ACIM Text Reading for June 7
Chapter 18 ~ The Passing of the Dream
IV. The Little Willingness
The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the answer. The desire and the willingness to let it come precede its coming. You prepare your mind for it only to the extent of recognising that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realise that you cannot do more. Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego to Him and confuse the two. He asks but little. It is He Who adds the greatness and the might. He joins with you to make the holy instant far greater than you can understand. It is your realisation that you need do so little that enables Him to give so much.
Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this, and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it. The miracle of the holy instant lies in your willingness to let it be what it is. And in your willingness for this lies also your acceptance of yourself as you were meant to be.
Humility will never ask that you remain content with littleness. But it does require that you be not content with less than greatness that comes not of you. Your difficulty with the holy instant arises from your fixed conviction that you are not worthy of it. And what is this but the determination to be as you would make yourself? God did not create His dwelling place unworthy of Him. And if you believe He cannot enter where He wills to be, you must be interfering with His Will. You do not need the strength of willingness to come from you, but only from His Will.
The holy instant does not come from your little willingness alone. It is always the result of your small willingness combined with the unlimited power of God’s Will. You have been wrong in thinking that it is needful to prepare yourself for Him. It is impossible to make arrogant preparations for holiness, and not believe that it is up to you to establish the conditions for peace. God has established them. They do not wait upon your willingness for what they are. Your willingness is needed only to make it possible to teach you what they are. If you maintain you are unworthy of learning this, you are interfering with the lesson by believing that you must make the learner different. You did not make the learner, nor can you make him different. Would you first make a miracle yourself, and then expect one to be made for you?
You merely ask the question. The answer is given. Seek not to answer, but merely to receive the answer as it is given. In preparing for the holy instant, do not attempt to make yourself holy to be ready to receive it. That is but to confuse your role with God’s. Atonement cannot come to those who think that they must first atone; but only to those who offer it nothing more than simple willingness to make way for it. Purification is of God alone, and therefore for you. Rather than seek to prepare yourself for Him, try to think thus:
And that is all. Add more, and you will merely take away the little that is asked. Remember you made guilt, and that your plan for the escape from guilt has been to bring Atonement to it, and make salvation fearful. And it is only fear that you will add, if you prepare yourself for love. The preparation for the holy instant belongs to Him Who gives it. Release yourself to Him Whose function is release. Do not assume His function for Him. Give Him but what He asks, that you may learn how little is your part, and how great is His.
It is this that makes the holy instant so easy and so natural. You make it difficult, because you insist there must be more that you need do. You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little, to receive so much. And it is very hard for you to realise it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit’s are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasised that you need understand nothing. Salvation is easy just because it asks nothing you cannot give right now.
Forget not that it has been your decision to make everything that is natural and easy for you impossible. If you believe the holy instant is difficult for you, it is because you have become the arbiter of what is possible, and remain unwilling to give place to One Who knows. The whole belief in orders of difficulty in miracles is centred on this. Everything God wills is not only possible, but has already happened. And that is why the past has gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your mind, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 7
In my defenselessness my safety lies.
1. You who feel threatened by this changing world, its twists of fortune and its bitter jests, its brief relationships and all the “gifts” it merely lends to take away again; attend this lesson well. The world provides no safety. It is rooted in attack, and all its “gifts” of seeming safety are illusory deceptions. It attacks, and then attacks again. No peace of mind is possible where danger threatens thus.
2. The world gives rise but to defensiveness. For threat brings anger, anger makes attack seem reasonable, honestly provoked, and righteous in the name of self-defense. Yet is defensiveness a double threat. For it attests to weakness, and sets up a system of defense that cannot work. Now are the weak still further undermined, for there is treachery without and still a greater treachery within. The mind is now confused, and knows not where to turn to find escape from its imaginings.
