A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 25

ACIM Text Reading for September 25

Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear

VII. The Ark of Safety

God asks for nothing, and His Son, like Him, need ask for nothing. For there is no lack in him. An empty space, a little gap would be a lack. And it is only there that he could want for something he has not. A space where God is not, a gap between the Father and the Son is not the Will of either, who have promised to be one. God’s promise is a promise to Himself, and there is no one who could be untrue to what He wills as part of what He is. The promise that there is no gap between Himself and what He is cannot be false. What will can come between what must be one, and in Whose Wholeness there can be no gap?

The beautiful relationship you have with all your brothers is a part of you because it is a part of God Himself. Are you not sick, if you deny yourself your wholeness and your health, the Source of help, the Call to healing and the Call to heal? Your saviour waits for healing, and the world waits with him. Nor are you apart from it. For healing will be one or not at all, its oneness being where the healing is. What could correct for separation but its opposite? There is no middle ground in any aspect of salvation. You accept it wholly or accept it not. What is unseparated must be joined. And what is joined cannot be separate.

Either there is a gap between you and your brother, or you are as one. There is no in between, no other choice, and no allegiance to be split between the two. A split allegiance is but faithlessness to both, and merely sets you spinning round, to grasp uncertainly at any straw that seems to hold some promise of relief. Yet who can build his home upon a straw, and count on it as shelter from the wind? The body can be made a home like this, because it lacks foundation in the truth. And yet, because it does, it can be seen as not your home, but merely as an aid to help you reach the Home where God abides.

With this as purpose is the body healed. It is not used to witness to the dream of separation and disease. Nor is it idly blamed for what it did not do. It serves to help the healing of God’s Son, and for this purpose it cannot be sick. It will not join a purpose not your own, and you have chosen that it not be sick. All miracles are based upon this choice, and given you the instant it is made. No forms of sickness are immune, because the choice cannot be made in terms of form. The choice of sickness seems to be of form, yet it is one, as is its opposite. And you are sick or well, accordingly.

But never you alone. This world is but the dream that you can be alone, and think without affecting those apart from you. To be alone must mean you are apart, and if you are, you cannot but be sick. This seems to prove that you must be apart. Yet all it means is that you tried to keep a promise to be true to faithlessness. Yet faithlessness is sickness. It is like the house set upon straw. It seems to be quite solid and substantial in itself. Yet its stability cannot be judged apart from its foundation. If it rests on straw, there is no need to bar the door and lock the windows and make fast the bolts. The wind will topple it, and rain will come and carry it into oblivion.

What is the sense in seeking to be safe in what was made for danger and for fear? Why burden it with further locks and chains and heavy anchors, when its weakness lies, not in itself, but in the frailty of the little gap of nothingness whereon it stands? What can be safe that rests upon a shadow? Would you build your home upon what will collapse beneath a feather’s weight?

Your home is built upon your brother’s health, upon his happiness, his sinlessness, and everything his Father promised him. No secret promise you have made instead has shaken the Foundation of his home. The winds will blow upon it and the rain will beat against it, but with no effect. The world will wash away and yet this house will stand forever, for its strength lies not within itself alone. It is an ark of safety, resting on God’s promise that His Son is safe forever in Himself. What gap can interpose itself between the safety of this shelter and its Source? From here the body can be seen as what it is, and neither less nor more in worth than the extent to which it can be used to liberate God’s Son unto his home. And with this holy purpose is it made a home of holiness a little while, because it shares your Father’s Will with you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 25

Lesson 251

Section 4. What is Sin?

Sin is insanity. It is the means by which the mind is driven mad, and seeks to let illusions take the place of truth. And being mad, it sees illusions where the truth should be, and where it really is. Sin gave the body eyes, for what is there the sinless would behold? What need have they of sights or sounds or touch? What would they hear or reach to grasp? What would they sense at all? To sense is not to know. And truth can be but filled with knowledge, and with nothing else.

The body is the instrument the mind made in its efforts to deceive itself. Its purpose is to strive. Yet can the goal of striving change. And now the body serves a different aim for striving. What it seeks for now is chosen by the aim the mind has taken as replacement for the goal of self-deception. Truth can be its aim as well as lies. The senses then will seek instead for witnesses to what is true.

Sin is the home of all illusions, which but stand for things imagined, issuing from thoughts that are untrue. They are the “proof” that what has no reality is real. Sin “proves” God’s Son is evil; timelessness must have an end; eternal life must die. And God Himself has lost the Son He loves, with but corruption to complete Himself, His Will forever overcome by death, love slain by hate, and peace to be no more.

A madman’s dreams are frightening, and sin appears indeed to terrify. And yet what sin perceives is but a childish game. The Son of God may play he has become a body, prey to evil and to guilt, with but a little life that ends in death. But all the while his Father shines on him, and loves him with an everlasting Love which his pretenses cannot change at all.

How long, O Son of God, will you maintain the game of sin? Shall we not put away these sharp-edged children’s toys? How soon will you be ready to come home? Perhaps today? There is no sin. Creation is unchanged. Would you still hold return to Heaven back? How long, O holy Son of God, how long?


Lesson 251

I am in need of nothing but the truth.

I sought for many things, and found despair. Now do I seek but one, for in that one is all I need, and only what I need. All that I sought before I needed not, and did not even want. My only need I did not recognize. But now I see that I need only truth. In that all needs are satisfied, all cravings end, all hopes are finally fulfilled and dreams are gone. Now have I everything that I could need. Now have I everything that I could want. And now at last I find myself at peace.

And for that peace, our Father, we give thanks. What we denied ourselves You have restored, and only that is what we really want.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Is there a wrong or right way to practice the workbook?

A) There is only one rule that Jesus offers us about doing the workbook: “Do not undertake to do more than one set of exercises a day” (W-in.2:6). Furthermore, we are urged by him to continue with our practice even if we have trouble understanding a lesson, or experience difficulty in carrying out the specific exercise because we do not believe what it says. As he comfortingly says to his students:

Some of the ideas the workbook presents you will find hard to believe, and others may seem to be quite startling. This does not matter. You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do. You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them. It is their use that will give them meaning to you, and will show you that they are true.Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required (W-in.8-9).

Clearly, students are encouraged in the above passage to do the workbook as Jesus gave it, one lesson at a time, in the sequence in which the lessons come. However, there is no rule against spending more than one day on a workbook lesson. Many times lessons bring up a host of related perspectives and problems in one’s life, and therefore students find themselves ruminating and pondering over the personal implications of these lessons. Since the workbook is a highly personal experience for students, there cannot truly be a “right” or “wrong” way of practicing it. The correct answer, as always, is that the “right” way is practicing the workbook with the Holy Spirit; the “wrong” way is practicing with the ego. This puts the burden on the student to continue the journey with A Course in Miracles in as ego-free manner as possible, always maintaining a vigilance against the ego’s subtle intrusions of specialness.

The Journey to God

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 24

ACIM Text Reading for September 24

Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear

VI. The Secret Vows

Who punishes the body is insane. For here the little gap is seen, and yet it is not here. It has not judged itself, nor made itself to be what it is not. It does not seek to make of pain a joy and look for lasting pleasure in the dust. It does not tell you what its purpose is and cannot understand what it is for. It does not victimise, because it has no will, no preferences and no doubts. It does not wonder what it is. And so it has no need to be competitive. It can be victimised, but cannot feel itself as victim. It accepts no role, but does what it is told, without attack.

It is indeed a senseless point of view to hold responsible for sight a thing that cannot see, and blame it for the sounds you do not like, although it cannot hear. It suffers not the punishment you give because it has no feeling. It behaves in ways you want, but never makes the choice. It is not born and does not die. It can but follow aimlessly the path on which it has been set. And if that path is changed, it walks as easily another way. It takes no sides and judges not the road it travels. It perceives no gap, because it does not hate. It can be used for hate, but it cannot be hateful made thereby.

The thing you hate and fear and loathe and want, the body does not know. You send it forth to seek for separation and be separate. And then you hate it, not for what it is, but for the uses you have made of it. You shrink from what it sees and what it hears, and hate its frailty and littleness. And you despise its acts, but not your own. It sees and acts for you. It hears your voice. And it is frail and little by your wish. It seems to punish you, and thus deserve your hatred for the limitations that it brings to you. Yet you have made of it a symbol for the limitations that you want your mind to have and see and keep.

The body represents the gap between the little bit of mind you call your own and all the rest of what is really yours. You hate it, yet you think it is your self, and that, without it, would your self be lost. This is the secret vow that you have made with every brother who would walk apart. This is the secret oath you take again, whenever you perceive yourself attacked. No one can suffer if he does not see himself attacked, and losing by attack. Unstated and unheard in consciousness is every pledge to sickness. Yet it is a promise to another to be hurt by him, and to attack him in return.

Sickness is anger taken out upon the body, so that it will suffer pain. It is the obvious effect of what was made in secret, in agreement with another’s secret wish to be apart from you, as you would be apart from him. Unless you both agree that is your wish, it can have no effects. Whoever says, ‘There is no gap between my mind and yours’ has kept God’s promise, not his tiny oath to be forever faithful unto death. And by his healing is his brother healed.

Let this be your agreement with each one; that you be one with him and not apart. And he will keep the promise that you make with him, because it is the one that he has made to God, as God has made to him. God keeps His promises; His Son keeps his. In his creation did his Father say, ‘You are beloved of Me and I of you forever. Be you perfect as Myself, for you can never be apart from Me’. His Son remembers not that he replied ‘I will’, though in that promise he was born. Yet God reminds him of it every time he does not share a promise to be sick, but lets his mind be healed and unified. His secret vows are powerless before the Will of God, Whose promises he shares. And what he substitutes is not his will, who has made promise of himself to God.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 24

Lesson 250

Let me not see myself as limited.

