A Course in Miracles Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 7, 2019

ACIM Text Reading for January 7

A Course in Miracles

Text – Chapter 1

The Meaning of Miracles


V. Wholeness and SpiritThe miracle is much like the body in that both are learning aids for facilitating a state in which they become unnecessary. When spirit’s original state of direct communication is reached, neither the body nor the miracle serves any purpose. While you believe you are in a body, however, you can choose between loveless and miraculous channels of expression. You can make an empty shell, but you cannot express nothing at all. You can wait, delay, paralyze yourself, or reduce your creativity almost to nothing. But you cannot abolish it. You can destroy your medium of communication, but not your potential. You did not create yourself.

The basic decision of the miracle-minded is not to wait on time any longer than is necessary. Time can waste as well as be wasted. The miracle worker, therefore, accepts the time-control factor gladly. He recognizes that every collapse of time brings everyone closer to the ultimate release from time, in which the Son and the Father are One. Equality does not imply equality now. When everyone recognizes that he has everything, individual contributions to the Sonship will no longer be necessary.

When the Atonement has been completed, all talents will be shared by all the Sons of God. God is not partial. All his children have his total love, and all his gifts are freely given to everyone alike. “Except ye become as little children” means that unless you fully recognize your complete dependence on God, you cannot know the real power of the Son in his true relationship with the Father. The specialness of God’s Sons does not stem from exclusion but from inclusion. All my brothers are special. If they believe they are deprived of anything, their perception becomes distorted. When this occurs the whole family of God, or the Sonship, is impaired in its relationships.

Ultimately, every member of the family of God must return. The miracle calls him to return because it blesses and honors him, even though he may be absent in spirit. “God is not mocked” is not a warning but a reassurance. God wouldbe mocked if any of his creations lacked holiness. The creation is whole, and the mark of wholeness is holiness. Miracles are affirmations of Sonship, which is a state of completion and abundance.

Whatever is true is eternal, and cannot change or be changed. Spirit is therefore unalterable because it is already perfect, but the mind can elect what it chooses to serve. The only limit put on its choice is that it cannot serve two masters. If it elects to do so, the mind can become the medium by which spirit creates along the line of its own creation. If it does not freely elect to do so, it retains its creative potential but places itself under tyrannous rather than Authoritative control. As a result it imprisons, because such are the dictates of tyrants. To change your mind means to place it at the disposal of true Authority.

The miracle is a sign that the mind has chosen to be led by me in Christ’s service. The abundance of Christ is the natural result of choosing to follow him. All shallow roots must be uprooted, because they are not deep enough to sustain you. The illusion that shallow roots can be deepened, and thus made to hold, is one of the distortions on which the reverse of the Golden Rule rests. As these false underpinnings are given up, the equilibrium is temporarily experienced as unstable. However, nothing is less stable than an upside-down orientation. Nor can anything that holds it upside down be conducive to increased stability.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 7

Lesson 7

I see only the past.

1. This idea is particularly difficult to believe at first. Yet it is the rationale for all of the preceding ones.

It is the reason why nothing that you see means anything.
It is the reason why you have given everything you see all the meaning that it has for you.
It is the reason why you do not understand anything you see.
It is the reason why your thoughts do not mean anything, and why they are like the things you see.
It is the reason why you are never upset for the reason you think.
It is the reason why you are upset because you see something that is not there.

2. Old ideas about time are very difficult to change, because everything you believe is rooted in time, and depends on your not learning these new ideas about it. Yet that is precisely why you need new ideas about time. This first time idea is not really so strange as it may sound at first.

3. Look at a cup, for example. Do you see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, be­ing thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on? Are not your aesthetic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences? How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it? What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past? You would have no idea what this cup is, except for your past learning. Do you, then, really see it?

4. Look about you. This is equally true of whatever you look at. Acknowledge this by applying the idea for today indiscrimi­nately to whatever catches your eye. For example:

I see only the past in this pencil.
I see only the past in this shoe.
I see only the past in this hand.
I see only the past in that body.
I see only the past in that face.

5. Do not linger over any one thing in particular, but remember to omit nothing specifically. Glance briefly at each subject, and then move on to the next. Three or four practice periods, each to last a minute or so, will be enough.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Can A Course in Miracles be done by myself, or do I need to have a partner? 

