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CH 21 "THE INNER PICTURE"
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
VI. REASON AND PERCEPTION
49 Perception selects and makes the world you see. It literally picks it out as the mind directs. The laws of size and shape and brightness would hold, perhaps, if other things were equal. They are not equal. For what you look for you are far more likely to discover than what you would prefer to overlook. The still small Voice for God is not drowned out by all the ego's raucous screams and senseless ravings to those who want to hear it. Perception is a choice and not a fact. But on this choice depends far more than you may realize as yet. For on the voice you choose to hear and on the sights you choose to see, depends entirely your whole belief in what you are. Perception is a witness but to this and never to reality. Yet it can show you the conditions in which awareness of reality is possible or those where it could never be.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
WHAT IS SALVATION
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
Salvation is a promise, made by God,
that you would find your way to Him at last.
It cannot but be kept. It guarantees
that time will have an end, and all the thoughts
that have been born in time will end as well.
God's Word is given every mind that thinks
that it has separate thoughts, and will replace
these thoughts of conflict with the Thought of peace.
The Thought of peace was given to God's Son
the instant that his mind had thought of war.
There was no need for such a Thought before,
for peace was given without opposite,
and merely was. But when the mind is split,
there is a need of healing. So the Thought
Which has the power to heal the split became
a part of every fragment of the mind
which still was one, but failed to recognize
its oneness. Now it did not know itself,
and thought its own identity was lost.
Salvation is undoing in the sense
that it does nothing, failing to support
the world of dreams and malice. Thus it lets
illusions go. By not supporting them,
it merely lets them quietly go down
to dust. And what they hid is now revealed;
an altar to the holy Name of God,
whereon His Word is written, with the gifts
of your forgiveness laid before It, and
the memory of God not far behind.
Let us come daily to this holy place,
and spend a while together. Here we share
our final dream. It is a dream in which
there is no sorrow, for it holds a hint
of all the glory given us by God.
The grass is pushing through the soil, the trees
are budding now, and birds have come to live
within their branches. Earth is being born
again in new perception. Night has gone,
and we have come together in the light.
From here we give salvation to the world,
for it is here salvation was received.
The song of our rejoicing is the call
to all the world that freedom is returned,
that time is almost over, and God's Son
has but an instant more to wait until
his Father is remembered, dreams are done,
eternity has shined away the world,
and only Heaven now exists at all.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM October 1, 1970
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 236
I rule my mind, which I alone must rule.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
I have a kingdom I must rule. At times,
it does not seem I am its king at all.
It seems to triumph over me, and tell
me what to think, and what to do and feel.
And yet it has been given me to serve
whatever purpose I perceive in it.
My mind can only serve. Today I give
its service to the Holy Spirit, to
employ as He sees fit. I thus direct
my mind, which I alone can rule. And thus
I set it free, to do the Will of God
Father, my mind is open to Your Thoughts,
and closed today to every thought but Yours.
I rule my mind, and offer it to You.
Accept my gift, for it is Yours to me.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I rule my mind, which I alone must rule.
With separation came the decision to identify with the wrong mind and with it the false self. This is the mind ruled by the ego. Now, "It seems to triumph over me, and tell me what to think, and what to do and feel." (W.236.1.3) The kingdom of the ego is one based on sin, guilt, and fear which constitute linear time. This means that we think we sinned in the past, feel guilty in the present, and fear the future. The thoughts that reflect this unholy trinity of sin, guilt, and fear are so intolerable to us that the ego has devised a plan for us to project them out. How we know we are projecting is that we have a reaction to what we perceive, and we see the cause of our distress outside of our own mind. It is the reversal of cause and effect. We have forgotten that cause is always in the mind and not anything in the world. Thoughts do not leave our minds, and as long as we are in the service of the ego, we are tortured by our thoughts that seemingly rule us.