3. It is as if a circle held it fast, wherein another circle bound it and another one in that, until escape no longer can be hoped for nor obtained. Attack, defense; defense, attack, become the circles of the hours and the days that bind the mind in heavy bands of steel with iron overlaid, returning but to start again. There seems to be no break nor ending in the ever-tightening grip of the imprisonment upon the mind.
4. Defenses are the costliest of all the prices which the ego would exact. In them lies madness in a form so grim that hope of sanity seems but to be an idle dream, beyond the possible. The sense of threat the world encourages is so much deeper, and so far beyond the frenzy and intensity of which you can conceive, that you have no idea of all the devastation it has wrought.
5. You are its slave. You know not what you do, in fear of it. You do not understand how much you have been made to sacrifice, who feel its iron grip upon your heart. You do not realize what you have done to sabotage the holy peace of God by your defensiveness. For you behold the Son of God as but a victim to attack by fantasies, by dreams, and by illusions he has made; yet helpless in their presence, needful only of defense by still more fantasies, and dreams by which illusions of his safety comfort him.
6. Defenselessness is strength. It testifies to recognition of the Christ in you. Perhaps you will recall the text maintains that choice is always made between Christ’s strength and your own weakness, seen apart from Him. Defenselessness can never be attacked, because it recognizes strength so great attack is folly, or a silly game a tired child might play, when he becomes too sleepy to remember what he wants.
7. Defensiveness is weakness. It proclaims you have denied the Christ and come to fear His Father’s anger. What can save you now from your delusion of an angry god, whose fearful image you believe you see at work in all the evils of the world? What but illusions could defend you now, when it is but illusions that you fight?
8. We will not play such childish games today. For our true purpose is to save the world, and we would not exchange for foolishness the endless joy our function offers us. We would not let our happiness slip by because a fragment of a senseless dream happened to cross our minds, and we mistook the figures in it for the Son of God; its tiny instant for eternity.
9. We look past dreams today, and recognize that we need no defense because we are created unassailable, without all thought or wish or dream in which attack has any meaning. Now we cannot fear, for we have left all fearful thoughts behind. And in defenselessness we stand secure, serenely certain of our safety now, sure of salvation; sure we will fulfill our chosen purpose, as our ministry extends its holy blessing through the world.
10. Be still a moment, and in silence think how holy is your purpose, how secure you rest, untouchable within its light. God’s ministers have chosen that the truth be with them. Who is holier than they? Who could be surer that his happiness is fully guaranteed? And who could be more mightily protected? What defense could possibly be needed by the ones who are among the chosen ones of God, by His election and their own as well?
11. It is the function of God’s ministers to help their brothers choose as they have done. God has elected all, but few have come to realize His Will is but their own. And while you fail to teach what you have learned, salvation waits and darkness holds the world in grim imprisonment. Nor will you learn that light has come to you, and your escape has been accomplished. For you will not see the light, until you offer it to all your brothers. As they take it from your hands, so will you recognize it as your own.
12. Salvation can be thought of as a game that happy children play. It was designed by One Who loves His children, and Who would replace their fearful toys with joyous games, which teach them that the game of fear is gone. His game instructs in happiness because there is no loser. Everyone who plays must win, and in his winning is the gain to everyone ensured. The game of fear is gladly laid aside, when children come to see the benefits salvation brings.
13. You who have played that you are lost to hope, abandoned by your Father, left alone in terror in a fearful world made mad by sin and guilt; be happy now. That game is over. Now a quiet time has come, in which we put away the toys of guilt, and lock our quaint and childish thoughts of sin forever from the pure and holy minds of Heaven’s children and the Son of God.
14. We pause but for a moment more, to play our final, happy game upon this earth. And then we go to take our rightful place where truth abides and games are meaningless. So is the story ended. Let this day bring the last chapter closer to the world, that everyone may learn the tale he reads of terrifying destiny, defeat of all his hopes, his pitiful defense against a vengeance he can not escape, is but his own deluded fantasy. God’s ministers have come to waken him from the dark dreams this story has evoked in his confused, bewildered memory of this distorted tale. God’s Son can smile at last, on learning that it is not true.
