ACIM – Chapter 27 III. Beyond Symbols

1. Power cannot oppose. For opposition would weaken it, and weakened power is a contradiction in ideas. Weak strength is meaningless, and power used to weaken is employed to limit. And therefore it must be limited and weak because that is its purpose. Power is unopposed, to be itself. No weakness can intrude on it without changing it into something it is not. To weaken is to limit and impose an opposite that contradicts the concept that it attacks. And by this does it join to the idea a something it is not and make it unintelligible. Who can understand a double concept such as “weakened power” or “hateful love?”

2. You have decided that your brother is a symbol for a “hateful love,” a “weakened power,” and above all, a “living death.” and so he has no meaning to you, for he stands for what is meaningless. He represents a double thought, where half is cancelled out by the remaining half. Yet even this is quickly contradicted by the half it cancelled out, and so they both are gone. And now he stands for nothing. Symbols which but represent ideas that cannot be must stand for empty space and nothingness. Yet nothingness and empty space cannot be interference. What can interfere with the awareness of reality is the belief that there is something there.

3. The picture of your brother that you see means nothing. There is nothing to attack or to deny; to love or hate, or to endow with power or to see as weak. The picture has been wholly cancelled out. Because it symbolized a contradiction that cancelled out the thought it represents. And thus the picture has no cause at all. Who can perceive effect without a cause? What can the causeless be but nothingness? The picture of your brother that you see is wholly absent and has never been. Let, then, the empty space it occupies be recognized as vacant, and the time devoted to its seeing be perceived as idly spent, a time unoccupied.

4. An empty space that is not seen as filled, an unused interval of time not seen as spent and fully occupied, becomes a silent invitation to the truth to enter, and to make itself at home. No preparation can be made that would enhance the invitation’s real appeal. For what you leave as vacant God will fill, and where He is there must the truth abide. Unweakened power, with no opposite, is what creation is. For this there are no symbols. Nothing points beyond the truth, for what can stand for more than everything? Yet true undoing must be kind. And so the first replacement for your picture is another picture of another kind.

5. As nothingness cannot be pictured, so there is no symbol for totality. Reality is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen. Forgiveness is not yet a power known as fully free of limits. Yet it sets no limits you have chosen to impose. Forgiveness is the means by which the truth is represented temporarily. It lets the Holy Spirit make exchange of pictures possible, until the time when aids are meaningless and learning done. No learning aid has use that can extend beyond the goal of learning. When its aim has been accomplished it is functionless. Yet in the learning interval it has a use that now you fear, but yet will love.

6. The picture of your brother given you to occupy the space so lately left unoccupied and vacant will not need defense of any kind. For you will give it overwhelming preference. Nor delay an instant in deciding that it is the only one you want. It does not stand for double concepts. Though it is but half the picture and is incomplete, within itself it is the same. The other half of what it represents remains unknown, but it is not cancelled out. And thus is God left free to take the final step Himself. For this you need no pictures and no learning aids. And what will ultimately take the place of every learning aid will merely be.

7. Forgiveness vanishes and symbols fade, and nothing that the eyes have ever seen, or ears have heard remains to be perceived. A power holy limitless has come, not to destroy, but to receive its own. There is no choice of function anywhere. The choice you fear to lose you never had. Yet only this appears to interfere with power unlimited and single thoughts, complete and happy, without opposite. You do not know the peace of power that opposes nothing. Yet no other kind can be at all. Give welcome to the power beyond forgiveness, and beyond the world of symbols and of limitations. He would merely be, and so He merely is.[1]

In today’s meditation contemplate the meaning of power.  In the perceptual realm power is used to weaken and to control, power is seen as having the ability to take from the weak and make weaker and subservient.  However, the real meaning of power is to extend and share its strength.  Power, to be real power, cannot be opposed for when opposed it would spend itself in defense rather than in extending and sharing of itself.  Power cannot have an opposite or it is no longer power but has an equally opposing force which would weaken it and give it a double meaning.  “Weakened power” is an oxymoron, right along with Christian soldier and an angry vengeful God of Love.

Spend time with these ideas for as we let the words of today’s text rest upon our minds we are set free from the ideas which held us bound to a fearful concept of God which makes Him out to be a weakened power, a sad creator whose very creations would turn against Him and fill Him with rage.  A bloodthirsty God of Love is a contradiction in terms!  A punishing God is not a God Whose Love seeks only correction and reunion. 

