A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 22

ACIM Text Reading for May 22

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

IV. Your Function in the Atonement

When you accept a brother’s guiltlessness you will see the Atonement in him. For by proclaiming it in him you make it yours, and you will see what you sought. You will not see the symbol of your brother’s guiltlessness shining within him while you still believe it is not there. His guiltlessness is your Atonement. Grant it to him, and you will see the truth of what you have acknowledged. Yet truth is offered first to be received, even as God gave it first to His Son. The first in time means nothing, but the First in eternity is God the Father, Who is both First and One. Beyond the First there is no other, for there is no order, no second or third, and nothing but the First.

You who belong to the First Cause, created by Him like unto Himself and part of Him, are more than merely guiltless. The state of guiltlessness is only the condition in which what is not there has been removed from the disordered mind that thought it was. This state, and only this, must you attain, with God beside you. For until you do, you will still think that you are separate from Him. You can perhaps feel His Presence next to you, but cannot know that you are one with Him. This cannot be taught. Learning applies only to the condition in which it happens of itself.

When you have let all that obscured the truth in your most holy mind be undone for you, and therefore stand in grace before your Father, He will give Himself to you as He has always done. Giving Himself is all He knows, and so it is all knowledge. For what He knows not cannot be, and therefore cannot be given. Ask not to be forgiven, for this has already been accomplished. Ask, rather, to learn how to forgive, and to restore what always was to your unforgiving mind. Atonement becomes real and visible to those who use it. On earth this is your only function, and you must learn that it is all you want to learn. You will feel guilty till you learn this. For in the end, whatever form it takes, your guilt arises from your failure to fulfil your function in God’s Mind with all of yours. Can you escape this guilt by failing to fulfil your function here?

You need not understand creation to do what must be done before that knowledge would be meaningful to you. God breaks no barriers; neither did He make them. When you release them they are gone. God will not fail, nor ever has in anything. Decide that God is right and you are wrong about yourself. He created you out of Himself, but still within Him. He knows what you are. Remember that there is no second to Him. There cannot, therefore, be anyone without His Holiness, nor anyone unworthy of His perfect Love. Fail not in your function of loving in a loveless place made out of darkness and deceit, for thus are darkness and deceit undone. Fail not yourself, but instead offer to God and you His blameless Son. For this small gift of appreciation for His Love, God will Himself exchange your gift for His.

Before you make any decisions for yourself, remember that you have decided against your function in Heaven, and then consider carefully whether you want to make decisions here. Your function here is only to decide against deciding what you want, in recognition that you do not know. How, then, can you decide what you should do? Leave all decisions to the One Who speaks for God, and for your function as He knows it. So will He teach you to remove the awful burden you have laid upon yourself by loving not the Son of God, and trying to teach him guilt instead of love. Give up this frantic and insane attempt that cheats you of the joy of living with your God and Father, and of waking gladly to His Love and Holiness that join together as the truth in you, making you one with Him.

When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer. Only your own volition seems to make deciding hard. The Holy Spirit will not delay in answering your every question what to do. He knows. And He will tell you, and then do it for you. You who are tired will find this is more restful than sleep. For you can bring your guilt into sleeping, but not into this.

Unless you are guiltless you cannot know God, Whose Will is that you know Him. Therefore, you must be guiltless. Yet if you do not accept the necessary conditions for knowing Him, you have denied Him and do not recognise Him, though He is all around you. He cannot be known without His Son, whose guiltlessness is the condition for knowing Him. Accepting His Son as guilty is denial of the Father so complete, that knowledge is swept away from recognition in the very mind where God Himself has placed it. If you would but listen, and learn how impossible this is! Do not endow Him with attributes you understand. You made Him not, and anything you understand is not of Him.

Your task is not to make reality. It is here without your making, but not without you. You who have tried to throw yourself away and valued God so little, hear me speak for Him and for yourself. You cannot understand how much your Father loves you, for there is no parallel in your experience of the world to help you understand it. There is nothing on earth with which it can compare, and nothing you have ever felt apart from Him resembles it ever so faintly. You cannot even give a blessing in perfect gentleness. Would you know of One Who gives forever, and Who knows of nothing except giving?

The children of Heaven live in the light of the blessing of their Father, because they know that they are sinless. The Atonement was established as the means of restoring guiltlessness to minds that have denied it, and thus denied Heaven to itself. Atonement teaches you the true condition of the Son of God. It does not teach you what you are, or what your Father is. The Holy Spirit, who remembers this for you, merely teaches you how to remove the blocks that stand between you and what you know. His memory is yours. If you remember what you have made, you are remembering nothing. Remembrance of reality is in Him, and therefore in you.

The guiltless and the guilty are totally incapable of understanding one another. Each perceives the other as like himself, making both unable to communicate, because each sees the other unlike the way he sees himself. God can communicate only to the Holy Spirit in your mind, because only He shares the knowledge of what you are with God. And only the Holy Spirit can answer God for you, for only He knows what God is. Everything else that you have placed within your mind cannot exist, for what is not in communication with the Mind of God has never been. Communication with God is life. Nothing without it is at all.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 22

Lesson 122

Forgiveness offers everything I want.

What could you want forgiveness cannot give? Do you want peace? Forgiveness offers it. Do you want happiness, a quiet mind, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth and beauty that transcends the world? Do you want care and safety, and the warmth of sure protection always? Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that never can be hurt, a deep, abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect it can never be upset?

All this forgiveness offers you, and more. It sparkles on your eyes as you awake, and gives you joy with which to meet the day. It soothes your forehead while you sleep, and rests upon your eyelids so you see no dreams of fear and evil, malice and attack. And when you wake again, it offers you another day of happiness and peace. All this forgiveness offers you, and more.

Forgiveness lets the veil be lifted up that hides the face of Christ from those who look with unforgiving eyes upon the world. It lets you recognize the Son of God, and clears your memory of all dead thoughts so that remembrance of your Father can arise across the threshold of your mind. What would you want forgiveness cannot give? What gifts but these are worthy to be sought? What fancied value, trivial effect or transient promise, never to be kept, can hold more hope than what forgiveness brings?

Why would you seek an answer other than the answer that will answer everything? Here is the perfect answer, given to imperfect questions, meaningless requests, halfhearted willingness to hear, and less than halfway diligence and partial trust. Here is the answer! Seek for it no more. You will not find another one instead.

God’s plan for your salvation cannot change, nor can it fail. Be thankful it remains exactly as He planned it. Changelessly it stands before you like an open door, with warmth and welcome calling from beyond the doorway, bidding you to enter in and make yourself at home, where you belong.

Here is the answer! Would you stand outside while all of Heaven waits for you within? Forgive and be forgiven. As you give you will receive. There is no plan but this for the salvation of the Son of God. Let us today rejoice that this is so, for here we have an answer, clear and plain, beyond deceit in its simplicity. All the complexities the world has spun of fragile cobwebs disappear before the power and the majesty of this extremely simple statement of the truth.

Here is the answer! Do not turn away in aimless wandering again. Accept salvation now. It is the gift of God, and not the world. The world can give no gifts of any value to a mind that has received what God has given as its own. God wills salvation be received today, and that the intricacies of your dreams no longer hide their nothingness from you.

Open your eyes today and look upon a happy world of safety and of peace. Forgiveness is the means by which it comes to take the place of hell. In quietness it rises up to greet your open eyes, and fill your heart with deep tranquility as ancient truths, forever newly born, arise in your awareness. What you will remember then can never be described. Yet your forgiveness offers it to you.

Remembering the gifts forgiveness gives, we undertake our practicing today with hope and faith that this will be the day salvation will be ours. Earnestly and gladly will we seek for it today, aware we hold the key within our hands, accepting Heaven’s answer to the hell we made, but where we would remain no more.

Morning and evening do we gladly give a quarter of an hour to the search in which the end of hell is guaranteed. Begin in hopefulness, for we have reached the turning point at which the road becomes far easier. And now the way is short that yet we travel. We are close indeed to the appointed ending of the dream.

Sink into happiness as you begin these practice periods, for they hold out the sure rewards of questions answered and what your acceptance of the answer brings. Today it will be given you to feel the peace forgiveness offers, and the joy the lifting of the veil holds out to you.

Before the light you will receive today the world will fade until it disappears, and you will see another world arise you have no words to picture. Now we walk directly into light, and we receive the gifts that have been held in store for us since time began, kept waiting for today.

Forgiveness offers everything you want. Today all things you want are given you. Let not your gifts recede throughout the day, as you return again to meet a world of shifting change and bleak appearances. Retain your gifts in clear awareness as you see the changeless in the heart of change; the light of truth behind appearances.

Be tempted not to let your gifts slip by and drift into forgetfulness, but hold them firmly in your mind by your attempts to think of them at least a minute as each quarter of an hour passes by. Remind yourself how precious are these gifts with this reminder, which has power to hold your gifts in your awareness through the day:

Forgiveness offers everything I want.
Today I have accepted this as true.
Today I have received the gifts of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #523: i. If I can convince you in my surety of being sinless or communicate to you that you are sinless, and that in no way do I see you other than perfect, then, a healing of the mind is assured and forgiveness is the outcome. Both of us are healed. Is this true?

ii. “I am as God created me” is a fact. This means that I am an Effect of God’s creation. Therefore the self that claims to be me could not be real. If an effect can make a cause then it may be possible. But what is an effect cannot produce a cause if the cause is not real, and if the cause is over long ago. I may believe that I exist and am conscious of my self, but how can “self-consciousness” make the Self? For example, there’s on the one hand self and on the other, awareness of self (consciousness). The self, cause, produces the effect, awareness of self. BUT, the self in truth is an Effect of God’s creation, being an effect it cannot become a cause.

Therefore, my consciousness is an effect and not a cause. To make it cause would be thinking in circles. If the ego is self conscious then it cannot be real. It is impossible. What is an effect cannot become a cause, therefore my self-consciousness must be an illusion and not real. Is that correct?

A: With respect to your first point — that by your convincing me of our sinlessness and perfection, forgiveness and healing will result — A Course in Miracles’ position would actually be the reverse. Our sinlessness and perfection are beyond convincing but we don’t believe it. Forgiveness is the process that allows us to remove all the obstacles to this conviction — remembering our sinlessness and perfection is the result. If we had to convince each other that we are sinless, starting as we do from the perspective that we are separate and that there is someone outside ourselves whom we need to convince, we would be placing ourselves in charge of the Atonement. The outcome likely would be no more auspicious than the seeming results of the ego’s tiny mad idea.

With respect to your second point, if I am understanding your statement correctly that an effect can not be a cause, the Course again would disagree. In fact, Jesus asserts that God as our Source and Cause has shared all of His power with His Son, giving him the same ability to create (i.e., to be a cause) that He has — God would withhold nothing from His Son. And so the Son, as the Effect of God Who is his Cause, in turn causes his own effects or creations through the extension of the love that God had extended to him in his creation (T.8.III.3; T.8.VI.6; T.28.II.1; W.pII.326.1). The only difference is that the Son can not be the first Cause. And it is God’s primacy as the Source of all to which the ego objects (T.11.in.1,2).

Your conclusion — that nothing is real in the realm of consciousness and the self that we believe we are — is true, but not for the reasons you present. The cause of consciousness is the ego, but the ego — the thought of separation — is not real, and so therefore anything that seems to follow from a cause that is not real — causelessness — cannot be real either (T.28.II.3:1,2,3,4,5).

And one final point of clarification may be helpful. Whenever the Course refers to the self, it is referring to illusion. The true Self that we are (always capitalized in the Course) is the Christ, continuous with Its Source and knowing nothing of consciousness or individuality. The self (always lower case in the Course) refers to the fictional individual, conscious identity that has seemed to emerge simultaneously with the thought of separation. It is illusory and, although originating in wrong-mindedness (the ego), can be trained to achieve a right-minded level of perception culminating in what the Course calls the real world — a reflection of the One- mindedness of Heaven (C.1.5,6,7). But it has no reality and no relationship to our true Self in Heaven.


