Just a few thoughts on the ACIM text, Chapter 2, Sections VII and VIII.
‘Nothing and everything cannot coexist.[i]’ ‘Nothing’ is a symbol for our belief in the absence of love, also known as ‘lack.’ We have to Velcro many ideas together (synonymous with ‘to make’ in ACIM) to come up with the very ‘complex’ beliefs we have that ‘separate’ us from God. When we do this, we are using the ‘form’ of these ideas and thoughts, and overlooking the basic essence, or ‘content’ as ACIM labels it, of our relationship with God and Oneness. This essentially leaves our thoughts and beliefs as pretty, little, enticing frames around an empty picture, which is another analogy that ACIM uses later in the book. In a very circular fashion, we indulge in the ‘fearful’ use the process of ‘making’ or miscreation to explain our own feelings and beliefs in the reality of ‘fear.’ We use fearful miscreation to justify feeling fearful and believing that it and ourselves are ‘very bad’ things. DO YOU GET THE CIRCULARITY OF THIS PROCESS???
ACIM presents to us a mechanism to stop this insane circular thinking and open the path to perhaps seeing things a bit differently, otherwise known as the miracle!
‘Darkness’ is merely a belief in the reality of form devoid of any ‘content.’ ‘Whenever light enters darkness, the darkness is abolished,[ii]’ is another way of saying that when we sit closely with our bodily feelings and the associated words, pictures, and stories that we have attached to them, we can see how we have ‘made’ them into something so real and so fearful. ‘Light’ isn’t something magical, mysterious, or elusive, unless you want it to be that. ‘Light’ in this usage is a willingness. A willingness to sit with what we have ‘made’ and allow it to be seen as the piecing together of form in a fearful effort to explain our world, both inner and outer.
‘What you believe is true for you.[iii]’ All beliefs and points of view are ‘relatively’ true from that particular point of view. So, all beliefs that we carry are true for us, but only relatively true to all other possible points of view in the entire universe! Many of our points of view overlap, as evidenced in this apparent universe of form we have miscreated, including our beliefs in time and space, but to get bound up in that thought may not be so helpful at this time. What may be helpful is to look at the particular story we keep telling ourselves and sit with the associated bodily sensations and emotions that this story brings up. The story is a group of words told in a particular sequence that somehow brings up a feeling in the body, such as anger, that is then associated with another story, picture or group of words. Are the bodily sensations I associate with ‘anger’ really and absolutely ‘anger’ as I tell myself, or could they be something else, that up until now I was unwilling to look at? EACH of us has to look at how EACH of us have put these things together. ACIM can describe a process of doing this, but we each have to call upon that ‘light of willingness’ to start doing this.
This process of looking at what we have made is also know in ACIM as ‘forgiveness.’
In Section VIII we are asked in the first sentence to ‘remember that you did not create yourself.[iv]’ The use of the term ‘remember’ is not used as a command to get us to memorize some statement. It is used in the fashion of asking us to look at and remove all the blocks we have erected in ‘knowing and experiencing’ that sense of overwhelming love and innocence that comes with experiencing ourselves as a ‘Thought of God.’ And if this is something a bit abstract right now, ‘Do not worry. It will come again,’ as I was once told in a dream. Not that the ‘remembrance’ has ever left. I have just playfully tried to bury it as far and as deep as I could under a granite statue of me.
When we become ‘egocentric,’ we place ourselves in a position of knowing how the universe, or at least a small part of it, works. This always relies on making something out there, or in here, absolutely true from my point of view. Or from a scientific or astrological point of view. Nothing wrong with any of that. Just realize that in any of that we are believing an absoluteness of something that may appear to resonate and be helpful from our current point of view. While a belief in the life-giving properties of oxygen is something we all agree on in this reality, from a different perspective the belief may not hold any relative truth.
The section on the ‘The Last Judgment’ is something to read several times. I had always had this bad, fearful connotation of God passing judgment after I died, never knowing with any sureness that I would be accepted back into heaven. That always got me caught in one of those egocentric circles of ‘Yes, I am worthy’ which I only said to counteract the multiple thoughts heard and unheard of ‘No, I am totally unworthy.’ Reading this section at least gave me an opportunity to stop and really question all those teachings and beliefs I had accumulated concerning the last judgment. And it is okay to question ALL beliefs and teachings, whether they are from your own head or from the Pope or other religious leaders and saints. In fact, while everything in ACIM points towards truth, there isn’t any statement in this book that will be carried into or shouted from the roof tops once we do all remember Truth.
