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

ACIM Text Reading for March 16

Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement

IV. The Holy Spirit’s Plan of Forgiveness

Atonement is for all, because it is the way to undo the belief that anything is for you alone. To forgive is to overlook. Look, then, beyond error and do not let your perception rest upon it, for you will believe what your perception holds. Accept as true only what your brother is, if you would know yourself. Perceive what he is not and you cannot know what you are, because you see him falsely. Remember always that your Identity is shared, and that Its sharing is Its reality.

You have a part to play in the Atonement, but the plan of the Atonement is beyond you. You do not understand how to overlook errors, or you would not make them. It would merely be further error to believe either that you do not make them, or that you can correct them without a Guide to correction. And if you do not follow this Guide, your errors will not be corrected. The plan is not yours because of your limited ideas about what you are. This sense of limitation is where all errors arise. The way to undo them, therefore, is not of you but for you.

The Atonement is a lesson in sharing, which is given you because you have forgotten how to do it. The Holy Spirit merely reminds you of the natural use of your abilities. By reinterpreting the ability to attack into the ability to share, He translates what you have made into what God created. If you would accomplish this through Him you cannot look on your abilities through the eyes of the ego, or you will judge them as it does. All their harmfulness lies in the ego’s judgement. All their helpfulness lies in the judgement of the Holy Spirit.

The ego, too, has a plan of forgiveness because you are asking for one, though not of the right teacher. The ego’s plan, of course, makes no sense and will not work. By following its plan you will merely place yourself in an impossible situation, to which the ego always leads you. The ego’s plan is to have you see error clearly first, and then overlook it. Yet how can you overlook what you have made real? By seeing it clearly, you have made it real and cannot overlook it. This is where the ego is forced to appeal to ‘mysteries’, insisting that you must accept the meaningless to save yourself. Many have tried to do this in my name, forgetting that my words make perfect sense because they come from God. They are as sensible now as they ever were, because they speak of ideas that are eternal.

Forgiveness that is learned of me does not use fear to undo fear. Nor does it make real the unreal and then destroy it. Forgiveness through the Holy Spirit lies simply in looking beyond error from the beginning, and thus keeping it unreal for you. Do not let any belief in its realness enter your mind, or you will also believe that you must undo what you have made in order to be forgiven. What has no effect does not exist, and to the Holy Spirit the effects of error are non existent. By steadily and consistently cancelling out all its effects, everywhere and in all respects, He teaches that the ego does not exist and proves it.

Follow the Holy Spirit’s teaching in forgiveness, then, because forgiveness is His function and He knows how to fulfil it perfectly. That is what I meant when I said that miracles are natural, and when they do not occur something has gone wrong. Miracles are merely the sign of your willingness to follow the Holy Spirit’s plan of salvation, recognising that you do not understand what it is. His work is not your function, and unless you accept this you cannot learn what your function is.

The confusion of functions is so typical of the ego that you should be quite familiar with it by now. The ego believes that all functions belong to it, even though it has no idea what they are. This is more than mere confusion. It is a particularly dangerous combination of grandiosity and confusion that makes the ego likely to attack anyone and anything for no reason at all. This is exactly what the ego does. It is unpredictable in its responses, because it has no idea of what it perceives.

If you have no idea what is happening, how appropriately can you expect to react? You might ask yourself, regardless of how you may account for the reaction, whether its unpredictability places the ego in a sound position as your guide. Let me repeat that the ego’s qualifications as a guide are singularly unfortunate, and that it is a remarkably poor choice as a teacher of salvation. Anyone who elects a totally insane guide must be totally insane himself. Nor is it true that you do not realise the guide is insane. You realise it because I realise it, and you have judged it by the same standard I have.

The ego literally lives on borrowed time, and its days are numbered. Do not fear the Last Judgement, but welcome it and do not wait, for the ego’s time is ‘borrowed’ from your eternity. This is the Second Coming that was made for you as the First was created. The Second Coming is merely the return of sense. Can this possibly be fearful?

What can be fearful but fantasy, and who turns to fantasy unless he despairs of finding satisfaction in reality? Yet it is certain that you will never find satisfaction in fantasy, so that your only hope is to change your mind about reality. Only if the decision that reality is fearful is wrong can God be right. And I assure you that God is right. Be glad, then, that you have been wrong, but this was only because you did not know who you were. Had you known, you could no more have been wrong than God can.

The impossible can happen only in fantasy. When you search for reality in fantasies you will not find it. The symbols of fantasy are of the ego, and of these you will find many. But do not look for meaning in them. They have no more meaning than the fantasies into which they are woven. Fairy tales can be pleasant or fearful, but no one calls them true. Children may believe them, and so, for a while, the tales are true for them. Yet when reality dawns, the fantasies are gone. Reality has not gone in the meanwhile. The Second Coming is the awareness of reality, not its return.

Behold, my child, reality is here. It belongs to you and me and God, and is perfectly satisfying to all of us. Only this awareness heals, because it is the awareness of truth.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 15

Lesson 75

The light has come.

1. The light has come. You are healed and you can heal. The light has come. You are saved and you can save. You are at peace, and you bring peace with you wherever you go. Darkness and turmoil and death have disappeared. The light has come.

2. Today we celebrate the happy ending to your long dream of disaster. There are no dark dreams now. The light has come. Today the time of light begins for you and everyone. It is a new era, in which a new world is born. The old one has left no trace upon it in its passing. Today we see a different world, because the light has come.

3. Our exercises for today will be happy ones, in which we offer thanks for the passing of the old and the beginning of the new. No shadows from the past remain to darken our sight and hide the world forgiveness offers us. Today we will accept the new world as what we want to see. We will be given what we desire. We will to see the light; the light has come.

4. Our longer practice periods will be devoted to looking at the world that our forgiveness shows us. This is what we want to see, and only this. Our single purpose makes our goal inevitable. Today the real world rises before us in gladness, to be seen at last. Sight is given us, now that the light has come.

5. We do not want to see the ego’s shadow on the world today. We see the light, and in it we see Heaven’s reflection lie across the world. Begin the longer practice periods by telling yourself the glad tidings of your release:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

6. Dwell not upon the past today. Keep a completely open mind, washed of all past ideas and clean of every concept you have made. You have forgiven the world today. You can look upon it now as if you never saw it before. You do not know yet what it looks like. You merely wait to have it shown to you. While you wait, repeat several times, slowly and in complete patience:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

7. Realize that your forgiveness entitles you to vision. Under­stand that the Holy Spirit never fails to give the gift of sight to the forgiving. Believe He will not fail you now. You have forgiven the world. He will be with you as you watch and wait. He will show you what true vision sees. It is His Will, and you have joined with Him. Wait patiently for Him. He will be there. The light has come. You have forgiven the world.

8. Tell Him you know you cannot fail because you trust in Him. And tell yourself you wait in certainty to look upon the world He promised you. From this time forth you will see differently. Today the light has come. And you will see the world that has been promised you since time began, and in which is the end of time ensured.

9. The shorter practice periods, too, will be joyful reminders of your release. Remind yourself every quarter of an hour or so that today is a time for special celebration. Give thanks for mercy and the Love of God. Rejoice in the power of forgiveness to heal your sight completely. Be confident that on this day there is a new beginning. Without the darkness of the past upon your eyes, you cannot fail to see today. And what you see will be so welcome that you will gladly extend today forever.

10. Say, then:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Should you be tempted, say to anyone who seems to pull you back into darkness:

The light has come. I have forgiven you.

11. We dedicate this day to the serenity in which God would have you be. Keep it in your awareness of yourself and see it every­where today, as we celebrate the beginning of your vision and the sight of the real world, which has come to replace the unforgiven world you thought was real.

The light has come.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Can the ego mind be equated with the human brain? 

A) No. The mind is non-physical and non-tangible; i.e., it cannot be dissected in a laboratory, photographed by a camera, or analyzed by any empirical method. The brain, on the other hand, is a physical organ that is quite tangible, and can be dissected and studied readily in a laboratory. It is the “computer” that seems to run the body, organizing the sensory data that enter it into seemingly meaningful patterns, and directing all the bodily systems and functions to adjust to the body’s place in the physical universe. In truth, however, it is the mind that is the programmer and directs the brain to function as it sees fit, just as a computer does what the operator tells it to do. The mind is the command center from which all directives emanate, as they instruct the brain to establish as an experiential reality the world of time and space that is already over, and which in truth never even existed! 

