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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 1 "THE INTRODUCTION TO MIRACLES"
I. PRINCIPLES OF MIRACLES
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
A theoretical foundation such as the text is necessary as a background to make these exercises meaningful. Yet it is the exercises which will make the goal possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of these exercises to train the mind to think along the lines which the course sets forth.
The exercises are very simple. They do not require more than a few minutes, and it does not matter where or when you do them. They need no preparation. They are numbered, running from 1 to 365. The training period is one year. Do not undertake more than one exercise a day.
The purpose of these exercises is to train the mind to a different perception of everything in the world. The workbook is divided into two sections, the first dealing with the undoing of what you see now and the second with the restoration of sight. It is recommended that each exercise be repeated several times a day, preferably in a different place each time and, if possible, in every situation in which you spend any long period of time. The purpose is to train the mind to generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is as applicable to one situation as it is to another.
Unless specified to the contrary, the exercise should be practiced with the eyes open, since the aim is to learn how to see. The only rule that should be followed throughout is to practice the exercises with great specificity. Each one applies to every situation in which you find yourself and to everything you see in it. Each day's exercises are planned around one central idea, the exercises themselves consisting of applying that idea to as many specifics as possible. Be sure that you do not decide that there are some things you see to which the idea for the day is inapplicable. The aim of the exercises will always be to increase the application of the idea to everything. This will not require effort. Only be sure that you make no exceptions in applying the idea.
Some of the ideas you will find hard to believe, and others will seem quite startling. It does not matter. You are merely asked to apply them to what you see. You are not asked to judge them, nor even to believe them. You are asked only to use them. It is their use which will give them meaning to you, and show you they are true. Remember only this-you need not believe them, you need not accept them, and you need not welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter nor decrease their efficacy. But allow yourself to make no exceptions in applying the ideas the exercises contain. Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than this is required.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 10
My thoughts do not mean anything.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
1 This idea applies to all the thoughts of which you are aware or become aware in the practice periods. The reason the idea is applicable to all of them is that they are not your real thoughts. We have made this distinction before and will again. You have no basis for comparison as yet. When you do, you will have no doubt that what you once believed were your thoughts did not mean anything.
2 This is the second time we have used this kind of idea. The form is only slightly different. This time the idea is introduced with "My thoughts" instead of "These thoughts" and no link is made overtly with the things around you. The emphasis is now on the lack of reality of what you think you think.
3 This aspect of the correction process began with the idea that the thoughts of which you are aware are meaningless, outside rather than within, and then stressed their past rather than their present status. Now we are emphasizing that the presence of these "thoughts" means that you are not thinking. This is merely another way of repeating our earlier statement that your mind is really a blank. To recognize this is to recognize nothingness when you think you see it. As such, it is the prerequisite for vision.
4 Close your eyes for these exercises and introduce them by repeating the idea for today quite slowly to yourself. Then add:
6 The exercises consist, as before, in searching your mind for all the thoughts which are available to you, without selection or judgment. Try to avoid classification of any kind. In fact, if you find it helpful to do so, you might imagine that you are watching an oddly assorted procession going by, which has little if any personal meaning to you. As each one crosses your mind, say:
7 This thought about _____ does not mean anything.
8 Today's idea can obviously serve for any thought that distresses you at any time. In addition, five practice periods are recommended, each involving no more than a minute or so of mind searching. It is not recommended that this time period be extended, and it should be reduced to half a minute or even less if you experience discomfort. Remember, however, to repeat the idea slowly before applying it specifically, and also to add:
9 This idea will help to release me from all
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
My thoughts do not mean anything
Jesus tells us that this is the second time this idea has been used. The first time was in Lesson 4. The only difference is a change from "These thoughts" to "My thoughts do not mean anything." In Lesson 4, we were told, "This is a major exercise, and will be repeated from time to time in different form." (W.4.3.1)
Why would this Lesson be so important? To address that question, we need to look at what is said in the text. If we look at Chapter 21, Introduction, we read "Projection makes perception." (T.21.IN.1.1) (ACIM OE T.21.I.1) This is a significant statement, but what exactly does it mean? To start, we need to see the connection between our thoughts and what we perceive. While we think that our thoughts are real, Jesus tells us that we are not thinking at all. In fact, he says that our minds are actually blank, the reason being we are holding thoughts and ideas in our minds that are not real; they are meaningless thoughts.
