The Two Approaches to ACIM

The Two Approaches to ACIM

There are two approaches to studying ACIM or any other teaching we come across.

The first is the approach of the ego which is this. Do not look for the truth but look for a black and white interpretation that is in alignment with your desires, illusion, chaos and the part instead of the whole. This way there can be conflict, as one part will be against another part.

The second is to look for the truth wherever it leads, truth which is in harmony with the voice of the Holy Spirit and which represents seeing the whole rather than the part.

These two approaches are the reason there is conflict in all groups discussing what is or is not true.

The conflict of these two approaches is due largely to the deficiency of the human language. When a teacher emphasizes one aspect at one time and then the opposite later it may seem he is contradicting himself.  The ego tells the student he must choose one or the other, whereas the Holy Spirit will reveal truth in the wholeness of the two.

For instance, there are passages in the Bible that make it seem as if we are saved by faith alone. Then there are others that make it sound like works are all important. Those in the ego will choose the side that is in alignment with their desires. Those in the Holy Spirit will look at the whole and see where both works and faith play important roles so you do not need to choose a side.

We also find these two approaches with ACIM students on a number of core teachings.

For instance, the Course in some places tells us that there is only one Son, but other times it tells us there are Sons in the plural.

The ego feels it must make a black and white choice between the two – either there is one Son or many.

The wholeness approach will see that both statements are true. There is one Sonship with one life flowing through many Sons which are called “parts” in the Course.

“So do the parts of God’s Son gradually join in time.” T-20.V.1 T-1.V.3 “The Sonship is the sum of all the Souls God created. OE Tx:1.19

Then there are times the Course seems to tell us that we are here in the dream and other times that we are not here.

The ego wants to choose a side and attack the other as being wrong.

The Holy Spirit will see truth in both sides. We are indeed asleep and, in the dream, but the dream is not real, as reality is clearly defined in the Course. Therefore, we are not here, or not in the true reality while dreaming, but we are definitely having a dream and making it real.

Another example is whether we should seek to improve conditions in the world.

The ego answers with a black and white yes or no. It may say no because nothing is real here and nothing we do means anything, or it may conversely tell us that heaven is here and this life here means everything.

On the other hand, the Holy Spirit knows that it would not have even been created if this world did not have some kind of existence and knows there are many in pain seeking relief. It encourages us to make things better for our brothers and sisters while reminding us of a true reality where there is no pain. Nothing here but love has an eternal reality, but the dream does have a temporary one that we have made real and those who feel the Holy Spirit are impressed to help others find relief. The Course tells us that such loving outreach is real, even in this world.

“What occurred within the instant that love entered in without attack will stay with you forever.” T-27.V.11

“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.” T-5.IV.8

We could continue with many other teachings such as whether the body has any value or not, if there is predestination, did the separation really happen? Are others real or just figments of one’s imagination? Does it matter whether we find the real truth? Do words mean anything? And so on.

On many of these issues the Course seems to say both yes and no.  The ego says we must pick a side and attack those who take the other side,

The Holy Spirit says the real truth is found in seeing both sides and how they interplay.

The strange thing about the ego is that it is so determined to maintain division and conflict that it refuses to see the position of the Holy Spirit accurately and will accuse it of taking a black and white side. It thus throws a cloud of distortion into any discussion so the false ideas of the ego cannot be exposed.

In conclusion the problem boils down to this.

“The ego attacks everything it perceives by breaking it into small, disconnected parts, without meaningful relationships and therefore without meaning. The ego will always substitute chaos for meaning, for if separation is salvation, harmony is threat.  T-11.V.13

“The mind (or the ego) of the learner projects its own conflict, and thus does not perceive consistency in the minds of others, making him suspicious of their motivation.” T-6.V.B.3

On the other hand, this quote gives the goal of the Holy Spirit:

“You know not what you say, and so you know not what is said to you. Yet your Interpreter (the Holy Spirit) perceives the meaning in your alien language. He will not attempt to communicate the meaningless. But He will separate out all that has meaning, dropping off the rest and offering your true communication to those who would communicate as truly with you. You speak two languages at once, and this must lead to unintelligibility. Yet if one means nothing and the other everything, only that one is possible for purposes of communication. The other but interferes with it.

“The Holy Spirit’s function is entirely communication. He therefore must remove whatever interferes with communication in order to restore it. T-14.VI.7-8.

The bottom line is the ego does not want full communication so it distorts leading to conflict.

The Holy Spirit offers full and clear communication resulting in the end of conflict of any two or more who access it.

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