In and of itself, therefore, the brain can do nothing, because it is nothing but the receptor-organ of the mind. This insane belief that the brain can function independently of the mind — which is crucial to the ego’s strategy of protecting the split mind and therefore itself — is reflected in this passage from the workbook: 

You … believe the body’s brain can think. If you but understood the nature of thought, you could but laugh at this insane idea. it is as if you thought you held the match that lights the sun and gives it all its warmth; or that you held the world within your hand, securely bound until you let it go. Yet this is no more foolish that to believe the body’s eyes can see; the brain can think (W-pI.92.2).

The relationship of the brain to the mind, of effect to cause, is stated here in the text: 

The brain cannot interpret what your vision sees [based upon reason, or the Holy Spirit’s Presence in the mind]…. The brain interprets [only] to the body, of which it is a part (T-22.1.2:7,9).

Clearly then, it is the mind that does the true interpreting, not the brain. This is underscored in this passage from the manual for teachers, where the cause of perception is seen to be the mind, not the eyes nor, by implication, the brain. This passage, incidentally, is not found in the first edition of the Course: 

Yet it is surely the mind that judges what the eyes behold [not the brain]. It is the mind that interprets the eyes’ messages and gives them “meaning.”… Its hierarchy of values is projected outward, and it sends the body’s eyes to find it …. Yet it is not the messages they bring on which perception rests.  Only the mind evaluates their messages, and so only the mind is responsible for seeing. It alone decides whether what is seen is real or illusory, desirable or undesirable, pleasurable or painful (M-8.3:3-4,7,9-11).

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

ACIM Text Reading for April 18

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

I. The Gifts of Fatherhood

You have learned your need of healing. Would you bring anything else to the Sonship, recognising your need of healing for yourself? For in this lies the beginning of the return to knowledge; the foundation on which God will help build again the thought system you share with Him. Not one stone you place upon it but will be blessed by Him, for you will be restoring the holy dwelling place of His Son, where He wills His Son to be and where he is. In whatever part of the mind of God’s Son you restore this reality, you restore it to yourself. You dwell in the Mind of God with your brother, for God Himself did not will to be alone.

To be alone is to be separated from infinity, but how can this be if infinity has no end? No one can be beyond the limitless, because what has no limits must be everywhere. There are no beginnings and no endings in God, Whose universe is Himself. Can you exclude yourself from the universe, or from God Who is the universe? I and my Father are one with you, for you are part of us. Do you really believe that part of God can be missing or lost to Him?

If you were not part of God, His Will would not be unified. Is this conceivable? Can part of His Mind contain nothing? If your place in His Mind cannot be filled by anyone except you, and your filling it was your creation, without you there would be an empty place in God’s Mind. Extension cannot be blocked, and it has no voids. It continues forever, however much it is denied. Your denial of its reality may arrest it in time, but not in eternity. That is why your creations have not ceased to be extended, and why so much is waiting for your return.

Waiting is possible only in time, but time has no meaning. You who made delay can leave time behind simply by recognising that neither beginnings nor endings were created by the Eternal, Who placed no limits on His creation or upon those who create like Him. You do not know this simply because you have tried to limit what He created, and so you believe that all creation is limited. How, then, could you know your creations, having denied infinity?

The laws of the universe do not permit contradiction. What holds for God holds for you. If you believe you are absent from God, you will believe that He is absent from you. Infinity is meaningless without you, and you are meaningless without God. There is no end to God and His Son, for we are the universe. God is not incomplete, and He is not childless. Because He did not will to be alone, He created a Son like Himself. Do not deny Him His Son, for your unwillingness to accept His Fatherhood has denied you yours. See His creations as His Son, for yours were created in honour of Him. The universe of love does not stop because you do not see it, nor have your closed eyes lost the ability to see. Look upon the glory of His creation, and you will learn what God has kept for you.

God has given you a place in His Mind that is yours forever. Yet you can keep it only by giving it, as it was given you. Could you be alone there, when it was given you because God did not will to be alone? God’s Mind cannot be lessened. It can only be increased, for everything He creates has the function of creating. Love does not limit, and what it creates is not limited. To give without limit is God’s Will for you, because only this can bring you the joy that is His and that He wills to share with you. Your love is as boundless as His because it isHis.

Could any part of God be without His Love, and could any part of His Love be contained? God is your heritage, because His one gift is Himself. How can you give except like Him if you would know His gift to you? Give, then, without limit and without end, to learn how much He has given you. Your ability to accept Him depends on your willingness to give as He gives. Your fatherhood and your Father are one. God wills to create, and your will is His. It follows, then, that you will to create, since your will follows from His. And being an extension of His Will, yours must be the same.

Yet what you will you do not know. This is not strange when you realise that to deny is to ‘not know’ God’s Will is that you are His Son. By denying this you deny your own will, and therefore do not know what it is. You must ask what God’s Will is in everything, because it is yours. You do not know what it is, but the Holy Spirit remembers it for you. Ask Him, therefore, what God’s Will is for you, and He will tell you yours. It cannot be too often repeated that you do not know it. Whenever what the Holy Spirit tells you appears to be coercive, it is only because you have not recognised your will.

The projection of the ego makes it appear as if God’s Will is outside yourself, and therefore not yours. In this interpretation it seems possible for God’s Will and yours to conflict. God, then, may seem to demand of you what you do not want to give, and thus deprive you of what you want. Would God, Who wants only your will, be capable of this? Your will is His life, which He has given to you. Even in time you cannot live apart from Him. Sleep is not death. What He created can sleep, but cannot die. Immortality is His Will for His Son, and His Son’s will for himself. God’s Son cannot will death for himself because His Father is Life, and His Son is like Him. Creation is your will because it is His.

You cannot be happy unless you do what you will truly, and you cannot change this because it is immutable. It is immutable by God’s Will and yours, for otherwise His Will would not be extended. You are afraid to know God’s Will, because you believe it is not yours. This belief is your whole sickness and your whole fear. Every symptom of sickness and fear arises here, because this is the belief that makes you want not to know. Believing this you hide in darkness, denying that the light is in you.

You are asked to trust the Holy Spirit only because He speaks for you. He is the Voice for God, but never forget that God did not will to be alone. He shares His Will with you; He does not thrust it upon you. Always remember that what He gives He keeps, so that nothing He gives can contradict Him. You who share His Life must share it to know it, for sharing is knowing. Blessed are you who learn that to hear the Will of your Father is to know your own. For it is your will to be like Him, Whose Will it is that it be so. God’s Will is that His Son be one, and united with Him in His Oneness. That is why healing is the beginning of the recognition that your will is His.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 18

Lesson 88

Today we will review these ideas:

(75) The light has come.

In choosing salvation rather than attack, I merely choose to recognize what is already there. Salvation is a decision made already. Attack and grievances are not there to choose. That is why I always choose between truth and illusion; between what is there and what is not. The light has come. I can but choose the light, for it has no alternative. It has replaced the darkness, and the darkness has gone.

These would prove useful forms for specific applications of this idea:

This cannot show me darkness, for the light has come.
The light in you is all that I would see, [name].
I would see in this only what is there.

(76) I am under no laws but God’s.

Here is the perfect statement of my freedom. I am under no laws but God’s. I am constantly tempted to make up other laws and give them power over me. I suffer only because of my belief in them. They have no real effect on me at all. I am perfectly free of the effects of all laws save God’s. And His are the laws of freedom.

For specific forms in applying this idea, these would be useful:

My perception of this shows me I believe in laws that do not exist.
I see only the laws of God at work in this.
Let me allow God’s laws to work in this, and not my own.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #50: If the process of forgiveness is the basis of the Course, why does Jesus not just concentrate on that and give us all the techniques or advice in the most “practical” way possible? Any way do you have any techniques, advise or other? I am just desperate with the difficulty of the work!!!

A: First of all, you have a lot of company! Many, many people share your feelings about their work with the Course.

The Course is highly practical, but unfortunately, not in the way we would like it to be. We would like it to tell us what to do behaviorally in specific situations. It does not offer us practical advice or techniques on that level, though, because that is not its focus. It is a Course in changing our minds (content) not our behavior (form). It is a Course in cause, not effect, as Jesus tells us in a moving part of “The ‘Hero’ of the Dream” section in Chapter 27 of the text:

“In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause, and looks not to effects. How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely? He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him a while. You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed” (T.27.VIII.9:1,2,3,4,5).

Therefore, the Course says nothing about behavior, which is what so many students find frustrating. We would like to be told exactly what to do as we go about interacting with people and having to make all kinds of decisions about our lives. It does tell us what to do, but not in the behavioral sense. The workbook lessons are very specific about what we should do when we become upset, angry, judgmental, fearful, sick, etc. But the instructions are geared exclusively to the decision-making capacities of our minds, from which our behavior flows. Our behavior emanates from the thought system we have chosen in our minds. So the work of the Course centers entirely on that dimension, because that is where the cause of all of our problems and distress lies. Our bodily states are just the effects of the cause. Therefore, we can be helped most effectively by working with the contents of our minds. That is the kind of help Jesus offers us in his Course. This is part of what makes the Course unique in its approach to spirituality.