Q #524: I have been unemployed for almost a year now and am not having much luck finding a job. A Course in Miracles says that everything happens as a result of thought and not action. I believe that my true work is in something that I have always loved and it has never left me! Could it be because I haven’t found a “regular job” that I am supposed to go do my dream work? That if I just start doing it and trusting in the Holy Spirit for guidance that it will manifest? I am feeling rather lost and frustrated and like a loser because nothing has come about yet, but many small things regarding what I really want to do have shown up. Lesson 64 states that God just wants me to be happy because that is my function. I guess the question is, if I keep thinking about what I want, will it actually manifest itself?

A: The Course does teach that “all thinking produces form at some level” (T.2.VI.9:14). But its purpose is not to teach us how to use our thinking to control or produce the forms we think we want. Rather, the Course’s goal is to help us learn that we can find no real happiness in anything of the world (T.31.IV). Now if you feel drawn to a certain type of work, and events seem to support your heading in that direction, by all means go for it, for there is nothing to be lost by pursuing your dreams. However, what is to be gained may not be quite what you’re thinking it is. Contrary to most people’s beliefs about their experience in the world, the Course’s position is that nothing in the world can make us either happy or unhappy. And whatever dreams we are drawn to more than likely represent some form of specialness that will allow us to cover over, at least temporarily, the guilt we all carry buried in our minds over our belief in separation, so that it can’t be healed. But such situations also provide valuable opportunities to learn our lessons of forgiveness if we accept the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

This does not mean you should not take whatever joy or pleasure you may find in following what you believe to be your true work. But as a student of the Course, you want at least to be aware that all things of the world are double-edged; that is, they can seem to be the cause of pain as well as pleasure. And this is where the Holy Spirit’s guidance can be most helpful. For His role is not to direct us in our life’s decisions but rather to help us learn how to use whatever our life circumstances are to practice forgiveness. This is what Lesson 64 means when it says “that the Holy Spirit has another use for all the illusions you have made, and therefore He sees another purpose in them. To the Holy Spirit, the world is a place where you learn to forgive yourself what you think of as your sins. In this perception, the physical appearance of temptation becomes the spiritual recognition of salvation” (W.pI.64.2:2,3,4). In other words, His purpose is to help us awaken from the dream, not make it a happier dream, by using what we have made for separation and specialness as a means for healing.

So when you say that God wants us to be happy, it is important to be clear that this lesson is saying we can be truly happy only if we forgive and do not seek for happiness in situations and circumstances outside ourselves. As Lesson 64 clearly states, “The purpose of the world you see is to obscure your function of forgiveness. …Only by fulfilling the function given you by God will you be happy. That is because your function is to be happy by using the means [forgiveness] by which happiness becomes inevitable. There is no other way. Therefore, every time you choose whether or not to fulfill your function, you are really choosing whether or not to be happy.” (W.pI.64.1:2, 4:1,2,34, italics added).

teach not that i died in vain

 

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 21

ACIM Text Reading for May 21

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

III. The Decision for Guiltlessness

The happy learner cannot feel guilty about learning. This is so essential to learning that it should never be forgotten. The guiltless learner learns easily because his thoughts are free. Yet this entails the recognition that guilt is interference, not salvation, and serves no useful function at all.

Perhaps you are accustomed to using guiltlessness merely to offset the pain of guilt, and do not look upon it as having value in itself. You believe that guilt and guiltlessness are both of value, each representing an escape from what the other does not offer you. You do not want either alone, for without both you do not see yourself as whole and therefore happy. Yet you are whole only in your guiltlessness, and only in your guiltlessness can you be happy. There is no conflict here. To wish for guilt in any way, in any form, will lose appreciation of the value of your guiltlessness, and push it from your sight.

There is no compromise that you can make with guilt, and escape the pain that only guiltlessness allays. Learning is living here, as creating is being in Heaven. Whenever the pain of guilt seems to attract you, remember that if you yield to it, you are deciding against your happiness, and will not learn how to be happy. Say therefore, to yourself, gently, but with the conviction born of the Love of God and of His Son,

What I experience I will make manifest.
If I am guiltless, I have nothing to fear.
I choose to testify to my acceptance of the Atonement, not to its rejection.
I would accept my guiltlessness by making it manifest and sharing it.
Let me bring peace to God’s Son from his Father.

Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit the choice for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide between is fixed, because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion. And there is no overlap between them, because they are opposites which cannot be reconciled and cannot both be true. You are guilty or guiltless, bound or free, unhappy or happy.

The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom and joy. It is not a cause, but an effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt. Everyone you offer healing to returns it. Everyone you attack keeps it and cherishes it by holding it against you. Whether he does this or does it not will make no difference; you will think he does. It is impossible to offer what you do not want without this penalty. The cost of giving is receiving. Either it is a penalty from which you suffer, or the happy purchase of a treasure to hold dear.

No penalty is ever asked of God’s Son except by himself and of himself. Every chance given him to heal is another opportunity to replace darkness with light and fear with love. If he refuses it he binds himself to darkness, because he did not choose to free his brother and enter light with him. By giving power to nothing, he throws away the joyous opportunity to learn that nothing has no power. And by not dispelling darkness, he became afraid of darkness and of light. The joy of learning that darkness has no power over the Son of God is the happy lesson the Holy Spirit teaches, and would have you teach with Him. It is His joy to teach it, as it will be yours.

The way to teach this simple lesson is merely this: Guiltlessness is invulnerability. Therefore, make your invulnerability manifest to everyone. Teach him that, whatever he may try to do to you, your perfect freedom from the belief that you can be harmed shows him that he is guiltless. He can do nothing that can hurt you, and by refusing to allow him to think he can, you teach him that the Atonement, which you have accepted for yourself, is also his. There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt the Son of God. His guilt is wholly without cause, and being without cause, cannot exist.

God is the only Cause, and guilt is not of Him. Teach no one he has hurt you, for if you do, you teach yourself that what is not of God has power over you. The causeless cannot be. Do not attest to it, and do not foster belief in it in any mind. Remember always that mind is one, and cause is one. You will learn communication with this oneness only when you learn to deny the causeless, and accept the Cause of God as yours. The power that God has given to His Son is his, and nothing else can His Son see or choose to look upon without imposing on himself the penalty of guilt, in place of all the happy teaching the Holy Spirit would gladly offer him.

Whenever you choose to make decisions for yourself you are thinking destructively, and the decision will be wrong. It will hurt you because of the concept of decision that led to it. It is not true that you can make decisions by yourself or for yourself alone. No thought of God’s Son can be separate or isolated in its effects. Every decision is made for the whole Sonship, directed in and out, and influencing a constellation larger than anything you ever dreamed of.

Those who accept the Atonement are invulnerable. But those who believe they are guilty will respond to guilt, because they think it is salvation, and will not refuse to see it and side with it. They believe that increasing guilt is self-protection. And they will fail to understand the simple fact that what they do not want must hurt them. All this arises because they do not believe that what they want is good. Yet will was given them because it is holy, and will bring to them all that they need, coming as naturally as peace that knows no limits. There is nothing their will fails to provide that offers them anything of value. Yet because they do not understand their will, the Holy Spirit quietly understands it for them, and gives them what they want without effort, strain, or the impossible burden of deciding what they want and need alone.

It will never happen that you must make decisions for yourself. You are not bereft of help, and Help that knows the answer. Would you be content with little, which is all that you alone can offer yourself, when He Who gives you everything will simply offer it to you? He will never ask what you have done to make you worthy of the gift of God. Ask it not therefore of yourself. Instead, accept His answer, for He knows that you are worthy of everything God wills for you. Do not try to escape the gift of God He so freely and so gladly offers you. He offers you but what God gave Him for you. You need not decide whether or not you are deserving of it. God knows you are.

Would you deny the truth of God’s decision, and place your pitiful appraisal of yourself in place of His calm and unswerving value of His Son? Nothing can shake God’s conviction of the perfect purity of everything that He created, for it is wholly pure. Do not decide against it, for being of Him it must be true. Peace abides in every mind that quietly accepts the plan God set for its Atonement, relinquishing its own. You know not of salvation, for you do not understand it. Make no decisions about what it is or where it lies, but ask the Holy Spirit everything, and leave all decisions to His gentle counsel.

The One Who knows the plan of God that God would have you follow can teach you what it is. Only His wisdom is capable of guiding you to follow it. Every decision you undertake alone but signifies that you would define what salvation is, and what you would be saved from. The Holy Spirit knows that all salvation is escape from guilt. You have no other ‘enemy’, and against this strange distortion of the purity of the Son of God the Holy Spirit is your only Friend. He is the strong protector of the innocence that sets you free. And it is His decision to undo everything that would obscure your innocence from your unclouded mind.

Let Him, therefore, be the only Guide that you would follow to salvation. He knows the way, and leads you gladly on it. With Him you will not fail to learn that what God wills for you is your will. Without His guidance you will think you know alone, and will decide against your peace as surely as you decided that salvation lay in you alone. Salvation is of Him to Whom God gave it for you. He has not forgotten it. Forget Him not and He will make every decision for you, for your salvation and the peace of God in you.

Seek not to appraise the worth of God’s Son whom He created holy, for to do so is to evaluate his Father and judge against Him. And you will feel guilty for this imagined crime, which no one in this world or Heaven could possibly commit. The Holy Spirit teaches only that the ‘sin’ of self-replacement on the throne of God is not a source of guilt. What cannot happen can have no effects to fear. Be quiet in your faith in Him Who loves you, and would lead you out of insanity. Madness may be your choice, but not your reality. Never forget the Love of God, Who has remembered you. For it is quite impossible that He could ever let His Son drop from the loving Mind wherein he was created, and where his abode was fixed in perfect peace forever.

Say to the Holy Spirit only, ‘Decide for me’, and it is done. For His decisions are reflections of what God knows about you, and in this light, error of any kind becomes impossible. Why would you struggle so frantically to anticipate all you cannot know, when all knowledge lies behind every decision the Holy Spirit makes for you? Learn of His wisdom and His Love, and teach His answer to everyone who struggles in the dark. For you decide for them and for yourself.

How gracious it is to decide all things through Him Whose equal Love is given equally to all alike! He leaves you no one outside you. And so He gives you what is yours, because your Father would have you share it with Him. In everything be led by Him, and do not reconsider. Trust Him to answer quickly, surely, and with Love for everyone who will be touched in any way by the decision. And everyone will be. Would you take unto yourself the sole responsibility for deciding what can bring only good to everyone? Would you know this?

You taught yourself the most unnatural habit of not communicating with your Creator. Yet you remain in close communication with Him, and with everything that is within Him, as it is within yourself. Unlearn isolation through His loving guidance, and learn of all the happy communication that you have thrown away but could not lose.

Whenever you are in doubt what you should do, think of His Presence in you, and tell yourself this, and only this:

He leadeth me and knows the way, which I know not.
Yet He will never keep from me what He would have me learn.
And so I trust Him to communicate to me all that He knows for me.

Then let Him teach you quietly how to perceive your guiltlessness, which is already there.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 21

Lesson 121

Forgiveness is the key to happiness.

Here is the answer to your search for peace. Here is the key to meaning in a world that seems to make no sense. Here is the way to safety in apparent dangers that appear to threaten you at every turn, and bring uncertainty to all your hopes of ever finding quietness and peace. Here are all questions answered; here the end of all uncertainty ensured at last.

The unforgiving mind is full of fear, and offers love no room to be itself; no place where it can spread its wings in peace and soar above the turmoil of the world. The unforgiving mind is sad, without the hope of respite and release from pain. It suffers and abides in misery, peering about in darkness, seeing not, yet certain of the danger lurking there.

The unforgiving mind is torn with doubt, confused about itself and all it sees; afraid and angry, weak and blustering, afraid to go ahead, afraid to stay, afraid to waken or to go to sleep, afraid of every sound, yet more afraid of stillness; terrified of darkness, yet more terrified at the approach of light. What can the unforgiving mind perceive but its damnation? What can it behold except the proof that all its sins are real?

The unforgiving mind sees no mistakes, but only sins. It looks upon the world with sightless eyes, and shrieks as it beholds its own projections rising to attack its miserable parody of life. It wants to live, yet wishes it were dead. It wants forgiveness, yet it sees no hope. It wants escape, yet can conceive of none because it sees the sinful everywhere.

