and ask Him to help us to learn His lessons, through the Voice of His Own Teacher. Would He hurt His Son? Or would He rush to answer him, and say, “This is My Son, and all I have is his”? Be certain He will answer thus, for these are His Own words to you. And more than that can no one ever have, for in these words is all there is, and all that there will be throughout all time and in eternity.

Lessons 361 to 365

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1036: I have only been studying A Course in Miracles for six months but previously have read David Hawkins, Ken Wilbur, and studied some things on quantum physics. Before I came to A Course in Miracles , I was having strong feelings of love for everything from bugs to trees to people. I saw their forms as cute, implying childlike innocence. It wasn’t as if I was denying their propensity for attack, but I found people responding to me with kindness and friendliness so I didn’t see this side to them. You stated in a tape that, in the ego world, we created children to appear innocent so that the blame can be projected outward. (I hope I’m interpreting you correctly here). Now, I’m confused on how to feel love toward people and animals. Am I loving their form? Am I able to see spirit in form even if form doesn’t exist and is just a projection? Where do I direct the intense feelings of love that sometimes wash over me?

A: If these intense feelings of love embrace everything and everyone and exclude nothing and no one, then they are coming from the part of your mind that remembers the oneness of God’s Son, which transcends form. Spirit is never in form, as form is inherently illusory. Form issued from the separated Son’s mind as a means of obliterating any awareness of oneness, thereby validating his existence as separate from God. Jesus describes this mistake as “the substitution of illusion for truth; of fragmentation for wholeness. It has become so splintered and subdivided and divided again, over and over, that it is now almost impossible to perceive it once was one, and still is what it was” (T.18.I.4:2,3) . Bodies, with their senses, were made to perceive only form, and so we cannot rely on them to put us in touch with the truth. We can turn inward to our minds, however, where we can choose to regard everything of form as symbols that can either reinforce our belief in the reality of separation or help us undo that belief. In other words, our focus shifts from the forms themselves to the purpose they serve — the purpose of the ego or the purpose of the Holy Spirit. This is the shift from form to the content in our minds, which is the function of the miracle. Even though, on one level, all form represents an attack on the perfect formlessness of reality — “the body is a limit on love . . . it was made to limit the unlimited” (T.18.VIII.2:2,3) — on another level, “love does not condemn it and can use it lovingly, respecting what the Son of God has made and using it to save him from illusion” (T.18.VI.4:8) . This is the gentle way of the Course and of Jesus, the teacher in our minds to whom we can turn for help in making this shift.

Lesson 151 in the workbook is especially helpful in contrasting these two ways of perceiving. It helps us see how we have gotten ourselves stuck by using our senses as the chief means of judging what is real and true and lovable, and why we did that. Then Jesus teaches us to turn to the Holy Spirit within, Who will help us perceive truly, a process that will gradually “bridge the gap between illusions and the truth” (W.pI.151.9:7) . Near the end of this journey, as we advance spiritually, our perception will be one with the Holy Spirit’s, Who sees everyone as either expressing love or calling for it. In the earlier stages of our spiritual growth, Jesus tells us that we “cannot safely make this division, for . . . [we] are much too bound to form, and not to content” (T.14.X.7:2,3) . Learning to thus distinguish between form and content is an essential step in the process of restoring to our awareness our true Identity as God’s one Son. So your intense feelings of love can be directed inward to the content in your right mind, where you go beyond form and differences to the love that reflects the perfect Oneness of God’s Love.

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ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 29

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 29

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

The Place of Resurrection

There is an altar that I seek. For there
And only there can certain peace be found.
The light of holiness shines white upon
Its cooling stillness wreathed with lilies round.
Here is the place where those who thought that death Was lord of life must come, to learn of One
Who seemed to die, that life is lord of death.

Beside the lilies sickly dreams are gone,
And stillness spreads a blanket over all
Who seemed to know no rest and find no peace, To bring the quiet and the dreamless sleep
In which their dreaming will forever cease.