Yet sometimes concentrating on behavioral changes is helpful and even necessary, especially when addictions are involved. Often, internal work cannot begin until one’s emotional and physical status is fairly stable. But the relief from pain, anxiety, guilt, fear, etc. is usually not permanent when changes are made only on the behavioral level, with no corresponding change in the mind. The Course teaches us that we have concealed the deepest sources of motivation in our minds, so if we don’t get to that level, we will never have lasting internal peace, despite behavioral changes. By applying the teachings and principles of the Course, we are promised an end to all of our pain and all of our problems.

There are two striking passages, among others, that describe the Course’s orientation and approach to healing the pain and solving the problems of our lives: “Certain it is that all distress does not appear to be but unforgiveness. Yet that is the content underneath the form” (W.pI.193.4:1.1); “Of one thing you were sure: Of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them” (T.27.VII.7:4). So Jesus tells us in these passages, as well as in dozens of others, that we know neither what our problems are nor their solutions. We had best, then, ask his help and follow his guidance, as he knows what our problems truly are, and how they can be solved.

One should not mistake its emphasis on content to mean that the Course advocates complete license to behave in whatever way one chooses. This is clearly not its direction. It does not focus on behavior because of its metaphysical premises, primary of which is the principle that the world is nothing but the projection of a thought in our minds. And since “ideas leave not their source,” the world remains in the mind and therefore is not what it appears to us to be. Neither is the body. So by staying on a behavioral level, we are limiting the extent of healing that can occur. For some people, however, changing behavior is a helpful place to start the process of getting back in touch with the power of the mind that we have dissociated. It often would reflect the mind’s decision to be more loving and kind to oneself, which is actually an application of Course principles. Having completed some other therapy or training, a person may choose to return to the Course, and then be better able to learn and practice what it teaches.

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

ACIM Text Reading for March 5

Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement

III. The Correction of Error

The alertness of the ego to the errors of other egos is not the kind of vigilance the Holy Spirit would have you maintain. Egos are critical in terms of the kind of ‘sense’ they stand for. They understand this kind of sense, because it is sensible to them. To the Holy Spirit it makes no sense at all.

To the ego it is kind and right and good to point out errors and ‘correct’ them. This makes perfect sense to the ego, which is unaware of what errors are and what correction is. Errors are of the ego, and correction of errors lies in the relinquishment of the ego. When you correct a brother, you are telling him that he is wrong. He may be making no sense at the time, and it is certain that, if he is speaking from the ego, he will not be making sense. But your task is still to tell him he is right. You do not tell him this verbally, if he is speaking foolishly. He needs correction at another level, because his error is at another level. He is still right, because he is a Son of God. His ego is always wrong, no matter what it says or does.

If you point out the errors of your brother’s ego you must be seeing through yours, because the Holy Spirit does not perceive his errors. This must be true, since there is no communication between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego makes no sense, and the Holy Spirit does not attempt to understand anything that arises from it. Since He does not understand it, He does not judge it, knowing that nothing the ego makes means anything.

When you react at all to errors, you are not listening to the Holy Spirit. He has merely disregarded them, and if you attend to them you are not hearing Him. If you do not hear Him, you are listening to your ego and making as little sense as the brother whose errors you perceive. This cannot be correction. Yet it is more than merely a lack of correction for him. It is the giving up of correction in yourself.

When a brother behaves insanely, you can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him. If you perceive his errors and accept them, you are accepting yours. If you want to give yours over to the Holy Spirit, you must do this with his. Unless this becomes the one way in which you handle all errors, you cannot understand how all errors are undone. How is this different from telling you that what you teach you learn? Your brother is as right as you are, and if you think he is wrong you are condemning yourself.

You cannot correct yourself. Is it possible, then, for you to correct another? Yet you can see him truly, because it is possible for you to see yourself truly. It is not up to you to change your brother, but merely to accept him as he is. His errors do not come from the truth that is in him, and only this truth is yours. His errors cannot change this, and can have no effect at all on the truth in you. To perceive errors in anyone, and to react to them as if they were real, is to make them real to you. You will not escape paying the price for this, not because you are being punished for it, but because you are following the wrong guide and will therefore lose your way.

Your brother’s errors are not of him, any more than yours are of you. Accept his errors as real, and you have attacked yourself. If you would find your way and keep it, see only truth beside you for you walk together. The Holy Spirit in you forgives all things in you and in your brother. His errors are forgiven with yours. Atonement is no more separate than love. Atonement cannot be separate because it comes from love. Any attempt you make to correct a brother means that you believe correction by you is possible, and this can only be the arrogance of the ego. Correction is of God, Who does not know of arrogance.

The Holy Spirit forgives everything because God created everything. Do not undertake His function, or you will forget yours. Accept only the function of healing in time, because that is what time is for. God gave you the function to create in eternity. You do not need to learn that, but you do need to learn to want it. For that all learning was made. This is the Holy Spirit’s use of an ability that you do not need, but that you made. Give it to Him! You do not understand how to use it. He will teach you how to see yourself without condemnation, by learning how to look on everything without it. Condemnation will then not be real to you, and all your errors will be forgiven.

 ***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 5

Lesson 75

The light has come.

The light has come. You are healed and you can heal. The light has come. You are saved and you can save. You are at peace, and you bring peace with you wherever you go. Darkness and turmoil and death have disappeared. The light has come.

Today we celebrate the happy ending to your long dream of disaster. There are no dark dreams now. The light has come. Today the time of light begins for you and everyone. It is a new era, in which a new world is born. The old one has left no trace upon it in its passing. Today we see a different world, because the light has come.

Our exercises for today will be happy ones, in which we offer thanks for the passing of the old and the beginning of the new. No shadows from the past remain to darken our sight and hide the world forgiveness offers us. Today we will accept the new world as what we want to see. We will be given what we desire. We will to see the light; the light has come.

Our longer practice periods will be devoted to looking at the world that our forgiveness shows us. This is what we want to see, and only this. Our single purpose makes our goal inevitable. Today the real world rises before us in gladness, to be seen at last. Sight is given us, now that the light has come.

We do not want to see the ego’s shadow on the world today. We see the light, and in it we see Heaven’s reflection lie across the world. Begin the longer practice periods by telling yourself the glad tidings of your release:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Dwell not upon the past today. Keep a completely open mind, washed of all past ideas and clean of every concept you have made. You have forgiven the world today. You can look upon it now as if you never saw it before. You do not know yet what it looks like. You merely wait to have it shown to you. While you wait, repeat several times, slowly and in complete patience:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Realize that your forgiveness entitles you to vision. Understand that the Holy Spirit never fails to give the gift of sight to the forgiving. Believe He will not fail you now. You have forgiven the world. He will be with you as you watch and wait. He will show you what true vision sees. It is His Will, and you have joined with Him. Wait patiently for Him. He will be there. The light has come. You have forgiven the world.

Tell Him you know you cannot fail because you trust in Him. And tell yourself you wait in certainty to look upon the world He promised you. From this time forth you will see differently. Today the light has come. And you will see the world that has been promised you since time began, and in which is the end of time ensured.

The shorter practice periods, too, will be joyful reminders of your release. Remind yourself every quarter of an hour or so that today is a time for special celebration. Give thanks for mercy and the Love of God. Rejoice in the power of forgiveness to heal your sight completely. Be confident that on this day there is a new beginning. Without the darkness of the past upon your eyes, you cannot fail to see today. And what you see will be so welcome that you will gladly extend today forever.

Say, then:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Should you be tempted, say to anyone who seems to pull you back into darkness:

The light has come. I have forgiven you.

We dedicate this day to the serenity in which God would have you be. Keep it in your awareness of yourself and see it everywhere today, as we celebrate the beginning of your vision and the sight of the real world, which has come to replace the unforgiven world you thought was real.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #665: What does A Course in Miracles mean by “form” and “content?” How does one know that one is experiencing Christ’s Love or the Holy Spirit’s Answer? I have been working with the Course for 10 years and am a bit frustrated with the lack of progress. I simply cannot think of anyone or anything to forgive. I truly believe I am holy and I “see “the illusion in which I dwell. Yet, Heaven eludes me. Must one die a physical death in order to dwell in the promised Heaven? I am really curious to hear how others are experiencing Love.