We project these meaningless thoughts, and now they show us a meaningless world. Yet we all believe there is a real world outside of our minds. In fact, our senses confirm its reality, but our senses were made precisely to affirm what is not true. All we are seeing and experiencing in the world is our own state of mind. "The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. Though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition." (T.21.IN.1.2) (ACIM OE T.21.I.1) Our thoughts are neither good nor bad thoughts, only meaningless. They are meaningless because they come from a false self that seems to be separate from God. This is important because it is the basis for forgiveness. We are told to forgive others for what they did not do. If the world is not real but only a projection of our thoughts, then nothing is happening except what is in our minds. Therefore, we are not the victim of the world, and we can change how we see it.
We project our meaningless thoughts, and now we see them as images in a world that seems real to us. We think the world acts on us, and we are innocent victims at its mercy, but we learn we have it backward, as it all starts in our minds. Therefore, the world is the effect of our thoughts. Our own minds are the cause. If I believe someone has betrayed me by what they have said or done, I see my own belief that I can be hurt, that I am a body, and there is someone outside my own mind who has the power to hurt me. All these beliefs are false. When given to the Holy Spirit for His interpretation, He reminds us that this seeming attack is a call for love from a brother. Nothing else is happening. It is much like our nighttime dreams where something real seems to be going on, but it is all coming from our minds. We only see the unreality of the dream when we wake up from it. In the same way, this is a world of illusion, and it is not real. It is just our dream. We are holding onto a belief system about the world as being outside our own thoughts, but it is simply a reflection of those thoughts.
What do we do when we are feeling distressed, troubled, or unhappy about a situation in our lives? We try to make changes in the world, don't we? We try to solve the problem by changing something "out there." Yet Jesus reminds us, "Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world." (T.21.IN.1.7) (ACIM OE T.21.I.1) Because we currently hold the belief that the world is separate from our thoughts, we try to work with the effects of our thoughts, but working with effects cannot bring real change. The only change that has meaning is the healing of our misperceptions. We can only do the healing by recognizing that what we are seeing is false. It has no meaning because it comes from a meaningless thought. The cause of everything we see in the world are our own thoughts.
We are asked to look at our thoughts without selection or judgment and remind ourselves that the thought about____ does not mean anything. Our minds are full of thoughts and ideas that don't mean anything. We are to try to look at these thoughts with no personal attachment. What this means is that the "you" who doing the looking is not the same one who is thinking the thoughts. This "you" is the observer of those thoughts. It is awareness, watching the thoughts without any judgment. Eckhart Tolle describes his epiphany, sitting on a park bench, thinking thoughts of despair when he asks himself, "Who is thinking these thoughts?" In this question, there is a realization of another part of the mind that is asking the question. In that moment, he becomes his awareness, leaving the thinking mind and coming to a place of peace and ultimately, having an experience of awakening.
Apply this practice to ". . . all the thoughts of which you are aware, or become aware in the practice periods." (W.10.1.1) Jesus tells us, "The reason the idea is applicable to all of them is that they are not your real thoughts." (W.10.1.2) What are our "real thoughts?" The thoughts that currently occupy our minds do seem like real thoughts, don't they? Yet we are told there is no reality to what we think we think! Jesus says we don't really know our real thoughts. He says that we ". . . have no basis for comparison as yet." (W.10.1.4) And we won't until we have some experience of our real thoughts behind the illusory thoughts we are thinking. When we do have an experience of our real thoughts, he says that we ". . . will have no doubt that what you [we] once believed were your [our] thoughts did not mean anything." (W.10.1.5) What we have the assurance of, however, is that real thoughts are currently in our right minds while illusory thoughts come from our wrong minds. What we call the wrong mind is the part of the mind that has identified itself with the ego thought system of separation. The right mind is where the truth of what we are resides. It is hidden from us by our illusory thoughts. It is where the Holy Spirit waits for us to turn to Him for His reinterpretation of what we are currently thinking. It is wonderful that we have the decision-making power within us to choose what we believe simply by bringing our false thoughts to the truth. This is the experience of the miracle, where our false perceptions are shifted as illustrated in the example of Eckhart Tolle.
Does that mean that we deny what we see in the world as just an illusion? Definitely not, as it is not helpful to deny what we currently believe or we would just be doing a spiritual bypass rather than looking at our thoughts. All we are asked to do is watch the thoughts and be willing to do this exercise by seeing a thought and affirming it does not mean anything.
