A Workbook Companion, Volume II, Second Edition
The indispensable companion to A Course in Miracles,
illuminating your journey through its 365 daily lessons. Allen Watson and
provide first-rate help and guidance
in their Workbook Companion series. These books offer abundant provisions
for the journey, from insightful teachings and personal anecdotes to detailed lesson
instructions and cameo essays on related topics such as meditation in the Course.
Allen and Robert’s companionship and wise counsel make the lessons spring to life,
bringing miracles into your daily experience.
- A commentary on each daily lesson, offering explanations, illustrative personal anecdotes, and suggestions for carrying out the practice instructions
- Helpful summaries of the practice instructions for each lesson
- Periodic overviews of the goals in various sets of lessons
Volume II covers Lessons 181 through 365.
From the Publisher
Thousands of ACIM students worldwide have already benefited from the lesson commentaries and summaries found in A Workbook Companion. Scores have written to tell us how their practice of the Workbook lessons has been transformed and their understanding and appreciation of the teachings enriched. The Circle of Atonement is proud to make A Workbook Companion available now as a revised and expanded two-volume set. /p>
A Workbook Companion has been revised before being reissued in this Second Edition. The original three-volume set has been expanded and re-issued in two volumes.
New in the Second Edition
- Cameo essays on special topics such as meditation and prayer, by Robert Perry
- Completely rewritten and expanded Practice Summaries by Robert Perry for each day's lesson
From the Author, Allen Watson
A Workbook Companion is intended, not as a replacement for the Workbook for Students, but as a companion to the Workbook to encourage students in practicing the exercises as we believe the author intended for us to do them.
May these daily readings encourage you to put the daily thoughts offered by the Workbook into practice, filling your mind with them, until you begin to experience the inner peace and joy promised by A Course in Miracles.
"If the Text of A Course in Miracles is to get the message clear in our heads, the Workbook is to bring it home to our hearts. In their Workbook Companion series, Allen and Robert speak straight to our hearts, complementing the spirit and meaning behind the lessons. Their work resonates with intellectual honesty, building our relationship with the Course on the solid ground of their years of dedicated study."
—Tim Schoenfelder, M.D.
"Sometimes it seems as though Allen is reading my mind when he writes his Workbook commentary for the day. He has an uncanny way of addressing precisely the questions and objections that occur to me. I find Allen's commentaries unique in spanning the distance between the peace and truth of the real world and the dramatic distractions of the illusory world of separation. He is never just theoretical; he knows the terrain on this path, and he is a great travelling companion."
"Encouraging, stimulating…a beautiful and extremely important work."
"The return of the Workbook commentaries is like the return of a long departed friend. When I started the Course several years ago, the commentaries got me through the difficult but very rewarding process of completing the Workbook."
"Robert and Allen are companions in a very real sense. Robert's support in terms of practice, and Allen's inspired commentaries, have been my travelling friends in my study of the Course for nearly two years. They deliver genuine and often mind-expanding insights throughout the series. I keep the Workbook Companion alongside my copy of the Course."
"The lesson commentaries have been very helpful. I have been doing the Workbook for over fifteen years, and the additional insight has expanded my understanding of the Course. Thank you very much!"
"Since I started to use these lesson commentaries, I have gained a much deeper understanding of the Course's teachings. Allen's brilliant insights have helped me immensely, opening many new doors of understanding for me. He one of the most down to earth, loving, gifted Course scholars living today."
—Rev. Lee Poepping, Unity Church of Santa Clarita
"I have found the Workbook Companion books to be valuable tools in helping me gain a greater understanding of each lesson. They reinforce the goal for the day and encourage dedication to the actual exercise instructions so we can apply them to 'in the world' use. The commentaries enrich and enhance what can initially feel unclear. Any confusion about what each lesson might mean or how to apply it is clarified beautifully. I highly recommend these tools to anyone who has an interest in using the lessons in their daily lives."
"Allen brings a perspective to the lessons that has helped me to understand them at a deeper level. I have also found that his references to appropriate sections of the Text have deepened my appreciation for the importance of the Text to understanding the messages in the Workbook. Instruction in how to practice the lessons also makes a wonderful contribution. A very valuable aid to anyone starting out with the Course."
