A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 17, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for May 17

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

IX. The Holy Instant and the Attraction of God

As the ego would limit your perception of your brothers to the body, so would the Holy Spirit release your vision and let you see the Great Rays shining from them, so unlimited that they reach to God. It is this shift to vision that is accomplished in the holy instant. Yet it is needful for you to learn just what this shift entails, so you will become willing to make it permanent. Given this willingness it will not leave you, for it is permanent. Once you have accepted it as the only perception you want, it is translated into knowledge by the part that God Himself plays in the Atonement, for it is the only step in it He understands. Therefore, in this there will be no delay when you are ready for it. God is ready now, but you are not.

Our task is but to continue, as fast as possible, the necessary process of looking straight at all the interference and seeing it exactly as it is. For it is impossible to recognise as wholly without gratification what you think you want. The body is the symbol of the ego, as the ego is the symbol of the separation. And both are nothing more than attempts to limit communication, and thereby to make it impossible. For communication must be unlimited in order to have meaning, and deprived of meaning, it will not satisfy you completely. Yet it remains the only means by which you can establish real relationships, which have no limits, having been established by God.

In the holy instant, where the Great Rays replace the body in awareness, the recognition of relationships without limits is given you. But in order to see this, it is necessary to give up every use the ego has for the body, and to accept the fact that the ego has no purpose you would share with it. For the ego would limit everyone to a body for its own purposes, and while you think it has a purpose, you will choose to utilise the means by which it tries to turn its purpose into accomplishment. This will never be accomplished. Yet you have surely recognised that the ego, whose goals are altogether unattainable, will strive for them with all its might, and will do so with the strength that you have given it.

It is impossible to divide your strength between Heaven and hell, God and the ego, and release your power to creation, which is the only purpose for which it was given you. Love would always give increase. Limits are demanded by the ego, and represent its demands to make little and ineffectual. Limit your sight of a brother to his body, which you will do as long as you would not release him from it, and you have denied his gift to you. His body cannot give it. And seek it not through yours. Yet your minds are already continuous, and their union need only be accepted and the loneliness in Heaven is gone.

If you would but let the Holy Spirit tell you of the Love of God for you, and the need your creations have to be with you forever, you would experience the attraction of the eternal. No one can hear Him speak of this and long remain willing to linger here. For it is your will to be in Heaven, where you are complete and quiet, in such sure and loving relationships that any limit is impossible. Would you not exchange your little relationships for this? For the body is little and limited, and only those whom you would see without the limits the ego would impose on them can offer you the gift of freedom.

You have no conception of the limits you have placed on your perception, and no idea of all the loveliness that you could see. But this you must remember; the attraction of guilt opposes the attraction of God. His attraction for you remains unlimited, but because your power, being His, is as great as His, you can turn away from love. What you invest in guilt you withdraw from God. And your sight grows weak and dim and limited, for you have attempted to separate the Father from the Son, and limit their communication. Seek not Atonement in further separation. And limit not your vision of God’s Son to what interferes with his release, and what the Holy Spirit must undo to set him free. For his belief in limits has imprisoned him.

When the body ceases to attract you, and when you place no value on it as a means of getting anything, then there will be no interference in communication and your thoughts will be as free as God’s. As you let the Holy Spirit teach you how to use the body only for purposes of communication, and renounce its use for separation and attack which the ego sees in it, you will learn you have no need of a body at all. In the holy instant there are no bodies, and you experience only the attraction of God. Accepting it as undivided you join Him wholly, in an instant, for you would place no limits on your union with Him. The reality of this relationship becomes the only truth that you could ever want. All truth is here.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 17

Lesson 133

I will not value what is valueless

1. Sometimes in teaching there is benefit, particularly after you have gone through what seems theoretical and far from what the student has already learned, to bring him back to practical concerns. This we will do today. We will not speak of lofty, world-encompassing ideas, but dwell instead on benefits to you.

2. You do not ask too much of life, but far too little. When you let your mind be drawn to bodily concerns, to things you buy, to eminence as valued by the world, you ask for sorrow, not for happiness. This course does not attempt to take from you the little that you have. It does not try to substitute utopian ideas for satisfactions which the world contains. There are no satisfactions in the world.

3. Today we list the real criteria by which to test all things you think you want. Unless they meet these sound requirements, they are not worth desiring at all, for they can but replace what offers more. The laws that govern choice you cannot make, no more than you can make alternatives from which to choose. The choosing you can do; indeed, you must. But it is wise to learn the laws you set in motion when you choose, and what alternatives you choose between.

4. We have already stressed there are but two, however many there appear to be. The range is set, and this we cannot change. It would be most ungenerous to you to let alternatives be limitless, and thus delay your final choice until you had considered all of them in time; and not been brought so clearly to the place where there is but one choice that must be made.

5. Another kindly and related law is that there is no compromise in what your choice must bring. It cannot give you just a little, for there is no in between. Each choice you make brings every­thing to you or nothing. Therefore, if you learn the tests by which you can distinguish everything from nothing, you will make the better choice.

6. First, if you choose a thing that will not last forever, what you chose is valueless. A temporary value is without all value. Time can never take away a value that is real. What fades and dies was never there, and makes no offering to him who chooses it. He is deceived by nothing in a form he thinks he likes.

7. Next, if you choose to take a thing away from someone else, you will have nothing left. This is because, when you deny his right to everything, you have denied your own. You therefore will not recognize the things you really have, denying they are there. Who seeks to take away has been deceived by the illusion loss can offer gain. Yet loss must offer loss, and nothing more.

8. Your next consideration is the one on which the others rest. Why is the choice you make of value to you? What attracts your mind to it? What purpose does it serve? Here it is easiest of all to be deceived. For what the ego wants it fails to recognize. It does not even tell the truth as it perceives it, for it needs to keep the halo which it uses to protect its goals from tarnish and from rust, that you may see how “innocent” it is.

9. Yet is its camouflage a thin veneer, which could deceive but those who are content to be deceived. Its goals are obvious to anyone who cares to look for them. Here is deception doubled, for the one who is deceived will not perceive that he has merely failed to gain. He will believe that he has served the ego’s hid­den goals.

10. Yet though he tries to keep its halo clear within his vision, still must he perceive its tarnished edges and its rusted core. His ineffectual mistakes appear as sins to him, because he looks upon the tarnish as his own; the rust a sign of deep unworthiness within himself. He who would still preserve the ego’s goals and serve them as his own makes no mistakes, according to the dictates of his guide. This guidance teaches it is error to believe that sins are but mistakes, for who would suffer for his sins if this were so?

11. And so we come to the criterion for choice that is the hardest to believe, because its obviousness is overlaid with many levels of obscurity. If you feel any guilt about your choice, you have al­lowed the ego’s goals to come between the real alternatives. And thus you do not realize there are but two, and the alternative you think you chose seems fearful, and too dangerous to be the noth­ingness it actually is.

12. All things are valuable or valueless, worthy or not of being sought at all, entirely desirable or not worth the slightest effort to obtain. Choosing is easy just because of this. Complexity is nothing but a screen of smoke, which hides the very simple fact that no decision can be difficult. What is the gain to you in learn­ing this? It is far more than merely letting you make choices easily and without pain.

13. Heaven itself is reached with empty hands and open minds, which come with nothing to find everything and claim it as their own. We will attempt to reach this state today, with self-deception laid aside, and with an honest willingness to value but the truly valuable and the real. Our two extended practice periods of fifteen minutes each begin with this:

I will not value what is valueless, and only what has value do I seek, for only that do I desire to find.

14. And then receive what waits for everyone who reaches, unen­cumbered, to the gate of Heaven, which swings open as he comes. Should you begin to let yourself collect some needless burdens, or believe you see some difficult decisions facing you, be quick to answer with this simple thought:

I will not value what is valueless, for what is valuable belongs to me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) A Course in Miracles teaches that all has already happened. Isn’t  this the same as predestination? 

A) The traditional understanding of predestination, stemming from John Calvin, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, is that from the beginning of time God had chosen (predestined) those to be saved (the “elect”) and those to be punished (the “sinners”) in the future. And this decision was irrevocable and unchangeable. 

The view of A Course in Miracles is that yes, everything has already happened — and in that sense the drama of the world is irrevocable (“the script is written”) — but this includes both the ego’s script and the Holy Spirit’s correction for it. To re-quote an important passage:

God gave His Teacher to replace the one you made …. And what He would replace has been replaced. Time lasted but an instant in your mind, with no effect upon eternity.  And so is all time past, and everything exactly as it was before the way to nothingness was made.  The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that one, and all of them that came within the first 
(T-26.V.3:1-5).

Therefore, in A Course in Miracles, the agent of predestination is the “decision maker,” not God, for it is this aspect of the tri-partite or split mind that has authored the scripts of our lives in the physical universe. However, this same split mind has the capacity, through the “decision maker,” to choose at any given instant which teacher — the ego or Jesus — will guide us as we “review mentally” the scripts that have “already gone by.” The “we,” to make the point once again, is not the self we call ourselves by name, but rather the “decision maker” in our minds — outside time and space, and outside the ancient ego script.  And here the choice is certainly not predestined. It is thus clear that the Course’s statement “the script is written” is not to be understood temporally at all, while the traditional view of predestination is, for it is based upon a decision made by God in the past, which will inevitably be carried out in the future. 

the way to god

 

 

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 13, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for May 13

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

V. The Holy Instant and Special Relationships

The holy instant is the Holy Spirit’s most useful learning device for teaching you love’s meaning. For its purpose is to suspend judgement entirely. Judgement always rests on the past, for past experience is the basis on which you judge. Judgement becomes impossible without the past, for without it you do not understand anything. You would make no attempt to judge, because it would be quite apparent to you that you do not understand what anything means. You are afraid of this because you believe that without the ego, all would be chaos. Yet I assure you that without the ego, all would be love.

The past is the ego’s chief learning device, for it is in the past that you learned to define your own needs and acquire methods for meeting them on your own terms. We have said that to limit love to part of the Sonship is to bring guilt into your relationships, and thus make them unreal. If you seek to separate out certain aspects of the totality and look to them to meet your imagined needs, you are attempting to use separation to save you. How, then, could guilt not enter? For separation is the source of guilt, and to appeal to it for salvation is to believe you are alone. To be alone is to be guilty. For to experience yourself as alone is to deny the Oneness of the Father and His Son, and thus to attack reality.

You cannot love parts of reality and understand what love means. If you would love unlike to God, Who knows no special love, how can you understand it? To believe that special relationships, with special love, can offer you salvation is the belief that separation is salvation. For it is the complete equality of the Atonement in which salvation lies. How can you decide that special aspects of the Sonship can give you more than others? The past has taught you this. Yet the holy instant teaches you it is not so.

Because of guilt, all special relationships have elements of fear in them. This is why they shift and change so frequently. They are not based on changeless love alone. And love, where fear has entered, cannot be depended on because it is not perfect. In His function as interpreter of what you made, the Holy Spirit uses special relationships, which you have chosen to support the ego, as learning experiences that point to truth. Under His teaching, every relationship becomes a lesson in love.

The Holy Spirit knows no one is special. Yet He also perceives that you have made special relationships, which He would purify and not let you destroy. However unholy the reason you made them may be, He can translate them into holiness by removing as much fear as you will let Him. You can place any relationship under His care and be sure that it will not result in pain, if you offer Him your willingness to have it serve no need but His. All the guilt in it arises from your use of it. All the love from His. Do not, then, be afraid to let go your imagined needs, which would destroy the relationship. Your only need is His.

Any relationship you would substitute for another has not been offered to the Holy Spirit for His use. There is no substitute for love. If you would attempt to substitute one aspect of love for another, you have placed less value on one and more on the other. You have not only separated them, but you have also judged against both. Yet you have judged against yourself first, or you would never have imagined that you needed your brothers as they were not. Unless you had seen yourself as without love, you could not have judged them so like you in lack.

The ego’s use of relationships is so fragmented that it frequently goes even farther; one part of one aspect suits its purpose, while it prefers different parts of another aspect. Thus does it assemble reality to its own capricious liking, offering for your seeking a picture whose likeness does not exist. For there is nothing in Heaven or earth that it resembles, and so, however much you seek for its reality, you cannot find it because it is not real.

Everyone on earth has formed special relationships, and although this is not so in Heaven, the Holy Spirit knows how to bring a touch of Heaven to them here. In the holy instant no one is special, for your personal needs intrude on no one to make your brothers seem different. Without the values from the past, you would see them all the same and like yourself. Nor would you see any separation between yourself and them. In the holy instant, you see in each relationship what it will be when you perceive only the present.

God knows you now. He remembers nothing, having always known you exactly as He knows you now. The holy instant reflects His knowing by bringing all perception out of the past, thus removing the frame of reference you have built by which to judge your brothers. Once this is gone, the Holy Spirit substitutes His frame of reference for it. His frame of reference is simply God. The Holy Spirit’s timelessness lies only here. For in the holy instant, free of the past, you see that love is in you, and you have no need to look without and snatch love guiltily from where you thought it was.

All your relationships are blessed in the holy instant, because the blessing is not limited. In the holy instant the Sonship gains as one, and united in your blessing it becomes one to you. The meaning of love is the meaning God gave to it. Give to it any meaning apart from His, and it is impossible to understand it. God loves every brother as He loves you; neither less nor more. He needs them all equally, and so do you. In time, you have been told to offer miracles as I direct, and let the Holy Spirit bring to you those who are seeking you. Yet in the holy instant you unite directly with God, and all your brothers join in Christ. Those who are joined in Christ are in no way separate. For Christ is the Self the Sonship shares, as God shares His Self with Christ.

Think you that you can judge the Self of God? God has created It beyond judgement, out of His need to extend His Love. With love in you, you have no need except to extend it. In the holy instant there is no conflict of needs, for there is only one. For the holy instant reaches to eternity, and to the Mind of God. And it is only there love has meaning, and only there can it be understood.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 13

Lesson 129

Beyond this world there is a world I want.

1. This is the thought that follows from the one we practiced yesterday. You cannot stop with the idea the world is worthless, for unless you see that there is something else to hope for, you will only be depressed. Our emphasis is not on giving up the world, but on exchanging it for what is far more satisfying, filled with joy, and capable of offering you peace. Think you this world can offer that to you?

2. It might be worth a little time to think once more about the value of this world. Perhaps you will concede there is no loss in letting go all thought of value here. The world you see is merci­less indeed, unstable, cruel, unconcerned with you, quick to avenge and pitiless with hate. It gives but to rescind, and takes away all things that you have cherished for a while. No lasting love is found, for none is here. This is the world of time, where all things end.

3. Is it a loss to find a world instead where losing is impossible; where love endures forever, hate cannot exist and vengeance has no meaning? Is it loss to find all things you really want, and know they have no ending and they will remain exactly as you want them throughout time? Yet even they will be exchanged at last for what we cannot speak of, for you go from there to where words fail entirely, into a silence where the language is unspoken and yet surely understood.

