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.

sunburst eternity

 

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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 Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 9

ACIM Reading for December 9

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

BRIGHT STRANGER
Strange was my Love to me. For when He came
I did not know Him. And He seemed to me
To be but an intruder on my peace.
I did not see the gifts He brought, nor heard
His soft appeal. I tried to shut Him out
With locks and keys that merely fell away
Before His coming. I could not escape
The gentleness with which He looked at me.
I asked Him in unwillingly, and turned
Away from Him. But He held out His hand
And asked me to remember Him. In me
An ancient Name began to stir and break
Across my mind in gold. The light embraced
Me deep in silence till He spoke the Word,
And then at last I recognized my Lord.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 9

Lesson 343

I am not asked to make a sacrifice
To find the mercy and the peace of God.

The end of suffering can not be loss. The gift of everything can be but gain. You only give. You never take away. And You created me to be like You, so sacrifice becomes impossible for me as well as You. I, too, must give. And so all things are given unto me forever and forever. As I was created I remain. Your Son can make no sacrifice, for he must be complete, having the function of completing You. I am complete because I am Your Son. I cannot lose, for I can only give, and everything is mine eternally.

The mercy and the peace of God are free. Salvation has no cost. It is a gift that must be freely given and received. And it is this that we would learn today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1044My question relates to page 155 of Absence of Felicity where Kenneth states that people experience Jesus differently and that Helen knew Jesus was talking to her because, “He told her the opposite of what she wanted to hear.” I understand that Jesus speaks to each person in an individual way, yet how could something that speaks against someone’s peace be benign? I believe that Jesus would never speak for such things.

A: It is important to know the context of Helen’s comment in order to understand it properly. On the same page you cite in Absence from Felicity , Kenneth states that Helen was keenly aware of her inner conflict — between “Heaven and Helen,” as she described it. Within this framework, “Jesus’ will and her own were always separate,” and therefore she would be aware of what was coming from her — meaning the part of her that was terrified of accepting his love — and what was coming from that loving presence she knew to be Jesus. She was aware that she was resisting the emotional acceptance of what she had accepted intellectually from Jesus. “Helen did believe in the truth of the Course’s teachings, not to mention in the existence of its author. However, she was not able emotionally to accept its truth into her own personal life” (p. 156). This is a crucial distinction. She knew that she would be better off doing what Jesus asked of her; she was just afraid of the consequences of accepting his will unconditionally at all times. Jesus was not speaking against her peace, as you have interpreted her comment to mean. Quite the opposite — she knew she would be better off if she integrated into her daily life what she knew to be the truth intellectually. Kenneth concludes that this integration came “all at once at the moment of her death” (p. 157; see also Chapter 18 where Kenneth describes her final days and death).

Every student of A Course in Miracles is bound to run into this same dilemma. We all have minds split between wanting Jesus to be the central figure in our journey, and a fierce resistance to letting go of the self we think is our identity but which is a false self determined to keep the true Jesus as far away as possible. This intense fear will inevitably cause us to have a distorted experience of his love. That is why he emphasizes so much the need to become aware of these two parts of our minds. It is vital to our progress with the Course to come to know and respect our fear of the truth about us, so that we will not erect even further defenses against it, thus burying it deeper and deeper in our minds. This is what Jesus wants to help us with more than anything, if we will let him. If we do let him, we will be more peaceful, more often, as together we walk the pathway home.

secret of salvation

 

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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ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 28

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 28

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

They wait

I did not know Your Voice. And what I heard I did not understand. There was a Word
In which was everything. Yet all I found
In its immensity was but the sound

Of meaningless contention. I passed by A thousand waiting angels, And as I Rushed along vain detours I did not see The hosts of holiness surrounding me.

Yet I will certainly return. For You
Have promised that whatever I may do, Angels arid holy hosts will wait; the Word Will hover over me till it is heard.

 

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 28

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.

*

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 #1251: I am having difficulty understanding how my interactions with other people who are going through the same process of learning that their thoughts are creating reality are able to coexist and not interfere with one another. If I believe and understand that reality is a manifestation of thought, does this not have an effect on other people? What if I have thoughts about another person? — how can my reality possibly make our two realities come together? If the situation has been decided by all involved beforehand, then I feel as though I am in a grand illusion that is no longer a good space to be in. It would be nice to get some validation that I’m not a puppet on someone’s string. I am giving 100% to learning how to relearn that the world, and this email for that matter, is only a thought and nothing more. I got the concept that we are all the same energy, but I don’t understand it when it relates to individuality.

