A Course in Miracles Chapter 20: The Vision of Holiness

The title for chapter 20 is The Vision of Holiness. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Holy Week, The Gift of Lilies, Sin as an Adjustment, Entering the Ark, Heralds of Eternity, The Temple of the Holy Spirit, The Consistency of Means and End, and The Vision of Sinlessness.

The chapter talks about how we can choose what we want to set our vision on. We can focus on the ego and the fearful illusions it creates in and around us or we can focus our vision on the spirit, the truth it reveals and the love it creates. We are taught in our society to see separation between ourselves and others, which the course refers to as our “brother.” The course teaches that the best way to know yourself is through your brother because we are all interconnected.

  • If I want someone to show me kindness, I need to show kindness to them.
  • I cannot love others until I first love myself so I have love to give others.
  • If I judge others, I am judging myself because they are an extension of me.
  • I set myself free by forgiving and setting others free

The chapter talks about the honesty of love. We say we love others, spouses, friends, God. And yet we hold back and are not completely honest in our relationships with them. We fear being vulnerable in that they could use this against us. We allow our fears of how they could hurt us build walls of protection between us. Therefore, we create unholy relationships. “Love wishes to be known, completely understood and shared. It has no secrets; nothing that it would keep apart and hide. It walks in sunlight, open eyed and calm, in smiling welcome and in sincerity so simple and so obvious it cannot be misunderstood.” We learn how to do this through our relationship with God and are then able to transfer this to our relationships with others. “The meaning of the Son of God lies solely in his relationship with his Creator. And this is wholly loving and forever. One of union and unbroken continuity.” This is one of the reasons this course stresses so much that God is love, not fear. If you fear God as some of us were taught to do, you will never be able to be honest and open with God.

The chapter continues with the theme of illusions created by our fears and how proper vision from the Holy Spirit will help us see through the illusions to the truth within.  Do you like what you have made? A world of murder and attack, through which you thread your timid way through constant dangers, alone and frightened, hoping at most that death will wait a little longer before it overtakes you and you disappear. You made this up. It is a picture of what you think you are; of how you see yourself. Have you not wondered what the world is really like; how it would look through happy eyes?” There is incredible power in the unity of mind to create strife or create peace on earth. The choice is up to us. We can believe the illusions of the ego and manifest a fearful world or we can believe the truth of the Holy Spirit and manifest a loving world.

“Each herald of eternity sings of the end of sin and fear. Each speaks in time of what is far beyond it. Two voices raised together call to the hearts of everyone, to let them beat as one. And in that single heartbeat is the unity of love proclaimed and given welcome. Peace to your holy relationship, which has the power to hold the unity of the Son of God together.”

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 19: The Attainment of Peace

The title for chapter 19 is The Attainment of Peace. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Healing and Faith, Sin versus Error, The Unreality of Sin and the Obstacles to Peace.

There is an interesting contrast between faith and faithlessness. Faithlessness destroys and separates, imposing illusions between us and our creator God. Faith unites and heals, removes all obstacles that rise between us and our creator God, and is dedicated to truth rather than illusions. Faith is the opposite of fear. With faith, we can look at everyone around us and acknowledge our oneness with them rather than see them as the enemy. When we can see Christ in everyone, we are able to offer forgiveness to them, bringing healing to them and ourselves. When we no longer fear those that do not look, act or believe like us, and release our demands and expectations of them, peace can arise within us. “Faith is the gracious acknowledgment of everyone as a Son of your most loving Father, loved by Him like you, and therefore loved by you as yourself. You see the Christ in him, and he is healed because you look on what makes faith forever justified in everyone.”

This chapter makes a distinction between sin and error. Sin calls for punishment, guilt and fear, a concept created by the ego.  Error calls for correction and growth and is rooted in love. When you do something you deem “wrong” and call it sin, you will feel guilt over what you did and will most likely beat yourself up for a while over this. You will feel fear about how God sees you. You will agonize over if you will ever be able to overcome this. You will feel like you should somehow be punished for what you did and find ways to inflict punishment upon yourself. Therefore, you will be unable to feel peace.  However, if you call it error, you will feel no guilt and will be able to quickly forgive yourself and ask God how you can learn and grow from the experience, feeling God’s love for you which will bring you peace.

