MANUAL FOR TEACHERS
#4. WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD'S TEACHERS?
* Open-mindedness 24 How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone. No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. It paves the way for what goes far beyond all learning. The curriculum makes no effort to exceed its legitimate goal. Forgiveness is its single aim at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
~ Original Hand Script
A miracle is a correction. It
does not create, nor really change at all.
It merely looks on devastation, and
reminds the mind that what it sees is false.
It undoes error, but does not attempt
to go beyond perception, nor exceed
the function of forgiveness. Thus it stays
within time's limits. Yet it paves the way
for the return of timelessness and love's
awakening, for fear must slip away
under the gentle remedy it gives.
A miracle contains the gift of grace,
for it is given and received as one.
And thus it illustrates the law of truth
the world does not obey, because it fails
entirely to understand its ways.
A miracle inverts perception, which
was upside-down before, and thus it ends
the strange distortions that were manifest.
Now is perception open to the truth.
Now is forgiveness fully justified.
Forgiveness is the home of miracles.
The eyes of Christ delivers them to all
they look upon in mercy and in love.
Perception stands corrected in His sight,
and what was meant to curse has come to bless.
Each lily of forgiveness offers all
the world the silent miracle of love.
And each is laid before the Word of God
upon the universal altar to
Creator and creation, in the Light
of perfect purity and endless peace.
The miracle is taken first on faith,
because to ask for it implies the mind
has been made ready to conceive of what
it cannot see and does not understand.
Yet faith will bring its witnesses, to show
that what it rested on is really there.
And thus the miracle will justify your faith
in it, and show it rested on a world
more real than what you saw before;
a world redeemed from what you thought you saw.
Miracles fall like drops of healing rain
from Heaven on a dry and dusty world,
where starved and thirsty creatures came to die.
Now have they water. Now the world is green.
And everywhere the signs of life spring up,
to show that what is born can never die,
for what has life has immortality.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 341
I can attack but my own sinlessness,
And it is only that which keeps me safe.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
Father, Your Son is holy. I am he
on whom You smile in love and tenderness
so deep and dear and still, the universe
smiles back on You, and shares Your holiness.
How pure, how safe, how sacred, then, are we,
abiding in Your smile, with all Your love
bestowed upon us, living one with You,
in brotherhood and Fatherhood complete;
in sinlessness so perfect that the Lord
of Sinlessness conceives us as His Son,
a universe of Thought completing Him.
Let us not, then, attack our sinlessness.
For it contains the Word of God to us,
and in its kind reflection we are saved.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM February 1, 1971
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I can attack but my own sinlessness,
And it is only that which keeps me safe
Notice how there are so few words now and each Lesson starts with a prayer. It is a time of deep reflection, contemplation, reverence, quiet, and communion with God. It is the stillness before the birth. It is a time to experience gratitude that we are not alone and that we have a Guide to help us out of our nightmares and to the truth.
We start these next several Lessons by looking at, "What is a Miracle?" (W.PII.Q13) Basically, it is like forgiveness in that it is simply a correction. What it corrects are our wrong-minded perceptions based on our belief in sin and guilt. From this belief come all the thoughts we hold that block our happiness, peace, and joy. They come from our judgments. The miracle does nothing. "It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.1.3) That is all that is necessary---to recognize that what we are seeing is false, our interpretations are wrong, and our judgments mean nothing. The truth is that we are innocent and there is nothing but love or the call for love. We do not have to do anything to become innocent because that is what we are.
The miracle helps us to recognize that the world we see is a reflection of our internal dream of guilt; and when that is seen and released, we come to the happy dream. It is still a dream because it is still in time, but now we see with true perception through our right minds. The miracle shifts our perception from the wrong mind to the right mind and now we perceive everything differently. The miracle corrects the thought system of the ego, which is based on our belief in sin, guilt, and fear.
When I react to anyone with anger, judgment, and condemnation, it is because I saw something "out there," I gave it meaning, and it triggered a reaction in me. What we see starts with self-judgment. We push out of awareness what we have condemned about ourselves. Now we project that quality onto others. What we have done is split off our own anger and hatred from our awareness, and now we see it in others. When we are willing to take full responsibility for the anger and hatred, we can see it all starts in our own minds. Now, instead of trying to justify our anger, attacks, and defenses, we recognize the way we are seeing is wrong. We can now, with willingness, choose to release our misperceptions to the Holy Spirit. We can choose to see love or a call for love from our brothers instead of attack. When we are willing to make this choice, we experience healing of our self-judgments. It is a Correction. It is acceptance of the Atonement for ourselves. The error of our thinking has been undone, which is the function of the miracle.