"Allen's explanations and commentaries are so helpful. When I am not clear about a lesson I can refer to the practice summary and lesson commentary. What a godsend they are. The Workbook Companion books are valuable and important tools in my understanding and living A Course in Miracles."
Table of Contents
I. Introduction and Lessons 181-200
- Name of God Meditation
- Difficult Passages: "Think Not You Made the World"
II. Review VI: Introduction and Lessons 201-220
- Open Mind Meditation
III. The Introduction to Part II
IV. Lessons 221-230; What is Forgiveness
- Let Us Pray
V. Lessons 231-240; What is Salvation?
- "Be in My mind, My father": An Appreciation of the Prayer for Lesson 232
VI. Lessons 241-250; What is the World?
VII. Lessons 251-260; What is Sin?
VIII. Lessons 251-260; What is the Body?
- Seeng the Meaning in the Idea for the Day
IX. Lessons 271-280; What is the Christ?
X. Lessons 281-290; What is the Holy Spirit?
XI. Lessons 291-300; What is the Real World?
XII. Lessons 301-310; What is the Second Coming?
XIII. Lessons 311-320; What is the Last Judgment?
- All My Sorrows End in Your Embrace
XIV. Lessons 321-330; What is Creation?
XV. Lessons 331-340; What is the Ego?
XVI. Lessons 341-350; What is a Miracle?
XVII. Lessons 351-360; What is Am I?
XVIII. Final Lessons: 361-365
XIX. Where Do I Go From Here?
Introduction by Allen Watson
In this Introduction to Volume II, I want to repeat the most important thing I have to say about A Workbook Companion: it is definitely not intended as a replacement for the Workbook for Students that comes as part of A Course in Miracles. It is meant, rather, as a companion to the Workbook, to encourage students in practicing the exercises of the Workbook as we believe the author intended for us to do them.
Actually following the structured program presented in the Workbook is what can train our minds to think along the lines the text sets forth. Mere study alone cannot accomplish that (although study of the Text is also a necessary part of the training). Nor can simply reading through the Workbook lessons. What trains our minds is actually doing the exercises. A Workbook Companion is designed to help you to understand and practice the exercises—nothing more than that.
Each day's lesson in A Workbook Companion contains two parts: a Practice Summary (written by Robert Perry), which extracts and condenses the actual instructions for practice given in the Workbook, and a Commentary (written by myself), which attempts to highlight and clarify some of the teaching given in the lessons. The commentary does not, in most cases, attempt to comment on everything in the lessons; that could take dozens of volumes instead of just three.
Robert Perry's overview comments on practice, scattered throughout, will give you a better sense for how the Workbook is presenting a coherent, overall training program with specific objectives.
How should you use this book in conjunction with the Workbook for Students? I recommend reading the lesson for the day from the Workbook and then, if time permits, reading the corresponding section from A Workbook Companion before carrying out the instructions in the lesson. The Companion comments on the actual practice instructions, often clarifying them and helping your practice to be more focused and meaningful. If, however, you must choose between taking time to read the commentary and taking that same time to actually do the practice, by all means skip the commentary and do the practice. Read the commentary later in the day, whenever you find time.
A few notes on some formatting details in the book. I have chosen to include a date at the top of each lesson; this shows the day of the year the lesson will fall on if you begin with Lesson 1 on January 1. This is purely a convenience for people who choose to do the Workbook in synchronization with the calendar. There is nothing in the Workbook itself to suggest that this is necessary or even desirable. You can start the Workbook on any day of the year you choose
Although it isn't necessary to follow the calendar if you are working alone, it can greatly facilitate doing the Workbook along with a group of friends. The distribution of these commentaries by electronic mail resulted in hundreds of people doing the same lessons each day. Here in Sedona, in our local Course community, we have chosen to do the same thing. We have found that doing so adds enormously to our ability to support one another, to encourage one another in doing the Workbook, and to discuss the lessons together.