When we fear death, it is impossible to feel peace. The ego wants us to fear death because anytime we are in a state of fear, we are not feeling love so peace is unattainable.  Death is one of the biggest fears of man. It is based in the concept of sin and guilt, that we will be punished by death in hell if we do repent from our wicked ways. Jesus states in this chapter, “For I became the symbol of your sin, and so I had to die instead of you. To the ego sin means death, and so atonement is achieved through murder. Salvation is looked upon as a way by which the Son of God was killed instead of you. No one can die for anyone, and earth does not atone for sin. The body does appear to be a symbol for sin while you believe that it can get you what you want. What has the body really given you that justifies your strange belief that in it lies salvation? Do you not see that this is the belief in death? Here is the source of the idea that love is fear. When you accepted the Holy Spirits purpose in place of the egos you renounced death, exchanging it for life. Death is the result of the thought we call the ego, as surely as life is the result of the Thought of God. One thing is sure; God, Who created neither sin nor death, wills not that you be bound by them. What would you feel and think if death held no attraction for you? Very simply, you would remember your Father. The Creator of life, the Source of everything that lives, the Father of the universe and of the universe of universes, and of everything that lies even beyond them would you remember.”

When you need peace, stop and ask yourself what you are doing that prevents peace from coming to you. Are you in faith or faithlessness? Have you forgiven self and others? Are you focused on sin rather than error? Are you fearing death and God? Are you living from fear rather than love? “Every obstacle that peace must flow across is surmounted in just the same way; the fear that raised it yields to the love beyond, and so the fear is gone. And now you stand in terror before what you swore never to look upon. Your eyes look down, remembering your promise to your “friends.” The “loveliness” of sin, the delicate appeal of guilt, the “holy” waxen image of death, and the fear of vengeance of the ego you swore in blood not to desert, all rise and bid you not to raise your eyes. It seems to you that they would utterly abandon you if you but raise your eyes. Yet all that will occur is you will leave the world forever. This is the re-establishment of your will. Look upon it, open-eyed, and you will never more believe that you are at the mercy of things beyond you, forces you cannot control, and thoughts that come to you against your will. For what attracts you from beyond the veil is also deep within you, unseparated from it and completely one. You are the center from which peace radiates outward, to call the others in. You are its home; its tranquil dwelling place from which it gently reaches out, but never leaving you.”

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 18: The Passing of the Dream

The title for chapter 18 is The Passing of the Dream. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Substitute Reality, The Basis of the Dream, Light in the Dream, The Little Willingness, The Happy Dream, Beyond the Body, I Need do Nothing, The Little Garden and The Two Worlds.

There is a running theme throughout this book that is difficult for most people to comprehend as it goes in opposition to what we have be taught about the world around us. I will do my best to explain it so you can understand it, but if you struggle to grasp it, that is okay, it took me years to comprehend it and you will receive it when you are ready.

Throughout these blogs I have discussed the conflict between the ego and the Holy Spirit. We are now going to go deeper into this teaching. This world we all live in and see with our physical eyes is just an illusion or a dream state, none of it is real. The real world is the inner spiritual world. When mankind substituted that God was fearful rather than loving, the world of illusion was born. “You who believe that God is fear made but one substitution. It has taken many forms, because it was the substitution of Illusion for truth; of fragmentation for wholeness. That one error, which brought truth to illusion, infinity to time and life to death, was all you ever made. Your whole world rests upon it. Everything you see reflects it, and every special relationship that you have ever made is part of it. You may be surprised to hear how very different is reality from what you see. You do not realize the magnitude of that one error. It was so vast and so completely incredible that from it a world of total unreality had to emerge. The world arose to hide it, and became the screen on which it was projected and drawn between you and the truth.” The ego wants to keep you living in the illusion and the Holy Spirit wants to set you free to live in the truth of God’s love.

