ACIM Atonement and Miracles paragraph 5. Error cannot really threaten truth, which can always withstand it. Only the error is actually vulnerable.
ACIM Atonement and Miracles P 5
III. Atonement and Miracles, 5
5 Error cannot really threaten truth, which can always withstand it. Only the error is actually vulnerable. You are free to establish your kingdom where you see fit, but the right choice is inevitable if you remember this:
Spirit is in a state of grace forever.
Your reality is only spirit.
Therefore you are in a state of grace forever.
Atonement undoes all errors in this respect, and thus uproots the source of fear. Whenever you experience God’s reassurances as threat, it is always because you are defending misplaced or misdirected loyalty. When you project this to others you imprison them, but only to the extent to which you reinforce errors they have already made. This makes them vulnerable to the distortions of others, since their own perception of themselves is distorted. The miracle worker can only bless them, and this undoes their distortions and frees them from prison.
My mistaken beliefs cannot change anything. They cannot threaten truth in any way. The truth is true forever, and nothing can alter it. Whew!! Since I can rest easy knowing that my mistaken thoughts are doing no real harm, I can afford to look at them without fear or guilt. I can ask the Holy Spirit to look with me and to correct my thinking where I have strayed from truth.
It Is Not a Sin
It is perfectly ok and perfectly safe to build my own little kingdom outside of Truth, because it is only a sand castle, easily washed away by the desire to choose again. In the meantime, I can play in it for as long as I can tolerate the inevitable pain it brings with it. When I am tired of suffering, I can remember the truth, that I am Spirit and in a state of grace forever. This remembrance undoes all I think I have done and brings me peace. The decision not to forget this brings me out of the illusion and to God.
Here are ways I practice making the right choice.
I used to get migraines on a regular basis. When this happened, my first thought would be to wonder what triggered it. There is an interesting list I could go through, checking off possibilities and crossing out the ones that could not apply. I could start a regimen of medication after I decided if it’s going to get bad enough for that and after I decide if it is worth the side effects. This was one place I established my kingdom, and it would be ok if that is what I wanted. I did that many times before I finally decided to make another choice.
Denial of God
Eventually, I decided that my list of triggers was nonsense. The only thing that triggered these migraines was the denial of God. Then my prayer changed from heal this pain to heal my mind. I noticed when I did this that the pain began to recede. I also noticed that it would start coming back, and I would have to decide again where I want my kingdom. That was because I was not entirely through with migraines despite the pain. I still saw value in them.
When I realized that, I asked the Holy Spirit to show me how I was giving value to migraines, and I became aware of why I did this. In the story, it gave me ready excuses to get out of obligations that were burdensome. So, I learned just to say no when I meant no. I also became aware of how I used it to get sympathy and a show of love and affection.
I decided to learn to love myself and to extend that love so that I would know it was mine. It took a while, but my decision not to use pain for that purpose was the step I needed to let the migraines go. I began to realize that migraines were a choice, and that was a shock. They were a choice I made to establish my kingdom where I wanted it in opposition to God.
Not that the migraines are special. There are many other forms of the same thing that I used to represent the desire to establish a little kingdom outside Truth and to be the ruler of this kingdom. I got to decide when I have a migraine and how to deal with it. I got to decide how the denial of God shows up in form.
Maybe it will be a problem with one of my children. For many years this was always good for some drama. Or concern about money. When I bought a house, I noticed that I entertained my mind for hours during the day, making plans and creating problems. Then I could decide for myself what I should do about these problems that have not even shown up in form. Yet.
The ways in which I got to choose between ruling this odd kingdom of mine or being at peace seem to be absolutely endless. However, something happened to bring this to an end. One thing that happened is that I began to realize that all my problems are the same problem. A migraine is no different than a shortage of money or a disagreement with a friend. The problems look different in form, but they are all sourced by the same belief, that I have separated from God and that I am guilty of what I have done.
Separation Is Not Possible
As it turns out, I have not separated from God in any way except in my imagination. It is not possible to separate from God. It is not possible to change Reality in any way. Truth is true and eternal. So, I am not guilty. I am forever innocent because that is how I was created, and what God creates cannot be altered. I am saved from this self-inflicted condemnation I have been living by the simple truth that:
Spirit is in a state of grace forever.
My reality is only spirit.
Therefore I am in a state of grace forever.
The migraines are a thing of the past because I no longer choose them. I seldom ever have these periodic dramas with my children or anyone else. While guilt is not completely gone from my mind, it seldom shows up, and when it does, I readily forgive it and let it go. Once I realized that I was choosing these things and that it was all being driven by fear and guilt, I learned to choose differently.
I still get sick sometimes, still experience fear occasionally, and guilt can also pop up. At those times, I have to remind myself that I can make another choice. I can choose differently because I am spirit and in a state of grace forever. Guilt cannot touch me as long as I remember what I am.
Resisting the Truth
Jesus talks to us about experiencing God’s reassurances as a threat, and for a moment, I was confused. At first, I could not see how I do this. But now I see that when I resist the truth, it is because I see the reassurance of it as something to be avoided. It is obvious to me that I still refuse to believe in my complete innocence.