The unforgiving mind is in despair, without the prospect of a future which can offer anything but more despair. Yet it regards its judgment of the world as irreversible, and does not see it has condemned itself to this despair. It thinks it cannot change, for what it sees bears witness that its judgment is correct. It does not ask, because it thinks it knows. It does not question, certain it is right.

Forgiveness is acquired. It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin. As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you. Through Him you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear. Thus you return your mind as one to Him Who is your Self, and Who can never sin.

Each unforgiving mind presents you with an opportunity to teach your own how to forgive itself. Each one awaits release from hell through you, and turns to you imploringly for Heaven here and now. It has no hope, but you become its hope. And as its hope, do you become your own. The unforgiving mind must learn through your forgiveness that it has been saved from hell. And as you teach salvation, you will learn. Yet all your teaching and your learning will be not of you, but of the Teacher Who was given you to show the way to you.

Today we practice learning to forgive. If you are willing, you can learn today to take the key to happiness, and use it on your own behalf. We will devote ten minutes in the morning, and at night another ten, to learning how to give forgiveness and receive forgiveness, too.

The unforgiving mind does not believe that giving and receiving are the same. Yet we will try to learn today that they are one through practicing forgiveness toward one whom you think of as an enemy, and one whom you consider as a friend. And as you learn to see them both as one, we will extend the lesson to yourself, and see that their escape included yours.

Begin the longer practice periods by thinking of someone you do not like, who seems to irritate you, or to cause regret in you if you should meet him; one you actively despise, or merely try to overlook. It does not matter what the form your anger takes. You probably have chosen him already. He will do.

Now close your eyes and see him in your mind, and look at him a while. Try to perceive some light in him somewhere; a little gleam which you had never noticed. Try to find some little spark of brightness shining through the ugly picture that you hold of him. Look at this picture till you see a light somewhere within it, and then try to let this light extend until it covers him, and makes the picture beautiful and good.

Look at this changed perception for a while, and turn your mind to one you call a friend. Try to transfer the light you learned to see around your former “enemy” to him. Perceive him now as more than friend to you, for in that light his holiness shows you your savior, saved and saving, healed and whole.

Then let him offer you the light you see in him, and let your “enemy” and friend unite in blessing you with what you gave. Now are you one with them, and they with you. Now have you been forgiven by yourself. Do not forget, throughout the day, the role forgiveness plays in bringing happiness to every unforgiving mind, with yours among them. Every hour tell yourself:

Forgiveness is the key to happiness. I will awaken from the
dream that I am mortal, fallible and full of sin, and know
I am the perfect Son of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #521: Are we one mind with many spirits? Or are we just one mind that has gone mad and believes it is many? If the second part is true then I am really asking myself this question and would get the answer back from myself. This can make one feel nuts, you do know that, don’t you? Or, again, am I a spirit, which God created and infused part of His Mind into me? If that be the case then I can understand the word Sonship — it is many personalities that are actually ONE together which would mean that yes we are our own expressions of God individually but we can not be that without each other. Or have I totally lost track of the whole thing? Please help.

A: There is no really satisfactory way to answer your question because it is like trying to understand what sanity is from within the insane asylum. Everything we see is a good demonstration of what is not reality, but none of it can give us even a glimpse of what the truth in fact is. We can speak in symbols and metaphors, but the truth of Who we are is beyond all such feeble-minded attempts to portray what is beyond portrayal. There is no relationship between our experience here within the split mind and our reality as God’s one Son, complete and whole and undifferentiated, in Heaven. There is a memory of oneness, which at best allows us to recognize that something is not right here and that there is Something else to which we yearn to return. But even the notion of return is an illusion, since we have never in reality left (T.6.II.11:1,2). How then can we possibly understand reality when our experience so clearly seems to contradict the truth?

The one Mind has not gone mad — It remains unchanged. What seems to be many is only illusion, a dreamlike state that creates a cacophony of discordant notes that seem to have replaced the harmonious single note of Heaven’s pure melody but have only covered it over, or seem to have covered it over. There is no path that will allow us to trace our experience here as seemingly separate fragments back to the oneness that is our reality because they are totally discontinuous states, one real and one false. Reality has not changed and the separation bears absolutely no relationship to it. In the end, we will simply release all of our thoughts and questions and concepts, and truth will for a fleeting moment seem to fill the void. And our one Life will continue on, uninterrupted and uninterruptible, as it always has.


Q #522: Many things in this world are pleasurable yet clearly at odds with what A Course in Miracles teaches. I like calculus and physics and find myself working on problems for the joy of the exercise. It is one of the pleasures of the illusion and, yes, it keeps me rooted very much in this world. Yet there is the promise of oneness but it does not motivate me enough to practice the silence on a regular basis.

A: It sounds as if you may be confusing the Course with other spiritual paths. There would be nothing within the disciplines of calculus or physics that in themselves would be at odds with the teachings of the Course. All the forms of the world, once we find ourselves within the illusion, are neutral. The only question the Course encourages us to ask is what purpose will we give them (T.4.V.6:4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11). And there are only two alternatives: the ego’s purpose of separation (T.11.V.7) and the Holy Spirit’s purpose of forgiveness (T.25.III.5:1,2,3).

So, for example, if you use working on calculus or physics problems as a way of avoiding someone with whom you are having difficulty, escaping into the mental activity to push away uncomfortable or unpleasant feelings, your purpose would be to maintain the separation. In contrast, if you saw the simple elegance of the solution to a particular calculus or physics problem as a reminder of the simplicity that we all share as God’s one Son, your purpose would be forgiveness or healing.

The primary practice of the Course is not meditation or contemplation, but forgiveness (T.18.VII.4,5,6). The Course more clearly than most other spiritual paths not only acknowledges but explains our resistance to the oneness, and does not judge us for it. It is not that God has chosen to keep Himself hidden from us but that we have chosen to hide from Him, out of fear of His retribution for our perceived sinfulness. And so, rather than a direct approach to the truth and oneness that many other paths embrace, represented by meditative and contemplative practices, the Course offers an indirect approach that focuses on undoing — forgiveness — rather than doing (T.14.I.4,5). So simply recognizing your resistance to the oneness and not judging yourself for it would be putting the Course’s principles into practice. And becoming more aware of the purpose you have chosen for everything in your life, including but not limited to your favorite pursuits, will allow you to make a different choice when you recognize you have given them the ego’s purpose.


the way to god

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

ACIM Text Reading for May 20

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

II. The Happy Learner

The Holy Spirit needs a happy learner, in whom His mission can be happily accomplished. You who are steadfastly devoted to misery must first recognise that you are miserable and not happy. The Holy Spirit cannot teach without this contrast, for you believe that misery is happiness. This has so confused you that you have undertaken to learn to do what you can never do, believing that unless you learn it you will not be happy. You do not realise that the foundation on which this most peculiar learning goal depends means absolutely nothing. Yet it may still make sense to you. Have faith in nothing and you will find the ‘treasure’ that you seek. Yet you will add another burden to your already burdened mind. You will believe that nothing is of value, and will value it. A little piece of glass, a speck of dust, a body or a war are one to you. For if you value one thing made of nothing, you have believed that nothing can be precious, and that you can learn how to make the untrue true.

The Holy Spirit, seeing where you are but knowing you are elsewhere, begins His lesson in simplicity with the fundamental teaching that truth is true. This is the hardest lesson you will ever learn, and in the end the only one. Simplicity is very difficult for twisted minds. Consider all the distortions you have made of nothing; all the strange forms and feelings and actions and reactions that you have woven out of it. Nothing is so alien to you as the simple truth, and nothing are you less inclined to listen to. The contrast between what is true and what is not is perfectly apparent, yet you do not see it. The simple and the obvious are not apparent to those who would make palaces and royal robes of nothing, believing they are kings with golden crowns because of them.

All this the Holy Spirit sees, and teaches, simply, that all this is not true. To those unhappy learners who would teach themselves nothing, and delude themselves into believing that it is not nothing, the Holy Spirit says, with steadfast quietness:

The truth is true. Nothing else matters, nothing else is real, and everything beside it is not there. Let Me make the one distinction for you that you cannot make, but need to learn. Your faith in nothing is deceiving you. Offer your faith to Me, and I will place it gently in the holy place where it belongs. You will find no deception there, but only the simple truth. And you will love it because you will understand it.

Like you, the Holy Spirit did not make truth. Like God, He knows it to be true. He brings the light of truth into the darkness, and lets it shine on you. And as it shines your brothers see it, and realising that this light is not what you have made, they see in you more than you see. They will be happy learners of the lesson this light brings to them, because it teaches them release from nothing and from all the works of nothing. The heavy chains that seem to bind them to despair they do not see as nothing, until you bring the light to them. And then they see the chains have disappeared, and so they must have been nothing. And you will see it with them. Because you taught them gladness and release, they will become your teachers in release and gladness.

When you teach anyone that truth is true, you learn it with him. And so you learn that what seemed hardest was the easiest. Learn to be a happy learner. You will never learn how to make nothing everything. Yet see that this has been your goal, and recognise how foolish it has been. Be glad it is undone, for when you look at it in simple honesty, it is undone. I said before, ‘Be not content with nothing’, for you have believed that nothing could content you. It is not so.

If you would be a happy learner, you must give everything you have learned to the Holy Spirit, to be unlearned for you. And then begin to learn the joyous lessons that come quickly on the firm foundation that truth is true. For what is builded there is true, and built on truth. The universe of learning will open up before you in all its gracious simplicity. With truth before you, you will not look back.

The happy learner meets the conditions of learning here, as he meets the conditions of knowledge in the Kingdom. All this lies in the Holy Spirit’s plan to free you from the past, and open up the way to freedom for you. For truth is true. What else could ever be, or ever was? This simple lesson holds the key to the dark door that you believe is locked forever. You made this door of nothing, and behind it is nothing. The key is only the light that shines away the shapes and forms and fears of nothing. Accept this key to freedom from the hands of Christ Who gives it to you, that you may join Him in the holy task of bringing light. For, like your brothers, you do not realise the light has come and freed you from the sleep of darkness.

Behold your brothers in their freedom, and learn of them how to be free of darkness. The light in you will waken them, and they will not leave you asleep. The vision of Christ is given the very instant that it is perceived. Where everything is clear, it is all holy. The quietness of its simplicity is so compelling that you will realise it is impossible to deny the simple truth. For there is nothing else. God is everywhere, and His Son is in Him with everything. Can he sing the dirge of sorrow when this is true?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 20

Lesson 120

For morning and evening review:

(109) I rest in God.

I rest in God today, and let Him work in me and
through me, while I rest in Him in quiet and in
perfect certainty.

(110) I am as God created me.

I am God’s Son. Today I lay aside all sick illusions of
myself, and let my Father tell me Who I really am.

On the hour:

I rest in God.

On the half hour:

I am as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #443: Nothing in A Course in Miracles says we can’t have preferences. This is consistent with the concept of forgiveness, because accepting a preference is clearly a way of temporarily accepting and forgiving the perception of degrees of illusion. Therefore, if I like French-fries but hate carrots, I should not be concerned about it because that would just validate the illusion. I understand that — for now — I’ve dreamed up a body, which needs food, and prefers certain types of food. It is all just orders of magnitude of illusion, so just forgive it, right? Obviously, to feel guilt about my “tastes” simply feeds the cycle of guilt/ projection/attack.

What if I like white people but hate people of other color? Or vice-versa? Would Course theology not advocate forgiving ourselves this kind of perception of differences also? We cannot say this is “more important.” No illusion is “more important.” We cannot say that people are our “brothers” and French-fries are not: they are all just forms in a world of forms. Granted I should not project hate and guilt onto people of any color. But I should not project hate and guilt onto vegetables of any color either. Both call for forgiveness, neither is “greater” or “more important” … Is it?

