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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 11 "GOD'S PLAN FOR SALVATION"
IV. THE INVESTMENT IN REALITY
I once asked if you were willing to sell all you have and give to the poor and follow me. This is what I meant: If you had no investment in anything in this world, you could teach the poor where their treasure
. The poor are merely those who have invested wrongly, and they are poor indeed! Because they are in need, it is given you to help them since
are among them. Consider how perfectly your lesson would be learned if you were unwilling to
their poverty. For poverty is lack, and there is but
lack since there is but
L e s s o n 125
In quiet I receive God's Word today.
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
In quiet I receive God's Word today.
God's word is in us because the truth is our inheritance as the Son of God. It is the Atonement Principle, the guarantee given by God that we have never separated from Him, nor have we changed ourselves because we can't. His light is in our minds. It is the one Self, the only true Self always there in the mind and awaiting in silence our acknowledgement. "The memory of God comes to the quiet mind." (T.23.I.1.1)(ACIM OE T.23.II.7) There is nowhere to go and nothing to do. We are there now in our true state, but we are not aware this is so until we actively choose to release what stands in the way. In this place of silence and peace, we connect to the Truth of our one Self.
Our petty thoughts, our judgments, our plans, our constant inner chatter, and our personal desires, all keep us from awareness of the love we are. Notice the incessant thoughts of the wrong mind, which are often described in the Course as senseless shrieks, frantic, riotous thoughts, raucous screams and senseless ravings. The constant noise-making of our obsessive thoughts keeps us from the experience of the Self we are. We are so used to this relentless noise in our minds that we may not even notice it any more. Jesus calls on us to start noticing our thoughts and be vigilant in looking at them, as much as we can, so we can recognize how the ego keeps us from peace. It does so, not because it has any power, but only that we give it power over us. We can withdraw our power whenever we choose not to listen to its demands and requirements of us.
God's Love is everything we are. There is no separation between who we really are and God. We are the expression of this Love. "His Love is everything you are and that He is; the same as you, and you the same as He." (W.125.7.4) There is no separation. We don't have to go anywhere to reach God. We just have to accept ourselves as to who we are as the Christ Self. Our free will is the same will as God's, although our experience is that we have made another will. He has never distanced Himself from us. In fact, "He speaks from nearer than your heart to you. His Voice is closer than your hand." (W.125.7.2-3) God is truly not watching us from a distance, as in the song by Bette Midler. We are not trying to reach Him somewhere from afar. He is our very center, our heart center. When we don't experience Him, it is because we have made a choice for the ego, and now we identify with a separate will and believe it is what we are. We experience ourselves as a body and a special, separate self living in the world. In truth, there is no body. The body is a projection of the mind. It is an image made by the mind, a figure in this dream and not who we are. Jesus reminds us, the body only exists in the past and future and never in the present. So when we experience the eternal moment of the holy instant, we have the experience of no body.
The thoughts occupying our minds distract us from the truth. These thoughts keep us from hearing God's Word. They are our petty thoughts, personal desires, and our judgment of His Word based on our fear. The fear is that if we give our lives over to Him, He will not have our best interests in mind. Our fear is that we will have to sacrifice our self-interests if we let go of our own will. This is the fear of the god we made, which is the god of the ego. It is a god we think will demand that we sacrifice our joys and our pleasures. Think about what fears come up if you invite God to come into your life fully. What do you think might happen if you give over your relationship, your money, your career, your health, your material possessions, and your special interests for God to take over all these aspects of your life? You might take some time to write down all the things you worry might happen. It is not the God of love that brings these fears to mind. It is the god of the ego that we are afraid to wake up to.
This exercise gives us a glimpse of the fear in our minds that we may not be aware of. This fear keeps us defended against His love. It is our fear of God and our belief He as abandoned us. We believe His love will annihilate us, but the reality is that nothing can happen against our will. Jesus describes us as the commander of our own journey. He tells us, "You have a Guide to how to develop them (your abilities), but you have no commander except yourself. This leaves you in charge of the Kingdom, with both a Guide to find it and a means to keep it. You have a model to follow (Jesus) who will strengthen your command, and never detract from it in any way. You therefore retain the central place in your imagined enslavement, which in itself demonstrates that you are not enslaved." (T.6.IV.9.4-7)(ACIM OE T.6.V.53) The goal of this Course is peace, and we will be well served when we focus on the goal and recognize our happiness is at the heart of the peace always available to us. Our desire for peace and devotion for God will determine how much we trust surrendering our lives to Him.