Since God created each one of us, his light of truth is within us to guide us out of the illusion into the truth. We are all interconnected so as each one of us begins to emerge from the darkness of illusion, we will all experience more light within us until all of mankind is living in the light of God’s love rather than the darkness of fearful illusions. “The Holy Spirit takes you gently by the hand, and retraces with you your mad journey outside yourself, leading you gently back to the truth and safety within. He brings all your insane projections and the wild substitutions that you have placed outside you to truth. He reverses the course of insanity and restores you to reason.” Depending on your spiritual orientation, this process is referred to as the holy instant, ascension, enlightenment or salvation. All that is required of us is the willingness to acknowledge that we don’t fully understand everything from God’s perspective and to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us. “Your difficulty with the holy instant arises from your fixed conviction that you are not worthy of it. God did not create His dwelling place unworthy of Him. The holy instant is always the result of your small willingness combined with the unlimited power of Gods will. Your part is only to offer Him a little willingness to let Him remove all fear and hatred, and to be forgiven.  You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little, to receive so much. And it is very hard for you to realize it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirits are so extremely disproportionate.”

When our spirit/soul decided to experience life on planet earth, it created a physical body which serves as a fence around our spirit/soul, keeping us separated from others in our own kingdom of self. “Within the kingdom the ego rules, and cruelly. Each body seems to house a separate mind, a disconnected thought, living alone. Within its barricades is still a tiny segment of the Son of God, complete and holy, serene and unaware of what you think surrounds it. The circle of fear lies just below the level the body sees, and seems to be the whole foundation on which the world is based. Here are all the illusions, all the twisted thoughts, all the insane attacks, the fury, the vengeance and the betrayal that were made to keep the guilt in place. Do not accept this little, fenced-off aspect of yourself. The Thought of God surrounds your little kingdom, waiting at the barrier you built to come inside and shine upon the barren ground. The holy instant is your invitation for love to enter into your bleak and joyless kingdom, and to transform it into a garden of peace and welcome.”

Our minds are a form of energy, of consciousness that communicates with all the other minds God created and with all of creation through energetic communication. Telepathy, empath abilities, out of body experiences, near death experiences and astral travel are some examples of this. “Everyone has experienced what he would call a sense of being transported beyond himself. It is a sudden unawareness of the body, and a joining of yourself and something else in which your mind enlarges to encompass it. It becomes part of you and you unite with it. And both become whole as neither is perceived as separate. What really happens is that you have given up the illusion of a limited awareness, and lost your fear of union. You have accepted this instead of the body, and have let yourself be one with something beyond it, simply by not letting your mind be limited by it. This can occur regardless of the physical distance that seems to be between you and what you join; of your respective positions in space; and of your differences in size and seeming quality. Time is not relevant; it can occur with something past, present or anticipated. The something can be anything and anywhere; a sound, a sight, a thought, a memory, and even a general idea without specific reference. Yet in every case, you join it without reservation and so you rush to meet it, letting your limits melt away, suspending all the “laws” your body obeys and gently setting them aside. You are not really “lifted out” of the body; it cannot contain you. You go where you would be, gaining, not losing, a sense of Self. In these instants of release from physical restrictions, you experience much of what happens in the holy instant; the lifting of the barriers of time and space, the sudden experience of peace and joy, and, above all, the lack of awareness of the body.”

“There is nothing outside you. That is what you must ultimately learn, for it is the realization that the Kingdom of Heaven is restored to you. For God created only this, and He did not depart from it nor leave it separate from Himself. The Kingdom of Heaven is the dwelling place of the Son of God, who left not his Father and dwells not apart from Him. Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect Oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else’ nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within.”

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 17: Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

The title for chapter 17 is Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Bringing Fantasy to Truth, The Forgiven World, Shadows of the Past, The Two Pictures, The Healed Relationship, Setting the Goal, The Call for Faith, and The Conditions of Faith.

Oftentimes when we are in “special relationships” we believe we are experiencing love. As we saw in last week’s chapter, ACIM considers this type of love an illusion and not real love. “All sorts of fanciful and fragmented illusions of love, set with dreams of sacrifice and self-aggrandizement.” What we tend to do is justify this love or add to it what we would consider real love. This chapter states that the Holy Spirit wants us to learn how to give up all our illusions about what love is and replace them for the truth of what relational love really is, so we can transform it into a holy relationship. “When you try to bring truth to illusions, you are trying to make illusions real, and keep them by justifying your belief in them. But to give illusions to truth is to enable truth to teach that the illusions are unreal, and thus enable you to escape from them. This is done through faith in the act of forgiveness which literally transforms vision, and lets you see the real world reaching quietly and gently across chaos, removing all illusions that had twisted your perception and fixed it on the past. To forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past, and those that were given you. All the rest must be forgotten.” To transform a relationship is a difficult thing for us humans to do and brings great disruption to the relationship if both members are not in agreement that they want to transform their relationship into a holy relationship. It is a challenge to forgive and release both our past and that of our relational partner. For those that are willing to commit to it, the Holy Spirit has promised to be there to guide you through the process. “If all but loving thoughts have been forgotten, what remains is eternal. And the transformed past is made like the present. No longer does the past conflict with now. That is why Atonement centers on the past, which is the source of separation, and where it must be undone. For separation must be corrected where it was made.

