ACIM Text Reading for March 2
Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom
XI. The State of Grace
The Holy Spirit will always guide you truly, because your joy is His. This is His Will for everyone because He speaks for the Kingdom of God, which is joy. Following Him is therefore the easiest thing in the world, and the only thing that is easy, because it is not of the world. It is therefore natural. The world goes against your nature, being out of accord with God’s laws. The world perceives orders of difficulty in everything. This is because the ego perceives nothing as wholly desirable. By demonstrating to yourself there is no order of difficulty in miracles, you will convince yourself that, in your natural state, there is no difficulty at all because it is a state of grace.
Grace is the natural state of every Son of God. When he is not in a state of grace, he is out of his natural environment and does not function well. Everything he does becomes a strain, because he was not created for the environment that he has made. He therefore cannot adapt to it, nor can he adapt it to him. There is no point in trying. A Son of God is happy only when he knows he is with God. That is the only environment in which he will not experience strain, because that is where he belongs. It is also the only environment that is worthy of him, because his own worth is beyond anything he can make.
Consider the kingdom you have made and judge its worth fairly. Is it worthy to be a home for a child of God? Does it protect his peace and shine love upon him? Does it keep his heart untouched by fear, and allow him to give always, without any sense of loss? Does it teach him that this giving is his joy, and that God Himself thanks him for his giving? That is the only environment in which you can be happy. You cannot make it, any more than you can make yourself. It has been created for you, as you were created for it. God watches over His children and denies them nothing. Yet when they deny Him they do not know this, because they deny themselves everything. You who could give the Love of God to everything you see and touch and remember, are literally denying Heaven to yourself.
I call upon you to remember that I have chosen you to teach the Kingdom to the Kingdom. There are no exceptions to this lesson, because the lack of exceptions is the lesson. Every Son who returns to the Kingdom with this lesson in his heart has healed the Sonship and given thanks to God. Everyone who learns this lesson has become the perfect teacher, because he has learned it of the Holy Spirit.
When a mind has only light, it knows only light. Its own radiance shines all around it, and extends out into the darkness of other minds, transforming them into majesty. The Majesty of God is there, for you to recognise and appreciate and know. Recognising the Majesty of God as your brother is to accept your own inheritance. God gives only equally. If you recognise His gift in anyone, you have acknowledged what He has given you. Nothing is so easy to recognise as truth. This is the recognition that is immediate, clear and natural. You have trained yourself not to recognise it, and this has been very difficult for you.
Out of your natural environment you may well ask, ‘What is truth?’ since truth is the environment by which and for which you were created. You do not know yourself, because you do not know your Creator. You do not know your creations because you do not know your brothers, who created them with you. I have already said that only the whole Sonship is worthy to be co-creator with God, because only the whole Sonship can create like Him. Whenever you heal a brother by recognising his worth, you are acknowledging his power to create and yours. He cannot have lost what you recognise, and you must have the glory you see in him. He is a co-creator with God with you. Deny his creative power, and you are denying yours and that of God Who created you.
You cannot deny part of truth. You do not know your creations because you do not know their creator. You do not know yourself because you do not know yours. Your creations cannot establish your reality, any more than you can establish God’s. But you canknow both. Being is known by sharing. Because God shared His Being with you, you can know Him. But you must also know all He created, to know what they have shared. Without your Father you will not know your fatherhood. The Kingdom of God includes all His Sons and their children, who are as like the Sons as they are like the Father. Know, then, the Sons of God, and you will know all creation.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 2
1. It is your forgiveness that will bring the world of darkness to the light. It is your forgiveness that lets you recognize the light in which you see. Forgiveness is the demonstration that you are the light of the world. Through your forgiveness does the truth about yourself return to your memory. Therefore, in your forgiveness lies your salvation.
2. Illusions about yourself and the world are one. That is why all forgiveness is a gift to yourself. Your goal is to find out who you are, having denied your Identity by attacking creation and its Creator. Now you are learning how to remember the truth. For this attack must be replaced by forgiveness, so that thoughts of life may replace thoughts of death.
3. Remember that in every attack you call upon your own weakness, while each time you forgive you call upon the strength of Christ in you. Do you not then begin to understand what forgiveness will do for you? It will remove all sense of weakness, strain and fatigue from your mind. It will take away all fear and guilt and pain. It will restore the invulnerability and power God gave His Son to your awareness.
4. Let us be glad to begin and end this day by practicing today’s idea, and to use it as frequently as possible throughout the day. It will help to make the day as happy for you as God wants you to be. And it will help those around you, as well as those who seem to be far away in space and time, to share this happiness with you.