A: No, you are not a “puppet on someone’s string”; and A Course in Miracles’ theory of time does not entail predestination. In fact, one of the major objectives of Jesus’ teaching is to have us realize that our decision to choose the ego or him as our teacher determines what our experience will be at every instant. But it would not be entirely accurate to say that we therefore “create our reality.”

If I choose the ego as my teacher, then my thoughts will emanate from the thought system of separation, and whatever is going on externally will be interpreted by me (my decision maker) accordingly. The ego thought system will be a kind of template, in terms of which my internal experience of the external will be “created.” When I interact with you, for instance, my ego needs will determine how I experience you. I do not create your reality; I “create” my perception of you based on my prior choice to listen to the ego rather than Jesus or the Holy Spirit. And my perception of you may not even square with the objective reality, because my ego needs could result in distorted perception — which is frequently the case.

It is next to impossible for us to jump from our experience of ourselves as physical/psychological individuals to an experience of ourselves as minds not bound by time or space. Even the intellectual understanding of mind is not easy for us, as you have found. One of the reasons for this difficulty is that we are far more invested in the ego thought system than we realize, and since the core of the ego’s strategy is to keep us mindless, attempting to perceive a realm beyond the body and specifics (the realm of mindlessness) would seem quite unnatural and frustrating to us, and almost impossible to attain. We would be fighting against ourselves to perceive everything as mind when, at the same time, we are upholding a decision to deny our identity as mind.

Therefore, what might help ease the pressure and confusion you are experiencing is to approach this issue from a different direction: shifting your focus to the purpose or the way you are using the world, your body, and your relationships, rather than trying so hard to relate to the world and everyone as thought. It is true that there is only mind and thoughts in the mind; but your experience of that will come more naturally if you focus first on becoming comfortable with recognizing the purpose in your mind that is motivating the way you relate and interact in the world. The practice of this would lead you eventually to see beyond the appearances of individuality to the decision-making mind that is “in charge.” Then you would see that no one is under anyone else’s control, unless that kind of experience is wanted; but then that choice could be changed at any instant.

For example, as long as we identify with the ego’s thought system of separation, it is a given that we will relate to each other in the context of specialness, which means we will judge some people as not deserving of our love, compassion, and forgiveness — even ourselves at times. Specialness and exclusion go hand in hand. We can thus learn to recognize how we use people to keep ourselves in the particular state of specialness we desire — to get what we want. Even further, the roots of specialness are hidden in the mind’s compulsion to see and judge differences; and so we can learn to recognize that dimension in our relationships as well.

As we continue this process of looking and observing, we will be shifting our attention more and more away from form to the content in our minds. And eventually we will relate to ourselves and everyone else primarily on that level, while at the same time we will be functioning normally in our day-to-day activities (form). Thus, when we realize how we make differences important, and then seek to correct that (we change teachers in our mind), our perception will shift to the interests we all share — that we all are suffering tremendous anguish and guilt over believing we selfishly separated from our Source, and that we all are longing to go back home to Heaven. As that becomes our abiding perception, then our investment in individuality will begin to weaken, without our even working on that directly.

The transition to the experience of everything as mind, thus, would be more natural, and certainly more gentle than trying to pressure ourselves to get beyond the body and form entirely. This is why Jesus reminds us often that we are involved in a process of undoing what we have made in error. We start where we are — with what we are most familiar with. Near the end of the text, Jesus tells us, “Salvation does not ask that you behold the spirit and perceive the body not. It merely asks that this should be your choice” (T.31.VI.3:1). Thus, our willingness to change from the ego’s purpose to the Holy Spirit’s purpose for the world and the body is what will facilitate the gentle transition to true perception, and to the vision we share with Jesus.

you have no idea

 

ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 23

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 23

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

THE HOLINESS OF CHRISTMAS

Christmas is holy only if you come
In silence to the manger, to behold
Your holiness made visible to you.
Your gifts are but your open hands, made clean
Of grasping. Nothing else you lay before
The newly-born except your doubts and fears,
Your pale illusions and your sickly pride,
Your hidden venom and your little love,
Your meager treasures and unfaithfulness
To all the gifts that God has given you.
Here at the altar lay all this aside
To let the door to Heaven open wide
And hear the angels sing of peace on earth,
For Christmas is the time of your rebirth.(The Gifts of God, p. 97)

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 23

Lesson 349
Today I let Christ’s vision look upon
All things for me and judge them not, but give
Each one a miracle of love instead.