4. Communication, unambiguous and plain as day, remains unlimited for all eternity. And God Himself speaks to His Son, as His Son speaks to Him. Their language has no words, for what They say cannot be symbolized. Their knowledge is direct and wholly shared and wholly one. How far away from this are you who stay bound to this world. And yet how near are you, when you exchange it for the world you want.

5. Now is the last step certain; now you stand an instant’s space away from timelessness. Here can you but look forward, never back to see again the world you do not want. Here is the world that comes to take its place, as you unbind your mind from little things the world sets forth to keep you prisoner. Value them not, and they will disappear. Esteem them, and they will seem real to you.

6. Such is the choice. What loss can be for you in choosing not to value nothingness? This world holds nothing that you really want, but what you choose instead you want indeed! Let it be given you today. It waits but for your choosing it, to take the place of all the things you seek but do not want.

7. Practice your willingness to make this change ten minutes in the morning and at night, and once more in between. Begin with this:

Beyond this world there is a world I want. I choose to see that world instead of this, for here is nothing that I really want.

Then close your eyes upon the world you see, and in the silent darkness watch the lights that are not of this world light one by one, until where one begins another ends loses all meaning as they blend in one.

8. Today the lights of Heaven bend to you, to shine upon your eyelids as you rest beyond the world of darkness. Here is light your eyes can not behold. And yet your mind can see it plainly, and can understand. A day of grace is given you today, and we give thanks. This day we realize that what you feared to lose was only loss.

9. Now do we understand there is no loss. For we have seen its opposite at last, and we are grateful that the choice is made. Remember your decision hourly, and take a moment to confirm your choice by laying by whatever thoughts you have, and dwelling briefly only upon this:

The world I see holds nothing that I want.
Beyond this world there is a world I want.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Can one be a student of A Course in Miracles and serve on a jury (be a doctor, lawyer, etc.) or remain with a partner who is not a student of the Course? Or should one be with a partner at all?  Isn’t that simply a form of specialness? 
A) These questions reflect the level confusion we have already considered, for they suggest that there are certain activities, occupations, or relationships that are more or less spiritual than others. For example, the underlying assumptions are that it is holier to become a teacher of A Course in Miracles than it is to serve in government or the armed forces. In other words, this assumption makes the error real, something Jesus distinctly cautions his students against doing. Indeed, the first law of chaos described in Chapter 23, and already referred to, explicitly states the ego’s principle that there “is a hierarchy of illusions” (T-23.II.2:3). 

As we have frequently stated in this book, the focus of the Course student should never be on specific behavior, but only on which voice is chosen as a guide for this behavior. Everything else is meaningless. Very often, difficult occupations provide the best classrooms in which to learn and practice the principle of forgiveness, which is based on the premise that nothing outside us can affect us in any way. It is only our minds’ choices for the ego that can bring us pain. Many years ago we were giving a workshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A man stood up and spoke of his work at Los Alamos, site of some of this country’s most significant nuclear weapons research and production. Several of the participants began to attack him for being a student of A Course in Miracles at the same time that he was involved in what they felt was bellicose and obviously ego-based activity. They clearly missed the whole point. What better classroom could there be for someone than to operate in the midst of such a blatant example of the ego thought system, and learn how to see it differently through the eyes of forgiveness, and especially how to see oneself differently. And is working on a nuclear bomb really any different from participation in any institution in the world, all of which deal with separation, specialness, and the perpetuation of the ego thought system? 

As for partners in relationships, the same principles and cautions apply. Over the years, we have heard many stories of couples who have broken up because one of the partners was not a Course student, as if that external condition were a prerequisite for a happy life together. The issue, naturally, is not that every couple should remain together, or that they should separate. However, using A Course in Miracles as an excuse for breaking up, or a reason for remaining together misses the whole point again. Very often, in fact, remaining with someone who is not a student of the Course may be the perfect classroom in which to learn that the heart of A Course in Miracles is its content of forgiveness, not the form in which that teaching comes. We shall return to this issue in the final chapter. 

The same mistakes occur on the “other side” of relationships; i.e., the belief that students of the Course should not be involved in any romantic or sexual relationships at all, not to mention getting married and having children, since that would clearly reflect special relationships. However, it has been forgotten that specialness exists not in a relationship between two people, but in the thoughts of a person who has preferred the ego’s individuality or specialness to the Holy Spirit’s Love. The lack that inevitably follows such a decision must lead to seeking outside oneself for help in filling that lack, what the Course would describe as the scarcity principle. That filling up the perceived inner lack is what A Course in Miracles means by special relationships. 

It is impossible to be born into this world without specialness, and it is simply denial that would lead students to believe that they are without this belief system. One of the core definitions the Course uses for specialness is substitution, and simply leaving Heaven — as all people in the world believe they have done — expresses the belief that the ego’s specialness is a worthy and worthwhile substitute for the Love of God. Therefore, the special relationship is the rule of the separated world, and rather than deny it, students of A Course in Miracles should accept this perceptual fact, and turn to Jesus or the Holy Spirit for help in learning the lessons of forgiveness that this valuable classroom offers under Their guidance. 

In other words, as we frequently remind students during our workshops and classes, when studying A Course in Miracles, students should above all not forget to be normal. And normal people serve on juries, become involved in litigation, carry insurance, get sick, become angry, laugh, cry, mourn the deaths of loved ones, have relationships, families, circles of friends, etc., etc., etc. The challenge is to be involved in all these normal human activities, but to do so differently — with Jesus instead of without him. Thus Jesus encourages his students to be like everyone else, but to be happy and peaceful: 

There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet (W-pI.155.1:1-3; italics ours).

Therefore, as we cautioned in our discussion of the previous question, students of A Course in Miracles should watch for their ego’s vigilance in judging other people’s responses or behaviors, or their own for that matter. Jesus’ loving judgment is always and only in terms of content — i.e., the inner teacher that is chosen — and never the form.And unless one has the egoless wisdom of the Holy Spirit, how can an observer possibly know which teacher has been chosen? 

infinite patience

 

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 12, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for May 12

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

IV. Practising the Holy Instant

This course is not beyond immediate learning, unless you believe that what God wills takes time. And this means only that you would rather delay the recognition that His Will is so. The holy instant is this instant and every instant. The one you want it to be it is. The one you would not have it be is lost to you. You must decide when it is. Delay it not. For beyond the past and future, where you will not find it, it stands in shimmering readiness for your acceptance. Yet you cannot bring it into glad awareness while you do not want it, for it holds the whole release from littleness.

Your practise must therefore rest upon your willingness to let all littleness go. The instant in which magnitude dawns upon you is but as far away as your desire for it. As long as you desire it not and cherish littleness instead, by so much is it far from you. By so much as you want it will you bring it nearer. Think not that you can find salvation in your own way and have it. Give over every plan you have made for your salvation in exchange for God’s. His will content you, and nothing else can bring you peace. For peace is of God, and no one beside Him.

Be humble before Him, and yet great in Him. And value no plan of the ego before the plan of God. For you leave empty your place in His plan, which you must fill if you would join with me, by your decision to join in any plan but His. I call you to fulfil your holy part in the plan that He has given to the world for its release from littleness. God would have His host abide in perfect freedom. Every allegiance to a plan of salvation apart from Him diminishes the value of His Will for you in your own mind. And yet it is your mind that is the host to Him.

Would you learn how perfect and immaculate is the holy altar on which your Father has placed Himself? This you will recognise in the holy instant, in which you willingly and gladly give over every plan but His. For there lies peace, perfectly clear because you have been willing to meet its conditions. You can claim the holy instant any time and anywhere you want it. In your practise, try to give over every plan you have accepted for finding magnitude in littleness. It is not there. Use the holy instant only to recognise that you alone cannot know where it is, and can only deceive yourself.

I stand within the holy instant, as clear as you would have me. And the extent to which you learn to accept me is the measure of the time in which the holy instant will be yours. I call to you to make the holy instant yours at once, for the release from littleness in the mind of the host of God depends on willingness, and not on time.

The reason this course is simple is that truth is simple. Complexity is of the ego, and is nothing more than the ego’s attempt to obscure the obvious. You could live forever in the holy instant, beginning now and reaching to eternity, but for a very simple reason. Do not obscure the simplicity of this reason, for if you do, it will be only because you prefer not to recognise it and not to let it go. The simple reason, simply stated, is this: The holy instant is a time in which you receive and give perfect communication. This means, however, that it is a time in which your mind is open, both to receive and give. It is the recognition that all minds are in communication. It therefore seeks to change nothing, but merely to accept everything.

How can you do this when you would prefer to have private thoughts and keep them? The only way you could do that would be to deny the perfect communication that makes the holy instant what it is. You believe you can harbour thoughts you would not share, and that salvation lies in keeping thoughts to yourself alone. For in private thoughts, known only to yourself, you think you find a way to keep what you would have alone, and share what you would share. And then you wonder why it is that you are not in full communication with those around you, and with God Who surrounds all of you together.

Every thought you would keep hidden shuts communication off, because you would have it so. It is impossible to recognise perfect communication while breaking communication holds value to you. Ask yourself honestly, ‘Would I want to have perfect communication, and am I wholly willing to let everything that interferes with it go forever?’ If the answer is no, then the Holy Spirit’s readiness to give it to you is not enough to make it yours, for you are not ready to share it with Him. And it cannot come into a mind that has decided to oppose it. For the holy instant is given and received with equal willingness, being the acceptance of the single Will that governs all thought.

The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep. Innocence is not of your making. It is given you the instant you would have it. Atonement would not be if there were no need for it. You will not be able to accept perfect communication as long as you would hide it from yourself. For what you would hide is hidden from you. In your practise, then, try only to be vigilant against deception, and seek not to protect the thoughts you would keep to yourself. Let the Holy Spirit’s purity shine them away, and bring all your awareness to the readiness for purity He offers you. Thus will He make you ready to acknowledge that you are host to God, and hostage to no one and to nothing.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 12

Lesson 128

The world I see holds nothing that I want.

1. The world you see holds nothing that you need to offer you; nothing that you can use in any way, nor anything at all that serves to give you joy. Believe this thought, and you are saved from years of misery, from countless disappointments, and from hopes that turn to bitter ashes of despair. No one but must accept this thought as true, if he would leave the world behind and soar beyond its petty scope and little ways.

2. Each thing you value here is but a chain that binds you to the world, and it will serve no other end but this. For everything must serve the purpose you have given it, until you see a differ­ent purpose there. The only purpose worthy of your mind this world contains is that you pass it by, without delaying to perceive some hope where there is none. Be you deceived no more. The world you see holds nothing that you want.

3. Escape today the chains you place upon your mind when you perceive salvation here. For what you value you make part of you as you perceive yourself. All things you seek to make your value greater in your sight limit you further, hide your worth from you, and add another bar across the door that leads to true awareness of your Self.

4. Let nothing that relates to body thoughts delay your progress to salvation, nor permit temptation to believe the world holds anything you want to hold you back. Nothing is here to cherish. Nothing here is worth one instant of delay and pain; one mo­ment of uncertainty and doubt. The worthless offer nothing. Certainty of worth can not be found in worthlessness.

5. Today we practice letting go all thought of values we have given to the world. We leave it free of purposes we gave its as­pects and its phases and its dreams. We hold it purposeless within our minds, and loosen it from all we wish it were. Thus do we lift the chains that bar the door to freedom from the world, and go beyond all little values and diminished goals.

6. Pause and be still a little while, and see how far you rise above the world, when you release your mind from chains and let it seek the level where it finds itself at home. It will be grateful to be free a while. It knows where it belongs. But free its wings, and it will fly in sureness and in joy to join its holy purpose. Let it rest in its Creator, there to be restored to sanity, to freedom and to love.

7. Give it ten minutes rest three times today. And when your eyes are opened afterwards, you will not value anything you see as much as when you looked at it before. Your whole perspec­tive on the world will shift by just a little, every time you let your mind escape its chains. The world is not where it belongs. And you belong where it would be, and where it goes to rest when you release it from the world. Your Guide is sure. Open your mind to Him. Be still and rest.

8. Protect your mind throughout the day as well. And when you think you see some value in an aspect or an image of the world, refuse to lay this chain upon your mind, but tell yourself with quiet certainty:

This will not tempt me to delay myself.
The world I see holds nothing that I want.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does being defenseless mean I should let someone kill or rape me, or stand by while violence is committed against loved ones or others? 

A) We begin by stating that defenselessness is a thought of the right mind, an attitude based upon the Holy Spirit’s thought system that the Son of God is innocent and sinless, and therefore invulnerable. If there is no sin there can be no guilt. And without guilt there can be no projection, which means there can be no fear of being attacked. Guilt, as the Course teaches, demands punishment: if no guilt exists, fear of punishment is also non-existent. Finally, without fear of Punishment from without, there is no need for defenses within, and so the true state of defenselessness is the thought of innocence and invulnerability. 

This does not then mean that a right-minded person’s behavior is necessarily what the world thinks of as defenseless. The meaning of spiritual defenselessness is often distorted, so that people think they must be totally passive, like doormats, to be defenseless. To let others do violence to oneself, a loved one, or anyone else, very often is allowing those persons to act in a manner that would not only be harmful to their “victims,” but to themselves as well by reinforcing their own guilt over their separation from God and from the rest of the Sonship. Acting behaviorally to “protect” oneself can actually then be following the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the mind to be loving. It is not the formof the behavior that reflects defenselessness, but the content of the mind’s thought. 

Both our professional experiences offered examples of this principle. My (Kenneth’s) first employment as a psychologist was working with disturbed children in a special school. These were children ranging from ages five to thirteen, many of whom had severe behavioral problems which often manifested in their acting violently towards themselves and others. I devised a way that I could control their behavior by getting them to the floor, wrapping my legs and arms around them in such manner that they were not hurt, but were unable to kick, punch, bite, scratch, or harm anyone. Thus by preventing their attempts at behavioral violence, I was able eventually to calm them down. My behavior could have looked to an observer as defensive, although obviously its purpose was only to help. 

During my tenure as teacher and dean in a New York City high school, I (Gloria) many times had to have teens suspended from school or arrested for various kinds of violent behavior and use of weapons. My intervention, too, could have been interpreted by an observer as defensive. Yet, checking out my responses as best I could with Jesus as to how I should proceed, resulted in — paraphrasing from the text — setting a limit on the teenagers’ ability to miscreate (T-2.III.3:3). Thus they were prevented from acting out more murderous thoughts which would have resulted in a greater reinforcement of their guilt. I always felt it was my responsibility as dean, which was a dream role I scripted, to get myself out of the way to the best of my ability so that I could access the correction script of the Holy Spirit in these difficult circumstances. I had the little willingness A Course in Miracles speaks about, but I sometimes wondered in my early days with the Course, why I scripted such seemingly difficult situations! 