Now it seems the ego triumphs over us. We feel at the mercy of our body or of other bodies that affect our state of happiness. We feel victimized by situations and circumstances that seem to be coming from outside our own minds. Yet Jesus is saying that we are not at the mercy of these thoughts. We can serve whatever purpose we choose. We are the rulers of our kingdom. In other words, we can put our minds in the service of the Holy Spirit, rather than the ego thought system. We are the decision makers, and we are the ones who decide for God or the ego. "I thus direct my mind, which I alone can rule." (W.236.1.7)
How do we rule our minds? We do it by taking responsibility for our projections. We make space for the Holy Spirit to come through the right mind when we bring our thoughts and feelings to His healing light. We accept the Atonement for ourselves by accepting His Love as the only truth. We step aside from our own wishes, fantasies, fears, desires, and judgments and surrender to the One that knows our true will. Now our minds are open to His Thoughts. We deny the power of our own thoughts to rule over us. What can bring us pain or sorrow except for our own belief in our unworthiness?
In the passage, "The Little Garden," (ACIM OE "The Purpose of the Body") Jesus talks of how cruelly the ego rules within its kingdom, which is a part of our minds dominated by the ego. The ego-dominated mind sees its kingdom as the body. "It draws a circle, infinitely small, around a very little segment of Heaven, splintered from the whole, proclaiming that within it is your kingdom, where God can enter not." (T.18.VIII.2.6) (ACIM OE T.18.IX.72)
"Within this kingdom the ego rules, and cruelly. And to defend this little speck of dust it bids you fight against the universe. This fragment of your mind is such a tiny part of it that, could you but appreciate the whole, you would see instantly that it is like the smallest sunbeam to the sun, or like the faintest ripple on the surface of the ocean. In its amazing arrogance, this tiny sunbeam has decided it is the sun; this almost imperceptible ripple hails itself as the ocean. Think how alone and frightened is this little thought, this infinitesimal illusion, holding itself apart against the universe."
(T.18.VIII.3.1-5) (ACIM OE T.18.IX.73)
What we are doing is keeping out of our awareness the vast unknown-the Call in our minds to remember who we are. When we join, we experience the holiness of our One Self. We recognize that we are not these little ripples on the ocean, but, in fact, we are the ocean itself---One with all there is. We recognize our Oneness with all of our brothers. This is where our peace, joy, and freedom reside. We have a choice. We do not have to be at the mercy of our baser instincts, drives, hormones, emotional patterns, and habits that seem to rise up and tell us what to think and feel and do. We fight against certain urges and addictions, doing things against our own better judgment. These things may seem to plague our lives, as we try to overcome these urges and addictions with willpower, yet our own will is mostly powerless against them. It is our fight with fear. We cannot heal ourselves without Help from outside of this matrix. When we give it over to the Holy Spirit, healing happens on its own. None of what we experience as having power over us has any real effects. "Who could be made fearful by a power that can have no real effects at all?" (T.30.IV.5.7) (ACIM OE T.30.V.53) We are called to deny the power of the ego over us. It is not our enemy. We just need not give it any power. It cannot be sustained if we do not invest belief in it.
The only power is the power of love. The ego will never undo itself. We will never change ourselves without help from outside of this seemingly closed system of the ego. The only real change comes from bringing our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and concepts to the Holy Spirit. Through forgiveness, our true power is felt. This is the kingdom that is always available to us. There is nothing else to choose, as it is the only reality. To choose anything else is to choose nothing. The power of decision is the only true power we have. We are not limited by the body and our experiences in this world. Our reality is boundless. "The body is a tiny fence around a little part of a glorious and complete idea." (T.18.VIII.2.5) (ACIM OE T.18.IX.72)
Jesus is telling us in this Lesson that the decision-making mind is in charge. The purpose being served is whatever we decide. Either our purpose is to continue to be rooted in the body and the world, or our purpose is to wake up. We are not at the mercy of the drives that seem to rule us with such persistence. We can choose the Will of God instead of our own will. We are not the victims of our bodies or the world. We are under no laws but God's. We have heard the Call, and love has entered at our weak request.
As we watch our thoughts and turn them over to the Holy Spirit, we loosen the bricks of this wall of protection that we have built around the part of the mind ruled by the ego. Our own decision-making mind chose the ego, and now we can make a choice for the Holy Spirit. Thus, we are still in charge and can give up the belief that we are at the mercy of the body and the world.