I highly recommend that anyone setting out to follow the Workbook program also obtain a copy of The Workbook as a Spiritual Practice, by Robert Perry (available from The Circle of Atonement), a booklet that gives a wealth of practical advice about making these lessons a part of a consistent, daily spiritual practice.
I will not repeat here the history of how these commentaries came into being; see the Introduction to Volume I if you are interested in that.
The Internet distribution of these commentaries still continues as of this writing (January, 1998), without much further effort on my part. The specific instructions for receiving these messages are, however, about to change. If you have Internet access and would like to receive the commentaries via Email on a daily basis, please do so via our web site, which will have the latest instructions (uppercase letters in the file name must be exact):
My prayer is that these daily readings will encourage you to put the daily thoughts offered by the Workbook into practice, filling your mind with them until you begin to experience the inner peace and joy promised by A Course in Miracles.
Lesson 194 • July-13
"I place the future in the Hands of God."
Purpose: To accept today's idea, and so pass countless obstacles and set your foot on the lawns before the gate of Heaven. This is the last of the Workbook's giant strides.
Morning/evening quiet time: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
Today again there are no specific practice instructions for morning and evening. I would suggest beginning by going through the various situations that are causing you concern (see W-pI.47.4-5) and, with each one, repeating, "I place the future in the Hands of God." Then, after about ten minutes of this, spend the rest of your time in meditation, resting untroubled in God's Hands, sure that only good can come to you.
Hourly remembrance: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if circumstances do not permit).
Review the happenings of the previous hour that are still weighing on you, and with each one, release the pain it appears to thrust on you by repeating, "I place the future in the Hands of God."
Response to temptation: Whenever you feel tempted to become upset.
Quickly react by repeating today's idea, realizing that this is an appeal to God to choose for you to abandon temptation. And as you leave temptation behind, the world does as well.
Remarks: If you really see the value in today's idea, you'll give consistent effort to making it part of your thinking, both today and afterward. Do your utmost to make it a rule of thought, "a habit in your problem-solving repertoire" (6:2), a key device in your response-to-temptation toolkit.
The block to remembering our Self that is dealt with in today's lesson is the "fear of future pain" (7:6). Again, the holy instant is a major part of the remedy. All the references to "in no one instant" (3:1; 3:2; 3:3) and "the instant in which time escapes the bondage of illusions" (5:2) are indirect references to the holy instant, which is directly referred to in 5:3: "Then is each instant which was slave to time transformed into a holy instant."
The idea is a simple one: placing the future into God's Hands. Yet it is referred to as another "giant stride" toward quick salvation (1:1; the other "giant strides" were in lessons 61, 66, 94, and 135). This giant stride is said to take us all the way to the lawns that welcome us to Heaven's gate. It is the remedy for anxiety, pits of hell, depression, thoughts of sin, and guilt. How can this simple idea be so powerful?
Think, for a moment, how your life and your mental attitude would change if you deeply and fully knew—not just believed but knew—that your future was wholly in the Hands of a loving God. Isn't it fairly easy to see how this would remove anxiety, fears of hell, depression, temptation, and even guilt? Simple as it is, this is an extremely powerful idea, and a powerful one to practice.
Once again we are not expected to suddenly shift from a state of near-constant anxiety (Ernest Becker, in his book The Denial of Death,1 refers to man's so-called normal state as one in which there is "the rumble of panic underneath everything") to one of blissful trust in God. We are being asked to practice having instants of such trust, free of panic. For a moment, just for a moment, "let the future go, and place it in God's Hands" (4:5). In so doing, we will understand that by doing this we have given past and present to God as well. In that holy instant we will be free of grief and misery, pain and loss. The light within us will be free to shine and bless the world.
In any particular instant, when we take that instant for itself, without past or future, we cannot feel depression, experience pain, or perceive loss; nor can we experience sorrow, or even die (3:1-3). Every such experience depends on our awareness of the past or future to sustain it and give it the illusion of reality, but none of them exist in the present moment.