Let me behold the Son of God today, and witness to his glory. Let me not try to obscure the holy light in him, and see his strength diminished and reduced to frailty; nor perceive the lacks in him with which I would attack his sovereignty.

He is Your Son, my Father. And today I would behold his gentleness instead of my illusions. He is what I am, and as I see him so I see myself. Today I would see truly, that this day I may at last identify with him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Can A Course in Miracles be completed in one year, as the workbook seems to suggest?

A) This question rests on the premise that only the one-year training program of the workbook for students comprises the total mind-training (or mind-retraining) that is the principal goal of A Course in Miracles. Not so. The workbook is only one aspect of a curriculum that consists of three parts: the text, which contains the theory and theology of  the Course; the workbook for students, the one-year series of lessons that help the student begin the mind-training program of the Course; and the manual for teachers, which serves as a summary of many of the Course’s teachings, as well as helping to define what Jesus means by a teacher of God.

Any serious student of A Course in Miracles recognizes that the total curriculum cannot in any way be completed in one year. Rather, it is a lifetime’s work, and the workbook, which, again, is a specific one-year training program, is the means which would ensure that students proceed in the correct manner. Once they are in touch with their right minds and understand the process of forgiveness that the Course sets forth, students are then able to spend the rest of their lives in daily practice with Jesus or the Holy Spirit as their Teachers. As the workbook states at the end:

This course is a beginning, not an end. Your Friend goes with you (W-ep.1:1-2).

be of good cheer

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 23

ACIM Text Reading for September 23

Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear

V. The Alternate to Dreams of Fear

What is a sense of sickness but a sense of limitation? Of a splitting off and separating from? A gap that is perceived between you and your brother, and what is seen as health? And so the good is seen to be outside; the evil, in. And thus is sickness separating off the self from good, and keeping evil in. God is the Alternate to dreams of fear. Who shares in them can never share in Him. But who withdraws his mind from sharing them is sharing Him. There is no other choice. Except you share it, nothing can exist. And you exist because God shared His Will with you, that His creation might create.

It is the sharing of the evil dreams of hate and malice, bitterness and death, of sin and suffering and pain and loss, that makes them real. Unshared, they are perceived as meaningless. The fear is gone from them because you did not give them your support. Where fear has gone there love must come, because there are but these alternatives. Where one appears, the other disappears. And which you share becomes the only one you have. You have the one that you accept, because it is the only one you wish to have.

You share no evil dreams if you forgive the dreamer, and perceive that he is not the dream he made. And so he cannot be a part of yours, from which you both are free. Forgiveness separates the dreamer from the evil dream, and thus releases him. Remember if you share an evil dream, you will believe you are the dream you share. And fearing it, you will not want to know your own Identity, because you think that It is fearful. And you will deny your Self, and walk upon an alien ground which your Creator did not make, and where you seem to be a something you are not. You will make war upon your Self, Which seems to be your enemy; and will attack your brother, as a part of what you hate. There is no compromise. You are your Self or an illusion. What can be between illusion and the truth? A middle ground, where you can be a thing that is not you, must be a dream and cannot be the truth.

You have conceived a little gap between illusions and the truth to be the place where all your safety lies, and where your Self is safely hidden by what you have made. Here is a world established that is sick, and this the world the body’s eyes perceive. Here are the sounds it hears; the voices that its ears were made to hear. Yet sights and sounds the body can perceive are meaningless. It cannot see nor hear. It does not know what seeing is; what listening is for. It is as little able to perceive as it can judge or understand or know. Its eyes are blind; its ears are deaf. It can not think, and so it cannot have effects.

What is there God created to be sick? And what that He created not can be? Let not your eyes behold a dream; your ears bear witness to illusion. They were made to look upon a world that is not there; to hear the voices that can make no sound. Yet are there other sounds and other sights that can be seen and heard and understood. For eyes and ears are senses without sense, and what they see and hear they but report: It is not they that hear and see, but you, who put together every jagged piece, each senseless scrap and shred of evidence, and make a witness to the world you want. Let not the body’s ears and eyes perceive these countless fragments seen within the gap that you imagined, and let them persuade their maker his imaginings are real.

Creation proves reality because it shares the function all creation shares. It is not made of little bits of glass, a piece of wood, a thread or two, perhaps, all put together to attest its truth. Reality does not depend on this. There is no gap that separates the truth from dreams and from illusions. Truth has left no room for them in any place or time. For it fills every place and every time, and makes them wholly indivisible.

You who believe there is a little gap between you and your brother, do not see that it is here you are as prisoners in a world perceived to be existing here. The world you see does not exist, because the place where you perceive it is not real. The gap is carefully concealed in fog, and misty pictures rise to cover it with vague uncertain forms and changing shapes, forever insubstantial and unsure. Yet in the gap is nothing. And there are no awesome secrets and no darkened tombs where terror rises from the bones of death. Look at the little gap, and you behold the innocence and emptiness of sin that you will see within yourself, when you have lost the fear of recognising love.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 23

Lesson 249

Forgiveness ends all suffering and loss.

Forgiveness paints a picture of a world where suffering is over, loss becomes impossible and anger makes no sense. Attack is gone, and madness has an end. What suffering is now conceivable? What loss can be sustained? The world becomes a place of joy, abundance, charity and endless giving. It is now so like to Heaven that it quickly is transformed into the light that it reflects. And so the journey which the Son of God began has ended in the light from which he came.

Father, we would return our minds to You. We have betrayed them, held them in a vise of bitterness, and frightened them with thoughts of violence and death. Now would we rest again in You, as You created us.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does the concept of the circle of Atonement relate to the “hundredth monkey’ idea? And should “teachers of God” go out to teach A Course in Miracles or proselytize others?

A) The answer to the first question is “no”; they represent two entirely different thought systems. The “hundredth monkey” concept is based upon questionable research that concluded that there is a quantitative point that is reached in a species — like a certain weight that, once it is reached on a balancing scale, tips that portion of the scale and then that allows the remaining members of that species to acquire what the rest have already learned. A Course in Miracles‘ idea of “the circle of Atonement” is not a quantitative concept, and has nothing to do with accumulating numbers of students of the Course, which once this “critical mass” is reached, will save the world. We read in the manual for teachers, for example, that only one teacher of God is needed to save the world. This is because there is only one teacher — our Self. When the Atonement has been accepted by an individual, that person now remembers that there is only one Son, and therefore the dream of separation, differences, and multiplicity was simply unreal. To believe that a certain requisite number of students is needed to save the entire world clearly makes the concept of numbers real, not to mention establishing the reality of a species or world that has to be saved as well.

If this non-quantitative aspect of A Course in Miracles is not understood, then students of Jesus’ Course would be tempted to believe that they must proselytize or otherwise preach the “new gospel according to the real Jesus” in order to acquire as many students of the Course as possible so that the world would be saved.  As has already happened, students will band together and think of themselves as a movement, network, religion, church, or some such special category. They will revel in the thought that a copy of A Course in Miracles was sent to the Vatican, or the White House, or put in any other worldly symbol of power. They will feel drawn to criticize, judge, or attack other spiritual paths, for these must then inevitably be seen as competitors for achieving that critical mass of people necessary to shift the balance for the salvation of the world.

All this is easily avoided by focusing only on what A Course in Miracles actually teaches, and directing one’s attention only on one’s own forgiveness lessons and the eventual acceptance of the Atonement for oneself. There is no one else to be “saved,” and accepting this thus is our only responsibility.

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 22

ACIM Text Reading for September 22

Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear

IV. The Greater Joining

Accepting the Atonement for yourself means not to give support to someone’s dream of sickness and of death. It means that you share not his wish to separate, and let him turn illusions on himself. Nor do you wish that they be turned, instead, on you. Thus have they no effects. And you are free of dreams of pain because you let him be. Unless you help him, you will suffer pain with him because that is your wish. And you become a figure in his dream of pain, as he in yours. So do you and your brother both become illusions, and without identity. You could be anyone or anything, depending on whose evil dream you share. You can be sure of just one thing; that you are evil, for you share in dreams of fear.

There is a way of finding certainty right here and now. Refuse to be a part of fearful dreams whatever form they take, for you will lose identity in them. You find yourself by not accepting them as causing you, and giving you effects. You stand apart from them, but not apart from him who dreams them. Thus you separate the dreamer from the dream, and join in one, but let the other go. The dream is but illusion in the mind. And with the mind you would unite, but never with the dream. It is the dream you fear, and not the mind. You see them as the same, because you think that you are but a dream. And what is real and what is but illusion in yourself you do not know and cannot tell apart.

Like you, your brother thinks he is a dream. Share not in his illusion of himself, for your identity depends on his reality. Think, rather, of him as a mind in which illusions still persist, but as a mind which brother is to you. He is not brother made by what he dreams, nor is his body, ‘hero’ of the dream, your brother. It is his reality that is your brother, as is yours to him. Your mind and his are joined in brotherhood. His body and his dreams but seem to make a little gap, where yours have joined with his.

And yet, between your minds there is no gap. To join his dreams is thus to meet him not, because his dreams would separate from you. Therefore release him, merely by your claim on brotherhood, and not on dreams of fear. Let him acknowledge who he is, by not supporting his illusions by your faith, for if you do, you will have faith in yours. With faith in yours, he will not be released, and you are kept in bondage to his dreams. And dreams of fear will haunt the little gap, inhabited but by illusions which you have supported in your brother’s mind.