5. As often as you can, closing your eyes if possible, say to yourself today:
Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.
I would fulfill my function that I may be happy.
Then devote a minute or two to considering your function and the happiness and release it will bring you. Let related thoughts come freely, for your heart will recognize these words, and in your mind is the awareness they are true. Should your attention wander, repeat the idea and add:
I would remember this because I want to be happy.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) Why do the text and workbook have different focuses, and at times seem to be saying different things?
A) Jesus refers to A Course in Miracles as a “multi-faceted curriculum,” and so it requires that his teaching be presented in different forms. The text, which was dictated to Helen first, contains the theology, metaphysical foundation, and teachings on accepting forgiveness for our special relationships, on which the curriculum rests. For example, only in the text — highlighted for the most part from Chapter 15 through Chapter 24 — does one find the exposition of the teaching on special and holy relationships. Nowhere in the workbook or manual is this very important subject specifically discussed. In the workbook, as Jesus explains in the introduction, the first part (Lessons 1-220) deals “with the undoing of the way you see now,” while the second part (Lessons 221-365) deals ” with the acquisition of true perception” (workbook, p.1; W-in.3:1). Nothing is mentioned about the theory of A Course in Miracles. Indeed, the specific relationship between the text and the workbook is clearly set forth in the Introduction:
A theoretical foundation such as the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this 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 this workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth (W-in.1).
It is because of these different purposes and focuses that at times the two books seem to be saying different things, and even at times seeming to contradict each other. Perhaps the best example of this interesting phenomenon relates to the role of the Holy Spirit. Many passages in the workbook urge students to ask Him for very specific help, as we can see in this example from the final lessons (361-365):
This holy instant would I give to You [the Holy Spirit].
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace. And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will bear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son (W-p.II.361-365).
And yet we are taught in the text that it is not the role of the Holy Spirit to guide us in the world of effects — the material world of specifics — but rather to help us change our minds about the cause of our problems: our belief in the reality of sin and guilt. For example:
In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause [the mind’s belief in sin], and looks not to effects [the problems experienced in the physical world]. How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely? He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him a while. You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed (T-27.VIII.9:1-5).
Nevertheless, if students do not understand the afore-mentioned two levels that A Course in Miracles is written on, and which, by the way, it never specifically identifies as such, then one is apt to conclude that these statements are contradictory. To restate these levels briefly:
Level One: the Course’s metaphysical foundation, which emphasizes the difference between God and Heaven, the only reality, and the collective illusory world of the ego.Level Two: the Course’s practical level, which deals only with the illusory dream. Here, the contrast is between the wrong mind which is the ego’s thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, and the Holy Spirit’s correction of forgiveness within the right mind.
Regarding the subject of God, we find the same apparent contradiction. In workbook Lesson 71 we are told to ask God Himself for specific help:
What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?
Moreover, all of Part If of the workbook consists of prayers from the student to God the Father. This is so, despite the following very clear statement — interestingly enough, also from the workbook — that God does not hear our prayers:
Think not He hears the little prayers of those who call on Him with names of idols cherished by the world. They cannot reach Him thus (W-pI.183.7:3-4).
And in the manual for teachers we read these lines about the true nature of our words:
God does not understand words, for they were made by separated minds to keep them in the illusion of separation. Words can be helpful, particularly for the beginner, in helping concentration and facilitating the exclusion, or at least the control, of extraneous thoughts. Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality (M-21.1:7-10).
Clearly, the first passage has us asking God the Father a series of specific questions to which we would fully expect to receive answers. Part of the reason it is framed this way is that inherent within the separation thought is the statement that I am self-created, and therefore am my own source. So by asking God for help at what we have referred to as Level Two, the level of the illusory dream, I am acknowledging that I am not an autonomous self-created being, but rather someone who needs help in undoing this false self that I made up. It is in this way that the thought that I am on my own has been undone, and I realize that the answers to all my questions have already been given, and that they are one. As A Course in Miracles emphasizes, the Holy Spirit’s correction to my ego’s dream of separation has already occurred, because time is already over, as we have noted in a previous chapter (question 16 ). But since I walk around believing and experiencing otherwise, the correction will reach me in a form to which I can relate.
In conclusion, from these two examples alone it should be clear that Jesus indeed knew what he was doing when he dictated these three books of A Course in Miracles, and it is we who lack the understanding of how he integrates his curriculum and accomplishes the goal of changing our thought system.