For us to have acted otherwise — i.e., to have been behaviorally passive or “defenseless” in the face of such aggressive actions — would have been as unloving as it would be to let a rapist brutally assault your wife or daughter while you are standing by mouthing Course “platitudes” about not being a body, how love does not defend itself, etc. As with everything related to the teachings of A Course in Miracles, it is the content or purpose that supplies the meaning to our actions, and the only true meaning comes from Jesus or the Holy Spirit in our minds. Their love is abstract and non-specific, and always the same. Yet this love is expressed through the specific expressions of our individuality, and therefore differs from one person to the next. Thus, only one with the wisdom of Jesus would be in a position to justly and fairly evaluate another’s actions. For anyone else it would be foolhardy and arrogant to make such judgments. As he instructs us in the manual for teachers: 

In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come…. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgment would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself… Make then but one more judgment. It is this: There is Someone with you Whose judgment  is perfect (M-10.3:3,5-7; 4:6-7).

And so the bottom line is always to ask Jesus or the Holy Spirit for help before we respond to a difficult situation, as well as to ask Their help before attempting to judge another’s response in a difficult situation. 

today belongs to love

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 11, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for May 11

Chapter 5 ~ The Holy Instant

III. Littleness versus Magnitude

Be not content with littleness. But be sure you understand what littleness is, and why you could never be content with it. Littleness is the offering you give yourself. You offer this in place of magnitude, and you accept it. Everything in this world is little because it is a world made out of littleness, in the strange belief that littleness can content you. When you strive for anything in this world in the belief that it will bring you peace, you are belittling yourself and blinding yourself to glory. Littleness and glory are the choices open to your striving and your vigilance. You will always choose one at the expense of the other.

Yet what you do not realise, each time you choose, is that your choice is your evaluation of yourself. Choose littleness and you will not have peace, for you will have judged yourself unworthy of it. And whatever you offer as a substitute is much too poor a gift to satisfy you. It is essential that you accept the fact, and accept it gladly, that there is no form of littleness that can ever content you. You are free to try as many as you wish, but all you will be doing is to delay your homecoming. For you will be content only in magnitude, which is your home.

There is a deep responsibility you owe yourself, and one you must learn to remember all the time. The lesson may seem hard at first, but you will learn to love it when you realise that it is true and is but a tribute to your power. You who have sought and found littleness, remember this: Every decision you make stems from what you think you are, and represents the value that you put upon yourself. Believe the little can content you, and by limiting yourself you will not be satisfied. For your function is not little, and it is only by finding your function and fulfilling it that you can escape from littleness.

There is no doubt about what your function is, for the Holy Spirit knows what it is. There is no doubt about its magnitude, for it reaches you through Him from Magnitude. You do not have to strive for it, because you have it. All striving must be directed against littleness, for it does require vigilance to protect your magnitude in this world. To hold your magnitude in perfect awareness in a world of littleness is a task the little cannot undertake. Yet it is asked of you, in tribute to your magnitude and not your littleness. Nor is it asked of you alone. The power of God will support every effort you make on behalf of His dear Son. Search for the little, and you deny yourself His power. God is not willing that His Son be content with less than everything. For He is not content without His Son, and His Son cannot be content with less than His Father has given him.

I asked you earlier, ‘Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God’? Let this question be asked you by the Holy Spirit every time you make a decision. For every decision you make does answer this, and invites sorrow or joy accordingly. When God gave Himself to you in your creation, He established you as host to Him forever. He has not left you, and you have not left Him. All your attempts to deny His magnitude, and make His Son hostage to the ego, cannot make little whom God has joined with Him. Every decision you make is for Heaven or for hell, and brings you the awareness of what you decided for.

The Holy Spirit can hold your magnitude, clean of all littleness, clearly and in perfect safety in your mind, untouched by every little gift the world of littleness would offer you. But for this, you cannot side against Him in what He wills for you. Decide for God through Him. For littleness, and the belief that you can be content with littleness, are decisions you make about yourself. The power and the glory that lie in you from God are for all who, like you, perceive themselves as little, and believe that littleness can be blown up into a sense of magnitude that can content them. Neither give littleness, nor accept it. All honour is due the host of God. Your littleness deceives you, but your magnitude is of Him Who dwells in you, and in Whom you dwell. Touch no one, then, with littleness in the Name of Christ, eternal Host unto His Father.

In this season (Christmas) which celebrates the birth of holiness into this world, join with me who decided for holiness for you. It is our task together to restore the awareness of magnitude to the host whom God appointed for Himself. It is beyond all your littleness to give the gift of God, but not beyond you. For God would give Himself through you. He reaches from you to everyone and beyond everyone to His Son’s creations, but without leaving you. Far beyond your little world but still in you, He extends forever. Yet He brings all His extensions to you, as host to Him.

Is it a sacrifice to leave littleness behind, and wander not in vain? It is not sacrifice to wake to glory. But it is sacrifice to accept anything less than glory. Learn that you must be worthy of the Prince of Peace, born in you in honour of Him Whose host you are. You know not what love means because you have sought to purchase it with little gifts, thus valuing it too little to understand its magnitude. Love is not little and love dwells in you, for you are host to Him. Before the greatness that lives in you, your poor appreciation of yourself and all the little offerings you give slip into nothingness.

Holy child of God, when will you learn that only holiness can content you and give you peace? Remember that you learn not for yourself alone, no more than I did. It is because I learned for you that you can learn of me. I would but teach you what is yours, so that together we can replace the shabby littleness that binds the host of God to guilt and weakness with the glad awareness of the glory that is in him. My birth in you is your awakening to grandeur. Welcome me not into a manger, but into the altar to holiness, where holiness abides in perfect peace. My Kingdom is not of this world because it is in you. And you are of your Father. Let us join in honouring you, who must remain forever beyond littleness.

Decide with me, who has decided to abide with you. I will as my Father wills, knowing His Will is constant and at peace forever with itself. You will be content with nothing but His Will. Accept no less, remembering that everything I learned is yours. What my Father loves I love as He does, and I can no more accept it as what it is not, than He can. And no more can you. When you have learned to accept what you are, you will make no more gifts to offer to yourself, for you will know you are complete, in need of nothing, and unable to accept anything for yourself. But you will gladly give, having received. The host of God needs not seek to find anything.

If you are wholly willing to leave salvation to the plan of God and unwilling to attempt to grasp for peace yourself, salvation will be given you. Yet think not you can substitute your plan for His. Rather, join with me in His, that we may release all those who would be bound, proclaiming together that the Son of God is host to Him. Thus will we let no one forget what you would remember. And thus will you remember it.

Call forth in everyone only the remembrance of God, and of the Heaven that is in him. For where you would have your brother be, there will you think you are. Hear not his appeal to hell and littleness, but only his call for Heaven and greatness. Forget not that his call is yours, and answer him with me. God’s power is forever on the side of His host, for it protects only the peace in which He dwells. Lay not littleness before His holy altar, which rises above the stars and reaches even to Heaven, because of what is given it.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 11

Lesson 127

There is no love but God’s

1. Perhaps you think that different kinds of love are possible. Perhaps you think there is a kind of love for this, a kind for that; a way of loving one, another way of loving still another. Love is one. It has no separate parts and no degrees; no kinds nor levels, no divergencies and no distinctions. It is like itself, unchanged throughout. It never alters with a person or a circumstance. It is the Heart of God, and also of His Son.

2. Love’s meaning is obscure to anyone who thinks that love can change. He does not see that changing love must be impossible. And thus he thinks that he can love at times, and hate at other times. He also thinks that love can be bestowed on one, and yet remain itself although it is withheld from others. To believe these things of love is not to understand it. If it could make such distinctions, it would have to judge between the righteous and the sinner, and perceive the Son of God in separate parts.

3. Love cannot judge. As it is one itself, it looks on all as one. Its meaning lies in oneness. And it must elude the mind that thinks of it as partial or in part. There is no love but God’s, and all of love is His. There is no other principle that rules where love is not. Love is a law without an opposite. Its wholeness is the power holding everything as one, the link between the Father and the Son which holds Them both forever as the same.

4. No course whose purpose is to teach you to remember what you really are could fail to emphasize that there can never be a difference in what you really are and what love is. Love’s mean­ing is your own, and shared by God Himself. For what you are is what He is. There is no love but His, and what He is, is every­thing there is. There is no limit placed upon Himself, and so are you unlimited as well.

5. No law the world obeys can help you grasp love’s meaning. What the world believes was made to hide love’s meaning, and to keep it dark and secret. There is not one principle the world upholds but violates the truth of what love is, and what you are as well.

6. Seek not within the world to find your Self. Love is not found in darkness and in death. Yet it is perfectly apparent to the eyes that see and ears that hear love’s Voice. Today we practice mak­ing free your mind of all the laws you think you must obey; of all the limits under which you live, and all the changes that you think are part of human destiny. Today we take the largest single step this course requests in your advance towards its established goal.

7. If you achieve the faintest glimmering of what love means today, you have advanced in distance without measure and in time beyond the count of years to your release. Let us together, then, be glad to give some time to God today, and understand there is no better use for time than this.

8. For fifteen minutes twice today escape from every law in which you now believe. Open your mind and rest. The world that seems to hold you prisoner can be escaped by anyone who does not hold it dear. Withdraw all value you have placed upon its meager offerings and senseless gifts, and let the gift of God replace them all.

9. Call to your Father, certain that His Voice will answer. He Himself has promised this. And He Himself will place a spark of truth within your mind wherever you give up a false belief, a dark illusion of your own reality and what love means. He will shine through your idle thoughts today, and help you under­stand the truth of love. In loving gentleness He will abide with you, as you allow His Voice to teach love’s meaning to your clean and open mind. And He will bless the lesson with His Love.

10. Today the legion of the future years of waiting for salvation disappears before the timelessness of what you learn. Let us give thanks today that we are spared a future like the past. Today we leave the past behind us, nevermore to be remembered. And we raise our eyes upon a different present, where a future dawns unlike the past in every attribute.

11. The world in infancy is newly born. And we will watch it grow in health and strength, to shed its blessing upon all who come to learn to cast aside the world they thought was made in hate to be love’s enemy. Now are they all made free, along with us. Now are they all our brothers in God’s Love.

12. We will remember them throughout the day, because we cannot leave a part of us outside our love if we would know our Self. At least three times an hour think of one who makes the journey with you, and who came to learn what you must learn. And as he comes to mind, give him this message from your Self:

I bless you, brother, with the Love of God, which I would share with you. For I would learn the joyous lesson that there is no love but God’s and yours and mine and everyone’s.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Since all sickness is a projection of the mind’s guilt, does this mean that it is wrong to take medicine for physical pain? 

A) Absolutely not. As we have just explained, the Course’s “morality”– whether any particular behavior is “right” or ” wrong”– depends only on which voice we choose to listen to. And there certainly could be instances when the guidance of Jesus would be to take medication or pain-killers. Above all, as is seen throughout A Course in Miracles, his teaching and guidance is gentle and loving, which is exemplified in an extremely important passage near the beginning of the text. It specifically addresses this issue of taking medicine, a form of what the Course refers to as magic. The passage is particularly important because of the tendency for students of A Course in Miracles to judgmentally use its teachings against themselves or others. It is also an excellent example of the integration of what we have frequently referred to as the two levels of the Course: Level I — the metaphysical foundation of the Course’s teachings that contrasts the reality of God and Christ with the ego’s illusory world; and Level II — the part of the Course’s teachings that focuses only on the world of illusion, the dream. On this level, the truth is the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the world as a classroom in which we learn forgiveness, contrasted with the illusion that is the ego’s vicious use of the world to advance its own specialness. The passage begins with a metaphysical statement about the illusory nature of the body, and then Jesus gently shifts the focus to the experience of his students when they are gripped with fear: 

All material means that you accept as remedies for bodily ills are restatements of magic principles. This is the first step in believing that the body makes its own illness. It is a second misstep to attempt to heal it through non-creative agents. It does not follow, however, that the use of such agents for corrective purposes is evil. Sometimes the illness has a sufficiently strong hold over the mind to render a person temporarily inaccessible to the Atonement. In this case it may be wise to utilize a compromise approach to mind and body, in which something from the outside is temporarily given healing belief. This is because the last thing that can help the non-right-minded, or the sick, is an increase in fear.  They are already in a fear-weakened state. If they are prematurely exposed to a miracle, they may be precipitated into panic. This is likely to occur when upside-down perception has induced the belief that miracles are frightening (T-2.IV.4; italics ours).

From a reading of other passages in the Course, it is apparent that since the origin and content of all dreams is fear, everyone in this world is in a fear state. Moreover, there is an inherent fear of the power of the miracle to release us from all defenses that “protect” us from the “threat” of God’s Love. Sickness and pain constitute essential aspects of the ego’s plan of protection, since they rivet our attention on our bodies and away from our Identity as spirit, the memory of which is held for us by the Holy Spirit in our right minds (see workbook Lesson 136, “Sickness is a defense against the truth”). Therefore we usually need the “compromise approach” Jesus mentions above. And so very often, a decision to ask the Holy Spirit for help instead of the ego — because of our fear — needs to be expressed in material form, as Jesus explains in this passage from the manual: 

The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of  healing. And this is so for healing in all forms. A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers. If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed. Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself. The outcome is what he decides that it is. Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice. He chooses then in order to bring tangible form to his desires. And it is this they do, and nothing else. They are not actually needed at all. The patient could merely rise up without their aid and say, “I have no use for this.”  There is no form of sickness that would not be cured at once (M-5.II.2; italics ours).

Therefore, taking medicine can actually be an expression of students’ asking Jesus for help, and accepting that help in the form that does not reinforce their fear of the power of their minds to heal. The fear is exacerbated because the ego’s thought of attacking God and usurping His role as First Cause is also found in the mind. And so returning to the mind its power to decide for God, also calls forth the memory of its misuse of that power to choose against Him. The guilt acts almost as an electric grid that emits a shock whenever it is approached, recoiling us from our goal. And so often our asking Jesus for help in our minds needs to be “compromised” by mediating that help through the body. This dynamic is reflected in the following paragraph, part of which we quoted earlier: 

The value of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed.  In fact, if it is used truly, it will inevitably be expressed in whatever way is most helpful to the receiver. This means that a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language that the recipient can understand without fear. This does not necessarily mean that this is the highest level of communication of which he is capable. It does mean, however, that it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable now. The whole aim of the miracle is to raise the level of communication, not to lower it by increasing fear (T-2.IV.5).