Be certain, if you do your part, he will do his, for he will join you where you stand. Call not to him to meet you in the gap between you, or you must believe that it is your reality as well as his. You cannot do his part, but this you do when you become a passive figure in his dreams, instead of dreamer of your own. Identity in dreams is meaningless because the dreamer and the dream are one. Who shares a dream must be the dream he shares, because by sharing is a cause produced.

You share confusion and you are confused, for in the gap no stable self exists. What is the same seems different, because what is the same appears to be unlike. His dreams are yours because you let them be. But if you took your own away would he be free of them, and of his own as well. Your dreams are witnesses to his, and his attest the truth of yours. Yet if you see there is no truth in yours, his dreams will go, and he will understand what made the dream.

The Holy Spirit is in both your minds, and He is One because there is no gap that separates His Oneness from Itself. The gap between your bodies matters not, for what is joined in Him is always one. No one is sick if someone else accepts his union with him. His desire to be a sick and separated mind can not remain without a witness or a cause. And both are gone if someone wills to be united with him. He has dreams that he was separated from his brother who, by sharing not his dream, has left the space between them vacant. And the Father comes to join His Son the Holy Spirit joined.

The Holy Spirit’s function is to take the broken picture of the Son of God and put the pieces into place again. This holy picture, healed entirely, does He hold out to every separate piece that thinks it is a picture in itself. To each he offers his Identity, Which the whole picture represents, instead of just a little, broken bit that he insisted was himself. And when he sees this picture he will recognise himself. If you share not your brother’s evil dream, this is the picture that the miracle will place within the little gap, left clean of all the seeds of sickness and of sin. And here the Father will receive His Son, because His Son was gracious to himself.

I thank You, Father, knowing You will come to close each little gap that lies between the broken pieces of Your holy Son. Your holiness, complete and perfect, lies in every one of them. And they are joined because what is in one is in them all. How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognised as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son! The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing. For the whole is in each one. And every aspect of the Son of God is just the same as every other part.

Join not your brother’s dreams but join with him, and where you join His Son the Father is. Who seeks for substitutes when he perceives he has lost nothing? Who would want to have the ‘benefits’ of sickness when he has received the simple happiness of health? What God has given cannot be a loss, and what is not of Him has no effects. What, then, would you perceive within the gap? The seeds of sickness come from the belief that there is joy in separation, and its giving up would be a sacrifice. But miracles are the result when you do not insist on seeing in the gap what is not there. Your willingness to let illusions go is all the Healer of God’s Son requires. He will place the miracle of healing where the seeds of sickness were. And there will be no loss, but only gain.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 22

Lesson 248

Whatever suffers is not part of me.

I have disowned the truth. Now let me be as faithful in disowning falsity. Whatever suffers is not part of me. What grieves is not myself. What is in pain is but illusion in my mind. What dies was never living in reality, and did but mock the truth about myself. Now I disown self-concepts and deceits and lies about the holy Son of God. Now am I ready to accept him back as God created him, and as he is.

Father, my ancient love for You returns, and lets me love Your Son again as well. Father, I am as You created me. Now is Your Love remembered, and my own. Now do I understand that they are one.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What is the relationship of A Course in Miracles to other spiritual paths, and specifically to the Bible?

A) This is an extremely important question, because the incorrect understanding of the answer inevitably leads to serious distortion of what A Course in Miracles actually teaches and how it is meant to be practiced. We live in an age where many followers of spiritual paths — usually grouped together in what is termed the “new age” — emphasize unity instead of diversity. While this is an admirable spiritual goal, certainly, it does serve to deny the “fact” of our separated world; namely, that we are all different, and that different spiritual paths are thus required.  Once this is accepted, then it is clear that different paths will be different. This is clearly obvious on one level, but is frequently obscured by the need to blur differences for the sake of a spurious unity. This does every spiritual path a disservice, and Jesus always made it clear to Helen personally, as well as in A Course in Miracles itself, how different his Course was from other paths. This does not necessarily mean it is better, but it does mean that it is unique.

Near the beginning of the manual for teachers, Jesus says of A Course in Miracles:

This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome (M-1.4:1-2).

And we have already examined Jesus’ special message to Helen — “I Need Do Nothing” — where Jesus contrasts his Course with other spiritualities that emphasize meditation and contemplation.

Therefore, on the one hand, the Course’s relationship to other spiritual paths is that it shares the same goal of returning home to God. It is different, however, because its theology and practice are different. Jesus summarizes this relationship in his pithy comment:

A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary (C-in.2:5).

As we have already seen, A Course in Miracles is a non-dualistic spirituality, while almost all others are dualistic. Confusing the Course with other spiritual thought systems, saying “the Course is just like … (fill in your favorite spirituality)” is simply in the end a subtle ego ploy for changing A Course in Miracles so that its teachings will be less threatening. We, of course, have seen in our Western history a notable example of this ego device when the Christian world made Jesus and his teachings into an extension of Judaism and the Old Testament, rather than accepting him and his message as the radical gift it was, independent of all that preceded it. Students of A Course in Miraclesshould profit from this mistake of the past, and grow into the Course, rather than attempting to scale it down to their own level of understanding.

Another form of this mistake is the common practice of including A Course in Miracles with what Aldous Huxley termed “the perennial philosophy,” a catch-all phrase used to embrace the major mystical traditions of the world.  Again, this does the Course a profound disservice, because it blurs what is its distinctive contribution to the world’s spiritualities: the idea that not only was the physical universe an illusion that God did not create, but that it was also “made as an attack” on Him (W-pII.3.2:1). This profound and sophisticated psychological principle, integrated with a pure non-dualistic metaphysics is what renders A Course in Miracles unique among the spiritual and religious thought systems of the world.

Comparing A Course in Miracles specifically with the Bible, we can see four major areas of differences, making these two spiritual paths totally incompatible. We quote from the introduction to A Course in Miracles and ChristianityA Dialogue by Kenneth and the Jesuit philosopher Father Norris Clarke, which explores these differences in greater depth:

1) A Course in Miracles teaches that God did not create the physical universe, which includes all matter, form, and the body; the Bible states that He did.2) The God of A Course in Miracles does not even know about the sin of separation (since to know about it would make it real), let alone react to it; the God of the Bible perceives sin directly, as is portrayed in the Garden of Eden story … and His responses to it are vigorous, dramatic, and at times
punitive, to say the very least.

3) A Course in Miracles‘ Jesus is equal to everyone else, a part of God’s one Son or Christ; the Bible’s Jesus is seen as special, apart, and therefore ontologically different from everyone else, being God’s only begotten Son, the second person of the Trinity.

4) The Jesus of A Course in Miracles is not sent by God to suffer and die on the cross in a sacrificial act of atonement for sin, but rather teaches that there is no sin by demonstrating that nothing happened to him in reality, for sin has no effect on the Love of God; the Jesus of the Bible agonizes, suffers, and dies for the sins of the world in an act that brings vicarious salvation to humanity, thereby establishing sin and death as real, and moreover clearly reflecting that God has been affected by Adam’s sin and must respond to its actual presence in the world by sacrificing His beloved Son. (pp. 2-3 from the Dialogue)

While our answer has focused on the Bible, the same basic message can be given regarding any other spiritual path. While there certainly can be nothing wrong with reading other spiritualities or being interested in learning more about them, nor in attending religious services, spiritual meetings, etc., a student of A Course in Miracles should at least be cautious — to make the point again — about attempting to blend together theologies or spiritual approaches that ultimately do not mix. Some spiritualities lend themselves to such “blending together”; A Course in Miracles does not.

INTERESTED READERS WILL FIND EXCERPTS FROM A COURSE IN MIRACLES AND CHRISTIANITY: A DIALOGUE
BEGINNING AT http://www.miraclestudies.net/Dialogue_Pref.html

 

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A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 21

ACIM Text Reading for September 21

Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear

III. The Agreement to Join

What waits in perfect certainty beyond salvation is not our concern. For you have barely started to allow your first, uncertain steps to be directed up the ladder separation led you down. The miracle alone is your concern at present. Here is where we must begin. And having started, will the way be made serene and simple in the rising up to waking and the ending of the dream. When you accept a miracle, you do not add your dream of fear to one that is already being dreamed. Without support, the dream will fade away without effects. For it is your support that strengthens it.

No mind is sick until another mind agrees that they are separate. And thus it is their joint decision to be sick. If you withhold agreement and accept the part you play in making sickness real, the other mind cannot project its guilt without your aid in letting it perceive itself as separate and apart from you. Thus is the body not perceived as sick by both your minds from separate points of view. Uniting with a brother’s mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects. Healing is the effect of minds that join, as sickness comes from minds that separate.

The miracle does nothing just because the minds are joined, and cannot separate. Yet in the dreaming has this been reversed, and separate minds are seen as bodies, which are separated and which cannot join. Do not allow your brother to be sick, for if he is, have you abandoned him to his own dream by sharing it with him. He has not seen the cause of sickness where it is, and you have overlooked the gap between you, where the sickness has been bred. Thus are you joined in sickness, to preserve the little gap unhealed, where sickness is kept carefully protected, cherished, and upheld by firm belief, lest God should come to bridge the little gap that leads to Him. Fight not His coming with illusions, for it is His coming that you want above all things that seem to glisten in the dream.

The end of dreaming is the end of fear, and love was never in the world of dreams. The gap is little. Yet it holds the seeds of pestilence and every form of ill, because it is a wish to keep apart and not to join. And thus it seems to give a cause to sickness which is not its cause. The purpose of the gap is all the cause that sickness has. For it was made to keep you separated, in a body which you see as if it were the cause of pain.