A: The first thing we need to understand about form and content is that they are part of the Son of God’s dream, and do not exist in reality. While the Son sleeps he appears to have a mind separate from God’s. This mind has only two possible “contents” or thoughts: the thought of separation, or the memory of oneness with God. It has only one activity: the power to choose between these two thoughts. Once the mind chooses one of these two thoughts, the thought takes form. The form may be a specific behavior, a “thought” or a judgment that expresses the original thought. As the Course tells us early in the text: “All thinking produces form at some level” (T.2.VI.9:14). When the content of the mind is the choice for the Holy Spirit, Who represents the memory of God’s Love in the mind, whatever is done or not done in form will be a reflection of that Love. The Love/content is communicated in some form because it has been chosen. If the content of the mind is the choice for separation, it is governed by the ego. Therefore, no matter how sweet and loving the form may appear to be, it will be an attack because it expresses the ego’s denial of God.

If Heaven eludes us, we are not at peace, and if we are not at peace there is room for forgiveness. As Jesus tells us in the text: “Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations” (T.5.VII.5:1). The initial “lack of love” occurs in the mind when we choose to identify with the ego, rather than with the part of the mind that remembers who we truly are (God’s innocent Son). This is what the Course teaches is unloving toward oneself, as well as all our brothers who are God’s one Son, and it is what needs to be forgiven.

The goal of the Course is to teach us to become aware of the content of our minds so that it can be healed of the thought of separation, and we can make another choice. Meanwhile, because our minds are unhealed, we are not the ones to judge whether we are truly experiencing or expressing the loving content of the Holy Spirit. We also are not qualified to evaluate our progress. When we are discouraged about our progress it is helpful to call to mind the passage at the end of the text: “I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself” (T31.V.17:7). Jesus also tells us “Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success” (T.18.V.1:6). This may not seem like good news on a “good” day when we’re having a “good time,” but it does free us of the burden of evaluating ourselves. Ultimately it is very good news because we are not the miserable sinners we thought we were. We need not know anything, we need only to be willing to do our part by paying careful attention to any judgments that are not loving, so they can be healed, then “…What you are will tell you of Itself” (T.31.V.17:9) and that will be our final experience.

Attachment to our ego is what keeps us from the awareness that we are home with God in Heaven. This block to our awareness is not removed by death, it is undone through healing the thought of separation. Since the Course itself is a reflection of the part of the mind that holds the memory of God’s Love, the forgiveness it teaches is also an experience of love: “Forgiveness [choosing the Holy Spirit] is the healing of the perception of separation. Certain it is that all distress does not appear to be but unforgiveness [choosing separation]. Yet that is the content underneath the form. It is this sameness which makes learning sure, because the lesson is so simple that it cannot be rejected in the end” (W.pI.193.4:1,2,3). Though not the final experience, the small glimpses of Love’s reflection when we let go of judgments against ourselves and others will lead us to it. As we are promised in the text: “I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny” (T.11.VI.3:6). We have great resistance to this healing, which is why the study of A Course in Miracles is a lifetime process. Our patient, persistent and gentle practice of forgiveness will lead us home.

you cannot lose your soul

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 29

ACIM Text Reading for March 29

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

II. The Gifts of Fatherhood

You have learned your need of healing. Would you bring anything else to the Sonship, recognizing your need of healing for yourself? For in this lies the beginning of the return to knowledge; the foundation on which God will help build again the thought system you share with Him. Not one stone you place upon it but will be blessed by Him, for you will be restoring the holy dwelling place of His Son, where He wills His Son to be and where he is. In whatever part of the mind of God’s Son you restore this reality, you restore it to yourself. You dwell in the Mind of God with your brother, for God Himself did not will to be alone.

To be alone is to be separated from infinity, but how can this be if infinity has no end? No one can be beyond the limitless, because what has no limits must be everywhere. There are no beginnings and no endings in God, Whose universe is Himself. Can you exclude yourself from the universe, or from God Who is the universe? I and my Father are one with you, for you are part of us. Do you really believe that part of God can be missing or lost to Him?

If you were not part of God, His Will would not be unified. Is this conceivable? Can part of His Mind contain nothing? If your place in His Mind cannot be filled by anyone except you, and your filling it was your creation, without you there would be an empty place in God’s Mind. Extension cannot be blocked, and it has no voids. It continues forever, however much it is denied. Your denial of its reality may arrest it in time, but not in eternity. That is why your creations have not ceased to be extended, and why so much is waiting for your return.

Waiting is possible only in time, but time has no meaning. You who made delay can leave time behind simply by recognizing that neither beginnings nor endings were created by the Eternal, Who placed no limits on His creation or upon those who create like Him. You do not know this simply because you have tried to limit what He created, and so you believe that all creation is limited. How, then, could you know your creations, having denied infinity?

The laws of the universe do not permit contradiction. What holds for God holds for you. If you believe you are absent from God, you will believe that He is absent from you. Infinity is meaningless without you, and you are meaningless without God. There is no end to God and His Son, for we are the universe. God is not incomplete, and He is not childless. Because He did not will to be alone, He created a Son like Himself. Do not deny Him His Son, for your unwillingness to accept His Fatherhood has denied you yours. See His creations as His Son, for yours were created in honor of Him. The universe of love does not stop because you do not see it, nor have your closed eyes lost the ability to see. Look upon the glory of His creation, and you will learn what God has kept for you.

God has given you a place in His Mind that is yours forever. Yet you can keep it only by giving it, as it was given you. Could you be alone there, when it was given you because God did not will to be alone? God’s Mind cannot be lessened. It can only be increased, for everything He creates has the function of creating. Love does not limit, and what it creates is not limited. To give without limit is God’s Will for you, because only this can bring you the joy that is His and that He wills to share with you. Your love is as boundless as His because it is His.

Could any part of God be without His Love, and could any part of His Love be contained? God is your heritage, because His one gift is Himself. How can you give except like Him if you would know His gift to you? Give, then, without limit and without end, to learn how much He has given you. Your ability to accept Him depends on your willingness to give as He gives. Your fatherhood and your Father are one. God wills to create, and your will is His. It follows, then, that you will to create, since your will follows from His. And being an extension of His Will, yours must be the same.

Yet what you will you do not know. This is not strange when you realize that to deny is to “not know.” God’s Will is that you are His Son. By denying this you deny your own will, and therefore do not know what it is. You must ask what God’s Will is in everything, because it is yours. You do not know what it is, but the Holy Spirit remembers it for you. Ask Him, therefore, what God’s Will is for you, and He will tell you yours. It cannot be too often repeated that you do not know it. Whenever what the Holy Spirit tells you appears to be coercive, it is only because you have not recognized your will.

The projection of the ego makes it appear as if God’s Will is outside yourself, and therefore not yours. In this interpretation it seems possible for God’s Will and yours to conflict. God, then, may seem to demand of you what you do not want to give, and thus deprive you of what you want. Would God, Who wants only your will, be capable of this? Your will is His Life, which He has given to you. Even in time you cannot live apart from Him. Sleep is not death. What He created can sleep, but cannot die. Immortality is His Will for His Son, and His Son’s will for himself. God’s Son cannot will death for himself because His Father is life, and His Son is like Him. Creation is your will because it is His.

You cannot be happy unless you do what you will truly, and you cannot change this because it is immutable. It is immutable by God’s Will and yours, for otherwise His Will would not be extended. You are afraid to know God’s Will, because you believe it is not yours. This belief is your whole sickness and your whole fear. Every symptom of sickness and fear arises here, because this is the belief that makes you want not to know. Believing this you hide in darkness, denying that the light is in you.

You are asked to trust the Holy Spirit only because He speaks for you. He is the Voice for God, but never forget that God did not will to be alone. He shares His Will with you; He does not thrust it upon you. Always remember that what He gives He keeps, so that nothing He gives can contradict Him. You who share His life must share it to know it, for sharing is knowing. Blessed are you who learn that to hear the Will of your Father is to know your own. For it is your will to be like Him, Whose Will it is that it be so. God’s Will is that His Son be one, and united with Him in His Oneness. That is why healing is the beginning of the recognition that your will is His.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 29

 Lesson 88
Today we will review these ideas:

(75) The light has come.

In choosing salvation rather than attack, I merely choose to recognize what is already there. Salvation is a decision made already. Attack and grievances are not there to choose. That is why I always choose between truth and illusion; between what is there and what is not. The light has come. I can but choose the light, for it has no alternative. It has replaced the darkness, and the darkness has gone.

These would prove useful forms for specific applications of this idea:

This cannot show me darkness, for the light has come.
The light in you is all that I would see, [name].
I would see in this only what is there.

(76) I am under no laws but God’s.

Here is the perfect statement of my freedom. I am under no laws but God’s. I am constantly tempted to make up other laws and give them power over me. I suffer only because of my belief in them. They have no real effect on me at all. I am perfectly free of the effects of all laws save God’s. And His are the laws of freedom.

