A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

To gain the most from A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple, we recommend that
you read the corresponding chapter and section in the Text of the Second or
Third Edition of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace.

Chapter 16: The Forgiveness of Illusions

Section III: The Reward of Teaching

Read ACIM Chapter 16, Section III (pages 334-337)

How are we learning to accept the comfort of Love from our inner Teacher?

This section can be tricky to understand unless you realize that Jesus uses the word ‘you’ to refer to both your true Self, the Holy Spirit, and to the separate ‘self’ we believe we are. In the first paragraph he says, “You may have taught well, and yet you may not have learned how to accept the comfort of your teaching.” (1:2) Another way to say this is, “You (the Holy Spirit in you) may have taught well, and yet you (the individual self you think you are) may not have learned how to accept the comfort of your (true Self’s) teaching.

For example, you may have had an experience when you saw past the outer appearance or behavior of someone to the innocent, loving Self that they really are. In that moment you saw them not as separate, but the Love in your heart reached out and joined with the Love in them. In this moment of lucidity, you disregarded the body’s perceptions and let the comfort of your true Self shine through, showing you that you and your brother share the same Love. In this moment you were experiencing the comfort of Love which came from your inner Teacher.

Even if it lasted only a brief moment, it is a reminder of the comfort you could give and receive as an extension of the Love of God. You have been taught what true comfort is by your true Self and you extended that comfort to your brother. This comfort that comes from your inner Teacher is experienced as deep peace and quiet joy. It is clearly a comfort that comes from beyond the thought system with which you identify when you see yourself as a body in a world of form.

This is an example of how it is possible for the Holy Spirit to teach the comfort of Love through us even though we have identified ourselves with the ego thought system. This teaching is clearly the opposite of what we learn from the ego. The Holy Spirit, our inner Comforter, remains in our mind though we are unaware of It because we deny Its presence. Jesus tells us, “And it must be that what you taught came from yourself. Yet this Self you clearly do not know, and do not recognize It even though It functions.” (3:5:6)

How do we listen to the truth that is beyond the ego thought system?

The Holy Spirit comes from beyond our current thought system. That is why it is so important for us to give time to quiet our minds of ego thoughts and open up to the part of our mind in which truth resides. To encourage us to listen to the truth of what is beyond the ego thought system, Jesus tells us, “If you will consider what you have taught, and how alien it is to what you thought you knew, you will be compelled to realize that your Teacher came from beyond your thought system. Therefore He could look upon it (what you thought you knew) fairly, and perceive it was untrue. He must have done so from the basis of a very different thought system, and one with nothing in common with yours.” (1:3-5) Realizing our true Self is there in our minds and listening to this Self helps us realize that our illusions are untrue and opens the door for pain and suffering to be replaced by peace and joy.

A Course in Miracles is a gift to us from Jesus to help us see that our illusions about ourselves are untrue. Because we have chosen to believe in our illusions, we have forgotten What we are. He tells us, “This is a course in how to know yourself. You have taught what you are, but have not let what you are teach you.” (4:1-2) Here we are learning that what we taught ourselves about what we are is really not part of us, but just a false image.

How do we separate ourselves from illusion and not from truth?

Jesus tells us, “What you accept into your mind does not really change it. Illusions are but beliefs in what is not there. And the seeming conflict between truth and illusion can only be resolved by separating yourself from the illusion and not from truth.” (4:8-10) Here we see that our job is to separate ourselves from the illusion, not from truth. We do this by not relating to the illusion as what we are and what is the truth about us. We do this by forgiving illusions, which is the title of this chapter. Forgiving illusions means letting them go because we see that they are not real. We see that they are just the ‘image making’ that comes from joining with the ego thought system.

Why are we to accept our true Self as the only part that is real?

Paragraphs 5 through 9 are particularly helpful in showing us all the help we have to wake up from our dream of separation from our true Self. Jesus encourages us to accept our true Self as the only part that is real. He says, “...the Holy Spirit is part of you. Created by God, He left neither God nor His creation. He is both God and you, as you are God and Him together.” (5:1-3)

What does Jesus mean when he refers to “our creations”?

In paragraph five Jesus refers to “our creations.” In this world, we typically think of our creations as something we create in the world of form. To clarify this, it is helpful to refer to page 461 of the Workbook for Students, Part II: 11. What is Creation? Here Jesus says, “Creation is the sum of all God’s Thoughts, in number infinite, and everywhere without all limit. Only Love creates, and only like Itself. ...Forever and forever are God’s Thoughts exactly as they were and as they are, unchanged through time and after time is done. (1:1-2,5) ...God’s Thoughts are given all the power that their own Creator has. For He would add to Love by Its extension.” (2:1-2) So here we see that when Jesus talks about our creations, he is talking about extending God’s Love without trying to change It.

In paragraph 5 Jesus tells us, “They (your extensions of Love) are quite real, as part of the Self you do not know. They (your extensions of Love) communicate to you through the Holy Spirit, and their power and gratitude to you for their creation they offer gladly to your teaching of yourself, Who is their Home.” (5:7-8)

What do our extensions of Love teach us?

Because we continue to be a part of God, our true Self is always extending Love, which is what Love does in order to be Itself. These extensions of Love teach us What we are. That is why Jesus tells us, “...the witnesses to your (true Self’s) teaching gave gathered to help you learn. Their gratitude has joined with yours and God’s to strengthen your faith in what you (your true Self) taught. For what you (your true Self) taught is true. Alone, you (your false individual self identity) stand outside your teaching and apart from it. But with them (your extensions of Love) you must learn that you but taught yourself, and learned from the conviction you shared with them (your extensions of Love).” (6:4-8) Because nothing is outside of Love, and Love is constantly extending Itself, It is constantly Being Itself when It is extending Love. As we return to extending the Love we are, we remember our Self.

That is why Jesus tells us in paragraph 8: “Each one builds this bridge, which carries him across the gap as soon as he is willing to expend some little effort on behalf of bridging it. His little efforts are powerfully supplemented by the strength of Heaven, and by the united will of all who make Heaven what It is, being joined within It. And so the one who would cross over is literally transported there.” (8:3-5) We have all the help of Heaven to help us become aware of Where we truly are — in Heaven — and What we truly are, Which is the extension of God’s one, seamless Love.

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