Here we awake, my brothers and myself, For all of us come here to find the way
To waken from the dream of sin the world Was made to represent. We come to lay Our guilt beside the altar and step back, Putting illusions and mistakes aside,

And learn before an empty tomb to see, He is not dead Who here was crucified.

 

By Helen Schucman, March 18, 1974

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 29

Lesson 358
No call to God can be unheard nor left
Unanswered. And of this I can be sure;
His answer is the one I really want.

You Who remember what I really am alone remember what I really want. You speak for God, and so You speak for me. And what You give me comes from God Himself. Your Voice, my Father, then is mine as well, and all I want is what You offer me, in just the form You choose that it be mine. Let me remember all I do not know, and let my voice be still, remembering. But let me not forget Your Love and care, keeping Your promise to Your Son in my awareness always. Let me not forget myself is nothing, but my Self is all.

*

Lesson 359
God’s answer is some form of peace. All pain
Is healed; all misery replaced with joy.
All prison doors are opened. And all sin
Is understood as merely a mistake.

Father, today we will forgive Your world, and let creation be Your Own. We have misunderstood all things. But we have not made sinners of the holy Sons of God. What You created sinless so abides forever and forever. Such are we. And we rejoice to learn that we have made mistakes which have no real effects on us. Sin is impossible, and on this fact forgiveness rests upon a certain base more solid than the shadow world we see. Help us forgive, for we would be redeemed. Help us forgive, for we would be at peace.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #747: I am still having a little doubt as to the nature of the ego. Is it such an evil entity always attempting to separate us from God? Isn’t it better just to think of a corpus of wrong ideas we have created of ourselves that serves the simple purpose of giving wrong answers when facing a situation? Isn’t it just a point of reference with which to compare the divine peace of Heaven? Why do we have to see it as such an entity? In my case this idea contributed to building a new kind of fear I had to deal with.

A: In A Course in Miracles , Jesus tells us exactly what the ego is : “What is the ego ? But a dream of what you really are. A thought you are apart from your Creator and a wish to be what He created not. It is a thing of madness, not reality at all. A name for namelessness is all it is. A symbol of impossibility; a choice for options that do not exist. We name it but to help us understand that it is nothing but an ancient thought that what is made has immortality. But what could come of this except a dream which, like all dreams, can only end in death?” (C.2.1:4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11, italics ours ) The ego cannot then be an entity; it has no substance. It is the thought of separation, which is given power only by a choice in the mind to believe that it is true. The ego/thought exists in our experience because we want it to. We choose it over the Holy Spirit because we prefer our specialness as separate bodies to our truth as God’s innocent Son. We fear it because we fear the power of our minds that would recognize the nothingness of the ego. If the ego is nothing, so is the world and so is the body. That recognition is terrifying to those who cling to specialness in a body.

The world and the body arise in our experience as the result of choosing to identify with the thought of separation (ego) in the mind. Thus, the ego is not a thing outside of ourselves that exists on its own, acting as an agent that can tempt us to anything. We alone are responsible for bringing it into existence by believing in it and allowing it to thrive on the guilt that inevitably follows the choice to be other than the Son that God created. We would prefer to believe that the ego has a life of its own so we could dissociate from it. That would allow us to have our cake and eat it too; i.e., have an ego-free life as bodies outside of Heaven. However, Jesus tells us in the Course that neither the ego nor the body exists, because nothing exists outside of Heaven: “ Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere” (T.23.II.19:6). To ears that cling to “life” in a body this is not good news, and does indeed seem to instill fear. The fear, however, comes only from unwillingness to accept that truth be true. Yet in this same statement lies our hope for escape from the nightmare of separation. It tells us the ego has no life, and therefore no power and no effects. In another passage we are told: “ It [the ego] has no meaning. It does not exist. Do not try to understand it because, if you do, you are believing that it can be understood and is therefore capable of being appreciated and loved. That would justify its existence, which cannot be justified” (T.7.VI.11:6,7,8,9). That is good news. We are free to fix our attention on the path of forgiveness that is our only function here, and let the thought of separation be gradually undone. The ego, like the world, will then “fade into the nothingness from which it came.…” (M.13.1:2)

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