Healing of the Atonement

“It is obvious, then, that when you are afraid, you have placed yourself in a position where you need Atonement because you have done something loveless, having willed without love. This is precisely the situation for which the Atonement was offered. The need for the remedy inspired its establishment. As long as you recognize only the need for the remedy, you will remain fearful. However, as soon as you use the remedy, you have also abolished the fear. This is how true healing occurs.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.IX.13:1-6)

How do we “use” the remedy of Atonement to reach our own fearlessness? It is easy to say, but sometimes difficult to do—but we clear our minds, choose love in the setting where we are afraid, and the Love heals. Just that easy. It will work if we work it.

We are after true healing in this life. Nobody receives true healing who still holds something against a brother or sister. Our ego, withering though it is, makes that impossible. We must over and over, in every situation, choose to keep a positive, kindly attitude toward those whom we feel have wronged us. This is called forgiveness, and if we recognize that we called that action to ourselves, we will realize the innocence in another. Everyone is doing the best he/she can do in every situation. Not all are ready for love, and if we are in their way, we may get burned.
Our own innocence in this process must be highlighted. We are not victims of another; we merely got in the way, choosing to get in the way when we didn’t know better how to handle the situation. Would we blame ourselves for our ignorance? I think not. We simply learn, discover, from the mistake we made what is better next time to choose. We choose again.

If there is an unhealed place in our lives, let us ask for healing today. We will not be left in disaster; our guidance will tell us how to extricate ourselves from the problems in which we find ourselves.

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Atonement and Miracles

“The answer is to never perform a miracle without asking me if you should. This spares you from exhaustion. Just because miracles are expressions of love, it does not follow that they will always be effective. I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement. You have a role in the Atonement, which I will dictate to you.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.35.5:1-5)

For students of A Course in Miracles, the admonition from Jesus to ASK before attempting a miracle is well-known. But how many of us really do stop ourselves as we go about our day, asking if now is the right time to give an expression of love. Many of us don’t think of love at all in our daily grind; we just want to get through the day creditably. Yet expressions of love, as miracles, would mean so much to our brothers and sisters. And to us, for the first person that a miracle affects is the one who is charged with bringing that miracle into the world.

We aren’t to push ourselves to exhaustion, for this is a form of sacrifice, and Jesus has also asked that we not sacrifice ourselves, even to Love. He says that he did not do so, and thus it is correct to know that he would never ask us to do so either. We need Jesus’ guidance about when to act and when to rest. We need to know that we are proceeding under guidance that is just beyond what we normally think about in our daily pathway. The Holy Spirit and, later, the Christ-Self, will provide careful instruction to us.

We are never left in the dark about what to do next; we just need to ask of a Power greater than our little, finite, personal selves.
Jesus, in charge of the Atonement, does let us know what is expected of us by way of support for the Atonement. We are joining together to create a new day, a day of ultimate salvation, a day of Christ-consciousness or Awakening. We are needed. All of us.

Atonement

“. . .[I]t is clear that when you can atone by miracles, both giver and receiver are atoning. It is better to atone this way because of the mutual benefits involved. ‘Inasmuch as you do it unto the least of these my brethren’ really ends with ‘you do it unto yourself and me.’ The reason why you come before me is because I do not need miracles for my own Atonement, but I stand at the end in case you fail temporarily.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.24.2.:4-7)

When we accept the request of Jesus to go and let a miracle come through us, we are atoning for self and the other. It does not mean that we have “sinned,” for we know from A Course in Miracles that Jesus believes that our misdeeds and misthoughts are mistakes only, something that will encourage us to remedy the problem, not to be drawn to the same thought, deed, or word time and time again.

We can see that in looking to guidance for what miracles to perform, our guidance is seeing the whole picture—for us and for the one to whom we are sent. The mutual benefit that occurs is substantial. And we don’t make mistakes in this endeavor, if, that is, we depend on our guidance. Jesus is looking deep in our souls to see what miracles he can depend upon us to perform.

Jesus rectifies mistakes that we make that we cannot resolve. This is his promise: “I stand at the end in case you fail temporarily.” With a back-up like that, how can we fail, ultimately? We can’t. We have only to call in reinforcements, in this case, Jesus himself. He offers his help as a free offer. God does the same.

Dear God,

I have not seemed to be sent on a mission today. If I have missed hearing the call, please alert me to listen better. I will promise to go and do anything with You standing behind me, and Jesus at my side—a spirit I can’t see but can feel.

Miracles have come to me today. When I ask for a blessing of guidance, You are quick to see that my Answer from You arrives right on time—that is to say, immediately. I appreciate that You don’t hold my impatience against me. You like speed, too.

Thank You.

Amen.

A Warm Heart Is a Gift of Grace

“As long as you do not want to be forgiven you will not feel the gentle touch of forgiveness upon you and your world. While there is no need in truth for this forgiveness, as there is no truth to this big change that you believe you have undergone, your desire to be forgiven is a first step away from your belief that you can fix things by yourself and in so doing earn your way back into your Father’s home. Being willing to be forgiven is the precursor of atonement, the state in which you allow your errors to be corrected for you.” (ACOL, C:9.35)

Forgiveness is said in this passage actually to be unnecessary. While we believe that it is necessary, however, we will not take steps toward receiving the atonement until we have opened ourselves to this forgiveness. And we do want the atonement, which is the undoing of all that has gone before, including especially egoic consciousness. Jesus has led the way to the atonement. Would we not be foolish to refuse the forgiveness that will make every pathway toward the atonement smooth and easy?

We cannot correct our own errors. This may seem a radical statement, but if we recall how many times we have tried to correct errors, only to have the same mistake crop up again and again, we will see the validity of what Jesus is telling us. We will be gently and easily led to remove a mistake-prone inclination. But we would be egoic indeed if we thought that we were making ourselves better all the while. And we are trying to diminish the ego in ourselves, not build it up.

We cannot fix things ourselves and thereby win back the Father’s home, heaven. But we can open ourselves to change and thereby become the recipients of our inheritance, which includes heaven. Our inheritance has been waiting for us for eons. And now we are on a smooth pathway, heading for what we have wanted most in all the world. We must not jinx the matter now. We must not try to take things in our own hands, for we would surely foul it up.

Jesus will guide us gently and in an encouraging manner. He is doing just this in A Course of Love, a course that doesn’t demand a studious attitude, for its words are entering our heart. Call upon him now, today, this moment. See if a warmth doesn’t overtake you.

This warmth is the gift of grace to which we have all been heading since time began. We simply didn’t recognize it until now.

Time of Tenderness Accomplishes Atonement: the Culmination

“The time of tenderness is the time of your approach to unity. The atonement that is accomplished here is the means of opening the gate to your approach. No one has closed this gate to you, but you by your own hand pulled it shut as you departed your heavenly home, and you do not remember that your own hand can open it once again.” (ACOL, C:29.9)

The time of tenderness is an especially heart-wrenching period for those of us who are reading A Course of Love. Jesus has brought us to a point in which we see ourselves as particularly sensitive in our reactions. This sensitive point will render us able to recognize the indwelling of the Christ Self. It will tenderize our relationships to God, other people, and also ourselves. We will be ready for something more, an embodiment, a full embodiment, of the Christ in physical form. We do not have to rue this embodiment in physical form, for it has been elevated to a place very high in Jesus’s scheme of things. And forgiveness has helped to bring us to this point, the forgiveness championed so much in A Course in Miracles.

And we go on, at this point, to see where forgiveness fits:

“We speak not of forgiveness or even atonement here, for these have been thoroughly discussed earlier. You have all been through the time of tenderness, the time that preceded your giving and receiving of forgiveness, your request for and granting of atonement, your re-viewing and unlearning of the perceived lessons of your life.” (ACOL, D:Day 2.14)

“Unity” means the time that God and the self are once again One. We are no longer dependent upon the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit, to take command of our lives, through guidance that takes us home. We are home. We have a more direct approach to God than at anytime during the separation. We are living the Christ Self, a concept that is welcomed as we become the elevated Self of form.

At this point the theology becomes unified, something that we would expect when Jesus calls this time the “approach to unity.” We are a part of God, and we have welcomed Him once again, for we are not longer asleep. He does not have to think that His children sleep and need to be awakened. When we come into Christ-consciousness, we are awakened. The Unconscious is available to us. We see the merging of ourselves with the inner Christ Self in this time of the second coming of Christ.