So would I liberate all things I see, and give to them the freedom that I seek. For thus do I obey the law of love, and give what I would find and make my own. It will be given me, because I have chosen it as the gift I want to give. Father, Your gifts are mine. Each one that I accept gives me a miracle to give. And giving as I would receive, I learn Your healing miracles belong to me.

Our Father knows our needs. He gives us grace to meet them all. And so we trust in Him to send us miracles to bless the world, and heal our minds as we return to Him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1044: My question relates to page 155 of Absence of Felicity where Kenneth states that people experience Jesus differently and that Helen knew Jesus was talking to her because, “He told her the opposite of what she wanted to hear.” I understand that Jesus speaks to each person in an individual way, yet how could something that speaks against someone’s peace be benign? I believe that Jesus would never speak for such things.

A: It is important to know the context of Helen’s comment in order to understand it properly. On the same page you cite in Absence from Felicity , Kenneth states that Helen was keenly aware of her inner conflict — between “Heaven and Helen,” as she described it. Within this framework, “Jesus’ will and her own were always separate,” and therefore she would be aware of what was coming from her — meaning the part of her that was terrified of accepting his love — and what was coming from that loving presence she knew to be Jesus. She was aware that she was resisting the emotional acceptance of what she had accepted intellectually from Jesus. “Helen did believe in the truth of the Course’s teachings, not to mention in the existence of its author. However, she was not able emotionally to accept its truth into her own personal life” (p. 156). This is a crucial distinction. She knew that she would be better off doing what Jesus asked of her; she was just afraid of the consequences of accepting his will unconditionally at all times. Jesus was not speaking against her peace, as you have interpreted her comment to mean. Quite the opposite — she knew she would be better off if she integrated into her daily life what she knew to be the truth intellectually. Kenneth concludes that this integration came “all at once at the moment of her death” (p. 157; see also Chapter 18 where Kenneth describes her final days and death).

Every student of A Course in Miracles is bound to run into this same dilemma. We all have minds split between wanting Jesus to be the central figure in our journey, and a fierce resistance to letting go of the self we think is our identity but which is a false self determined to keep the true Jesus as far away as possible. This intense fear will inevitably cause us to have a distorted experience of his love. That is why he emphasizes so much the need to become aware of these two parts of our minds. It is vital to our progress with the Course to come to know and respect our fear of the truth about us, so that we will not erect even further defenses against it, thus burying it deeper and deeper in our minds. This is what Jesus wants to help us with more than anything, if we will let him. If we do let him, we will be more peaceful, more often, as together we walk the pathway home.

you have no idea

ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 22

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 22

A JESUS PRAYER

A Child, a Man and then a Spirit, come
In all Your loveliness. Unless You shine
Upon my life, it is a loss to You,
And what is loss to You is also mine.
I cannot calculate why I am here
Except for this: I know that I have come
To seek You here and find You. In Your life
You show the way to my eternal home.

A child, a man and then a spirit. So
I follow in the way You show to me
That I may come at last to be like You.
What but Your likeness would I want to be?

There is a silence where You speak to me
And give me words of love to say for You
To those You send to me. And I am blessed
Because in them I see You shining through.

There is no gratitude that I can give
For such a gift. The light around Your head
Must speak for me, for I am dumb beside
Your gentle hand with which my soul is led.

I take Your gift in holy hands, for You
Have blessed them with Your own. Come, brothers, see
How like to Christ am I, and I to you
Whom He has blessed and holds as one with me.

A perfect picture of what I can be
You show to me, that I might help renew
Your brothers’ failing sight. As they look up
Let them not look on me, but only You.

By Helen Schucman
February 16, 1976
From The Gifts of God©, pp. 82-3,
Published by the Foundation for Inner Peace

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 22

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 #156: I am very new to A Course in Miracles, and have read the introduction several times in hopes of having this question answered: Who is authoring the book? Is it the Voice, the Holy Spirit, Christ? Helen states that it is the “Voice” who dictates the text. How is the Voice different from God if it’s God’s Voice? I’m just having problems when the text switches to first person. Mentally, whom do I address? As I’m reading and feeling inspired, my comprehension or absorption of what is being read gets detoured by my mind asking, very loudly, “Who is this?”

A: Helen Schucman identified the “voice” she heard as that of Jesus. There was no doubt in her mind about this as she scribed the Course. (See Question #110) Therefore, the first person statements in the Course do refer to Jesus. The voice is not the voice of God, however. Neither does Jesus state that he is speaking for God. According to the Course, God does not speak words to us in the dream, nor does He “hear our prayers.” The “voice” is different from God because it is part of the dream. It is a reflection of truth, but it is not truth. As so clearly stated in the in the workbook “God is” (W.169.5:4), and in His Being knows only our truth, which is that we are His one Son, who never left Heaven.