Even though taking medicine is, on one level, expressing the “misstep to attempt to heal … through non-creative agents,” on another level — as we have already discussed — it reflects turning to Jesus for help and accepting it on the only level that does not reinforce fear. To exclude such behavior in the name of the teachings of A Course in Miracles is subtly to make the body real by stating that certain behaviors are “evil” or “wrong.” In the words of Hamlet: “There is nothing right or wrong, but thinking makes it so.” And our thinking can express either the “wrong” thought system of the ego, or the “right” one of the Holy Spirit. Our actions simply mirror the decision our minds have made. However, as we shall discuss in the next question, it is a mistake to attempt to understand which teacher has been chosen based upon observable actions. 

ghost-mirror copy

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 10, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for May 10

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

II. The End of Doubt

The Atonement is in time, but not for time. Being in you, it is eternal. What holds remembrance of God cannot be bound by time. No more are you. For unless God is bound, you cannot be. An instant offered to the Holy Spirit is offered to God on your behalf, and in that instant you will awaken gently in Him. In the blessed instant you will let go all your past learning, and the Holy Spirit will quickly offer you the whole lesson of peace. What can take time, when all the obstacles to learning it have been removed? Truth is so far beyond time that all of it happens at once. For as it was created one, so its oneness depends not on time at all.

Do not be concerned with time, and fear not the instant of holiness that will remove all fear. For the instant of peace is eternal because it is without fear. It will come, being the lesson God gives you, through the Teacher He has appointed to translate time into eternity. Blessed is God’s Teacher, Whose joy it is to teach God’s holy Son his holiness. His joy is not contained in time. His teaching is for you because His joy is yours. Through Him you stand before God’s altar, where He gently translates hell into Heaven. For it is only in Heaven that God would have you be.

How long can it take to be where God would have you? For you are where you have forever been and will forever be. All that you have, you have forever. The blessed instant reaches out to encompass time, as God extends Himself to encompass you. You who have spent days, hours and even years in chaining your brothers to your ego in an attempt to support it and uphold its weakness, do not perceive the Source of strength. In this holy instant you will unchain all your brothers, and refuse to support either their weakness or your own.

You do not realise how much you have misused your brothers by seeing them as sources of ego support. As a result, they witness to the ego in your perception, and seem to provide reasons for not letting it go. Yet they are far stronger and much more compelling witnesses for the Holy Spirit. And they support His strength. It is, therefore, your choice whether they support the ego or the Holy Spirit in you. And you will recognise which you have chosen by their reactions. A Son of God who has been released through the Holy Spirit in a brother is always recognised. He cannot be denied. If you remain uncertain, it is only because you have not given complete release. And because of this, you have not given a single instant completely to the Holy Spirit. For when you have, you will be sure you have. You will be sure because the witness to Him will speak so clearly of Him that you will hear and understand. You will doubt until you hear one witness whom you have wholly released through the Holy Spirit. And then you will doubt no more.

The holy instant has not yet happened to you. Yet it will, and you will recognise it with perfect certainty. No gift of God is recognised in any other way. You can practise the mechanics of the holy instant, and will learn much from doing so. Yet its shining and glittering brilliance, which will literally blind you to this world by its own vision, you cannot supply. And here it is, all in this instant, complete, accomplished and given wholly.

Start now to practise your little part in separating out the holy instant. You will receive very specific instructions as you go along. To learn to separate out this single second, and to experience it as timeless, is to begin to experience yourself as not separate. Fear not that you will not be given help in this. God’s Teacher and His lesson will support your strength. It is only your weakness that will depart from you in this practise, for it is the practise of the power of God in you. Use it but for one instant, and you will never deny it again. Who can deny the Presence of what the universe bows to, in appreciation and gladness? Before the recognition of the universe that witnesses to It, your doubts must disappear.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 10

Lesson 126

All that I give is given to myself.

1. Today’s idea, completely alien to the ego and the thinking of the world, is crucial to the thought reversal that this course will bring about. If you believed this statement, there would be no problem in complete forgiveness, certainty of goal, and sure direction. You would understand the means by which salvation comes to you, and would not hesitate to use it now.

2. Let us consider what you do believe, in place of this idea. It seems to you that other people are apart from you, and able to behave in ways which have no bearing on your thoughts, nor yours on theirs. Therefore, your attitudes have no effect on them, and their appeals for help are not in any way related to your own. You further think that they can sin without affecting your perception of yourself, while you can judge their sin, and yet remain apart from condemnation and at peace.

3. When you “forgive” a sin, there is no gain to you directly. You give charity to one unworthy, merely to point out that you are better, on a higher plane than he whom you forgive. He has not earned your charitable tolerance, which you bestow on one unworthy of the gift, because his sins have lowered him beneath a true equality with you. He has no claim on your forgiveness. It holds out a gift to him, but hardly to yourself.

4. Thus is forgiveness basically unsound; a charitable whim, benevolent yet undeserved, a gift bestowed at times, at other times withheld. Unmerited, withholding it is just, nor is it fair that you should suffer when it is withheld. The sin that you forgive is not your own. Someone apart from you committed it. And if you then are gracious unto him by giving him what he does not deserve, the gift is no more yours than was his sin.

5. If this be true, forgiveness has no grounds on which to rest dependably and sure. It is an eccentricity, in which you sometimes choose to give indulgently an undeserved reprieve. Yet it remains your right to let the sinner not escape the justified repay­ment for his sin. Think you the Lord of Heaven would allow the world’s salvation to depend on this? Would not His care for you be small indeed, if your salvation rested on a whim?

6. You do not understand forgiveness. As you see it, it is but a check upon overt attack, without requiring correction in your mind. It cannot give you peace as you perceive it. It is not a means for your release from what you see in someone other than yourself. It has no power to restore your unity with him to your awareness. It is not what God intended it to be for you.

7. Not having given Him the gift He asks of you, you cannot recognize His gifts, and think He has not given them to you. Yet would He ask you for a gift unless it was for you? Could He be satisfied with empty gestures, and evaluate such petty gifts as worthy of His Son? Salvation is a better gift than this. And true forgiveness, as the means by which it is attained, must heal the mind that gives, for giving is receiving. What remains as unreceived has not been given, but what has been given must have been received.

8. Today we try to understand the truth that giver and receiver are the same. You will need help to make this meaningful, because it is so alien to the thoughts to which you are accustomed. But the Help you need is there. Give Him your faith today, and ask Him that He share your practicing in truth today. And if you only catch a tiny glimpse of the release that lies in the idea we practice for today, this is a day of glory for the world.

9. Give fifteen minutes twice today to the attempt to understand today’s idea. It is the thought by which forgiveness takes its proper place in your priorities. It is the thought that will release your mind from every bar to what forgiveness means, and let you realize its worth to you.

10. In silence, close your eyes upon the world that does not under­stand forgiveness, and seek sanctuary in the quiet place where thoughts are changed and false beliefs laid by. Repeat today’s idea, and ask for help in understanding what it really means. Be willing to be taught. Be glad to hear the Voice of truth and heal­ing speak to you, and you will understand the words He speaks, and recognize He speaks your words to you.

11. As often as you can, remind yourself you have a goal today; an aim which makes this day of special value to yourself and all your brothers. Do not let your mind forget this goal for long, but tell yourself:

All that I give is given to myself. The Help I need to learn that this is true is with me now. And I will trust in Him.

Then spend a quiet moment, opening your mind to His correction and His Love. And what you hear of Him you will believe, for what He gives will be received by you.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does A Course in Miracles have a morality, or a code of ethics? 

A) The answer to this question depends on how morality is defined. The dictionary defines the term as a set of rules or principles of conduct; a system of morals or ethics that defines what is right and what is wrong.  Looking at the first part of the definition, A Course in Miracles does not present a set of rules on how one should act in the world, but it most definitely presents a schemata of the post-separation split mind divided into a wrong and right mind, the respective domains of the ego and the Holy Spirit. 

From a historical point of view, homo sapiens’ sojourn on this planet has been anything but moral, even though civilization after civilization has enacted moral codes that govern the affairs of the everyday life of its citizens. If the inhabitants of any society, nation-state, or civilization are operating from the belief in scarcity, the principle of lack which governs the entire thought system of the ego, the moral codes and laws will inevitably reflect this choice. And the blood-drenched events of history are witnesses to the ego’s thought system of “kill or be killed” that is the unconscious underpinning of all the moralities of the world. 

Therefore, even though a system of morality might espouse noble ideals, if its origin were the wrong mind, it could never bring about a correction for what is deemed immoral or amoral. Furthermore, how is a society to determine what is right or wrong, and who should be the ones to make such decisions?  If one studies the cultures of the past and present, amazement will result when one objectively looks at what is considered right or wrong by any group of people throughout the span of time. For example, during the Inquisition it was considered the highest morality to seek, find, and punish those who did not agree with the Roman Catholic Church, whose teachings were believed to have come from God and Jesus. So, in Their Names, heretics were tortured and killed. Basically then, the group that holds religious, economic, or political power in any society, depending on whether it is a theocratic or secular state, determines what is right and wrong. 

A Course in Miracles presents us with a new mode of being in this dream world that is far beyond any morality or rules of conduct to which the world pays homage. This new mode of being asks us to become aware of the thoughts of our wrong minds, and then to ask for help in switching to a correction that already exists in our right minds. In order to accomplish this, we must get our ego selves out of the way and let go of any moral values, desires, or investments in any outcomes, whether they involve conduct, rules, or expectations. The following exhortation from the workbook clearly summarizes this approach of undoing all that we had believed before, so that the Wisdom of God can speak to us and guide our thoughts, words, and behavior: 

Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is;  all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself.  Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of  every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto  nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you  ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come  with wholly empty hands unto your God. Is it not He Who knows the way to you? You need not know the way to Him. Your  part is simply to allow all obstacles that you have interposed between the Son and  God the Father to be quietly removed forever. God will do His part in joyful and  immediate response (W-pI.189.7:1-8:4).

Therefore, from the perspective of A Course in Miracles, what is “right” is accessing the right mind and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit or Jesus; while what is “wrong” is choosing the wrong mind and listening to the insane voice of the ego’s thought system of specialness. We could thus coin a new term — non-normative ethics — to denote the Course’s unique code for living in this world. What fosters this morality is the daily practice of forgiveness, which undoes the blocks to the presence of the Holy Spirit’s Love and wisdom that can flow through our minds to guide our behavior. As Jesus so movingly writes in the workbook: 

For this alone I need; that you will hear the words I speak, and give them to the world.  You are my voice, my eyes, my feet, my hands through which I save the world (W-pI.rV.in.9:2-3).

infinite patience

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for May 9, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for May 9

Chapter 15

THE HOLY INSTANT

I. The Two Uses of Time

Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time? Yet that is what time is for; to learn just that and nothing more. God’s Teacher cannot be satisfied with His teaching until it constitutes all your learning. He has not fulfilled His teaching function until you have become such a consistent learner that you learn only of Him. When this has happened, you will no longer need a teacher or time in which to learn.

One source of perceived discouragement from which you may suffer is your belief that this takes time, and that the results of the Holy Spirit’s teaching are far in the future. This is not so. For the Holy Spirit uses time in His Own way, and is not bound by it. Time is His friend in teaching. It does not waste Him, as it does you. And all the waste that time seems to bring with it is due but to your identification with the ego, which uses time to support its belief in destruction. The ego, like the Holy Spirit, uses time to convince you of the inevitability of the goal and end of teaching. To the ego the goal is death, which is its end. But to the Holy Spirit the goal is life, which has no end.

The ego is an ally of time, but not a friend. For it is as mistrustful of death as it is of life, and what it wants for you it cannot tolerate. The ego wants you dead, but not itself. The outcome of its strange religion must therefore be the conviction that it can pursue you beyond the grave. And out of its unwillingness for you to find peace even in death, it offers you immortality in hell. It speaks to you of Heaven, but assures you that Heaven is not for you. How can the guilty hope for Heaven?

The belief in hell is inescapable to those who identify with the ego. Their nightmares and their fears are all associated with it. The ego teaches that hell is in the future, for this is what all its teaching is directed to. Hell is its goal. For although the ego aims at death and dissolution as an end, it does not believe it. The goal of death, which it craves for you, leaves it unsatisfied. No one who follows the ego’s teaching is without the fear of death. Yet if death were thought of merely as an end to pain, would it be feared? We have seen this strange paradox in the ego’s thought system before, but never so clearly as here. For the ego must seem to keep fear from you to hold your allegiance. Yet it must engender fear in order to maintain itself. Again the ego tries, and all too frequently succeeds, in doing both, by using dissociation for holding its contradictory aims together so that they seem to be reconciled. The ego teaches thus: Death is the end as far as hope of Heaven goes. Yet because you and the ego cannot be separated, and because it cannot conceive of its own death, it will pursue you still, because guilt is eternal. Such is the ego’s version of immortality. And it is this the ego’s version of time supports.

The ego teaches that Heaven is here and now because the future is hell. Even when it attacks so savagely that it tries to take the life of someone who thinks its is the only voice, it speaks of hell even to him. For it tells him hell is here as well, and bids him leap from hell into oblivion. The only time the ego allows anyone to look upon with equanimity is the past. And even there, its only value is that it is no more.

How bleak and despairing is the ego’s use of time! And how terrifying! For underneath its fanatical insistence that the past and future be the same is hidden a far more insidious threat to peace. The ego does not advertise its final threat, for it would have its worshippers still believe that it can offer them escape. But the belief in guilt must lead to the belief in hell, and always does. The only way in which the ego allows the fear of hell to be experienced is to bring hell here, but always as a foretaste of the future. For no one who considers himself as deserving of hell can believe that punishment will end in peace.

The Holy Spirit teaches thus: There is no hell. Hell is only what the ego has made of the present. The belief in hell is what prevents you from understanding the present, because you are afraid of it. The Holy Spirit leads as steadily to Heaven as the ego drives to hell. For the Holy Spirit, who knows only the present, uses it to undo the fear by which the ego would make the present useless. There is no escape from fear in the ego’s use of time. For time, according to its teaching, is nothing but a teaching device for compounding guilt until it becomes all-encompassing, demanding vengeance forever.

The Holy Spirit would undo all of this now. Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist. There is no fear in the present when each instant stands clear and separated from the past, without its shadow reaching out into the future. Each instant is a clean, untarnished birth, in which the Son of God emerges from the past into the present. And the present extends forever. It is so beautiful and so clean and free of guilt that nothing but happiness is there. No darkness is remembered, and immortality and joy are now.

This lesson takes no time. For what is time without a past and future? It has taken time to misguide you so completely, but it takes no time at all to be what you are. Begin to practise the Holy Spirit’s use of time as a teaching aid to happiness and peace. Take this very instant, now, and think of it as all there is of time. Nothing can reach you here out of the past, and it is here that you are completely absolved, completely free and wholly without condemnation. From this holy instant wherein holiness was born again you will go forth in time without fear, and with no sense of change with time.

Time is inconceivable without change, yet holiness does not change. Learn from this instant more than merely that hell does not exist. In this redeeming instant lies Heaven. And Heaven will not change, for the birth into the holy present is salvation from change. Change is an illusion, taught by those who cannot see themselves as guiltless. There is no change in Heaven because there is no change in God. In the holy instant, in which you see yourself as bright with freedom, you will remember God. For remembering Him is to remember freedom.