Take grief, for instance. Grief is so clearly based on the past that it hardly requires explanation to say that if the past were momentarily put out of our minds, grief would vanish. The mind is calling up memories of our loved one, and then insisting that the absence of that loved one now demands emotional pain. Yet when the loved one was part of our life, there were thousands of moments in which they were not physically present with us, and we were still happy; why, then, cannot we be happy now? Grief is really nothing more than a cruel mental trick we are playing on ourselves. The future enters into grief because we envision an endless string of moments that lack the beloved. But those moments are not now; again, it is a mental trick. Grief does not exist when we are wholly in the present moment, in the holy instant.
As we learn to give the future into God's Hands, one instant after another, we are released. "And so each instant given unto God in passing, with the next one given Him already, is a time of your release from sadness, pain and even death itself" (3:4). Note the similarity to yesterday's practice of applying forgiveness at the end of each hour to all that has passed in the hour, freeing the hour that follows. This kind of thing, says the lesson, needs to become "a thought that rules your mind, a habit in your problem-solving repertoire, a way of quick reaction to temptation" (6:2). That is what all this practice is about: developing new habits of spirituality that break the pattern of our deranged thinking, freeing us for a new experience. The more we experience, the more we will want it, until eventually it takes over our minds entirely.
1. Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death (New York: Free Press, 1997).
Introduction Part II
The introduction to Part II of the Workbook is the last set of practice instructions we will receive for the next 140 days. The final instructions will be for the last five lessons, and do not really change much. So, since we will be following this set of instructions every day for the next five months, we need to pay close attention and fix them in our minds.
Remember that the Workbook is designed to train us in practicing, and to help us form a habit of daily practice that will endure until engaging with God in our lives has become a moment-to-moment way of life, with no need for any further practice. For a very few, this happy habit might be formed in a single year of doing the Workbook, although I know of no one for whom this is true. For most people, it seems, the pattern of practice being taught is still poorly formed and sporadically practiced after only one pass through the Workbook. Many find repeating the Workbook very beneficial, and its clear structure a necessary support in continuing to develop the desired habits.
Before we go over what the desired pattern of practice is, though, let me encourage you with a few observations from my own practice and that of several friends. Do not be discouraged if, on reading over the description of the daily practice, you realize that you are still far from "matching up" to the pattern. The form of daily practice described in this introduction is the goal; being distressed because you don't match up to it right now is like being upset that you can't play Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto after only a few weeks of practice. Forming habits takes a lot of time. Just do the best you can each day, and practice forgiving yourself when you don't measure up to your intentions. Whatever you do, keep at it! Don't allow the ego to kill your motivation to practice by pointing out how poorly you are doing it. Failure to follow the instructions fully is not a reason to stop practicing; it is a reason to return to practice with renewed vigor, as soon as you realize you have slipped.
The goal of our practice is to completely retrain our minds. It is to become so habituated to listening to the Voice for God that it becomes natural, something we do without even thinking about it, the first response to every temptation. The goal is to respond to every ego thought without fear, and instantly bring it into the holy place where we meet with God in our minds. The long-term goal of our practice is to arrive at the place where life becomes one continuous holy instant (W-pI.135.19:1), in which we never cease to think of God (W-pI.153.18:1). The short-term goal of Workbook practice is to form the habit of daily practicing that will take us to that long-term goal (W-pI.rIII.In.11:2; W-pI.194.6:2).
What, then, is the pattern of daily practice that is set forth for the next 140 days?
- Spending time with God each morning and night, "as long as makes us happy" (2:6). The result we desire is "direct experience of truth alone" (1:3), or an experience of "rest" and "calm" (3:1), or experiencing the presence of God (4:1; 4:6). In sum, we desire to enter the holy instant; indeed, this introduction twice refers to our morning and evening practice times as "holy instants" (3:2; 11:4), or "times in which we leave the world of pain, and go to enter peace" (1:4). These experiences of holy instants are called "the goal this course has set" and "the end toward which our practicing was always geared" (1:5).
So, every morning and evening practice period is meant to bring us to the holy instant, and "we will use as much [time] as we will need for the result that we desire" (2:8). The time is flexible, perhaps even a half hour or longer if we need or want that much time.
