What I found most interesting form the Text:
(Most of this is straight out of the Text or paraphrased slightly. Some if it is rearranged a bit.)
Introduction: To heal or to make joyous is the same as to integrate and to make one. That is why it makes no difference to what part or by what part of the Sonship the healing is offered. Every part benefits, and benefits equally.
The Invitation to the Holy Spirit:
Remember that spirit knows no difference between having and being. The higher mind thinks according to the laws spirit obeys, and therefore honors only the laws of God. To spirit getting is meaningless and giving is all. Having everything, spirit holds everything by giving it, and thus creates as the Father created.
If you can accept the concept that the world is one of ideas, the whole belief in the false association the ego makes between giving and losing is gone.
- Thoughts increase by being given away.
- The more who believe in them the stronger they become.
- Everything is an idea.
- How, then, can giving and losing be associated?
The Holy Spirit is the only part of the Holy Trinity that has a symbolic function. (Jesus/Christ is man/Sonship. God ultimate reality.) This makes the Holy Spirit difficult to understand. Holy Spirit = Universal Inspiration?
The Holy Spirit is so close to Knowledge that it calls it forth/allows it to come. You can obstruct knowledge but you can never lose it. The Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement – the restoration of the integrity of the mind. The Holy Spirit is the Mind of the Atonement.
The Voice for God.
The Holy Spirit is the motivation for miracle mindedness; the decision to heal the separation by letting go. The Holy Spirit is God’s answer to the separation.
God is not in you in a literal sense. The Holy Spirit merely reminds. It brings to your mind the other way, remaining quiet even in the midst of the turmoil you may make. The Holy Spirit is your Guide in choosing. He is in the part of your mind that always speaks for the right choice, because He speaks for God. He is your remaining communication with God, which you can interrupt but cannot destroy.
The Guide to Salvation.
The way to recognize your brother is by recognizing the Holy Spirit in him. The Holy Spirit is the idea of healing. Being thought, the idea gains as it is shared. It increases in you as you give it to your brother. Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur.
The separation is merely another term for a split mind. The ego is the symbol of separation, just as the Holy Spirit is the symbol of peace. What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself. You may let your mind misperceive, but the Holy Spirit lets your mind reinterpret its own misperceptions.
The only aspect of time that is eternal is now. The Holy Spirit is your Guide to salvation, because He holds the remembrance of things past and to come, and brings them to the present.
Teaching and Healing.
Every loving thought held in any part of the Sonship belongs to every part. It is shared because it is loving. Sharing is God’s way of creating, and also yours. The ego can keep you in exile from the Kingdom, but in the Kingdom itself it has no power. Ideas of the spirit do not leave the mind that thinks them, nor can they conflict with each other.
You cannot be hurt, and do not want to show your brother anything except your wholeness. Show him that he cannot hurt you and hold nothing against him, or you hold it against yourself. This is the meaning of “turning the other cheek.” As you teach, so shall you learn.
The Ego’s Use of Guilt.
Guilt is more than merely not of God. It is the symbol of attack on God. This is a totally meaningless concept except to the ego, but do not underestimate the power of the ego’s belief in it. This is the belief from which all guilt really stems. If you identify with the ego, you must perceive yourself as guilty. Whenever you respond to your ego you will experience guilt, and you will fear punishment. The ego is quite literally a fearful thought.
The mind is capable of creating reality or making illusions. You must learn to think with God. Guilt is a sure sign you are not thinking with God. Your thinking is unnatural. Thinking with God engenders joy.
[So interested to hear what Wapnick has to say about this. I was sitting next to two women in a coffee shop earlier. One of the women kept talking about all the things the Lord had told her to do (get a pilots license, buy property in Salt Lake City…) and was telling the other woman she could know what the Lord was telling her to do about moving into a new apartment if the decision made her happy or not. Is that what “Thinking with God” is about? My will be done? A lot of ACIM students seem to think it means making the “right” physical decisions, too. It still seems to me to be about the ego. You want things to go the way you want them to go so you ask the Holy Spirit what you should do that will make you happiest. It’s kind of like praying to God to make things be the way you want them to be. It also contradicts with the statement in the first section that the world is one of ideas, not things. Surely where you move, where you buy property, etc. doesn’t matter to God or the Holy Spirit. It only matters to our egos.]
Time and Eternity.
You need not fear the Higher Court will condemn you. It will merely dismiss the case against you. [I so love that!!] There can be no case against a child of God, and every witness to guilt in God’s creations is bearing false witness to God Himself.
Infinite patience calls upon infinite love, and by producing results now it renders time unnecessary.
The Decision for God.
