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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6: The Lessons of Love

V: The Lessons of the Holy Spirit

I. To Have, Give All to All

  1. When your body and your ego and your dreams are gone, you will know that you will last forever. Perhaps you think this is accomplished through death, but nothing is accomplished through death, because death is nothing. Everything is accomplished through life, and life is of the mind and in the mind. The body neither lives nor dies because it cannot contain you who are life. If we share the same mind, you can overcome death because I did. Death is an attempt to resolve conflict by not deciding at all. Like any other impossible solutions the ego attempts, it will not work.
  2. God did not make the body, because it is destructible, and therefore not of the Kingdom. The body is the symbol of what you think you are. It is clearly a separation device, and therefore does not exist. The Holy Spirit, as always, takes what you have made and translates it into a learning device. Again, as always, He reinterprets what the ego uses as an argument for separation into a demonstration against it. If the mind can heal the body, but the body cannot heal the mind, then the mind must be stronger than the body. Every miracle demonstrates this.
  3. I have said that the Holy Spirit is the motivation for miracles. He always tells you that only the mind is real, because only the mind can be shared. The body is separate, and therefore cannot be part of you. To be of one mind is meaningful, but to be of one body is meaningless. By the laws of mind, then, the body is meaningless.
  4. To the Holy Spirit, there is no order of difficulty in miracles. This is familiar enough to you by now, but it has not yet become believable. Therefore, you do not understand it and cannot use it. We have too much to accomplish on behalf of the Kingdom to let this crucial concept slip away. It is a real foundation stone of the thought system I teach and want you to teach. You cannot perform miracles without believing it because it is a belief in perfect equality.  Only one equal gift can be offered to the equal Sons of God, and that is full appreciation. Nothing more and nothing less. Without a range, order of difficulty is meaningless, and there must be no range in what you offer to your brother.
  5. The Holy Spirit, who leads to God, translates communication into being, just as He ultimately translates perception into knowledge. You do not lose what you communicate. The ego uses the body for attack, for pleasure, and for pride. The insanity of this perception makes it a fearful one indeed. The Holy Spirit sees the body only as a means of communication, and because communication is sharing it becomes communion. Perhaps you think that fear as well as love can be communicated; and therefore, can be shared.  Yet this is not so real as it may appear.  Those who communicate fear are promoting attack, and attack always breaks communication, making it impossible. Egos do join together in temporary allegiance, but always for what each one can get separately.  The Holy Spirit communicates only what each one can give to all. He never takes anything back because He wants you to keep it. Therefore, His teaching begins with the lesson: To have, give all to all.
  6. This is a very preliminary step, and the only one you must take for yourself. It is not even necessary that you complete the step yourself, but it is necessary that you turn in that direction. Having chosen to go that way, you place yourself in charge of the journey, where you and only you must remain. This step may appear to exacerbate conflict rather than resolve it because it is the beginning step in reversing your perception and turning it right-side up. This conflicts with the upside-down perception you have not yet abandoned, or the change in direction would not have been necessary. Some remain at this step for a long time, experiencing very acute conflict. At this point they may try to accept the conflict, rather than take the next step towards its resolution. Having taken the first step, however, they will be helped. Once they have chosen what they cannot complete alone, they are no longer alone.[1]

In today’s devotional text, Jesus tells us that each one of us will know our eternal selves when our bodies, our egos, and our dreams are completely gone.  We must not make the mistake of thinking that this means death, because death accomplishes nothing.  We accomplish our true awakening through life because life has nothing to do with our bodies, and all to do with our minds. 

While we think of our identity as bodies, we will think of life and death in terms of whether our bodies are breathing and functioning in any capacity, or if they have shut down and are no longer viable.  But Jesus tells us that our bodies are not dead or alive and cannot contain us, for we are life.  We can overcome death just as Christ did, when we share His mind.  The ego and the bodies that represent it in this illusion, uses death as a way to get out of deciding against itself.  It does not work because the mind is not the body and keeps living because it is life.  In other words, until we resolve the conflict between the ego and the Kingdom of God, we are stuck in this realm and in this dream. 

God does not make that which can be destroyed – our bodies are not of God and they are not of His Kingdom.  Our bodies are symbols of what we think we are in a realm that is not unified but splintered, shattered, and in opposition to communion with God.  In reality, our bodies do not exist – they are used to keep us in state of conflict with one another.  I see you as different from me, you see me as different from you.  I will think that you are more privileged than me; you will think that I enjoy unfair advantages.   Conversely, I will judge you as deserving of guilt, shame, and hardship; you will see me as deserving of punishment, banishment, and estrangement.  This is not of God’s Kingdom, this is an insane world full of disparity and partiality, and therefore not real except in the dream of time. 

However, Holy Spirit uses our bodies as a means of communication.  Our bodies which clearly maintain separateness as part of the ego’s device, Holy Spirit uses to demonstrate that bodies are not life and therefore reality, but that the mind is life and our reality. 

Holy Spirit reveals through the use of miracles that the mind heals the body, while the body can never heal the mind.  Therefore, it only stands to reason that the mind as life, is stronger than the body, which signifies death. 

Only the mind is real because only the mind can be shared.  As a separation device, the body cannot be part of me or part of you.  It is simply not who or what we are.  I can take off all my clothes and you can take off all your clothes and we can put our bodies together in as many ways as bodies can go together, but we did not share our bodies.  What we did does not make us one; it does not resolve our differences, in fact, in many cases, trying to share our bodies only increases conflict, insecurity, disease, and death.  What happens between bodies has absolutely no meaning to Holy Spirit, who motivates us and teaches us that miracles occur when our minds connect, communicate, and share truth. 

It is crucial both to our own awakening and the awakening of others, that we understand that in the Spirit there is no level of difficulty between miracle thinking.  They are all the same.  Until we know this and understand it, we cannot accomplish the vision of Christ.  A foundational concept, we cannot perform miracles without believing in perfect equality.  In other words, it is a belief that there is nobody and nothing which is any more or any less deserving of full appreciation.  This is the one equal gift offered to the equal Sons of God.  Jesus tells us very clearly, with no room for uncertainty, question, or doubt – fully appreciative thoughts towards everyone.  In our minds, we hold full appreciation to all. 

