ACIM Chapter 2. III. The Altar of God, P 3, 4

ACIM The Altar of God, P 3, 4. The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time.

ACIM Chapter 2. III. The Altar of God, P 3, 4. The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time.

III. The Altar of God, P 3, 4

III. The Altar of God, P 3

3 The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time. This may appear to contradict free will because of the inevitability of the final decision, but this is not so. You can temporize and you are capable of enormous procrastination, but you cannot depart entirely from your Creator, Who set the limits on your ability to miscreate. An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point. This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight. The alternating investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute. But the outcome is as certain as God.

When I first read the sentence that says our Creator set the limits on our ability to miscreate, I noticed the ego felt the sting of resentment. It was like a child who wants to play Superman and “flying” off the roof is just part of the play. He may be very angry that Mom won’t let him, and feel he is being unfairly restricted by her rules, but one day, in maturity, he will see the wisdom of those rules and be grateful for them.

Our True Nature

Now, of course, I understand that we were created to be free and unlimited. Our freedom allows us to play around with the idea of restrictions, that is, the idea of being limited and vulnerable and separate. But we cannot become that any more than an apple can become a horse in the world. So, we will inevitably stop pretending and return to our divine natures. We can dress up in bodies and make an elaborate stage set. But eventually, the play ends and the makeup must come off as we discard the costume. We can pretend, dream, act, as if we are something we are not, but we can’t recreate our very nature.

So, it is our nature to be Divine Beings and that is what we are under the disguise, and we will discard the disguise. We begin the process of doing so when it becomes too painful not to. Imagine trying to get through life blindfolded, just to see if you could do it. You might have fun at first, trying to figure out ways to compensate. At some point, though, you will get tired of all the effort, and tired of the painful accidents of trying to maneuver without sight. Then you will want to remove the blindfold and go about life as before.

There Comes a Moment of Decision

If you are studying the Course or are on some other spiritual path, you have reached that moment of decision, the moment you become determined to recover your spiritual vision, and awaken to your true nature. It has always been inevitable that you do so; it was just a matter of when. For you that time has come. If it seems hard and even painful to make the transition from imprisonment to freedom, it is only because we have one foot in both camps. We are experiencing the conflict of trying to hold onto the blindfold while also trying to remove it.

As experienced in my life it goes something like this. I am learning that my true nature is non-duality. I am strong because I am one with my brothers and with my Creator. But I hear someone say that I am special, and the ego mind preens. I think I like the person I am spending time with, but I miss my son or daughter and cannot be as happy with this person as I would be with one of them. I love the idea of living in one place but think I would be happier somewhere else.

Choosing to Suffer

The list is endless. I see the world in tiny bits with gaps between each separate thing, and I think one bit is better than or more important than, and I believe my happiness depends on how many of the important bits I can gather. And also, on how many of the unwanted bits I can avoid. That is hardly the non-duality that I am seeking.

Suffering is the shifting back and forth that I have been doing for a while now. I let go of the world for a little while and I feel free and glorious. Then I pick it back up and feel safer because it is familiar… for about a minute. Then I long for the return of Self. As I practice choosing God more consistently, the forays into the ego lessen and last shorter amounts of time. But for a little while longer, it isa back and forth as my mind vacillates until I tire of the conflict. And tire of it I will. That is a done deal.

III. The Altar of God, P 4

4 Spiritual vision literally cannot see error, and merely looks for Atonement. All solutions the physical eye seeks dissolve. Spiritual vision looks within and recognizes immediately that the altar has been defiled and needs to be repaired and protected. Perfectly aware of the right defense it passes over all others, looking past error to truth. Because of the strength of its vision, it brings the mind into its service. This re-establishes the power of the mind and makes it increasingly unable to tolerate delay, realizing that it only adds unnecessary pain. As a result, the mind becomes increasingly sensitive to what it would once have regarded as very minor intrusions of discomfort.