A: Yes, you are quite right. There is no difference between a carrot and a human being, except in the meaning we have given each. Think back to the earliest workbook lessons and how we are asked to apply the idea for the day indiscriminately to everything in our field of vision or in our mind, not excluding anything (W.p.I.1,2,3,4). You even might say, when it comes to vegetables, we are kinder to the ones we hate, because we’re much less likely to eat them than the ones we like. But, of course, it’s the people we “love” whom we cannibalize as well, so we can feel better about ourselves and fill the emotional hole in the center of our being, at least temporarily — much as food satisfies our hunger only for a short time before we need to go seeking for more.

It is hard not to allow the “accepted moral judgments” of the ego to creep into our understanding of the Course’s teachings. The Course in fact does not say that we should not hate our brothers, be they homo sapiens or carrots. Rather, its goal is to help us uncover our guilt, wherever it may be projected, so that it can be undone. So we don’t want to try to stop hating certain people or overlook our strong feelings of dislike towards certain vegetables, but rather to be honest with ourselves about our hatreds so we can ask for help in seeing, not only the other but ourselves differently, since we are observing only our own self-hatred projected outward.

I apparently can lose my peace of mind as easily over a carrot as I can over a person I don’t like whom I see as different from me. And yet it is not the other that has upset me — “I am never upset for the reason I think” (W.pI.5) — they simply become the scapegoat to blame for the consequences of the decision I have made within my own mind to see myself as separate from love, convince myself I really have pulled that off, pile the guilt on, and then look to find someone or something else to blame for my unhappy state of mind. A carrot or a different-colored person can serve that purpose equally well.

The distinction you make at the beginning of your question is a helpful one. We all have preferences and that is simply part of the experience of living as a body in the world. But if the preferences become emotionally invested, that simply means we have given greater meaning to those particular symbols in our experience, so that they seem now to be the cause of our dissatisfaction. But with the Holy Spirit’s assistance, they can become instead the mirrors that direct us back within our own minds to the real source of dissatisfaction, our choice for the very empty and unfulfilling ego thought system. And it is that choice we want to forgive ourselves for, with the help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit.

kingdom of god

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 19

ACIM Text Reading for May 19

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

I. The Conditions of Learning

If you are blessed and do not know it, you need to learn it must be so. The knowledge is not taught, but its conditions must be acquired for it is they that have been thrown away. You can learn to bless, and cannot give what you have not. If, then, you offer blessing, it must have come first to yourself. And you must also have accepted it as yours, for how else could you give it away? That is why miracles offer you the testimony that you are blessed. If what you offer is complete forgiveness you must have let guilt go, accepting the Atonement for yourself and learning you are guiltless. How could you learn what has been done for you, unknown to you, unless you do what you would have to do if it had been done for you?

Indirect proof of truth is needed in a world made of denial and without direction. You will perceive the need for this if you realise that to deny is the decision not to know. The logic of the world must therefore lead to nothing, for its goal is nothing. If you decide to have and give and be nothing except a dream, you must direct your thoughts unto oblivion. And if you have and give and are everything, and all this has been denied, your thought system is closed off and wholly separated from the truth. This is an insane world, and do not underestimate the extent of its insanity. There is no area of your perception that it has not touched, and your dream is sacred to you. That is why God placed the Holy Spirit in you, where you placed the dream.

Seeing is always outward. Were your thoughts wholly of you, the thought system you made would be forever dark. The thoughts the mind of God’s Son projects or extends have all the power that he gives to them. The thoughts he shares with God are beyond his belief, but those he made are his beliefs. And it is these, and not the truth, that he has chosen to defend and love. They will not be taken from him. But they can be given up by him, for the Source of their undoing is in him. There is nothing in the world to teach him that the logic of the world is totally insane and leads to nothing. Yet in him who made this insane logic there is One Who knows it leads to nothing, for He knows everything.

Any direction that would lead you where the Holy Spirit leads you not, goes nowhere. Anything you deny that He knows to be true you have denied yourself, and He must therefore teach you not to deny it. Undoing is indirect, as doing is. You were created only to create, neither to see nor do. These are but indirect expressions of the will to live, which has been blocked by the capricious and unholy whim of death and murder that your Father does not share with you. You have set yourself the task of sharing what cannot be shared. And while you think it possible to learn to do this, you will not believe all that is possible to learn to do.

The Holy Spirit, therefore, must begin His teaching by showing you what you can never learn. His message is not indirect, but He must introduce the simple truth into a thought system which has become so twisted and so complex you cannot see that it means nothing. He merely looks at its foundation and dismisses it. But you who cannot undo what you have made, nor escape the heavy burden of its dullness that lies upon your mind, cannot see through it. It deceives you, because you chose to deceive yourself. Those who choose to be deceived will merely attack direct approaches, because they seem to encroach upon deception and strike at it.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 19

Lesson 119

For morning and evening review:

(107) Truth will correct all errors in my mind.

I am mistaken when I think I can be hurt in any
way. I am God’s Son, whose Self rests safely in
the Mind of God.

(108) To give and to receive are one in truth.

I will forgive all things today, that I may learn how
to accept the truth in me, and come to recognize my
sinlessness
.

On the hour:

Truth will correct all errors in my mind.

On the half hour:

To give and to receive are one in truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

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

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

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

hostage or host

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 18

ACIM Text Reading for May 18

Chapter 14

TEACHING FOR TRUTH

Introduction

Yes, you are blessed indeed. Yet in this world you do not know it. But you have the means for learning it and seeing it quite clearly. The Holy Spirit uses logic as easily and as well as does the ego, except that His conclusions are not insane. They take a direction exactly opposite, pointing as clearly to Heaven as the ego points to darkness and to death. We have followed much of the ego’s logic, and have seen its logical conclusions. And having seen them, we have realised that they cannot be seen except in illusions, for there alone their seeming clearness seems to be clearly seen. Let us now turn away from them, and follow the simple logic by which the Holy Spirit teaches the simple conclusions that speak for truth, and only truth.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 18

Lesson 118

For morning and evening review:

(105) God’s peace and joy are mine.

Today I will accept God’s peace and joy, in glad
exchange for all the substitutes that I have made
for happiness and peace.

(106) Let me be still and listen to the truth.

Let my own feeble voice be still, and let me hear the
mighty Voice for Truth Itself assure me that I am
God’s perfect Son.

On the hour:

God’s peace and joy are mine.

On the half hour:

Let me be still and listen to the truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #30: I play computer games, which I really like to do. I believe I have to quit playing these games one day, because I want the Holy Spirit’s alternative. There is another distraction I cherish, which is even an addiction. The addiction pulls me completely out of right-mindedness; it is a kick, a thrill, but with many side effects, disadvantages, the burden of anticipation etc. When I really look at it with Jesus, I do not want it anymore. And this is still not what I choose (up until now). There is an unwillingness to let go of these things. That they conflict with the Course…[Jesus] went shoe shopping with Helen for awhile, but then also advised her to let it go.

A: Keep in mind that this is a process, and that it takes a long time for most of us. Patience and gentleness with ourselves are key parts of this process; otherwise, we fall into the ego’s trap of making the error real. An important piece of advice Jesus gives us at the beginning of the “Rules for Decision” is: Do not fight yourself” (T-30.I.1:7).Therefore, the most helpful approach would be to simply look at your reluctance to accept the Holy Spirit’s alternative, and your feeling that Jesus’ love is not enough for you, and then not condemn yourself for feeling that way. Just continue to be honest with yourself and with Jesus about how much you do not want to believe and accept what this Course is teaching you, and then don’t judge yourself for it. You will be practicing the Course in a very effective way if you can do this. That is what forgiveness is all about. You will be learning that the “sin” you have accused yourself of has had no effect, and that it was only a “tiny, mad idea” that has not changed love in any way.

Jesus is always and only interested in purpose. Thus, Helen was ready to change the purpose of her shopping sprees. She no longer needed to “protect” herself from Jesus’ love; therefore, she did not need to go shopping anymore. When our fear of accepting Jesus’ love lessens, our involvement in our defenses against accepting that love will lessen as well. While the specific activities may still be a part of our lives, their purpose will have changed entirely. It is always content, not form. The experience of peace or conflict has nothing to do with the activity or object itself. Peace and conflict are the result of our having chosen our ego or Jesus as our teacher.

Finally, speaking in general with regard to addictions: It often is necessary to deal with the behavior first — to take whatever steps can be taken to curtail or stop the destructive behavior. This would reflect the mind’s decision to be more loving towards oneself and others. Then, when the behavior is more under control, the person can begin to deal with the cause of the addiction in the mind. Addictions most often are rooted in overwhelming self-hatred and guilt, which then gets projected onto one’s own and/or another’s body.


Q #31: Please explain how one is to interpret sin. What is it? Does it exist or not? Can one substitute the words “lack of love” when reading the text? Thank you

A: If you were to ask the ego to interpret sin, it’s meaning would be death (T.19.IV.A.17:3), while the Holy Spirit’s meaning would be a mistake to be corrected (e.g., T.19.II, III). The Course teaches us that to the ego sin is the death of God, or better yet the murder of God, and we are the murderers. Therefore, separation is a symbol of God’s death. We are reminded of our sin daily, whenever we see ourselves and others as separate, which is the only way we can see because the ego made the body to “see” this way. However, our attitude can yet be one of unity, even though our bodies’ eyes still see separation. This is one way the Holy Spirit can use what the ego made to serve another purpose (T.28.I.2:8).

Practically speaking, if we are identified with the ego, we interpret sin to be whatever takes away our peace, and the sinners we perceive outside ourselves are those who take it. No matter how big or small the situation, anything which “robs” us of our peace is called sin. It may even be ourselves who take away our own peace, but inevitably someone else made us this way, so we are once again made sinless.

As to whether sin exists or not, the Course teaches us that the separation never happened (M.2.2:6,8). And since separation is the entire foundation of the ego’s meaning of sin, then indeed it does not exist.

Finally, substituting “lack of love” will not necessarily have the same impact on a student as “sin.” We all have conscious and unconscious beliefs around the word “sin,” and by substituting other words for it, we deny ourselves the opportunity of forgiving all the associations we have made. “Lack of love” as a substitute makes it sound as if we are “lacking in love,” something which, of course, would not be our fault. Words such as “withholding,” or “selfish,” would be more in tune with what we really believe sin means.


be of good cheer

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 17

ACIM Text Reading for May 17

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

XI. The Peace of Heaven

Forgetfulness and sleep and even death become the ego’s best advice for dealing with the perceived and harsh intrusion of guilt on peace, Yet no one sees himself in conflict and ravaged by a cruel war unless he believes that both opponents in the war are real. Believing this he must escape, for such a war would surely end his peace of mind, and so destroy him. Yet if he could but realise the war is between real and unreal powers, he could look upon himself and see his freedom. No one finds himself ravaged and torn in endless battles if he himself perceives them as wholly without meaning.

God would not have His Son embattled, and so His Son’s imagined ‘enemy’ is totally unreal. You are but trying to escape a bitter war from which you have escaped. The war is gone. For you have heard the hymn of freedom rising unto Heaven. Gladness and joy belong to God for your release, because you made it not. Yet as you made not freedom, so you made not a war that could endanger freedom. Nothing destructive ever was or will be. The war, the guilt, the past are gone as one into the unreality from which they came.

When we are all united in Heaven, you will value nothing that you value here. For nothing that you value here do you value wholly, and so you do not value it at all. Value is where God placed it, and the value of what God esteems cannot be judged, for it has been established. It is wholly of value. It can merely be appreciated or not. To value it partially is not to know its value. In Heaven is everything God values, and nothing else. Heaven is perfectly unambiguous. Everything is clear and bright, and calls forth one response. There is no darkness and there is no contrast. There is no variation. There is no interruption. There is a sense of peace so deep that no dream in this world has ever brought even a dim imagining of what it is.

Nothing in this world can give this peace, for nothing in this world is wholly shared. Perfect perception can merely show you what is capable of being wholly shared. It can also show you the results of sharing, while you still remember the results of not sharing. The Holy Spirit points quietly to the contrast, knowing that you will finally let Him judge the difference for you, allowing Him to demonstrate which must be true. He has perfect faith in your final judgement, because He knows that He will make it for you. To doubt this would be to doubt that His mission will be fulfilled. How is this possible, when His mission is of God?