In reading A Course of Love, we did go through a time of tenderness, and this time opened our hearts to greater understanding, full knowledge of what God would once again mean to us. We were actually “tender” during part of the reading of ACOL, and this stirring of the heart accomplished great things in us.
Now we can realize that atonement continues throughout time, until it is finally relinquished as a done deal. We do not try to hasten its ending, though sometimes we feel impatient. We rest in God’s timing.

It is enough. Once begun, the ending is sure.

And we welcome the ending, whenever God feels that we are ready for the Christ-consciousness, the elevated Self of form, that He wishes for us.

A Comparison of Forgiveness and Atonement

“Resign as your own teacher. . . .

“Looked at in another way, this process has much in common with forgiveness. The action associated with it raises it to a level similar to that of atonement. It is an undoing accompanied by a new means of doing. In the process of unlearning, both forgiveness and atonement occur.” (ACOL, C:23.27 – 28)

We learn to forgive gradually. If we followed A Course in Miracles, the theme was forgiveness. It was the means of salvation, the means of the dislodging of the ego. Now we find that atonement and forgiveness have much in common. We now have a new means of doing, a means without the ego that has dragged us down for eons. We have indeed come a long way.

The way is not complete until in atonement all false means of thinking are relinquished. Right-thinking is where we are heading, but to undo insanity, as I have pointed out earlier in this blog, is not easily overcome. Miracles help, but progress is also made slowly, undoing one habit of mind, and then turning to another—and sometimes retracing our steps when we have, once again, taken up a false way of thinking.

When we forgive, we have unlearned the idea that attack and anger are justified. We have realized that we get what we have defended against, that defense solidifies the false thinking and false behavior (from ACIM).

The ideas in this paragraph are new in A Course of Love. Jesus does not equate forgiveness and atonement in A Course in Miracles, though he does stress both as necessary to getting us out of the mess that we are in. We give up the egoic thought system, and then we move forward to replace that thought system with a new one. We move into Christ-consciousness, which gives us new revelations on a constant basis. We may be very surprised at the insights that come to us when we catch glimpses of Christ-consciousness. This miracle of glimpses prepares us, eventually, for sustainability of Christ-consciousness. We leave behind the old, we have reframed our minds (with help from the Christ Self, inwardly, and the Holy Spirit, who is also within us).

Atonement Banishes the Ego’s Thought System

“We could not begin the curriculum here because you would have been unable, without the lessons of this course, to distinguish the personal self from the ego-self. There is a danger even now in focusing upon the self of the body, as this self has been so long bound to the ego-self. Even with the ego once and finally vanquished, the patterns of the ego’s thought system remain to be undone. This is atonement. We work now to correct the errors of the past in the present, the only place where such work can be done. We work with what we have a form fully able to represent the truth and, in so doing, we bring the truth to lie and life to the truth.” (ACOL, T3:1.13)

Can we now differentiate the personal self from the ego-self? Perhaps we are not always sure. A Course in Miracles dislodged the ego, but it remains for A Course of Love to give the next step. I think too many of us didn’t know what to replace the ego with, and so A Course of Love was scribed a few years later, to answer current needs.

The patterns of the ego need to be undone, and this is the work, over time, that we are about now. It is what atonement is doing for us.
Do not be dejected to hear that atonement may take some time. We have all too often seen atonement as a one-time, one-moment thing, sort of like accepting Christ, that we would do—and then all would be well. But insanity is not dismantled in one fell swoop. Miracles speed the way to sanity, but there are still many, many tiny scraps of thought that have to be undone.

We had past errors, and these are now to be corrected in the present, which, as Jesus points out in this quotation, is the only place that past errors can be corrected. Atonement will proceed in strict order to the diligence we give our new thought system. The mind training that we received in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles will now be made complete.

Do not feel unaccomplished when you hear this, for Jesus has defined us as “The Accomplished.” We don’t have to feel that we are still wallowing in misery, committing more and more mistakes. Our minds have more sanity in them than they have had heretofore in the separation. We are undoing the separation now. That is what atonement does for us.

Salvation Will Expand from the Few to the Many

“Few truly believe in atonement or undoing. Few truly believe there is no sin. Few truly believe that they are not the sum of their behaviors.” (ACOL, C:31.18)

What we do wrong does not define us. I think this is what Jesus is saying. We have made many mistakes, and may continue to make them, but correction is afoot in atonement. We do not have to continue to believe in sin, which would be uncorrectable if it were a real thought and not a fantasy of wrongdoing that, for perverse reasons, invites repetition.

Let us today be one of the few who do believe in atonement or undoing, do believe there is no sin, do believe that we are not the sum of our behaviors. There may be few today, but that number will increase exponentially if we do our part in being ministers of salvation. We will not proselytize, but we will share when we sense that others are ready to hear. And because they are ready to hear, they will be eager learners, until such time as they can put aside learning and move into observation as a way to grow.

Let’s be sure, first, that we are within the “few,” and then let’s expand the “few” to more and more individuals. This is what salvation is all about. It is not a selfish state, of course, but one that we share with all the fervor that we can muster.

Undoing in Atonement, Once Begun, Is Unstoppable

“In order to remember unity you must, in a sense, travel back to it, undoing as you go all you have learned since last you knew it, so all that remains is love. This undoing, or atonement, has begun – and once begun is unstoppable and thus already inevitably accomplished.” (C:19.19)

We are said to travel backward in time, rolling up a metaphorical long carpet, until we arrive at the place where separation occurred (or seemed to occur). Each part on our journey without distance must be undone–each individual part. And then we will be back to Oneness, Oneness with God, Oneness with our Christ Self, awake in Christ-consciousness, occupying the elevated Self of form.

The ending is certain, and the atonement, or undoing, has begun for all of us reading this now, for we would not still be reading if we had not asked for the journey to begin. When we go backward in time, we are returning to love, and in that return is the everything that we have wanted. Love gives us all that we really want, and the closer we get to the end of journey, the better we will understand the truth of this. Atonement is unstoppable, and for this we ought to be grateful. Though we are prone to endless procrastination, and we may wander from the path, we will inevitably return, for free will sets the limits on miscreation. We cannot forever stay apart from God, for this would actually counter our real will, which in truth is one with His Will.

The undoing does not have to be complex, though it is usually so experienced, especially before the elevated Self of form is sustained. We have gotten ourselves so tangled up in our minds, perplexed by egoic notions of separation, that miracles are needed to save us. And those miracles are forthcoming. We can walk into the light at any time, though God Himself decides the exact moment. If we love completely, we are, in a sense, already there; we are having a glimpse of Christ-consciousness, and this glimpse, this satori, will sustain us until sustainability is actually achieved.

Belief in Miracles = Belief in Atonement

“Your belief in miracles and your belief in atonement or correction are the same thing. While you believe there is anything other than your own thinking that is in need of correction you think falsely. Right-thinking is the realm of miracles.” (T2:12.5)

This is a great promise, held out to us in A Course of Love. If our thinking straightens out, if we develop what Jesus calls “right-thinking,” then we will see miracles. “Right-thinking is the realm of miracles.”

So when we allow the Christ Self (as stated in ACOL) or the Holy Spirit (as stated in ACIM) to correct our thinking, we will have reached the state of atonement. Actually we must realize here that we are in the realm of Oneness, and the Christ and the Holy Spirit are two names that often mean identical things, when we consider that holiness is One. (This is an interpretation, not stated in either ACOL or ACIM.)

Here we see that it has been our thinking all along that was the only thing that needed correction. Surely we have realized this earlier, but this quotation makes this equation exact. Get the thinking right, and all other good things follow.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to count on miracles all the time? And we can. What we believe determines what we experience. This has been often stated, but perhaps not as clearly and as succinctly as the idea is stated here. Believe in the power of Good to correct one’s false thinking, to get the ego removed from our minds, and we are home free.
Wouldn’t we all like to be home free today? And this can and will happen, when we open our minds to what Jesus is saying in this quotation.

