Mighty Companions Ministries

Rev. Glen's MIRACLES chapter 3

Chapter 3

I Atonement without Sacrifice

“The crucifixion did not establish the Atonement; the resurrection did.”

The Author links this idea to the concept of scarcity. Do we believe that doing the right thing/trusting our oneness and connection will hurt us? This is the way in which the Author draws a distinct ion between how Christianity is taught and the message of ACIM. They are not the same thing. A good and perfect man was sent here to be killed because of something you did? The Author assures us that this is not true.

“The best defense, as always, is not to attack another’s positions, but rather to protect the truth.” If the message of the crucifixion is sacrifice then God persecuted his only son. How could this be true? Projection.

Some milder forms of this idea:
Paying your dues
God is a score-keeper
Punishment can teach

“The statement ‘Vengeance is mine saith the Lord’ is a misperception by which one assigns his own ‘evil’ past to God. The ‘evil’ past has nothing to do with God. He did not create it and He does not maintain it. God does not believe in retribution.” And I would say ‘Vengeance is mine.’ is about discovering that nothing else sacrifices like being in the present moment, in the presence of God. It will become more and more uncomfortable to live in the past and the future if the mind training of ACIM continues.

And anther often quoted line: “Frightened people can be vicious.” Who doesn’t know this? Why do we want others to fear us? Why do we fantasize about ‘getting even’? or ‘put the fear of God’ onto someone? The Author calls this activity of seeking to place fear n others as terrorizing and is an attack.

“A pure mind knows the truth and this is its strength. It does not confuse destruction with innocence because it associates innocence with strength, not weakness.” This looks pretty and its also very true. Our egos will tell us that this is a recipe for disaster. We associate innocence with naivete, or worse-stupidity and immaturity and lack of experience. We even say someone was innocent to underline victim-hood. None of this is true and speaks more to the dynamics of short lived power.

II Miracles as True Perception

“Innocence is not a partial attribute. It is not real UNTIL it is total. The partly innocent are apt to be quite foolish at times. It is not until their innocence becomes a viewpoint with universal application that it becomes wisdom. Innocent or true perception means that you never see what does exist and always see what does.” What an amazing promise! True perception is in the perspective of innocence. Do we want to know what is happening our world? Ouir minds? We must come from a place of innocence. Our goal must be the truth. The Author even tells us that when we look through the eyes of innocence we become wise. Isn’t this the way to peace? Do we look upon the perfection of innocence everywhere we go?

“The mind can only miscreate when it believes it is not free.” If you believe your free then you know you are innocent and are int eh miracle. Our miscreations are wrong action and errors projection on the world and others. Join with your right mind and there we find our will joined with God’s. The Author tells us that in this joining counsciously is Heaven experienced. We see innocense only when we believe we are. This is true so it fosters correct perception.

“The way to correct distortions is to withdrawal your faith in them and invest only in what is true. You cannot make truth untrue.” Where do we have faith? In our littleness, lack and hurt? Do we have faith in the flaws of others? This is the root of our personal and societal prejudices and preferences. It is the root of why our opinions do not matter. Have faith-act on- what we know is true is where the Author tells us we will find dolace. Seeing others as they are, correctly as innocnt is where we offer healing. It is where we are miracle workers.

III Perception versus Knowledge

From perception come knowledge and from knowledge comes power. (I call this formula wisdom. We are seeing correctly. We know what to do and say and this is a very rare power.) Perception is temporary because it requires space and time i.e. something to look at or feel.

“All your difficulties stem from the fact that you do not recognize yourself, your brothers or God.” Could this be any clearer? This is one of the core principles  of ACIM. If we knew who we are we could trust ourselves, our world and others much better. Our kindness to ourselves and others reflects our knowledge of this concept.

“Questioning illusions is the first step to undoing them.” (psychotherapy anyone?) This is excellent advice when we’re upset. Would you rather be right or happy? What is happening? Is this true? Do I believe this? Who needs this? Who benefits?
Questioning Mind = Seeks an answer in the future
Closed Mind = Future & Present are the same (contains fear that future is worse)
Isn’t that what we’re trying to do all the time? Either we’re looking for answers or we’re trying to stop something from happening or make something happen.