We are not led back to the truth by force, but by love. He is a loving Father who does not control, but leads us with His gentle love and counts on us to follow of our own free will. There is no control and no coercion. The essence of love is gentle and allowing. Our true will is ". . . forever free as God's," (W.125.2.2) but when we identify with the ego thought system, our will is bound. Though we may have wandered off and forgotten who we are, our Father has never disowned us, but regards us as His beloved Son. He has not changed His mind about us. Our fear is that we are not good enough, not spiritual enough, and too caught up in our worldly desires to know ourselves as love.
We may have wandered off, yet He is still there. He knows us and is not waiting for us to clean up our act before He reveals Himself to us. "He has not hid Himself from you, while you have wandered off a little while from Him." (W.125.5.2) His presence is with us now. There is nothing we need to do. We are the ones who have wandered off. In this moment, we can choose not to believe our ego thoughts, see them as totally unreal, and remember the only thing real is His love for us. "He does not cherish the illusions which you hold about yourself." (W.125.5.3) Thus, these beliefs we have of who we are, what we have done, and how we see ourselves and others, are not the truth because only love is real. Everything we experience in this world of pain, disillusionment, suffering, and distress is not real. Everything we believe is our hallucination! "All power is of God. What is not of Him has no power to do anything." (T.11.V.3.6-7)(ACIM OE T.10.42)
I felt overwhelmed with problems recently and felt extremely distressed and out of peace. Then I heard the loving presence of the Holy Spirit in my mind remind me that God does not bring this suffering. It came to my mind and must be my own choosing if I am not feeling happy. It is a powerful thought because, if I am choosing it, I can change my mind, and with this change of mind, the perception I was holding shifts. This is what the miracle is. "How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now, and never will be. The impossible has not occurred and can have no effects." (T.31.I.1.1-3)(ACIM OE T.31.I.1)
We are asked not to ". . . judge ourselves today, for what we are cannot be judged." (W.125.3.2) We are also asked not to let the world determine what we are. "We stand apart from all the judgments which the world has laid upon the Son of God." (W.125.3.3) We have been deceived in thinking we are the concepts and beliefs we hold about ourselves that have been reinforced by the world, but all we need to do is deny the false beliefs and recognize ". . . what is false cannot be true . . . " (T.31.I.1.7)(ACIM OE T.31.I.1) What holds the false in place is our beliefs about ourselves, none of which are true. Anything not of God is not true. He is constantly communicating His love to us, and we are listening to our own thoughts instead! "His Voice awaits your silence, for His Word cannot be heard until you mind is quiet for a while, and meaningless desires have been stilled." (W.125.6.2)
Jesus asks us to let this day be one of stillness and quiet listening. "We gather at the throne of God today, the quiet place within the mind where He abides forever, in that holiness that He created and will never leave." (W.125.4.3) What beautiful assurance of His place in our minds. He lives in our minds and waits for our willingness to choose the truth. We don't do this by good works or good deeds, but by bringing our false beliefs to the truth. That is what forgiveness is.
We are learning through application of the Lessons to clear our minds and enter into this silence. Clearly, this is difficult for the untrained mind because the ego mind is still a regular distraction. The important thing is for us to notice our reactions without feeling guilty or making ourselves wrong. Yes, it does take lots of practice and our minds will continue to wander, but putting more pressure and demands on ourselves will not help. Simply bring your mind back to peace with each Lesson. Also, allow any related thoughts to help you to focus your attention on the teaching.
We can also ask, in our meditation, for help in releasing our interfering thoughts, so we can hear God's Voice and assure our minds He is one with us, closer than our very breath. It is not about trying harder, but by allowing, surrendering, and melting into the experience. There is no separation. It is our own voice. "His Love is everything you are and that He is; the same as you, and you the same as He." (W.125.7.4) There is no ". . . division in the single Mind of Father and of Son." (W.125.8.3) We are basically listening to our Self. It is not an alien will. It is our own true Will, one with God's Will. Ours is the freedom to choose whether we will continue to listen to the ego or to choose love, which is to choose to forgive our thoughts and make room for the Love already in us.
Love and blessings, Sarah
IV. The Investment in Reality
24 I once asked if you were willing to sell all you have and give to the poor and follow me. This is what I meant: If you had no investment in anything in this world, you could teach the poor where their treasure
is. The poor are merely those who have invested wrongly, and they are poor indeed! Because they are in need, it is given you to help them since
you are among them. Consider how perfectly your lesson would be learned if you were unwilling to
share their poverty. For poverty is lack, and there is but
one lack since there is but
25 Suppose a brother insists on having you do something you think you do not want to do. The very fact of his insistence should tell you that he believes salvation lies in it. If you insist on refusing and experience a quick response of opposition, you are believing that
your salvation lies in
not doing it. You, then, are making the same mistake that he is and are making his error real to
both of you. Insistence means investment, and what you invest in is
always related to your notion of salvation. The question is always two-fold-first,
what is to be saved, and second,
how can it be saved?