The cause of pain is separation, not the body, which is only its effect. Yet separation is but empty space, enclosing nothing, doing nothing, and as insubstantial as the empty place between the ripples that a ship has made in passing by. And covered just as fast, as water rushes in to close the gap, and as the waves in joining cover it. Where is the gap between the waves when they have joined, and covered up the space which seemed to keep them separate for a little while? Where are the grounds for sickness when the minds have joined to close the little gap between them, where the seeds of sickness seemed to grow?

God builds the bridge, but only in the space left clean and vacant by the miracle. The seeds of sickness and the shame of guilt He cannot bridge, for He can not destroy the alien will that He created not. Let its effects be gone and clutch them not with eager hands, to keep them for yourself. The miracle will brush them all aside, and thus make room for Him Who wills to come and bridge His Son’s returning to Himself.

Count, then, the silver miracles and golden dreams of happiness as all the treasures you would keep within the storehouse of the world. The door is open, not to thieves, but to your starving brothers, who mistook for gold the shining of a pebble, and who stored a heap of snow that shone like silver. They have nothing left behind the open door. What is the world except a little gap perceived to tear eternity apart, and break it into days and months and years? And what are you who live within the world except a picture of the Son of God in broken pieces, each concealed within a separate and uncertain bit of clay?

Be not afraid, my child, but let your world be gently lit by miracles. And where the little gap was seen to stand between you and your brother, join him there. And so sickness will now be seen without a cause. The dream of healing in forgiveness lies, and gently shows you that you never sinned. The miracle would leave no proof of guilt to bring you witness to what never was. And in your storehouse it will make a place of welcome for your Father and your Self. The door is open, that all those may come who would no longer starve, and would enjoy the feast of plenty set before them there. And they will meet with your invited Guests the miracle has asked to come to you.

This is a feast unlike indeed to those the dreaming of the world has shown. For here, the more that anyone receives, the more is left for all the rest to share. The Guests have brought unlimited supply with Them. And no one is deprived or can deprive. Here is a feast the Father lays before His Son, and shares it equally with him. And in Their sharing there can be no gap in which abundance falters and grows thin. Here can the lean years enter not, for time waits not upon this feast, which has no end. For Love has set its table in the space that seemed to keep your Guests apart from you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 21

Lesson 247

Without forgiveness I will still be blind.

Sin is the symbol of attack. Behold it anywhere, and I will suffer. For forgiveness is the only means whereby Christ’s vision comes to me. Let me accept what His sight shows me as the simple truth, and I am healed completely. Brother, come and let me look on you. Your loveliness reflects my own. Your sinlessness is mine. You stand forgiven, and I stand with you.

So would I look on everyone today. My brothers are Your Sons. Your Fatherhood created them, and gave them all to me as part of You, and my own Self as well. Today I honor You through them, and thus I hope this day to recognize my Self.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Who gave the title A Course in Miracles, and why?

A) The title was given by Jesus. The scribing to Helen began with the words: “This is a course in miracles,” and throughout the dictation this is how Jesus referred to the material. While the initial shock value of the title may attract us, and can therefore be possibly used as a justification for its use, the real reason for the title rests on the fact that the entire Course is focused on helping the student learn and understand what the miracle is, and how to apply it in one’s personal life. Jesus’ focus in his curriculum is on correction, specifically on how the Holy Spirit reminds us that we have a mind and that this mind is extremely powerful. It was the mind that made the problem of separation, and only it, joined with the Holy Spirit, can accept correction.

Near the beginning of the text, in fact, Jesus emphasized this point to Helen (and to all future students) in stating that the purpose of his course was to have her recognize the “power of your own thinking” (T-2.VII.1:5). It is the miracle that specifically accomplishes this, by recalling to students of A Course in Miracles that it is their minds that have made up their problems (not to mention the entire physical universe), and therefore, again, it is only their minds that can change this. The miracle thus reminds us that we are the dreamers of our dreams, and that by joining with Jesus or the Holy Spirit we can accept a change from the pain that dreams have brought. As Jesus states later in the text:

The miracle does not awaken you, but merely shows you who the dreamer is.  It teaches you there is a choice of dreams while you are still asleep…. The miracle establishes you dream a dream, and that its content is not true….

The miracle returns the cause of fear to you [the mind] who made it (T-28.II.4:2-3; 7:1; 11:1

secret of salvation

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 20

ACIM Text Reading for September 20

Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear

II. Reversing Effect and Cause

Without a cause there can be no effects, and yet without effects there is no cause. The cause a cause is made by its effects; the Father is a Father by His Son. Effects do not create their cause, but they establish its causation. Thus, the Son gives Fatherhood to his Creator, and receives the gift that he has given Him. It is because he is God’s Son that he must also be a father, who creates as God created him. The circle of creation has no end. Its starting and its ending are the same. But in itself it holds the universe of all creation, without beginning and without an end.

Fatherhood is creation. Love must be extended. Purity is not confined. It is the nature of the innocent to be forever uncontained, without a barrier or limitation. Thus is purity not of the body. Nor can it be found where limitation is. The body can be healed by its effects, which are as limitless as is itself. Yet must all healing come about because the mind is recognised as not within the body, and its innocence is quite apart from it, and where all healing is. Where, then, is healing? Only where its cause is given its effects. For sickness is a meaningless attempt to give effects to causelessness, and make it be a cause.

Always in sickness does the Son of God attempt to make himself his cause, and not allow himself to be his Father’s Son. For this impossible desire, he does not believe that he is Love’s effect, and must be cause because of what he is. The cause of healing is the only Cause of everything. It has but one effect. And in that recognition, causelessness is given no effects and none is seen. A mind within a body and a world of other bodies, each with separate minds, are your ‘creations’, you the ‘other’ mind, creating with effects unlike yourself. And as their ‘father’, you must be like them.

Nothing at all has happened but that you have put yourself to sleep, and dreamed a dream in which you were an alien to yourself, and but a part of someone else’s dream. The miracle does not awaken you, but merely shows you who the dreamer is. It teaches you there is a choice of dreams while you are still asleep, depending on the purpose of your dreaming. Do you wish for dreams of healing, or for dreams of death? A dream is like a memory in that it pictures what you wanted shown to you.

An empty storehouse, with an open door, holds all your shreds of memories and dreams. Yet if you are the dreamer, you perceive this much at least: That you have caused the dream, and can accept another dream as well. But for this change in content of the dream, it must be realised that it is you who dreamed the dreaming that you do not like. It is but an effect that you have caused, and you would not be cause of this effect. In dreams of murder and attack are you the victim in a dying body slain. But in forgiving dreams is no one asked to be the victim and the sufferer. These are the happy dreams the miracle exchanges for your own. It does not ask you make another; only that you see you made the one you would exchange for this.

This world is causeless, as is every dream that anyone has dreamed within the world. No plans are possible, and no design exists that could be found and understood. What else could be expected from a thing that has no cause? Yet if it has no cause, it has no purpose. You may cause a dream, but never will you give it real effects. For that would change its cause, and it is this you cannot do. The dreamer of a dream is not awake, but does not know he sleeps, He sees illusions of himself as sick or well, depressed or happy, but without a stable cause with guaranteed effects.

The miracle establishes you dream a dream, and that its content is not true. This is a crucial step in dealing with illusions. No one is afraid of them when he perceives he made them up. The fear was held in place because he did not see that he was author of the dream, and not a figure in the dream. He gives himself the consequences that he dreams he gave his brother. And it is but this the dream has put together and has offered him, to show him that his wishes have been done. Thus does he fear his own attack, but sees it at another’s hands. As victim, he is suffering from its effects, but not their cause. He authored not his own attack, and he is innocent of what he caused. The miracle does nothing but to show him that he has done nothing. What he fears is cause without the consequences that would make it cause. And so it never was.

The separation started with the dream the Father was deprived of His effects, and powerless to keep them since He was no longer their Creator. In the dream, the dreamer made himself. But what he made has turned against him, taking on the role of its creator, as the dreamer had. And as he hated his Creator, so the figures in the dream have hated him. His body is their slave, which they abuse because the motives he has given it have they adopted as their own. And hate it for the vengeance it would offer them. It is their vengeance on the body which appears to prove the dreamer could not be the maker of the dream. Effect and cause are first split off, and then reversed, so that effect becomes a cause; the cause, effect.

This is the separation’s final step, with which salvation, which proceeds to go the other way, begins. This final step is an effect of what has gone before, appearing as a cause. The miracle is the first step in giving back to cause the function of causation, not effect. For this confusion has produced the dream, and while it lasts will wakening be feared. Nor will the call to wakening be heard, because it seems to be the call to fear.

Like every lesson that the Holy Spirit requests you learn, the miracle is clear. It demonstrates what He would have you learn, and shows you its effects are what you want. In His forgiving dreams are the effects of yours undone, and hated enemies perceived as friends with merciful intent. Their enmity is seen as causeless now, because they did not make it. And you can accept the role of maker of their hate, because you see that it has no effects. Now are you freed from this much of the dream; the world is neutral, and the bodies that still seem to move about as separate things need not be feared. And so they are not sick.

The miracle returns the cause of fear. to you who made it. But it also shows that, having no effects, it is not cause, because the function of causation is to have effects. And where effects are gone, there is no cause. Thus is the body healed by miracles because they show the mind made sickness, and employed the body to be victim, or effect, of what it made. Yet half the lesson will not teach the whole. The miracle is useless if you learn but that the body can be healed, for this is not the lesson it was sent to teach. The lesson is the mind was sick that thought the body could be sick; projecting out its guilt caused nothing, and had no effects.