Correct False Thinking and Reach Enlightenment

“Miracles are thoughts and I am the corrector of false thinking. You have been made ready for this correction and your belief in correction, or atonement, is the final belief that must be put into practice.” (ACOL, T2:12.1)

This definition of atonement is only slightly different from “undoing”—correction. Here Jesus is emphasizing that when we accept atonement for ourselves (and also offer it to others), we will be freed of false thinking. Think what a great promise this indeed is! To have our false thinking corrected is to have the ego wear away. The ego is no more! Now we can get someplace.

Jesus encourages us to have a miracle-minded frame of mind. Perhaps we don’t fully understand what this means, but it is simply that we live in the best reality that we can imagine. Life works out, and when it seems not to do so, we call upon a miracle to right things. The miracle is always there for us. Our perception of that miracle may take a while in the working out, but the miracle will always heal, always set us right. We need only ask, because we are definitely asking in God’s Will.

So atonement is correction of the way that we have previously thought, the falsity that has engulfed us. Let us be grateful today that there is a way out of the separation, that the elevated Self of form awaits, that Christ-consciousness awaits.

When our minds are right, we will no longer project illusions, but will experience the real world by our projections, projections that make our perceptions of this world. We cannot know what this means until we experience Christ-consciousness, but then the miracle happens, and we know that we are seeing for the first time.

Mind and Heart Can Heal Just as the Body Can

“Atonement, or correction, is not of you but of God. You might think of this in terms of nature and look upon nature’s ability to correct itself. You are a part of nature. Your body can correct or heal itself, and so can your mind and heart. . .if they are allowed to do so.” (T3:14.12)

We can heal much as nature heals. This is a new idea from A Course of Love, not given in A Course in Miracles. But, like, ACIM, this message from A Course of Love emphasizes that atonement, correction, is of God. In a sense, we have to get ourselves out of the way. We have to let God do His work in us.

We already know that our physical body can heal itself. Here we learn that our mind and heart can heal as well. And we get out of ourselves, and into God, and then the healing occurs.

We will not have to wait long. One good thing about both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is that Jesus never tells us that we have to wait to experience blessings from God. Even if the healing of the separation will take millions of years (which he says in ACIM), still they can be happy years for us, living the elevated Self of form, and ministering to others who are coming to know what we have come to know.

The future looks bright for us. Once begun, the ending is sure. We will experience atonement, and we will experience Christ-consciousness, and we only need a small willingness to walk into those experiences.

Let us give the Self that small willingness today.

Use Free Will to Join with Our Brother

“But one was needed to end the separation, and in this one are all the rest joined. For what alone in all creation could be affected by your free will but your own self? But one was needed to, of his own free will, join his will with his Father’s for it to be done for all. This is all correction or atonement means, and all that is in need of your acceptance. Join your brother who made this choice for all and you are reunited with the Christ in you.” (ACOL, C:12.14)

Jesus frequently speaks of “one” when he is getting us to understand that we need only join with our brother—one brother—to effect salvation for all. He makes a similar statement in the Manual of A Course in Miracles, that one individual only was needed to bring atonement to all the world. And many of us see that one as Jesus himself, 2000 years ago. But Jesus does not take anything unto himself that cannot be exemplified in each of us, in this day and time. Elsewhere he says that there is nothing that he has that all of us cannot have, only that he has nothing else, that what he has is potential in us.

We use our free will, a our real will that is one with God’s, to join with our brothers and sisters. We make the decision to forgive and to join. And we are never the same after this. Anything that the other can do is not sufficient to rue our choice to join with him or her. We always forgive, knowing that nothing bad has actually happened, that we are lost in illusion and so bad things don’t affect us, with this understanding.

So we, each of us, find our way home by loving our brother, by walking hand in hand with our brother in holy relationship.

CHAPTER 6: ATONEMENT IN A COURSE OF LOVE

Atonement Is Correction of Errors in Perception

“Being willing to be forgiven is the precursor of atonement, the state in which you allow your errors to be corrected for you. These errors are not the sins you hold against yourself, but merely your errors in perception. Correction, or atonement, returns you to your natural state where true vision lies and error and sin disappear.” (C:9.35)

We have long worked with our perception, because we perceive an erroneous world, a world of illusion. We project outward this erroneous world, this world of dreams, illusions.

Jesus would have us here return to our natural state, “where true vision lies and error and sin disappear.” This true vision has nothing to do with the physical eyes; it is a sense of inward rightness with God, a sense of inward justification with the inner Self, or Christ. A Course in Miracles said that true vision would follow once we had perceptually seen little edges of light around the same familiar objects that we have always seen. ACIM continues to say that true vision will follow shortly afterwards, shortly after seeing these little edges of light.

Now we are moving into a relinquishment, finally and completely, of the ego. And when we have done this, our true vision will take the place of what we have viewed before. Our physical eyes will still see the same familiar world, but our inner vision will have been transformed.

This transformation is what we are all seeking, the Christ-consciousness that Jesus is trying to effect in A Course of Love. Christ-consciousness is enlightenment, called Awakening in A Course in Miracles. The transformation is the same.

A Dawning of Psychic Attunement

“God gives special gifts to His teachers, because they have a special role in His plan for Atonement. Their specialness is, of course, only temporary; set in time as a means of leading out of time. (M-4.1)”

We will develop some new abilities as we ease into our new role as the saviors of humankind. These include psychic abilities, which Jesus makes clear in this section of the Manual for Teachers. But this is not a reason to be prideful; we know that pride is false, that it is an egoic reaction. And we are quickly moving beyond the ego. We are moving beyond desire to be “special.” We simply want to live peaceably, in happiness and with a sharing of the gifts that have come so easily to us.

As time passes, all of us will come to see that the special abilities that we develop now are not a means of raising us higher than our brother. They are a means of saving our brother, once he has given us the nod that he would like to know how we received the light that seems to be in us now.

All God’s gifts will one day be shared equally among all His children (an idea from A Course in Miracles). We therefore have absolutely no reason to allow jealous feelings to rear their heads. We need not to allow the ego that much of a toehold in our emerging consciousness of God’s plan for salvation.

Salvation and Atonement Are for Everybody

“The circle of Atonement has no end.” (T-14.V.7)

We are all included in the Atonement. Nobody is outside, because we are all holding hands in a circle. If anybody were outside the circle, the Atonement principle would be broken for all.

And God does not allow that to happen. He saves all his children.

This phrase, “circle of Atonement,” has been selected by one of the organizations teaching A Course in Miracles, and a link to that site is in the blogroll (sidebar to this blog).

Forgiveness Makes for Happiness

“The happy learners of the Atonement become the teachers of the innocence that is the right of all that God created. (T-14.V.3)”

We are these “happy learners.” And we are innocent, something that we don’t naturally think about as a trait of ourselves. We are so used to thinking of ourselves as guilty, but elsewhere Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that we are guiltless. That we have made mistakes is clear, but only in illusion, and only in a mad state of mind (listening to the ego).

When we follow the way of Atonement, we see innocence everywhere. When we are attacked, we see a brother calling for help, asking for love. And we overlook the hurtful way in which he is speaking. We don’t get hurt, because we recognize, on some level, that he is not responsible for what he is saying. It is madness speaking. Just insanity. And then we offer forgiveness, for what other way is there to help, what other way to love?

All of us have a right to see ourselves as innocent. Only when we can contemplate that this must be true are we in league with the Holy Spirit. Before that, seeing ourselves as guilty, we are cut off from our Source in God. Accepting the Atonement, accepting the correction in our thought processes that is necessary, we fulfill the requirements for salvation. We are saved. We are at home in God. And He will act quickly to raise us up to a new type of consciousness, a type that will surprise us and make us ever-joyous: Awakening.

Holy Spirit Speaks to Us through Intuition

“The Holy Spirit is the Mind of the Atonement. (T-5.I.6)”

The Holy Spirit is the Essence, the means by which we are guided to accept Atonement. He is the Voice for God, the Universal Inspiration. His way back is the one that we follow to a whole new beginning in life. Salvation is ours, and soon (we hope) after that, Awakening is ours as well.

The Holy Spirit was created to lead us back home. According to ACIM, He didn’t exist prior to the illusory separation of us, God’s children. He was the Answer, even as Jesus became the entity in charge of first carrying out plans that would save others.