This chapter also address problem solving. When we have a problem, the ego works to distract and confuse us so we cannot figure out how to resolve the issue. “The ego seeks to resolve its problems, not at their source, but where they were not made. And thus, it seeks to guarantee there will be no solution. The Holy Spirit wants only to make His resolutions complete and perfect, and so He seeks and finds the source of problems where it is, and there undoes it.” When you have a problem, ask the Holy Spirit to help you locate the root cause of the problem for this, when found, is what brings the solution to the problem.  When making decisions it suggests that you begin with the end in mind. “In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is “What do I want to come of this? What is it for?” The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning for it is this which will determine the outcome. The absence of a criterion for outcome, set in advance, makes understanding doubtful and evaluation impossible.”

“It is still up to you to choose to join with truth or with illusion. The spark of beauty or the veil of ugliness, the real world or the world of guilt and fear, truth or illusion, freedom or slavery – it is all the same. For you can never choose except between God and the ego. Only the Thoughts of God are true.”

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 16: The Forgiveness of Illusions

The title for chapter 16 is The Forgiveness of Illusions. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Empathy, The Power of Holiness, The Reward of Teaching, The Illusion of the Reality of Love, The Choice for Completion, The Bridge to the Real World, and The End of Illusions.

Throughout this book, there are two types of relationships that are contrasted against each other. The Holy Relationship and The Special Relationship. The basic difference as I have been able to understand it is that a holy relationship is a relationship with another person that is based in love rather than fear and is the type of relationship we are to pursue. The special relationship is what most of us have where we tend to use people to fill a perceived need in us and the relationship is based more on fear, but we live with the illusion that this is love. This chapter defines an illusion as a “belief in what is not there.”

ACIM teaches that on the earth, love is perceived as separation and exclusion. We are born with this ache in our heart to be reconnected with our creator God. However, most of us do not identify it as this and think if we can just find the right person to have a relationship with, they will be able to fill this ache and it will go away and we can feel happy and whole as a person. We are afraid to pursue an intimate relationship with God because we have been taught to fear God so we look to humans to fulfil this need in us. But what usually happens is we “sacrifice” or give away a part of who we are to gain love and acceptance by another. We separate from our true self. We deny our true power. We often give to get something from the other person. We live in fear that the other person will reject us in some way. We exclude relationships with other people believing that this one “special” relationship will satisfy us. We use this special relationship to re-enact the past. “Imagined slights, remembered pain, past disappointments, perceived injustices and deprivations all enter into the special relationship, which becomes a way in which you seek to restore your wounded self-esteem. What basis would you have for choosing a special partner without the past? Every such choice is made because of something “evil” in the past to which you cling, and for which must someone else atone.”

In the holy relationship love is “wholly without illusion, and therefore wholly without fear.” You become whole and complete as you connect to God. “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Love increases within the relationship and extends out to bless others. You allow each other to become your true authentic selves and do not feel jealous or threatened by this. You understand that the past is gone, there is no reason to re-enact it with another person, your relationship is based in the present moment. Thus, one of the keys for having a holy relationship is the ability to completely forgive another person.

“Seek and find His message in the holy instant, where all illusions are forgiven. From there the miracle extends to bless everyone and to resolve all problems, be they perceived as great or small, possible or impossible. To join in close relationship with Him is to accept relationships as real, and through their reality to give over all illusions for the reality of your relationship with God. The truth lies there and nowhere else.”  ACIM

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 15: The Holy Instant

The title for chapter 15 is The Holy Instant. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Two Uses of Time, The End of Doubt, Littleness versus Magnitude, Practicing the Holy Instant, The Holy Instant and Special Relationships, The Holy Instant and the Laws of God, The Needless Sacrifice, The Only Real Relationship, The Holy Instant and the Attraction of God, The Time of Rebirth, and Christmas as the End of Sacrifice.