- Hourly remembrance (2:9). Once each hour during the day, we will pause to remind ourselves of the lesson for the day, using the thought for the day to "calm our minds at need" (3:1). But the hourly remembrance is not simply a repeating of the words; it is a brief time in which we "expect our Father to reveal Himself, as He has promised" (3:3). Ideally this will be two or three minutes in which we can be quiet, perhaps closing our eyes, to refocus on our goal and regroup our thoughts, bringing any grievance or upset of the past hour to the Holy Spirit for healing (see W-pI.153.17 and W-pI.193.12). When such an extended pause is impossible, briefly turning our thoughts to God and reaffirming our goal is sufficient.
- Frequent reminders in between the hours, although not specifically mentioned in this introduction to Part II, were singled out in the introduction to the review period we have just completed, and we can assume they are meant to be continued.
- Response to temptation. Whenever we are "tempted to forget our goal" (2:9), we need to call to God. That the temptation mentioned is "to forget our goal" implies that all the rest of the time we are remembering it! So any time we notice our minds are about to wander from our goal, or have wandered, we call to God to help us return our minds to Him.
This is a rigorous spiritual practice. It demands considerable effort to form such habits. But the results are more than worth it. The goal of the Course, the whole purpose of Workbook practice, has been to bring us to this kind of direct experience of the truth. Without such direct experience, the concepts of the Text will be nothing more than empty concepts.
We are offered a little more detail about how to spend our extended morning and evening times. The specific words of the day's lesson, as it appears in the Workbook, are of diminishing importance. This is reflected in the fact that no more than a half page is given to them. The words of the lesson are not the focus any more (1:1); they are "but…guides on which we do not now depend" (1:2). The primary goal is direct experience of the truth, or the holy instant. Reading the daily lesson and repeating its main thought is only the beginning (2:1); having used the words to focus our minds, we spend our time waiting for God to come to us (3:3; 4:6). These times are called "periods of wordless, deep experience" (11:2). The bulk of our morning and evening times should be spent thus, in silent waiting and receptivity, without verbal thought.
If you look ahead at the lessons in Part II you will see that every one contains a short prayer to God the Father. There is no specific mention of these prayers nor how to use them, but I believe the following words give such instruction:
"We say some simple words of welcome, and expect our Father to reveal Himself, as He has promised" (3:3). "So our times with Him will now be spent. We say the words of invitation that His Voice suggests, and then we wait for Him to come to us" (4:5-6, my emphasis). Finally, the introduction itself shifts into prayer with a sort of un-self-conscious naturalness in 6:2-7:8; in 6:5 our prayers are called "little gifts of thanks" from us to God.
Those "words of invitation" suggested to us by God's Voice are, I believe, the prayers given to us in each day's lesson. They are words suggested for our use, to invite God to speak to us, to offer welcome to Him. Actually speaking these prayers, praying them, can be a powerful tool in bringing us the direct experiences with God these lessons intend for us.
Instead of words, we need but feel His love. Instead of prayers, we need but call His Name. Instead of judging, we need but be still and let all things be healed. (10:3-5)
So the morning and evening times are not intended to be spent in thinking about the concepts of the Course, nor in saying prayers for ourselves or for others, nor in making decisions about what to do or making judgments of how to solve our problems. They are meant to be times of experience and not thought. Simply feeling God's Love. Simply repeating His Name in our awareness of relationship with Him. Simply being still, letting go, letting all things be healed, like a patient lying still as the Healer does His work. "Sit silently and wait upon your Father" (5:5).
There are words of encouragement in this introduction, assuring us that we couldn't have come this far if the goal were not our true will; if, in our hearts, we did not want God to come to us and reveal Himself. This is our will, in case we are having any doubts, or looking at what is being asked of us and questioning whether or not we want it deeply enough. We do.
Jesus says, "I am so close to you we cannot fail" (6:1). "For now we cannot fail" (5:4). He reviews the way we have come, from our insane wish that God would fail to have the Son He created, to our recognition that illusions are not true. The end is near, he tells us. I think it is important to realize that he is speaking in the context of eons of time; "near" is a relative term, and probably is not referring to days or weeks or months. He says here that "the need for practice [is] almost done" (10:1). Yet in the Manual (Section 16) he makes it clear that some kind of practice is part of the lifelong habit of the teacher of God. "Almost done," as well, is relative to the billions of years we have spent in separation. We are very near the goal, in that context!