This world is full of miracles. They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. They are the dream’s alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream. They are the glad effects of taking back the consequence of sickness to its cause. The body is released because the mind acknowledges ‘this is not done to me, but I am doing this’. And thus the mind is free to make another choice instead. Beginning here, salvation will proceed to change the course of every step. in the descent to separation, until all the steps have been retraced, the ladder gone, and all the dreaming of the world undone.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 20

Lesson 246

To love my Father is to love His Son.

Let me not think that I can find the way to God, if I have hatred in my heart. Let me not try to hurt God’s Son, and think that I can know his Father or my Self. Let me not fail to recognize myself, and still believe that my awareness can contain my Father, or my mind conceive of all the love my Father has for me, and all the love which I return to Him.

I will accept the way You choose for me to come to You, my Father. For in that will I succeed, because it is Your Will. And I would recognize that what You will is what I will as well, and only that. And so I choose to love Your Son. Amen.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Why does Jesus repeatedly say in A Course in Miracles that I need to forgive him? What for?

A) For many students of A Course in Miracles this is a problematic issue. Why, they ask, do I have to forgive Jesus; I am not angry at him. I (Gloria) remember many years ago when I had my own group that met to discuss the Course. This issue was almost responsible for World War III breaking out in my dining room, where the group met every week. It was certainly not a neutral topic, and forgiving Jesus is indeed a central issue that goes to the heart of the Course’s teaching about undoing the ego thought system. Let us begin our answer by looking at some representative passages from the Course where Jesus discusses this. The first two come in the section, “The Obstacles to Peace” in Chapter 19 of the text, where he states:

I am made welcome in the state of grace, which means you have at last forgiven me.  For I became the symbol of your sin, and so I had to die instead of you….Let me be to you the symbol of the end of guilt, and look upon your brother as you would look on me. Forgive me all the sins you think the Son of God committed. And in the light of your forgiveness he will remember who he is, and forget what never was.  I ask for your forgiveness, for if you are guilty, so must I be. But if I surmounted guilt and overcame the world, you were with me. Would you see in me the symbol of guilt or of the end of guilt, remembering that what I signify to you you see within yourself?  (T-19.IV-A.17:1-2; T-19.IV-B.6)

And then at the beginning of the next chapter, in the section “Holy Week” which was written during the week preceding Easter, Jesus returns to this important point:

You stand beside your brother, thorns in one hand and lilies in the other [thorns and lilies are the Course’s symbols, respectively, for attack and forgiveness, crucifixion and resurrection], uncertain which to give.  Join now with me and throw away the thorns, offering the lilies to replace them. This Easter I would have the gift of your forgiveness offered by you to me, and returned by me to you. We cannot be united in crucifixion and in death. Nor can the resurrection be complete until your forgiveness rests on Christ, along with mine …. I was a stranger and you took me in, not knowing who I was.  Yet for your gift of lilies you will know. In your forgiveness of this stranger, alien to you and yet your ancient Friend, lies his release and your redemption with him (T-20.I.2:6-10; 4:3-5).

Jesus has to be forgiven on two levels. The first relates to the “bitter idols” the world has made of him, which clearly reflects its projections and has nothing to do with him at all. These idols have come in both special hate and love forms, where he has either been made into a figure of judgment and punishment who demands suffering and sacrifice of his followers, or else a magical savior who, upon petition, will solve problems and reward good deeds and faithful discipleship with his love and beneficence. Once again, such images reflect the specialness needs of the image-makers, with no reference to the real Jesus at all, who clearly is beyond such ego concerns. And so it can be seen here that Jesus is to be forgiven for what he has never done, and even more to the point, forgiven for what he has never been.

To the ego, Jesus is the most threatening figure imaginable, as we have already indicated in our answers to earlier questions, for if he is real, then the ego thought system cannot be. And so the part of anyone’s mind that still clings to specialness and individuality — the hallmarks of the ego thought system — would inevitably fear, and therefore attack Jesus to protect itself.  This attack reflects the original ego thought that the Son of God had  sinfully separated himself from the Love of God. Guilt over such attacks on Jesus — the Western world’s greatest embodiment of this Love — can only lead to denial. Guilt (or self-hatred) is such an overwhelming experience that it is almost inevitably buried in our minds. This reflects the magical belief that, like the proverbial ostrich, if we do not see the problem, it is not there. This ego dynamic of avoiding the pain of our guilt culminates in projecting our belief in sin and guilt onto Jesus.

This is the meaning of the passages quoted above from the text. Rather than our accepting responsibility for our guilt — which the ego teaches us must lead to death as justified punishment for our sin — we hope, once again magically, that by projecting the guilt out onto Jesus, leading to his death, we will be off the hook. For the ego would kill rather than have its existence undone. And thus two thousand years of belief in vicarious salvation, which Christian theology espouses, proclaims that “Jesus did it for us.” This insane dynamic reflects the ego’s “bread-and-butter” dynamic of the guilt-attack cycle, wherein the guiltier we feel, the greater is our need to attack others in “self-defense,” which in turn reinforces the guilt which always remains repressed in our minds. And then the cycle begins all over again. This is why Christians have always worshiped a slain savior, and why Catholics specifically commemorate Jesus’ death by reenacting it every day at Mass. Our guilt impels us continually to kill him off. And so what we forgive in Jesus is simply the projection of what remains unforgiven in ourselves.

What we find here is that this first level of forgiving Jesus for our projections onto him, is really the defense against the underlying level which reflects our real need for forgiveness: Jesus has to be forgiven for who he truly is. Again, if the Jesus of reality is indeed present within our minds as the perfect embodiment of God’s Love — the pure expression of the Holy Spirit’s Atonement principle — then our entire identity as a separated physical and psychological being is undone. It is truly this that we hold against Jesus. He is the living proof within the dream of our own existence, that we are wrong and he is right. He is the clear and unmistakable presence from outside the dream that attests to our sleeping minds that the dream itself is unreal. To accept this is to accept that we are truly not here, but dreaming a dream where we made up an individual self to replace the Self that God created. And so to preserve this made-up self, we must attack and destroy the truth.  We have already examined this idea in some depth, but let us return to it once more by quoting some expressive lines from one of Helen’s later poems, “Stranger on the Road,” which so graphically portray this fear of confronting the truth of Jesus’ existence. In effect, Jesus’ presence in our minds denies the “truth” of our own thought system of fear and death, which in our strange insanity we believe is comforting to us and therefore needs to be protected from him:

The road is long. I will not lift my eyes,
For fear has gripped my heart, and fear I know —
The shield that keeps me safe from rising hope;
The friend that keeps You stranger still to me.Why should You walk with me along the road,
An unknown whom I almost think I fear
Because You seem like someone in a dream
Of deathlessness, when death alone is real?

Do not disturb me now. I am content
With death, for grief is kinder now than hope.
While there was hope I suffered. Now I go
In certainty, for death has surely come.

Do not disturb the ending. What is done
Is done forever. Neither hope nor tears
Can touch finality. Do not arouse
The dead. Come, Stranger, let us say “Amen.”
                             (The Gifts of God, p. 103)

And so in all honesty we need to look at how we fear and hate Jesus, feelings that are almost always buried in our unconscious minds, under layers and layers of defenses. Through forgiving him for who he truly is, we learn at the same time to forgive ourselves for trying to pretend that we are not who we truly are, and then seeking to blame him for it. Were the presence of Jesus not so explicitly clear in A Course in Miracles, many students would not have the opportunity of dealing with this deeply buried layer of unforgiveness and guilt in themselves.

infinite patience

A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 19

ACIM Text Reading for September 19

Chapter 28

THE UNDOING OF FEAR

I. The Present Memory

The miracle does nothing. All it does is to undo. And thus it cancels out the interference to what has been done. It does not add, but merely takes away. And what it takes away is long since gone, but being kept in memory appears to have immediate effects. This world was over long ago. The thoughts that made it are no longer in the mind that thought of them and loved them for a little while. The miracle but shows the past is gone, and what has truly gone has no effects. Remembering a cause can but produce illusions of its presence, not effects.

All the effects of guilt are here no more. For guilt is over. In its passing went its consequences, left without a cause. Why would you cling to it in memory if you did not desire its effects? Remembering is as selective as perception, being its past tense. It is perception of the past as if it were occurring now, and still were there to see. Memory, like perception, is a skill made up by you to take the place of what God gave in your creation. And like all the things you made, it can be used to serve another purpose, and to be the means for something else. It can be used to heal and not to hurt, if you so wish it be.

Nothing employed for healing represents an effort to do anything at all. It is a recognition that you have no needs which mean that something must be done. It is an unselective memory, that is not used to interfere with truth. All things the Holy Spirit can employ for healing have been given Him, without the content and the purposes for which they have been made. They are but skills without an application. They await their use. They have no dedication and no aim.

The Holy Spirit can indeed make use of memory, for God Himself is there. Yet this is not a memory of past events, but only of a present state. You are so long accustomed to believe that memory holds only what is past, that it is hard for you to realise it is a skill that can remember now. The limitations on remembering the world imposes on it are as vast as those you let the world impose on you. There is no link of memory to the past. If you would have it there, then there it is. But only your desire made the link, and only you, have held it to a part of time where guilt appears to linger still.

The Holy Spirit’s use of memory is quite apart from time. He does not seek to use it as a means to keep the past, but rather as a way to let it go. Memory holds the message it receives, and does what it is given it to do. It does not write the message, nor appoint what it is for. Like to the body, it is purposeless within itself. And if it seems to serve to cherish ancient hate, and gives you pictures of injustices and hurts that you were saving, this is what you asked its message be and that it is. Committed to its vaults, the history of all the body’s past is hidden there. All of the strange associations made to keep the past alive, the present dead, are stored within it, waiting your command that they be brought to you, and lived again. And thus do their effects appear to be increased by time, which took away their cause.