I don’t often think of myself as guilty, but sometimes I fall for that illusion. How wonderful to know that I am not stained by my errors and that I remain as God created me. And yet, for many years, I felt stained by that guilt despite the reassurances. For many years some things I had done in my life would still bring a flush of shame when I thought of them.
If I was innocent and nothing I did in the illusion had meaning, why should I feel ashamed? And why would I not be thrilled to be wiped clean of that shame? Jesus said it was because I was defending misplaced or misdirected loyalty. So I asked him to clarify this for me. His answer is one of the reasons I was able to accept healing, and it still helps me if I get pulled into another story. Here is what he told me.
Jesus: Dear one, there are only two places for you to place your loyalty; God or ego. If you are not siding with God, you are siding with your alternative to God, the ego. Let us look at one of your favorite ways to feel guilty. You failed (in your eyes) to be supportive of your mother when she had Alzheimer’s. God said that you are not guilty of anything you did or failed to do.
You find it hard to support that truth. In an effort to appear to accept God’s decision, you try to think of excuses for your behavior. You try to see your behavior in a different light. You try to find reasons that your behavior was acceptable. But these are all defenses against God. If you fully accepted God’s word, you would not need any of these reasons to be innocent. That you need reasons to see your innocence proves that you feel that you are guilty.
Proof of What Is Not True
When you didn’t know how to help your mom and when you didn’t know how best to love her, and when you failed to visit and made excuses to stay away, you felt very guilty. God declared you innocent, but you constantly defended against your innocence. You clung to your guilt, remaining loyal to it to the bitter end. With each gentle reminder of your innocence, you stacked up your proof that you were a bad daughter and guilty, guilty, guilty.
What you could not let yourself see is that you were, all this time, defending yourself against God. Your loyalty was misplaced as you defended your right to be guilty and live in fear and shame. This circular thinking is typical of the ego. The ego said you were guilty of your behavior and should feel bad about it. God said you were innocent, but the ego said you could not accept that declaration because you were too guilty and didn’t deserve forgiveness.
The only way out of this cycle is to simply step out. Step out on faith. Step out because you do have another choice, and you can simply make that choice. You don’t have to do anything to deserve it; you don’t have to do anything to atone for your sin. I am the Atonement, and it is done. Yes, my dear one, it is really that simple. Lay down your defenses. Ignore everything except the truth.
A Bitter Life
What is the alternative? You continue living that bitter life you made in place of the glory that is yours and will always be yours. You will become so miserable and afraid of your thoughts that you will try to sling them away from you and put them on others as if there were someplace that is outside your own mind where they could be instead. This projection will add to your belief you are guilty, and the cycle grows and becomes more intense as you believe you have caused more harm.
You cannot convince anyone they are guilty unless they already hold that belief in their mind, but most of your brothers and sisters do believe in their guilt. Your continued belief adds to the certainty that all of you are guilty, and you move more deeply into the illusion. You still are not guilty, though. More illusion is just more illusion. The illusion is meaningless. It is nothing, and adding nothing to nothing is still nothing. You cannot be guilty of doing nothing. You can, however, suffer from the belief that you have actually done something.
Another cycle you are caught in is the belief that you must first correct your errors and become a better person, if you will. Then you can come to God for help because then you will deserve help and be worthy of it. People do this in a number of ways. They become very generous and helpful to their brothers, even to the point of self-sacrifice. Another way they do this is to dive into spiritual study, sometimes to the exclusion of all else, not from love of the work but from fear that less will condemn them or from the belief that sacrifice will redeem them.
Another way these confused children of God look for salvation is by punishing themselves. They punish themselves through physical or mental pain, loss of every conceivable kind, or the denial of anything that brings joy or peace. They punish themselves in a misguided effort to purify and become worthy. And all the while, unconscious guilt increases because they think they have usurped God’s right to punish them.
There is nothing you or anyone need do to prepare yourselves for God. You are perfect right now. You are untouched by your perceived wrongs and remain as God created you. Guilt is not something to be atoned for or overcome. My dear friend, it is so very simple. Take my hand, and together we will turn our back on guilt. It cannot stop us. Guilt cannot hold you prisoner; only you can do that. Give me your loyalty. I will use it to save your brothers and sisters from their confusion. I will use you. This is what is needed. Accept the miracle I offer you. That is all that is left to do.
One More Thing
One more thing Jesus mentions in this paragraph is that we imprison others with our projections onto them. But this only happens if they already believe these projections. I also know that he tells us later that we should not set our brother back on his path, so I try not to project onto anyone. He also tells us that we can be miracle workers if we teach everyone that they are innocent.
I was briefly annoyed with my son for being so easily offended. But then I apologized to him for the upset, admitting that I was interfering in what was clearly only his business. And maybe he was being overly sensitive, and maybe not. Either way, I have no intention of teaching him guilt. He is innocent, as am I because we were created innocent, and that is what I want him to know about himself.
Regina Dawn Akers has an excellent teaching on Letting Go of the I Am Bad Belief. To hear this message, CLICK HERE.