One last item about our daily practice for the next five months, which should be carefully noted: we are supposed to read one of the "What Is" sections every day, preceding either our morning or evening quiet time. Thus, each section will be read ten times. And each time we read it, we are asked to read it "slowly" and to think about it for a while (11:4).
Going along with this instruction, therefore, in the daily lesson comments that follow I will include my thoughts for that day about the current "What Is" section. I will comment, usually, on just a few sentences from the "What Is" section each day, covering the entire page over the period of ten days.
Difficult Passages: “THINK NOT YOU MADE THE WORLD?”
There is a very puzzling statement in Workbook Lesson 184, so puzzling that I have been asked about it several times:
Think not you made the world. Illusions, yes! But what is true in earth and Heaven is beyond your naming. (W-pI.184.8:1-3)
The apparent problem with this passage is obvious: The Course tells us many times that we made the world, yet here it says with great emphasis that we should not think we made the world. What's more, it suggests that there are "true" things in the world, the very world we have been repeatedly told is an illusion! How can we harmonize this passage with the rest of the Course? It's too easy just to ignore it, to pass it off as Helen having a bad day, a glitch in taking down the Course, or that the Course is just inconsistent. I think such a passage calls for a serious attempt to reconcile what is said with the rest of the Course.
Our first impulse when facing this kind of issue is often to draw upon our overall understanding of the Course. We ask ourselves: Based on the Course's overall thought system, how can I explain this passage? Many readers, no doubt, have already asked themselves this question in the course of reading this article.
I think there is a far better way. The answer to this kind of question almost always lies in immediate context, in the material immediately before and after the puzzling passage. Read that material very carefully, looking for words and ideas that also occur in your puzzling passage. So let's do that with the passage we are looking at here. You might even want to go to Lesson 184 and read it from the start through paragraph 8, where our passage occurs.
If you read the lesson from the beginning, you notice a central topic which also occurs in our passage: the topic of naming ("naming" being the last word of our passage). The beginning paragraphs of the lesson talk about our process of giving names to everything around us. We are told that assigning something a special name appears to "carve it out of unity" (1:4), making it seem to be "a separate entity" (1:3) with its own "special attributes" (1:5). In the wake of this naming project, we end up with a "reality" composed of distinct entities separated by the unnamed space between them. The naming process is thus really a making process, whereby we become (at least in part) the author of what we name—which is why there is so much pride in inventing a name that sticks. This discussion of naming concludes by saying, "This is the way reality is made by partial vision, purposefully set against the given truth" (4:1).
Do you notice anything important about this sentence? Here we have another idea found in our passage: the idea of us making our own reality. This lesson appears to be talking about a somewhat different concept of making the world. Usually, the Course seems to be referring to us making the world through an unconscious process of dreaming time and space into "existence." Here, the Course is talking about a process closer to the surface: using names to separate our perceptual field into distinct and separate entities.
Let's now go on to the lines immediately following the passage we are trying to explain:
When you call upon a brother, it is to his body that you make appeal. His true Identity is hidden from you by what you believe he really is. His body makes response to what you call him, for his mind consents to take the name you give him as his own. And thus his unity is twice denied, for you perceive him separate from you, and he accepts this separate name as his. (8:4-7)
To explain our puzzling passage, we need to answer a specific question: What are the illusions we made and what are the true things we didn't make? The answer to this question is right there in the lines just quoted. They contain a clear contrast between two things, one illusory and one real. Can you spot these two things? The illusory thing is the body, which merely seems to be what our brother is. The real thing is our brother's "true Identity," who he really is, which (as we know from elsewhere in the Course) is the Christ, a bodiless, boundless spiritual Self.