The holy instant is an interesting concept that sounds great on paper but I have found difficult for myself to consistently live by. The holy instant is that moment in time when you are living in the present, no fear from the past and no fear of the future because you realize that the past and present do not exist, every moment is a now moment. “Each instant is a clean, untarnished birth, in which the Son of God emerges from the past into the present. And the present extends forever. It is so beautiful and so clean and free of guilt that nothing but happiness is there. No darkness is remembered, and immortality and joy are now.” (whenever this book uses the term “Son of God” it is referring to us, all the people God created).

The chapter then goes on to describe what relationships look like when they are built on this idea of the holy instant. Our minds are open to both give and receive and realize that we are all part of the collective mind of humanity communicating together. There are no private thoughts, much like the telepathic communication of heaven where everyone can easily read the thoughts and emotions of those around them. At first this sounds like a scary concept; my thoughts are not always kind and loving! And I fear the judgement or rejection of people toward my thoughts and feelings. ACIM teaches: “For in private thoughts, known only to yourself, you think you find a way to keep what you would have alone, and share what you would share. And then you wonder why it is that you are not in full communication with those around you, and with God who surrounds all of you together. Every thought you would keep hidden shuts communication off. The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep.” When we love ourselves and each other in the present moment, we can accept both the good and the perceived bad parts of ourselves and others, rather than responding toward them with judgment. This is what communication is supposed to be like.

We are taught that sacrifice is a form of love. We all long for love but we fear what we have to “give up or sacrifice” in order to receive love.

  • That we are to sacrifice our needs and desires for our spouses and children so their needs and desires can get met instead.
  • That I lack something so I need you to fill this perceived lack in me but I fear you will not be able to do this so I hold something back so if you choose to reject me, I still have a part of me to hold on to.
  • That God so loved the world that he sacrificed his son.

This type of thinking that we have been conditioned to believe and live by is based in scarcity and fear and comes from the ego. ACIM teaches how absurd this idea that sacrifice is love really is. “Christ comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind, of anyone, is asked by Him. In His Presence, the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. You who believe that sacrifice is love must learn that sacrifice is separation from love. What is not love is always fear, and nothing else. Sacrifice is so essential to your thought system that salvation apart from sacrifice means nothing to you. Your confusion of sacrifice and love is so profound that you cannot conceive of love without sacrifice. And it is this that you must look upon: sacrifice is attack, not love. If you would accept but this one idea, your fear of love would vanish. For if there is sacrifice, someone must pay and someone must get.” We fail to understand that we have the presence of God living within us and everything we need is here, waiting for us to acknowledge and manifest. We don’t need to use other people to get a perceived need within us met. “You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you. And so, you seek without for what you cannot find within.”

In the holy instant, the condition of love is met, for minds are joined in love rather than fear, In God rather than ego, in the present rather than in the past or future.

We are now half way through this book and I want to thank all of you who have shared with me how much these blogs have challenged, encouraged and helped you.

A Course in Miracles Chapter 14: The Teaching for Truth

The title for chapter 14 is The Teaching for Truth. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Conditions of Learning, The Happy Learner, The Decision for Guiltlessness, Your Function in the Atonement, The Circle of Atonement, The Light of Communication, Sharing Perception with the Holy Spirit, The Holy Meeting Place, The Reflection of Holiness, The Equality of Miracles, and The Test of Truth.

This chapter will challenge you on what truth is. I had always believed that truth was what the Bible taught, or more accurately, what man interpreted the Bible as teaching. When I first read ACIM, this chapter opened my eyes and challenged me to rethink what I had been taught and I wrote about this in my book, God is Love.  What I learned was that anything based in fear, is not truth because God is love. Therefore, there can be no fear attached to any truth connected to God as all of God’s truth is based in his nature of love.