In my personal life, I have made lists of all the ones I have had to change my mind about!    I have shared in my blog posts the hard time I seemed to have fully appreciating those whom I thought deceived, bullied, cheated, disappointed, played mean games, and pulled nasty tricks on me.  On a wider, more general note, there were institutions, clubs, social movements, political and religious organizations for whom I would have much rather offered condemnation! 

Just as Holy Spirit adapts our perceptions in the perceptual world into knowledge of God, Holy Spirit translates our earthly communication into spiritual communication which connects us to God, making us one.  In the spiritual realm, we do not lose what we communicate.  The body is only a means of communication to Holy Spirit.  With Holy Spirit, we use our bodies as a means to communicate with one another and with God – this communication leads to communion, to true sharing, to oneness. 

The ego however does not use the body for communication, it uses the body for attack, for pleasure, for pride.  It uses the body as a means to enslave us.  The cruel insanity of this perception makes it fearful.  In case you think that fear can be communicated just as easily as the love of Holy Spirit’s message, you are wrong.  For communicating fear promotes attack; attack breaks communication, making true communion and oneness impossible.  While egos do form alliances and join together for causes – they do not actually unite for each ego is in it for what they can get out of it separately. 

Holy Spirit communicates what each individual can give to all.  There is never a “big cheese” in Holy Spirit; there are never any dues or special privileges, rank or hierarchies. We cannot lose our standing in Holy Spirit, for Holy Spirit is a given by God and will never be taken back.  What is given to one is always given to all.  This leaves no room for exclusion, privilege, or lack of any kind.  Holy Spirit’s teaching begins with:  To have, give all to all.

As long as we turn in the direction of giving our full appreciation to all with no differentiation of person, place, or thing, we have replaced the ego as our guide.  We have put our true self, our holy self in charge and this is where we remain.  Nobody else can be in charge of our journey.  We cannot blame anybody else for the perceptual world and the mistakes we are bound to make in it, nor can we credit any particular person or group for our awakening.  We are the choosers, the deciders, the ones who make the decision to choose the Voice for God, Holy Spirit as our guide and go for the communion and unity of God’s love. 

As we step in the direction of full appreciation for all, we reverse the thinking of this world and we turn from what never really worked to what always works.  Appreciating all is frightening to the ego which is sustained on blame and shame, guilt and division.  We may, on our initial attempts, experience conflict, uncertainty, and doubt but it is only in the commitment to and the practice of these concepts which will utterly convince us of their veracity, their helpfulness, their truth.

Jesus tells us that there are some that remain at this step for a long time, not being yet willing to extend appreciation to all.  There will be some who just cannot bring themselves to appreciate the conservative, or the liberal, the black or the white, the rich or the poor.  There will be some that believe that the practice of full appreciation is good on paper but cannot be practiced in our daily lives because some people are not worthy of appreciation.  The fathers who abandon their little ones, the women who have abortions, the guys who beat their wives, the wives who cheat on their husbands…it is not that we do not want to appreciate them, we just do not know how they could be so evil, so sinful, so shameful.  Some of us will accept the conflict – knowing with our higher minds that this is the way to be but being too attached to the perceptual view of things to even attempt to teach and learn appreciation for all.

For when we fully appreciate everyone, we love everyone, and when we love others we are not afraid of them.  We speak of their goodness. We show gratitude for their contributions.  We focus on their strengths and not their weaknesses.  We seek not to kill and destroy, blame and shame, isolate and apprehend, but rather to help and heal, awaken, and become one.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 6 The lessons of love. V. The Lessons of the Holy Spirit. A. To have, give all to all. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6 The Lessons of Love

V: The Lessons of the Holy Spirit – 1-4

  1. Like any good teacher, the Holy Spirit knows more than you do now, but He teaches only to make you equal with Him. You had already taught yourself wrongly, having believed what was not true.  You did not believe in your own perfection. Will God teach you that you had made a split mind when He knows your mind only as whole? What God does know is that His communication channels are not open to Him, so that He cannot impart his joy and know that His children are wholly joyous. Giving His joy is an ongoing process, not in time but in eternity. God’s extending outward, though not His completeness, is blocked when the Sonship does not communicate with Him as one.  So, He thought, “My children sleep and must be awakened.”  
  2. How can you wake children in a more kindly way then by a gentle voice that will not frighten them, but will merely remind them that the night is over, and the light has come? You do not inform them that the nightmares that frightened them so badly are not real, because children believe in magic. You merely reassure them that they are safe now. Then you train them to recognize the difference between sleeping and waking, so they will understand they need not be afraid of dreams. And so, when bad dreams come, they will themselves call on the light to dispel them.
  3. A wise teacher teaches through approach, not avoidance. He does not emphasize what you must avoid to escape from harm, but what you need to learn to have joy. Consider the fear and confusion a child would experience if he were told, “Do not do this because it will hurt you and make you unsafe; but if you do that instead, you will escape from harm and be safe, and then you will not be afraid.” It is surely better to use only three words: “Do only that!”  This simple statement is perfectly clear, easily understood, and very easily remembered.
  4. The Holy Spirit never itemizes errors because He does not frighten children, and those who lack wisdom are children. Yet He always answers their call, and His dependability makes them more certain. Children do confuse fantasy and reality, and they are frightened because they do not recognize the difference. The Holy Spirit makes no distinction among dreams. He merely shines them away. His light is always the call to awaken, whatever you have been dreaming. Nothing lasting lies in dreams, and the Holy Spirit, shining with the light from God Himself, speaks only for what lasts forever.[1]

In the fifth section of The Lessons of Love, Jesus introduces us to the instructional methods of Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the perfect teacher.  He teaches us and then sets us free – happy that we have learned and can be on our own.  Holy Spirit is not an institution which enslaves us and makes our salvation dependent upon it for any longer than it takes to realize our flawlessness.  While we are asleep and believe in what could never be, Holy Spirit teaches us of our own perfection, our worthiness, our reality in God.  When we come to know ourselves as God’s Will, we awaken to the joyousness of His Kingdom.  We can commune with God, not as groveling worshipers, not as bickering, tattle-tale, name-calling siblings, but as beloved and loving Sons.  As one throughout eternity.  This is the goal of Holy Spirit whose only gain is our gain.