Yet time is but another phase of what does nothing. It works hand in hand with all the other attributes with which you seek to keep concealed the truth about yourself. Time neither takes away nor can restore. And yet you make strange use of it, as if the past had caused the present, which is but a consequence in which no change can be made possible because its cause has gone. Yet change must have a cause that will endure, or else it will not last. No change can be made in the present if its cause is past. Only the past is held in memory as you make use of it, and so it is a way to hold the past against the now.

Remember nothing that you taught yourself, for you were badly taught. And who would keep a senseless lesson in his mind, when he can learn and can preserve a better one? When ancient memories of hate appear, remember that their cause is gone. And so you cannot understand what they are for. Let not the cause that you would give them now be what it was that made them what they were, or seemed to be. Be glad that it is gone, for this is what you would be pardoned from. And see, instead, the new effects of cause accepted now, with consequences here. They will surprise you with their loveliness. The ancient new ideas they bring will be the happy consequences of a cause so ancient that it far exceeds the span of memory which your perception sees.

This is the Cause the Holy Spirit has remembered for you, when you would forget. It is not past because He let It not be unremembered. It has never changed, because there never was a time in which He did not keep It safely in your mind. Its consequences will indeed seem new, because you thought that you remembered not their Cause. Yet was It never absent from your mind, for it was not your Father’s Will that He be unremembered by His Son.

What you remember never was. It came from causelessness which you confused with cause. It can deserve but laughter, when you learn you have remembered consequences that were causeless and could never be effects. The miracle reminds you of a Cause forever present, perfectly untouched by time and interference. Never changed from what It is. And you are Its effect, as changeless and as perfect as Itself. Its memory does not lie in the past, nor waits the future. It is not revealed in miracles. They but remind you that It has not gone. When you forgive It for your sins, It will no longer be denied.

You who have sought to lay a judgement on your own Creator cannot understand it is not He Who laid a judgement on His Son. You would deny Him His effects, yet have they never been denied. There was no time in which His Son could be condemned for what was causeless and against His Will. What your remembering would witness to is but the fear of God. He has not done the thing you fear. No more have you. And so your innocence has not been lost. You need no healing to be healed. In quietness, see in the miracle a lesson in allowing Cause to have Its Own effects, and doing nothing that would interfere.

The miracle comes quietly into the mind that stops an instant and is still. It reaches gently from that quiet time, and from the mind it healed in quiet then, to other minds to share its quietness. And they will join in doing nothing to prevent its radiant extension back into the Mind Which caused all minds to be. Born out of sharing, there can be no pause in time to cause the miracle delay in hastening to all unquiet minds, and bringing them an instant’s stillness, when the memory of God returns to them. Their own remembering is quiet now, and what has come to take its place will not be wholly unremembered afterwards.

He to Whom time is given offers thanks for every quiet instant given Him. For in that instant is God’s memory allowed to offer all its treasures to the Son of God, for whom they have been kept. How gladly does He offer them unto the one for whom He has been given them! And His Creator shares His thanks, because He would not be deprived of His effects. The instant’s silence that His Son accepts gives welcome to eternity and Him, and lets Them enter where They would abide. For in that instant does the Son of God do nothing that would make himself afraid.

How instantly the memory of God arises in the mind that has no fear to keep the memory away! Its own remembering has gone. There is no past to keep its fearful image in the way of glad awakening to present peace. The trumpets of eternity resound throughout the stillness, yet disturb it not. And what is now remembered is not fear, but rather is the Cause that fear was made to render unremembered and undone. The stillness speaks in gentle sounds of love the Son of God remembers from before his own remembering came in between the present and the past, to shut them out.

Now is the Son of God at last aware of present Cause and Its benign effects. Now does he understand what he has made is causeless, having no effects at all. He has done nothing. And in seeing this, he understands he never had a need for doing anything, and never did. His Cause is Its effects. There never was a cause beside it that could generate a different past or future. Its effects are changelessly eternal, beyond fear, and past the world of sin entirely.

What has been lost, to see the causeless not? And where is sacrifice, when memory of God has come to take the place of loss? What better way to close the little gap between illusions and reality than to allow the memory of God to flow across it, making it a bridge an instant will suffice to reach beyond? For God has closed it with Himself. His memory has not gone by, and left a stranded Son forever on a shore where he can glimpse another shore that he can never reach. His Father wills that he be lifted up and gently carried over. He has built the bridge, and it is He Who will transport His Son across it. Have no fear that He will fail in what He wills. Nor that you be excluded from the Will that is for you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 19

Lesson 245

Your peace is with me, Father.  I am safe.

Your peace surrounds me, Father. Where I go, Your peace goes there with me. It sheds its light on everyone I meet. I bring it to the desolate and lonely and afraid. I give Your peace to those who suffer pain, or grieve for loss, or think they are bereft of hope and happiness. Send them to me, my Father. Let me bring Your peace with me. For I would save Your Son, as is Your Will, that I may come to recognize my Self.

And so we go in peace. To all the world we give the message that we have received. And thus we come to hear the Voice for God, Who speaks to us as we relate His Word; Whose Love we recognize because we share the Word that He has given unto us.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q)  Is there a difference between Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and does it matter to whom I go for help?

A) The difference between Jesus and the Holy Spirit is a theological one, not a practical one. According to the Course’s theory, the Holy Spirit was created by God in response to the thought of separation in His Son’s mind. In reality of course, as we have mentioned several times before, such a description in A Course in Miracles is metaphoric, because how can God give an answer to something that never happened? At any rate, the Holy Spirit can be more properly understood as the memory of God’s Love and the Son’s true Identity as Christ that he carried with him into his dream. The Holy Spirit, therefore, is a principle or a thought in the Son’s mind that reminds him that what he believes about himself and his Creator is false. This correction is what is known in A Course in Miracles as the principle of the Atonement.

Jesus, on the other hand, is a part of the Sonship, and is as tangible and specific as is the Son’s belief about himself. He is the part of the Son’s one mind that “remembered to laugh” at the tiny, mad idea. And therefore Jesus becomes a manifestation of the Atonement principle, or of the more abstract presence of the Holy Spirit. That is what is meant in the clarification of terms by the previously quoted statement that the Holy Spirit “established Jesus as the leader in carrying out His plan” (C-6.2:2), and by the passage in the text that is a direct reference to Jesus:

The Atonement principle was in effect long before the Atonement began. The principle was love [the Holy Spirit] and the Atonement was an act of love [Jesus] (T-2.11.4:2-3).

On the level of practice, however, there is no difference. Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit serve as our inner Teachers, to whom we go for help in learning how to forgive. The Holy Spirit offers the student a more abstract Teacher, if Jesus is a problem; while Jesus is a more specific and personal form for the student to relate to. Either one will do, however, for Their function remains the same. Nonetheless, if Jesus is indeed a problem figure for students of his Course, then it would definitely be in keeping with the Course’s very principles for such students to look at their unforgiveness of him. Thus they may explore its deeper roots so that they may be undone, just as with any unforgiveness that is present within their minds.

you cannot lose your soul

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 7

ACIM Text Reading for September 7

Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear

VII. The Ark of Safety

God asks for nothing, and His Son, like Him, need ask for nothing. For there is no lack in him. An empty space, a little gap, would be a lack. And it is only there that he could want for something he has not. A space where God is not, a gap between the Father and the Son is not the Will of Either, Who have promised to be One. God’s promise is a promise to Himself, and there is no one who could be untrue to what He wills as part of what He is. The promise that there is no gap between Himself and what He is cannot be false. What will can come between what must be One, and in Whose Wholeness there can be no gap?

The beautiful relationship you have with all your brothers is a part of you because it is a part of God Himself. Are you not sick, if you deny yourself your wholeness and your health, the Source of help, the Call to healing and the Call to heal? Your savior waits for healing, and the world waits with him. Nor are you apart from it. For healing will be one or not at all, its oneness being where the healing is. What could correct for separation but its opposite? There is no middle ground in any aspect of salvation. You accept it wholly or accept it not. What is unseparated must be joined. And what is joined cannot be separate.

Either there is a gap between you and your brother, or you are as one. There is no in between, no other choice, and no allegiance to be split between the two. A split allegiance is but faithlessness to both, and merely sets you spinning round, to grasp uncertainly at any straw that seems to hold some promise of relief. Yet who can build his home upon a straw, and count on it as shelter from the wind? The body can be made a home like this, because it lacks foundation in the truth. And yet, because it does, it can be seen as not your home, but merely as an aid to help you reach the home where God abides.

With this as purpose is the body healed. It is not used to witness to the dream of separation and disease. Nor is it idly blamed for what it did not do. It serves to help the healing of God’s Son, and for this purpose it cannot be sick. It will not join a purpose not your own, and you have chosen that it not be sick. All miracles are based upon this choice, and given you the instant it is made. No forms of sickness are immune, because the choice cannot be made in terms of form. The choice of sickness seems to be of form, yet it is one, as is its opposite. And you are sick or well, accordingly.

But never you alone. This world is but the dream that you can be alone, and think without affecting those apart from you. To be alone must mean you are apart, and if you are, you cannot but be sick. This seems to prove that you must be apart. Yet all it means is that you tried to keep a promise to be true to faithlessness. Yet faithlessness is sickness. It is like the house set upon straw. It seems to be quite solid and substantial in itself. Yet its stability cannot be judged apart from its foundation. If it rests on straw, there is no need to bar the door and lock the windows and make fast the bolts. The wind will topple it, and rain will come and carry it into oblivion.

