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ACIM – CHAPTER 21 REASON AND PERCEPTION VI. Reason vs Madness

1.  Reason cannot see sin but can see errors and leads to their correction. It does not value them, but their correction. Reason will also tell you that when you think you sin, you call for help. Yet if you will not accept the help, you call for, you will not believe that it is yours to give. And so you will not give it, thus maintaining the belief. For uncorrected error of any kind deceives you about the power that is in you to make correction. If it can correct, and you allow it not to do so, you deny it to yourself and to your brother. And if he shares this same belief, you both will think that you are damned. This you could spare him and yourself. For reason would not make way for correction in you alone.

2. Correction cannot be accepted or refused by you without your brother. Sin would maintain it can. Yet reason tells you that you cannot see your brother or yourself as sinful and still perceive the other innocent. Who looks upon himself as guilty and sees a sinless world? And who can see a sinful world and look upon himself apart from it? Sin would maintain you and your brother must be separate. But reason tells you that this must be wrong. If you and your brother are joined, how could it be that you have private thoughts? And how could thoughts that enter into what but seems like yours alone have no effect at all on what is yours? If minds are joined, this is impossible.

3. No one can think but for himself, as God thinks not without His Son. Only were Both in bodies could this be.  Nor could one mind think only for itself unless the body were the mind. For only bodies can be separate, and therefore unreal. The home of madness cannot be the home of reason. Yet it is easy to leave the home of madness if you see reason. You do not leave insanity by going somewhere else. You leave it simply by accepting reason where madness was. Madness and reason see the same things, but it is certain that they look upon them differently.

4. Madness is an attack on reason that drives it out of mind and takes its place. Reason does not attack, but takes the place of madness quietly, replacing madness if it be the choice of the insane to listen to it. But the insane know not their will, for they believe they see the body, and let their madness tell them it is real. Reason would be incapable of this. And if you would defend the body against your reason, you will not understand the body or yourself.

5. The body does not separate you from your brother, and if you think it does you are insane. But madness has a purpose, and believes it also has the means to make its purpose real. To see the body as a barrier between what reason tells you must be joined must be insane. Nor could you see it, if you heard the voice of reason. What can there be that stands between what is continuous? And if there is nothing in between, how can what enters part be kept away from other parts? Reason would tell you this. But think what you must recognize, if it be so.

6. If you choose sin instead of healing, you would condemn the Son of God to see what can never be corrected. You tell him, by your choice, that he is damned; separate from you and from his Father forever, without a hope of safe return. You teach him this, and you will learn of him exactly what you taught. For you can teach him only that he is as you would have him, and what you choose he be is but your choice for you. Yet think not this is fearful. That you are joined to him is but a fact, not an interpretation. How can a fact be fearful unless it disagrees with what you hold more dear than truth? Reason will tell you that this fact is your release.

7. Neither your brother nor yourself can be attacked alone. But neither can accept a miracle instead without the other being blessed by it and healed of pain. Reason, like love, would reassure you, and seeks not to frighten you. The power to heal the Son of God is given you because he must be one with you. You are responsible for how he sees himself. And reason tells you it is given you to change his whole mind, which is one with you, in just an instant. And any instant serves to bring complete correction of his errors and make him whole. The instant that you choose to let yourself be healed, in that same instant is his whole salvation seen as complete with yours. Reason is given you to understand that this is so. For reason, kind as is the purpose for which it is the means, leads steadily away from madness toward the goal of truth. And here you will lay down the burden of denying truth. This is the burden that is terrible, and not the truth.

8. That you and your brother are joined is your salvation; the gift of Heaven, not the gift of fear. Does Heaven seem to be a burden to you? In madness, yes. And yet what madness sees must be dispelled by reason. Reason assures you Heaven is what you want, and all you want. Listen to Him Who speaks with reason and brings your reason into line with His. Be willing to let reason be the means by which He would direct you how to leave insanity behind. Hide not behind insanity in order to escape from reason. What madness would conceal, the Holy Spirit still holds out for everyone to look upon with gladness.

9. You are your brother’s savior. He is yours. Reason speaks happily indeed of this. This gracious plan was given love by love. And what love plans is like itself in this: being united, it would have you learn what you must be. And being one with it, it must be given you to give what it has given and gives still. Spend but an instant in the glad acceptance of what is given you to give your brother and learn with him what has been given both of you. To give is no more blessed than to receive. But neither is it less.

10. The Son of God is always blessed as one.  And as his gratitude goes out to you who blessed him, reason will tell you that it cannot be you stand apart from blessing. The gratitude he offers you reminds you of the thanks your Father gives you for completing Him. And here alone does reason tell you that you can understand what you must be. Your Father is as close to you as is your brother. Yet what is there that could be nearer you then is yourself?

11. The power you have over the Son of God is not a threat to his reality. It but attests to it. Where could his freedom lie but in himself, if he be free already? And who could bind him but himself, if he deny his freedom? God is not mocked; no more His Son can be imprisoned save by his own desire. And it is by his own desire that he is freed. Such is his strength, and not his weakness. He is at his own mercy. And where he chooses to be merciful, there is he free. But where he chooses to condemn instead, there is he held a prisoner waiting in chains his pardon on himself to set him free.[1]

In today’s devotional text, we learn that reason does not see sin.  When reason looks upon a problem, reason immediately goes into correction mode.  When one of our friends goes rogue and leaves her kids and family and runs off with a carnie, instead of condemning her and calling her a slut and sinner, we take her to the holy instant where we are one.  We talk to her, there.  We do not gossip about her, condemn her on social media, take sides against her.  We simply offer help through the holy instant and leave her in the hands of holiness to learn her lessons there.  