The ego can certainly use judgment. I think we have all experienced that for ourselves! Part of the mind training in ACIM is to learn to use right-minded judgment to start to separate truth from falsehood. This is taught to be used in a ‘constructive’ sense, one that starts to allow us to recognize our willingness to be open to examining our beliefs and how we have ‘made’ them. This will be in a sense an ‘Apocalypse’ for ego-minded thinking, and believe me, the ego will put up road blocks and fears calling, begging, and heckling you to turn around and STOP looking! And if you dream at night, you may have many dreams of earthquakes, floods, tidal waves, atom bombs, wars and other apocalyptic events that seem like nightmares. And yes, to the ego minded, looking at the fear with which we have made our worlds is apocalyptic! We all have to enter the process of looking at what we have ‘made’ and judging whether it was made through fear response or through love.
One of the steps in all this is to ‘free yourself from fear[v]’ as stated in paragraph 2, 8th sentence. I see this as being open to start looking at our own beliefs surrounding how we define and look at ‘fear.’ Like most of us, I saw fear as a protection from further bodily or emotional harm. I saw it as a ‘bad’ thing in most cases, something I needed to run from, shut down, master, or just plain totally ignore. I saw ‘fear’ as the great motivator! I saw it as many things, but I never saw it as joyful. Then came a teaching which totally changed how I look at fear. The teaching gave me an opening to question my definitions and use of fear, and it gave me a mirror to look at my own willingness to really start looking at my beliefs, stories, and points of view. ‘Fear’ wasn’t this bad thing I had always run from, or this great motivator that pushed me to my next achievement so that I wouldn’t feel it any more.
Fear is my loving response, from myself, to clue me in that I am continuing to hang on to a belief or point of view that is no longer in alignment with my higher self. It is merely a feedback mechanism, a message, a phone call from my higher self in response to a belief that was being ‘made’ out of lack, not out of love. It is a response that is showing me when I am believing in ‘nothing.’
Imagine what it would be like if your response to all ‘fearful’ bodily experiences was to stop and look at just what you were ‘making’ at that time. While initially you may have a fearful response of running, your willingness and right-mindedness would quickly point you in the direction of pausing and asking if you could possibly see the situation in a different way. And for me, while this changing of how I looked at fear didn’t switch overnight, I am ever more grateful to my willingness to keep sitting with this again and again until I do finally remember.
In paragraph 4, sentence 5, we are told ‘the mind will disown its miscreations which, without belief, will no longer exist.[vi]’ Many people may take this ‘disowning’ as an active, purposeful throwing away or ignoring of behavior, totally in contradiction to sitting with an emotion or bodily experience. This isn’t the use of ‘disown’ here. It is merely stating that once we see through the belief we have carried surrounding something we had ‘made,’ we will no longer see any need for that belief and it will simply seem to disappear.
As we continue to look at our ‘fears’ through the use of bodily impulses, we will gradually see that the blocks we had made will slowly dissolve and disappear. What will be left will be the ‘content’ that we had so carefully hidden behind concocted ideas and thoughts. We will see that love, which we had previously seen small glimpses of, will grow and extend to cover all and everything, and then become everything. We will see that all the negative ideas we’ve had about ourselves and others will shimmer in our light, transform and be replaced by a connection and communication so perfect and innocent.
The last paragraph in Section VIII clearly states each of our parts in the Atonement, and this is to apply our right-minded judgment ‘meaningfully and at any time to everything you have made, and retain in your memory only what is creative and good.[vii]’
[i] ACIM text, Chap 2, Section VII, paragraph 1, sentence 1
[ii] ACIM text, Chap 2, Section VII, paragraph 1, sentence 4
[iii] ACIM text, Chap 2, Section VII, paragraph 1, sentence 5
[iv] ACIM text, Chap 2, Section VIII, paragraph 1, sentence 1
[v] ACIM text, Chap 2, Section VIII, paragraph 2, sentence 8
[vi] ACIM text, Chap 2, Section VIII, paragraph 4, sentence 5
[vii] ACIM text, Chap 2, section VIII, paragraph 5, sentence 7