The ego will never undo itself meaning we must not try to fix ourselves or change ourselves. We need help from the Holy Spirit. We need help to step outside the dream so we can look upon the devastation of the world and recognize that what we are seeing is not the truth. When we look at the movie of our lives from above the battleground, we recognize that we are the dreamer of this dream and not the character in the dream. Each time we are willing to look gently at our thoughts and take responsibility for them as ours, rather than putting responsibility for them outside of our own minds, we can see there is always another way of seeing. Thus, the miracle ". . . paves the way for the return of timelessness and love's awakening, for fear must slip away under the gentle remedy it brings." (W.PII.Q13.1.6)
Each miracle we experience builds a strong chain of healed perception until we no longer need time. Time was only made for the purpose of healing. Until we realize this, we waste our time in distractions, pursuing idols that do not bring peace and happiness but only bring more pain and suffering.
"A miracle contains the gift of grace, for it is given and received as one."
(W.PII.Q13.2.1) In letting go of my false perception of my brother, I receive the same gift for myself. We are one. "And thus it illustrates the law of truth the world does not obey, because it fails entirely to understand its ways." (W.PII.Q13.2.2) The law of truth is that the Source of everything is God's Love, whereas our thinking is reversed. We think the source is outside our minds. We see ourselves as the effect of events outside us that we believe cause us to feel as we do. Our experience is that problems and issues seem to be coming at us from the world. Thus, we have come to believe the world determines our reactions. In other words, we have reversed cause and effect.
In every situation, we either choose the ego or the Holy Spirit as our guide to perception and which one we choose will determine how we see everything that seems to happen to us. No wonder Jesus says that when we start on this path, everything is turned upside down. "A miracle inverts perception which was upside down before, and thus it ends the strange distortions that were manifest." (W.PII.Q13.2.3) With this shift, everything is given a different interpretation. It can seem quite disorienting for a time. The mind becomes confused and nothing is as it was before. All that has happened is that the mind has been made ready for the truth because there has been a recognition that we have been wrong about everything. "Now is perception open to the truth." (W.PII.Q13.2.4)
Forgiveness is what makes miracles possible. What was made to curse can now become a blessing because it serves a different purpose. I find that watching movies where there is a tendency to judge characters as right and wrong, good and bad, is helpful in mind-watching. Recently I watched the movie, Fair Game, which illustrated this very well. It was a movie based on real events surrounding the Iraqi war. Watching this movie from above the battleground with Holy Spirit helped me to look at the characters from a different perspective.
"The miracle is taken first on faith, because to ask for it implies the mind has been made ready to conceive of what it cannot see and does not understand."
(W.PII.Q13.4.1) Jesus makes it clear that it all starts with faith, where we are willing to look at the possibility that what he is telling us is true and how we perceive it is false. Our minds are so conditioned to believe in the reality of the world and that we are victims of events outside of ourselves, that we can't possibly understand the power of this reversal until we experience it. We still don't understand the possibilities he holds out to us. By helping us to see where our wrong-minded thought system has taken us and how the ego has set it all up, we can choose against it. And as we do, our perception is shifted.
The most important thing for us to recognize is that our happiness need not rest on anything outside our own minds. It does not matter what the external circumstances are. The foundation on which we stand is now firmer ground because we no longer see ourselves entirely as the dream figures in the drama of our lives. We are learning to bring every perceived problem back into the mind where the power is. This is the only way real change can come about. Do we want a day of miracles, trust, joy, holy encounters, deep and abiding peace, silence, acceptance, and love? If so, such a day is available when our minds are changed through the power of the miracle. "Yet faith will bring its witnesses to show that what it rested on is really there. And thus the miracle will justify your faith in it, and show it rested on a world more real than what you saw before; a world redeemed from what you thought was there." (W.PII.Q13.4.2-3)
"Miracles fall like drops of healing rain from Heaven on a dry and dusty world, where starved and thirsty creatures come to die. Now they have water. Now the world is green. And everywhere the signs of life spring up, to show that what is born can never die, for what has life has immortality."
(W.PII.Q13.5.1-4) Jesus is talking to us about this world. This is a world of death rather than immortal life. It will all end, but we do not. Yes, the body will go, but our reality is not a body. Miracles take us back to where we never left. We come to the realization that we are the Christ.
The prayer in this Lesson reminds us of who we are outside this dream. "You are wholly lovely. A perfect shaft of pure light. Before your loveliness the stars stand transfixed, and bow to the power of your will." (URTEXT.1B.30w) "What your Father wills of you can never change. The truth in you remains as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as love itself."(T.31.VI.7.3-4) (ACIM OE T.31.VI.67)
Jesus invites us to let go of our unconscious guilt that results in self-hatred. With it comes a feeling that we have done something wrong and in fact, that we are wrong in who we are. This is expressed in self-attack, whereby we bring punishment into our lives and feel very vulnerable and insecure. When we are willing to bring all our blocks to the feet of Truth, we can become a spotless mirror of God's Love. Now the world reflects back to us what is in our minds. This reminds me of the Peace Pilgrim, who knew that wherever she went, she was safe. She no longer identified with her body and expected to be safe and supported in every situation. Her innocence drew to her a reflection of that innocence in everyone.