For specific forms in applying this idea, these would be useful:

My perception of this shows me I believe in laws that do not exist.
I see only the laws of God at work in this.
Let me allow God’s laws to work in this, and not my own.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #995: You have said that if we really understood the Course’s message that we do not exist, we would feel terror. But I don’t feel terror, just uncomfortable and sometimes afraid. I have a friend who is doing A Course in Miracles , too, and she says she feels happiness when she thinks of losing her individuality and joining with God. I suspect that there is a degree of blockage in both of us, and perhaps in all of us. This is our denial, our non-acceptance of the truth. Is this true?

A: Yes, anyone who believes that he or she is here is in denial of the truth. If we were ready to fully accept the truth, we would no longer have any need for this dream and would awaken to our true home in Heaven, where we are still one with our Creator. The fact that we do not do so tells us that we must have a motivation for choosing this world of separation and pain over the peace of God.

A Course in Miracles lets us know what that motivation is. It states that we made up this world of murder and attack because it is a picture of what we think we are. We believe that we are murderers, deserving of death as punishment for what we have done (T.20.III.4) . And what we accuse ourselves of doing is usurping the place of God; thus, in essence, killing Him off. At the same time, we believe that God is not really dead and will come back to give us our punishment. So, the ego’s only conception of God is as an angry father pursuing His guilty son (M.17.7: 10) . These terrifying dynamics motivate us to continue listening to the ego, and keep dreaming that we are in this world of individuality and separation, which God can enter not (W.pII.3.3:4) . In other words, as bad as this world can be, we think it is our protection.

However, another part of our mind — symbolized in the Course as the Holy Spirit — retains the memory of the true God’s Love. It knows that the angry, vengeful God is a fiction of the ego. And so, we have two competing thought systems in our mind: the ego’s, which is literally scared to death of losing our individuality, and the Holy Spirit’s, which knows that we have nothing to fear and that our recognition of this fact and resultant awakening would give us everything we truly want. The Course is aimed at the part of our mind that chooses between these two thought systems. On one hand, it asks us to look at the terror, which we miscreated an entire world to avoid facing. On the other hand, it tells us that this fear is made up and gives us a method for finally letting it go and being at peace at last.

Not surprisingly then, we are likely to experience many shifting and conflicting emotions as we work with the Course. In addition, because our terror is deeply buried, we may not have a direct emotional experience of it — and certainly not consistently. The Course tells us that ” What I call ‘my’ thoughts are not my real thoughts” (W.pI.51.4:3) . It would make the same statement about feelings. Feelings lie because they are virtually always the result of thoughts about some aspect of our illusory existence as individuals within this physical world.

Of course, feelings can be helpful if they motivate us to ask the Holy Spirit to look with us at the thoughts behind them and, in the process, let His Love take the place of the ego’s guilt. If we can do just that with our feelings — learning to simply watch them without judging them, over- analyzing them, or worrying about them — they will gradually lessen in intensity and seeming importance as our capacity to feel the peace of God increases.

pray-for-what-is

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 16

ACIM Text Reading for March 16

Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement

I. The Acceptance of Reality

Fear of the Will of God is one of the strangest beliefs the human mind has ever made. It could not possibly have occurred unless the mind were already profoundly split, making it possible for it to be afraid of what it really is. Reality cannot “threaten” anything except illusions, since reality can only uphold truth. The very fact that the Will of God, which is what you are, is perceived as fearful, demonstrates that you are afraid of what you are. It is not, then, the Will of God of which you are afraid, but yours.

Your will is not the ego’s, and that is why the ego is against you. What seems to be the fear of God is really the fear of your own reality. It is impossible to learn anything consistently in a state of panic. If the purpose of this course is to help you remember what you are, and if you believe that what you are is fearful, then it must follow that you will not learn this course. Yet the reason for the course is that you do not know what you are.

If you do not know what your reality is, why would you be so sure that it is fearful? The association of truth and fear, which would be highly artificial at most, is particularly inappropriate in the minds of those who do not know what truth is. All this could mean is that you are arbitrarily associating something beyond your awareness with something you do not want. It is evident, then, that you are judging something of which you are totally unaware. You have set up this strange situation so that it is impossible to escape from it without a Guide Who does know what your reality is. The purpose of this Guide is merely to remind you of what you want. He is not attempting to force an alien will upon you. He is merely making every possible effort, within the limits you impose on Him, to re-establish your own will in your awareness.

You have imprisoned your will beyond your own awareness, where it remains, but cannot help you. When I said that the Holy Spirit’s function is to sort out the true from the false in your mind, I meant that He has the power to look into what you have hidden and recognize the Will of God there. His recognition of this Will can make it real to you because He is in your mind, and therefore He is your reality. If, then, His perception of your mind brings its reality to you, He is helping you to remember what you are. The only source of fear in this process is what you think you will lose. Yet it is only what the Holy Spirit sees that you can possibly have.

I have emphasized many times that the Holy Spirit will never call upon you to sacrifice anything. But if you ask the sacrifice of reality of yourself, the Holy Spirit must remind you that this is not God’s Will because it is not yours. There is no difference between your will and God’s. If you did not have a split mind, you would recognize that willing is salvation because it is communication.

It is impossible to communicate in alien tongues. You and your Creator can communicate through creation, because that, and only that is your joint Will. A divided mind cannot communicate, because it speaks for different things to the same mind. This loses the ability to communicate simply because confused communication does not mean anything. A message cannot be communicated unless it makes sense. How sensible can your messages be, when you ask for what you do not want? Yet as long as you are afraid of your will, that is precisely what you are asking for.

You may insist that the Holy Spirit does not answer you, but it might be wiser to consider the kind of questioner you are. You do not ask only for what you want. This is because you are afraid you might receive it, and you would. That is why you persist in asking the teacher who could not possibly give you what you want. Of him you can never learn what it is, and this gives you the illusion of safety. Yet you cannot be safe from truth, but only in truth. Reality is the only safety. Your will is your salvation because it is the same as God’s. The separation is nothing more than the belief that it is different.

No right mind can believe that its will is stronger than God’s. If, then, a mind believes that its will is different from His, it can only decide either that there is no God or that God’s Will is fearful. The former accounts for the atheist and the latter for the martyr, who believes that God demands sacrifices. Either of these insane decisions will induce panic, because the atheist believes he is alone, and the martyr believes that God is crucifying him. Yet no one really wants either abandonment or retaliation, even though many may seek both. Can you ask the Holy Spirit for “gifts” such as these, and actually expect to receive them? He cannot give you something you do not want. When you ask the Universal Giver for what you do not want, you are asking for what cannot be given because it was never created. It was never created, because it was never your will for you.

Ultimately everyone must remember the Will of God, because ultimately everyone must recognize himself. This recognition is the recognition that his will and God’s are one. In the presence of truth, there are no unbelievers and no sacrifices. In the security of reality, fear is totally meaningless. To deny what is can only seem to be fearful. Fear cannot be real without a cause, and God is the only Cause. God is Love and you do want him. This is your will. Ask for this and you will be answered, because you will be asking only for what belongs to you.

When you ask the Holy Spirit for what would hurt you He cannot answer because nothing can hurt you, and so you are asking for nothing. Any wish that stems from the ego is a wish for nothing, and to ask for it is not a request. It is merely a denial in the form of a request. The Holy Spirit is not concerned with form, being aware only of meaning. The ego cannot ask the Holy Spirit for anything, because there is complete communication failure between them. Yet you can ask for everything of the Holy Spirit, because your requests to Him are real, being of your right mind. Would the Holy Spirit deny the Will of God? And could He fail to recognize it in His Son?

You do not recognize the enormous waste of energy you expend in denying truth. What would you say of someone who persists in attempting the impossible, believing that to achieve it is to succeed? The belief that you must have the impossible in order to be happy is totally at variance with the principle of creation. God could not will that happiness depended on what you could never have. The fact that God is Love does not require belief, but it does require acceptance. It is indeed possible for you to deny facts, although it is impossible for you to change them. If you hold your hands over your eyes, you will not see because you are interfering with the laws of seeing. If you deny love, you will not know it because your cooperation is the law of its being. You cannot change laws you did not make, and the laws of happiness were created for you, not by you.

Any attempt to deny what is must be fearful, and if the attempt is strong it will induce panic. Willing against reality, though impossible, can be made into a very persistent goal even though you do not want it. But consider the result of this strange decision. You are devoting your mind to what you do not want. How real can this devotion be? If you do not want it, it was never created. If it were never created, it is nothing. Can you really devote yourself to nothing?