The Holy Spirit speaks to us through intuition, nudges and hints, deep feelings that just won’t go away, a chance word from another that takes on unusual meaning for us. His ways of guidance are manifold, but of one thing we may be sure: He chooses ways that we ourselves, though no one else (in all probability) will recognize as right for us. He knows us intimately; he knows what we are ready to hear. And he chooses our part in the plan through a knowledge of that which we have which will most benefit the world.

We never have any reason to fear what the Holy Spirit tells us. We only have to listen and follow. The life we develop will be beyond our wildest imaginings.

The Holy Spirit’s Part in Atonement

“The Holy Spirit is described throughout the course as giving us the answer to the separation and bringing the plan of the Atonement to us, establishing our particular part in it and showing us exactly what it is. He established Jesus as the leader in carrying out His plan since he was the first to complete his own part perfectly. . . .The Atonement principle was given to the Holy Spirit long before Jesus set it in motion. (C-6.2)”

This quotation is from the last part of the manual, a section entitled, “Clarification of Terms.” It speaks of Jesus in the third person, unlike the rest of A Course in Miracles.

This statement affirms Jesus as the leader in the Atonement, and establishes the Holy Spirit as our guidance in coming to know our role. God Himself is elsewhere said to have established the plan at the moment that some of us stepped into separation, establishing the guidance of His Voice, the Holy Spirit, as our way back home. (The separation itself is said to have happened over millions of years, and it may take millions of years for our return, and maybe even longer.)

We are at the cusp of the movement, and it does behoove those of us fortunate enough to have A Course in Miracles to listen well and long. We can make a difference. We can shorten the time that others spend in a worn-out, tired, world, lost to themselves and to God through a false self that we call the ego. Lost in insanity, madness. Lost in illusion. This all sounds quite depressing, and indeed it would be, overwhelmingly so, if there weren’t a quick restorative. There is a way out, and Jesus is carefully explaining the means to us. We are fortunate indeed. Let’s not forget that.

But this is not a time for self-righteousness, which would be an egoic mistake. We don’t pat ourselves on the back that we are among those who understand what others have wanted to understand, and didn’t. We share what we have learned, if our brothers are open to listening. We quietly give them a smile, courteous behavior and respectful company, if they don’t. The fact that we are among the first puts a great responsibility on us. But we walk amiss if we think this makes us special. We are not special. No child of God has anything that is not available to all others.

The Holy Spirit will guide us into a clear mind and an open heart. Then God Himself will Awaken us. Then salvation, as Jesus describes, will really finally be here. Atonement will have worked.

The Atonement Is the Perfect Lesson

“The Atonement is therefore the perfect lesson. It is the final demonstration that all the other lessons I taught are true. (T-3.I.7)”

This is Jesus talking, at least as believed by most of us who follow A Course in Miracles. When we accept Atonement as he describes it in ACIM, we know that he speaks aright. And we recognize that his means for salvation is correct. We know, in our inner being, that we are saved for a higher purpose, and we go about seeking to share, within reason, that higher purpose, listening, always, to the Holy Spirit for advice on what to do. Our part in Atonement is always being told to us, and it is not an odious part. We don’t have to struggle and work hard; the part that we take is perfectly fitted to our talents and abilities, as well as our experience in this world.

Jesus may be speaking in these words also about his earthly life, but he doesn’t make it clear to us. The lessons that he teaches in A Course in Miracles are yet to come, because this quotation comes from the very beginning of the Text. It therefore seems reasonable that he is talking about what is given in the New Testament about his life. His lessons were frequently parables, because people were not yet able to understand anything further (and often they did not understand the parables). His lessons in A Course in Miracles are sometimes dense, and appear complicated to the uninitiated, but once one has studied the whole of ACIM, the simplicity of the central concepts becomes apparent.

The way is smooth, the lives that we live, improved. Atonement works, as defined by Jesus. We forgive, we listen for guidance from the Holy Spirit, and we stay close to God as we understand Him. In this we have the correction that we have needed to have previously in our lives.

Miracles and the Atonement and Us

”I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement. You have a role in the Atonement which I will dictate to you. (T-1.III.4)”

Jesus makes the decision about which miracles we ought to perform. This is under his guidance. Strangely, he doesn’t place this responsibility under the Holy Spirit, but under he himself. And he holds our hand as we walk along.

Because Jesus is in charge of the Atonement, we know from him what he would have us do. Here the Holy Spirit also helps, making our way smooth and easy. We are assured that our tasks will be gentle, easy, that we will not have tough labors to carry out. This in itself is so different from the difficult way that our ego has governed us previously. We struggled so, thinking there was no other way to live our life. And we were so wrong. So very wrong.

Ask Jesus, in our minds, what role he would have us play in the Atonement. I don’t know how he is able to clone himself to answer everyone’s needs, but he has said many things that seem incomprehensible. We need to ask, and when the answer comes, we will be reassured about what its source has been.

All of us has a role in the Atonement. And that role will include miracles that Jesus has encouraged us to do. But we don’t make our own decisions about miracles that we think are needed. We don’t know enough to do that; it is not our purpose or role. We look to Jesus for the nod that tells us what to do. Consciously selected miracles are apt to be misguided. So we let the inner essence of ourselves decide, with Jesus, what to say and do, what miracles to perform.

Then all is well.

Jesus Is in Charge of the Atonement

“I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. T-1.III.1)”

This quotation simply places Jesus at the center. He is our way, just as we learned in the New Testament. We do not know when Jesus “began” the Atonement, but we know that he culminated the first part in his resurrection, a miracle that we can’t begin to comprehend (and Jesus does not spell it out for us in A Course in Miracles, though he never denies it).

And Atonement is a process, of this we can be sure. We add our parts to the Atonement, making a chain that will be unbroken, a chain that allows salvation for all. All will eventually find our way back, though it may take millions of years (Jesus says this). But as long as the process has started, we can rest easy, because the end is certain.
All return to God. All end the dream of separation, the illusory mad idea of a reality in which we have erroneously believed.

Do we have part in the Atonement, or did Jesus do it all? We do have a part, in that we have a part in salvation, and salvation and Atonement are very linked in our faith. Jesus’s part is to be our leader, at least for those of us who have agreed to see him as leader. He makes a choice to bring us all home to God, and we ourselves know that this is our crying need.

We owe a lot to Jesus. And he says that he will hold our hand on the way back to God.

CHAPTER 5: JESUS’S ROLE IN ATONEMENT

Jesus Cancels Errors that We Cannot

“My part in the Atonement is the cancelling out of all errors that you could not otherwise correct. When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. (T-1.III.1)”

Here Jesus specifies that he cancels out the errors that we can’t. What a gift! And how very reassuring this word is. We don’t have to be perfect; Jesus is perfect for us. He rectifies what we could not. He finds a way to restore us to God and to our Self, and this Self is our original state, before illusory separation entered our picture.

We will, once this restoration has been effected, take our part in Atonement. We will reach out to others in a sharing that is as comprehensive as it is all-loving. We have a part to play, and we will be told (by the Holy Spirit) what that part is. We do not have to thrash about in mystery, lost in a fog. We will receive explicit instructions when we are ready to listen to guidance. And having accepted Atonement for ourselves, we will be open to receiving all the guidance that the Holy Spirit is wont to make.

The Atonement Is Healing of All Forms of Sickness

“The offer of Atonement is universal. It is equally applicable to all individuals in all circumstances. And in it is the power to heal all individuals of all forms of sickness. (M-22.6)”

This quotation may seem hard to believe, because we have known saintly people who had emotional or physical illnesses that were never cured, regardless of their saintliness. Jesus says elsewhere in the Manual that to doubt healing because of the presence of continuing symptoms is not the way to go. The healing will be received when one is ready. In the meantime, we don’t try to repeat healing ceremonies or to imagine that the healing has not occurred because we see these lingering symptoms. The all-inclusive nature of healing is a healing that Jesus sees as inevitable. And God would brook no compromise in this pristine view of healing. We ask for healing, and it comes—despite physical evidence to the contrary. Only time separates, now, the request for healing and its culmination in a healed mind and body.

Perhaps an individual chooses now to leave this world. Most lay down the body through some illness. Is this a problem? Not as Jesus sees it. We give up the body when its usefulness is done, nothing more. We do not lose; we step into eternity.
All individuals have access to Atonement. It is a universal call. And it applies to all. God’s ways may seem mysterious, but they are that only in our own limited understanding. The truth of Atonement, a call to everybody, everywhere, stands over and above any doubts that we might have about its all-inclusiveness.