What is the sense in seeking to be safe in what was made for danger and for fear? Why burden it with further locks and chains and heavy anchors, when its weakness lies, not in itself, but in the frailty of the little gap of nothingness whereon it stands? What can be safe that rests upon a shadow? Would you build your home upon what will collapse beneath a feather’s weight?

Your home is built upon your brother’s health, upon his happiness, his sinlessness, and everything his Father promised him. No secret promise you have made instead has shaken the Foundation of his home. The winds will blow upon it and the rain will beat against it, but with no effect. The world will wash away and yet this house will stand forever, for its strength lies not within itself alone. It is an ark of safety, resting on God’s promise that His Son is safe forever in Himself. What gap can interpose itself between the safety of this shelter and its Source? From here the body can be seen as what it is, and neither less nor more in worth than the extent to which it can be used to liberate God’s Son unto his home. And with this holy purpose is it made a home of holiness a little while, because it shares your Father’s Will with you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 7

Lesson 250

Let me not see myself as limited.

Let me behold the Son of God today, and witness to his glory. Let me not try to obscure the holy light in him, and see his strength diminished and reduced to frailty; nor perceive the lacks in him with which I would attack his sovereignty.

He is Your Son, my Father. And today I would behold his gentleness instead of my illusions. He is what I am, and as I see him so I see myself. Today I would see truly, that this day I may at last identify with him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1226Please discuss gratitude and A Course in Miracles . Can we be truly grateful for anything more than the opportunity to forgive?

A: If by gratitude for the opportunity to forgive, you mean being grateful to each other for these opportunities, you have touched upon the essence of A Course in Miracles, which is forgiveness. In a recorded workshop called “Our Gratitude to God,” Ken discusses gratitude on three levels: our gratitude to God, to Jesus, and to each other. Just as forgiveness is the correction for the unforgiveness we feel, gratitude, too, is a correction. It corrects the ingratitude we feel on these three levels, and when our ingratitude is corrected, the need for gratitude disappears. This has nothing to do with Jesus or God needing our gratitude (see T.6.I.17 ) — it is just another dimension in the process of undoing the ego thought system in our minds. If ingratitude is seen as a cornerstone of the ego system, basically going hand in hand with judgment, attack, fear, and guilt, then love must come when we undo the ingratitude and allow ourselves to feel grateful to each other, to Jesus, and to God, because love has been hidden behind the ingratitude. Ingratitude is like a veil, and therefore, when the veil is gone, the Love of God can be experienced.

In brief, the gratitude the Course asks us to feel toward each other is not for what you do for me or for the miserable way you have treated me. It is gratitude for being able to see in you a mirror of my own self. Seeing the “sin” in you, I know it is within me, and by changing my mind about you, I am changing my mind about myself. That is the source of our gratitude toward each other. Yet, I cannot forgive you without a loving Presence next to me, and so my gratitude to you is impossible without my also feeling grateful to Jesus or the Holy Spirit. I realize, in other words, that I cannot change my mind by myself, because it is my self that got me into this mess, that has accused you, and that believes I can do it on my own. Relying on this self will only serve to keep me in hell. Thus, I recognize not only that I cannot do this without Jesus, but also that I cannot do it without you, because you represent a part of my self that I have split off and pushed outside me. And until I recognize that you are not outside me, but are really a part of me, I will never know the Christ that I am. “Your function here on earth is only to forgive him, that you may accept him back as your Identity. He is as God created him. And you are what he is. Forgive him now his sins, and you will see that you are one with him” (W.pI.192.10:6,7,8,9).

As we advance in this process of undoing the ego, our gratitude to Jesus will grow as we realize that despite all the awful ego stuff that goes on inside us, part of us knows he truly loves us, and that by accepting his love, we can accept the love that we are. This, then, does away with the ingratitude we have felt toward God, thanks to our acceptance of the ego’s replacement for the true God. By reflecting Heaven’s love in his relationship with us, Jesus helps us remember the deep gratitude we feel for God as our loving Creator and Source.

For some further commentary, see Question #556, which contrasts the ego’s version of gratitude with the Holy Spirit’s. Excerpts from the tape album “Our Gratitude to God” are posted on our Web site under Teaching Materials/Excerpts Series.

be of good cheer

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 6

ACIM Text Reading for September 6

Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear

VI. The Secret Vows

Who punishes the body is insane. For here the little gap is seen, and yet it is not here. It has not judged itself, nor made itself to be what it is not. It does not seek to make of pain a joy and look for lasting pleasure in the dust. It does not tell you what its purpose is and cannot understand what it is for. It does not victimize, because it has no will, no preferences and no doubts. It does not wonder what it is. And so it has no need to be competitive. It can be victimized, but cannot feel itself as victim. It accepts no role, but does what it is told, without attack.

It is indeed a senseless point of view to hold responsible for sight a thing that cannot see, and blame it for the sounds you do not like, although it cannot hear. It suffers not the punishment you give because it has no feeling. It behaves in ways you want, but never makes the choice. It is not born and does not die. It can but follow aimlessly the path on which it has been set. And if that path is changed, it walks as easily another way. It takes no sides and judges not the road it travels. It perceives no gap, because it does not hate. It can be used for hate, but it cannot be hateful made thereby.

The thing you hate and fear and loathe and want, the body does not know. You send it forth to seek for separation and be separate. And then you hate it, not for what it is, but for the uses you have made of it. You shrink from what it sees and what it hears, and hate its frailty and littleness. And you despise its acts, but not your own. It sees and acts for you. It hears your voice. And it is frail and little by your wish. It seems to punish you, and thus deserve your hatred for the limitations that it brings to you. Yet you have made of it a symbol for the limitations that you want your mind to have and see and keep.

The body represents the gap between the little bit of mind you call your own and all the rest of what is really yours. You hate it, yet you think it is your self, and that, without it, would your self be lost. This is the secret vow that you have made with every brother who would walk apart. This is the secret oath you take again, whenever you perceive yourself attacked. No one can suffer if he does not see himself attacked, and losing by attack. Unstated and unheard in consciousness is every pledge to sickness. Yet it is a promise to another to be hurt by him, and to attack him in return.

Sickness is anger taken out upon the body, so that it will suffer pain. It is the obvious effect of what was made in secret, in agreement with another’s secret wish to be apart from you, as you would be apart from him. Unless you both agree that is your wish, it can have no effects. Whoever says, “There is no gap between my mind and yours” has kept God’s promise, not his tiny oath to be forever faithful unto death. And by his healing is his brother healed.

Let this be your agreement with each one; that you be one with him and not apart. And he will keep the promise that you make with him, because it is the one that he has made to God, as God has made to him. God keeps His promises; His Son keeps his. In his creation did his Father say, “You are beloved of Me and I of you forever. Be you perfect as Myself, for you can never be apart from Me.” His Son remembers not that he replied “I will,” though in that promise he was born. Yet God reminds him of it every time he does not share a promise to be sick, but lets his mind be healed and unified. His secret vows are powerless before the Will of God, Whose promises he shares. And what he substitutes is not his will, who has made promise of himself to God.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 6

Lesson 249

Forgiveness ends all suffering and loss.

Forgiveness paints a picture of a world where suffering is over, loss becomes impossible and anger makes no sense. Attack is gone, and madness has an end. What suffering is now conceivable? What loss can be sustained? The world becomes a place of joy, abundance, charity and endless giving. It is now so like to Heaven that it quickly is transformed into the light that it reflects. And so the journey which the Son of God began has ended in the light from which he came.

Father, we would return our minds to You. We have betrayed them, held them in a vise of bitterness, and frightened them with thoughts of violence and death. Now would we rest again in You, as You created us.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #888I’ve been wondering about the dispensing of our sense of guilt. In many therapies, the recognition of our feelings, especially negative ones such as envy, guilt etc., is important so that we can let the feelings go. Yet A Course in Miracles states that ultimately guilt isn’t real and that we should not recognize it as “truth.” Then again, it states that as long as we believe in the body’s truth, we would have to obey its laws that we set up ourselves.

So wouldn’t it be an easy cop out to say, “Oh, those negative things aren’t real anyway, so why bother with them?” At the same time, they are part of our physical selves and might come out secretly at the other end and be harmful to us. We are also living in a human body and — as the Course states, too — to deny that would be an even greater denial of the truth. So if we keep on recognizing the body and its attached sense of guilt, then how can we ever get out of here and return to the true state of mind that is still ours? It seems to be some kind of trap where the door has disappeared. Can you advise?

Also, Jesus tells us that we must first live a “happy dream” before we can realize that there is no dream at all. However, does not every “happy” thing include its opposite by definition? How can we live a happy dream when that implies that there must be something sad as well? Isn’t that an illusion? Is that what Jesus means when he says that when we really come across living a happy dream, “God will bow down to us” and the bridge to “real life”/truth will be there for us to cross? So once we recognize the illusion of distinguishing between happy and sad, good and bad, there is no dream at all. We cross the bridge to truth and the Self that is one with God. Is that all there is to it?

A: A Course in Miracles does not ask that we deny feelings. They are an important key to recognizing the choice that has been made in the mind. In fact, the goal of the mind training the workbook teaches is to make us increasingly aware of what we are thinking and feeling. The thoughts and feelings that are experienced in the dream are the reflection of a decision made in the mind that is outside time and space. When the mind decides to identify with the body, it then denies the choice and dissociates itself from its true identity as a mind. Jesus tells us our feelings and hidden thoughts are the guide to recognizing the forgotten choice the mind has made: “How can you know whether you chose the stairs to Heaven or the way to hell? Quite easily. How do you feel?” (T.23.II.22:6,7,8). He goes on to tell us that certainty and peace accompany the decision to turn toward Heaven by choosing the Holy Spirit. Any other feeling tells us we have chosen the ego’s road to hell. Therefore, our feelings should not be dismissed. That would be, as you say, a cop out, driving them further under cover and burying the mind’s choice in deeper darkness.