Decision cannot be difficult. This is obvious, if you realize that you must already have decided not to be wholly joyous if that is how you feel. Therefore, the first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise. Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there. Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace.
- I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
- I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
- I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
- I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
- I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.
Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge – The Ego and the Holy Spirit.
Chapter 4 was the introduction to the ego. Chapter 5 is the introduction to the Holy Spirit.
Wapnick provides an interesting lesson on Beethoven. He believes Beethoven’s late quartets are the summit of all music. “Grosse Fuge” is what Beethoven wrote for the final movement of the 13th Quartet.
Grosse Fuge means “great fugue”—a fugue being, very briefly stated, two or more themes that are played and developed simultaneously—and herein one finds a powerful depiction of the ego, specifically the laws of chaos. It is aggressive music, almost impossible to play, let alone listen to, and seems to go on indefinitely, even though the piece lasts not even twenty minutes. I remember once, lying on my living room floor listening to these last quartets. As the Grosse Fuge played, it was as if the room spun around me with books falling off the shelves—truly a chaotic experience. Fortunately, a gentle theme, the opposite of the others, is introduced at the beginning even as it is quickly set aside. I then understood the experience of grace that many people have described. The theme is soft and beautiful, and one can liken it to the Holy Spirit and His forgiveness, although that would certainly not have been Beethoven’s term for it. After the introduction, the other fugal themes take over and one is cast into a veritable hell. But this grace-filled theme suddenly reappears, and the chaos gradually comes to an end. For a while, the melody becomes part of the fugue, and it is as if the ego and Holy Spirit go back and forth, until—finally—the ego’s theme is transformed as the fugue ends on a glorious note of triumph.
The next music Beethoven composed was The 14th Quartet, which is also a fugue. Wapnick says it is as close as anyone has come to depicting the peace of God. When taken as a whole, the quartets show that Heaven can only be obtained by first going through the chaos of the ego and that the ego is only navigable with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
We cannot go through ACIM without playing out that battle in our minds.
The text is written as a work of art and the language within it should not be taken literally. For instance, God (our Source) is not an entity with an identity that is separate from ours, but because we believe we are separated the language in ACIM speaks to us as though we are.
Likewise, the Holy Spirit is referred to with a masculine pronoun and all of the words used to describe the Holy Spirit are personifications: mediator, guide, interpreter, translator etc. But these are just symbols that allow us to relate to the loving presence in our minds. The correct way of looking at the Holy Spirit is that He symbolizes a thought or memory.
The form of the Holy Spirit – a voice or Person within the mind – is an illusion. But as long as we identify with being a person, we need a figure in our mind’s thought system that is also a person. It’s a symbol and not to be taken literally.
The Holy Spirit takes what the ego has made and reinterprets it. He does not transcend it.
The Holy Spirit.
Aha!! Here it is. Wapnick says the Holy Spirit doesn’t help us get stuff we want…
Nowhere does it say the Holy Spirit will get us parking spaces, heal us of cancer, or bring about world peace. His quiet Presence reminds us only of what we have forgotten, the love that urges us to choose differently by reminding us of the other way: peace instead of war. Stated differently, a theme we will come back to again and again, the problem was not the tiny, mad idea of separation, but that we took it seriously when we remembered not to laugh at its inherent silliness (T-27.VIII.6:2).
And toward the end:
We need to be wary of people who tell us that they hear the Holy Spirit, because they are almost always conveying to us their specialness, albeit subtly.
[That’s what it felt like listening to the woman in the coffee shop talking about all the things “the Lord” had told her to do. It seemed as though she thought herself very special…]
No matter how serious the situation, be it cancer or no where to park, what the Holy Spirit does is simply remind us that “we can look at this differently”. It doesn’t tell us where to go to get the parking place or how to heal our cancer. That we are afraid of the cancer or upset because we can’t find a parking place is because we have identified with the ego. Wanting it to be different is an identification with the ego.
Likewise, we are not asked to deny the world we see or our bodily experiences. We are merely asked to look at it differently.
An essential aspect of the Holy Spirit’s function is to take the world we made and change its purpose to our learning it is not our home. To “look as the Holy Spirit looks” means to see the world as the mind’s projection.
Jesus is a symbol that represents the right-minded choice.
Material things are gone when we give them away. Not so with ideas. The more we talk about something, the more we believe it. Everything is an idea and what we think about expands, be it love or fear. The more love we extend, the more we identify with love. The more guilt we “eliminate” by projecting it onto others, the more we identify with guilt and fear.
The Holy Spirit is not a “person” in our minds who intervenes on our behalf, answers questions, or solves problems. The Holy Spirit is a Thought in the mind. It is the other choice once we have decided for the ego.
