Some years ago, I was attending a ACIM© workshop given by Ken Wapnick at his Foundation in Roscoe, New York. In the parking lot, I noticed a bumper sticker that read, "STUDY ACIM - SHIFT HAPPENS." I wondered what it meant at that time, and was sure that I would find out as I stuck to my study of ACIM©.
It finally happened. After years of diligent study, I discovered
the SHIFT was in fact my own shift in perception from horizontal to vertical,
which I express as: -
Perception's gift is the eternal NOW. That is why it is called the PRESENT. It is in it that we are able to pull back our horizontal thinking from PAST and FUTURE; then raise our thought vertically, take the hand of the Holy Spirit and look down through the eyes of the Vision of Christ. We have then changed from false to true perception and see only God in all living things. The "view" of our whole world changes, takes on a shining beauty and where we once saw fear we now find love. With our new perception, sin and fear are gone and with them the guilt that we felt over our terrible "sin" is no longer necessary.
FORGIVENESS for what we thought was so has come and replaced the judgement we held about everything. We realize that everyone is simply experiencing the lessons they chose long before they were born. Therefore, it is not appropriate to judge anything because we do not know its purpose, but it is proper to send our loving support in whatever way the Holy Spirit guides us.
SHIFT has happened and we will never again look at our world,
our brothers and ourself in the same way again.
In the intellectual approach, we become aware of the Level I aspect of ACIM©, including the metaphysics, the theology and the road-map of our chosen journey through our world of separation and perception. It is all very logical and provides us with an explanation of what we think we are doing.
In the emotional, experiential journey, we feel our natural intuition, perhaps through dreams, meditation and a connectedness with our Source and Being. This is the home of the feeling of love and brings us the experience of what we truly are.
Balance in the two aspects brings us into completeness allowing us to be inventive, caring and loving, both of ourselves and of others.
As we begin our journey of discovery of what we truly are and always have been, we generally come across a thought system asking us to look carefully at what we have been doing, thinking and judging; then letting our negative attitudes go to be replaced by a gentle, loving and non-judgemental view of our world, our brothers and ourself. Such a system is given in the Workbook of ACIM©. It is a gentle system of looking at our "darkness," letting it go, to be replaced by God's Love. There are 365 Lessons, designed to be done one a day for one year. This is an ideal, of course. Not many of us are clear enough to accomplish it in one year, and may require a longer period to lay aside our ego and concentrate on the work. Eventually our dark thoughts and judgements are removed leaving our mind clear, willing, and available to be re-filled with God's Love through the guidance of our Holy Spirit.
This is essentially a process of remembering. It is not going any place new or learning anything new. It is a remembering of what and where we have been always and is termed "accepting the Atonement" for ourself. To remember is to re-member. That is, to join once again all the many parts of the Son of God back into the ONE as originally created.
Having finally reached this place in mind, we are ready to cross over the bridge to Holy Spirit's "real world" and there wait for all our brothers to arrive and God's last step in lifting us home.
ACIM© encourages us to realize that we never really separated from God, His Kingdom of Love and our Self as the Christ. However, we think we did and are off in a world of our own. Therefore Holy Spirit in our spirit mind and Jesus as His manifestation have come to remind us and guide us Home when we are ready. They have gently and lovingly taken us where we think we are, have spoken our language so we could understand, and are leading us surely Home. ACIM© therefore describes our experience in our world and body as an illusion, a dream we are having, and in no way real.
The first step in re-membering our Self is in FORGIVING ourself for the reality we thought was so. Yes, we forgive our brothers, but only because we first forgive ourself for our mistaken judgements of what we thought was real.
So ACIM© and its Workbook is a system of remembering and
coming back to the Truth we thought we had forgotten. Any thought
system that can accomplish this is smiled upon by Heaven, as all paths
lead to the one door Home.
We are the dreamer of that dream. We are actually in Heaven as the Christ with our Creator Father, God, but have fallen asleep and are dreaming our dream. Our body, our thoughts, our world and all of history, time and space are part of that dream and never were real.
But as we go through it all, it certainly seems real. And all the others in our dream look at us and say, "Yes, this is certainly real!" But they are all parts of our mind that we have invented to "be real," to substantiate our dream and help us to stay asleep. If we were ever to wake up, we would see it for the simple illusion that it is! So our sleeping mind makes up all the wonderful, painful and insane stories that we live out to stay asleep. When we experience a dream at night, it appears that part of our mind has left itself and is off on an adventure of its own. When we wake up, we say "Boy! I'm glad that was a dream!" Now we are awake and we know the difference. There is not anyone who has but experienced this phenomenon.
When we finally realize that we have been dreaming, all our questions are answered. We often hear questions like, "When did the separation happen, and to whom?" or "Why would a perfect mind decide to leave itself and experience something else?" It NEVER DID! We are still asleep, and still dreaming. Nothing at all really happened. It is just that we are all such great dreamers, that it seems perfectly real and true. All of history, time and space never happened. Our body, our world and all our relationships never happened. We are still asleep in Heaven and dreaming our dream right now. We are the dream.
So, we are instructed that to answer the ONE QUESTION we are all really asking, "WHO AM I?", requires first that we lay aside all thought of what we think is real and present ourself empty-handed to receive the ONE ANSWER. Until we are willing to do that, we will still go on thinking our dream is quite real, and still go on asking the questions. We have forgotten that we are Spirit, who for a short while has taken up a body in a world to remember what it is we are and not a body that is real, once-in-a-while getting in touch with our spirit. As Ken Wapnick said, "Before you can remember what you forgot, you have to forget what you remembered."
So what we are doing here in this world is remembering God. God is that State of absolute Oneness that we all are. But before we can begin to "remember" that abstract Thought from our finite mind, we have to let go of all the beliefs and investments we have in our dream of specialness. We have to be willing to give up what we think is so, and let our Holy Spirit show us what is really So. We first of all get STILL; then we LISTEN. The quiet voice of TRUTH that we begin to hear will tell us of our SELF and of GOD, and we will know it is true.
We are all on our own "journey" and on our own process along it. Therefore, it is necessary and proper that we allow our brother his place; it is exactly where he needs to be for what he has to learn (remember).
When we are ready we WILL awaken. That has already
been decided by God. When we decide to do it is up to us.
So we can stay in our dream or go around many times, at our choice, until
we reach our understanding of "The All-That-Is" and "return" to it.
“I AM ABOUT MY FATHER’S BUSINESS”