ACIM Text Reading for May 2
Chapter 14 ~ The Guiltless World
VII. Sharing Perception with the Holy Spirit
What do you want? Light or darkness, knowledge or ignorance are yours, but not both. Opposites must be brought together, not kept apart. For their separation is only in your mind, and they are reconciled by union, as you are. In union, everything that is not real must disappear, for truth is union. As darkness disappears in light, so ignorance fades away when knowledge dawns. Perception is the medium by which ignorance is brought to knowledge. Yet the perception must be without deceit, for otherwise it becomes the messenger of ignorance rather than a helper in the search for truth.
The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth. Truth is. It can neither be lost nor sought nor found. It is there, wherever you are, being within you. Yet it can be recognised or unrecognised, real or false to you. If you hide it, it becomes unreal to you because you hid it and surrounded it with fear. Under each cornerstone of fear on which you have erected your insane system of belief, the truth lies hidden. Yet you cannot know this, for by hiding truth in fear, you see no reason to believe that the more you look at fear the less you see it, and the clearer what it conceals becomes.
It is not possible to convince the unknowing that they know. From their point of view it is not true. Yet it is true because God knows it. These are clearly opposite viewpoints on what the ‘unknowing’ are. To God, unknowing is impossible. It is therefore not a point of view at all, but merely a belief in something that does not exist. It is only this belief that the unknowing have, and by it they are wrong about themselves. They have defined themselves as they were not created. Their creation was not a point of view, but rather a certainty. Uncertainty brought to certainty does not retain any conviction of reality.
Our emphasis has been on bringing what is undesirable to the desirable; what you do not want to what you do. You will realise that salvation must come to you this way, if you consider what dissociation is. Dissociation is a distorted process of thinking whereby two systems of belief which cannot coexist are both maintained. If they are brought together, their joint acceptance becomes impossible. But if one is kept in darkness from the other, their separation seems to keep them both alive and equal in their reality. Their joining thus becomes the source of fear, for if they meet, acceptance must be withdrawn from one of them. You cannot have them both, for each denies the other. Apart, this fact is lost from sight, for each in a separate place can be endowed with firm belief. Bring them together, and the fact of their complete incompatibility is instantly apparent. One will go, because the other is seen in the same place.
Light cannot enter darkness when a mind believes in darkness, and will not let it go. Truth does not struggle against ignorance, and love does not attack fear. What needs no protection does not defend itself. Defence is of your making. God knows it not. The Holy Spirit uses defences on behalf of truth only because you made them against it. His perception of them, according to His purpose, merely changes them into a call for what you have attacked with them. Defences, like everything you made, must be gently turned to your own good, translated by the Holy Spirit from means of self- destruction to means of preservation and release. His task is mighty, but the power of God is with Him. Therefore, to Him it is so easy that it was accomplished the instant it was given Him for you. Do not delay in your return to peace by wondering how He can fulfil what God has given Him to do. Leave that to Him Who knows. You are not asked to do mighty tasks yourself. You are merely asked to do the little He suggests you do, trusting Him only to the small extent of believing that, if He asks it, you can do it. You will see how easily all that He asks can be accomplished.
The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him. Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon. He sees for you, and unless you look with Him He cannot see. The vision of Christ is not for Him alone, but for Him with you. Bring, therefore, all your dark and secret thoughts to Him, and look upon them with Him. He holds the light, and you the darkness. They cannot coexist when both of you together look on them. His judgement must prevail, and He will give it to you as you join your perception to His.
Joining with Him in seeing is the way in which you learn to share with Him the interpretation of perception that leads to knowledge. You cannot see alone. Sharing perception with Him Whom God has given you teaches you how to recognise what you see. It is the recognition that nothing you see means anything alone. Seeing with Him will show you that all meaning, including yours, comes not from double vision, but from the gentle fusing of everything into one meaning, one emotion and one purpose. God has one Purpose which He shares with you. The single vision which the Holy Spirit offers you will bring this oneness to your mind with clarity and brightness so intense you could not wish, for all the world, not to accept what God would have you have. Behold your will, accepting it as His, with all His Love as yours. All honour to you through Him, and through Him unto God.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 2
For morning and evening review:
1. (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.
2. (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.
3. 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) A Course in Miracles teaches that there is no death. Can this be taken to mean that physical immortality is possible?
A) Absolutely not! The Course teaches there is no death because spirit is immortal. The workbook lesson “I am as God created me” occurs three times and is also the central theme of a review section. This highlights the importance of the concept that only what God created (Christ) is eternal, and that this world of bodies — having been made as the opposite to Heaven — would have as its agenda to render immortality impossible. As is stated early in the text of the ego’s inability to reach “eternalness”:
The ego thinks it is an advantage not to commit itself to anything that is eternal, because the eternal must come from God. Eternalness is the one function the ego has tried to develop, but has systematically failed to achieve. The ego compromises with the issue of the eternal, just as it does with all issues touching on the real question in any way (T-4.V.6:1-3).