ACIM is a curriculum in unlearning. We need to unlearn what the ego taught us about God, ourselves, and the world, and discern the difference between illusion and reality, between being children of the ego or of God, our true Source.
The Atonement Principal.
This parallels my comments about Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge: we hear the melody of grace at the beginning, and even though it is set aside, it remains in our memory. We have all heard love’s heavenly song that patiently awaits our right-minded choice. It has not disappeared, but is simply gone from our awareness when, in our insanity, we chose to forget it.
You are free to believe any insane thing you wish, but that does not make it true. Having thoughts does not make them real.
The Ego’s Fear of the Atonement Principal.
[I think my idea of Christianity isn’t quite so bleak as Wapnick’s. The reason the Holy Spirit works for me is because the Holy Spirit was something I understood when I was very young. Maybe that is because I was Methodist whose founder was a mystic? I always thought of the Holy Spirit as fire (based on the Methodist symbol) or wind. Either way, it was something that shifted perspective – either through the Holy Struggle of fire (which I imagine much like Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge) or through the gentle winds of understanding. I think that’s why ACIM has always worked for me. I understand the view of Holy Spirit as symbolic of that something that allows you to change your mind. I don’t remember ever associating the Holy Spirit with something that was defeating the pagans or infidels. If I did understand it that way, I understood it metaphorically. I don’t remember ever thinking it was literal.]
Every country that ever attacks another believes it didn’t make the first attack. Something first happened to provoke the attack. The other party did it, not us. They are guilty, not us. But the mind’s decision for guilt can only lead to pain and so we continually project guilt. Vicious circle. The only meaningful escape it to change our minds.
The Decision for Forgiveness.
The process of forgiveness requires day-in-and-day-out dedication to overcome the resistance to losing our special self; in other words, it requires great willingness.
(VII.5:1) Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations.
If we are in a state of unhappiness or disquiet, it is only because we have withheld love to someone. It is not because someone else has been unloving, it is because we have been unloving.
Our guilt over this “sin” is enormous because it reflects the original withholding of love from God, and we can do nothing more with this guilt than deny and project it, accusing others of our secret sin. The truth remains, though, that when we are in a state of less than perfect joy, it is because we have not been loving to another—in thought, word, or deed.
Error is undone by bringing it to truth.
The five statements we are asked to say at the end of the chapter reflect the process of forgiveness ACIM is asking us to apply whenever we become disquieted. It gently leads us from the perceived source of upset (the body) to its cause (the mind), where the Holy Spirit and His Atonement await our return and corrected decision.
Since nothing outside is the cause of our distress, whether it is a hangnail or cancer, a playground skirmish or war, the form of the problem is irrelevant to the healing power of the miracle. There is no order of difficulty in illusions, for they are all the same: an illusion is an illusion is an illusion. The problem is always our mistaken choice, which means the solution is undoing the error by changing our mind.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit are basically interchangeable in terms of functioning as our inner Teacher, that the journey They lead us on takes us from the specific to the abstract, from Jesus to the Holy Spirit’s Voice, which ends up being our own. Yet we need to begin where we believe we are, in the specific or dualistic world wherein we live as bodies, needing a specific symbol in our minds that corrects our belief in the specific teachings of the ego. For so many of us in the Western world, this symbol is Jesus.
[Holy Spirit works better for me than Jesus, although I get the idea that Jesus symbolizes the human being who chose the Holy Spirit. I’m glad Jesus’ fades out after this, however. That’s because of the baggage of my Christian upbringing. I was forever forced to envision walking with Jesus as though he was my very best friend. I could never do that! When I started going through RCIA to become Catholic, I was surprised to discover I had no difficulty doing it with Mary. Especially when I was pregnant. Protestantism is very masculine. It doesn’t have the same sense of Church as Mother or womb…]
Jesus is the “model” for decision. He did it, so can we. He is the symbol of the mind’s power to choose right-mindedly. When we unite with him we reclaim that power to utilize on behalf of the truth of Atonement instead of the illusion of separation.
This passage was originally meant for Helen, especially the opening line, but it is clearly meant for all of us. According to Wapnick it is a unique passage in the Course at this point, for it is the first time we read something in this form..
(IV.8) How can you who are so holy suffer? All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing. I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance. They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt. They came from the Holy Spirit within you, and we know what God creates is eternal. You can indeed depart in peace because I have loved you as I loved myself. You go with my blessing and for my blessing. Hold it and share it, that it may always be ours. I place the peace of God in your heart and in your hands, to hold and share. The heart is pure to hold it, and the hands are strong to give it. We cannot lose. My judgment is as strong as the wisdom of God, in Whose Heart and Hands we have our being. His quiet children are His blessed Sons. The Thoughts of God are with you.