To understand truth, you first need to admit you know nothing and be willing to relinquish everything you have been taught and start over. “You must give everything you have learned to the Holy Spirit, to be unlearned for you.  Those who remember always that they know nothing, and who have become willing to learn everything, will learn it.  For whenever they trust themselves, they will not learn. They have destroyed their motivation for learning by thinking they already know.” This is difficult for many people to do because you have to admit that some of what you have been taught to believe is wrong, which means some people are not going to be happy with you questioning everything they continue to believe in. This chapter states that we are all born knowing the truth within us but this truth gets buried in darkness as we live out our lives. In our attempt to make sense of it all we seek out the ego driven knowledge of man rather than the wisdom of God. “The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth. Truth is. It can neither be lost nor sought nor found. It is there, wherever you are, being within you. Yet it can be recognized or unrecognized, real or false to you. If you hid it, it becomes unreal to you because you hid it and surrounded it with fear. Under each cornerstone of fear on which you have erected your insane system of belief, the truth lies hidden.”

The first thing to learn in understanding truth is having a correct perception of your relationship with your creator God. That as God’s children you are already holy, forgiven and loved. These truths were implanted in you at birth but got buried by false beliefs and life experiences telling you that you were guilty, worthless, unlovable, a sinner, hopeless, powerless and inferior. There is only one sin and that is the sin of ignorance, forgetting who you are and whose you are. All the other “sins” stem from this one. The Atonement process corrects this. “Atonement does not teach you what you are, or what your Father is. The Holy Spirit, who remembers this for you, merely teaches you how to remove the blocks that stand between you and what you are now. The Atonement does not make holy. You were created holy. It merely brings unholiness to holiness; or what you made to what you are. Bringing illusion to truth, or the ego to God, the Holy Spirits only function. Decide that God is right and you are wrong about yourself. He created you out of Himself, but still within Him. He knows what you are. There cannot, therefore, be anyone without His Holiness, nor anyone unworthy of His perfect Love.”

“The journey we undertake together is the exchange of dark for light, of ignorance for understanding. There is no darkness that the light of love will not dispel, unless it is concealed from loves beneficence. Truth does not struggle against ignorance and love does not attack fear. What needs no protection does not defend itself.” I found this to be a powerful statement. Truth never needs any defense. And yet in the Christian faith which we are taught is the “Truth” we are taught how to defend Christianity against all the other religions and atheists in the world. How to convince everyone that we have truth and they do not. Using fear to bring people to our perceived truth.

May we have the courage to live by the truth revealed in the wisdom and love of God
rather than the truth revealed by the ego based knowledge of man
and the discernment to know the difference.

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 13: The Guiltless World

The title for chapter 13 is The Guiltless World. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Guiltlessness and Invulnerability, The Guiltless Son of God, The Fear of Redemption, The Function of Time, The Two Emotions, Finding the Present, Attainment of the Real World, From Perception to Knowledge, The Cloud of Guilt, Release from Guilt, and The Peace of Heaven.

Guilt is a word many people associate with God/Christians/Church. We were raised to believe that when we do something wrong we should feel guilty and if we don’t, well we obviously do not understand the seriousness of our sin. This chapter looks at guilt from a heavenly viewpoint, that from God’s perspective, none of us should feel guilty because the past does not exist, therefore, we have done nothing wrong. God does not see our sin, God always sees us as the perfect creation he created us as.

We have been conditioned to understand life on earth as having a past, present and future orientation. However, from an eternal standpoint, the only time is Now. Which means you have no past to feel guilty about. Let’s say for example that in the present moment of Now I choose to say something really mean about someone. Right after I say it, that moment in time is gone, and a new Now moment has appeared. Therefore, there is no reason to feel guilty for what I said because that moment in time no longer exists. However, I would want to take the time to learn from the experience, how my words affected the other person so I make a better choice in the Now. “To be born again is to let the past go, and look without condemnation upon the present. Past, present and future are not continuous, unless you force continuity on them.” The ego wants to keep you locked into the past so you can never be free to enjoy living in the Now moment. “The ego invests heavily in the past and in the end, believes that the past is the only aspect of time that is meaningful. Its emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future like the past, and thus avoiding the present. Now has no meaning to the ego. The ego cannot tolerate release from the past and tries to present its image as if it were the present which is why you react strongly to triggers from your past. The past has no hold on you unless you allow it to. Healing cannot be accomplished in the past. It must be accomplished in the present to release the future.”