If you are tempted to be dispirited by thinking how long it would take to change your mind so completely, ask yourself, ‘How long is an instant?’ Could you not give so short a time to the Holy Spirit for your salvation? He asks no more, for He has no need of more. It takes far longer to teach you to be willing to give Him this than for Him to use this tiny instant to offer you the whole of Heaven. In exchange for this instant He stands ready to give you the remembrance of eternity.

You will never give this holy instant to the Holy Spirit on behalf of your release while you are unwilling to give it to your brothers on behalf of theirs. For the instant of holiness is shared, and cannot be yours alone. Remember, then, when you are tempted to attack a brother, that his instant of release is yours. Miracles are the instants of release you offer, and will receive. They attest to your willingness to be released, and to offer time to the Holy Spirit for His use of it.

How long is an instant? It is as short for your brother as it is for you. Practise giving this blessed instant of freedom to all who are enslaved by time, and thus make time their friend for them. The Holy Spirit gives their blessed instant to you through your giving it. As you give it, He offers it to you. Be not unwilling to give what you would receive of Him, for you join with Him in giving. In the crystal cleanness of the release you give is your instantaneous escape from guilt. You must be holy if you offer holiness.

How long is an instant? As long as it takes to re-establish perfect sanity, perfect peace and perfect love for everyone, for God and for yourself. As long as it takes to remember immortality, and your immortal creations who share it with you. As long as it takes to exchange hell for Heaven. Long enough to transcend all of the ego’s making, and ascend unto your Father.

Time is your friend, if you leave it to the Holy Spirit to use. He needs but very little to restore God’s whole power to you. He Who transcends time for you understands what time is for. Holiness lies not in time, but in eternity. There never was an instant in which God’s Son could lose his purity. His changeless state is beyond time, for his purity remains forever beyond attack and without variability. Time stands still in his holiness, and changes not. And so it is no longer time at all. For caught in the single instant of the eternal sanctity of God’s creation, it is transformed into forever. Give the eternal instant, that eternity may be remembered for you, in that shining instant of perfect release. Offer the miracle of the holy instant through the Holy Spirit, and leave His giving it to you to Him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 9

Lesson 125

In quiet I receive God’s word today.

1. Let this day be a day of stillness and of quiet listening. Your Father wills you hear His Word today. He calls to you from deep within your mind where He abides. Hear Him today. No peace is possible until His Word is heard around the world; until your mind, in quiet listening, accepts the message that the world must hear to usher in the quiet time of peace.

2. This world will change through you. No other means can save it, for God’s plan is simply this: The Son of God is free to save himself, given the Word of God to be his Guide, forever in his mind and at his side to lead him surely to his Father’s house by his own will, forever free as God’s. He is not led by force, but only love. He is not judged, but only sanctified.

3. In stillness we will hear God’s Voice today without intrusion of our petty thoughts, without our personal desires, and without all judgment of His holy Word. We will not judge ourselves today, for what we are can not be judged. We stand apart from all the judgments which the world has laid upon the Son of God. It knows him not. Today we will not listen to the world, but wait in silence for the Word of God.

4. Hear, holy Son of God, your Father speak. His Voice would give to you His holy Word, to spread across the world the tidings of salvation and the holy time of peace. We gather at the throne of God today, the quiet place within the mind where He abides forever, in the holiness that He created and will never leave.

5. He has not waited until you return your mind to Him to give His Word to you. He has not hid Himself from you, while you have wandered off a little while from Him. He does not cherish the illusions which you hold about yourself. He knows His Son, and wills that he remain as part of Him regardless of his dreams; regardless of his madness that his will is not his own.

6. Today He speaks to you. His Voice awaits your silence, for His Word can not be heard until your mind is quiet for a while, and meaningless desires have been stilled. Await His Word in quiet. There is peace within you to be called upon today, to help make ready your most holy mind to hear the Voice for its Creator speak.

7. Three times today, at times most suitable for silence, give ten minutes set apart from listening to the world, and choose instead a gentle listening to the Word of God. He speaks from nearer than your heart to you. His Voice is closer than your hand. His Love is everything you are and that He is; the same as you, and you the same as He.

8. It is your voice to which you listen as He speaks to you. It is your word He speaks. It is the Word of freedom and of peace, of unity of will and purpose, with no separation nor division in the single Mind of Father and of Son. In quiet listen to your Self to­day, and let Him tell you God has never left His Son, and you have never left your Self.

9. Only be quiet. You will need no rule but this, to let your practicing today lift you above the thinking of the world, and free your vision from the body’s eyes. Only be still and listen. You will hear the Word in which the Will of God the Son joins in His Father’s Will, at one with it, with no illusions interposed be­tween the wholly indivisible and true. As every hour passes by today, be still a moment and remind yourself you have a special purpose for this day; in quiet to receive the Word of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Are babies born innocent? 

A) The only true state of innocence is in Heaven, the real home of God’s Son. With very, very few exceptions — the Teachers of teachers referred to in the manual for teachers (M-26.2) — only those who retain guilt in their minds “come here” and are born. Workbook Lesson 182 provides a poignant portrait of all inhabitants of this world: 

We speak today for everyone who walks this world, for he is not at home. He goes uncertainly about in endless search, seeking in darkness what he cannot find; not recognizing what it is he seeks. A thousand homes he makes, yet none contents his restless mind. He does not understand he builds in vain. The home he seeks can not be made by him. There is no substitute for Heaven. All he ever made was hell (W-pI.182.3).

And yet it is this very belief that there is a substitute for Heaven that constitutes sin, and the resultant and inevitable guilt continually propels the separated Son to review mentally the thought of separation and its effects that have already gone by. Thus all who come here share this guilt over their lost innocence. Moreover, their egos’ purpose for their manifestation in the world is the reinforcement of this guilt. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit’s purpose once people believe they are here, is the unlearning of this guilt through the practice of forgiveness that undoes the belief in victimization. This eventually restores to all the separated ones their awareness of the innocence that is rightly and eternally theirs as God’s one Son, the Christ He created as One with Him. 

In this context, one can understand that the popular view that babies are born innocent and are corrupted by society — Rousseau’s “noble savage” thesis — falls very nicely within the ego’s strategic plan to convince us that the world is real and has victimizing effects on us. The ego thought system upholds the idea that we are not the dreamer of the dream that is the world, but that rather the dream is dreaming us. Therefore, it is the world that is responsible for the loss of my innocence. It was not that I gave it away by my thoughts, but rather that it was taken from me, the innocent victim of a world I did not make or choose. This fundamental ego principle is the subject of the following passage from “The Hero of the Dream”: 

The body’s serial adventures, from the time of birth to dying are the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The “hero” of this dream will never change, nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms, and seems to show a great variety of places and events wherein its “hero” finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways. This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more; that it is cause and not effect, And you are its effect, and cannot be its cause. Thus are you not the dreamer, but the dream. And so you wander idly in and out of places and events that it contrives. That this is all the body does is true, for it is but a figure in a dream (T-27.VIII.3:1-4:3; italics ours).

Since ultimately our lives are our dreams — the outpicturing of the thoughts in our minds — only we can be responsible for the loss of innocence that is the central theme of everyone’s dream. No one is born innocent; only Christ is innocent, and He was never born. But through the process of forgiveness and accepting the correction for our mistaken thoughts, we can remember that we never truly sinned. In truth, therefore, we are innocent of any belief that we separated ourselves from Innocence Itself. 

present love

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for June 8

ACIM Text Reading for June 8

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

X. The Time of Rebirth

It is in your power, in time, to delay the perfect union of the Father and the Son. For in this world, the attraction of guilt does stand between them. Neither time nor season means anything in eternity. But here it is the Holy Spirit’s function to use them both, though not as the ego uses them. This is the season when you would celebrate my birth into the world. Yet you know not how to do it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you, and let me celebrate your birth through Him. The only gift I can accept of you is the gift I gave to you. Release me as I choose your own release. The time of Christ we celebrate together, for it has no meaning if we are apart.

The holy instant is truly the time of Christ. For in this liberating instant no guilt is laid upon the Son of God, and his unlimited power is thus restored to him. What other gift can you offer me, when only this I choose to offer you? And to see me is to see me in everyone, and offer everyone the gift you offer me. I am as incapable of receiving sacrifice as God is, and every sacrifice you ask of yourself you ask of me. Learn now that sacrifice of any kind is nothing but a limitation imposed on giving. And by this limitation you have limited acceptance of the gift I offer you.

We who are one cannot give separately. When you are willing to accept our relationship as real, guilt will hold no attraction for you. For in our union you will accept all of our brothers. The gift of union is the only gift that I was born to give. Give it to me, that you may have it. The time of Christ is the time appointed for the gift of freedom, offered to everyone. And by your acceptance of it, you offer it to everyone.

It is in your power to make this season holy, for it is in your power to make the time of Christ be now. It is possible to do this all at once because there is but one shift in perception that is necessary, for you made but one mistake. It seems like many, but it is all the same. For though the ego takes many forms, it is always the same idea. What is not love is always fear, and nothing else.

It is not necessary to follow fear through all the circuitous routes by which it burrows underground and hides in darkness, to emerge in forms quite different from what it is. Yet it is necessary to examine each one as long as you would retain the principle that governs all of them. When you are willing to regard them, not as separate, but as different manifestations of the same idea, and one you do not want, they go together. The idea is simply this: you believe it is possible to be host to the ego or hostage to God. This is the choice you think you have, and the decision you believe that you must make. You see no other alternatives, for you cannot accept the fact that sacrifice gets nothing. Sacrifice is so essential to your thought system that salvation apart from sacrifice means nothing to you. Your confusion of sacrifice and love is so profound that you cannot conceive of love without sacrifice. And it is this that you must look upon; sacrifice is attack, not love. If you would accept but this one idea, your fear of love would vanish. Guilt cannot last when the idea of sacrifice has been removed. For if there is sacrifice, someone must pay and someone must get. And the only question that remains is how much is the price, and for getting what.

As host to the ego, you believe that you can give all your guilt away whenever you want, and thereby purchase peace. And the payment does not seem to be yours. While it is obvious that the ego does demand payment it never seems to be demanding it of you. You are unwilling to recognise that the ego, which you invited, is treacherous only to those who think they are its host. The ego will never let you perceive this, since this recognition would make it homeless. For when the recognition dawns clearly, you will not be deceived by any form the ego takes to protect itself from your sight. Each form will be recognised as but a cover for the one idea that hides behind them all; that love demands sacrifice, and is therefore inseparable from attack and fear. And that guilt is the price of love, which must be paid by fear.

How fearful, then, has God become to you, and how great a sacrifice do you believe His Love demands! For total love would demand total sacrifice. And so the ego seems to demand less of you. than God, and of the two is judged as the lesser of two evils, one to be feared a little, perhaps, but the other to be destroyed. For you see love as destructive, and your only question is who is to be destroyed, you or another? You seek to answer this question in your special relationships, in which you seem to be both destroyer and destroyed in part, but able to be neither completely. And this you think saves you from God, Whose total Love would completely destroy you.

You think that everyone outside yourself demands your sacrifice, but you do not see that only you demand sacrifice, and only of yourself. Yet the demand of sacrifice is so savage and so fearful that you cannot accept it where it is. The real price of not accepting this has been so great that you have given God away rather than look at it. For if God would demand total sacrifice of you, it seems safer to project Him outward and away from you, and not be host to Him. To Him you ascribed the ego’s treachery, inviting it to take His place to protect you from Him. And you do not recognise that it is what you invited in that would destroy you, and does demand total sacrifice of you. No partial sacrifice will appease this savage guest, for it is an invader who but seems to offer kindness, but always to make the sacrifice complete.

You will not succeed in being partial hostage to the ego, for it keeps no bargains and would leave you nothing. Nor can you be partial host to it. You must choose between total freedom and total bondage, for there are no alternatives but these. You have tried many compromises in the attempt to avoid recognising the one decision you must make. And yet it is the recognition of the decision, just as it is, that makes the decision so easy. Salvation is simple, being of God, and therefore very easy to understand. Do not try to project it from you and see it outside yourself. In you are both the question and the answer; the demand for sacrifice and the peace of God.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 8

Lesson 141

REVIEW IV
Introduction

Now we review again, this time aware we are preparing for the second part of learning how the truth can be applied. Today we will begin to concentrate on readiness for what will follow next. Such is our aim for this review, and for the lessons following. Thus, we review the recent lessons and their central thoughts in such a way as will facilitate the readiness that we would now achieve.

There is a central theme that unifies each step in the review we undertake, which can be simply stated in these words:

My mind holds only what I think with God.

That is a fact, and represents the truth of What you are and What your Father is. It is this thought by which the Father gave creation to the Son, establishing the Son as co-creator with Himself. It is this thought that fully guarantees salvation to the Son. For in his mind no thoughts can dwell but those his Father shares. Lack of forgiveness blocks this thought from his awareness. Yet it is forever true.

Let us begin our preparation with some understanding of the many forms in which the lack of true forgiveness may be carefully concealed. Because they are illusions, they are not perceived to be but what they are; defenses that protect your unforgiving thoughts from being seen and recognized. Their purpose is to show you something else, and hold correction off through self-deceptions made to take its place.

And yet, your mind holds only what you think with God. Your self-deceptions cannot take the place of truth. No more than can a child who throws a stick into the ocean change the coming and the going of the tides, the warming of the water by the sun, the silver of the moon on it by night. So do we start each practice period in this review with readying our minds to understand the lessons that we read, and see the meaning that they offer us.

Begin each day with time devoted to the preparation of your mind to learn what each idea you will review that day can offer you in freedom and in peace. Open your mind, and clear it of all thoughts that would deceive, and let this thought alone engage it fully, and remove the rest:

My mind holds only what I think with God.

Five minutes with this thought will be enough to set the day along the lines which God appointed, and to place His Mind in charge of all the thoughts you will receive that day.

They will not come from you alone, for they will all be shared with Him. And so each one will bring the message of His Love to you, returning messages of yours to Him. So will communion with the Lord of Hosts be yours, as He Himself has willed it be. And as His Own completion joins with Him, so will He join with you who are complete as you unite with Him, and He with you.

After your preparation, merely read each of the two ideas assigned to you to be reviewed that day. Then close your eyes, and say them slowly to yourself. There is no hurry now, for you are using time for its intended purpose. Let each word shine with the meaning God has given it, as it was given to you through His Voice. Let each idea which you review that day give you the gift that He has laid in it for you to have of Him. And we will use no format for our practicing but this:

Each hour of the day, bring to your mind the thought with which the day began, and spend a quiet moment with it. Then repeat the two ideas you practice for the day unhurriedly, with time enough to see the gifts that they contain for you, and let them be received where they were meant to be.