Jesus’s statements about Atonement and healing are in what might be termed the “ideal” interpretation of A Course in Miracles. We are not yet ready to see all forms of sickness disappear, including but not limited to physical healings. Sometimes we are not yet ready to see emotional healing. But we can know, on some level, that when we accept Atonement, this healing has come to us.

These are not easy statements. Jesus, though, accepts no compromise. Let us walk as far along into his interpretation as we can. We have not “failed” if we remain ill. We have just, so far, walked as far as we can. Jesus is concerned about our minds, and our minds may be healed even though our illusory bodies still show symptoms.

This is not a contradiction.

The Release from Guilt by Guiltlessness

“The crucifixion had no part in the Atonement. Only the resurrection became my part in it. That is the symbol of the release from guilt by guiltlessness. (T-14.V.10)”

This quotation states categorically what I have explained earlier. Here Jesus says it himself: the crucifixion did not atone; the resurrection did. The resurrection was achieved by one (Jesus) who was guiltless, and in this act he symbolized for us what is the reality for us: We live in an eternity. We never die. We simply move from one dimension to another. We live in the Now, the present, with time an illusion that nevertheless allows us to experience life in this world.

This assertion flies in the face of traditional Christianity. But Jesus is not trying to be controversial. The idea of a God who required His only Son to die in order that we might live suggests egoic tendencies in our God. And that, according to A Course in Miracles, would be impossible, for the ego is mad, and God is sane. Our God, even of the New Testament, is a loving God, and how might he require of His perfect Son such a sacrifice?

I have long believed that Jesus saw in the sacrifice of small birds and animals in his day the germ of an idea that might draw all men and women to him. If a human being who had helped many, healed many, and was believed by many to be the Christ, were to die—would this not be a sacrifice to end all sacrifices? Would this not be what would draw all men, steeped in the ego, to him?

But what he actually did was put an end to the idea of death. He does not make clear what survived the cross. He notes that he died, but he doesn’t say that his resurrection was physical or ethereal. He leaves that to our discretion to decide. He allows us to see the truth as we need to see it.

Jesus is always practical in A Course in Miracles. If he delved into controversy, he would divide his students. And he has no wish to do that.

It is enough just to see that Jesus’s leadership of the Atonement was made certain by the resurrection, not the crucifixion. This will be enough for us to contemplate.

Everyone Has a Special Part to Play in the Atonement

“Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless. (T-14.V.2)”

When we fell away into our illusion of separation, we did not do anything that is unforgivable, and therefore we do not, actually, have anything to feel guilty about.

We find this hard to believe. Jesus notes elsewhere that we think that we are deep in sin, terrible things, from which we cannot be redeemed. We think that what we have done is so dark that God Himself could not look upon us with love. Of course, we don’t say these things very often, because our traditional religions have taught us otherwise. Yet the lingering doubt about our goodness still clings to us, wherever we go and whatever we do. We try to justify ourselves by good behavior, sometimes behavior made in fighting against sin, but we find that this doesn’t work very well. So what are we to do now?

We take the part that God has assigned to us in the Atonement. We take the part that says we are really guiltless. A Course in Miracles becomes our way home, for those of us who read it faithfully and who take the Workbook lessons. We move into Awakening, and then we know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that what Jesus has been telling us in ACIM is true. We have made mistakes only in illusion, and so those mistakes are not only forgivable, they never actually happened in truth.

We move to the real world in an Awakened state, letting others know, in whatever way we are led, that they too are guiltless. We accept with finality that Jesus knows what he is talking about in ACIM. Our love takes on the fervor of what God feels, if only in a minute amount. God’s Love, being all-encompassing, is so far beyond what we can feel that our feelings pale in comparison. Yet we do get a glimpse of what His love is like. And with that we commune with Him in silence, our communication with Him restored.

Life following the Holy Spirit Is “in the Flow”

“The Holy Spirit is God’s Answer to the separation; the means by which the Atonement heals until the whole mind returns to creating. (T-5.II.2)”

This is what these quotations in this Atonement series have been leading up: the primacy of the Holy Spirit. We follow His guidance, and thus we know what to do every minute and every second. Life assumes a flow, an easy flow—and life becomes easy. Which of us would not like that?

How do we hear the Holy Spirit? He speaks in a myriad of ways, but a personal “feeling” is the way that He speaks most often. We have earlier called this intuition, and we would be right to think of it in this secular fashion if it makes us more comfortable. The Holy Spirit nudges; He does not command. We are led to think, “Wouldn’t this make me happier?” The Holy Spirit often speaks through our sense of happiness, for is not happiness something that Jesus has said is our function?

The whole mind will return to creating when we have embodied the Self. This is the mind that we enjoy when we have Awakened. This is the mind that we all want, and, indeed, that we deserve to have.

A close following of the guidance of the Holy Spirit will bring that Awakening (chosen by God) sooner rather than later.

CHAPTER 4: ATONEMENT AND HEALING

Jesus Is in Charge of the Atonement

“I have said before that I am in charge of the Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man, and can now complete it through others. My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting. (T-4.VI.6)”

This is an exact statement from Jesus that he is in charge of the Atonement, that he is our leader. God has so chosen him, we have so chosen him, and he accepts that designation.

When we falter, he will right our posture. We will do it right, with the guidance that Jesus sends to us. We don’t have to question our abilities; we need perhaps to question our dedication. When dedication is strong, and motivation is strong, with Jesus’s help we cannot fail.

Jesus says elsewhere that his part in the Atonement 2,000 years ago was the resurrection, not the crucifixion. This statement is in direct contrast to what traditional Christianity has long taught. But he wasn’t “punished” because we “were bad”! He actually says this in ACIM! He asserts that the wholly benign view of his part is lost when we cling to the rugged cross.

The cross, according to Jesus, just displayed his defenselessness, the fact that he made no move to attack his betrayers overtly. This, he says, is a benign lesson. But we get lost when we think that a savage God required sacrifice of a good man, of a perfect man. We get lost, and we blame God for such a travesty. We cannot imagine requiring such of our children, and that is the only reference that we have.

Jesus says, in other words, that the theology that we have been taught has it all wrong. He proved eternal life by his resurrection, though nowhere does he say how his resurrection actually happened. He does not say if it was a physical resurrection or an ethereal one. And we can only guess, or something more if guidance leads us to a different answer.

We need to follow Jesus’s lead. He says that we can imagine that he is holding our hand, and that this imagery will be no “idle fantasy.”

He is right here, with us. We can’t understand how this is true, but we can believe that someone who had it so right about so much (as exemplified by A Course in Miracles, our lodestone) must have it right again.

Atonement Was Planned Eons Ago, at the Point of Need

“It was only after the separation that the Atonement and the conditions necessary for its fulfillment were planned. (T-2.II.4)”

We thought that we separated from God, and the separation itself, for the myriad of us, happened over millions of years (according to A Course in Miracles). The return will happen, similarly, over millions of years—or maybe longer (as we are also told). But in that moment when the first entities (that’s us) separated from God, had the “tiny, mad idea” about which we “forgot to laugh,” in that instant did God provide the Answer. We can imagine that entities got involved in the planning for Atonement and the conditions necessary for its fulfillment. But we cannot know. Divine guidance led the way, of that we can be sure.

So we move into healing, finally healing, after we have separated. And the Atonement, and Jesus’s leadership in it, were planned. We are just now making our way back. The conditions for Awakening have not been propitious for the 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth. But things are improving now. We are very weary of this weary world. And, like Helen and Bill, who scribed ACIM, we know that there is another way. We know that this other way is better.

And so we sign on to it.

We can’t know if the conditions will be ripe for each of us to experience Awakening this time around, this lifetime. And we are encouraged in ACIM not to speculate about reincarnation, because this would be a separating factor between us—some who believe in reincarnation would turn off those who don’t, and vice versus. We are told that we live in the Now, the present, and so reincarnation cannot be the issue, now or in the future. It would only divide us theologically, and Jesus doesn’t want that. So we are to focus on this moment in time. And we are to do our part, whatever we are led to understand, for salvation. Each of us does have a part, however great or however small, and it behooves us to ask God’s Voice, the Holy Spirit, what that part is. He will answer, and He will answer as soon as we are ready to hear. He is presumably just as eager for us to ask as we are to hear the Answer.

