In response to 1:1-2, Ken writes:
“…Jesus turns this idea around, telling us not only is it not blasphemous to call upon God’s Name, but it is the only holy thing we can do: God’s Name is ours, for We share one Self – He the Source, we the Effect. Since ideas leave not their source, we remain one in Him, for two separate beings would be inconceivable in Heaven’s perfect Oneness. This corrects the ego’s declaration we are separate from our Source, the core of its thought system of individuality. Thus the Holy Spirit’s correction: “You are not separate from God, Whose Name is yours, for you share one Being and one reality.”
In Heaven we do not remember God’s Name – we are God’s Name. Jesus thus speaks of a correction within the illusion: the self that has forgotten God needs a thought system from outside the dream to remind it of Who it is.
We will see as we go through this lesson that Jesus is not talking about magical incantations, ritualistic formulas or empty prayers, but the process of choosing the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness. By calling upon God’s Name – the meaning of choosing the Holy Spirit – we detach ourselves from the ego’s thoughts of hatred, sickness and judgment.
In ACIM, angels symbolize the right mind’s loving thoughts, which when we choose to have them be our reality, “protect” us from the ego’s thought system. These symbols help us realize our protection comes from making the right choice.
When I identify God’s Name as my own, I remember I am that Son. In that holy instant I am outside the dream, and the world of separation is healed and undone.
Where Jesus says, “little names have lost their meaning”, 4:1, Ken writes:
The “little names”, as we will see in the next lesson, are our special relationships. These recede into the nothingness they always were when we realize it is God’s Love alone we have wanted, and which was always there. Who could sanely maintain that anything here compares to the peace and joy that comes when we remember we are wrong and God is right?
Bringing our names to the Name of God involves awareness that our specialness brings pain, not happiness. This awareness motivates us to turn to the true source of happiness: the Atonement thought in our minds. Jesus holds this correction out to us, saying: “Turn away from the valueless and let me teach you the valuelessness of every worldly thing. Turn instead to what alone has value: standing outside the dream with me and looking at the “little names of the ego’s idols of specialness.”
The “right perspective”, 5:2, is seeing the world as a classroom. I am not asked to let everything go, but simply to shift my perspective…”. Making that shift means that the world is no longer something I desire or wish to avoid, but a classroom in which I choose a different teacher.
In response to 5:3-4, Ken writes:
To make this point again, Jesus does not refer to mantras or empty rituals. When you are with someone, do not call out God’s Name – you do not even know the Name! Jesus’ meaning is that when you become aware of the need to indulge your specialness and worship at its altar, go to your mind and ask for help to look at this person differently. This is the meaning of repeating God’s Name. If you miss this meaning, the workbook will become a simpleminded series of exercises, inevitably disappointing you when the results you were expecting are not forthcoming. “Calling upon God’s Name” symbolizes the correction for the names of specialness you have chosen. The “altar” of which Jesus speaks – as he does throughout ACIM – is in our minds. It had previously dripped with blood because we chose the ego as our guide, but now is strewn with lilies of forgiveness – the altar of grace to which we bring the nameless to the Name, the body to the mind.
Realizing I am one with God means I am united with the Sonship, for I have come to understand the divisiveness of my previous way of thinking and perceiving.
(NOTE: Ken wrote an entire page and then some on how to interpret and apply Jesus’ thoughts on praying. It is far too long to include here. I will just share some excerpts.)
The beauty of ACIM is that Jesus meets us where we think we are. Yet his love is such that he does not want us to remain there. We need to take his hand and ask him for the specific things we want, as Helen did; but to remember, as he reminded his scribe, that, if we continue this way indefinitely, it will hurt us.