A) As we have already mentioned, A Course in Miracles is inherently a self-study curriculum. One’s life — past, present, and anticipated future — is the classroom. All one’s relationships — whether falling into any of the three categories given in the manual ranging from superficial through a circumscribed intense relationship, to a lifetime one (M-3) — provide the “partners” needed for the practice of forgiveness. One does not need a partner “designated” for such practice, nor does the partner have to be a student of the Course, as we discussed briefly in question 31. Anyone and everyone will do. To insist that one’s partner be spiritually like-minded, and even more specifically, a student of A Course in Miracles, is to confuse form with content, and to fall into the trap of specialness that is the very thing the Course aims at undoing. As we discussed previously, the Course’s definition of joining has nothing to do with bodies or externals of any kind — “Minds are joined; bodies are not” (T-18.VI.3:1). Joining, rather, has to do with joining with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, in Whom are all members of the Sonship found as one, regardless of their spiritual path, or absence of it. 

Therefore, it does not really matter with whom one practices the lessons of forgiveness. Projection of guilt remains what it is, regardless of the form of the relationship or the nature of the person or situation on whom it is projected. Everyone and everything in the dream we call our lives offers the opportunities for recognizing that what we have perceived and made real outside our minds, has existence only within our minds. Therefore, nothing else is required for one’s work with A Course in Miracles except one’s life as the classroom, and the willingness to have Jesus teach us how to perceive it differently.

tiny mad idea


 

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 9

ACIM Text Reading for January 9

Chapter 1 ~ The Meaning of Miracles

V. Wholeness and Spirit
The miracle is much like the body in that both are learning aids for facilitating a state in which they become unnecessary. When spirit’s original state of direct communication is reached, neither the body nor the miracle serves any purpose. While you believe you are in a body, however, you can choose between loveless and miraculous channels of expression. You can make an empty shell, but you cannot express nothing at all. You can wait, delay, paralyze yourself, or reduce your creativity almost to nothing. But you cannot abolish it. You can destroy your medium of communication, but not your potential. You did not create yourself.

The basic decision of the miracle-minded is not to wait on time any longer than is necessary. Time can waste as well as be wasted. The miracle worker, therefore, accepts the time-control factor gladly. He recognizes that every collapse of time brings everyone closer to the ultimate release from time, in which the Son and Father are one. Equality does not imply equality now. When everyone recognizes that he has everything, individual contributions to the Sonship will no longer be necessary.

When the Atonement has been completed, all talents will be shared by all the Sons of God. God is not partial. All His children have His total Love, and all His gifts are freely given to everyone alike. “Except ye become as little children” means that unless you fully recognize your complete dependence on God, you cannot know the real power of the Son in his true relationship with the Father. The specialness of God’s Sons does not stem from exclusion but from inclusion. All my brothers are special. If they believe they are deprived of anything, their perception becomes distorted. When this occurs the whole family of God, or the Sonship, is impaired in its relationships.

Ultimately, every member of the family of God must return. The miracle calls him to return because it blesses and honors him, even though he may be absent in spirit. “God is not mocked” is not a warning but a reassurance. God would be mocked if any of His creations lacked holiness. The creation is whole, and the mark of wholeness is holiness. Miracles are affirmations of Sonship, which is a state of completion and abundance.

Whatever is true is eternal, and cannot change or be changed. Spirit is therefore unalterable because it is already perfect, but the mind can elect what it chooses to serve. The only limit put on its choice is that it cannot serve two masters. If it elects to do so, the mind can become the medium by which spirit creates along the line of its own creation. If it does not freely elect to do so, it retains its creative potential but places itself under tyrannous rather than Authoritative control. As a result it imprisons, because such are the dictates of tyrants. To change your mind means to place it at the disposal of true Authority.

The miracle is a sign that the mind has chosen to be led by me in Christ’s service. The abundance of Christ is the natural result of choosing to follow Him. All shallow roots must be uprooted, because they are not deep enough to sustain you. The illusion that shallow roots can be deepened, and thus made to hold, is one of the distortions on which the reverse of the Golden Rule rests. As these false underpinnings are given up, the equilibrium is temporarily experienced as unstable. However, nothing is less stable than an upside-down orientation. Nor can anything that holds it upside down be conducive to increased stability.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 9

Lesson 9
I see nothing as it is now.

This idea obviously follows from the two preceding ones. But while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet. However, understanding is not necessary at this point. In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. These exercises are concerned with practice, not with understanding. You do not need to practice what you already understand. It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding, and assume that you have it already.