15. Today we practice in a form we will maintain for quite a while. We will begin each day by giving our attention to the daily thought as long as possible. Five minutes now becomes the least we give to preparation for a day in which salvation is the only goal we have. Ten would be better; fifteen better still. And as distraction ceases to arise to turn us from our purpose, we will find that half an hour is too short a time to spend with God. Nor will we willingly give less at night, in gratitude and joy.
16. Each hour adds to our increasing peace, as we remember to be faithful to the Will we share with God. At times, perhaps, a minute, even less, will be the most that we can offer as the hour strikes. Sometimes we will forget. At other times the business of the world will close on us, and we will be unable to withdraw a little while, and turn our thoughts to God.
17. Yet when we can, we will observe our trust as ministers of God, in hourly remembrance of our mission and His Love. And we will quietly sit by and wait on Him and listen to His Voice, and learn what He would have us do the hour that is yet to come; while thanking Him for all the gifts He gave us in the one gone by.
18. In time, with practice, you will never cease to think of Him, and hear His loving Voice guiding your footsteps into quiet ways, where you will walk in true defenselessness. For you will know that Heaven goes with you. Nor would you keep your mind away from Him a moment, even though your time is spent in offering salvation to the world. Think you He will not make this possible, for you who chose to carry out His plan for the salvation of the world and yours?
19. Today our theme is our defenselessness. We clothe ourselves in it, as we prepare to meet the day. We rise up strong in Christ, and let our weakness disappear, as we remember that His strength abides in us. We will remind ourselves that He remains beside us through the day, and never leaves our weakness unsupported by His strength. We call upon His strength each time we feel the threat of our defenses undermine our certainty of purpose. We will pause a moment, as He tells us, “I am here.”
20. Your practicing will now begin to take the earnestness of love, to help you keep your mind from wandering from its intent. Be not afraid nor timid. There can be no doubt that you will reach your final goal. The ministers of God can never fail, because the love and strength and peace that shine from them to all their brothers come from Him. These are His gifts to you. Defenselessness is all you need to give Him in return. You lay aside but what was never real, to look on Christ and see His sinlessness.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) According to A Course in Miracles, how should children be reared?
A) As the Course states: “The curriculum is highly individualized, and all aspects are under the Holy Spirit’s particular care and guidance” (manual, p. 67; M-29.2:6). Therefore, A Course in Miracles does not teach any specific behavior at all, including how to rear children. But what the Course does teach is that if you are a parent, or someone who works with children, it is incumbent on you to ask continuously for the help of the Holy Spirit. In that way, everything you think and do and say will be coming from your right mind, and not your ego.
Many students of A Course in Miracles have related to us that once they started studying the Course, they were reluctant to make judgments about their children’s behavior, or even to discipline them out of fear of making judgments about them and telling them they were wrong. This is a distortion of what Jesus is teaching. Primarily, one can understand that being a parent or working closely with children is a very intense classroom that we have chosen, precisely because of the constant judgments that need be made about what is in the child’s best interest — decisions a child is not capable of knowing — when the child will clearly choose something that will be hurtful to it. As Jesus states in the text:
Babies scream in rage if you take away a knife or scissors, although they may well harm themselves if you do not (T-4.11.5:2).
Secondly, learning how to get oneself out of the way in order to access the right mind, and perhaps disciplining a child by saying — without guilt or anger — “No, this behavior will not be tolerated,” can be very important landmarks in the process of one’s own growth.
Therefore, as with anything else, there is no right or wrong way of rearing children, no specific way according to A Course in Miracles. There is only the individual’s way of asking the Holy Spirit’s help in practicing forgiveness. His Love is always the same, and finds its particular expression through each particular individual in each particular circumstance. Our responsibility is to remove, with His help, our ego’s interferences so that we may be more directly guided by this Love — in all relationships, with children or adults.