Holy Spirit teaches that ongoing joyous communication with God is blocked by taking sides, exclusiveness, and disunity of every kind.  Only in oneness can we experience the joyous communion with God on an ongoing basis in time.  Outside of oneness, we are asleep in the dark dream; in oneness, we are awakened to the joyousness of God. 

God has instilled in us the Voice for God, the gentle voice inside our higher minds that kindly reasons with us, reminds us of our truth, shines His light upon the dim corridors of our mind.  Holy Spirit is sent – not to alarm us, to blare its truth to us in any way that would frighten us, chase us away, or cause us to doubt our sanity.  Slowly and surely, step-by-step and inch-by-inch Holy Spirit assures us of God’s love and devotion, trains us to recognize truth from fiction, darkness from light, enchantment from reality.  Holy Spirit teaches fearlessness for the perceptual world is a dark dream easily dispelled in the light of truth.

In paragraph three, Jesus expounds upon the pedagogy of Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit’s lessons do not focus on sin, shame, and guilt but rather focuses on how to be happy, how to learn joy.  We do not need a long list of “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots” to be reborn into God’s Kingdom.  Teaching that makes sense to us, that can be proved and strengthened by practice, and are intuitively recognized as truth do not need threats, curses, and vengeance attached to it. 

Jesus tells us that Holy Spirit never lists our sins and shortcomings. Like the foibles of children, the mistakes we make are easily forgiven.  For when we forgot the knowledge of God, we confused the stories we made up with the real deal.  We lost our way.  We have no way of knowing anything or anybody for we are separate, and our perceptions are awry.  In a realm that makes no ongoing sense or has any ongoing purpose, Holy Spirit makes no distinctions among illusions but merely calls for us to awaken from whatever dream it is that we are dreaming.  It might not be such a bad dream, you may even like it because you have accepted it as your reality and figured this is as good as it gets.  But be assured that your dream, no matter how much you may like it now, will wear thin.  It simply will not last, and Holy Spirit speaks only for that which lasts forever. 

For the next three days we will continue with the three main lessons taught by Holy Spirit:  March 7, we will cover A. To Have, Give All to All; March 8, we will cover B. To Have Peace, Teach Peace to Learn it; and March 9, we will conclude with C. Be Vigilant Only for God and His Kingdom.  I look forward to sharing these lessons with you.  Your emails are always welcome. I so enjoy reading your personal insights and thank you for your love and support.    

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 6 The lessons of love V The lessons of the Holy Spirit 1-4. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.comA

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6 The Lessons of Love

IV:  The Only Answer 7-12

7. In the Kingdom, where you are and what you are is perfectly certain. There is no doubt, because the first question was never asked. Having finally been wholly answered, it has never been. Being, alone lives in the Kingdom, where everything lives in God without question.  The time spent on questioning in the dream has given way to creation and to its eternity. You are as certain as God because you are as true as He is, but what was once certain in your mind has become only the ability for certainty.

8. The introduction of abilities into being was the beginning of uncertainty, because abilities are potentials, not accomplishments. Your abilities are useless in the presence of God’s accomplishments, and also of yours. Accomplishments are results that have been achieved. When they are perfect, abilities are meaningless. It is curious that the perfect must now be perfected. In fact, it is impossible. Remember, however, that when you put yourself in an impossible situation you believe that the impossible is possible.

9. Abilities must be developed before you can use them. This is not true of anything that God created, but it is the kind of solution possible for what you made. In an impossible situation, you can develop your abilities to the point where they can get you out of it. You have a guide to how to develop them, but you have no commander except yourself. This leaves you in charge of the Kingdom, with both a guide to find it and a means to keep it. You have a model to follow who will strengthen your command, and never detract from it in any way. You therefore retain the central place in your imagined enslavement, which in itself demonstrates that you are not enslaved.

10. You are in an impossible situation only because you think it is possible to be in one. You would be in an impossible situation if God showed you your perfection and proved to you that you were wrong. This would demonstrate that the perfect are inadequate to bring themselves to the awareness of their perfection, and thus side with the belief that those who have everything need help and are therefore helpless. This is the kind of reasoning in which the ego engages. God, who knows that His creations are perfect, does not affront them. This would be as impossible as the ego’s notion that it has affronted him.

11. That is why the Holy Spirit never commands. To command is to assume inequality, which the Holy Spirit demonstrates does not exist. Fidelity to premises is a law of mind, and everything God created is faithful to His laws. Fidelity to other laws is also possible, however, not because the laws are true, but because you made them. What would be gained if God proved to you that you have thought insanely? Can God lose His Own certainty? I have frequently said that what you teach you are. Would you have God teach you that you have sinned? If He confronted the self you made with the truth He created for you, what could you be but afraid? You would doubt your right mind, which is the only place where you can find the sanity He gave you.

12. God does not teach. To teach is to imply a lack, which God knows is not there. God is not conflicted. Teaching aims at change, but God created only the changeless. The separation was not a loss of perfection, but a failure in communication. A harsh and strident form of communication arose as the ego’s voice. It could not shatter the peace of God, but it could shatter yours. God did not blot it out, because to eradicate it would be to attack it. Being questioned, He did not question. He merely gave the Answer.  His Answer is your teacher. [1]

As we conclude “The Only Answer” today, Jesus assures us that in the Kingdom of God, our identity never changed.  There is no room for lies, for doubt, for uncertainty, and questions in God’s Kingdom because our Sonship is forever.  This is our true state of Being.  This other thing that goes on in the world gives way to Creation and to its eternity. 

When God creates something, nothing must be developed because God creates wholeness; He shares Himself with what He creates.  However, we fabricated another creation in which the perfect Creation of God has been shattered, been rejected by its Maker, barred from the Kingdom and now must return to the place in which we never really left except in our dreams.  In this impossible dream, our abilities can be developed to the point in which we realize it is a dream, we awaken, and we are reborn into the perfection in which we never really lost. 

We are put in charge of our awakening with Holy Spirit as our guide.  Jesus emphasizes that we are not put under the control of Holy Spirit but are in charge of our own awakening.  God does not enslave us.  Holy Spirit does not come over us and make us do things that we have no control over.  Holy Spirit is our guide to salvation.  To follow the Voice for God is always our choice and it can never be a flippant choice for if we follow the Voice for God we must be quiet, we must be at peace, we must be in a meditative or contemplative state to hear His Voice.  He does not shout at us, scold us, condemn or judge against us.  He is always for us.  If we make a mistake, Holy Spirit shows us the way to correction.    