Everything is about purpose. If we decide to awaken from this dream, everything in the dream can serve that purpose. If we choose to serve our interests and bodily needs as defined by the ego, everything serves the purpose of keeping us rooted in the world of illusion. Today, we are asked to put our minds in the service of the Holy Spirit, and when we do, everything we have made to serve the ego can be used for our awakening.
Jesus tells us, "You have a Guide to how to develop them [your abilities], but you have no commander except yourself." (T.6.IV.9.4) (ACIM OE T.6.V.53) The Holy Spirit can only guide. We are the ones who must choose. We are the ruler---the king. No one has power over us but ourselves. A guide merely invites, leaving us to choose whether to follow or not. In this Course, God is described as a loving Father of infinite tenderness and patience. He has no power over us. This is where the Course is not in line with traditional religious thinking. It is up to us to freely choose to accept what is being offered us through guidance. God's power is Love. His Love only affirms one thing---we cannot change the truth of who we are as God's Son. We have been created with all of our Father's attributes. Thus, the only thing that we cannot change is the truth about ourselves, which is that we are holy, innocent, pure, and perfect in our creation. Thank goodness for this restriction placed on us through the Atonement Principle.
The place where no one can enter, not even God, is the secret, untouchable place we rule with our thoughts. It is protected by our judgments. All of our self-concepts, beliefs, and values are formed here. In our work with the Course, we are urged to bring these judgments forward to awareness and raise them to doubt. "If you raise what fear conceals to clear-cut unequivocal predominance, fear becomes meaningless." (T.12.I.9.9) (ACIM OE T.11.III.12) We are releasing our need to be right in this process and thus raising to doubt the ego mind that thinks it knows everything. In other words, we are willing to give up the "I know" mind.
Our part in the process of releasing the ego is simply to look at what we have denied. We have denied the truth about ourselves, but it is given to us when we truly want it. "And do I want to see what I denied because it is the truth?"(T.21.VII.5.14) (ACIM OE T.21.VIII.75)Jesus calls this the last unanswered question because we are still afraid of God's Love. We are not yet ready to make a total commitment to the truth. Yet since there is only this one decision to be made, it can be made anytime. Everything leads us to this place of readiness.
The ego tells us, if we look at the truth, we will be destroyed. The ego wants to maintain the separation. The road to Heaven, to the happy dream, will not circumvent the darkness of our personal hell, since we cannot heal what we hide from ourselves. Our minds can be very deceptive. Today, let us take the hand of our beloved friend and elder brother, look at the judgments, and be willing to question them. Our bodies and the world have no effect on us. They have no power to take away our peace, nor to destroy the love in our minds. By ruling my mind, which I alone can rule, I come to know the love I am as my only reality.
Today, we direct our minds in a holy direction and give them to the Holy Spirit to use. I choose today which voice I shall follow. I decide today which teacher my mind serves. I need not be ruled by the ego, and its identification with the body, to tell me what to feel. It is up to me what purpose I give to everything in my day. When the choice is for the ego, we cannot know the love, joy, and peace that are our natural inheritance. In fact, in our confusion, we are constantly reaching out for pleasure, yet ultimately getting pain. Today, we take charge and consciously acknowledge our power to choose. Let us not pretend that we are powerless. Today, we choose to open our minds to His Thoughts and close them to every thought but His.
Chapter Twenty One
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
The Inner Picture
VI. Reason and Perception
49 Perception selects and makes the world you see. It literally picks it out as the mind directs. The laws of size and shape and brightness would hold, perhaps, if other things were equal. They are
not equal. For what you look for you are far more likely to discover than what you would prefer to overlook. The still small Voice for God is not drowned out by all the ego's raucous screams and senseless ravings to those who
want to hear it. Perception is a
choice and not a fact. But on this choice depends far more than you may realize as yet. For on the voice you choose to hear and on the sights you choose to see, depends entirely your whole belief in what you
are. Perception is a witness but to this and
never to reality. Yet it can show you the conditions in which awareness of reality is possible or those where it could never be.