The answer to your question lies in understanding the Course’s use of symbols. These symbols include “persons” such as Jesus, the Holy Spirit, as well as images, words, and the Course itself. All are symbols for that part of the mind of the Sonship that remembers God. They reflect the truth of who we are, and in somewhat different ways, they are the reminders of our truth, and the guides who will help us return to God. Specifically, the Course refers to the Holy Spirit as the “Voice for God,” meaning — the Voice that speaks for God, and as “God’s Voice.” Clearly this is a metaphor, since God does not have a voice and, as noted earlier, does not speak to us in the dream. When the Course invites us to “ask” — whether Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or God — it is actually inviting us to turn to our own right mind for guidance. It uses symbols and metaphors, because we are so out of touch with the fact that we have a mind. In its wisdom, the Course has used all its symbols carefully and purposefully. It meets us on our level, using dualistic language for a teaching that reflects nondualism. It seems to imply that God is a person Who hears our prayers, answers us, even “weeps,” yearning for our return. These are all metaphors used to help us understand that we are loved, not condemned for our seeming sin, as the ego would tell us. You may use whichever is most helpful for you.

It is helpful for us to use these images and symbols until we learn that we do indeed have a right mind, and can access it directly. By then we probably will have no need for any symbol and no need to “ask.” We will have accepted the truth about ourselves as spirits, not bodies; innocent, not guilty. The right-minded loving response to any situation will flow through us. It is important, however, to be aware of any resistance, as apparently you have been in your study so far. Our goal in studying and practicing the Course is to learn that we do have a mind, that we do have a choice, that there is another way of looking at any situation in the dream, that our way is based on the belief that separation is real, and that the Holy Spirit and Jesus are here to teach us that there is no separation. Again, it does not matter to whom we address our asking, or what mental image we use. The important thing is that we ask, and not rely on our usual ego interpretation.

HelenandBillat1W.81stStreetNYC

ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 17

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 17

Helen Schucman’s Poetry

Our Daily Bread

Let me this day arise in quietness
With only thoughts of sinlessness, through which
To look upon the world. Let me today
Behold the world as You would have it be,
Because I am as You created me.
This I accept today. And as the day
Draws to a close, all unforgiving thoughts
Have disappeared, and night comes quietly
To bless a day in quietness begun,
And ending in forgiveness of God’s Son.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 17

Lesson 345
I offer only miracles today,
For I would have them be returned to me.

Father, a miracle reflects Your gifts to me, Your Son. And every one I give returns to me, reminding me the law of love is universal. Even here, it takes a form which can be recognized and seen to work. The miracles I give are given back in just the form I need to help me with the problems I perceive. Father, in Heaven it is different, for there, there are no needs. But here on earth, the miracle is closer to Your gifts than any other gift that I can give. Then let me give this gift alone today, which, born of true forgiveness, lights the way that I must travel to remember You.

Peace to all seeking hearts today. The light has come to offer miracles to bless the tired world. It will find rest today, for we will offer what we have received.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #193: The Lord’s Prayer, supposedly given directly from Jesus, seems to make the world and sin real and request God’s involvement in our life. From the Course’s perspective, how would we explain this and what would be an example of valid prayer in the “dream”?

A: Since the Gospels were written down approximately 50 years after the historical Jesus’ death, there is no certainty that any of the accounts accurately report what the he actually said. In fact, Scripture scholars have established that Jesus probably did not say most of the things that are recorded in the Gospels. The Lord’s Prayer, therefore, would not necessarily have come directly from Jesus. It is compatible with the entire teaching of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, which, as you say, make sin and the world very real. From the perspective of A Course in Miracles, the only explanation for this is that the teaching of the Bible is not the teaching of the Course. They are not similar and can be compared only in contrast, since the Course uses terms found in the Bible but with a different interpretation.