It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there. This idea can be quite disturbing, and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms. Yet that does not preclude applying it. No more than that is required for these or any other exercises. Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it.

These exercises, for which three or four practice periods are sufficient, involve looking about you and applying the idea for the day to whatever you see, remembering the need for its indiscriminate application, and the essential rule of excluding nothing. For example:

I do not see this typewriter as it is now.
I do not see this telephone as it is now.
I do not see this arm as it is now.

Begin with things that are nearest you, and then extend the range outward:

I do not see that coat rack as it is now.
I do not see that door as it is now.
I do not see that face as it is now.

It is emphasized again that while complete inclusion should not be attempted, specific exclusion must be avoided. Be sure you are honest with yourself in making this distinction. You may be tempted to obscure it.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #369: What is the reverse of the Golden Rule (T.1.V.6:4)?

A: The reverse of the Golden Rule is the ego’s norm of separate interests: I get what I want regardless of the cost to others. One of the unfortunate consequences of this approach to life and behavior is that we become suspicious of others’ motivations. If that norm is embedded in our own thinking, then it must direct everyone else’s thinking as well. Instead of questioning the foundation of that type of thinking, we find ways of justifying it instead, thus sustaining the ego. It is only when we question the sanity of relationships based on separate interests that we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s healing principle of shared interests.

*

Q #125: I have been studying A Course in Miracles for about 3 years. I have two questions. First, where are you at, as far as the Course goes, in other words, is there a point at which it all comes together? Second, I feel as if I am and have always been in “a waiting mode” — I want to say a state of anticipation, but not really. I’m tired of “waiting” my life away. Can you give me some advice on this?

A: We are not quite sure of what you mean by “a point where it all comes together.” The Course works, if that is what you mean. It is an individualized curriculum (M.9.1:5), and therefore the specifics of the process vary from student to student. Our learning is always in the context of the relationships and circumstances in our lives, and the goal of the exercises in the workbook is generalization, so that as we go along, we would gradually learn to apply the principles every minute of every day, without getting stuck in specifics. That is when “it all comes together.” Our habitual response to all happenings in our daily lives would be to bring our ego thoughts to the love of Jesus in our minds; and then as our resistance is brought to light and relinquished, we would choose against the ego and allow our minds to be healed, thus restoring to them the awareness of love’s presence that we had banished. Our lives then would be directed from this quiet center of peace: “And you will be more aware of this quiet center of the storm than all its raging activity. This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. For from this center will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly. It is this center from which the body is absent, that will keep it so in your awareness of it” (T.18.VII.8:2,3,4,5).

It is difficult to respond to your second question without knowing more about you. So we will just speak in general about the pattern you describe, which is not all that uncommon. The Course speaks a great deal about fear — and even terror — that is the consequence of our having listened to the ego instead of the Holy Spirit. We are not consciously aware of the fear at this level of our minds, and the fear of which we are aware is always attributed to something in the world or in our physical/ psychological experience, both of which are outside the mind. But the fear that Jesus talks about accounts, in part, for the different patterns our lives take. The fear is related to our expectation of punishment by God for having separated from Him, and is also related to the promise we made to the ego to be faithful to it no matter what. Our very existence as individuals, therefore, is associated in our minds with fear and dread on a scale that nothing in the world can approximate.

Instead of bringing the fear to Jesus who would help us realize that it is totally unjustified, we listen to the ego who warns us that we had better do something about it. Then our lives are essentially constructed as a defense against this fear. This manifests in different ways; but one way would be to never get your life going — like waiting at a traffic light that never turns green. Unconsciously, the fear would be that no matter what you do, you are doomed. The maladaptive solution to that fear is to stay in neutral so that you never have to take responsibility for anything, because deep within your mind is the thought “I set out on my own once before, and look what I did. I killed love off so that I could exist. I’m a terrible person, so I’ll see to it that I never make anything of my life, so that I will not be caught and held to account for the awful thing I did.”