Currently, I am involved in addressing a difficult situation that seems to have no easy solution. Lawyers are involved and everything seems tenuous. What a tremendous opportunity for me to look at all my obsessive concerns and all my neurotic future projections as I remember "My thought about [this situation] does not mean anything." (W.10.4.3) When I acknowledge that maybe there is another way to see this situation, I am willing to be shown. When I think that I know how to see the situation and what to do, I am using my own past experience to try to solve a problem in form that seems beyond solving. I am not making way for the miracle to come forth. The Holy Spirit will reinterpret any situation when we invite Him in.
Today, search your mind for ". . . all the thoughts that are available to you, without selection or judgment." (W.10.4.4) "You might imagine that you are watching an oddly assorted procession going by, which has little if any personal meaning to you." (W.10.4.6) We are practicing a kind of detachment here. We are simply witnessing our thoughts. "Try to avoid classification of any kind." (W.10.4.5) It matters only that I look at the thoughts and watch them pass by without any judgment. You may wonder who is doing the looking at these odd assortments of thoughts that may include worry, hatred, anger, jealousy, sadness, frustration, discomfort, fantasies, planning, anticipation, strategizing, discomfort, or whatever? My mind may be chewing on a grievance against someone, strategizing how to get even, looking at how to fix a relationship, solve a problem, or plan my day.
When we step back to a place outside this thinking mind, we join with Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, or whatever the symbol of eternal love is for you, and watch the self that is doing the thinking. This thinker is just a character in the dream, but the aware mind behind the dream figure can step out of the dream and become the observer of the character who is thinking that what it believes are meaningful thoughts. It is an important exercise because "This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe." (W.10.4.3) Incredible as that sounds, the basis for what I believe is that I have actually left the truth of who I am and separated from Love! It is my belief that I am now different and separate from you and everyone else and have a special, individual self that I call Sarah.
It is not an easy exercise because our thoughts are so much on automatic pilot that we are not aware of them most of the time. When we try to look at what we are thinking about, it can be difficult for the untrained mind.
If any of these exercises are a strain, we should then reduce the time to less than a minute. Just be aware of any resistance. It will be there! Try not to judge the thoughts that come up. It is helpful to recognize that they are not important, meaningful, good, bad, big, insignificant, beautiful, or tragic. They are nothing. When we categorize them and put judgment on them, we believe that what is actually nothing and means nothing is indeed important. If, for example, I am feeling vengeful or jealous, I judge myself because I think of these as bad thoughts. I then judge myself for not being sufficiently loving or spiritual; or I may judge some of my thoughts as meaningful and important and, based on those judgments, I think of myself as loving or spiritual. What is important is to look at all thoughts without judgment. Behind these thoughts is where the truth lies.
The purpose of this exercise is to recognize how we are blocking our real thoughts. Our meaningless thoughts are what keep us from the peace and joy given us in our inheritance. They block our awareness of the Self we are, perfect and lacking nothing. Yet we cling to our own limited self. We may wonder, as Byron Katie asks us to consider, who would I be without these thoughts? We have used all kinds of words and ideas about ourselves in constructing who we think we are. This self-concept we have constructed and the world we think is real is all that covers over the mystical, which we think we have lost. Yes, we have lost our way, but we can never change who we are as the Christ Self. This journey is about coming to the awareness of this Self. We may be nervous about what it means to know the Self we are, but that is just another meaningless thought.
The power is in us to do our part. No one can do it for us. Even Jesus says that he can't override our decisions. There is no point in praying to him to take away our fear because we are the ones who made it. "You may still complain about fear, but you nevertheless persist in making yourself fearful. I have already indicated that you cannot ask me to release you from fear. I know it does not exist, but you do not. If I intervened between your thoughts and their results, I would be tampering with a basic law of cause and effect, the most fundamental law there is. I would hardly help you if I depreciated the power of your own thinking. This would be in direct opposition to the purpose of this course. It is much more helpful to remind you that you do not guard your thoughts carefully enough. You may feel at this point it would take a miracle to enable you to do this, which is perfectly true. You are not used to miracle-minded thinking, but you can be trained to think that way." (T.2.VII.1.) (ACIM OE T.2.V.93)
Love and blessings, Sarah
A Course in Miracles
Chapter One: Introduction to Miracles
I. Principles of Miracles
71 Miracles arise from a miraculous state of mind. By being one, this state of mind goes out to
anyone, even without the awareness of the miracle worker himself. The impersonal nature of miracles is because the Atonement itself is one, uniting all creations with their Creator.