In addition, bodies exist only in dreams — the hallucinations we call life — and therefore the length of this “life” has absolutely nothing to do with reality, let alone the eternal life of spirit.
One can thus see that the very term physical immortality is an oxymoron, a contradiction that reflects a misunderstanding of the theology of A Course in Miracles and obscures the crucial difference between reality and illusion. The concept is thus but one more ego ploy that many separated minds indulge in, thereby attempting to pervert the true meaning of the Course by making real the ego thought system and its world.
The devil can cite scripture for its own purpose, as Shakespeare commented in “The Merchant of Venice,” and unfortunately the egos of students of A Course in Miracles can play the same trick. If students wish to support their own belief system that they (and their bodies) can be immortal, they can easily wrench statements from the Course out of context to support their desire. For example, under “The Attraction of Death,” the third obstacle to peace in Chapter 19 of the text, there is the following statement under the subsection entitled “The Incorruptible Body”:
You have another dedication that would keep the body incorruptible and perfect as long as it is useful for your holy purpose. The body no more dies than it can feel …. Death, were it true, would be the final and complete disruption of communication, which is the ego’s goal (T-19.IV-C.5:1-2; 6:5).
And another sentence that has been taken out of its context to prove that the body can be immortal is from the manual for teachers, the section entitled “What Is Death?” We give just the single line here, and the total passage will be quoted below in the next question:
But what is born of God and still can die? (M-27.6:8)
And so students will falsely conclude that since they — as physical and psychological individuals — were created by the eternal God as Himself, they can never die. This then becomes the rationale for affirming the validity of physical immortality. The mistake, obviously, lies in believing that God did, in fact, create them as individuals, and as bodies to boot. What is truly “born of God” is Christ, our Self that is only spirit, and it is that Self that is eternal and can never die. The false self that has a physical and psychological identity remains within the dream where there is only the illusion of birth, life, and death.
Some students, moreover, use the above lines as proof that Jesus is advocating physical immortality by stating that the body is incorruptible. However, they have failed to understand the context of the above passage (and subsection title) by eliminating the complete quotation. The reason that “the body no more dies than it can feel” and that death is not true, is that the body does not truly exist. Indeed, the body in truth does not die, but that is because it does not live. Only within the illusory dreams of the Son’s sleeping mind does the body appear to be born, live, and die — a sequence that the God of life itself knows nothing about. Furthermore, death of the body presupposes that there was first life; otherwise, the concept has no meaning. As Jesus also states in this passage:
It [the body] does nothing. Of itself it is neither corruptible nor incorruptible. It is nothing. It is the result of a tiny, mad idea of corruption that can be corrected (T-19.IV-C.5:3-6).
What is nothing therefore does not (and cannot) live, and consequently it does not (and cannot) die either.
In the text we find an even more compelling passage that describes the body’s absolute lack of being, similar to a lifeless puppet that merely carries out the wishes of its master, the puppeteer, the body’s master, of course, being the mind:
Who punishes the body is insane. For here the little gap [separation] is seen, and yet it is not here. It has not judged itself, nor made itself to be what it is not. It does not seek to make of pain a joy and look for lasting pleasure in the dust. It does not tell you what its purpose is and cannot understand what it is for. It does not victimize, because it has no will, no preferences and no doubts. It does not wonder what it is. And so it has no need to be competitive. It can be victimized, but cannot feel itself as victim. It accepts no role, but does what it is told [by the mind), without attack.It is … a thing that cannot see… [and] cannot hear…. it has no feeling. It behaves in ways you [the decision maker in the mind] want, but never makes the choice. It is not born and does not die. It can but follow aimlessly the path on which it has been set (T-28.VI.1:1-2:5; italics ours).
Once again, within the Son’s dream of separation the body does indeed seem to be born, live, and die, but this is only in the world of illusion. For only in the reality of spirit is there truly life or being, and this has nothing to do with the physical existence which is of the ego. That is why early in the text Jesus contrasts the specificity of illusory existence with the abstract reality of being (T-4.VIl.4,5).
Therefore, we conclude that A Course in Miracles is unequivocal in its teaching that only spirit is immortal. To believe we can exist in any other state — meaning the physical — is to follow the ego’s attempts to make the dream of separation a reality, in which our individual identity is secure, by having us believe in the illusion it calls life. And this attempt, naturally, is diametrically opposed to the ultimate purpose of the Course, which is to help us all awaken from the dream of individuality to our true Identity as Christ, the immortal and one Son of God.