What Does It Mean That ACIM Is Not About Behavior?

A Course In Miracles does not teach any "specific" behaviors like many other spiritual disciplines or religions. Actually, what religions or spiritualities frequently teach about behavior is what not to do. ACIM does not teach that it is a sin to be sexual outside of the "sacrament" of marriage. ACIM does not teach that homosexual behavior is wrong. ACIM does not teach that eating meat is "murder." Therefore ACIM does not teach vegetarianism or sexual abstinence. ACIM doesn't teach that you have to go to church on Sunday. ACIM doesn't teach that you need to tithe 10% of your income to a central organization. In this sense, ACIM isn't about behavior.

However, it is the author's opinion that to make a general statement that ACIM in not about behavior is simplistic. The author does not believe that it is true. "God offers only mercy. Your words should reflect only mercy because that is what you have received, and that is what you should give." (OrEd.Tx.2.20) That's a behavioral guideline. Our words should be merciful / loving. This is ACIM telling us how to speak. That's behavior. It also in not 100% true that ACIM never teaches anything specific about behavior either. "It is not wise to lie down for [your quiet time]. It is better to sit up, in whatever position you prefer. Having gone through the workbook you must have come to some conclusions in this respect." (OrEd.Mn.16.5) Better to sit up than to lie down for our quiet, prayer meditation time. That is definitely a specific behavior.

ACIM is very clear that Holy Spirit and Jesus should be guiding our behavior. "In everything be led by Him and do not reconsider." (OrEd.Tx.13.81) Holy Spirit and Jesus are charge of our behavior. That's a powerful behavioral teaching from ACIM. It's clearly repeated in the Workbook. "What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?” (OrEd.WkBk.71) This passage teaches us to ask Holy Spirit what to do and say. That is a clear behavior teaching. In truth, there are many powerful behavior teachings all throughout ACIM. Here's another one, "You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think." (OrEd.Tx.2.73) We get our thinking "straight" and aligned with Holy Spirit, with Jesus, then we will "behave" correctly. That is a behavior teaching.

It is actually accurate to say that ACIM is a profound teaching on "Miracle Minded" behavior. In many place there is an actual call to action, a "Great Crusade." "As you share my inability to tolerate lack of love in yourself and others, you must join the Great Crusade to correct it. The slogan for the Crusade is  Listen, learn and do: Listen to my voice, learn to undo error, and do something to correct it." (OrEd.Tx.1.31) The "slogan" for our life's mission is "listen, learn, and do." Doing is behavior. This is a behavioral teaching. In another place ACIM teaches us that we will be "busy doing" when we follow the Holy Spirit's or Jesus' guidance. "This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. For from this center will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly." (OrEd.Tx.18.70) Continuing on these themes of Crusade and busy doings there is this quotation, "Let us not rest content until the world has joined our changed perception. Let us not be satisfied until forgiveness has been made complete. And let us not attempt to change our function. We must save the world." (OrEd.WkBk.SpTp241.5) ACIM is teaching us that we are going to be so busy doing on this Great Crusade that we can not rest content.

It is also extremely clear that ACIM is requiring us to use our bodies in the salvation process, even specific parts of our bodies. "My eyes, my tongue, my hands, my feet today -- Have but one purpose—to be given Christ -- To use to bless the world with miracles." (OrEd.WkBk.353) The same idea is expressed again here, "Pray that the Second Coming will be soon, but do not rest with that. It needs your eyes and ears and hands and feet. It needs your voice. And most of all it needs your willingness." (OrEd.WkBk.SpTp301.5) The "Second Coming," the "Great Crusade," the Atonement itself needs the behavior of our bodies as a whole and of specific parts of our bodies as well. In this way ACIM is a dynamic and profound behavioral teaching.

 

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