“When you love someone you have perceived him as his is and this makes it possible for you to know him.” So love this. We get this backward a lot. Love comes first. We love our children before we know them. We marry people we have only known a few years. Our nature is to love others….SOOOOO we can know them.

“To perceive the truth is not the same as to know it.” We  recognize it? Not enough. When we act on it we have the knowledge and certainty. Then we receive the solace and power promised earlier. We recognize it when we have correct perception which the Author tells us is necessary for God to communicate directly to us. (And who doesn’t love it when that happens?)

“If you attack error in another you will hurt yourself…It is because you have made him a stranger that you are afraid of him.” Can we see the roots of gossip and petty violence here? We know that in order to gossip we have to be critical ourselves and to live in a world of strangers is permission for unconscious violence.

IV Error and the Ego

“The abilities you now posses are only shadows of your real strength.” Great Stuff!! Sounds like we’re all super heroes, right? That would be the shadow, the Author’s speaking of. Ever notice that Superheros have Super-villains that thwart their every move? It’s always a game of knowledge/information too! Looking through the eyes love we would see them as same-they look separate, but are two halves. Love/Spirit sees no levels, sees no villains or heroes.

The Author tells us that the mind is a receiver, not a creator. Buddhism calls our thoughts the 6th sense without irony or any supernatural connotations. “Consciousnesses is the domain of the ego.” (very Eastern idea, here, if we understand that ego is replaced with ‘self’) “The ego is a wrong-minded attempt to perceive you self as you wish to be rather than as you are.”  The Author brins in our questioning mind and our opinions and shows how we cannot/do not accept our selves, the world., this moment as it is. We argue with it all the time. All without knowledge of the Truth. The ego asks the questions but it cannot perceive the answers, nor does it grow or evolve spiritually; it can learn fact and remember. Te ego thinks its all there is (and it claims to be you all the time) and that it’s its own creation. This is a fearful idea. Our ego cannot make this the truth, however. So we choose to heal. This is the switch to right mindedness; we are what I call ‘on the other side’ of our egos. Never again do we believe its claim to be me.

“The mind returns to its proper function when it will to know. This places it in the service of Spirit.” The idea is to fall in love with the Truth. Do we want to know Reality or only comfort and influence? Do we seek what the Course call Real and what cannot be threatened? Or do we seek illusion which the Buddhist call ‘passing joy’? Illusions are neutral, they are all the same, because they do not last. We suffer when we believe these illusions that fade aware ARE US. The Author tells us that we first experience this idea as an attack. Our ego declares: “I am too real!” The Author asks us to let Spirit guide our thoughts and actions. And has a wonderful paraphrase of Bible quote: “‘Many are called but few are chosen’ should be ‘All are called but few choose to listen’.” SNAP!

V Beyond Perception

The awakened one brings knowledge.

To Make: Come from lack. Involves the concept of separation
To Create: expansion/increase. Expression of Atonement

“Inventiveness is wasted effort even in its most ingenious forms. The highly specific nature of invention is not worthy of the abstract creativity of God’s creations.” Examples would include cell phones-talking long dissonances. Every technology or accomplishment is still a reflection of what is contained by in us. God creates perfect communication, we make T.V.

“The fundamental question you continually ask yourself cannot properly be direct at yourself. You keep asking what it is you are…you have no image to perceived.” Then how do we know? Who finds out? Remember the ego asks but cannot know. Our ego is looking for images and concepts. That’s not who we are.

“Knowing is not open to interpretation.” Can you be talked out of knowing what you know? Our confusion and the confusion of others is that we sometimes doubt what we know because it doesn’t look like its ‘working’. We have discovered our divided goals discussed earlier. “Creation is your source and your only real function.” Are we expanding knowledge, truth, peace or confusion? God created man as an extension of Itself.We make things more….or less. Things that are made are not stable, they do not have a permanent existence. What is created has eternal existence. We are concerned with the quality of our relationships because we actually do know that ‘expanding’ love, this creative function, is the only function we truly desire.