I can understand spiritual vision because I have experienced it at times. Here is an example. I met someone who had a serious addiction problem that kept her life in disarray. She would pull herself out of it only to fall back in. She stole and lied and used people, me included. I saw what she did and what her story looked like. I saw the need for “repair and protection” but I also saw right past her story, or through her story, to the truth of her. No matter what she did, I had no trouble seeing what was real.

I See You

I don’t know why it was that it was effortless for me to see her. If you saw the movie Avatar, you may remember how the indigenous people of the planet would look each other in the eye and say, “I see you.” It was clear they were looking past the outward appearance and connecting soul to soul. It felt to me like they were saying the Divinity in me sees the Divinity in you. This is what it felt like when I was with this woman. “I” had nothing to do with it, and I cannot make myself see in this way. It is the Divinity in me, the true part of me that sees the true part of her.

This does not always happen, at least with such clarity, but it does happen now more than it used to. Perhaps willingness has something to do with it. Maybe the more my altar is repaired and protected, the more I am able to see with spiritual vision. (I use the word “my” with a looser definition than is normal, because I don’t really mean to imply ownership, only awareness. It is the altar from my point of awareness.)

The Holy Spirit does this perfectly and in every case. He is never distracted by our errors. He sees the need for repair and protection and to the degree we are willing to allow it, goes straight to the heart of the matter. You might wonder why anyone would not allow healing. I have said many times I wanted healing but then noticed that I defend my error from that healing.

Worry Sets In

For instance, one morning I woke up with anxiety thoughts about my new house; thoughts about timing, and cost over runs, that sort of thing. I tried to set them aside to do my morning prayer and they kept popping up like unruly children who can’t stand it when mom doesn’t pay attention to them. I ask for a peaceful mind. Above all else, I want a peaceful mind. But then I defend the ego mind from peace by giving my attention to the chatter in the thinking mind, by returning to the worry thoughts frequently.

It’s like I order these beautiful pieces of furniture that I know will create a serene setting, but then block the entry with an ugly chaotic jumble of furniture so it is not possible for my delivery to be made. I have to clear a place for the new if I want it. My holy Delivery Man will not throw my stuff out for me. This morning when I saw what was happening, how I could not complete my prayers because of the worrisome chatter, I told Holy Spirit that I need help. Above all else, I want the peace of God.

I understand the concept of needing to see how much I don’t want peace before I can really have peace. I look it straight in the eye, and realize that my mind is full of ego thoughts because that is what I have wanted. But Idon’t stop there. I invite them in and give them my attention and then act like I don’t know where they came from and don’t know why they won’t leave. But I want the peace of God.

But Then I Forgive

This day I will forgive this intrusion into my peace. I will forgive myself for inviting it. I will remember what I truly want each time I experience something that is not peace. This is the way I do my part to invite the Holy Spirit to help me. He will do the rest. He will undo what I have done as soon as I invite Him to do so. The Holy Spirit pays no attention to my error other than to see that repair is needed. He knows the error is meaningless and hardly worth a second glance.

The error is nothing and has no real effects, and it was only my desire to keep it that made it seem like something. Spirit was only waiting for me to choose forgiveness, and so give Him permission to help. He didn’t try to put my jumbled mess of thoughts in order or make sense of them. He simply looked past them as if they were not there, and without my desire for them holding them in place, they faded away.

Coming Back to Peace

Holy Spirit’s healing gaze looks past what is not real and goes straight to the altar. He makes clear what I have obscured with my desire for something else, and once again, my mind is in order, and I am at peace. I still had no idea how to make everything happen when it came to the house, but I chose to be peaceful with not knowing. And it all worked out.

The vigilance for my thoughts and the consistent forgiveness have given me peace as I never knew it before. As Jesus says, once we experience peace, it becomes increasingly difficult to be less than peaceful. Now when I lose my peace, I am all over this problem like white on rice. I don’t hesitate an instant before I am looking at it with the Holy Spirit and choosing God instead. Lack of peace now is unbearable to me.

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