When we feel guilty we don’t like how this feeling feels so we either justify that there was nothing wrong with what we did or we project our guilt onto others, blaming them for what happened. We go into an attack mode on self or others. This chapter teaches that the cure for guilt is not to look outward, but to look inward and see the light of God shining within you and understand that there can be no guilt where the love of God resides. “Love and guilt cannot coexist and to accept one is to deny the other. Without guilt the ego has no life, and Gods son is without guilt.” When you have done something wrong, rather than feel guilt which condemns you and makes you feel worse, take responsibility for what you did, learn from the experience, forgive and love yourself. Nothing positive comes from hanging onto guilt feelings. “Lay before his eternal sanity all your hurt, and let him heal you. Look through the cloud of guilt that dims your vision, and look past darkness to the holy place where you will see the light.  Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from his light, and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover. For he will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you, and cleanse it of its littleness, restoring it to the magnitude of God.”

When someone hurts you in some way, do not say or do things to instill guilt in them. Set them free from guilt in the same way God set you free from guilt.  “If you remember the past as you look upon your brother, you will be unable to perceive the reality that is Now. You consider it natural to use your past experience as the reference point from which to judge the present. When you have learned to look on everyone with no reference at all to the past, either his or yours as you perceived it, you will be able to learn from what you see now. Your brother’s errors are all past, and by perceiving him without them you are releasing him.”

I find this a difficult chapter to implement in real life. Living in the Now moment sounds great on paper but implementing it in real life is a daily challenge. And not using the past as a reference point to judge the future initially sounds like a bad idea. My mind wants to say “but you don’t know what they did to me! Why should I just release it all and trust them? Are we not supposed to judge a persons character and actions based on what they have done in the past?” Looks like I have more work to do with my ego.

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 12: The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

The title for chapter 12 is The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Judgment of the Holy Spirit, The Way to Remember God, The Investment in Reality, Seeking and Finding, The Sane Curriculum, the Vision of Christ, Looking Within, and The Attraction of Love for Love.

I like the way this chapter interprets fear. It defines fear as “an appeal for help, a call for love in unconscious recognition of what has been denied. Fear is a symptom of your own deep sense of loss.” We all innately know that we were created to receive and give love. However, the ego is afraid of love as it understands when love is fully known, the ego will cease to exist. Fear and love are the two root emotions and you cannot feel both simultaneously, so one or the other is always going to dominate. When you deny or minimize your fears, they will continue to hold you under their control. It is only when you are willing to face your fears and allow them to rise to the surface that the Holy Spirit can come in and dispel them. “If you raise what fear conceals to clear-cut unequivocal predominance, fear becomes meaningless. You have denied its power to conceal love, which was its only purpose. The Holy Spirits interpretation of fear does dispel it, for the awareness of truth cannot be denied. Thus, does the Holy Spirit replace fear with love and translate error into truth. The Holy Spirit cannot shine away what you keep hidden, for you have not offered it to Him and He cannot take it from you. Learn how to offer the Holy Spirit everything you do not want.”

One of the concepts that this book discusses is the inner and outer world. This can be difficult to comprehend the first few times you hear it as it is in opposition to what we are taught and what our physical senses tell us. The ego perceives the world as outside of ourselves. This book states that everything we see outside is a reflection of what is happening inside of us, that we do not want to own, and so we project it outward onto the world around us. We feel anger but believe it is not okay to feel or show this anger so we will do and say things to cause the people around us to feel anger instead of us. Because we believe we are not lovable, we will do and say things to push people away from us and then turn around and complain about how lonely we are. We complain about the world around us; wars, prejudice, discrimination, violence without realizing that all of this is being created by us energetically projecting outward the parts of us we do not want to own. It is only when we are willing to go inward and accept all of us, the bad and the good without judgment, for we are all a combination of both, that we will begin to take responsibility for our actions and feel peace, love and acceptance for who we are. We will then start projecting this out into the world around us and the outer world will become a more peaceful, accepting, loving place to live. We create the reality we live in based on the thoughts, beliefs, feelings of our inner world being energetically projected out into the world around us. “He does not realize that he makes this world, for there is no world outside of him. Everything you perceive as the outside world is merely your attempt to maintain your ego identification. You have projected outward what is antagonistic of what is inward. 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.”