You whose mind is darkened by doubt and guilt, remember this: God gave the Holy Spirit to you, and gave Him the mission to remove all doubt and every trace of guilt that His dear Son has laid upon himself. It is impossible that this mission fail. Nothing can prevent what God would have accomplished from accomplishment. Whatever your reactions to the Holy Spirit’s Voice may be, whatever voice you choose to listen to, whatever strange thoughts may occur to you, God’s Will is done. You will find the peace in which He established you, because He does not change His Mind. He is invariable as the peace in which you dwell, and of which the Holy Spirit reminds you.

You will not remember change and shift in Heaven. You have need of contrast only here. Contrast and differences are necessary teaching aids, for by them you learn what to avoid and what to seek. When you have learned this, you will find the answer that makes the need for any differences disappear. Truth comes of its own will unto its own. When you have learned that you belong to truth, it will flow lightly over you without a difference of any kind. For you will need no contrast to help you realise that this is what you want, and only this. Fear not the Holy Spirit will fail in what your Father has given Him to do. The Will of God can fail in nothing.

Have faith in only this one thing, and it will be sufficient: God wills you be in Heaven, and nothing can keep you from it, or it from you. Your wildest misperceptions, your weird imaginings, your blackest nightmares all mean nothing. They will not prevail against the peace God wills for you. The Holy Spirit will restore your sanity because insanity is not the Will of God. If that suffices Him, it is enough for you. You will not keep what God would have removed, because it breaks communication with you with whom He would communicate. His Voice will be heard.

The communication link that God Himself placed within you, joining your mind with His, cannot be broken. You may believe you want it broken, and this belief does interfere with the deep peace in which the sweet and constant communication God would share with you is known. Yet His channels of reaching out cannot be wholly closed and separated from Him. Peace will be yours because His peace still flows to you from Him Whose Will is peace. You have it now. The Holy Spirit will teach you how to use it, and by extending it, to learn that it is in you. God willed you Heaven, and will always will you nothing else. The Holy Spirit knows only of His Will. There is no chance that Heaven will not be yours, for God is sure, and what He wills is as sure as He is.

You will learn salvation because you will learn how to save. It will not be possible to exempt yourself from what the Holy Spirit wants to teach you. Salvation is as sure as God. His certainty suffices. Learn that even the darkest nightmare that disturbs the mind of God’s sleeping Son holds no power over him. He will learn the lesson of awaking. God watches over him and light surrounds him.

Can God’s Son lose himself in dreams, when God has placed within him the glad call to waken and be glad? He cannot separate himself from what is in him. His sleep will not withstand the call to wake. The mission of redemption will be fulfilled as surely as the creation will remain unchanged throughout eternity. You do not have to know that Heaven is yours to make it so. It is so. Yet to know it, the Will of God must be accepted as your will.

The Holy Spirit will undo for you everything you have learned that teaches that what is not true must be reconciled with truth. This is the reconciliation the ego would substitute for your reconciliation to sanity and to peace. The Holy Spirit has a very different kind of reconciliation in His Mind for you, and one He will effect as surely as the ego will not effect what it attempts. Failure is of the ego, not of God. From Him you cannot wander, and there is no possibility that the plan the Holy Spirit offers to everyone, for the salvation of everyone, will not be perfectly accomplished. You will be released, and you will not remember anything you made that was not created for you and by you in return. For how can you remember what was never true, or not remember what has always been? It is this reconciliation with truth, and only truth, in which the peace of Heaven lies.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 17

Lesson 117

For morning and evening review:

(103) God, being Love, is also happiness.

Let me remember love is happiness, and nothing else
brings joy. And so I choose to entertain no substitutes
for love.

(104) I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

Love is my heritage, and with it joy. These are the
gifts my Father gave to me. I would accept all that is
mine in truth.

On the hour:

God, being Love, is also happiness.

On the half hour:

I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #848Our belief in time, within the ego framework of separation, means that we experience an unfolding not just of our own lives, but also of a whole historical process, making us appear to be dependent on the achievements and failures of our forebears. While teaching that time does not exist in the Mind of God (and therefore does not exist at all), the Course nevertheless inserts itself into the historical, i.e., temporal, sequence – illustrated by the fact, which you have pointed out before, that the “psychological approach” of the Course is “heavily based on Freud’s insights into the human psyche.” The point is made even more explicitly in one of the Lighthouse articles, which asks, “Why this insane fear of the truth?” And answers: “It is one of A Course in Miracles’ important contributions to world spirituality that it supplies the answer in a way that Saint Paul’s famous problem, for example, was never really answered – an answer, incidentally, that was incapable of being understood or accepted in a pre-Freudian age.” Doesn’t this suggest that human consciousness evolves through history, and that the message from eternity that is A Course in Miracles is in some way dependent on that evolution?

A: While believing we are in time, we will necessarily use the symbols of time, both to assist us in understanding relationships that are not truly temporally linear, but from our perspective seem to unfold in some logical sequence across time, and to communicate to others who have no reason yet to even question the reality of time and space (W.pI.184.9) . But it would be a mistake to give explanations based on time any more reality than we give to any other aspect of   the ego thought system. Time is an illusory conceptual filter through which we process shifts in our understanding that happen in the mind outside of time and space, while we still want to believe the world and our individual selves are real.

If we consider that there truly is no linear time and everything that can possibly happen within the world of time and space all exists simultaneously in the mind as potential experience that is already over (T.26.V.3) , then we can begin to grasp that there can be no truly causal relationship between events “in time.” If we consider the mind as holographic, then any moment in time simply represents the totality of thoughts that we are choosing to allow into our awareness at that one moment. And each moment in time as our ego mind has set it up seems to contain memories of what has come before, an experience of what is happening now, and thoughts and musings about what may happen in the future. But these distinctions are simply tricks of the ego mind to make sin, guilt and fear seem to have a multidimensional reality as past, present and future (Kenneth Wapnick’s audiotape, From Time to Timelessness , elaborates on this translation from the concepts of the ego mind to the seeming external reality of the world of time and space). For sin rests on a belief in a past that is already over, that cannot be undone, that is having consequences in the present, with the certainty of an even worse hell off in the future (T.15.I.6) . And yet it is only the choice in the present moment in the mind that makes any of this seem real to us, and that is a choice that can just as easily be undone in the present by asking for a different Teacher in our mind (T.15.I8.9) .

To return to the specific issues raised in your question in light of this understanding of the holographic, nontemporal, nonspatial nature of the mind — there is a moment experienced in time that includes the thought that there was a distant past when Jesus walked the earth, and also the thought of a less distant past when Freud elaborated his understanding of the nature of the mind, including its defenses of denial and projection. But these events do not exist in the past as causal antecedents to the present day Course, but are only thoughts we hold in our mind now to explain in a less fearful way in time how we seem to be coming to an understanding of the principles of forgiveness that are reflected in the Course.

Jesus remains always outside of time and space, offering   the correction for the ego thought system, but we interpose conceptual filters, including time, between ourselves and his message of pure love, to keep him and his love at a safe distance. The hologram of the mind may just as likely contain a thought of a present moment that includes a recent past in which Jesus has explained everything we need to know about our blocks to his love and we have willingly embraced his teaching, forgiving all our brothers and accepting the Atonement for ourselves, without the thought of a distant past with a crucified Jesus, without the thought of a more recent past with the brilliant insights of a Sigmund Freud, and without the thought of a book called A Course in Miracles . Salvation does not depend on anything that happens in time! It only depends on our willingness to look at and let go of the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence that we continue to cling to in our minds right now. And the forms in which we may choose to experience that only reflect the symbols that are personally most meaningful for us in our undoing process right now, and nothing more (M.2.3) .

Kenneth Wapnick’s book, A Vast Illusion , provides a much more extensive discussion of the nature and uses of time, from the perspective of both of the teachers in our mind.

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 16

ACIM Text Reading for May 16

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

IV. The Function of Time

And now the reason why you are afraid of this course should be apparent. For this is a course on love, because it is about you. You have been told that your function in this world is healing, and your function in Heaven is creating. The ego teaches that your function on earth is destruction, and you have no function at all in Heaven. It would thus destroy you here and bury you here, leaving you no inheritance except the dust out of which it thinks you were made. As long as it is reasonably satisfied with you, as its reasoning goes, it offers you oblivion. When it becomes overtly savage, it offers you hell.

Yet neither oblivion nor hell is as unacceptable to you as Heaven. Your definition of Heaven is hell and oblivion, and the real Heaven is the greatest threat you think you could experience. For hell and oblivion are ideas that you made up, and you are bent on demonstrating their reality to establish yours. If their reality is questioned, you believe that yours is. For you believe that attack is your reality, and that your destruction is the final proof that you were right.

Under the circumstances, would it not be more desirable to have been wrong, even apart from the fact that you were wrong? While it could perhaps be argued that death suggests there was life, no one would claim that it proves there is life. Even the past life that death might indicate, could only have been futile if it must come to this, and needs this to prove that it was at all. You question Heaven, but you do not question this. Yet. you could heal and be healed if you did question it. And even though you know not Heaven, might it not be more desirable than death? You have been as selective in your questioning as in your perception. An open mind is more honest than this.

The ego has a strange notion of time, and it is with this notion that your questioning might well begin. The ego invests heavily in the past, and in the end believes that the past is the only aspect of time that is meaningful. Remember that its emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future like the past, and thus avoiding the present. By the notion of paying for the past in the future, the past becomes the determiner of the future, making them continuous without an intervening present. For the ego regards the present only as a brief transition to the future, in which it brings the past to the future by interpreting the present in past terms.

‘Now’ has no meaning to the ego. The present merely reminds it of past hurts, and it reacts to the present as if it were the past. The ego cannot tolerate release from the past, and although the past is over, the ego tries to preserve its image by responding as if it were present. It dictates your reactions to those you meet in the present from a past reference point, obscuring their present reality. In effect, if you follow the ego’s dictates you will react to your brother as though he were someone else, and this will surely prevent you from recognising him as he is. And you will receive messages from him out of your own past because, by making it real in the present, you are forbidding yourself to let it go. You thus deny yourself the message of release that every brother offers you now.

The shadowy figures from the past are precisely what you must escape. They are not real, and have no hold over you unless you bring them with you. They carry the spots of pain in your mind, directing you to attack in the present in retaliation for a past that is no more. And this decision is one of future pain. Unless you learn that past pain is an illusion, you are choosing a future of illusions and losing the many opportunities you could find for release in the present. The ego would preserve your nightmares, and prevent you from awakening and understanding they are past. Would you recognise a holy encounter if you are merely perceiving it as a meeting with your own past? For you would be meeting no one, and the sharing of salvation, which makes the encounter holy, would be excluded from your sight. The Holy Spirit teaches that you always meet yourself, and the encounter is holy because you are. The ego teaches that you always encounter your past, and because your dreams were not holy, the future cannot be, and the present is without meaning.

It is evident that the Holy Spirit’s perception of time is the exact opposite of the ego’s. The reason is equally clear, for they perceive the goal of time as diametrically opposed. The Holy Spirit interprets time’s purpose as rendering the need for time unnecessary. He regards the function of time as temporary, serving only His teaching function, which is temporary by definition. His emphasis is therefore on the only aspect of time that can extend to the infinite, for now is the closest approximation of eternity that this world offers. It is in the reality of ‘now’, without past or future, that the beginning of the appreciation of eternity lies. For only ‘now’ is here, and only ‘now’ presents the opportunities for the holy encounters in which salvation can be found.

The ego, on the other hand, regards the function of time as one of extending itself in place of eternity, for like the Holy Spirit, the ego interprets the goal of time as its own. The continuity of past and future, under its direction, is the only purpose the ego perceives in time, and it closes over the present so that no gap in its own continuity can occur, Its continuity, then, would keep you in time, while the Holy Spirit would release you from it. It is His interpretation of the means of salvation that you must learn to accept, if you would share His goal of salvation for you.