So we move into healing the separation. And we don’t dwell on how long it might take, though “millions” of years sounds depressing, on first hearing of it. But we can, each of us, only live one moment at a time, and Jesus encourages us to be happy in that moment. Happiness is one of the several functions that he attributes to us. (The others are forgiveness and salvation.)

Ask for healing today. We can do more for others when we ourselves have gotten right with God. Indeed, we can do little until we have gotten this fundamental issue of our relationship to God, settled. The Divine is within and surrounding us, according to A Course in Miracles. He is not distant. He is nearer than our heartbeat; we are part of Him. And in this understanding do we know a serenity that may elude us previously.

Healing is always for today. The Now is our point of entry, according to Eckhart Tolle, enlightened spiritual teacher of our time.

The Holy Spirit and the Atonement Will Resolve Problem Areas

“The progress of the teacher of God may be slow or rapid, depending on whether he recognizes the Atonement’s inclusiveness, or for a time excludes some problem areas from it. In some cases, there is a sudden and complete awareness of the perfect applicability of the lesson of the Atonement in all situations, but this is comparatively rare. (M-22.2)”

The solution that Atonement offers to us in trying to get out of the mess that we have made is to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We often don’t want to do so, because we think that following Another’s guidance is personally insulting. (Jesus says this in ACIM.) We need to exclude no “problem areas” in our lives. The Holy Spirit can really help us in every respect when we bar Him nowhere, but let Him in willingly and with gladness.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that there is a way to know how to do and say whatever is right? That we don’t have to wander in darkness anymore?

The benefits are great; the drawbacks missing entirely. Let us try to encompass as much willingness in opening to the Holy Spirit as is humanly possible.

Then our trust will grow, as we see that the Holy Spirit’s way is best.

From time to time, we will recognize that all problems areas are resolved when turned over to the Holy Spirit, when we recognize guidance. Some will recognize this resolution all the time, but Jesus says that this reaction is rare. We need to enlarge our perspectives, to recognize that regardless of how angry we get, the Holy Spirit can take that anger and dissipate it. Many people get angry only when stressed, and this is something to consider. But virtually all of us live with stress every day; our lives are sometimes consumed by stress. And so stress is not a good excuse.

We need God’s help, and this He gives when we submerge our emotions in the largess of His greatness.

Do so today, and so if problems don’t disappear likes mists in the sun.

Atonement Solves ALL Problems

“The teacher of God has taken accepting the Atonement for himself as his only function. (M-22.1)”

We know that Jesus in A Course in Miracles often talks of our function, and he uses different labels: forgiveness, salvation, happiness. Here he says that our function is accepting Atonement. Jesus is equating all these terms, and may he not do so with impunity? We know that we cannot do little for this world or for God when we are lost in mistakes, following an egoic pathway to nowhere. The only thing left for us to take our place among the saviors of the world is to accept correction, and this is what Atonement is all about.

Are all of us really “saviors”? We don’t think of ourselves this way, mainly because to do so sounds so very egotistical. Yet Jesus would say that we all have a place in salvation, that we all have something to do—once we have gotten on our own pathway and are trying to live a good life in religious terms.

I don’t see myself as a “savior,” because it does seem too egotistical. A word like savior is reserved for Jesus, to my mind. Yet he welcomes us to do what we can, and if we can save another, that too is very, very good.

We need to realize that sometimes what we think is egotism is actually the ego telling us that we are being egotistical, thinking that it [the ego] will reel us in.

We don’t want to be reeled in. We want to following the footsteps of Jesus, helping others to the best of our abilities. We want to live good lives, following the highest and best that we know.

Let us seek to understand what our function really is today. It may be forgiveness, salvation, happiness, accepting Atonement. All are one in Jesus’s eyes, for he melds all of our life here on earth into something that can save us. And we reach out to others, trying to encourage their good sense to rise up and follow the ways of Jesus as well.

The day holds promise, if we practice the functions that Jesus has given to us in these words of A Course in Miracles. Let us ask that this day will hold promise for us. Let us thrust aside tiredness and jadedness, and walk into the sunlight with Jesus.

Accept Atonement and Find Healing

“Partial Atonement is a meaningless idea, just as special areas of hell in Heaven are inconceivable. Accept Atonement and you are healed. Atonement is the Word of God. Accept His Word and what remains to make sickness possible? Accept His Word and every miracle has been accomplished. (M-22.1)”

“Accept Atonement and you are healed.” A glorious statement, but do we really believe it?

This healing is, of course, healing of the mind, for the body is an outgrowth of the mind and is illusory (as are its sicknesses). We cannot choose this healing just a little bit, a partial Atonement, for this makes no sense, and it is sense that we are after now.

We are in Heaven now, but we often don’t recognize this, and so we make hell for ourselves. But this hell is illusory, along with this world that gave such an idea birth.

If we accept God at His Word, we will know that our healing is immediate, not a matter of time at all. We are well, we have rescued minds, and we are now following God’s way. What more could we really ask?

Accept Atonement, Choose Miracles, & Offer Healing

“This [being a teacher of God as a channel for healing] is what is really meant by the statement that the one responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself. (M-7.3)”

We cannot heal if we have not accepted the Atonement for ourselves. Any healing that might occur will be temporary, lacking in staying power. But we can invite miracles as one who accepts Atonement. And these miracles are forever, with healing often being an aspect of the miracle.

So we have to do only one thing if we wish to be miracle workers. Do we so wish? I think all of us do, and certain all of us who have read this far. We have no choice. We must accept Atonement for ourselves. We must have expressed the willingness to have all our mistakes undone for us—and this will come about through the grace of the Holy Spirit, whose guidance we now follow.

We need more healing in our lamentable world. So sorrowful, so downhearted, so violent. This world needs our help, needs a healing.

Let’s do what we can today by first vowing to be willing to have all our mistakes corrected.

What Am I? Accept Atonement and You Will Know

“I will accept Atonement for myself. Here is the end of choice. For here we come to a decision to accept ourselves as God created us. And what choice except uncertainty of what we are? There is no doubt that is not rooted here. There is no question but reflects this one. There is no conflict that does not entail the single, simple question, ‘What am I?” (WB-139)”

We fail to sustain our Awakening when we allow self-doubt to walk into our minds. This is the all-important secret, the reason that accepting Atonement as a reconciled child of God is so important.

We have long wondered about what we really are. This quotation makes this clear, though we know if also from our personal experience. This quotation also recommends that we leave this uncertainty behind. If we accept Atonement, accept the correction that we need, what is there to be uncertain about?

Nothing. We are home free at last.

Start Walking the Right Pathway, Led by the Holy Spirit

“Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God’s Son. (WB-101)”

At this point we need to take a look at the contents of our minds. Do we still believe that we are failures,that we don’t measure up, that we are not “good” enough? These beliefs will drag us down like nothing else.

We are not devils at all. We are good people, children of God, who have only made mistakes. And in many cases, these mistakes are correctable. Even when not correctable, the mistakes are, and always will be, forgivable.

We have nothing to fear. God is on our side. The only thing that we have to do is to accept the Atonement, the correction, so that we start walking the right pathway. We choose to do things aright, and in that choice we find our way home again. The Holy Spirit guides us when we are willing to listen. And that is the secret: Listening to guidance.

A Part of Heaven Is Laid in Our Relationships

“Before a holy relationship there is no sin. The form of error is no longer seen, and reason, joined with love, looks quietly on all confusion, observing merely, ‘This was a mistake.’ And then the same Atonement you accepted in your relationship corrects the error, and lays a part of Heaven in its place. How blessed are you who let this gift be given!” (T-22.VI.5)

We can easily accept Atonement when we accept it through our special relationships turned holy. A holy relationship, we are told, is a means of saving time. And when we turn to our brother, overlooking his mistakes as just mistakes (not sins), then we see Heaven itself in our relationship. We have walked further toward the grace that is always held out to us.

We have been confused when we fail to overlook mistakes in our brother. Of course, overlooking is hard when we believe ourselves to have really been attacked, and to have suffered from this attack. But to think in such a way is to compound the error, the mistake.