God in His devotion to you created you devoted to everything, and gave you what you are devoted to. Otherwise you would not have been created perfect. Reality is everything, and you have everything because you are real. You cannot make the unreal because the absence of reality is fearful, and fear cannot be created. As long as you believe that fear is possible, you will not create. Opposing orders of reality make reality meaningless, and reality is meaning.

Remember, then, that God’s Will is already possible, and nothing else will ever be. This is the simple acceptance of reality, because only that is real. You cannot distort reality and know what it is. And if you do distort reality you will experience anxiety, depression and ultimately panic, because you are trying to make yourself unreal. When you feel these things, do not try to look beyond yourself for truth, for truth can only be within you. Say, therefore:

“Christ is in me, and where He is God must be, for Christ is part of Him.”

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 16

Lesson 75

The light has come.

The light has come. You are healed and you can heal. The light has come. You are saved and you can save. You are at peace, and you bring peace with you wherever you go. Darkness and turmoil and death have disappeared. The light has come.

Today we celebrate the happy ending to your long dream of disaster. There are no dark dreams now. The light has come. Today the time of light begins for you and everyone. It is a new era, in which a new world is born. The old one has left no trace upon it in its passing. Today we see a different world, because the light has come.

Our exercises for today will be happy ones, in which we offer thanks for the passing of the old and the beginning of the new. No shadows from the past remain to darken our sight and hide the world forgiveness offers us. Today we will accept the new world as what we want to see. We will be given what we desire. We will to see the light; the light has come.

Our longer practice periods will be devoted to looking at the world that our forgiveness shows us. This is what we want to see, and only this. Our single purpose makes our goal inevitable. Today the real world rises before us in gladness, to be seen at last. Sight is given us, now that the light has come.

We do not want to see the ego’s shadow on the world today. We see the light, and in it we see Heaven’s reflection lie across the world. Begin the longer practice periods by telling yourself the glad tidings of your release:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Dwell not upon the past today. Keep a completely open mind, washed of all past ideas and clean of every concept you have made. You have forgiven the world today. You can look upon it now as if you never saw it before. You do not know yet what it looks like. You merely wait to have it shown to you. While you wait, repeat several times, slowly and in complete patience:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Realize that your forgiveness entitles you to vision. Understand that the Holy Spirit never fails to give the gift of sight to the forgiving. Believe He will not fail you now. You have forgiven the world. He will be with you as you watch and wait. He will show you what true vision sees. It is His Will, and you have joined with Him. Wait patiently for Him. He will be there. The light has come. You have forgiven the world.

Tell Him you know you cannot fail because you trust in Him. And tell yourself you wait in certainty to look upon the world He promised you. From this time forth you will see differently. Today the light has come. And you will see the world that has been promised you since time began, and in which is the end of time ensured.

The shorter practice periods, too, will be joyful reminders of your release. Remind yourself every quarter of an hour or so that today is a time for special celebration. Give thanks for mercy and the Love of God. Rejoice in the power of forgiveness to heal your sight completely. Be confident that on this day there is a new beginning. Without the darkness of the past upon your eyes, you cannot fail to see today. And what you see will be so welcome that you will gladly extend today forever.

Say, then:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Should you be tempted, say to anyone who seems to pull you back into darkness:

The light has come. I have forgiven you.

We dedicate this day to the serenity in which God would have you be. Keep it in your awareness of yourself and see it everywhere today, as we celebrate the beginning of your vision and the sight of the real world, which has come to replace the unforgiven world you thought was real.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #885: Why do I sometimes feel that the words spoken in A Course in Miracles are unkind? Is this a projection of the ego which is trying to steer me subtly away from the Course’s purpose? What is the Course’s purpose anyhow?

A: The goal of A Course in Miracles is to uncover what lies hidden within the ego thought system, so that it can be exposed to the light of truth to be healed. Exposure of the ugliness of the ego may seem unkind, just as patients cringe when the dentist probes to examine an aching tooth. The pain of the infected tooth is unbearable, but the helping hands of the dentist may be perceived as yet more painful. Careful examination of the Course’s graphic descriptions of the ego reveals Jesus’ kind and comforting diagnosis: we are not the gruesome ego in need of a root canal, we only think we are. He introduces descriptions of the ego’s insanity with phrases such as: “you think you are….” “you believe you are….,” “you see yourself…”. Never does he say these beliefs are true. In fact, the only purpose for exposing these thoughts is to teach us that they are not true, and that we believe them because we have chosen them to support belief in the reality of separation and sin. The sickness of separation must first be exposed in order for it to be healed. The goal of the Course is healing the mind of the thought of separation, which Jesus helps us do by teaching us that just as we chose the ego, we can choose against it by choosing the Holy Spirit.

Yes, focusing on the Course’s strong negative words in reference to the ego is a wonderful way for to halt progress in your study of the Course. The truth is, we have no problem believing that we are egos living and dying in bodies, with no hope of ever returning to our true state of oneness with God; the most unkind thing the Son of God could believe about himself. But we do have tremendous resistance to believing the message Jesus offers: we are God’s innocent Son (W.pI.95.12:2,3) , the separation never happened (T.6.II.10:7) , the world is an illusion (W.pI.155.2:1) , and “At no single instant does the body exist at all” (T.18.VII.3:1) . Jesus adds insult to injury by telling us that this world is hell (W.pI.182.3) , every attack is murder (T.23.III.1) , guilt is projected from the mind in the form of hate (T.18.VI.2) , and finally, “…a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury” (W.pI.21.2:5) . To the part of the mind that identifies with the ego/body these words are indeed unkind; certainly not things we want to hear. In fact, the ego works very hard at keeping these thoughts from awareness, thereby defending the mind’s continued choice for separation. The devastating consequences of choosing separation are hidden behind the world’s seeming loveliness. In the text, Jesus uses the example of a framed picture to show us the ego’s use of denial and deception. The ugly picture of the ego’s specialness is “…surrounded by a frame so heavy and so elaborate that the picture is almost obliterated by its imposing structure” (T.17.IV.8:2) . The ego uses both the positive and negative experiences of the world in fabricating its frame of deception. The positive experiences are diversions meant to convince us that the world is not such a bad place. The pain and misery of negative experiences prove the world is real. We have so overlearned the ego’s message and adjusted to the heavy layers of denial, that Jesus spells things out using striking contrast between the ego’s darkness and the loving message of the Holy Spirit’s truth. Jesus urges us to “look at the picture ” (T.17.IV.9:1) , not the frame. Unless we see that choosing the ego is the source of all the world’s anguish, we will not move beyond the veil of illusion to awaken to the light of truth. That is the ultimate goal of the Course.

here to represent

 

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 29

ACIM Text Reading for March 29

Chapter 11 ~ God or the Ego

II. The Invitation to Healing

If sickness is separation, the decision to heal and to be healed is the first step toward recognising what you truly want. Every attack is a step away from this, and every healing thought brings it closer. The Son of God has both Father and Son, because he is both Father and Son. To unite having and being is to unite your will with His, for He wills you Himself. And you will yourself to Him because, in your perfect understanding of Him, you know there is but one Will. Yet when you attack any part of God and His Kingdom your understanding is not perfect, and what you really want is therefore lost to you.

Healing thus becomes a lesson in understanding; and the more you practise it the better teacher and learner you become. If you have denied truth, what better witnesses to its reality could you have than those who have been healed by it? But be sure to count yourself among them, for in your willingness to join them is your healing accomplished. Every miracle that you accomplish speaks to you of the Fatherhood of God. Every healing thought that you accept, either from your brother or in your own mind, teaches you that you are God’s Son. In every hurtful thought you hold, wherever you perceive it, lies the denial of God’s Fatherhood and of your Sonship.

And denial is as total as love. You cannot deny part of yourself, because the rest will seem to be separate and therefore without meaning. And being without meaning to you, you will not understand it. To deny meaning is to fail to understand. You can heal only yourself, for only God’s Son needs healing. You need it because you do not understand yourself, and therefore know not what you do. Having forgotten your will, you do not know what you really want.

Healing is a sign that you want to make whole. And this willingness opens your ears to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, Whose message is wholeness. He will enable you to go far beyond the healing you would undertake, for beside your small willingness to make whole He will lay His Own complete Will and make yours whole. What can the Son of God not accomplish with the Fatherhood of God in Him? And yet the invitation must come from you, for you have surely learned that whom you invite as your guest will abide with you.

The Holy Spirit cannot speak to an unwelcoming host, because He will not be heard. The Eternal Guest remains, but His Voice grows faint in alien company. He needs your protection, only because your care is a sign that you want Him. Think like Him ever so slightly, and the little spark becomes a blazing light that fills your mind so that He becomes your only Guest. Whenever you ask the ego to enter, you lessen His welcome. He will remain, but you have allied yourself against Him. Whatever journey you choose to take, He will go with you, waiting. You can safely trust His patience, for He cannot leave a part of God. Yet you need far more than patience.