In paragraph two, Jesus tells us that we perceive each other as a picture rather than as part of us.  You are over there – separate from me, going about your life, doing things that are different than me.  When I look at you, I do not see myself, I see you – and many of the things you do and say and how you spend your time are not in agreement with what I think you should be doing.  I may be the kind of person who likes to collect facts about you and the more I dig up information that tells me about you the more I find to both hate and love, the more I find out about your weaknesses and your strengths, the more I find out about your wellness and your sicknesses and perversions and of course your death.  In all of these opposites you are nothing but a double thought to me – for what has meaning is canceled out by what has no meaning at all!  In my mind, you stand for nothing but a mess of useless facts that I have gathered about you.  You may as well not even be there because what I have collected about you in my mind is certainly not you, but rather a pointless insane patchwork of useless information.  It tells me nothing about you at all.  And yet I will believe that this image I have made of you with all manner of bits and pieces crazily patched together is you and I will relate to that and never know you as who and what you really are. 

There is nothing at all about this perception of you that has any substance – there is nothing to love or hate, attack or defend, to bow to in deference or to bully or mock.  Because I see you in contradiction – you are not there, the picture I have of you cancels you out.  My perception of you is a fabrication then.  To understand this is to let it go.  When I can let go of the picture I have about you, I can let that empty space it occupied in my mind, that made-up version that would keep me from every knowing and loving the real you be recognized for what it is.  I can realize that I never really knew you, that all the time I spent ruminating upon the pain you caused me, the things you said about me, the ways in which you betrayed my trust was causeless, it had no meaning.  That time would have been better spent not thinking anything at all about the things I made up about you. 

For when we leave time and space free of the perceptual world, when we free our mind from all the useless facts, the ongoing activities, the gossip and the news, the drama and the trauma – we give a silent invitation to the truth to enter and to make its home.  The only way to prepare for God is to free our mind of all the opposites that we have collected, to get rid of our small-minded, earthbound perceptions of a world that would oppose all that is real, everlasting, and true.  Free our mind of that, come to this understanding and God fills the void where our lies, illusions, and false concepts have taken His place. 

Jesus tells us that unweakened power, with no opposite, is what Creation is.  There are no symbols for this.  We cannot see it with our flesh eyes.  We cannot stand apart from it and make up stories about it, collect facts about it, piece together a false conception of it and try to convince others this is the truth.  Unopposed power is authentic.  There is nothing beyond it.  There is nothing but it.  Unopposed power has nothing to attack and nothing to defend.  It stands for everything. 

In our contemplation of Unopposed Power, we realize that to realize this, to have this and to be this, is to align ourselves with the Mind that would not oppose truth, which would not make up an opposite or a contradiction.  There is no war in Peace; there is no hatred in Love, there is no fear in Joy.  Let the Last Judgment be one in which we judge against the contradictions in our concepts of our Father God and Christ, His Son.  The undoing of our belief in that which would oppose power, love, joy, and peace must be gentle, loving, and above all patient and kind.  And so the first replacement for the perceptual world we have made in opposition to all that is true, is one of forgiveness. 

Forgiveness represents the truth in the temporary world.  When I can forgive the picture I have pieced together about you, Holiness can then make the exchange of pictures possible until the time comes when I can know you and love you as one with me.  When I no longer need a picture of you, I will not need to forgive you all the things I have collected about you to cancel out my love for you!  I will no longer need any learning aids at all to help me in this area because I will be able to perceive you truly even as you will be able to perceive me truly.  There will no nothing to forgive beyond this realm, but in the meantime when we still think that we can hurt each other, betray each other to the death, mock and scorn and deride one another, we need the picture of forgiveness to carry us through.

As we learn this concept and practice it in our daily lives, my picture of you and your picture of me given us by Holy Spirit will need no defense of any kind. I will come to love the forgiving picture of you for its gentleness and goodness, its kindness and joy.  The peace that comes along with this picture will free my mind of turmoil, alleviate the troubling rumblings and grumblings I held against you.  I will give this picture my overwhelming preference!  This will be the only picture of you that I want because there is no contradiction in it.  There is no weakened power, no hateful love.  My mind may still be split for I am living in flesh and seeing with my flesh eyes, but I am making a conscious choice to go with Holiness and clearing my mind of all that would oppose God. 

This is a conscious, deliberate practice at this point.  We are called to heal our relationships and quite frankly we could never do this on our own.  Our egos would prevent us from wishing to heal because it thrives on hard feelings, estrangement, resentment, grudges, and the poetic pathos of loneliness, friendlessness and despair. It may seem difficult at times to take a stand against the ego, but do not let it be a loss to you for with practice the forgiving picture is the only one that will make sense to us and return our minds to the love, joy, and peace of God’s Kingdom. 

In paragraph six Jesus tells us that it is the forgiving picture that frees our mind of the opposition to God to the point where God Himself awakens us to His Kingdom where we will need no symbols, no perceptions, no practice at all, for we will simply Be. 

Read over the last paragraph in today’s text and explore the concept of the holy limitless power which comes not to destroy but to receive its own.  Realize that the power of choice that you are so afraid of losing, is not a choice you ever really had for nothing can oppose God and there is no opposite to truth.  

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 27 The healing of the dream. iii. beyond all symbols. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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Published by eckief

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

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