Our brother had only attacked us because his mind is lost in illusion, and we ourselves are attached to that illusion as well. Our real Self has not been harmed in any way. We are intact. And being intact, we can show our brother an innocent face, a face that has not been hurt, and in the showing of this unhurt face, our brother will receive (as do we) a part of Heaven itself.

Lifted Out of Pain and Destruction by the Atonement

“No one accepts Atonement for himself who still accepts sin as his goal. You have thus not met your one responsibility. Atonement is not welcomed by those who prefer pain and destruction. (T-18.VII.1)”

We are lost in pain and destruction when we remain oblivious to Atonement, or correction. We are caught in an imprisoned will, a will that because of our insanity in the ego, does not know any better way to do anything. This imprisoned will also doesn’t know how to correct itself.

There remains only one option, to look to another as our source of correction, and Jesus tells us in A Course in Miracles that he is in charge of the Atonement. For those of us who have chosen Jesus as our leader, this is the answer. We accept correction from the one, Jesus, whom we have come to love. We don’t wander, mindlessly, in madness any longer.

If we think that we are giving up our free will by choosing Atonement, we will muddle along in pain and destruction for eons more (maybe). We will be like adolescent children, still in rebellion against our Parent, God. We need to realize that we don’t want to do wrong things, we don’t want to make the mistakes that we, in our befuddled attitudes, will think are sinful. When we sin deliberately, we will think that we are cutting ourselves off from God. And we will feel guilty. And we will be lost in pain and destruction.

Give up this insanity today. There is another way, a better way. And Jesus is pointing it out to us in ACIM. We turn from our mistakes, with the help of guidance, and we walk in the pathway toward salvation by recognizing that we need help. We recognize that we did not make ourselves, God created us, and we cannot save ourselves either. We need Someone Who knows better, and that Someone is God’s Voice, the Holy Spirit. He will guide us very gently out of the morass, and we will soon—yes, soon—be home at last.

The Holy Spirit Guides Us to Fulfill Our Part in Atonement

“Your part is only to offer Him [Holy Spirit] a little willingness to let Him remove all fear and hatred, and to be forgiven. On your little faith, joined with His understanding, He will build your part in the Atonement and make sure that you fulfill it easily. (T-18.V.2)”

Once we have accepted Atonement, we will want to share what we have discovered. We are encouraged to leave our part up to the Holy Spirit, Who alone can guide us rightly. We will realize that we don’t have to “do” anything, that we are accepted by God exactly as we are. But we will want to do something. And this quotation tells us how to make decisions about what that something will be.

It is exactly what our decisions have been prior to accepting Atonement, if we are following A Course in Miracles. We learn in the Manual that we need to turn over our erroneous judgments (and all are erroneous) to the Holy Spirit. We need to let Him make our decisions for us, even in the little things.

Not many of us follow this guidance to the letter, but those who do lead charmed lives. All of our decisions become right when we follow our guidance. What more could we ask? Would we not all want to lead charmed lives?

We will fulfill our part in Atonement easily, because it is through the Holy Spirit that we will act. Our conflicts and our struggles, our times of discontent and ennui—all are part of the egoic past. Struggle is not part of God’s plan for our transformed lives.

Please reread the quotation and be glad. And say a little prayer of thanksgiving.

Purification Is of God Alone, but for Us

“In preparing for the holy instant, do not attempt to make yourself holy to be ready to receive it. That is but to confuse your role with God. Atonement cannot come to those who think that they must first atone, but only to those who offer it nothing more than simple willingness to make way for it. Purification is of God alone, and therefore for you. (T-18.IV.5)”

This is another of the very reassuring passages in A Course in Miracles. We don’t need to “do” anything to “get ready” for Atonement. We just need to be open to receive. God will do the rest. He makes the decision about when we are ready for enlightenment, Awakening. He (metaphorically) reaches down to lift us up, and then nothing is ever the same again—nothing, that is, if we sustain the Awakening. We will in all likelihood have glimpses of Awakening from time to time before we will respond wholeheartedly enough to sustain what is happening to us.

Nobody can tell you what Awakening is really like, until those glimpses have come. Jesus does say one thing of great importance, the dawning on our minds at this point that “I need do nothing!” This is a masterful signal to our minds and hearts that God does not require things of us. He only wants us as we were created to be. We will want to do things for God, once we are Awakened, but we will know that nothing takes the place of the glorious sense that we are accepted just as we are, because we don’t have to merit anything.

Those Who Accept the Atonement Know Invulnerability

“Those who accept the Atonement are invulnerable. (T-14.III.10)”

Often we think that vulnerability is to be desired, that it makes us more loving people, more willing to share. But is there not fear in this? We don’t have to feel vulnerability to be loving. This quotation actually indicates just the opposite. We will, of course, be more loving to ourselves and others when we have accepted the Atonement for ourselves, and in this, Jesus says, we will be invulnerable. What a promise!

What does it mean to be invulnerable? It know that nothing can harm us. In the cosmology of ACIM, it says that we are living in an insane and illusory world in which the attacks of others do not harm us because they are not true. This sense of invulnerability will protect us from the slings and arrows that only seem to hurt us. In actuality, these slings and arrows do nothing.

Forgive Your Brother and the Atonement Is Mutual

“He [your brother, everyone] can do nothing that can hurt you, and by refusing to allow him to think he can, you tell him that the Atonement, which you have accepted for yourself, is also his. There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt the Son of God. His guilt is wholly without cause, and being without cause, cannot exist. (T-14.III.7)”

Our true reality has not been affected by hurts, pain, suffering inflicted on us in this illusory world. Our brother has not really hurt us in any actually “true” way. It is all madness.

It sometimes helps, when a brother is attacking us, to think, “This is insanity. He is just being insane.” This is the absolute truth, and saying this type of understanding, silently, touches our hearts with the truth, and we can overlook what is happening. Because nothing has actually happened, in truth, there is nothing to forgive. But forgiveness is the one illusion that doesn’t build on others. Our forgiveness in this illusory world paves the way for the true reality, the real world. And our forgiveness softens our heart toward our brother.

In this quotation, Jesus is speaking on the level that to forgive is not even required, because nothing real has happened. Sometimes, in A Course in Miracles, Jesus speaks on another level, when he encourages us to forgive as the pathway to salvation. On this other level, forgiveness is seen as our function in this illusory, ruled by the ego of both ourselves and that of our brother.

In Accepting Atonement, Give Up Guilt and Its Madness

“When you have accepted the Atonement for yourself, you will realize there is no guilt in God’s Son. (T-13.I.6)”

We give up guilt by accepting correction, by accepting the Atonement! So this gives us motivation indeed. We don’t realize yet that it is guilt that has driven us mad (though A Course in Miracles tells us this). We easily and willingly will give up guilt when we know that there is a better way to live. We think that we are not good enough, that we have made sinful mistakes that keep us from being justified. But our mistakes are imminently forgivable. Jesus tells us that our concept of a mistake as a sin is largely causing us all of our misperceptions.

We think that we are guilty of deep, dark wrongs that can, in truth, never be corrected. But this is not so.
We know that mistakes are correctable, even in our deluded world. At least some mistakes. And Jesus says that all mistakes are forgivable.

What more do we really need to know? Isn’t this motivation the real reason that we are intrigued with the concept of Atonement?

Mind Returns to Full Creation when Atonement Is Accepted

“Your mind does make your future, and it will turn it back to full creation at any minute if it accepts the Atonement first. It will also return to full creation the instant it has done so. Having given up its disordered thought, the proper ordering of thought becomes quite apparent. (T-5.V.8)”

This quotation is, I think, very important to the theology of A Course in Miracles, and it may be easily overlooked. We do “make” our future by projecting from within, but our better nature, once we accept Atonement, is to “create” our future in the real world, the one that isn’t all illusion. This real world comes into being as we approach Awakening.

Our minds have had disordered thought, in that our thought has really been insane. All of us are afflicted with insanity to one degree or another. The insanity starts leaving as we follow along the pathway to return home to God. But not by death. We return home to God by fulfilling the purposes for which He created us. We fulfill the function of salvation, forgiveness, happiness—for all of these are actually one.