Nothing can change in such a situation until the internal state of terror is acknowledged and looked at. Sometimes this requires the assistance of a compassionate therapist, but not always. Jesus encourages us to take this step with him by our side: “We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth” (T.11.V.1:3,4). We need the help of someone outside this thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, who sees its unreality, but who sees as well the destructive effect is has had in the minds of those who have forgotten that it is all just a made-up fable.

teach not that i died in vain

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 9

ACIM Text Reading for January 9

A Course in Miracles

Text – Chapter 1

The Meaning of Miracles

V. Wholeness and Spirit

The miracle is much like the body in that both are learning aids for facilitating a state in which they become unnecessary. When spirit’s original state of direct communication is reached, neither the body nor the miracle serves any purpose. While you believe you are in a body, however, you can choose between loveless and miraculous channels of expression. You can make an empty shell, but you cannot express nothing at all. You can wait, delay, paralyze yourself, or reduce your creativity almost to nothing. But you cannot abolish it. You can destroy your medium of communication, but not your potential. You did not create yourself.

The basic decision of the miracle-minded is not to wait on time any longer than is necessary. Time can waste as well as be wasted. The miracle worker, therefore, accepts the time-control factor gladly. He recognizes that every collapse of time brings everyone closer to the ultimate release from time, in which the Son and the Father are One. Equality does not imply equality now. When everyone recognizes that he has everything, individual contributions to the Sonship will no longer be necessary.

When the Atonement has been completed, all talents will be shared by all the Sons of God. God is not partial. All his children have his total love, and all his gifts are freely given to everyone alike. “Except ye become as little children” means that unless you fully recognize your complete dependence on God, you cannot know the real power of the Son in his true relationship with the Father. The specialness of God’s Sons does not stem from exclusion but from inclusion. All my brothers are special. If they believe they are deprived of anything, their perception becomes distorted. When this occurs the whole family of God, or the Sonship, is impaired in its relationships.

Ultimately, every member of the family of God must return. The miracle calls him to return because it blesses and honors him, even though he may be absent in spirit. “God is not mocked” is not a warning but a reassurance. God would be mocked if any of his creations lacked holiness. The creation is whole, and the mark of wholeness is holiness. Miracles are affirmations of Sonship, which is a state of completion and abundance.

Whatever is true is eternal, and cannot change or be changed. Spirit is therefore unalterable because it is already perfect, but the mind can elect what it chooses to serve. The only limit put on its choice is that it cannot serve two masters. If it elects to do so, the mind can become the medium by which spirit creates along the line of its own creation. If it does not freely elect to do so, it retains its creative potential but places itself under tyrannous rather than Authoritative control. As a result it imprisons, because such are the dictates of tyrants. To change your mind means to place it at the disposal of true Authority.

The miracle is a sign that the mind has chosen to be led by me in Christ’s service. The abundance of Christ is the natural result of choosing to follow him. All shallow roots must be uprooted, because they are not deep enough to sustain you. The illusion that shallow roots can be deepened, and thus made to hold, is one of the distortions on which the reverse of the Golden Rule rests. As these false underpinnings are given up, the equilibrium is temporarily experienced as unstable. However, nothing is less stable than an upside-down orientation. Nor can anything that holds it upside down be conducive to increased stability.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 9

Lesson 9
I see nothing as it is now.

This idea obviously follows from the two preceding ones. But while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet. However, understanding is not necessary at this point. In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. These exercises are concerned with practice, not with understanding. You do not need to practice what you already understand. It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding, and assume that you have it already.

It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there. This idea can be quite disturbing, and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms. Yet that does not preclude applying it. No more than that is required for these or any other exercises. Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it.

These exercises, for which three or four practice periods are sufficient, involve looking about you and applying the idea for the day to whatever you see, remembering the need for its indiscriminate application, and the essential rule of excluding nothing. For example:

I do not see this typewriter as it is now.
I do not see this telephone as it is now.
I do not see this arm as it is now.

Begin with things that are nearest you, and then extend the range outward:

I do not see that coat rack as it is now.
I do not see that door as it is now.
I do not see that face as it is now.

It is emphasized again that while complete inclusion should not be attempted, specific exclusion must be avoided. Be sure you are honest with yourself in making this distinction. You may be tempted to obscure it.

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

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #369: What is the reverse of the Golden Rule (T.1.V.6:4)?

A: The reverse of the Golden Rule is the ego’s norm of separate interests: I get what I want regardless of the cost to others. One of the unfortunate consequences of this approach to life and behavior is that we become suspicious of others’ motivations. If that norm is embedded in our own thinking, then it must direct everyone else’s thinking as well. Instead of questioning the foundation of that type of thinking, we find ways of justifying it instead, thus sustaining the ego. It is only when we question the sanity of relationships based on separate interests that we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s healing principle of shared interests.