You, too, will interpret the function of time as you interpret yours. If you accept your function in the world of time as one of healing, you will emphasise only the aspect of time in which healing can occur. Healing cannot be accomplished in the past. It must be accomplished in the present to release the future. This interpretation ties the future to the present, and extends the present rather than the past. But if you interpret your function as destruction, you will lose sight of the present and hold on to the past to ensure a destructive future. And time will be as you interpret it, for of itself it is nothing.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 16

Lesson 116

For morning and evening review:

(101) God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.

God’s Will is perfect happiness for me. And I can suffer
but from the belief there is another will apart from His.

(102) I share God’s Will for happiness for me.

I share my Father’s Will for me, His Son.
What He has given me is all I want.
What He has given me is all there is.

On the hour:

God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.

On the half hour:

I share God’s Will for happiness for me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1301Would you kindly explain the following sentence: “Under the circumstances, would it not be more desirable to have been wrong, even apart from the fact that you were wrong?” (T.13.IV.3) What is the difference between “you have been” and “you were”?

A: In the context of the two paragraphs that precede this passage, Jesus is saying that we were wrong in believing that attack is our reality and that our destruction is the final proof that we were right. In other words, we were wrong about everything we believed. So he is saying that we should really want to be wrong — to be glad we have been wrong — because our identification with the ego has led only to unhappiness and hopelessness. Recall the question he asks us later in the text of A Course in Miracles “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” (T.29.VII.1:9) . It is the same idea — we should be glad that we have been totally wrong about ourselves and reality, and happily accept the truth that we have been denying.


Q #1302When I shut the doors, confine myself in a room, and immerse myself in reading A Course in Miracles , I feel such elation because everything it says rings true. I literally wish that when I open the doors, the illusory world would not exist anymore. This brings instantaneous fear and anxiety, of course. I sometimes picture the “cunning” ego asserting specialness, as if mocking me to say “see, God does not really love you; you’re stuck here.” I get so confused and sad, I just weep as I always have. It seems as if there is a constant battle raging inside me, and peace, even when it comes, is fleeting. It seems as if I have to remember to “choose once again” constantly and unrelentingly. When all is said and done, I truly want only God. I also honestly believe that God waits for me. But why the seeming distance and the muck that shields the light?

A: Yes, other students have these kinds of experiences — they are not uncommon at all. Patience and gentleness are essential in working through this process. If we could simply accept the peace of God without reservation the first time we open our minds to it, we would not need A Course in Miracles ; and, indeed, we probably would not even be here. It is perhaps far more helpful and realistic to assume that we don’t really want it — or, that we want it only our terms — because we are terrified of what it would mean to fully accept it. Deep down we realize that our identity as we know it would disappear, as would the world. We thus are highly conflicted — we both desperately want peace, yet are terrified of accepting it. We think it would be the most wonderful thing ever to awaken from this burdensome dream of suffering, yet we are not sure we want to let go of our identity as an self. This is the theme Jesus discusses in “The Fear of Redemption” (T.13.III) , and it is also the subject of Kenneth’s recent book, Ending Our Resistance to Love . However, Jesus reassures us of the gentleness of the journey on which he is leading us: we will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it (T.13.VII.9:1) ; and we will not be “abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality” (T.16.VI.8:1).

It certainly does seem as if a battle is being waged in our minds, but this is true only from the ego’s vantage point. (Note the section in the text called “Above the Battleground” (T.23.IV. ) The ego senses a mortal threat to its existence, and that threat is our mind’s power to decide against the ego and for the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness. To make this choice is the beginning of the end of the ego, which is why it devised its strategy to shield us from our identities as decision-making minds. Thus, for the ego there is definitely a life-and-death struggle, because both sides are real in its eyes. This is the tension we cannot help feeling when we identify with the ego. From Jesus vantage point, however, there is no battle, for he knows that the ego and everything it stands for is made up — you cannot do battle with something that does not exist, unless you’re Don Quixote! Asking our questions — what is the ego and where can it found? — Jesus answers: “Nothing and nowhere!” (C.2.6:7). Jesus thus guides us on our journey back into our minds where we can get in touch with our erroneous beliefs and then choose against them.

But because we think we are bodies living in a world and are no longer aware of our identity as minds with the power of choice, Jesus starts us off on that level and uses our experiences in the world to lead us back to the content in our minds, and eventually back to our identity as minds. He teaches us how to treat our reactions to the goings-on in our daily lives as reflections of the contents we have chosen to make real in our minds: “the outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1:5). That is why our interactions are important — they constitute the curriculum Jesus can use as our teacher. This is A Course in Miracles’ distinctive path.

If you retreat from the world out of fear, ultimately it is because you have given the world a power it does not really have, forgetting that it is a projection of your mind (part of the ego’s strategy) and that you therefore have given it the only meaning it has — a major principle in all of the Course’s teachings (in addition to the reference to Chapter 21 above, see also T.13.IX.3:1 and W.pI.2 ). Succumbing to the ego’s threats about the danger of remaining in your mind, you are overlooking the real strength that is still there. Depression is one of the consequences of taking the ego seriously. To choose the ego is to deny truth, separate yourself from the source of true peace and happiness, and have it appear that you are just a helpless victim of forces beyond your control. Jesus’ teaching objective, thus, is to lead us back within to the place where we make the choice to believe in his truth or to deny it. His method takes into consideration our unfortunate condition of not even realizing there is a “within” to which we can return. This, again, points to the value of our interactions in the world — we can now learn to focus on their purpose (content) while still acting responsibly in our roles (form): “Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has” (T.24.VI.1,2). This is where our hope lies, upheld by Jesus’ promise to be with us each step of the way, and by his guarantee that we cannot fail, for all that we are doing is denying our denial of truth (T.12.II.1:5) , and remembering what we chose to forget.

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 15

ACIM Text Reading for May 15

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

III. The Fear of Redemption

You may wonder why it is so crucial that you look upon your hatred and realise its full extent. You may also think that it would be easy enough for the Holy Spirit to show it to you, and to dispel it without the need for you to raise it to awareness yourself. Yet there is one more obstacle you have interposed between yourself and the Atonement. We have said that no one will countenance fear if he recognises it. Yet in your disordered state of mind you are not afraid of fear. You do not like it, but it is not your desire to attack that really frightens you. You are not seriously disturbed by your hostility. You keep it hidden because you are more afraid of what it covers. You could look even upon the ego’s darkest cornerstone without fear if you did not believe that, without the ego, you would find within yourself something you fear even more. You are not really afraid of crucifixion. Your real terror is of redemption.

Under the ego’s dark foundation is the memory of God, and it is of this that you are really afraid. For this memory would instantly restore you to your proper place, and it is this place that you have sought to leave. Your fear of attack is nothing compared to your fear of love. You would be willing to look even upon your savage wish to kill God’s Son, if you did not believe that it saves you from love. For this wish caused the separation, and you have protected it because you do not want the separation healed. You realise that, by removing the dark cloud that obscures it, your love for your Father would impel you to answer His call and leap into Heaven. You believe that attack is salvation because it would prevent you from this. For still deeper than the ego’s foundation, and much stronger than it will ever be, is your intense and burning love of God, and His for you. This is what you really want to hide.

In honesty, is it not harder for you to say ‘I love’ than ‘I hate’? You associate love with weakness and hatred with strength, and your own real power seems to you as your real weakness. For you could not control your joyous response to the call of love if you heard it, and the whole world you thought you made would vanish. The Holy Spirit, then, seems to be attacking your fortress, for you would shut out God, and He does not will to be excluded.

You have built your whole insane belief system because you think you would be helpless in God’s Presence, and you would save yourself from His Love because you think it would crush you into nothingness. You are afraid it would sweep you away from yourself and make you little, because you believe that magnitude lies in defiance, and that attack is grandeur. You think you have made a world God would destroy; and by loving Him, which you do, you would throw this world away, which you would. Therefore, you have used the world to cover your love, and the deeper you go into the blackness of the ego’s foundation, the closer you come to the Love that is hidden there. And it is this that frightens you.

You can accept insanity because you made it, but you cannot accept love because you did not. You would rather be a slave of the crucifixion than a Son of God in redemption. Your individual death seems more valuable than your living oneness, for what is given you is not so dear as what you made. You are more afraid of God than of the ego, and love cannot enter where it is not welcome. But hatred can, for it enters of its own volition and cares not for yours.

You must look upon your illusions and not keep them hidden, because they do not rest on their own foundation. In concealment they appear to do so, and thus they seem to be self-sustained. This is the fundamental illusion on which the others rest. For beneath them, and concealed as long as they are hidden, is the loving mind that thought it made them in anger. And the pain in this mind is so apparent, when it is uncovered, that its need of healing cannot be denied. Not all the tricks and games you offer it can heal it, for here is the real crucifixion of God’s Son.

And yet he is not crucified. Here is both his pain and his healing, for the Holy Spirit’s vision is merciful and His remedy is quick. Do not hide suffering from His sight, but bring it gladly to Him. Lay before His eternal sanity all your hurt, and let Him heal you. Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from His Light, and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover. For He will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you and cleanse it of its littleness, restoring it to the magnitude of God.

Beneath all the grandiosity you hold so dear is your real call for help. For you call for love to your Father as your Father calls you to Himself. In that place which you have hidden, you will only to unite with the Father, in loving remembrance of Him. You will find this place of truth as you see it in your brothers, for though they may deceive themselves, like you they long for the grandeur that is in them. And perceiving it you will welcome it, and it will be yours. For grandeur is the right of God’s Son, and no illusions can satisfy him or save him from what he is. Only his love is real, and he will be content only with his reality.

Save him from his illusions that you may accept the magnitude of your Father in peace and joy. But exempt no one from your love, or you will be hiding a dark place in your mind where the Holy Spirit is not welcome. And thus you will exempt yourself from His healing power, for by not offering total love you will not be healed completely. Healing must be as complete as fear, for love cannot enter where there is one spot of fear to mar its welcome.

You who prefer separation to sanity cannot obtain it in your right mind. You were at peace until you asked for special favour. And God did not give it for the request was alien to Him, and you could not ask this of a Father Who truly loved His Son. Therefore you made of Him an unloving father, demanding of Him what only such a father could give. And the peace of God’s Son was shattered, for he no longer understood his Father. He feared what he had made, but still more did he fear his real Father, having attacked his own glorious equality with Him.

In peace he needed nothing and asked for nothing. In war he demanded everything and found nothing. For how could the gentleness of love respond to his demands, except by departing in peace and returning to the Father? If the Son did not wish to remain in peace, he could not remain at all. For a darkened mind cannot live in the light, and it must seek a place of darkness where it can believe it is where it is not. God did not allow this to happen. Yet you demanded that it happen, and therefore believed that it was so.

To ‘single out’ is to ‘make alone’, and thus make lonely. God did not do this to you. Could He set you apart, knowing that your peace lies in His Oneness? He denied you only your request for pain, for suffering is not of His creation. Having given you creation, He could not take it from you. He could but answer your insane request with a sane answer that would abide with you in your insanity. And this He did. No one who hears His answer but will give up insanity. For His answer is the reference point beyond illusions, from which you can look back on them and see them as insane. But seek this place and you will find it, for Love is in you and will lead you there.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 15

Lesson 115

For morning and evening review:

(99) Salvation is my only function here.

My function here is to forgive the world for all the errors
I have made. For thus am I released from them
with all the world.

(100) My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.

I am essential to the plan of God for the salvation of the world.
For He gave me His plan that I might save the world.

On the hour:

Salvation is my only function here.

On the half hour:

My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #177: Is it necessary to comprehend the mythology in order to begin study of A Course in Miracles, and to use the principles of the Course properly? I have great trouble with the metaphysics of the Course surrounding the origin of guilt yet the practical applications of the Course (i.e., choosing the ego or Jesus as your teacher) seem logical and helpful. Can I truly practice forgiveness as the Course defines it if I don’t really accept the Course’s mythology surrounding the origin of the world?

A: The benefit of practicing forgiveness is that we will feel better, because we will be letting go of the pain of self-deception involved in blaming others for our problems. It is practical in that sense. And it is very comforting to know that there is a loving, wise teacher within, of whom we can always ask help. We can go along nicely with that for quite some time, and even stay on that level indefinitely if we so choose. The Course can be used that way, and be of tremendous personal benefit and comfort. The metaphysical principles of the Course are not needed to experience the gentle guidance of Jesus, and to withdraw our projections of guilt onto others. If staying on that level brings one closer to God, what could be wrong with it?