Just as Holy Spirit is our guide, Jesus is our model to follow.  Jesus strengthens our command and does not take it away. Jesus does not seek to control us, take over our minds against our wills, or do anything but restore us to God’s Kingdom.  There is no mind control involved in our awakening, in our salvation, in our return to God.  We are always in control for this is the way God created us to be. 

The only reason we are in this impossible situation is because we believe it is possible to be separate from God.  We believe that we can set up an alternate kingdom.  We believe that what God created perfect can be made imperfect.  Jesus tells us that God does not show us our perfection to prove that we are wrong – this is our own responsibility for we are not created helpless and we are quite capable of bringing ourselves to awakening. 

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Father did not chase his son down and force him to come home.  He did not go into the dens of iniquity and remind his son of what a good family he came from and how he did not belong with the kind of people he was hanging out with.  He did not follow him into darkness or hire private detectives to follow him around and report back about the whereabouts and the particular activities in which the son was engaged.  The Father trusted that the son would come to his senses on his own steam. The Father trusted that the part of Him that was inside the son would remind the son who he was and where he belonged. 

Jesus tells us that chasing after people, confronting, scolding, shaking them awake, and forcing the gospel down their throats is the kind of reasoning in which the ego engages.  God does not affront His Creations, because He is incapable of being affronted. 

If Holy Spirit pushed to the front, bossed us around, or pushed us aside to take charge of us, this could only mean that God’s eternal laws of equality were broken.  Holy Spirit is never threatened by our humanity or feels better than us.  He is not our overlord; nor are we His underlings.  We should never use language that would indicate that Holy Spirit is not respectful of us or would force Himself upon us or anybody else.  We must never think we can “sic” Holy Spirit upon another person as if the Voice for God is a hound from heaven.  While this viewpoint will never hurt Holy Spirit, this viewpoint will hurt us if we think that Holy Spirit is our own personal attack dog.  This would indicate that we have Holy Spirit mixed up with the ego who follows a completely different set of laws which do not work, which are untrue, and will lead us into an egotistical, harmful walk with God that will corrupt our inner altar and mar our testimony of Christ.     

God is Love and Certainty.  He trusts in us to wake up in our own perfect timing and find our way home to him.  He will never force Himself upon us, put limits on us, or think up new ways in which to punish or toy with us in any way.  Any other teaching about God is simply wrong-minded and based upon ego-perceptions. 

In the last paragraph of today’s text reading, Jesus tells us that God is not our teacher.  God does not see that we lack anything; His attitude toward us is not conflicted; He sees no reason for us to change because He created us as perfect and therefore changeless.  God does not see the separation as a loss of our perfection, but merely a failure in communication.  The mean, stern voice of ego can never shatter the peace of God or make Him lose faith in His own Creation.  This would weaken God and we could not trust in Him if He could so be weakened.  However, believing in the harsh voice of ego instead of the peace of God has shattered our peace.  We have taken the wrong voice and called it God, but God’s Voice remained ever the same.  He has no need to blot out the wrong voice, because God has no need for attack of any kind.  Why would He Who is Everything, attack that which is nothing?  How can that which has no truth, which is a dream, which is a magical enchantment based upon illusion be attacked?  How can the truth be “proved,” in a perceptual world terrified of all that is spirit and truth?  To these questions, God does not respond with more questions – He simply provides the Answer.  His Answer is our teacher, the Voice for God within our higher minds teaching us, guiding us, and never letting us forget who we really are and where we really belong.  Holy Spirit will lead us home. 

In our devotional practice today let us thank our holy brother, Jesus for making this truth apparent to us.  Let us thank the scribes and the many people who put their time, efforts, and energies into dispersing A Course in Miracles.  Let us thank the people who brought it to our attention.  For me, it was Dan Sweeney, my supervisor and friend, who led me to A Course in Miracles after I shared the messages of my Inner Voice with him.

So many of us cannot put our faith in our religious traditions, attend church regularly, or read our sacred texts – for we keep coming up against a version of God that demands sacrifice, false humility, sorrowful supplication, and vengeance.  Our higher minds where Holy Spirit resides can not find truth, rest, or peace in that which distorts God’s Love and keeps us trapped in a perceptual world trying to appease that which never be appeased.  Holy Spirit knows the difference between truth and fiction.  Holy Spirit knows the way out.   Holy Spirit is God’s Response to our dilemma. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 6 The lessons of love. IV The only answer. 7-12. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6 The Lessons of Love

IV:  The Only Answer 1-6

  1. Remember that the Holy Spirit is the answer, not the question. The ego always speaks first. It is capricious and does not mean its maker well. It believes, and correctly, that its maker may withdraw his support from it at any moment. If it meant you well it would be glad, as the Holy Spirit will be glad, when He has brought you home and you no longer need His guidance. The ego does not regard itself as part of you. Herein lies its primary error, the foundation of this whole thought system.    
  2. When God created you, He made you part of Him.  That is why attack within the Kingdom is impossible. You made the ego without love, and so it does not love you. You could not remain within the Kingdom without love, and since the Kingdom is love, you believe that you are without it. This enables the ego to regard itself as separate and outside its maker, thus speaking for the part of your mind that believes you are separate and outside the Mind of God. The ego, then, raises the first question that was ever asked, but one it can never answer. That question, “What are you?” was the beginning of doubt. The ego has never answered any questions since, although it has raised a great many. The most inventive activities of the ego have never done more than obscure the question, because you have the answer, and the ego is afraid of you.
  3. You cannot understand the conflict until you fully understand the basic fact that the ego cannot know anything. The Holy Spirit does not speak first, but He always answers. Everyone has called upon Him for help at one time or another and in one way or another and has been answered. Since the Holy Spirit answers truly He answers for all time, which means that everyone has the answer now.
  4. The ego cannot hear the Holy Spirit, but it does believe that part of the mind that made it is against it. It interprets this as justification for attacking its maker. It believes that the best defense is attack and wants you to believe it. Unless you do believe it you will not side with it, and the ego feels badly in need of allies, though not brothers. Perceiving something alien to itself in your mind, the ego turns to the body as its ally, because the body is not part of you. This makes the body the ego’s friend. It is an alliance frankly based on separation. If you side with this alliance you will be afraid because you are siding with an alliance of fear.
  5. The ego uses the body to conspire against your mind, and because the ego realizes that its enemy can end them both merely by recognizing they are not part of you, they join in the attack together. This is perhaps the strangest perception of all if you consider what it really involves. The ego, which is not real, attempts to persuade the mind, which is real, that the mind is the ego’s learning device; and further, that the body is more real than the mind is. No one in his right mind could possibly believe this, and no one in his right mind does believe it. Hear, then, the one answer of the Holy Spirit to all the questions the ego raises: You are a child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him, nothing else exists and only this is real.  You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but this sleep is not real, and God calls you to awake.  There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him because you will awaken. Your dreams contain many of the ego’s symbols and they have confused you. Yet that was only because you were asleep and did not know. When you wake you will see the truth around you and in you, and you will no longer believe in dreams because they will have no reality for you. Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you, because they are beautiful and true. [1]