*

Q #105: What is the best method to study A Course in Miracles? In my experience, study groups bear little resemblance in content to what is expressed by the Foundation, so I do the work alone. Should the text be read first, before beginning the workbook, or hand in hand? If I begin the workbook and miss several days or weeks, do I need to begin again or pick up where I left off? Does it matter? I would prefer to work with other people, but most of them I’ve spoken to aren’t even aware of the non-dualistic nature of the Course. I find when I try to explain that aspect, generally people are not willing to hear it and try to convince me that I have it wrong. Also I’ve heard people say they like the Course because they can combine it easily with their other spiritual practice – – I find it nearly impossible to do that and have moved away from spiritual teachings I used to hold dear. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the one who is confused. Please advise.

A. (1) In keeping with the actual theory of the Course, there actually is no best method for studying it. It in essence is a curriculum undertaken by the student under the guidance of the Holy Spirit or Jesus. The “training is always highly individualized” (M.9.1:5). Jesus advises us to study the text very carefully and not proceed too quickly lest we plunge unnecessarily into overwhelming fear (T.I.VII.4,5), and he also explains that the “theoretical foundation.…the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this workbook meaningful” (W.in.1:1), so he clearly expects his students to spend time with the text at some point in their process. But he does not say which should be done first. So if you are comfortable studying the text while you are doing the lessons, that is what you should do.

He also tells us not to do more than one workbook lesson a day (W.in.1:6). The middle of Lesson 95 might be helpful in answering your question about what to do if you miss several days or weeks in your practice of the lessons. The instruction there focuses on recognizing the ways in which the ego creeps into the process, and that we ought to respond to “our lapses in diligence, and our failures to follow the instructions for practicing the day’s idea” with forgiveness (W.pI.95.8:3). That is the key. Jesus does not keep track of how punctual we are in following he instructions for the day; his interest is only in helping us train our minds to think more and more in terms of forgiveness. It makes the most sense, though, to pick up where you left off, rather than begin all over again.

(2) The Course says nothing about groups. Some people find it helpful to study with others; some do not. It depends entirely on the preference of the individual. In our experience, it is more common than uncommon that people find the uncompromising nature of the Course’s non-dualism intolerable and fear provoking, which then causes them to dilute its message to make it say something that it does not, or to mix it with other systems, thereby doing justice to neither. One of the Course’s strengths is the manner in which it integrates a metaphysics of non-dualism with living in the world. This is quite a challenge, but the Course gives us all the support we need in our journey back to our home in Heaven, the state of perfect Oneness.

*

Q #203: A group of friends and I are reading A Course in Miracles, and we want to know whether the lessons must be strictly done daily, or if you may stay with some of them for a week or two, until you grasp them deeply?

A: The only specifications for the Workbook practice are given in its Introduction. It does not say not to repeat a lesson, it only says: “Do not undertake to do more than one set of exercises a day” (W.in.2:6). It is therefore not out of keeping with the Workbook instructions to repeat a lesson. If it is a particularly meaningful or difficult lesson, it might be a good idea to stay with it for a couple of days. However, there is a risk in thinking that a lesson needs to be done perfectly, or even “grasped deeply” before moving on to the next lesson. This would be a trap, because it is unlikely that many of us will ever do one of the lessons perfectly. If we could, we would have reached such an advanced state of spiritual growth that we would not need the lessons at all. The best thing is to try to do what the lesson asks as best you can, being aware of the resistance that comes up. Resistance is what makes the lesson impossible to remember; it is behind our forgetting the repetitions, and our difficulty in understanding the lesson. It is important to recognize this, as a demonstration of our unwillingness to learn the thought system the Workbook teaches, and of our refusal to allow our minds to be trained “to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world” (W.in.4:1). If we mistakenly believe we can master a lesson in a few days, we are underestimating our attachment to the ego’s thought system, and this will hinder our progress rather than help it. The important thing is to be sincere in our attempts to study and practice what the Workbook teaches, aware that we are full of resistance, and willing to forgive ourselves for our often mediocre efforts. As long as we continue to study and apply the lessons as we are instructed, we will make progress. It may be helpful for your group to occasionally reread the Workbook instructions together. It keeps us on track to go back to the beginning once in a while.

sun of god guiltless