But since you specifically mentioned “forgiveness as the Course defines it,” it is necessary to go further. And so we will. The beginning and the end of the Introduction to the workbook shed some further light on this. Jesus begins by talking about the relationship between the text and the workbook: “A theoretical foundation such as the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in the workbook meaningful. Yet it is doing the exercises that will make the goal of the course possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of the workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth” (W.in.1).

At the end of the Introduction to the workbook (W.in.8,9), Jesus acknowledges the problems of credulity and resistance we probably will run into regarding the ideas and concepts presented in the lessons. And his advice to us is to concentrate only on using and applying the ideas exactly as he directs us to do, without judging them or evaluating them, because their meaning and their truth will be manifested to us through our using them.

The implication would seem to be that somewhere along the line, the student is going to come face-to-face with the theoretical principles of the Course. For example, as it becomes clear that forgiveness means forgiving the other person for what he did not do — a truly startling, deeply challenging statement — we are led ultimately to question the reality of guilt itself. That would take us directly to the metaphysical dimension of the Course. Indeed, the Course’s view of forgiveness cannot be fully appreciated without being aware of its metaphysical underpinnings. It would be too easy to slide into the traditional view of forgiving what truly happened if the illusory nature of sin and guilt were not an integral part of one’s thinking and approach to grievances.

The answer to your question, therefore, is both yes and no. One can benefit from practicing forgiveness and turning to Jesus for guidance; but the process of forgiveness as presented in the Course would be short-circuited and not fully appreciated if the Course’s theory of the origin of guilt were ignored. If this theory were explicitly not accepted, it would make the practice of the Course’s version of forgiveness impossible.

secret of salvation

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 13

ACIM Text Reading for May 14

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

X. Release from Guilt

You are accustomed to the notion that the mind can see the source of pain where it is not. The doubtful service of such displacement is to hide the real source of guilt, and keep from your awareness the full perception that it is insane. Displacement always is maintained by the illusion that the source of guilt, from which attention is diverted, must be true; and must be fearful, or you would not have displaced the guilt onto what you believed to be less fearful. You are therefore willing to look upon all kinds of ‘sources’, provided they are not the deeper source to which they bear no real relationship at all.

Insane ideas have no real relationships, for that is why they are insane. No real relationship can rest on guilt, or even hold one spot of it to mar its purity. For all relationships that guilt has touched are used but to avoid the person and the guilt. What strange relationships you have made for this strange purpose! And you forgot that real relationships are holy, and cannot be used by you at all. They are used only by the Holy Spirit, and it is that which makes them pure. If you displace your guilt upon them, the Holy Spirit cannot use them. For, by pre-empting for your own ends what you should have given Him, He cannot use it for your release. No one who would unite in any way with anyone for his individual salvation will find it in that strange relationship. It is not shared, and so it is not real.

In any union with a brother in which you seek to lay your guilt upon him, or share it with him or perceive his own, you will feel guilty. Nor will you find satisfaction and peace with him, because your union with him is not real. You will see guilt in that relationship because you put it there. It is inevitable that those who suffer guilt will attempt to displace it, because they do believe in it. Yet though they suffer, they will not look within and let it go. They cannot know they love, and cannot understand what loving is. Their main concern is to perceive the source of guilt outside themselves, beyond their own control.

When you maintain that you are guilty but the source of your guilt lies in the past, you are not looking inward. The past is not inyou. Your weird associations to it have no meaning in the present. Yet you let them stand between you and your brothers, with whom you find no real relationships at all. Can you expect to use your brothers as a means to ‘solve’ the past, and still to see them as they really are? Salvation is not found by those who use their brothers to resolve problems that are not there. You wanted not salvation in the past. Would you impose your idle wishes on the present, and hope to find salvation now?

Determine, then, to be not as you were. Use no relationship to hold you to the past, but with each one each day be born again. A minute, even less, will be enough to free you from the past, and give your mind in peace over to the Atonement. When everyone is welcome to you as you would have yourself be welcome to your Father, you will see no guilt in you. For you will have accepted the Atonement, which shone within you all the while you dreamed of guilt, and would not look within and see it.

As long as you believe that guilt is justified in any way, in anyone, whatever he may do, you will not look within, where you would always find Atonement. The end of guilt will never come as long as you believe there is a reason for it. For you must learn that guilt is always totally insane, and has no reason. The Holy Spirit seeks not to dispel reality. If guilt were real, Atonement would not be. The purpose of Atonement is to dispel illusions, not to establish them as real and then forgive them.

The Holy Spirit does not keep illusions in your mind to frighten you, and show them to you fearfully to demonstrate what He has saved you from. What He has saved you from is gone. Give no reality to guilt, and see no reason for it. The Holy Spirit does what God would have Him do, and has always done so. He has seen separation, but knows of union. He teaches healing, but He also knows of creation. He would have you see and teach as He does, and through Him. Yet what He knows you do not know, though it is yours.

Now it is given you to heal and teach, to make what will be now. As yet it is not now. The Son of God believes that he is lost in guilt, alone in a dark world where pain is pressing everywhere upon him from without. When he has looked within and seen the radiance there, he will remember how much his Father loves him. And it will seem incredible that he ever thought his Father loved him not, and looked upon him as condemned. The moment that you realise guilt is insane, wholly unjustified and wholly without reason, you will not fear to look upon the Atonement and accept it wholly.

You who have been unmerciful to yourself do not remember your Father’s Love. And looking without mercy upon your brothers, you do not remember how much you love Him. Yet it is forever true. In shining peace within you is the perfect purity in which you were created. Fear not to look upon the lovely truth in you. Look through the cloud of guilt that dims your vision, and look past darkness to the holy place where you will see the light. The altar to your Father is as pure as He Who raised it to Himself. Nothing can keep from you what Christ would have you see. His will is like His Father’s, and He offers mercy to every child of God, as He would have you do.

Release from guilt as you would be released. There is no other way to look within and see the light of love, shining as steadily and as surely as God Himself has always loved His Son. And as His Son loves Him. There is no fear in love, for love is guiltless. You who have always loved your Father can have no fear, for any reason, to look within and see your holiness. You cannot be as you believed you were. Your guilt is without reason because it is not in the Mind of God, where you are. And this is reason, which the Holy Spirit would restore to you. He would remove only illusions. All else He would have you see. And in Christ’s vision He would show you the perfect purity that is forever within God’s Son.

You cannot enter into real relationships with any of God’s Sons unless you love them all and equally. Love is not special. If you single out part of the Sonship for your love, you are imposing guilt on all your relationships and making them unreal. You can love only as God loves. Seek not to love unlike Him, for there is no love apart from His. Until you recognise that this is true, you will have no idea what love is like. No one who condemns a brother can see himself as guiltless and in the peace of God. If he is guiltless and in peace and sees it not, he is delusional, and has not looked upon himself. To him I say,

Behold the Son of God, and look upon his purity and be still. In quiet look upon his holiness, and offer thanks unto his Father that no guilt has ever touched him.

No illusion that you have ever held against him has touched his innocence in any way. His shining purity, wholly untouched by guilt and wholly loving, is bright within you. Let us look upon him together and love him. For in love of him is your guiltlessness. But look upon yourself, and gladness and appreciation for what you see will banish guilt forever. I thank You, Father, for the purity of Your most holy Son, whom You have created guiltless forever.

Like you, my faith and my belief are centred on what I treasure. The difference is that I love only what God loves with me, and because of this I treasure you beyond the value that you set on yourself, even unto the worth that God has placed upon you. I love all that He created, and all my faith and my belief I offer unto it. My faith in you is as strong as all the love I give my Father. My trust in you is without limit, and without the fear that you will hear me not. I thank the Father for your loveliness, and for the many gifts that you will let me offer to the Kingdom in honour of its wholeness that is of God.

Praise be to you who make the Father one with His Own Son. Alone we are all lowly, but together we shine with brightness so intense that none of us alone can even think of it. Before the glorious radiance of the Kingdom guilt melts away, and transformed into kindness will never more be what it was. Every reaction you experience will be so purified that it is fitting as a hymn of praise unto your Father. See only praise of Him in what He has created, for He will never cease His praise of you. United in this praise we stand before the gates of Heaven where we will surely enter in our sinless-ness. God loves you. Could I, then, lack faith in you and love Him perfectly?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 14

Lesson 114

For morning and evening review:

(97) I am spirit.

I am the Son of God. No body can contain my spirit,
nor impose on me a limitation God created not.

(98) I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.

What can my function be but to accept the Word of God,
Who has created me for what I am and will forever be?

On the hour:

I am spirit.

On the half hour:

I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #121: It has been said that we created the body after the separation. With all of the beauty that is of this earth that can be seen, as well as the incredible variety of life that thrives here, did God create the physical earth, or did we?

A: Before answering your question, we must clarify that in A Course in Miracles, the term “create” is used only in reference to God’s ability to create. His creation is His Son who abides with Him in Heaven. When speaking about the physical world in the dream illusion, including the body, the Course uses the term “made” or “miscreate.” It is unmistakable in its teaching regarding the origin of the physical world: “The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself” (C.4.1:1,2). Thus, neither the world nor the body exists in reality. Since our experience of being physical bodies living in a physical world seems so real to us, it is important to keep in mind, as we speak of the world, that none of this could ever actually occur.

In this dream of separation the world is the place where the sleeping son, consumed with guilt at having seemingly separated from God, comes to hide from the imagined wrath of a punishing God. A Course in Miracles teaches that the ego, gone mad with guilt, made the world, along with the body, not only to hide from God, but to keep God out of awareness: “The world was made as an attack on God. It symbolizes fear. And what is fear except love’s absence? Thus the world was meant to be a place where God could enter not, and where His Son could be apart from Him” (W.pII.3:1,2,3,4). Clearly then, according to the thought system of the Course, God did not make the world. It is the effect of the thought of separation, and is maintained by the ongoing guilt of that thought: “The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that.…It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition” (T21.in.1:2,5). This does not mean that we should seek to see the good and the beautiful in the world, as opposed to the evil and the ugly. It refers to the choice we have of seeing the ego’s interpretation of the world, or the Holy Spirit’s.

The ego looks at the beauty and variety in the world as proof that the world is real, that God “created” it, and that our pursuit of enjoyment in this world is blessed by Him. In accord with this thinking, God also made the devastating natural disasters that afflict the world, the so called “acts of God” found in our insurance policies. God must then be cruel indeed. The ego’s thinking makes God responsible not only for the beauty, but for all the various forms of physical, psychological and emotional suffering we find in this world. The apparent beauty of the world captures our attention as a ploy of the ego to keep us engaged in its lie — that happiness is possible outside of Heaven. For further thoughts on our experience of beauty in the world, please see our answer to question #70.


Q #122: In the book Absence from Felicity, Jesus told Helen to purchase a gold star pendant as a gift from Him. Did Jesus explain the significance of the star, and was it a five or six pointed star? Jesus mentioned the star(s) a few times in A Course in Miracles, but never went into detail. Would you be kind enough to give me your interpretation of the meaning of the Star.

A: Since for Helen a five pointed star was a symbol of Jesus, there was no need for him to discuss its significance with her. As is explained in Absence from Felicity (and the page numbers are 96 and 433 in the second edition; 107 and 453 in the first), Helen experienced Jesus’ suggestion that she buy the gold star (five pointed) as a personal gift from him to her. It meant a great deal to her, and she wore it often as a symbol of their love for each other.

Incidentally, in the Christian tradition Jesus is also symbolized by a star, as in the morning star mentioned in The Book of Revelation and cited at the end of the epilogue to the Clarification of Terms.


Q #123: I’d really appreciate elaboration on P.2.VI.5.1,2,3. My specific question is: will the body part I am presently projecting my unforgiveness onto give me an insight into the particular issue that I need to undo at this time? How will analyzing the form of my sickness enable me to better understand what issue is at the “tip of the iceberg”?