Prayer in the dream is ultimately a reminder to ourselves that we have a mind with the power to choose. In the face of any conflict or distressing situation, our prayer can be simply stated: “brother, choose again” (T.31.VIII.3:2). Implicit in this prayer is the recognition that we have already made a choice. It is this choice, not the situation, that is the real cause of our distress, and we can “choose again.”. This is a very simple prayer, but to say it sincerely, with acceptance of the implications noted above, can meet with strong resistance. It requires taking full responsibility for our choices, as well as the predicaments we find ourselves in. Although this is the process involved in prayer as the Course teaches, the Course meets us on the many different levels of our learning. Because we have a need to experience the power of our own minds in symbolic form, we find prayers addressed to God our Father, or the Holy Spirit. Many of these are very beautiful “prayers” which actually speak to our hearts rather than to God, who does not hear prayers (T.16.VII.12). They are given to us to help us get in touch with the true desire of our hearts, and to encourage us to make another choice. This is the prayer of the heart that the Manual refers to, in contrast to the “prayer for specifics” (M.21.2:3). This prayer of the heart refers to what we truly desire.

The Course also tells us our prayer is heard, and we that we do receive what we ask for. Our “prayer” is always for only one of two things — the ego’s interpretation, or the Holy Spirit’s. We will receive the one we truly desire. This obviously occurs on the level of the mind where the choice is made. The effect of our prayer will be experienced in the dream in the form of peace (reflecting our choice for the Holy Spirit) or in some form of conflict (reflecting our choice for the ego). The specifics do not matter. It is always the disposition of our hearts, our willingness, that is most important. We “pray” when we look within with willingness to recognize whose voice we have chosen to listen to. Engaging in this process indicates that we have already chosen to listen to the ego. We then have the opportunity to ask ourselves if this is truly what we want to hear, and, as stated in the beginning, we can now choose again. We will know if we are in fact listening to the Holy Spirit by the peace we will eventually experience: “The part [of your mind] that is listening to the Voice for God is calm, always at rest and wholly certain. It is really the only part there is. The other part is a wild illusion, frantic and distraught, but without reality of any kind. Try today not to listen to it. Try to identify with the part of your mind where stillness and peace reign forever. Try to hear God’s Voice call to you lovingly, reminding you that your Creator has not forgotten His Son” (W.p.I.49.2). Our “prayer” is this listening.

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kingdom of god

ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 14

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 14

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

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.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 14

Lesson 343
I am not asked to make a sacrifice
To find the mercy and the peace of God.

The end of suffering can not be loss. The gift of everything can be but gain. You only give. You never take away. And You created me to be like You, so sacrifice becomes impossible for me as well as You. I, too, must give. And so all things are given unto me forever and forever. As I was created I remain. Your Son can make no sacrifice, for he must be complete, having the function of completing You. I am complete because I am Your Son. I cannot lose, for I can only give, and everything is mine eternally.

The mercy and the peace of God are free. Salvation has no cost. It is a gift that must be freely given and received. And it is this that we would learn today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #97: Why did Jesus use Helen’s body as the scribe for A Course in Miracles? Why didn’t he come back into the world as a body himself? Once someone is in the real world and lays his body aside, would/could he come back into this world as another body? Would he then remember who he is, and his past lifetimes?

A: Although your questions make sense from the perspective of the world and the bodily selves we think we are, that is not the perspective from which the Course is coming and these are not the selves the Course is addressing. If you can shift your perspective from the world to the mind and recognize that we are the dreamer of the dream and not the figures in the dream, things may become a little clearer.

Jesus is a symbol in our mind of the Atonement — the correction for our delusional thought system of separation, sin and attack. That symbol of love can take many different specific forms in the world, but the various forms, such as the man we call Jesus, “a separate being, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold his self from Self” (C.5.2:3) are all illusory. The love that Jesus represents takes whatever form can be most helpful to us, caught in believing in a dream of our own making that we’ve forgotten we have made. There really is no more definite answer as to why the message comes in whatever form it does.

We can still speculate — perhaps, because of the specialness that has become associated with the physical being of Jesus in Christianity, obscuring his central message of forgiveness, it is more helpful for us to have the message come to us in the form of a book, so that we do not become so easily distracted by the specific form of the teacher. And Helen was always very clear that she was the scribe and not the source of the material, so that any confusion of her form with the Course’s content could be minimized.

As to your questions about being in the real world, this is a permanent shift in perspective from the world to the mind, from the dream figure to the dreamer — it has nothing to do with laying the body aside. Once you are in the real world, you know you are not a body, no matter what other minds still identified with the dream may think about you. And so it is not a matter of deciding to come or to go — there is no coming or going but only a different kind of seeing. You may then become a symbol of love in the dream for others who still believe in separation, but you will not be identified with any dream figure and so will be unaffected by anything that happens in the world. You will know that none of it is real. Memory for past lives will have no value for you as you recognize their illusory nature. But if reference to any of those specific forms may be helpful to others in their own process of awakening, then your mind may share the correction using those symbols.

Judy_Helen_Kenneth