So, very simply, the illusions we made are bodies, the forms of this world, the visible aspect of this world. Yet behind each illusion is a brother, who is an invisible, spiritual mind, and who ultimately is the Christ Himself. This brother is real. He was not made by us but created by God. He is not even really in this world. His true location is Heaven. He seems to be here, however, trapped inside this body. That, I believe, is why our confusing passage speaks of "what is true in earth and Heaven." The true things in this earth are not really in the earth at all; they are part of Heaven.
The confusion in our passage is really explained by now. But before pulling together what we have discovered, I would like to uncover a little more, just to show how much meaning there is here. Notice, in the lines quoted above, how the process of naming is carried further than before. A whole process is sketched, which goes something like this: You have in front of you a human body. You believe that this body is who your brother is. You express this belief by calling your brother by the name the world has given him. This name does not designate his true Identity, Which is one with all things and so could not have a special name. This name stands for a particular separate entity moving through space and time. It stands for a physical body. Thus, simply by calling him this name, you affirm that he is a separate body. Then, upon hearing your call, he accepts this name as his own. His mind thinks, "Yes, that is me. I am the body with that particular name." As a result, his body responds to you, standing in for his actual identity and playing its role. This is how "his unity is twice denied." By calling him a unique name, you have denied his true state of oneness with all reality. When he accepts this name as actually referring to him, he too has denied his oneness.
Now we are in a position to understand our initially puzzling passage with complete clarity. All we need to do is pull together all the things we have discovered through inspecting its immediate context. Here again is the passage:
Think not you made the world. Illusions, yes! But what is true in earth and Heaven is beyond your naming. (W-pI.184.8:1-3)
And here is what we have discovered that it means: First, you made a world of separate bodies in order to hide the unified field of minds which lay behind those bodies. Then, you named each body, further cementing the idea that this separate body-rather than the mind behind it-was the true person. Through this double process (of making forms then naming the forms) you made the world you see. But you think you made much more than this. Through this process, you think you made your brother (one of those unified minds) into the creature you see before you. You think you carved him out of unity; changed him from a boundless, unified spirit into a separate physical creature, designated by a special name. What an arrogant thought! For you only made the illusions of the world. Your brother was not made by you and so cannot properly be named by you, nor shaped and molded by your naming. He is far beyond all that. His reality may seem to be encased in a body, may seem to be part of this world, but in truth he abides in Heaven, where God placed him.
If we look carefully at the immediate context of any passage in the Course, we not only gain clarity, we also gain a much fuller meaning than we saw before.
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Borders for the Edges of the Path
If you're studying A Course in Miracles, buy this book and its companion volume. Skip lunches, go without your Starbucks fixes, whatever it takes, and spend that money here. You'll thank yourself--and the authors--many times over.
Following the Course is a beautiful walk, but it's not an especially well-marked path. It's easy to find yourself in the middle of either a vacant lot or a scary junkyard while thinking you're still on the trail. If you find either of those, you are not listening to your Guide. The landscape is littered with the remains of those who've gone before and fell off along the way.
The Workbook is a deeply rewarding and expanding part of the mind training offered by the Course, but here again, it's just not that easy to "get it." This pair of books will give you left and right hand borders for the Path of ACIM. Walking a well-marked trail is not only clearer, it's more enjoyable. Even if you could do it alone, why would you want to?
Robert Perry's Practice Instruction is very helpful. He has a keen sense of what the Author is really asking us to do, and thus can lead us toward carrying that out more easily and faithfully. Certainly there is a relationship between what we put into a thing and what we get out of it.
Allen Watson's Lesson Commentaries are full of insight and practical wisdom. The value they add to our study is a multiple of any expenditure of our time or money invested in acquiring them. I admire his honesty and covet his clarity.
Both of these men are true scholars of the Course and can be trusted to help its Author bring out the most for you. Plus they're both good writers, which makes them a pleasure to read and an inspiration to follow.
My experience with Circle Publishing's books has been overwhelmingly positive. Their material is well written and easily understood. And it doesn't hurt that their volumes are aesthetically pleasing, both to the eye and the hand. As a final note, be aware that their website holds a wealth of resources.
Peace to you.
Henry Dickens & Co
Member, Antiquarian Book Dealers Association of South Carolina
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