In today’s text reading, Jesus tells us that Holy Spirit is the one answer that resolves all conflict, opposition, and questions about our identity.  Holy Spirit remembers and never lets us forget that we are Sons of God.  No matter what the perceptual world may throw at us in order to label us otherwise, whether it exalts us or tears us down, as long as we believe we are flesh, as long as we choose to identify with that which is not love, we are destined for dreams of disease, decay, and death.  We can look to all sort of avenues for our answers, we can try to find our identity in making the world a better place, we can try to resolve the conflicts in the perceptual world, feed the world’s hungry, provide clean drinking water, teach the illiterate to read and write – but all of our efforts are wasted in time for this is not who we are, and this is not the Creation of God. 

There is only one answer.  We awaken from the dream and accept the truth of the Voice for God.  Our identity is not of this world.  We are a priceless part of God’s Kingdom and this is our truth, our reality, and all that is and was and will ever be.  As we awaken, the dream and all that it holds out to us goes away.  It no longer has any hold upon us.  We can no longer get worked up over its issues.  We no longer see enemies, we see brothers.  We no longer form alliances with flesh and blood, we accept our oneness with the Sonship of God.  The world simply has no more reality when we awaken.  We can laugh at what once would have mortified us.  Only what is beautiful, true, and everlasting will hold our interest, increase our joy, and engage our holy minds. 

This is the answer to the conspiracy of the ego/body alliance!  For the ego/body can only exist in the nightmare, can only hold us captive in the dream of opposition for as long as we choose to believe in them.  The blighted part of our mind tries to persuade us that it has all the power, that our survival depends upon its cunning, that the flesh body defines us for we have been individualized and separated from the Sonship.  All alone and defenseless in a world that is out to get us at every turn, the ego badgers us constantly with questions that it can never answer but does manage to keep us in a state of striving, stress, and confusion. 

The perceptual world, Jesus says, is the dream of separation.  It is our fiction.  The alternate we made to Creation.  A world of fear, of lies, of opposites.  A world of never knowing, always theorizing, guessing, coming up with game plans, devising ways in which to hold the Sons of God in the dark dream.  As long as we sleep in the perceptual world, our real identity is kept hidden from us.  I see you and you see me not as brothers, not in mutuality, not in completeness, but in splintered, separate parts – always judging, comparing, always with a sense of some are ahead and some are behind, and nothing is completely fair, right, and certain. 

We can never really know each other in the dream world.  You are over there living in your culture, apart from me, doing things differently, looking different from me, having ideas about me based upon – not my identity in the Sonship of God – but in my flesh body which defines me by the color of my skin, my genitals, my age, my country of origin, my cultural and religious traditions, and a myriad of other fictional facts about me that can never capture the truth about me.  Therefore I remain a stranger to you.  You will justify forming judgments for or against me depending on the time of day, what you read in the news, what your religious traditions tell you about others, and whatever else the ego uses to keep us from knowing our mutual Sonship in God, our oneness, our joint perfection.  This is insanity.

And yet Holy Spirit – awaits our awakening.  He does not rudely shake us from our dream.  He does not reveal our perfection and our connection to one another before we have come to some very astute conclusions on our own.  Residing in our higher minds, Holy Spirit has all the time in the world.  He is not impatient.  He is not a Teacher who overwhelms us with information that we are not ready to learn.  Holy Spirit knows and trusts us to awaken from the dream in our own good time.  As Sons of God, we are God’s Will, and it is God’s Will that we awaken.  We will choose to come home.  We will not be content in a world of chaos, uncertainty, and death cycles forever.  Sooner or later we will conclude on our own steam that our flesh bodies have no bearing upon who we really are!  Our egos will be put aside and hold no more interest to us.  This answer is as sure as God.  Holy Spirit, as God’s Voice in our minds, not only has the answer; He is the answer. 

Jesus tells us that all of us have called out to Holy Spirit at one time or another throughout our lives.  This means everyone no matter how they may have declared atheism, antagonism, and agnosticism toward the idea of God.   Holy Spirit responds to every call.  And yet we are so mired in our humanity and so skeptical and afraid of our divinity, that to heed the Voice for God fills us with either fear of ridicule, mockery, and insanity or on the other hand a sense of grandiosity and specialness! 

We will complete “The Only Answer” in the next post because the first six paragraphs give us enough to contemplate today in our devotional practice.  I read over this section several times, asking Holy Spirit to make the message clear to my mind.  My ego resisted this teaching and distracted me with a lot of other things that would appear to be more fun, more interesting, even more important!  And yet, the title of this section alone informs us that we have the answer to the most basic question that we spend lifetimes in ego-world trying to answer.  It is our God-given gift, the Voice for God within our minds, Who leads us to all that is beautiful and true about ourselves, about each other, and reawakens our minds to unity with God.    