A: To begin, let’s take a look at the full passage, the first three sentences of which you refer to:

“Sickness takes many forms, and so does unforgiveness. The forms of one but reproduce the forms of the other, for they are the same illusion. So closely is one translated into the other, that a careful study of the form a sickness takes will point quite clearly to the form of unforgiveness that it represents. Yet seeing this will not effect a cure. That is achieved by only one recognition; that only forgiveness heals an unforgiveness, and only an unforgiveness can possibly give rise to sickness of any kind” (P.2.VI.1,2,3,4,5).

As this asserts, there should be a clear correspondence between the specific thought of guilt in the mind and its shadow — the symptom — in the world. Freud made a similar kind of claim in his analyses of hysterical symptoms. However, your conclusion can only be as good as the honesty of your introspection and as accurate as your willingness to uncover what anger, fear and judgments may be buried in your unconscious. And there is no set of fixed rules that leads inexorably from specific thought to specific symptom.

For example, a sprained ankle may reflect a real ambivalence about stepping forward on a certain fearful career or relationship path for one person. But for another person or for the same person at another time, the sprain may be evidence of guilt over the desire to kick someone else when he is down. And for someone else, the fear of going forward could be manifested in laryngitis — losing one’s voice — rather than in spraining an ankle. There may even be some kind of so-called past life associations to the present symptom which are even more difficult to uncover. Nevertheless, there will be times when the correspondence is quite apparent.

Seeing such links between an unforgiving thought and a specific symptom can be especially helpful as you first begin your work with A Course in Miracles, for it reinforces the recognition the Course is attempting to develop in our awareness of the true cause-effect relationship between mind and body. We incorrectly see a false relationship between external agents or events as causes and bodily changes as effects (e.g., a virus and flu symptoms), rather than the true relationship between the thoughts of the mind as cause and changes in the body as effects (e.g., guilt and flu symptoms).

But, as the above passage from the Psychotherapy pamphlet points out, seeing such connections is not enough in itself to bring about true healing. Only forgiveness can do that. And as you continue with your study of the Course, the good news is that you do not need to uncover the link between a specific form of guilt and a specific symptom. Any symptom of disease or dis-ease in the body is a projection of the guilt in the mind that is the self-hatred we all carry inside ourselves over our belief that we attacked and destroyed love when we chose the thought of separation. And every symptom, regardless of its form, represents nothing other than the ego’s attempt to persuade you that your problems are in the world and in your body, and not in your mind. So once the ego’s ruse is recognized and the real association between the guilt in the mind and effects on the body is acknowledged, most of your work is completed. The next step is simply to turn to your internal Teacher for help in undoing your belief in that guilt. Your part in the forgiveness process is now complete. External symptoms may or may not shift at this point, but they will no longer concern you, as you have identified the real source of your discomfort and pain. As Jesus observes in the manual in the section on healing, “What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone. And with them also go all the effects they seemed to cause. Cause and effect but replicate creation. Seen in their proper perspective, without distortion and without fear, they re-establish Heaven” (M.5.II.4:7,8,9,10,11).

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 13

ACIM Text Reading for May 13

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

IX. The Cloud of Guilt

Guilt remains the only thing that hides the Father, for guilt is the attack upon His Son. The guilty always condemn, and having done so they will still condemn, linking the future to the past as is the ego’s law. Fidelity to this law lets no light in, for it demands fidelity to darkness and forbids awakening. The ego’s laws are strict, and breaches are severely punished. Therefore give no obedience to its laws, for they are laws of punishment. And those who follow them believe that they are guilty, and so they must condemn. Between the future and the past the laws of God must intervene, if you would free yourself. Atonement stands between them, like a lamp shining so brightly that the chain of darkness in which you bound yourself will disappear.

Release from guilt is the ego’s whole undoing. Make no one fearful, for his guilt is yours, and by obeying the ego’s harsh commandments you bring its condemnation on yourself, and you will not escape the punishment it offers those who obey it. The ego rewards fidelity to it with pain, for faith in it is pain. And faith can be rewarded only in terms of the belief in which the faith was placed. Faith makes the power of belief, and where it is invested. determines its reward. For faith is always given what is treasured, and what is treasured is returned to you.

The world can give you only what you gave it, for being nothing but your own projection, it has no meaning apart from what you found in it and placed your faith in. Be faithful unto darkness and you will not see, because your faith will be rewarded as you gave it. You will accept your treasure, and if you place your faith in the past, the future will be like it. Whatever you hold dear you think is yours. The power of your valuing will make it so.

Atonement brings a re-evaluation of everything you cherish, for it is the means by which the Holy Spirit can separate the false and the true, which you have accepted into your mind without distinction. Therefore you cannot value one without the other, and guilt has become as true for you as innocence. You do not believe the Son of God is guiltless because you see the past, and see him not. When you condemn a brother you are saying, ‘I who was guilty choose to remain so’. You have denied his freedom, and by so doing you have denied the witness unto yours. You could as easily have freed him from the past, and lifted from his mind the cloud of guilt that binds him to it. And in his freedom would have been your own.

Lay not his guilt upon him, for his guilt lies in his secret thought that he has done this unto you. Would you, then, teach him he is right in his delusion? The idea that the guiltless Son of God can attack himself and make himself guilty is insane. In any form, in anyone, believe this not. For sin and condemnation are the same, and the belief in one is faith in the other, calling for punishment instead of love. Nothing can justify insanity, and to call for punishment upon yourself must be insane.

See no one, then, as guilty, and you will affirm the truth of guiltlessness unto yourself. In every condemnation that you offer the Son of God lies the conviction of your own guilt. If you would have the Holy Spirit make you free of it, accept His offer of Atonement for all your brothers. For so you learn that it is true for you. Remember always that it is impossible to condemn the Son of God in part. Those whom you see as guilty become the witnesses to guilt in you, and you will see it there, for it is there until it is undone. Guilt is always in your mind, which has condemned itself. Project it not, for while you do, it cannot be undone. With everyone whom you release from guilt great is the joy in Heaven, where the witnesses to your fatherhood rejoice.

Guilt makes you blind, for while you see one spot of guilt within you, you will not see the light. And by projecting it the world seems dark, and shrouded in your guilt. You throw a dark veil over it, and cannot see it because you cannot look within. You are afraid of what you would see there, but it is not there. The thing you fear is gone. If you would look within you would see only the Atonement, shining in quiet and in peace upon the altar to your Father.

Do not be afraid to look within. The ego tells you all is black with guilt within you, and bids you not to look. Instead, it bids you look upon your brothers, and see the guilt in them. Yet this you cannot do without remaining blind. For those who see their brothers in the dark, and guilty in the dark in which they shroud them, are too afraid to look upon the light within. Within you is not what you believe is there, and what you put your faith in. Within you is the holy sign of perfect faith your Father has in you. He does not value you as you do. He knows Himself, and knows the truth in you. He knows there is no difference, for He knows not of differences. Can you see guilt where God knows there is perfect innocence? You can deny His knowledge, but you cannot change it. Look, then, upon the light He placed within you, and learn that what you feared was there has been replaced with love.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 13

Lesson 113

For morning and evening review:

(95) I am one Self, united with my Creator.

Serenity and perfect peace are mine, because I am one Self,
completely whole, at one with all creation and with God.

(96) Salvation comes from my one Self.

From my one Self, Whose knowledge still remains within my mind,
I see God’s perfect plan for my salvation perfectly fulfilled.

On the hour:

I am one Self, united with my Creator.

On the half hour:

Salvation comes from my one Self.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #119: First of all, thank you for the answers to my two former questions: the one about addiction and the one about seeing calls for love. I was glad with these answers and still read them over sometimes. My friends still tell me that I should not undertake behavioral changes, but only look at what my ego is doing. On some level, I trust that I will learn my lessons. Since I began studying A Course in Miracles, I feel like I am not truly seeking anymore. I have found, and need to practice now. My greatest barrier, or stumbling block still is worldly distractions versus God, the ego-offerings versus God. I know that the peace of God is all I want. And at the same time, apparently, I do not want the peace of God. Sometimes, when I have a glimpse of the peace of God, I have a sort of friendly sadness because then I know it is such a gift already, so much better and lovelier than all these worldly distractions.

A. Trust and gentleness are essential in the practice and application of the Course, which you seem to be learning. This means getting more and more comfortable with your inner teacher and developing more and more of a personal relationship with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, so that in those instants in which you are beyond your ego, you would know clearly what the most loving thing for you would be — to make a behavioral change or to simply continue to watch your ego in action, fully aware of what you are doing and what it is costing you, and then not judging yourself for being so resistant.

We all have a split mind, and we all go back and forth between the ego’s offerings and Jesus’ offerings. This is normal, and we should not be surprised that we do this. This is the way we learn that we are mistaken, but not sinful: “Son of God, you have not sinned, but you have been much mistaken. Yet this can be corrected and God will help you, knowing that you could not sin against Him” (T.10.V.6:1). We are learning that the world is a projection of our own thoughts, “the outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1:5). So the point is to welcome that learning, to welcome each opportunity to learn that you only imagine that the world has the power to take away the peace of God. Being afraid of “worldly distractions” only gives them power; and then you will never learn that it is made up. The goal is to achieve a state of inner peace that nothing can disturb, no matter what happens. If you stay isolated and secluded, you are implying that something outside you has power to take away the peace of God. That is foolish. It would be more helpful to go to Jesus after a period of indulging your ego and tell him about everything you thought and did, and that you realize you chose against him, but that you also realize that his love for you has not been affected, and that one day you will not be so afraid to have his love for you, and yours for him, be the center of your life. The pain of excluding that love from your life eventually will become too much to bear, and so the amount of time you spend indulging your ego will grow less and less. Again, though, this does not mean that you may not be guided to make a behavioral change as a way of diminishing the pain you are inflicting on yourself. The behavioral change then would not be perceived as sacrificial, but an expression of gentleness toward yourself.


Q #120: Did Jesus ever discuss giving up meat during any of his talks with Helen? In the Essene Gospels, he talks quite a bit about not eating meat. What’s your view on this?

A: In scribing A Course in Miracles, Helen Schucman did not receive any instruction regarding eating meat — the topic was not discussed. The Course is not the same teaching as the Essene Gospels. It is a Course on content, not form, and so there are no directives for behavior, as in the Essene Gospels.

There are two very important principles of the Course that may be helpful to consider in response to your question, both are stated in the same passage: “There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion” (T.23.II.19:1,2,3). If no life exists outside of Heaven, and any other state is an illusion, it would be very inconsistent with the Course’s teaching that any kind of behavior in the dream be awarded significance. The Course is teaching us to become aware of the interpretation we give to everything, thereby becoming aware of the thoughts, beliefs, and judgments that make up our ego thought system. In this way we will be able to learn to see the true connection between cause and effect, and understand that the source of all our pain is in the mind. Therefore the only thing the Course asks us to do is pay attention to our thoughts, see them as the cause of any condition we may find ourselves in, and bring them to the Holy Spirit so they can be transformed. Beyond this the Course does not give any specific behavioral directives for choices made in an hallucination: “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination?” (T.20.VIII.7:3) Based on these important principles of the Course it is not in keeping with its thought system to abstain from meat because it means killing a “living” creature, or because it is a “spiritually superior” thing to do. With regard to this, as to any specific situation or problem we may have, the Course instructs us to ask but one question: “This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, it will direct your efforts automatically” (T.4.V.6:8,9,10). Everything serves the purpose of the ego or that of the Holy Spirit. Whether we eat meat or refrain from eating meat, the important thing to remember is that we do not make decisions by ourselves:“You will not make decisions by yourself whatever you decide. For they are made with idols or with God” (T.30.I.14:7,8). Our choice will reinforce the ego’s thought system, that the world is real, and what we eat makes a difference, or the Holy Spirit’s thought system, that the world is an illusion, and the only thing that matters in the dream is healing our mind of the thought that we believe we separated from God. Regarding specific behavior, Krishnamurti offered very helpful advice to one of his followers in reference to having sex, which we can paraphrase to apply to your question: “Eat meat, or don’t eat meat, but get on with it.”

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