26 Whenever you become angry with a brother, for
whatever reason, you are believing that the
ego is to be saved and to be saved by
he attacks, you are agreeing with this belief, and if
you attack, you are reinforcing it.
Remember that those who attack are poor. Their poverty asks for gifts,
not for further impoverishment. You who could help them are surely acting destructively if you accept their poverty as
yours. If you had not invested as
they had, it would never occur to you to overlook their need.
what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something "outrageous," do it
because it does not matter. Refuse and your opposition establishes that it
does matter to you. It is only
you, therefore, who have made the request outrageous, for nothing can
be asked of you, and every request of a brother is for
you. Why would you insist in
denying him? For to do so is to deny yourself and impoverish both.
He is asking for salvation, as
you are. Poverty is of the ego and
never of God. No "outrageous" request can be made of one who recognizes what is valuable and wants to accept nothing else.
28 Salvation is for the mind, and it is attained through peace. This is the
only thing that can be saved and the
only way to save it. Any response
other than love arises from a confusion about the "what" and the "how" of salvation, and this is the
only answer. Never lose sight of this, and never allow yourself to believe even for an instant that there
is another answer. For you will surely place yourself among the poor, who do not understand that they dwell in abundance and that salvation is come.
29 To identify with the ego is to attack yourself and
make yourself poor. That is why everyone who identifies with the ego feels deprived. What he
experiences then is depression or anger, but what he
did is to exchange his self-love for self-hate, making him
afraid of himself. He does
not realize this. Even if he is fully aware of anxiety, he does not perceive its source as his own
ego identification, and he
always tries to handle it by making some sort of insane "arrangement" with the world. He always perceives this world as
outside himself, for this is crucial to his adjustment. He does not realize that he
makes this world, for there
is no world outside of him.
30 If only the loving thoughts of God's Son are the world's reality, the real world
must be in his mind. His insane thoughts, too, must be in his mind, but an internal conflict of this magnitude he cannot tolerate. A split mind
is endangered, and the recognition that it encompasses completely opposed thoughts within itself
is intolerable. Therefore the mind projects the split,
not the reality. Everything you perceive as the outside world is merely your attempt to maintain your ego identification, for everyone believes that identification is salvation. Yet consider what has happened, for thoughts
do have consequences to the thinker.
31 You are
at odds with the world as you perceive it because you think
it is antagonistic to
you. This is a necessary consequence of what you have done. You have projected outward what
is antagonistic to what is inward, and therefore you would
have to perceive it this way. That is why you must realize that your hatred is
in your mind and
not outside it before you can get rid of it and why you must get rid of it
before you can perceive the world as it really is.
32 We once said that God so loved the world that He gave it to His only-begotten Son. God
does love the real world, and those who perceive
its reality cannot
see the world of death. For death is
not of the real world, in which everything is eternal. God gave you the real world in exchange for the one you made out of your split mind, and which
is the symbol of death. For if you could
really separate yourselves from the Mind of God, you
would die, and the world you perceive
is a world of separation.
33 You were willing to accept even death to deny your Father. Yet He would not have it so, and so it is
not so. You still could not will against Him, and that is why you have no control over the world you made. It is not a world of will because it is governed by the desire to be unlike Him, and this desire is
not will. The world you made is therefore totally chaotic, governed by arbitrary and senseless "laws," and without meaning of
any kind. For it was made out of what you do
not want, projected from your mind because you were afraid of it.
34 Yet this world is
only in the mind of its maker along with his
real salvation. Do not believe it is outside of yourself, for only by recognizing
where it is will you gain control over it. For you
do have control over your mind since the mind is the mechanism of decision. If you will recognize that
all attack which you perceive is in your own mind
and nowhere else, you will at last have placed its source, and where it began it must end. For in this same place also lies salvation. The altar of God where Christ abideth is there.
35 You have defiled the altar but
not the world. Yet Christ has placed the Atonement on the altar
for you. Bring your perceptions of the world to this altar, for it is the altar to truth. There you will see your vision changed, and there you will learn to see truly. From this place, where God and His Son dwell in peace and where you are welcome, you will look out in peace and behold the world truly. Yet to find the place, you must relinquish your investment in the world as
you have projected it, allowing the Holy Spirit to project the real world to you from the altar of God.
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