You will never rest until you know your function and fulfil it, for only in this can your will and your Father’s be wholly joined. To have Him is to be like Him, and He has given Himself to you. You who have God must be as God, for His function became yours with His gift. Invite this knowledge back into your mind, and let nothing that obscures it enter. The Guest Whom God sent you will teach you how to do this, if you but recognise the little spark and are willing to let it grow. Your willingness need not be perfect, because His is. If you will merely offer Him a little place, He will lighten it so much that you will gladly let it be increased. And by this increase, you will begin to remember creation.

Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God? You will accept only whom you invite. You are free to determine who shall be your guest, and how long he shall remain with you. Yet this is not real freedom, for it still depends on how you see it. The Holy Spirit is there; although He cannot help you without your invitation. And the ego is nothing, whether you invite it in or not. Real freedom depends on welcoming reality, and of your guests only the Holy Spirit is real. Know, then, Who abides with you merely by recognising what is there already, and do not be satisfied with imaginary comforters, for the Comforter of God is in you.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 29

Lesson 88
Today we will review these ideas:

(75) The light has come.

In choosing salvation rather than attack, I merely choose to recognize what is already there. Salvation is a decision made already. Attack and grievances are not there to choose. That is why I always choose between truth and illusion; between what is there and what is not. The light has come. I can but choose the light, for it has no alternative. It has replaced the darkness, and the darkness has gone.

These would prove useful forms for specific applications of this idea:

This cannot show me darkness, for the light has come.
The light in you is all that I would see, [name].
I would see in this only what is there.

(76) I am under no laws but God’s.

Here is the perfect statement of my freedom. I am under no laws but God’s. I am constantly tempted to make up other laws and give them power over me. I suffer only because of my belief in them. They have no real effect on me at all. I am perfectly free of the effects of all laws save God’s. And His are the laws of freedom.

For specific forms in applying this idea, these would be useful:

My perception of this shows me I believe in laws that do not exist.
I see only the laws of God at work in this.
Let me allow God’s laws to work in this, and not my own.

For a Free Downloadable Audio of Today’s Text Reading & Workbook Lesson, Click HERE

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #664: I know that the goal of A Course in Miracles is to realize that all the world we see is an illusion and to eventually give up our ego to be in the reality of union with God. My question is has anyone ever reached the goal and actually done it? If so how did they describe the experience. Are there signposts along the way that the illusion is nearly dismissed or have I missed the point and there is another goal?

A: Your question is a version of the “famous question” of how the separation could have ever happened if we were happy and at peace in God. It implies that the separation is real and the question can then only be answered in some form that supports this belief. The truth is that we have all “done it,” because we have not “undone it” (See T.6.II.10:7,8). However, we believe we have accomplished the impossibility of separating from God and are in need of help to learn that we are mistaken. We have chosen to believe the dream of separation and have identified with the ego. This mistake includes identifying with the body, and makes the world real in our experience. We then seem to experience a learning process whereby we gradually accept the Holy Spirit’s truth and learn to identify with the part of the mind that holds the memory of God’s Love, rather than with the body. It is the healing process of forgiveness that provides glimpses of the Love that has been forgotten, described in the Course as holy instants. Gradually we learn that the peace of the holy instant is preferable to the pain of clinging to the ego, and begin to choose it more frequently and easily, until it is the only thing we choose. That is how the “goal” is accomplished.

Jesus represents for us one who has chosen to identify only with the Love in his mind, and has thus reached the goal. His “experience” is expressed throughout A Course in Miracles, and is, in fact, its source. The important thing to remember is that it is also our experience. As he tells us in the text: “Believe in the resurrection [the “goal”] because it has been accomplished, and it has been accomplished in you. This is as true now as it will ever be… For we ascend unto the Father together, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, for such is the nature of God’s Son as his Father created him” (T.11.VI.4:6,7,9).

The signposts along the way need not be earth shattering experiences. They are simple moments like the sense of relief when we finally let go of a grievance, or realize that we do not have to be right, letting someone else have the final word. A moment of peace, however fleeting, points the way to the lasting peace we seek. It is important to recognize these little signs, rather than to expect lightening bolts to flash into our lives. Being true glimpses of the final goal, they lead us more surely to its realization. We return always to the practice of the forgiveness the Course teaches as the sure guide to our own awakening. 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” (T.15.IV.9:1,2). So our goal is only to do our part in looking at all our judgments, which are the blocks that prevent our awareness of God’s Love. As the blocks are removed, the truth of our oneness with His Love, which seemed to have been forgotten, will be remembered.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for March 16

ACIM Text Reading for March 16

Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement

IV. The Holy Spirit’s Plan of Forgiveness

Atonement is for all, because it is the way to undo the belief that anything is for you alone. To forgive is to overlook. Look, then, beyond error and do not let your perception rest upon it, for you will believe what your perception holds. Accept as true only what your brother is, if you would know yourself. Perceive what he is not and you cannot know what you are, because you see him falsely. Remember always that your Identity is shared, and that Its sharing is Its reality.

You have a part to play in the Atonement, but the plan of the Atonement is beyond you. You do not understand how to overlook errors, or you would not make them. It would merely be further error to believe either that you do not make them, or that you can correct them without a Guide to correction. And if you do not follow this Guide, your errors will not be corrected. The plan is not yours because of your limited ideas about what you are. This sense of limitation is where all errors arise. The way to undo them, therefore, is not of you but for you.

The Atonement is a lesson in sharing, which is given you because you have forgotten how to do it. The Holy Spirit merely reminds you of the natural use of your abilities. By reinterpreting the ability to attack into the ability to share, He translates what you have made into what God created. If you would accomplish this through Him you cannot look on your abilities through the eyes of the ego, or you will judge them as it does. All their harmfulness lies in the ego’s judgement. All their helpfulness lies in the judgement of the Holy Spirit.

The ego, too, has a plan of forgiveness because you are asking for one, though not of the right teacher. The ego’s plan, of course, makes no sense and will not work. By following its plan you will merely place yourself in an impossible situation, to which the ego always leads you. The ego’s plan is to have you see error clearly first, and then overlook it. Yet how can you overlook what you have made real? By seeing it clearly, you have made it real and cannot overlook it. This is where the ego is forced to appeal to ‘mysteries’, insisting that you must accept the meaningless to save yourself. Many have tried to do this in my name, forgetting that my words make perfect sense because they come from God. They are as sensible now as they ever were, because they speak of ideas that are eternal.

Forgiveness that is learned of me does not use fear to undo fear. Nor does it make real the unreal and then destroy it. Forgiveness through the Holy Spirit lies simply in looking beyond error from the beginning, and thus keeping it unreal for you. Do not let any belief in its realness enter your mind, or you will also believe that you must undo what you have made in order to be forgiven. What has no effect does not exist, and to the Holy Spirit the effects of error are non existent. By steadily and consistently cancelling out all its effects, everywhere and in all respects, He teaches that the ego does not exist and proves it.

Follow the Holy Spirit’s teaching in forgiveness, then, because forgiveness is His function and He knows how to fulfil it perfectly. That is what I meant when I said that miracles are natural, and when they do not occur something has gone wrong. Miracles are merely the sign of your willingness to follow the Holy Spirit’s plan of salvation, recognising that you do not understand what it is. His work is not your function, and unless you accept this you cannot learn what your function is.

The confusion of functions is so typical of the ego that you should be quite familiar with it by now. The ego believes that all functions belong to it, even though it has no idea what they are. This is more than mere confusion. It is a particularly dangerous combination of grandiosity and confusion that makes the ego likely to attack anyone and anything for no reason at all. This is exactly what the ego does. It is unpredictable in its responses, because it has no idea of what it perceives.

If you have no idea what is happening, how appropriately can you expect to react? You might ask yourself, regardless of how you may account for the reaction, whether its unpredictability places the ego in a sound position as your guide. Let me repeat that the ego’s qualifications as a guide are singularly unfortunate, and that it is a remarkably poor choice as a teacher of salvation. Anyone who elects a totally insane guide must be totally insane himself. Nor is it true that you do not realise the guide is insane. You realise it because I realise it, and you have judged it by the same standard I have.

The ego literally lives on borrowed time, and its days are numbered. Do not fear the Last Judgement, but welcome it and do not wait, for the ego’s time is ‘borrowed’ from your eternity. This is the Second Coming that was made for you as the First was created. The Second Coming is merely the return of sense. Can this possibly be fearful?