If we do not take our friend to the holy instant and meet her there in oneness and unity, we will deny ourselves and our brothers this beautiful power of correction and instead choose to damn ourselves.  Waste no time making mistakes into sin and cause for more separation.  Take every thing that does not bring love, joy, and peace to the holy instant and communicate there in spirit to those who need our help, those who are hurting, whose who are searching for love and adventure in the wrong places.  In this way we practice the function of holiness; we spare everyone grief, heartache, and anguish.  We exchange the low mind of condemnation for the high mind of mercy and truth. 

We are in this together.  For we cannot see someone as guilty and not see guilt in ourselves.  Sin would maintain that we are separate, that one can be an innocent victim and the other the filthy absconder, that it is better to side with the poor mister who was left with all those kids to raise on his own instead of the tramp who ran off with the carnival, but Jesus tells us that the thoughts we have for one are the same we share for all.  If I see one as sinner and whore, even in my private thoughts, God will not condemn me, but my mind will.  And when my mind condemns me, I will not see my holiness or believe it is mine.

Created as one loving mind united with God, Jesus tells us not to judge each other by our bodies and our flesh weaknesses.  It is madness to engage in thoughts of sin and shame and sorrow.  Only bodies can be separate and do things that are not nice to each other, fail to keep up their end of the bargain, or fall prey to the wiles of another.  None of this is real – it is an ongoing lunatic asylum and not the home of reason.  When we give up the madness and accept reason, we will look upon everything differently! 

When we choose reason, the calamities of flesh cannot keep us in an uproar.  We give up the insane penchant for finding fault, taking sides, pointing fingers of blame and shame.  When we choose reason, the wonderful power of our holy minds overlooks the misdeeds of the flesh by recognizing it for what it is – nothing.  We do not give power to sin.  We do not give power to the meaningless.  We do not hold flesh accountable for flesh is not Spirit, flesh is not holy; flesh has no reason. 

When we look upon each other as bodies, we engage in madness for in our separate bodies we cannot be joined. The Sonship of God is denied us; there is no reason for our being.  A bunch of flesh and blood bodies granted a grubby lease on life and doomed to die, reason teaches that our meaning is found only in the unity of Sonship.

See each other as sinners, we condemn the Sonship.  We damn people to hell, separating them forever from God and from ourselves.  This is not the teaching of reason but the teaching of madness. We may seem separate in the flesh, but we are joined as one with Creation.  Hold the idea of sin and separation more dear to us than the truth of our oneness, we will glut ourselves on fear, hatred, and self-loathing.  Salvation will be a burden for we will see some as saved and others as not.  We will go to great lengths to convince others to join with us in our belief system; we will worry, threaten, and cajole.  We will pray and plead with God to have mercy.  We will pour out our hearts and souls trying to save people from hell.  But let us reason together – we are one in Christ; my salvation is your salvation is the salvation of the Sonship.  Our salvation is the salvation of the world.  Joined – one cannot return to God’s Kingdom without all. 

We hold the power to heal the Sonship.  I am responsible for how you see yourself, and you are responsible for how I see myself.  Tonight, my sister told me how she had received a letter from one of our former foster sisters.  In the letter the woman had apologized for what a brat she had been.  My sister was moved to respond to her with correction – she was no brat by any means.  Remembered with affection and fondness, my sister intends to communicate this to our foster sister.  This is taking responsibility for how another sees themselves.  In these small but beautiful ways, we heal the Sonship. 

When we begin to see past our separate bodies to the holiness that joins us all in Spirit and in Sonship, we are saved from madness!  We have Heaven.  We are delivered from fear.  This seems like a crazy dream in the world of separation and sin.  Yes, of course we want Heaven, but what a burden it must be to be a goody-goody all the time – some of the more impish among us may say.  But let us reason together.  Let us take a good look around us and let what we see inform and assure us that Heaven is indeed what we want and all we want. 

Devote time each day to inviting Holy Spirit to reason with your mind and heart.  In the calm, meditative state in which you come to the inner altar, leave the insanity of the world behind.  Do not get caught up in the constant, shifting sands of the world for it will keep you from what Holy Spirit holds out with no mystery, no secret passwords, no special rites or rituals.  Reason, like Truth, is always there and never hides from those who seek it. 

As we reach for the high mind of Christ, we learn what we really are.  We are not given Heaven to hoard to ourselves and bring some in and keep others out.  This is a beautiful concept to contemplate in our quiet times. Let the love and the peace and the joy in this permeate your consciousness.  We are given the understanding of what we are – and none of us are different or set apart or especial sinners or star-studded saints – we are one.  The Kingdom is incomplete without you just as it is incomplete without me.  With the High Mind of Christ, you know the Father and your brother as one and as your Self. 

It is our desire for reason, logic, meaning, and purpose that liberates us from madness and illusions.  The desire we have for the world beyond, to escape the karmic cycles of the illusion is our strength.  It is weakness that would try to find meaning in corruptible flesh, a home in the carnal world of separateness and sin, happiness in judgment and condemnation.  Here we would find only madness.  Let reason be the means to freedom through the forgiveness and mercy we share with others over their lapses in the flesh.  We are not going to hold them accountable.  We are going to set them free even as we are set free.    


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 21 Reason and perception VI Reason vs madness. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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