We add no other thoughts, but let these be the messages they are. We need no more than this to give us happiness and rest, and endless quiet, perfect certainty, and all our Father wills that we receive as the inheritance we have of Him. Each day of practicing, as we review, we close as we began, repeating first the thought that made the day a special time of blessing and of happiness for us; and through our faithfulness restored the world from darkness to the light, from grief to joy, from pain to peace, from sin to holiness.

God offers thanks to you who practice thus the keeping of His Word. And as you give your mind to the ideas for the day again before you sleep, His gratitude surrounds you in the peace wherein He wills you be forever, and are learning now to claim again as your inheritance.


Lesson 141

My mind holds only what I think with God.

(121) Forgiveness is the key to happiness.

(122) Forgiveness offers everything I want.

 

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #229: I am confused by a passage from Lesson #140 in A Course in Miracles: “Only salvation can be said to cure.” It says, “So do we lay aside our amulets, our charms and medicines …We will be still and listen for the Voice of healing, Which will cure all ills as one.…” I believe that we create our own sickness. I have had hypothyroidism for the past 24 years or so and have also been diagnosed with depression. I do believe in the absolute faith in God and His truth. Do I stop taking my medications? I realize that I have an underlying fear of the consequences of untreated hypothyroidism. Can my faith remove these conditions? Is the healing referred to here physical, spiritual, or otherwise. I feel very lost about this.

A: Please do not stop taking your medications. That is not the goal of this workbook lesson. Jesus would never ask us to give up anything in the world of form that still seems to help us feel better, that controls our bodily symptoms and reduces our pain and fear (T.2.IV.4:5,6,7,8,9,10; 5). He is only trying to get us to look beyond our tacit assumptions about sickness and cures.

Specifically, the purpose of this lesson is to help us begin to understand that it is not the body that is sick or that should be our focus for healing. Rather it is the mind that believes that separation and guilt are real. That is the idea behind the lines: “Atonement does not heal the sick, for that is not a cure. It takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible. And that is cure indeed” (W.pI.140.4:4,5,6). And later in the lesson, “Let us not try today to seek to cure what cannot suffer sickness [the body]. Healing must be sought but where it is [in the mind], and then applied to what is sick [the mind], so that it [the mind] can be cured” (W.pI.140.7:1,2). This idea is asserted with great clarity in the text: “The body needs no healing. But the mind that thinks it is a body is sick indeed!” (T.25.in.3:1,2).

This lesson is not attempting to bring about any change in our behavior, such as having us stop our medications. Rather, we are being invited to open up to a different way of thinking about what is sick and why. And once we begin to accept that illness is in the mind and comes from our unconscious but illusory belief in guilt — guilt over thinking we have separated ourselves from and attacked our Source — we can then begin to understand that healing simply involves a process of undoing these beliefs — what the Course refers to as forgiveness. So keep taking your medications, but at the same time, invite Jesus in to look with you at the guilt in your mind that has led you to believe not only that you are a body, but that you deserve to suffer. Jesus accepts neither of those beliefs about you, but you still do, and so you need his guidance.

As a point of clarification, the Course’s meaning of faith is different from traditional uses, such as in faith healing. God does not heal our sickness — the Course is not asking us to place our faith in Him to take away all our illness and pain. By faith, the Course is referring to the allegiance we give to either the ego or the Holy Spirit to guide our thinking, with the inevitable outcomes that follow putting our faith in each teacher (T.13.IX.2:3,4,5,6). Place your faith in the ego’s interpretation of yourself and others and you are guaranteeing yourself guilt, fear, pain, illness and death. Place your faith in the Holy Spirit’s interpretation and you are guaranteeing yourself peace, love, joy and life. And to place your faith in the Holy Spirit means that you are willing to replace judgment and attack upon yourself and others with the healing balm of forgiveness.

For related discussions on healing and illness, see also Questions #57, #128 and #142.


Q #230: During the several times that I have worked with the workbook of A Course in Miracles, I find I have left things undone that belong to earlier lessons, e.g., meaning and meaninglessness. The instructions clearly say that only one lesson per day is to be worked. My intuition tells me to go back to the beginning, in order not to confuse the sequence of the workbook. I wonder if others have asked this question before, but have not been answered yet?

A: It is not necessary to begin the workbook again. You can always go back and do a lesson again or concentrate on a specific concept that you skipped over; but that does not mean that you should start all over again. Jesus does not expect us to do a lesson perfectly before we move on to the next one. He is far more aware of our resistance and fear than we are, so he knows we will misinterpret what he says, not do everything he asks, and when we do it, we will do it imperfectly. He is interested only in our willingness and humility as we practice the lessons. The middle of Lesson 95, in particular, discusses the attitude we should have when we run into problems in our work with the lessons. You might also wish to look at Questions #64 and #92, which pertain to the workbook.

sunburst eternity

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for June 6

ACIM Text Reading for June 6

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

VIII. The Only Real Relationship

The holy instant does not replace the need for learning, for the Holy Spirit must not leave you as your Teacher until the holy instant has extended far beyond time. For a teaching assignment such as His, He must use everything in this world for your release. He must side with every sign or token of your willingness to learn of Him what the truth must be. He is swift to utilise whatever you offer Him on behalf of this. His concern and care for you are limitless. In the face of your fear of forgiveness, which He perceives as clearly as He knows forgiveness is release, He will teach you to remember that forgiveness is not loss, but your salvation. And that in complete forgiveness, in which you recognise that there is nothing to forgive, you are absolved completely.

Hear him gladly, and learn of Him that you have need of no special relationships at all. You but seek in them what you have thrown away. And through them you will never learn the value of what you have cast aside, but still desire with all your heart. Let us join together in making the holy instant all that there is, by desiring that it be all that there is. God’s Son has such great need of your willingness to strive for this that you cannot conceive of need so great. Behold the only need that God and His Son share, and will to meet together. You are not alone in this. The will of your creations calls to you, to share your will with them. Turn, then, in peace from guilt to God and them.

Relate only with what will never leave you, and what you can never leave. The loneliness of God’s Son is the loneliness of his Father. Refuse not the awareness of your completion, and seek not to restore it to yourself. Fear not to give redemption over to your Redeemer’s Love. He will not fail you, for He comes from One Who cannot fail. Accept your sense of failure as nothing more than a mistake in who you are. For the holy host of God is beyond failure, and nothing that he wills can be denied. You are forever in a relationship so holy that it calls to everyone to escape from loneliness, and join you in your love. And where you are must everyone seek, and find you there.

Think but an instant on this: God gave the Sonship to you, to ensure your perfect creation. This was His gift, for as He withheld Himself not from you, He withheld not His creation. Nothing that ever was created but is yours. Your relationships are with the universe. And this universe, being of God, is far beyond the petty sum of all the separate bodies you perceive. For all its parts are joined in God through Christ, where they become like to their Father. Christ knows of no separation from His Father, Who is His one relationship, in which He gives as His Father gives to Him.

The Holy Spirit is God’s attempt to free you of what He does not understand. And because of the Source of the attempt, it will succeed. The Holy Spirit asks you to respond as God does, for He would teach you what you do not understand. God would respond to every need, whatever form it takes. And so He keeps this channel open to receive His communication to you, and yours to Him. God does not understand your problem in communication, for He does not share it with you. It is only you who believe that it is understandable. The Holy Spirit knows that it is not understandable, and yet He understands it because you made it.

In the Holy Spirit alone lies the awareness of what God cannot know, and what you do not understand. It is His holy function to accept them both, and by removing every element of disagreement, to join them into one. He will do this because it is His function. Leave, then, what seems to you to be impossible, to Him Who knows it must be possible because it is the Will of God. And let Him Whose teaching is only of God teach you the only meaning of relationships. For God created the only relationship that has meaning, and that is His relationship with you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 6

Lesson 139

I will accept Atonement for myself.

Here is the end of choice. For here we come to a decision to accept ourselves as God created us. And what is choice except uncertainty of what we are? There is no doubt that is not rooted here. There is no question but reflects this one. There is no conflict that does not entail the single, simple question, “What am I?”

Yet who could ask this question except one who has refused to recognize himself? Only refusal to accept yourself could make the question seem to be sincere. The only thing that can be surely known by any living thing is what it is. From this one point of certainty, it looks on other things as certain as itself.

Uncertainty about what you must be is self-deception on a scale so vast, its magnitude can hardly be conceived. To be alive and not to know yourself is to believe that you are really dead. For what is life except to be yourself, and what but you can be alive instead? Who is the doubter? What is it he doubts? Whom does he question? Who can answer him?

He merely states that he is not himself, and therefore, being something else, becomes a questioner of what that something is. Yet he could never be alive at all unless he knew the answer. If he asks as if he does not know, it merely shows he does not want to be the thing he is. He has accepted it because he lives; has judged against it and denied its worth, and has decided that he does not know the only certainty by which he lives.

Thus he becomes uncertain of his life, for what it is has been denied by him. It is for this denial that you need Atonement. Your denial made no change in what you are. But you have split your mind into what knows and does not know the truth. You are yourself. There is no doubt of this. And yet you doubt it. But you do not ask what part of you can really doubt yourself. It cannot really be a part of you that asks this question. For it asks of one who knows the answer. Were it part of you, then certainty would be impossible.

Atonement remedies the strange idea that it is possible to doubt yourself, and be unsure of what you really are. This is the depth of madness. Yet it is the universal question of the world. What does this mean except the world is mad? Why share its madness in the sad belief that what is universal here is true?

Nothing the world believes is true. It is a place whose purpose is to be a home where those who claim they do not know themselves can come to question what it is they are. And they will come again until the time Atonement is accepted, and they learn it is impossible to doubt yourself, and not to be aware of what you are.

Only acceptance can be asked of you, for what you are is certain. It is set forever in the holy Mind of God, and in your own. It is so far beyond all doubt and question that to ask what it must be is all the proof you need to show that you believe the contradiction that you know not what you cannot fail to know. Is this a question, or a statement which denies itself in statement? Let us not allow our holy minds to occupy themselves with senseless musings such as this.

We have a mission here. We did not come to reinforce the madness that we once believed in. Let us not forget the goal that we accepted. It is more than just our happiness alone we came to gain. What we accept as what we are proclaims what everyone must be, along with us. Fail not your brothers, or you fail yourself. Look lovingly on them, that they may know that they are part of you, and you of them.

This does Atonement teach, and demonstrates the Oneness of God’s Son is unassailed by his belief he knows not what he is. Today accept Atonement, not to change reality, but merely to accept the truth about yourself, and go your way rejoicing in the endless Love of God. It is but this that we are asked to do. It is but this that we will do today.

Five minutes in the morning and at night we will devote to dedicate our minds to our assignment for today. We start with this review of what our mission is:

I will accept Atonement for myself,
For I remain as God created me.

We have not lost the knowledge that God gave to us when He created us like Him. We can remember it for everyone, for in creation are all minds as one. And in our memory is the recall how dear our brothers are to us in truth, how much a part of us is every mind, how faithful they have really been to us, and how our Father’s Love contains them all.

In thanks for all creation, in the Name of its Creator and His Oneness with all aspects of creation, we repeat our dedication to our cause today each hour, as we lay aside all thoughts that would distract us from our holy aim. For several minutes let your mind be cleared of all the foolish cobwebs which the world would weave around the holy Son of God. And learn the fragile nature of the chains that seem to keep the knowledge of yourself apart from your awareness, as you say:

I will accept Atonement for myself,
For I remain as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

The following two questions, although different in form, share a common underlying theme and so will be answered together:

Q #69-a: I have been working on forgiving one particular person for quite a while now and I am finally getting there, very very close to total forgiveness, which should bring me peace. But now I find that I am missing seeing him and talking to him, which is very unpeaceful. This person is not deceased so there is a chance for physical interaction, although highly unlikely because we are both remarried. I want to be able to act differently with him and show him my unconditional love instead of my fear, which ruined our relationship in the first place. What’s going on here? Is my ego still in charge even though I have forgiven him and am finally joyful and not resentful about our relationship? Is missing someone another confirmation of believing in separation? I can’t believe I don’t have the full peace I was expecting. My missing him has thrown a monkey wrench into this otherwise loving experience, which I guess I don’t want to experience alone. I have joined with this brother in my mind and would like to play it out in form. Is this wrong, and if so how can I finally get some peace about it?

Q #69-b: Forgiveness is such an important process in the Course, and it can be applied to just about everything in our daily lives. But what happens when someone is murdered and everything abruptly stops for that person. How can that mind process what has happened when it no longer exists as the person who was just murdered. I hope this isn’t a stupid question and has some relevancy to the Course.

A: Forgiveness, central to the Course’s teachings, is a very difficult concept for us to grasp while we continue to identify with our ego and with the individual self that we believe we are. Jesus cautions us that “the world cannot perceive its [forgiveness] meaning, nor provide a guide to teach you its beneficence. There is no thought in all the world that leads to any understanding of the laws it follows, nor the Thought that it reflects. It is as alien to the world as is your own reality” (W.pI.134:13,1,2,3).

And so it takes great humility to approach the study of the Course, acknowledging that we really do not understand. But in that acknowledgment lies the possibility of real learning. Forgiveness as the Course defines it really has nothing to do with the other person against whom we believe we hold a grievance. But it also has nothing to do with the person we believe we are who seems to be holding the grievance.

This is not to deny that we will experience apparent effects of true forgiveness in our external relationships, but that is not really what is happening. To understand what the Course means by forgiveness, we need first to understand the ego’s purpose for the world and our relationships. And that purpose is always to see the guilt that is really in our own mind — the original guilt over the thought of separation from God — outside ourselves in someone else. The specifics of my grievance against you are not really important. What is important is that I can blame you for my own unhappiness. Forgiveness then is the process that allows me first to recognize that, yes, I am unhappy, I am not at peace, and you, against whom I have been holding a grievance, have helped me see that. But you are not really the source of my loss of peace and happiness. I am. And so when I withdraw my projection of guilt and blame from you, I can then take the next step with the Holy Spirit and recognize that my own guilt is not real. And peace flows from that recognition. So forgiveness allows me to release myself from the mistaken judgments I first held against myself and then accused you of, because I did not want to accept responsibility for them. And the forgiveness I experience takes place in my mind and has nothing to do either with the self I think I am or with the self I think you are.

With this brief explanation in mind, let’s turn to the questions that have been raised. What we experience as forgiveness in our relationships with others can certainly reflect the real underlying process that is happening in our mind. As long as we are still identified with our egos, we will interpret the experience of release in our mind in the context of the specific form of our relationship with another person. This is unavoidable while we cling to our false identity as a body. It is a mistake, but it is certainly not a sin.

So, if my experience is that I am releasing you from the judgments I have been holding against you, and I am experiencing peace, it can only be a reflection of the fact that I am releasing myself from the guilt and judgments against myself in my own mind. This would have to be fear-inducing to my ego, which survives and thrives on guilt. And so a defense against the love and peace is now needed.