Thus it is not wrong to ask Jesus for specifics (Ken is referencing 7:2-5 where Jesus says “Think not He Hears the little prayers of those who call on Him with names of idols cherished by the world. They cannot reach Him thus.”). In fact it would be silly not to, if that is your need. Indeed, everyone’s need at the beginning is for specifics, and it would only be arrogant to think one is beyond it. As long as you look in the mirror and see someone looking back, you need to ask for specific help. However, the point of this passage is that you learn not to be content with the ego’s littleness when you can have everything; not to be content with a few crumbs to momentarily satisfy your hunger when you can have the whole banquet and never go hungry again…”.
Jesus tells us so often that we are the same, and asking for specifics negates that sameness, affirming instead: “You and I are different. Please never leave me for I need you always.” He will never leave you, but you will never leave your earthly home either.
If you are truly serious about awakening from the world’s dream, you need to move beyond the littleness of childhood to maturity, so you will no longer need Jesus as a teacher (T-4.I.6:3). You will then realize you are the spiritual adult he is – in fact, the same adult, as is everyone else.
The purpose of this and the following lesson, therefore, is to have us realize – as I said at the beginning – that we and God are one. To state it one more time, to continually ask God for the little specific things is to see a difference and only a difference, thus reinforcing the ego’s thought system of differentiation. The goal of our work with the Course is to have Jesus lead us to the happy realization that we are one, for the separation from our Source never happened in reality.
It is our function to silence the ego; Jesus cannot do this for us. Calling upon God’s Name is the right-minded correction for our wrong-minded thinking. However, we cannot correct wrong-minded thoughts unless we first realize we have them. That is why, to make the point still one more time, this is not a course on love, truth, and reality, but on undoing guilt, fear, and specialness through choosing Jesus in the silence of the holy instant, bringing our little thoughts of hate to his single thought of love.
What the world has forgotten we can now remember: the peace-filled love we offer others by its very presence in us.
Our part, of course, is forgiveness.
Calling on his name is not a mantra or formula for success, but it does call upon a thought system that reflects God’s Love, the complete opposite of everything this world offers.
To recap, when you start out on the journey, asking for specifics is important as a way of reinforcing your relationship with Jesus. Remain at this stage, however, and you will not progress to learn the totality of his right-minded thought system. You may experience receiving specific help for specific questions, yet there is always the danger of not returning to Heaven’s abstract love. Therefore, use the specific request at the beginning of the journey, but do not stop there.
I will close by quoting from the lesson and from Ken:
(3:2) “Every dream the world holds dear has suddenly gone by, and where it seemed to stand you find a star; a miracle of grace.” Ken’s thoughts:
In the Course, a star symbolizes Christ or our right-minded remembrance of Him. Near the end of Chapter 15 are these lines we know so well: “The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness” (T-15.XI.2:1). It is a reminder that the light of truth can still be reflected in a world of darkness. Recall this second stanza from Helen’s “The Second Chance”, which beautifully utilizes the symbol of the star to signify the end of hate and the remembrance of love:
“The eyes of Christ looked steadily on me
As if my secret hate He did not see.
I hugged it tight and hid it in my heart,
And still I held it from His Love apart.
Until one day my eyes met His, and then
My fingers opened and my heart. And when
I looked away a star was in my hand;
Another in my heart. I listened and
His voice said silently to me, “Now go
And hate no more.” And I said, “Be it so.”
(The Gifts of God, p.45).
Wasn’t that just an elegant poem with which to close?
Hmm…that’s how I feel today, just to go and “hate no more”. No more judgment, etc., just an earnest desire to be at peace, no matter what.
We, husband and I, are experiencing yet another valley in our business, peaks and valleys, well, seem to characterize it with more of the latter in the last few years than the former.
Time for it to go right on the altar, with my knowing full well I don’t know what is best for us or the business, I don’t. All I need to do is to forgive my perception of the “history”, my story, about the past 25 years and the ebb and flow of income.
Same for everything.
No longer want to be “sick and tired”.
Time to change my mind.
And I will…in as many holy instants as I can remember to do so…knowing I will forget and it’s OK.
I can get right back on the right train home.