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter Six The lessons of love. IV The only answer. 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6 The Lessons of Love

III. The Relinquishment of Attack

  1. As we have already emphasized, every idea begins in the mind of the thinker. Therefore, what extends from the mind is still in it, and from what it extends it knows itself. The word “knows” is correct here because the Holy Spirit still holds knowledge safe in your mind through His impartial perception. By attacking nothing, He presents no barrier to the communication of God. Therefore, being is never threatened. Your God-like mind can never be defiled. The ego never was and never will be part of it, but through the ego you can hear and teach and learn what is not true. You have taught yourself to believe that you are not what you are. You cannot teach what you have not learned, and what you teach you strengthen in yourself because you are sharing it. Every lesson you teach you are learning.  
  2. That is why you must teach only one lesson. If you are to be conflict-free yourself, you must learn only from the Holy Spirit and teach only by Him. You are only love, but when you deny this, you make what you are something you must learn to remember. I said before that the message of the crucifixion was, “Teach only love, for that is what you are.” This is the one lesson that is perfectly unified, because it is the only lesson that is one. Only by teaching it can you learn it. As you teach so will you learn. If that is true, and it is true indeed, do not forget that what you teach is teaching you. And what you project or extend you believe. 
  3. The only safety lies in extending the Holy Spirit, because as you see His gentleness in others your own mind perceives itself as totally harmless. Once it can accept this fully, it sees no need to protect itself.  The protection of God then dawns upon it, assuring it that it is perfectly safe forever. The perfectly safe are wholly benign. They bless because they know that they are blessed. Without anxiety the mind is wholly kind, and because it extends beneficence it is beneficent. Safety is the complete relinquishment of attack. No compromise is possible in this.  Teach attack in any form and you have learned it, and it will hurt you. Yet this learning is not immortal, and you can unlearn it by not teaching it. 
  4. Since you cannot not teach, your salvation lies in teaching the exact opposite of everything the ego believes. This is how you will learn the truth that will set you free and will keep you free as others learn it of you.   The only way to have peace is to teach peace. By teaching peace, you must learn it yourself, because you cannot teach what you still dissociate. Only thus can you win back the knowledge that you threw away. An idea that you share you must have. It awakens in your mind through the conviction of teaching it. Everything you teach you are learning. Teach only love and learn that love is yours and you are love. [1]

Every idea we have begins in the mind of either the high mind of Holy Spirit or the low mind of ego.  Holy Spirit extends His loving thoughts to others – Holy Spirit never confuses the issue – it does not extend thought to the egos of others, it extends to Itself in others – it is one, it is the spirit of unity and completeness.  Holy Spirit does not play favorites, it does not make one special and leave another bereft.  Holy Spirit never attacks or withholds good things to punish others who relate at times with their ego.  Holy Spirit does not obligate Himself to the ego or give the ego any attention at all. Giving the ego any regard at all would present a barrier to the Voice of God, for God’s Voice is loving, joyful, kind, and sharing, but above all respectful.  It does not try to drown out the ego or push itself to the front.  Holy Spirit is quiet and must be welcomed in a state of peace and calm.  It is because of the wholeness and wellness of Holy Spirit that our Being is never threatened and can never be defiled. 

The ego cannot ever be a part of it, but it is through the lower mind of ego that we can hear lies, we can believe in lies, and we can teach things that are not true.  Jesus tells us that we have taught ourselves to believe what is not true about us.  And as long as we believe that we are imperfect, that we are not whole and holy, that we are separated from God and from one another, we continue to teach that which cannot be built upon, we continue to teach that we are not as God created us to be.  We continue to believe and to teach that there can exist in a Universe that is Loving, Joyous, and full of Peace, that which is not any of those things.  Hence, the world keeps spinning its birth and death cycles, until we remember who we are and what we are about!

One lesson that we bring to our practice will free us of all that is not love and peace and joy – forever.  To free ourselves of opposition, we learn and teach only the message of Holy Spirit: You are made of and for and by Love, and so am I.  When we deny this, we forget who and what we are.  We must learn again, we must be reminded, we must let go of any false thoughts and misleading ideas about ourselves and be born again.  The message of the crucifixion teaches us who we really are.  The crucifixion is not who we are, it is not something we did, it is not something we deserve.  We are not that which can hang upon a cross nor are we that which can nail another upon a cross.  We are love.  When we accept this, we learn it and we teach it, and this is the only message that Christ taught us through the crucifixion.  It is the only lesson, the one, unified lesson and the only way we establish this truth in us it to practice it – because what we practice, we teach, and what we practice and teach, we learn.  It is the same as saying what we share we receive.  Whatever we project with our ego or extend with Holy Spirit is what we believe about ourselves and about each other.  Because we are one – we cannot believe something different about our own selves than we believe about each other.  This is why projection hurts us – when we blame others, we are blaming ourselves.  This is why extending God’s love and mercy blesses us because when we share God’s love and mercy, we are receiving it for ourselves as well. 

Our only safety is in extending Holy Spirit.  As your eyes are opened and my eyes are opened to see past the ego in others and see their purity, goodness, kindness and gentleness, our own minds recognize themselves as pure and innocent, incapable of doing harm.  In this state our minds are full of peace and goodwill.  It cannot make attack us anymore.  Our minds will not wake us up in the night and remind us of all our cruel words and hurtful deeds, for when we remembered the tender lovingkindness of others, our tender lovingkindness was reborn in us – because we are one.  God’s protection dawns upon our minds, assuring us of our salvation and our eternal security.  Those who have nothing to fear are completely harmless.  Those who remember that they have everything cannot be selfish, they do not withhold, they bless because they know they are blessed.  When I am no longer worried about anything at all, my mind is no longer in a state of attack, but a state of benevolence. 

Jesus tells us that there is simply no compromise in this.  If we teach attack in any form, if we think that defending ourselves against each other, calling names and blaming, quarrelling over the things of God or the things of flesh is of benefit to us, we will be hurt by that which we teach and practice. 

Jesus tells us that if we are tempted to attack, we are not held accountable forever.  We simply “unlearn” it.  Yesterday I was so angry at Lover.  I felt as if he had set me up to be embarrassed by telling me it was okay to use the emergency door at Sam’s Club.  When I opened the door the alarms went off and kept wailing loud and piercing, and I could only imagine the inconvenience and headache that the alarms would have upon the other shoppers and the workers.  I huffed out of the store, fuming and asking him why he would blankety-blank lie like that.  Going down the road, the lower part of my mind wanted to nurse my grudge and build a case against him.  I started to think of all the other little things James had said and done throughout the day that indicated he did not extend goodwill toward me.  He had made a judgmental comment toward me when I chose to play the table arcade at Olive Garden; he had blamed me when my Sam’s Club app acted up and I had to restart my phone to restore our barcode.  He had not seemed too thrilled…

But I knew better.  I have invited Holy Spirit to take over my mind.  I have asked God to establish His thoughts of love, mercy, and goodness in my mind toward Creation.  James is the man that God gave me to share this dream with – to learn of love together, to be reborn together, to share in the ministry of Christ.  My anger toward him was not immortal.  When I chose to give up all misperception, which is anything that is not loving, I began to see the whole escapade as harmless, even funny.  James had not blankety-blank lied to me; he had made a mistake, and it was a humorous mistake.  Instead of being embarrassed and stewing over it, I let it go and laughed.