For the ego, switching the form of the relationship from special hate to special love is an ideal solution. The form changes, but the underlying content remains hatred and guilt, although now disguised and hidden. And so, rather than seeing you as the direct cause of my unhappiness, I now see you as somehow necessary for my happiness — that I need to be with you to share the experience of peace and joy. But that in effect is the same thing, because if you are not available to me as I would like you to be, then once again you are contributing to my unhappiness. Either way, I am not at peace and my ego has won. The answer at this point would not be to try to change any of this, but simply to recognize what is happening. And then to ask myself, with Jesus or the Holy Spirit as my teacher, is this really what I would have rather than the peace I was experiencing when I was able to release both of us from the chains of guilt and condemnation? If I have uncovered my ego’s purpose, it is only a matter of time before I will be willing to make a different choice.

But what of the situation where the life of a victim has seemingly been ended by someone else’s attack? To repeat what we said earlier, forgiveness, as well as holding grievances, really has nothing to do with the self that I think I am or the self that I think you are. Grievances are held in the mind and the body is not at all necessary for the mind to forgive. The mind has the same choice available to it, whether the body seems to remain alive or not. The projection of guilt onto someone else’s body can either continue or the guilt can be withdrawn back to the mind that is its source, where the choice to release the guilt remains the same.

Any seeming difference in the process arises only if the choice is to continue to project the guilt, but this difference is on the level of form, not content. The mind then simply finds another lifetime with a different body to identify with — a choice not really that different from what we do within a lifetime when we decide to leave one relationship and move onto another. The cycle of victim-victimizer repeats itself, until the mind is ready to make a different choice and accept complete responsibility for its pain and loss of peace. Murder is always first a thought in the mind, a self-accusation for what we believe we have done to God. We project it outside ourselves onto someone else in order to avoid the consequences we have told ourselves must follow from that choice. But the murder and the subsequent guilt, as well as the world we make as the repository for the guilt we want to escape, are all equally illusory. From this premise, forgiveness follows.

the way to god

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for June 5

ACIM Text Reading for June 5

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

VII. The Needless Sacrifice

Beyond the poor attraction of the special love relationship, and always obscured by it, is the powerful attraction of the Father for His Son. There is no other love that can satisfy you, because there is no other love. This is the only love that is fully given and fully returned. Being complete, it asks nothing. Being wholly pure, everyone joined in it has everything. This is not the basis for any relationship in which the ego enters. For every relationship on which the ego embarks is special.

The ego establishes relationships only to get something. And it would keep the giver bound to itself through guilt. It is impossible for the ego to enter into any relationship without anger, for the ego believes that anger makes friends. This is not its statement, but it is its purpose. For the ego really believes that it can get and keep by making guilty. This is its one attraction; an attraction so weak that it would have no hold at all, except that no one recognises it. For the ego always seems to attract through love, and has no attraction at all to anyone who perceives that it attracts through guilt.

The sick attraction of guilt must be recognised for what it is. For having been made real to you, it is essential to look at it clearly, and by withdrawing your investment in it, to learn to let it go. No one would choose to let go what he believes has value. Yet the attraction of guilt has value to you only because you have not looked at what it is, and have judged it completely in the dark. As we bring it to light, your only question will be why it was you ever wanted it. You have nothing to lose by looking open-eyed, for ugliness such as this belongs not in your holy mind. This host of God can have no real investment here.

We said before that the ego attempts to maintain and increase guilt, but in such a way that you do not recognise what it would do to you. For it is the ego’s fundamental doctrine that what you do to others you have escaped. The ego wishes no one well. Yet its survival depends on your belief that you are exempt from its evil intentions. It counsels, therefore, that if you are host to it, it will enable you to direct its anger outward, thus protecting you. And thus it embarks on an endless, unrewarding chain of special relationships, forged out of anger and dedicated to but one insane belief; that the more anger you invest outside yourself, the safer you become.

It is this chain that binds the Son of God to guilt, and it is this chain the Holy Spirit would remove from his holy mind. For the chain of savagery belongs not around the chosen host of God, who cannot make himself host to the ego. In the name of his release, and in the Name of Him Who would release him, let us look more closely at the relationships the ego contrives, and let the Holy Spirit judge them truly. For it is certain that if you will look at them, you will offer them gladly to Him. What He can make of them you do not know, but you will become willing to find out, if you are willing first to perceive what you have made of them.

In one way or another, every relationship the ego makes is based on the idea that by sacrificing itself, it becomes bigger. The ‘sacrifice’, which it regards as purification, is actually the root of its bitter resentment. For it would prefer to attack directly, and avoid delaying what it really wants. Yet the ego acknowledges ‘reality’ as it sees it, and recognises that no one could interpret direct attack as love. Yet to make guilty is direct attack, although it does not seem to be, For the guilty expect attack, and having asked for it they are attracted to it.

In such insane relationships, the attraction of what you do not want seems to be much stronger than the attraction of what you do want. For each one thinks that he has sacrificed something to the other, and hates him for it. Yet this is what he thinks he wants. He is not in love with the other at all. He merely believes he is in love with sacrifice. And for this sacrifice, which he demands of himself, he demands that the other accept the guilt and sacrifice himself as well. Forgiveness becomes impossible, for the ego believes that to forgive another is to lose him. It is only by attack without forgiveness that the ego can ensure the guilt that holds all its relationships together.

Yet they only seem to be together. For relationships, to the ego, mean only that bodies are together. It is always this that the ego demands, and it does not object where the mind goes or what it thinks, for this seems unimportant. As long as the body is there to receive its sacrifice, it is content. To the ego the mind is private, and only the body can be shared. Ideas are basically of no concern, except as they bring the body of another closer or farther. And it is in these terms that it evaluates ideas as good or bad. What makes another guilty and holds him through guilt is ‘good’. What releases him from guilt is ‘bad’, because he would no longer believe that bodies communicate, and so he would be ‘gone’.

Suffering and sacrifice are the gifts with which the ego would ‘bless’ all unions. And those who are united at its altar accept suffering and sacrifice as the price of union. In their angry alliances, born of the fear of loneliness and yet dedicated to the continuance of loneliness, each seeks relief from guilt by increasing it in the other. For each believes that this decreases guilt in him. The other seems always to be attacking and wounding him, perhaps in little ways, perhaps ‘unconsciously’, yet never without demand of sacrifice. The fury of those joined at the ego’s altar far exceeds your awareness of it. For what the ego really wants you do not realise.

Whenever you are angry, you can be sure that you have formed a special relationship which the ego has ‘blessed’, for anger is its blessing. Anger takes many forms, but it cannot long deceive those who will learn that love brings no guilt at all, and what brings guilt cannot be love and must be anger. All anger is nothing more than an attempt to make someone feel guilty, and this attempt is the only basis the ego accepts for special relationships. Guilt is the only need the ego has, and as long as you identify with it, guilt will remain attractive to you. Yet remember this; to be with a body is not communication. And if you think it is, you will feel guilty about communication and will be afraid to hear the Holy Spirit, recognising in His Voice your own need to communicate.

The Holy Spirit cannot teach through fear. And how can He communicate with you, while you believe that to communicate is to make yourself alone? It is clearly insane to believe that by communicating you will be abandoned. And yet many do believe it. For they think their minds must be kept private or they will lose them, but if their bodies are together their minds remain their own. The union of bodies thus becomes the way in which they would keep minds apart. For bodies cannot forgive. They can only do as the mind directs.

The illusion of the autonomy of the body and its ability to overcome loneliness is but the working of the ego’s plan to establish its own autonomy. As long as you believe that to be with a body is companionship, you will be compelled to attempt to keep your brother in his body, held there by guilt. And you will see safety in guilt and danger in communication. For the ego will always teach that loneliness is solved by guilt, and that communication is the cause of loneliness. And despite the evident insanity of this lesson, many have learned it.

Forgiveness lies in communication as surely as damnation lies in guilt. It is the Holy Spirit’s teaching function to instruct those who believe communication to be damnation that communication is salvation. And He will do so, for the power of God in Him and you is joined in a real relationship so holy and so strong, that it can overcome even this without fear.

It is through the holy instant that what seems impossible is accomplished, making it evident that it is not impossible. In the holy instant guilt holds no attraction, since communication has been restored. And guilt, whose only purpose is to disrupt communication, has no function here. Here there is no concealment, and no private thoughts. The willingness to communicate attracts communication to it, and overcomes loneliness completely. There is complete forgiveness here, for there is no desire to exclude anyone from your completion, in sudden recognition of the value of his part in it. In the protection of you wholeness, all are invited and made welcome. And you understand that your completion is God’s, Whose only need is to have you be complete. For your completion makes you His in your awareness. And here it is that you experience yourself as you were created, and as you are.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 5

Lesson 138

Heaven is the decision I must make.

In this world Heaven is a choice, because here we believe there are alternatives to choose between. We think that all things have an opposite, and what we want we choose. If Heaven exists there must be hell as well, for contradiction is the way we make what we perceive, and what we think is real.

Creation knows no opposite. But here is opposition part of being “real.” It is this strange perception of the truth that makes the choice of Heaven seem to be the same as the relinquishment of hell. It is not really thus. Yet what is true in God’s creation cannot enter here until it is reflected in some form the world can understand. Truth cannot come where it could only be perceived with fear. For this would be the error truth can be brought to illusions. Opposition makes the truth unwelcome, and it cannot come.

Choice is the obvious escape from what appears as opposites. Decision lets one of conflicting goals become the aim of effort and expenditure of time. Without decision, time is but a waste and effort dissipated. It is spent for nothing in return, and time goes by without results. There is no sense of gain, for nothing is accomplished; nothing learned.

You need to be reminded that you think a thousand choices are confronting you, when there is really only one to make. And even this but seems to be a choice. Do not confuse yourself with all the doubts that myriad decisions would induce. You make but one. And when that one is made, you will perceive it was no choice at all. For truth is true, and nothing else is true. There is no opposite to choose instead. There is no contradiction to the truth.

Choosing depends on learning. And the truth cannot be learned, but only recognized. In recognition its acceptance lies, and as it is accepted it is known. But knowledge is beyond the goals we seek to teach within the framework of this course. Ours are teaching goals, to be attained through learning how to reach them, what they are, and what they offer you. Decisions are the outcome of your learning, for they rest on what you have accepted as the truth of what you are, and what your needs must be.

In this insanely complicated world, Heaven appears to take the form of choice, rather than merely being what it is. Of all the choices you have tried to make this is the simplest, most definitive and prototype of all the rest, the one which settles all decisions. If you could decide the rest, this one remains unsolved. But when you solve this one, the others are resolved with it, for all decisions but conceal this one by taking different forms. Here is the final and the only choice in which is truth accepted or denied.

So we begin today considering the choice that time was made to help us make. Such is its holy purpose, now transformed from the intent you gave it; that it be a means for demonstrating hell is real, hope changes to despair, and life itself must in the end be overcome by death. In death alone are opposites resolved, for ending opposition is to die. And thus salvation must be seen as death, for life is seen as conflict. To resolve the conflict is to end your life as well.

These mad beliefs can gain unconscious hold of great intensity, and grip the mind with terror and anxiety so strong that it will not relinquish its ideas about its own protection. It must be saved from salvation, threatened to be safe, and magically armored against truth. And these decisions are made unaware, to keep them safely undisturbed; apart from question and from reason and from doubt.

Heaven is chosen consciously. The choice cannot be made until alternatives are accurately seen and understood. All that is veiled in shadows must be raised to understanding, to be judged again, this time with Heaven’s help. And all mistakes in judgment that the mind had made before are open to correction, as the truth dismisses them as causeless. Now are they without effects. They cannot be concealed, because their nothingness is recognized.

The conscious choice of Heaven is as sure as is the ending of the fear of hell, when it is raised from its protective shield of unawareness, and is brought to light. Who can decide between the clearly seen and the unrecognized? Yet who can fail to make a choice between alternatives when only one is seen as valuable; the other as a wholly worthless thing, a but imagined source of guilt and pain? Who hesitates to make a choice like this? And shall we hesitate to choose today?

We make the choice for Heaven as we wake, and spend five minutes making sure that we have made the one decision that is sane. We recognize we make a conscious choice between what has existence and what has nothing but an appearance of the truth. Its pseudo-being, brought to what is real, is flimsy and transparent in the light. It holds no terror now, for what was made enormous, vengeful, pitiless with hate, demands obscurity for fear to be invested there. Now it is recognized as but a foolish, trivial mistake.

Before we close our eyes in sleep tonight, we reaffirm the choice that we have made each hour in between. And now we give the last five minutes of our waking day to the decision with which we awoke. As every hour passed, we have declared our choice again, in a brief quiet time devoted to maintaining sanity. And finally, we close the day with this, acknowledging we chose but what we want:

Heaven is the decision I must make.
I make it now, and will not change my mind,
because it is the only thing I want.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #68: What happens to the mind after the demise of the body? Does the mind go home and re-join, although it never left? What happens to the ego? Where can I find this answer in the Text?

A: The answer to your questions lies in understanding the Course’s teaching on life and death, contrasted with the ego’s version. It is very important to remember that the Course refers to death as the choice in the mind to believe the ego’s definition of who we are: sinful, fearful, guilty, separated individuals imprisoned in bodies. This belief is the ego’s way of dealing a death blow to our awareness of who we really are as God’s innocent Son, and this is what the Course calls “death.” When the Course speaks of “life” it is always referring to our life in Heaven with God. “There is no life outside of Heaven” (T.23.II.19:1).

With that in mind there are several passages in the Course that address death, the mind, the body and the ego that are helpful in understanding the points you bring up. 1)The Course tells us the mind is not in the body: “It (mind) cannot make a body, nor abide within a body” (W.pI.167.6:3)“A mind and body cannot both exist. Make no attempt to reconcile the two, for one denies the other can be real. If you are physical, your mind is gone from your self- concept, for it has no place in which it could be really part of you. If you are spirit, then the body must be meaningless to your reality” (W.p.I.96.3:4,5,6,7).

Therefore there cannot be any change to the condition of the mind due to the demise of the body, nothing happens to it and it does not go anywhere. This is difficult for us to understand because most of us identify with our bodies, but it is essential to understanding the Course’s teaching. You are correct in saying that in truth the mind never left its home in Heaven, where it abides in Oneness. Our illusory experience in this dream is the result of a thought in the sleeping mind of the Son, who believes the separation actually occurred. The mind does not return home when the body dies. The mind returns home when it makes a final choice to accept the Atonement and no longer identify with the ego thought system. It thus awakens to the truth that it never left Heaven, never separated from its Source.