50 Reality needs no cooperation from you to be itself. But your awareness of it needs your help because it is your choice. Listen to what the ego says and see what it directs you see, and it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable, and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality. You will believe that you are helpless prey to forces far beyond your own control and far more powerful than you. And you will think the world you made directs your destiny. For this will be your
faith. But never believe because it is your faith it makes reality.
51 There is another vision and another Voice in which your freedom lies awaiting but your choice. And if you place your faith in them, you will perceive another Self in you. This other Self sees miracles as natural. They are as simple and natural to It as breathing to the body. They are the obvious response to calls for help, the only one It makes. Miracles seem unnatural to the ego because it does not understand how separate minds can influence each other. Nor
could they do so. But minds cannot
be separate. This other Self is perfectly aware of this. And thus It recognizes that miracles do not affect another's mind, only Its own. [They always change
your mind.] There
is no other.
52 You do not realize the whole extent to which the idea of separation has interfered with reason. Reason lies in the other Self you have cut off from your awareness. And nothing you have allowed to stay in it is capable of reason. How can the segment of the mind devoid of reason understand what reason is or grasp the information it would give? All sorts of questions may arise in it, but if the basic question stems from reason, it will not ask it. Like all that stems from reason, the basic question is obvious, simple, and remains unasked. But think not reason could not answer it.
53 God's plan for your salvation could not have been established without your will and your consent. It must have been accepted by the Son of God, for what God wills for him he
must receive. For God wills not apart from him, nor does the Will of God wait upon time to be accomplished. Therefore, what joined the Will of God must be in you
now, being eternal. You must have set aside a place in which the Holy Spirit can abide and where He
is. He must have been there since the need for Him arose and was fulfilled in the same instant. Such would your reason tell you if you listened. Yet such is clearly not the ego's "reasoning." Its alien nature to the ego is proof you will not find the answer there. Yet if it must be so, it must exist. And if it exists for you and has your freedom as the purpose given it, you must be free to
54 God's plan is simple-never circular and never self-defeating. He has no Thoughts except the Self-
extending, and in this your will must be included. Thus, there must be a part of you that knows His Will and shares it. It is not meaningful to ask if what must be is so. But it
is meaningful to ask why you are
unaware of what is so, for this must have an answer if the plan of God for your salvation is complete. And it must
be complete because its Source knows not of incompletion. Where would the answer be but in the Source? And where are
you but there, where this same answer is? Your Identity, as much a true effect of this same Source as is the answer, must therefore be together and the same.
55 Oh yes, you know this and more than this alone. Yet any part of knowledge threatens dissociation as much as all of it. And all of it
will come with any part. Here is the part you can accept. What reason points to you can see because the witnesses on its behalf are clear. Only the totally insane can disregard them, and you have gone past this. Reason is a means which serves the Holy Spirit's purpose in its own right. It is not reinterpreted and redirected from the goal of sin as are the others. For reason is beyond the ego's range of means.
56 Faith and perception and belief can be misplaced and serve the great deceiver's needs as well as truth. But reason has no place at all in madness, nor can it be adjusted to fit its end. Faith and belief are strong in madness, guiding perception toward what the mind has valued. But reason enters not at all in this. For the perception would fall away at once if reason were applied. There
is no reason in insanity, for it depends entirely on reason's absence. The ego never uses it because it does not realize that it exists. The partially insane have access to it, and only they have need of it. Knowledge does not depend on it, and madness keeps it out.
57 The part of mind where reason lies was dedicated by your will in union with your Father's to the undoing of insanity. Here was the Holy Spirit's purpose accepted and accomplished both at once. Reason is alien to insanity, and those who use it have gained a means which
cannot be applied to sin. Knowledge is far beyond attainment of any kind. But reason can serve to open doors you closed against it.
58 You have come very close to this. Faith and belief have shifted, and you have asked the question which the ego will
never ask. Does not your reason tell you now the question must have come from something that you do not know but must belong to you? Faith and belief, upheld by reason, cannot fail to lead to changed perception. And in this change is room made way for vision. Vision extends beyond itself, as does the purpose which it serves and all the means for its accomplishment.
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