“What happens to perceptions if there are no judgments and nothing but perfect equality? Perception becomes impossible. Truth can only be know.” This is the goal of perception. If we are seeing the truth, what is there to change? This is also highest Brahma Vihara (Dwelling place of God) taught by the Buddha. Equanamity. It is said that this quality of perfect equality of perception will arise after the knowing of kindness, compassion and joy with others. To perceive ourselves correctly is the quickest way to knowledge, the knowledge of God/Yourself/Oneness of Existence. WE perceive ourselves as separate.

“Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation. Correct perception of your brother is necessary because mind have chosen to see themselves as separate.” Doesn’t this sound familiar? Its a paraphrasing of the idea of “love your neighbor as yourself” Everyone has this healing tool for all the world.

“As long as perception lasts prayer has a place.” As in…Show me me the Truth, Holy Spirit! We move in and out of this state of communication where prayer is not necessary. There are times we know God and times we doubt.

And then the Author gives us a few beautiful sentences of encouragement. “How beautiful indeed are the Thoughts of God who live in HIs Light! Your worth is beyond perception because it is beyond doubt. Do not percieve yourslef in different lights. Know yourslef in One Light where the miracle that is you is perfectly clear.” I think the Author is being very clever here, even funny.

VI Judgment and he Authority Problem

“When the Bible says ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.’ means that if you judge the realty of others you will be unable to avoid judging your own.” (Notice the phrase ‘reality of others’.) “The choice to judge rather than to know is the cause of the loss of peace.” This is a central tenet in all spiritual paths. This is because “Judgement always involves rejection.” When we judge we take apart. These pieces are kept in our mind, separated. This internal chopping up of Reality by our judgment leads us to believe that we can choose pieces of Reality without the whole. Reality doesn’t exclude anything but it sees only Truth. The Author tells us there is peace when we don’t judge our brothers/fellow beings. All meaning is lost when we judge. And then makes a declaration. “All uncertainty comes from the belief that you are under that coercion of judgment. You do not need judgment to organize your life and you certainly do not need it to organize yourself.” The Author is teaching the ‘process that enables recognition to replace perception’. We could also say enables the recognition of truth that replaces our opinions and our cultural biases.

The process is full of fear for us because it involves acceptance.  “Nothing you have refused to accept can be brought into awareness.” Which is why we practice looking inside and are honest about our thoughts. This work brings up fear, but is not dangerous. We can look upon our inner lives and attitudes and not deny our feelings, tough though it can be. This is the role of your fellow beings that are here for your healing. With our perception we place outside of us our thoughts and attitudes we have rejected by our judgments. Driving this idea home: “You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearing yourself. The strain of constant judgment is virtually intolerable.” This is an excellent definition of stress, don’t you thnk? Stress is caused y trying to ‘author reality’. Control is the answer to our judgment. This judment causeds a lot of suffering. When we judge harshly we are setting up our own critics, right? Controlling others is a request to be controlled, don’t you think? Can we look at these ideas in our mind and admit we have these thoughts……to let them go? Do we ant to control the world or experince Reality? The Author steps into our denial offering mercy. “God offers only mercy.” So mercy is what can offer the world with all it’s judgments of us, too.