What can be fearful but fantasy, and who turns to fantasy unless he despairs of finding satisfaction in reality? Yet it is certain that you will never find satisfaction in fantasy, so that your only hope is to change your mind about reality. Only if the decision that reality is fearful is wrong can God be right. And I assure you that God is right. Be glad, then, that you have been wrong, but this was only because you did not know who you were. Had you known, you could no more have been wrong than God can.

The impossible can happen only in fantasy. When you search for reality in fantasies you will not find it. The symbols of fantasy are of the ego, and of these you will find many. But do not look for meaning in them. They have no more meaning than the fantasies into which they are woven. Fairy tales can be pleasant or fearful, but no one calls them true. Children may believe them, and so, for a while, the tales are true for them. Yet when reality dawns, the fantasies are gone. Reality has not gone in the meanwhile. The Second Coming is the awareness of reality, not its return.

Behold, my child, reality is here. It belongs to you and me and God, and is perfectly satisfying to all of us. Only this awareness heals, because it is the awareness of truth.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 16

Lesson 75
The light has come.

The light has come. You are healed and you can heal. The light has come. You are saved and you can save. You are at peace, and you bring peace with you wherever you go. Darkness and turmoil and death have disappeared. The light has come.

Today we celebrate the happy ending to your long dream of disaster. There are no dark dreams now. The light has come. Today the time of light begins for you and everyone. It is a new era, in which a new world is born. The old one has left no trace upon it in its passing. Today we see a different world, because the light has come.

Our exercises for today will be happy ones, in which we offer thanks for the passing of the old and the beginning of the new. No shadows from the past remain to darken our sight and hide the world forgiveness offers us. Today we will accept the new world as what we want to see. We will be given what we desire. We will to see the light; the light has come.

Our longer practice periods will be devoted to looking at the world that our forgiveness shows us. This is what we want to see, and only this. Our single purpose makes our goal inevitable. Today the real world rises before us in gladness, to be seen at last. Sight is given us, now that the light has come.

We do not want to see the ego’s shadow on the world today. We see the light, and in it we see Heaven’s reflection lie across the world. Begin the longer practice periods by telling yourself the glad tidings of your release:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Dwell not upon the past today. Keep a completely open mind, washed of all past ideas and clean of every concept you have made. You have forgiven the world today. You can look upon it now as if you never saw it before. You do not know yet what it looks like. You merely wait to have it shown to you. While you wait, repeat several times, slowly and in complete patience:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Realize that your forgiveness entitles you to vision. Understand that the Holy Spirit never fails to give the gift of sight to the forgiving. Believe He will not fail you now. You have forgiven the world. He will be with you as you watch and wait. He will show you what true vision sees. It is His Will, and you have joined with Him. Wait patiently for Him. He will be there. The light has come. You have forgiven the world.

Tell Him you know you cannot fail because you trust in Him. And tell yourself you wait in certainty to look upon the world He promised you. From this time forth you will see differently. Today the light has come. And you will see the world that has been promised you since time began, and in which is the end of time ensured.

The shorter practice periods, too, will be joyful reminders of your release. Remind yourself every quarter of an hour or so that today is a time for special celebration. Give thanks for mercy and the Love of God. Rejoice in the power of forgiveness to heal your sight completely. Be confident that on this day there is a new beginning. Without the darkness of the past upon your eyes, you cannot fail to see today. And what you see will be so welcome that you will gladly extend today forever.

Say, then:

The light has come. I have forgiven the world.

Should you be tempted, say to anyone who seems to pull you back into darkness:

The light has come. I have forgiven you.

We dedicate this day to the serenity in which God would have you be. Keep it in your awareness of yourself and see it everywhere today, as we celebrate the beginning of your vision and the sight of the real world, which has come to replace the unforgiven world you thought was real.

For a Free Audio Download of Today’s Text Reading & Workbook Lesson, Click HERE

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #135: The following four questions all address the issue of suicide and so will be answered together:

i. Could you please comment on the Course’s view on suicide?

ii: What is the “right” way to cope with suicide, seen through the eyes of A Course in Miracles?

iii: My grandfather committed suicide. Death, our separation from God — it’s all an illusion. So is suicide wrong? Or is it the state of mind — feeling separated from God — while committing suicide that is wrong? What happens if one does commit suicide? Do people automatically become one with God when they are not in the illusion of the world?

iv: My wife recently committed suicide. She and I were students of A Course in Miracles. Sometimes I wonder, if all this is an illusion, what is the purpose of our staying alive? Why should we struggle with this life that is not part of the real world anyway? What is the purpose of any of this?

A: From the perspective of the Course, every death is really suicide. For, as Jesus explains, “No one can die unless he chooses death” (T.19.IV.C.1:4), and again later, “No one dies without his own consent. Nothing occurs but represents your wish, and nothing is omitted that you choose” (W.pI.152.1:4,5).

But the Course also makes it clear that death is a thought in the mind that has nothing to do with the body (e.g., W.pI.163.1:1; W.pI.167.2:1,2,3). For the ego itself has its origins in an insane but illusory thought of death — the belief that we can attack God in order to wrest a separate individual self from Him. Such a thought represents not only murder — the death of God — but also suicide — the death of our true Self as Christ. And so whatever follows in the world of bodies and behavior from this initial insane thought can be no more real or sane.

Because the Course always asks us to focus on content and purpose rather than form and appearance, all death in the world that comes from an ego thought will be viewed in exactly the same light. The ego’s purpose in all death is to prove that the separation is real and that, in the end, God triumphs over us by taking back from us the life that we have stolen from Him. We can either resist until we finally succumb to more powerful external forces, or we can resign ourselves to our fate and yield to death by our own hands. What form death may come in then does not matter, for the content is always the same — our puny, painful life is ours only for a limited time before we inevitably must lose it.

On the other hand, looking with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, we would see all death, including suicide, as no different in content, but only in form, from every other choice we ever make here in the world that is based on our perception of ourselves as separate and alone, in pain, vulnerable and victimized. And yet we would know that that perception is false, based as it is on a faulty premise about ourselves, that we are this body, trapped in a harsh, cruel world, not of our making, desperately battling against insurmountable odds to find a little peace and happiness in a hopeless situation over which we have no control.

From most of the world’s perspective, suicide has a stigma and a negative moral judgment associated with it, but that is simply part of the ego’s defense which insists that both life as a separate self and death of that self are real. From the Course’s perspective, the thought behind suicide, if it is ego-based [Jesus also makes clear that death can be chosen with the guidance of the Holy Spirit (M.12.5; S.3.II)], is a mistake, an error, but that is all. It is not a sin, nor does it entail any negative consequences any different from any other decision we make with the ego as our teacher — they all reinforce the guilt we unconsciously are wanting to keep alive in our mind to prove that the separation is real. And so suicide is no more of a mistake than the mistake we made in choosing to be born into the world. In both cases, we are trying to deal with the problem of the guilt in our mind by focusing on the seemingly external world and our body, guaranteeing that we will not find a solution. We are attempting to solve the problem of separation in the world, as if the world were the problem, rather than in the mind, where the real problem — the insane thought of separation — is buried.

And so, whether we commit suicide or we die in any other way, believing that death is real, we will remain trapped in the self-imposed ego belief in separation. Death does not deliver us from the ego thought system, nor from the world that is its defense. Only looking at the ego thought system with the nonjudgmental presence of Jesus or the Holy Spirit beside us and deciding once and for all that the idea of separation holds no value for us can return us to the experience of our oneness with God. For the world is not depriving us of anything — only our choice to be separate is.

Even though this world is an illusion, as are our individual lives here — a life we feel is bracketed between birth and death — we don’t believe it. If we did, and truly knew the world’s purpose was to attack God and therefore our Self, then of course we would never think of ourselves as being in bodies. But the fact that we all live that way — breathing, eating, drinking, recreating, etc. — proves that while we might intellectually believe what A Course in Miracles tells us, it is certainly not our experience.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit’s purpose for our being here, once we have been born, is to have us learn His lessons of forgiveness, including the ultimate lesson that death is unreal. The world then becomes a classroom in which we happily learn what He is teaching us. Wanting to leave the world simply reinforces its reality for us. After all, who would want to leave a place unless he first believed it were real and unpleasant. That is why Jesus tells us in the text: “There is a risk in thinking death is peace” (T.27.VII.10:2). True peace comes not from leaving the physical world, but only through the practice of forgiveness that undoes the mind’s guilt that is the only cause of pain and suffering, as well as the belief in the reality of death. And so, as we are willing, at the pace we choose, we take the small steps of forgiveness that will return us to the glorious eternal Self that we could never destroy, the Self that has remained our Identity despite our foolish digressions into the illusions of death.

jesus there is no death