Our minds will work right to create a new future when we have given up our insane desire to control reality (as we perceive it). We do not at first perceive true reality, but illusions. And it is these that we give up as we follow the pathway of Atonement.

Share the Atonement when So Prompted

“My part in the Atonement is not complete until you join it and give it away. (T-5.IV.6)”

Jesus says repeatedly in A Course in Miracles that he is in charge of the Atonement, that his resurrection was the event that started the Atonement principle (not the crucifixion). He does not express any understanding for the skeptics among us about how his resurrection might have been a true happening. He never downplays his resurrection also. He simply assumes that, somehow, in some way, the resurrection happened, and it started the whole movement of Christianity that transpired from then on.

How do we “give away” the Atonement? We share. We don’t share indiscriminately, because we are not called to proselytize. We are told, in one vivid point, that sometimes a smile may be all that another person is ready to accept. Salvation has come for that moment.

Thus we accept the Atonement for ourselves; that is “joining” it. Then we give it away in whatever manner the Holy Spirit prompts. And when we are on the beam, we may give it away without even being aware of a special prompting. We will just act in line with Jesus’s plan, his plan of Atonement or correction to the ways of the world.

Become a Miracle Worker

“The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself. (T-2.V.5)”

This sets up reality for us. Our sole responsibility is to accept Atonement. And then we will become miracle workers by definition. What more could we ask?

We often think that we have to say and do many things to be “justified” in God’s sight. This is the idea that faith without works is dead, an idea from the New Testament. We will want to do the good works, when we have accepted Atonement, but we are not obligated to scurry about and seek to be do-gooders. The obligation that we have is somewhat milder; we seek to do good because we have seen the light. We know that this world needs us, and we seek to do for the people in it everything that we reasonably can.

It simplifies our lives to think that we have a “sole” responsibility. What joy! Just one thing to do! Would we want reality to be any different?

I think not. We get confused when we see too many “should’s” and “ought’s” before us. We don’t know which way to turn.

Turn only one way today: toward Atonement. Let the meaning of “undoing” wash over us. We need to undo the egoic notions that have preoccupied us in this life and for eons previously. This is not wishful thinking; it can happen, once and for all, today.

And we will be all the better for it, the best. This is not perfection as the world views perfection, but a loving gentleness that will embrace us and allow us to give unceasingly to this world.

The world calls to us. But we need do only one thing to prepare for this calling: Accept the Atonement.

And all will be well.

CHAPTER 3: ACCEPTING ATONEMENT FOR ONE’S SELF

Pain Can be Avoided

“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. T-2.III.3)”

God had to set limits on our ability to miscreate, or His universe(s) would be in jeopardy. This does seem to limit free will, but who in his right mind would depart from reality to find refuge in illusions, especially illusions that give pain and suffering? We don’t know the right things to do; we make all kinds of trouble for ourselves in our illusory world. Would God let that type of insane situation continue forever for his beloved children?

God, in my estimation, intervenes because he realizes that his children are lost in insanity. We departed from Him (or thought we did), in a “tiny, mad idea” about which we forgot to laugh. (This is from A Course in Miracles.) This tiny, mad idea started the chain of circumstances in which we find ourselves now. And we are in a dire place indeed. The Holy Spirit, God’s Voice, will guide us back to sanity if we will only listen. That is all we have to do: follow the promptings that come to us with courage, sure that Someone is making the right decision for us.

Our will is imprisoned because we are not following life according to the plan that God set up when He created us. In departing from that plan, we have found only misery, and the Holy Spirit would undo all the tragedy for us. Our free will, followed by us, will come to the conclusion that there is another way to live, surely a better way than the way that we have lived in the past. And in using free will to choose again, we use free will rightly. God surely must smile.

To Follow the Holy Spirit’s Guidance Is the Essence of Atonement

“To follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance is to let yourself be absolved of guilt. It is the essence of the Atonement. It is the core of the curriculum. The imagined usurping of functions not your own is the basis of fear. (M-29.3)”

If we follow the nudges and hunches that come to us, what we used to call “intuition,” and now we recognize as the Holy Spirit, we will realize that we are not placing ourselves, any longer, in control of our lives. This may sound terrifying at first, but it is the essence of Atonement, as Jesus says in this quotation. We have absolutely no reason to feel guilty if we are following a higher command. We know that we are not making the decisions that may get us into trouble with ourselves or with anybody else. We don’t get in trouble, actually, when we follow the Holy Spirit—even when we first imagine that things seems to be going awry.

We learn also in the Manual that the promptings that we follow may put us in what we believe to be an embarrassing situation. Yet Jesus says that this conclusion of ours is based on a shabby self-perception. We don’t have any reason to be embarrassed, even if the ways of this illusory world might seem to say that we do. The higher plan will take care of all contingencies.

It isn’t our function to choose what to do, to judge what to do. Our judgments can’t take into account all circumstances—past, present, and future—that would impinge on any decision. And somehow we recognize this. And we feel fear, for we know that we may be making a terrible mistake when we follow the judgments of our finite, egoic minds. This is why we feel fearful; we are judging what to do, and we know, in our depths, that when we choose what to say or do, we are judging awry.

This sounds extreme, does it not? I say, “Try it.” Listen to the gentle promptings from within, and be brave enough to follow. The proof is in the living out of the Holy Spirit’s guidance. This living out will make clear that this new way of living is the best way, the only way to find our way home to God.

Heaven Is Here Now

“Atonement might be equated with total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future. Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time. (M-24.6)”

This is a personal favorite from ACIM. Heaven is here. Yes! We don’t have to wait for an afterlife. We can create the Heaven that we want, once we have ceased making illusions. We “create” Heaven, as co-creators with God; but we “make” illusions when we are in our egoic minds.

And we aren’t so interested in the future, either here or in another world. We live very much in the Now.

Time is simultaneously Now. Time itself is an illusion meant to allow us to experience things. But we can slow down our pace sufficiently, and calm ourselves down, and enjoy the present. Many people find this experience very hard to come by in our over-pressured and over-complicated world.

Take mindful moments as we move through our days. We will become enamored of the most mundane things. The ordinary will soon become extraordinary, and the things that used to drive us up a wall will lose their power over us.

In Atonement We See in the Outer World What Finds a Place in Our Hearts

“Atonement corrects illusions, not truth. Therefore, it corrects what never was. (M-2.2)”

This is a central theme touched on earlier. The world that we see before Awakening is a projection; we are told repeatedly in A Course in Miracles that “projection makes perception.” We see in the outer world what finds a place in our hearts to see. We don’t see truth; we don’t see reality.

But when we accept Atonement, we are ready to move from illusions that we have projected onto what we see with our physical eyes. We have real vision, which is not something that the physical eyes see, but which is an inner light. This vision is often the face of Christ, though not always, and perhaps not even primarily.

So illusions are being corrected when we accept Atonement. And illusions were always illusions, and therefore never really existed at all in God’s truth and God’s reality. Not in the real world, as ACIM calls it.

We need to realize how pivotal Atonement really is to our peace of mind. We will never know joy and the absence of suffering until, on some level, we have cleared our minds of illusions, and live the real world that Jesus points out to us.
The real world comes quickly once illusions have been discarded, once Atonement has been accepted for real.

Atonement Cures the Sick by Taking Away the Guilt

“Atonement does not heal the sick, for that is not a cure. It takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible. And that is cure indeed. (WB-140)”

Atonement takes away guilt, and A Course in Miracles indicates that it is our guilt that causes our sicknesses. This does not mean that if we get rid of all the guilt, we will necessarily be healed of all afflictions; this would be magical thinking. Some illnesses persist, and we need not blame our sicknesses on our “failure” to achieve a guilt-free existence. That would be very close to blaming the victim, which is an inaccurate way of reading ACIM.

When we take away the guilt, though, we are less likely to experience new sicknesses. And what we have may decline and eventually disappear. This will seem a miracle, and indeed it is. Jesus speaks in an ideal mode when making these assertions; we are very fallible, and we may not be able to rise to his ideal.

The cure comes when we do get rid of the guilt. Our minds are cured, and that is cure indeed. Physical symptoms may persist; indeed, may never go away. But with a healed mind, we can deal with anything. Our way is clear; we live successfully even in the face of debilitations and handicaps.