The authority problem, the Author calls “the root of all evil’. (And you thought it was money, right….hold on you’ll get the connection here in a minute.) After reminding  us we have a split mind (ego and Spirit). The authority problem is the ego’s incomprehensible logic. ‘The issue of authority is really a question of authorship.” I truly love the simplicy of ACIM sometimes. This is the problem! We think we created ourselves. And we fight over the ability to create others too! And make them behave and control them. Our laws are about behavior, after all. We study behavior so we can create nicer people, etc. With money we can control others, events, etc

Follows is the contrasting theories of our true nature. The Author says that God, who created you lives as you. But we do not believe this. I’m apart of God? NO WAY! Must be something else, that’s too uncomfortable. In this long passage the Author infers that We are created by Us-and if we admit it we have a chance at happiness (And a life with God/Reality). The request is to accept the world as it is. There is an acknowledgment that this looks like loss so the Author offers the obvious: “Fortunately to loose something does not mean that it is gone. It merely means that you do not remember where it is.” (one can almost feel a gentle pat on the head). This is true of illusion a swell as the Truth of our Existence as Children of God and the peace this knowledge offers. “Peace is the natural heritage of Spirit” Fear is denial of the Authorship of God. To see yourself split up and in pieces denies it is ONE and denies the Creator as a part of you.

To deny this Authorship feels like prison. (Do you see  how much control issues are the problem?) Everyone feels this trapped feeling- its only suffering because we don’t know we are; we don’t know the very holiness of our existence.

And the Author concludes this section with yet another correction to a Bible verse. “Instead of ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven’ say ‘Will ye first the Kingdom of Heaven’ and you have said ‘I know what I am and I accept my inheritance.” We know the difference between wishing something was different and focusing on changing it. Willing vs Wishing

VII Creating versus Self-Image

Build upon what is created and not upon what is made. Remember the difference? Making something ahas a beginning a middle and an end. Creativity is about expanding what does not die, Peace, Love, etc. This is an excellent business plan and personal model of well being, success and prosperity. “Both are cornerstones for systems of belief by which one lives.” the Author states, but remember that both have power; one the power to liberate an one the power to imprison. What business model, personal code we have?

The answer is not to sell yourself and your influence short. This choosing to be little, this lie we all tell ourselves from time to time about how insignificant we are is the concept ACIM calls ‘the devil.’ (Cute, right?) Brings new meaning to ‘The devil made me do it.” It stems from not understanding who we are.

And what follows is a dismissive count of the usual telling of ‘The Fall of Man”. The only mistake was the belief in separation (We lost God. He didn’t go anywhere, we just choose not to perceive Reality). Understand that this is denial of your inheritance as the Child of God is the problem. Your are wholly loving and lovable, just like the Creator. And you are human. How about that!! God really doesn’t care that we’re squishy messes. Tell God all about what its like to be a squishy mess. God wold totally love that. The other option is truly awful. The Author lays it out “Look at your life and see what the devil has made.” OUCH! (This perception dissolves when exposed to the light, just like vampires.)

This fear of loosing ourselves is very serious. The last section in this delightful chapter is a lot of reassurances that you’re okay, on the right path and deeply loved. We do not die, but our illusions will go away. They will all go away. Thai is fearful, but when we choose to let illusions drop away the suffering is minimized.That is why ACIM is always attempting to instruct us to ask the One Who Knows exactly what we should do next. Even asking what to think.

In another bout of Biblical quoting “The branch that bears no fruit will be cut off and will wither away.” The sweetest apples, you may know, are on the well pruned tree. your ego is going to interpret that as suffering. Spirit will tell you that it’s letting go of what doesn’t work.

Our identity is not a concept. “Only in this world is the idea of an authority problem meaningful.” So…..our happiness rests on the foundation of choosing to take on God’s function as creator with God. Our function is to expand the love, peace, trust that we truly are. Or choose to imprison ourselves as jailor and/or inmate.

Lessons 15-21

15. My thoughts are images that I have made.
16. I have no neutral thoughts.
17. I see no neutral things.
18. I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.

19. I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.

20. I am determined to see.

21. I am determined to see things differently.

All thoughts create form. This is the ‘secret’. I am a human being with preferences and feelings. But I make judgments that aren’t true. I have opinions that I call the truth. But my opinions are hurting me and the ones I love (even the planet, turns out). So I’m going to let go of what I think I know about the truth because what I’m doing isn’t providing for my happiness. I want to know what’s really going on, not just my opinion about it.

Take care. Enjoy your week.