72 The miracle is an expression of an inner awareness of Christ and the acceptance of His Atonement. The mind is then in a state of grace and naturally becomes gracious both to the host within and the stranger without. By bringing in the stranger, he becomes your brother.
73 A miracle is never lost. It touches many people you do not even know and sometimes produces undreamed of changes in forces of which you are not even aware. That is not your concern. The miracle will always bless
74 The miracles you are
not asked to perform have not lost their value. They are still expressions of your own state of grace, but the
action aspect of the miracle should be Christ-controlled because of His complete awareness of the whole plan. The impersonal nature of miracle-mindedness ensures
your grace, but only Christ is in a position to know where grace can be
75 Miracle-mindedness means miracle-readiness. Readiness means that you should always keep your perceptions straight, so that you will
always be ready, willing, and able. These are the essentials for "listen, learn, and do." You must be
ready to listen,
willing to learn, and
able to do. Only the last is involuntary because it is the
application of miracles which must be Christ-controlled. The other two, which are the
voluntary aspects of miracle-mindedness,
are up to you.
76 Awe is an inappropriate response to miracles.
77 Revelation is literally unspeakable because it is an experience of unspeakable love. Awe should be reserved for revelation, to which it is perfectly and correctly applicable. It is
not appropriate for miracles because a state of awe is worshipful. It implies that one of a lesser order stands before a greater one. This is the case
only when a Soul stands before its Creator. Souls are perfect creations and experience awe only in the Presence of the Creator of perfection.
78 The miracle, on the other hand, is a sign of love among equals. Equals cannot be in awe of one another because awe implies inequality. It is therefore an inappropriate reaction to me. An elder brother is entitled to respect for his greater experience and a reasonable amount of obedience for his greater wisdom. He is also entitled to love because he
is a brother and also to devotion if he is devoted. It is only my devotion that entitles me to yours. There is nothing about me that
you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God. The main difference between us as yet is that I have
nothing else. This leaves me in a state of true holiness, which is only a
potential in you.
79 "No man cometh unto the Father but by me" is among the most misunderstood statements in the Bible. It does
not mean that I am in any way separate or different from you
except in time, which does not really exist at all. Actually, the quotation is more meaningful if it is considered on a vertical rather than a horizontal axis. Regarded along the vertical, man stands below me and I stand below God. In the process of "rising up," I
am higher. This is because, without me, the distance between God and man would be too great for you to encompass.
80 I bridge the distance as an elder brother to man on the one hand and as a Son of God on the other. My devotion to my brothers has placed me in charge of the Sonship, which I can render complete only to the extent to which I can
share it. This may appear to contradict the statement, "I and my Father are one," but there are still separate parts in the statement in recognition that the Father is greater. (The original statement was "are of one kind"). The Holy Spirit is the bringer of revelations. Revelations are
indirectly inspired by me because I am close to the Holy Spirit and alert to the revelation-readiness of my brothers. I can thus
bring down to them more than they can
draw down to themselves.
81 The Holy Spirit is the highest communication medium. Miracles do not involve this type of communication because they are
temporary communication devices. When man returns to his original form of communication with God, the need for miracles is over. The Holy Spirit mediates higher to lower communication, keeping the direct channel from God to man open for revelation. Revelation is not reciprocal. It is always
to man. The miracle
is reciprocal because it involves equality.
82 The miracle is a learning device which lessens the need for time. In the longitudinal or horizontal plane, the recognition of the true equality of all the members of the Sonship appears to involve almost endless time. However, the sudden shift from horizontal to vertical perception which the miracle entails introduces an interval from which the doer and the receiver
both emerge much farther along in time than they would otherwise have been.
83 The miracle thus has the unique property of shortening time by rendering the space of time it occupies unnecessary. There is
no relationship between the time a miracle
takes and the time it
covers. It substitutes for learning that might have taken thousands of years. It does this by the underlying recognition of perfect equality and holiness between the doer and the receiver on which the miracle rests.
84 We said before that the miracle abolishes time. It does this by a process of
collapsing it and thus abolishing certain
intervals within it. It does this, however,
within the larger temporal sequence. It establishes an out-of-pattern time interval which is
not under the usual laws of time. Only in this sense is it timeless. By collapsing time, it literally saves time. Much as daylight saving time does, it rearranges the distribution of light.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
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