I did not demand an apology from him – because any perception that makes James out to steal my joy and make me feel low is the same perception I have toward God and toward myself!  When we accept this to be true and put this concept into practical application in our lives, we teach it and when we practice and teach it, we learn it.  And we are freed from the results of ego’s division, multitudinous maladies, and needless dramas that would follow otherwise. 

In paragraph four, Jesus tells us that it is impossible for us not to teach.  If we want to know the truth, practice doing exactly opposite our ego’s inclinations to accept perceptions of attack, ill will, and mean comments.  When we practice communicating honestly, taking the time to address slights with love instead of defense, taking a stand for peace and unity rather than conflict and division, we teach it to others.  This is the way we end our dissociation with who and what we really are.  We win back the knowledge we threw away when we forgot our divinity.  What we practice we teach, we share, we strengthen. 

Meditate upon this concept in your devotional practice today, letting it rest upon your quiet mind and enlighten your consciousness.  Renounce all thoughts of anger, revenge, retaliation, and division by teaching only love.  Take note that we do not have to believe in it to begin our practice of teaching love.  We just have to do it, for when we do it, we teach it.  It may seem awkward, it will definitely go against our egos, it will seem counterintuitive, unnatural, and even a bit scary, but the only way we will know it works and learn that love is ours and that what is ours is what we are, is in the doing.  Ask Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind and give you personal illustration in which to experience the liberty, the joy, the healing that happens by letting go of all thoughts of attack.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 6 The lessons of love III The relinquishment of attack. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6 The Lessons of Love

II.  The Alternative to Projection 9-13

9. Thoughts begin in the mind of the thinker, from which they reach outward. This is as true of God’s thinking as it is of yours. Because your mind is split, you can perceive as well as think. Yet perception cannot escape the basic laws of mind. You perceive from your mind and project your perceptions outward. Although perception of any kind is unreal, you made it and the Holy Spirit can therefore use it well.  He can inspire perception and lead it toward God. This convergence seems to be far in the future only because your mind is not in perfect alignment with the idea, and therefore does not want it now.

10. The Holy Spirit uses time but does not believe in it. Coming from God He uses everything for good, but He does not believe in what is not true. Since the Holy Spirit is in your mind, your mind can also believe only what is true. The Holy Spirit can speak only for this because He speaks for God. He tells you to return your whole mind to God because it has never left Him. If it has never left Him, you need only perceive it as it is to be returned. The full awareness of the Atonement then is the recognition that the separation never occurred.  The ego cannot prevail against this because it is an explicit statement that the ego never occurred.

11. The ego can accept the idea that return is necessary because it can so easily make the idea seem difficult. Yet the Holy Spirit tells you that even return is unnecessary because what never happened cannot be difficult. However, you can make the idea of return both necessary and difficult. Yet is surely clear that the perfect need nothing, and you cannot experience perfection as a difficult accomplishment, because that is what you are. This is the way in which you must perceive God’s creations, bringing all of your perceptions into the one line the Holy Spirit sees. This line is the direct line of communication with God, and lets your mind converge with His. There is no conflict anywhere in this perception because it means that all perception is guided by the Holy Spirit, Who’s mind is fixed on God.  Only the Holy Spirit can resolve conflict, because only the Holy Spirit is conflict-free. He perceives only what is true in your mind and extends outward only to what is true in other minds.

12. The difference between the ego’s projection and the Holy Spirit’s extension is very simple. the ego projects to exclude, and therefore to deceive. The Holy Spirit extends by recognizing Himself in every mind, and thus perceives them as one. Nothing conflicts in this perception because what the Holy Spirit perceives is all the same. Wherever He looks He sees Himself, and because He is united He offers the whole Kingdom always. This is a one message God gave to Him and for which He must speak, because that is what He is. The peace of God lies in that message, and so the peace of God lies in you. the great peace of the Kingdom shines in your mind forever, but it must shine outward to make you aware of it.

13. The Holy Spirit was given you with perfect impartiality, and only by recognizing Him impartially can you recognize Him at all. Ego is legion, but the Holy Spirit is one. No darkness abides anywhere in the Kingdom, but your part is only to allow no darkness to abide in your own mind. This alignment with light is unlimited, because it is in alignment with the light of the world. Each of us is the light of the world, and by joining our minds in this light we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one.[1]

Jesus tells us in our opening paragraph today that Holy Spirit inspires our perception in time to restore our mind to completeness in God.  Without Holy Spirit we are out of alignment with this idea and there should be no wonder over our resistance to God.  We have been misled about our Creator.  The myths and traditional sacred texts that are written about God originated from fear, superstition, and guilt-ridden consciousnesses.  In a perceptual world, spiritual truths, invisible to our flesh eyes, do not seem real, trustworthy, or verifiable.  While we all know that love exists; evil seems more powerful, and something we must defend against.  As we try to make sense of a God Who could place vulnerable meat creatures in a universe intent upon devouring them at every turn, we are naturally stupefied, suspicious, and unwilling to put our trust in such a deity. 

Holy Spirit uses time to bring us back to God, to lead us back to truth, to awaken us from the perceptual world of time, space, and separateness to the light of God’s love, joy, and peace.  Holy Spirit is the voice for God within each of us.  Holy Spirit is the voice within each of our minds which calls for healing of our divided minds, to restore our love and devotion to God, to save our Being from the hellish dream. 

Full awareness of the Atonement is simply the recognition that this is a mass hallucination – that the separation never occurred.  The ego cannot prevail against this because when we realize that the world is the miscreation, we realize that the ego version of God, the ego version of us, the ego version of reality is a lie, it is a work of fiction, it is a temptation that never occurred except in the place where all lies originate and stay trapped in time outside the reality of eternity.  When our eyes are opened, we begin to see the truth of the matter.  It is the truth that sets us free. 