God promises us our redemption, and we thank Him for that. His promise is certain because we are already redeemed. The truth is in us. We are no longer stuck in the world of illusion. We have a way out and a Guide to help us on every step of the way. There is no reason to be discouraged. Time is being used for its intended purpose. I know I am on the wrong track when I am impatient, worried, judgmental, or angry at someone. Instead of condemning myself, I ultimately come to see there is a lesson here that God would have me learn. The lesson is to forgive so I can see the situation differently. When I am willing to see how wrong I am and step back and let Him show me another way of seeing, I recognize this situation was perfect for the undoing of my wrong perception. It was there to show me how I feel when I judge and how freeing it is to let it all go. The miracle shows me that truth can always look on devastation and see there is nothing that is real about it, and for that, I am grateful.
Love and blessings, Sarah
#4. What Are the Characteristics of God's Teachers? [continued]
18 The term generosity has special meaning to the teacher of God. It is not the usual meaning of the word; in fact, it is a meaning that must be learned and learned very carefully. Like all the other attributes of God's teachers, this one rests ultimately on trust, for without trust, no one can be generous in the true sense. To the world, generosity means "giving away" in the sense of "giving up." To the teachers of God, it means "giving away" in order to keep. This has been emphasized throughout the text and the workbook, but it is perhaps more alien to the thinking of the world than many other ideas in our curriculum. Its greater strangeness lies merely in the obviousness of its reversal of the world's thinking. In the clearest way possible and at the simplest of levels, the word means the exact opposite to the teachers of God and to the world.
19 The teacher of God is generous out of self-interest. This does not refer, however, to the self the world speaks of. The teacher of God does not want anything he cannot give away because he realizes it would be valueless to him by definition. What would he want it for? He could only lose because of it. He could not gain. Therefore he does not seek what only he could keep because that is a guarantee of loss. He does not want to suffer. Why should he ensure himself pain? But he does want to keep for himself all things that are of God and therefore for His Son. These are the things that belong to him. These he can give away in true generosity, protecting them forever for himself.
20 Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety. Patience is natural to the teacher of God. All he sees is certain outcome, at a time perhaps unknown as yet but not in doubt. The time will be as right as is the answer. And this is true for everything that happens now or in the future. The past as well held no mistakes---nothing that did not serve to benefit the world as well as him to whom it seemed to happen. Perhaps it was not understood at the time. Even so, the teacher of God is willing to reconsider all his past decisions if they are causing pain to anyone. Patience is natural to those who trust. Sure of the ultimate interpretation of all things in time, no outcome already seen or yet to come can cause them fear.
21The extent of the teacher of God's faithfulness is the measure of his advancement in the curriculum. Does he still select some aspects of his life to bring to his learning while keeping others apart? If so, his advancement is limited and his trust not yet firmly established. Faithfulness is the teacher of God's trust in the Word of God to set all things right---not some but all. Generally, his faithfulness begins by resting on just some problems, remaining carefully limited for a time. To give up all problems to one Answer is to reverse the thinking of the world entirely. And that alone is faithfulness. Nothing but that really deserves the name. Yet each degree, however small, is worth achieving. Readiness, as the text notes, is not mastery.
22True faithfulness, however, does not deviate. Being consistent, it is wholly honest. Being unswerving, it is full of trust. Being based on fearlessness, it is gentle. Being certain it is joyous, and being confident, it is tolerant. Defenselessness attends it naturally, and joy is its condition. Faithfulness, then, combines in itself the other attributes of God's teachers. It implies acceptance of the Word of God and His definition of His Son. It is to them that faithfulness in the true sense is always directed. Toward them it looks, seeking until it finds. And having found, it rests in quiet certainty on that alone to which all faithfulness is due.
23 The centrality of open-mindedness, perhaps the last of the attributes the teacher of God acquires, is easily understood when its relation to forgiveness is recognized. Open-mindedness comes with lack of judgment. As judgment shuts the mind against God's Teacher, so open-mindedness invites Him to come in. As condemnation judges the Son of God as evil, so open-mindedness permits him to be judged by the Voice for God on His behalf. As the projection of guilt upon him would send him to hell, so open-mindedness lets Christ's image be projected on him. Only the open-minded can be at peace, for they alone see reason for it.
24 How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone. No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. It paves the way for what goes far beyond all learning. The curriculum makes no effort to exceed its legitimate goal. Forgiveness is its single aim at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough.
You may have noticed that the list of attributes of God's teachers does not include those things which are the Son of God's inheritance. Terms like love, sinlessness, perfection, knowledge and eternal truth do not appear in this context. They would be most inappropriate here. What God has given is so far beyond our curriculum that learning but disappears in its presence. Yet while its presence is obscured, the focus properly belongs on the curriculum. It is the function of God's teachers to bring true learning to the world. Properly speaking it is unlearning that they bring, for that is "true learning" in the world. It is given to the teachers of God to bring the glad tidings of complete forgiveness to the world. Blessed indeed are they, for they are the bringers of salvation.
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