The ego is also not in the body; it is the thought of separation in the mind which does not change with the death of the body: “The ego is the part of the mind that believes in division” (T.5.V.3:1). The ego is not in the body but does identify with the body. We too identify with the body when we choose the ego thought system, which is why we accept the body’s experience of death and believe in its significance. With the ego we see it as “…the central dream from which all illusions stem…It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. This is regarded as ‘the way of nature,’ not to be raised to question, but to be accepted as the ‘natural’ law of life” (M.27.1:1,4,5). Although the ego does not die with the demise of the body, because it is a thought in the mind, it is obsessed with death; fearing it, seeking it, using it to prove its reality and the reality of the body. It may be helpful to review “The Attraction of Death” (T.19.IV.C). Our experience in learning a new identity by questioning our beliefs of who we think we are, freeing ourselves to accept the Holy Spirit’s message of who we really are, will enable us to see the death of the body differently and open our minds to a new perception and experience of the life the Course speaks of: “When your body and your ego and your dreams are gone, you will know that you will last forever. Perhaps you think this is accomplished through death, but nothing is accomplished through death, because death is nothing. Everything is accomplished through life, and life is of the mind and in the mind. The body neither lives nor dies, because it cannot contain you who are life” (T.6.V.A.1:1, 2, 3,4).

Know Yourself

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for June 4

ACIM Text Reading for June 4

Chapter 15 ~ The Holy Instant

VI. The Holy Instant and the Laws of God

It is impossible to use one relationship at the expense of another and not to suffer guilt. And it is equally impossible to condemn part of a relationship and find peace within it. Under the Holy Spirit’s teaching all relationships are seen as total commitments, yet they do not conflict with one another in any way. Perfect faith in each one, for its ability to satisfy you completely, arises only from perfect faith in yourself. And this you cannot have while guilt remains. And there will be guilt as long as you accept the possibility, and cherish it, that you can make a brother into what he is not, because you would have him so.

You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you. And so you seek without for what you cannot find without. I offer you my perfect faith in you, in place of all your doubts. But forget not that my faith must be as perfect in all your brothers as it is in you, or it would be a limited gift to you. In the holy instant we share our faith in God’s Son because we recognise, together, that he is wholly worthy of it, and in our appreciation of his worth we cannot doubt his holiness. And so we love him.

All separation vanishes as holiness is shared. For holiness is power, and by sharing it, it gains in strength. If you seek for satisfaction in gratifying your needs as you perceive them, you must believe that strength comes from another, and what you gain he loses. Someone must always lose if you perceive yourself as weak. Yet there is another interpretation of relationships that transcends the concept of loss of power completely.

You do not find it difficult to believe that when another calls on God for love, your call remains as strong. Nor do you think that when God answers him, your hope of answer is diminished. On the contrary, you are more inclined to regard his success as witness to the possibility of yours. That is because you recognise, however dimly, that God is an idea, and so your faith in Him is strengthened by sharing. What you find difficult to accept is the fact that, like your Father, you are an idea. And like Him, you can give yourself completely, wholly without loss and only with gain. Herein lies peace, for here there is no conflict.

In the world of scarcity, love has no meaning and peace is impossible. For gain and loss are both accepted, and so no one is aware that perfect love is in him. In the holy instant you recognise the idea of love in you, and unite this idea with the Mind that thought it, and could not relinquish it. By holding it within itself, there is no loss. The holy instant thus becomes a lesson in how to hold all of your brothers in your mind, experiencing not loss but completion. From this it follows you can only give. And this is love, for this alone is natural under the laws of God. In the holy instant the laws of God prevail, and only they have meaning. The laws of this world cease to hold any meaning at all. When the Son of God accepts the laws of God as what he gladly wills, it is impossible that he be bound, or limited in any way. In that instant he is as free as God would have him be. For the instant he refuses to be bound, he is not bound.

In the holy instant nothing happens that has not always been. Only the veil that has been drawn across reality is lifted. Nothing has changed. Yet the awareness of changelessness comes swiftly as the veil of time is pushed aside. No one who has not yet experienced the lifting of the veil, and felt himself drawn irresistibly into the light behind it, can have faith in love without fear. Yet the Holy Spirit gives you this faith, because He offered it to me and I accepted it. Fear not the holy instant will be denied you, for I denied it not. And through me the Holy Spirit gives it unto you, as you will give it. Let no need you perceive obscure your need of this. For in the holy instant you will recognise the only need the Sons of God share equally, and by this recognition you will join with me in offering what is needed.

It is through us that peace will come. Join me in the idea of peace, for in ideas minds can communicate. If you would give yourself as your Father gives His Self, you will learn to understand Selfhood. And therein is love’s meaning understood. But remember that understanding is of the mind, and only of the mind. Knowledge is therefore of the mind, and its conditions are in the mind with it. If you were not an idea, and nothing but an idea, you could not be in full communication with all that ever was. Yet as long as you prefer to be something else, or would attempt to be nothing else and something else together, you will not remember the language of communication, which you know perfectly.

In the holy instant God is remembered, and the language of communication with all your brothers is remembered with Him. For communication is remembered together, as is truth. There is no exclusion in the holy instant because the past is gone, and with it goes the whole basis for exclusion. Without its source exclusion vanishes. And this permits your Source, and That of all your brothers, to replace it in your awareness. God and the power of God will take Their rightful place in you, and you will experience the full communication of ideas with ideas. Through your ability to do this you will learn what you must be, for you will begin to understand what your Creator is, and what His creation is along with Him.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 4

Lesson 137

When I am healed I am not healed alone.

Today’s idea remains the central thought on which salvation rests. For healing is the opposite of all the world’s ideas which dwell on sickness and on separate states. Sickness is a retreat from others, and a shutting off of joining. It becomes a door that closes on a separate self, and keeps it isolated and alone.

Sickness is isolation. For it seems to keep one self apart from all the rest, to suffer what the others do not feel. It gives the body final power to make the separation real, and keep the mind in solitary prison, split apart and held in pieces by a solid wall of sickened flesh, which it can not surmount.

The world obeys the laws that sickness serves, but healing operates apart from them. It is impossible that anyone be healed alone. In sickness must he be apart and separate. But healing is his own decision to be one again, and to accept his Self with all Its parts intact and unassailed. In sickness does his Self appear to be dismembered, and without the unity that gives It life. But healing is accomplished as he sees the body has no power to attack the universal Oneness of God’s Son.

Sickness would prove that lies must be the truth. But healing demonstrates that truth is true. The separation sickness would impose has never really happened. To be healed is merely to accept what always was the simple truth, and always will remain exactly as it has forever been. Yet eyes accustomed to illusions must be shown that what they look upon is false. So healing, never needed by the truth, must demonstrate that sickness is not real.

Healing might thus be called a counter-dream, which cancels out the dream of sickness in the name of truth, but not in truth itself. Just as forgiveness overlooks all sins that never were accomplished, healing but removes illusions that have not occurred. Just as the real world will arise to take the place of what has never been at all, healing but offers restitution for imagined states and false ideas which dreams embroider into pictures of the truth.

Yet think not healing is unworthy of your function here. For anti-Christ becomes more powerful than Christ to those who dream the world is real. The body seems to be more solid and more stable than the mind. And love becomes a dream, while fear remains the one reality that can be seen and justified and fully understood.

Just as forgiveness shines away all sin and the real world will occupy the place of what you made, so healing must replace the fantasies of sickness which you hold before the simple truth. When sickness has been seen to disappear in spite of all the laws that hold it cannot but be real, then questions have been answered. And the laws can be no longer cherished nor obeyed.

Healing is freedom. For it demonstrates that dreams will not prevail against the truth. Healing is shared. And by this attribute it proves that laws unlike the ones which hold that sickness is inevitable are more potent than their sickly opposites. Healing is strength. For by its gentle hand is weakness overcome, and minds that were walled off within a body free to join with other minds, to be forever strong.

Healing, forgiveness, and the glad exchange of all the world of sorrow for a world where sadness cannot enter, are the means by which the Holy Spirit urges you to follow Him. His gentle lessons teach how easily salvation can be yours; how little practice you need undertake to let His laws replace the ones you made to hold yourself a prisoner to death. His life becomes your own, as you extend the little help He asks in freeing you from everything that ever caused you pain.

And as you let yourself be healed, you see all those around you, or who cross your mind, or whom you touch or those who seem to have no contact with you, healed along with you. Perhaps you will not recognize them all, nor realize how great your offering to all the world, when you let healing come to you. But you are never healed alone. And legions upon legions will receive the gift that you receive when you are healed.

Those who are healed become the instruments of healing. Nor does time elapse between the instant they are healed, and all the grace of healing it is given them to give. What is opposed to God does not exist, and who accepts it not within his mind becomes a haven where the weary can remain to rest. For here is truth bestowed, and here are all illusions brought to truth.

Would you not offer shelter to God’s Will? You but invite your Self to be at home. And can this invitation be refused? Ask the inevitable to occur, and you will never fail. The other choice is but to ask what cannot be to be, and this can not succeed. Today we ask that only truth will occupy our minds; that thoughts of healing will this day go forth from what is healed to what must yet be healed, aware that they will both occur as one.

We will remember, as the hour strikes, our function is to let our minds be healed, that we may carry healing to the world, exchanging curse for blessing, pain for joy, and separation for the peace of God. Is not a minute of the hour worth the giving to receive a gift like this? Is not a little time a small expense to offer for the gift of everything?

Yet must we be prepared for such a gift. And so we will begin the day with this, and give ten minutes to these thoughts with which we will conclude today at night as well:

When I am healed I am not healed alone.
And I would share my healing with the world,
that sickness may be banished from the mind of
God’s one Son, Who is my only Self.

Let healing be through you this very day. And as you rest in quiet, be prepared to give as you receive, to hold but what you give, and to receive the Word of God to take the place of all the foolish thoughts that ever were imagined. Now we come together to make well all that was sick, and offer blessing where there was attack. Nor will we let this function be forgot as every hour of the day slips by, remembering our purpose with this thought:

When I am healed I am not healed alone.
And I would bless my brothers, for I would
be healed with them, as they are healed with me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #726: I have been getting counseling for the last seven months. Recently, the process has become rather painful. I have done a great deal of reading on the subject of transference and I guess I am not the first client who has (or thinks he has) fallen in love with his therapist. I have spoken with her about this, but I am trying to make sense of all my feelings from A Course in Miracles’ perspective. Is transference simply the same projection that happens in everyday life? Is it significant that I know very little about her? Is this another example of a special love relationship? Aside from the obvious (a married man falling in love with a woman), what is the role of forgiveness in this situation? Whom do I forgive? I don’t even know whom I’m transferring from.

A: Yes, whenever we feel someone else has something that we don’t have — peace, love, insight, answers, etc. — the situation is ripe for specialness and all the pain that accompanies it. For it reminds us of the guilt and lack we feel within and desperately want to cover over with our fantasies surrounding the new relationship. And this is why the projection works better the less we know about the new person, since the reality of that person will interfere with our fantasy (T.17.III.4:5,6,7,8).

Within psychoanalytic theory, transference involves projecting thoughts and feelings associated with other people from the client’s past, beginning with the parents, onto the relationship with the therapist. The Course, however, would say that even the parental relationships are not primary, for we have projected the experience of our initial special relationship with God onto our parents. So, in Course terms, transference involves bringing our ego fantasies about God into the relationship with the therapist. And these fantasies would include both special love and special hate, because we have seen God as having what we lack and we have been willing to attack as well as seduce Him in order to attain what we desire. And we must resent Him for not simply giving us the specialness that we want (T.16.V.4:1,2; T.24.III.6).

And so the therapist simply has become the current screen onto which these feelings of unrequited specialness are being projected. It is an easy trap to fall into, with the nonjudgmental acceptance and focused attention the therapist most likely offers each visit for that well-defined, circumscribed period of time. And there could be latent if not overt resentment that the time is indeed so limited. And so, yes, the relationship does offer another opportunity to practice forgiveness. But it is not really the therapist, nor any of the shadow figures from your past that you are bringing into the relationship (T.17.III), including God, who need your forgiveness. For each of them is really nothing more than a symbol for the guilt and sin you believe is real in your own mind, from which you believe you need to be saved. And so that is where the forgiveness is really needed, within your own mind. And the Therapist — the Holy Spirit — also there in your mind, is available to you at any time, in any place or circumstance you need Him, to help you remember the truth about yourself, that you remain God’s wholly perfect and innocent Son (T.10.V.12), no matter what foolish beliefs you cling to about who you really are and what you need to be happy.


Q #727: I just read an introductory book on the Kabbalah. It said that it is impossible to escape the ego while we are on this earth in the form of a body. This makes sense to me. The Kabbalah talks about achieving a balance of giving and receiving in order to achieve harmony. What do you think?

A: A Course in Miracles takes very different positions on both of the issues you raise, because it holds a radically different view of who we are and where the world and bodies have come from. Reversing the world’s teaching, the Course says we will continue to believe we are in this world in a body until we escape our identification with the ego in our mind, since the experience of the body and the world is the ego’s defense to prove that the separation — and the ego — is real (T.4.I.4:4,5; T.4.V.4:1,2,3; T.6.IV.5; T.7.VI.8:1,2,3,4,5,6; T.23.I.3:3,4,5; W.pI.68.1:3,4; W.pI.72.2). That is, the world and bodies are the outcome of choosing to identify with the ego — they are simply part of its illusion to convince us that we have indeed separated from God and left our true home in Heaven. And they have worked so well that most of us are now convinced that the body is the problem, that it is the source of our feelings of limitation and pain and unhappiness. In other words, the ego has very cleverly persuaded us to reverse cause and effect in our mind (T.28.II.8,9). The body, according to the Course, is neutral, and our experience depends simply on what purpose we give the body — either to reinforce our guilt over the separation or to undo it (T.26.VIII.3:7,8; W.pII.294).

From the Course’s perspective, giving and receiving must always be “in balance” because “giving and receiving are the same” (e.g., T.25.IX.10:6; T.26.I.3:6; W.pI.108:6:1; M.2.5:5). This simply reflects the fact that mind is one, so that whatever is given, is given to oneself (W.pI.126). And so this principle applies both to the wrong mind and to the right mind. If we attempt to give guilt to others through projection, we reinforce it in our own mind, receiving what we have attempted to give away or get rid of (T.13.II.1). And if we allow the Holy Spirit to extend His Love through us to others, we too must experience that joy and peace. So any experience of harmony comes not from any balancing act on our part between giving and receiving, but simply from releasing the ego, with its dedication to sin and conflict and pain, and accepting the Holy Spirit as our Teacher. While it is true within the world of form that what we give in terms of objects, money, time, etc. we no longer have (T.5.I.1:10,11,12,13,14), the Course would consider these simply as symbols representing the purpose we hold in our mind, depending on which teacher we have chosen. Giving under the ego’s direction will always represent the desire to get rid of our guilt, whatever form it takes, while giving under the Holy Spirit’s guidance will always reflect the desire to share love by undoing guilt through forgiveness.

total commitment