What makes the recognition of feelings part of a healing process, rather than a trap, is looking at them without judgment, and being willing to see them for what they are, not as the ego interprets them. The goal is not to justify them, blame others for them, or indulge them, but to see them as the inevitable and desired result of a choice in the mind. Acknowledging the mind as the source of every feeling means that the feelings change as the mind is healed. Part of the healing process may involve working with a therapist to bring the feelings to the surface and to identify the persons or situations that were their projected source. What makes practicing the Course a different kind of therapy is attributing every experience to the mind’s decision, and not to anyone else nor to anything in form. This means no one else is responsible for how one feels. Neither are feelings caused by anything the body has done to itself. They come only from having decided for the ego and then judging it as sinful. Looking beyond the feelings to their source is how to practice the forgiveness Jesus teaches in the Course. Not only is it not a trap, it is the escape route out of the ego’s trap because it makes the power of the mind real in our awareness and diminishes the seeming power of the body and its guilt. When guilt is seen as a purposive and not so desirable choice, rather than a powerful force, its unreality gradually becomes apparent and it will eventually disappear for lack of nourishment. A little willingness to see feelings in this light is all that is required to set us in the right direction with the Holy Spirit by our side to “…give [us] certainty of where [we] go” (T.23.II.22:13) .

Being certain of where we go (out of the dream), with Whom we go (the Holy Spirit) and how we go (forgiveness), is what makes us happy in he dream. It is not really about the dream; it is the “fixed determination” (T.31.VIII.11:1) to go beyond the dream that makes it “happy.” This reflects the mind’s decision to hold Jesus’ hand and walk with him out of the illusion. It has nothing to do with the distinctions we make as bodies about what is good, bad, happy, or sad. These all reflect the ego’s judgment based on the belief in separation and the reality of the body. The happy dream is the reflection of the part of the mind that chooses to identify with the Holy Spirit, Who is the memory of what lies beyond illusion. In this, as always, it is helpful to remember that the Course is using words that “…are but symbols of symbols… twice removed from reality” (M.21.1:9,10) . Its use of symbols and images is necessary to reach us who believe we are irretrievably lost in the dream.

The only distinction we must learn to make is between the ego’s voice and the Holy Spirit’s. This is accomplished through the process of forgiveness described above. That is all there is to it. It is a simple process, but one that takes quite a bit of practice due to the resistance to letting go of iden­tity with the body. When we do, we will return to the oneness with God that we never truly left, symbolized in the Course by the image of God reaching down: “And then your Father will lean down to you and take the last step for you, by raising you unto Himself” (T.11.VIII. 15:5).

forgiveness is still

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 5

ACIM Text Reading for September 5

Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear

V. The Alternate to Dreams of Fear

What is a sense of sickness but a sense of limitation? Of a splitting off and separating from? A gap that is perceived between you and your brother, and what is now seen as health? And so the good is seen to be outside; the evil, in. And thus is sickness separating off the self from good, and keeping evil in. God is the Alternate to dreams of fear. Who shares in them can never share in Him. But who withdraws his mind from sharing them is sharing Him. There is no other choice. Except you share it, nothing can exist. And you exist because God shared His Will with you, that His creation might create.

It is the sharing of the evil dreams of hate and malice, bitterness and death, of sin and suffering and pain and loss, that makes them real. Unshared, they are perceived as meaningless. The fear is gone from them because you did not give them your support. Where fear has gone there love must come, because there are but these alternatives. Where one appears, the other disappears. And which you share becomes the only one you have. You have the one that you accept, because it is the only one you wish to have.

You share no evil dreams if you forgive the dreamer, and perceive that he is not the dream he made. And so he cannot be a part of yours, from which you both are free. Forgiveness separates the dreamer from the evil dream, and thus releases him. Remember if you share an evil dream, you will believe you are the dream you share. And fearing it, you will not want to know your own Identity, because you think that It is fearful. And you will deny your Self, and walk upon an alien ground which your Creator did not make, and where you seem to be a something you are not. You will make war upon your Self, which seems to be your enemy; and will attack your brother, as a part of what you hate. There is no compromise. You are your Self or an illusion. What can be between illusion and the truth? A middle ground, where you can be a thing that is not you, must be a dream and cannot be the truth.

You have conceived a little gap between illusions and the truth to be the place where all your safety lies, and where your Self is safely hidden by what you have made. Here is a world established that is sick, and this the world the body’s eyes perceive. Here are the sounds it hears; the voices that its ears were made to hear. Yet sights and sounds the body can perceive are meaningless. It cannot see nor hear. It does not know what seeing is; what listening is for. It is as little able to perceive as it can judge or understand or know. Its eyes are blind; its ears are deaf. It can not think, and so it cannot have effects.

What is there God created to be sick? And what that He created not can be? Let not your eyes behold a dream; your ears bear witness to illusion. They were made to look upon a world that is not there; to hear the voices that can make no sound. Yet are there other sounds and other sights that can be seen and heard and understood. For eyes and ears are senses without sense, and what they see and hear they but report. It is not they that hear and see, but you, who put together every jagged piece, each senseless scrap and shred of evidence, and make a witness to the world you want. Let not the body’s ears and eyes perceive these countless fragments seen within the gap that you imagined, and let them persuade their maker his imaginings are real.

Creation proves reality because it shares the function all creation shares. It is not made of little bits of glass, a piece of wood, a thread or two, perhaps, all put together to attest its truth. Reality does not depend on this. There is no gap that separates the truth from dreams and from illusions. Truth has left no room for them in any place or time. For it fills every place and every time, and makes them wholly indivisible.

You who believe there is a little gap between you and your brother, do not see that it is here you are as prisoners in a world perceived to be existing here. The world you see does not exist, because the place where you perceive it is not real. The gap is carefully concealed in fog, and misty pictures rise to cover it with vague uncertain forms and changing shapes, forever unsubstantial and unsure. Yet in the gap is nothing. And there are no awesome secrets and no darkened tombs where terror rises from the bones of death. Look at the little gap, and you behold the innocence and emptiness of sin that you will see within yourself, when you have lost the fear of recognizing love.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 5

Lesson 248

Whatever suffers is not part of me.

I have disowned the truth. Now let me be as faithful in disowning falsity. Whatever suffers is not part of me. What grieves is not myself. What is in pain is but illusion in my mind. What dies was never living in reality, and did but mock the truth about myself. Now I disown self-concepts and deceits and lies about the holy Son of God. Now am I ready to accept him back as God created him, and as he is.

Father, my ancient love for You returns, and lets me love Your Son again as well. Father, I am as You created me. Now is Your Love remembered, and my own. Now do I understand that they are one.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #839: How can one use the perspective of A Course in Miracles to look at a person who is verbally abusive and to become more peaceful within?

A: The first place the Course asks us to look in a relationship is at ourselves. Our feelings, judgments, and thoughts show us the unconscious content of the mind, i.e., the forgotten choice to deny the Self that God created and to identify with the ego instead. Guilt, along with feelings of emptiness, vulnerability, and unworthiness, are the inevitable result of that choice. When the guilt is projected out, it is experienced in relationships characterized by victimization scripts. Although victim/abused and victimizer/abuser have different roles in the relationship, both are acting out the fear that innocence has been irretrievably lost by the mind’s attack on the Self. And so, motivated by a deep feeling of worthlessness, the victimizer feels compelled to attack in some form such as verbal abuse. The distorted thinking is that making another look bad makes the attacker look better. Thus, someone else’s loss is his gain This is an expression of the fourth law of chaos found in chapter 23 of the text: “This seeming law is the belief you have what you have taken. By this, another’s loss becomes your gain, and thus it fails to recognize that you can never take away save from yourself” (23.II.9:3,4). The victimizer convinces himself that his accusations are truly justified. The underlying belief is that he has taken the other’s innocence and now has it for himself. The victim believes the victimizer is to blame for his loss of peace and for his feeling unfairly treated. He is the innocent victim and many witnesses can be found to support this view. The true source of this feeling, however, is the mind that chose to throw peace and innocence away by identifying with the ego. The victim-victimizer plot is an ideal scenario for the ego to keep the mind’s power to choose from awareness, by focusing attention on the external dynamics of the relationship.

As with every relationship, peace is found in forgiveness. It begins with willingness to apply the above mentioned principles of the Course’s teaching to the example you give, which releases it from the ego’s interpretation of every victim/victimizer situation. It is now seen in a different light and for a different purpose. While the feeling of victimization may remain and should not be denied, the source is no longer seen as another’s attack, but as the mind that chose to deny its true Identity as God’s innocent Son. The attack then becomes an opportunity to see the guilt engendered by this choice in its projected form. Early in the text, Jesus gives us a process to help us practice forgiveness in any situation: “…. the first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise… Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation: I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise. I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him. I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me” (T.5.VII.6:3,5,6,7,8,9,10,11). Because the true source of victimization is a decision in the mind, this format addresses the problem with no mention of the “attacker.” The important thing is taking responsibility for the mind’s choice without judging this mistaken choice as a sin. When this occurs, peace is possible no matter what kind of attacks may be hurled at us. Then, with the Holy Spirit’s help, you may choose to take steps to improve the relationship in some way or discontinue it altogether. When the Holy Spirit has been chosen, whatever follows will be loving for both you and the other person.

forgiveness is still