God awaits our awakening with warmth and welcome.  It is not God that makes cumbersome demands, obligations, and mean threats for our return. We are awakened with kindness, joy, love, and light.  We are awakened by God’s Perfect Love and His never-ending Peace.  We are awakened by His Voice which is placed within each one of us and calls to us quietly and with gentle tones.  We do not return to God so to speak, because in God’s eyes we never left, we only fell asleep and dreamed a dark dream, we simply made a mistake which can easily be corrected.

The ego tells us that return to God is hard, it is a path of sacrifice, we will never have any more fun, we will have to give up everything we enjoy in the flesh.  God is harsh.  He demands all our attention.  He is jealous and unswervingly besotted with His need for worship and praise.    Who would want to return to a bully God who is impatient, egotistical, and prone to temper tantrums when things do not go His way?  Who would want to return to God who demands we sacrifice that which we love?  Who would want to return to God who ordains eternal suffering, pain, death, and sorrow for not only those who have not been convinced of Jesus’s role in salvation, but for all of us, even babies? I cannot speak for you, but I would rather take my chances in hell than to have to worship a cruel, depraved, egotistical deity for all of eternity!  Yet this is the picture the ego paints of God and one in which we have been taught and continue to teach to this day. 

Holy Spirit teaches that return to God is unnecessary – because this realm is not reality.  We are not flesh and blood; we are spirit.  Humanity and the story of humanity is an invention of the ego; our true Being is in God and has never lost its perfection.  Accepting our identity in God we accept our perfection.  We give up the lies we made up about our creation; we stop putting our faith in the perceptual world; we give the darkened parts of our mind to Holy Spirit – and our minds converge with God.  Joining with God’s mind resolves all conflict, perceives only what is true, and shares only Creation’s perfection.   

Pay particular attention to paragraph 12 which shows us how to detect whether ego or Holy Spirit is in charge of our perceptions.  Ego manipulates the perceptual world to exclude, to banish, to break communion and unity.  Holy Spirit uses perception to counteract the ego’s goal and perceives others as one.  Wherever Holy Spirit looks He sees Himself and He offers the Kingdom always.  There is never any judgment, any unforgiveness, any withholding.  This is the one message God gave to Holy Spirit and this is the Voice for God within each of us – it is a call to be one.  The peace of God is in this message.  The peace of God is in each of us.  The abiding peace of God’s Kingdom shines in our minds forever, and this is what we are to see in each other, this is what we share with each other.

Holy Spirit is given to each of us with perfect impartiality and it is only when we recognize Holy Spirit without partiality that we can recognize Him at all.  Ego would have us think that we are special, that we have the Holy Spirit and others do not.  Ego would have us think that some people are favored by God and others are not.  Ego is legion, Jesus tells us. Each and every one of us have a different one.  It will offer all kinds of different paths to God, a thousand different religions, a thousand different interpretations, a mass of many conflicting paths in which to judge one another and teach conflict, schisms, and factions.  We must not accept this dark tale.  We align ourselves with the light of truth because we are the light of the world.  By joining our minds to this light we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one.  We go to heaven as one for we are one, we are the same.  The Kingdom is incomplete until the Sonship is restored to full awareness of this fact.

Today in your devotional practice ask Holy Spirit to shine the light of truth in your mind.  Align with the light of God’s undying love and devotion.  We are the light of the world.  We accept God’s love, and we know ourselves as God knows us – without favoritism, without specialness, without magic formulas or sacrifices of any kind.  We give up all perceptions we may have heard about, been taught about, or read about God in which He is said to be anything but the Loving Father, merciful, kind, and never failing in His abiding patience toward those who still fear Him instead of love Him. 

Dear Father, let our minds be full of the light of Your love so that Your love shines through us, quietly and calmly awakening everyone we greet.  We pray in the name of Jesus Who makes us one.  Amen. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 6 The lessons of love. II The alternative to projection 9-13. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For 2021 daily Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6: The Lessons of Love

II:  The Alternative to Projection 1-8

1. Any split in mind must involve a rejection of part of it, and this is the belief in separation. The wholeness of God, which is His peace, cannot be appreciated except by a whole mind that recognizes the wholeness of God’s creation. By this recognition it knows its Creator. Exclusion and separation are synonymous, as are separation and dissociation. We have said before that the separation was and is dissociation, and that once that occurs projection becomes its main defense, or the device that keeps it going. The reason, however, may not be so obvious as you think.

2. What you project you disown, and therefore do not believe is yours. You are excluding yourself by the very judgment that you are different from the one on whom you project. Since you have also judged against what you project, you continue to attack it because you continue to keep it separated. By doing this unconsciously, you try to keep the fact that you attacked yourself out of awareness, and thus imagine that you have made yourself safe.

3. Yet projection will always hurt you. It reinforces your belief in your own split mind and its only purpose is to keep the separation going. It is solely a device of the ego to make you feel different from your brothers and separated from them. The ego justifies this on the grounds that it makes you seem better than they are, thus obscuring your equality with them still further. Projection and attack are inevitably related because projection is always a means of justifying attack. Anger without projection is impossible. The ego uses projection only to destroy your perception of both yourself and your brothers. The process begins by excluding something that existed in you but which you do not want and leads directly to excluding you from your brothers.   

4. We have learned, however, that there is an alternative to projection. Every ability of the ego has a better use, because its abilities are directed by the mind, which has a better Voice. The Holy Spirit extends and the ego projects as their goals are opposed, so is the result.

5. The Holy Spirit begins by perceiving you as perfect. Knowing this perfection is shared He recognizes it in others, thus strengthening it in both. Instead of anger this arouses love because it establishes inclusion. Perceiving equality, the Holy Spirit perceives equal needs. This invites Atonement automatically because Atonement is the one need in this world that is universal. To perceive yourself this way is the only way in which you can find happiness in the world.  That is because it is the acknowledgement that you are not in this world, for the world is unhappy.

6. How else can you find joy in a joyless place except by realizing that you are not there? You cannot be anywhere God did not put you, and God created you as part of Him. That is both where you are and what you are. It is completely unalterable. It is total inclusion. You cannot change it now or ever. It is forever true. It is not a belief, but a Fact. Anything that God created is as true as He is. Its truth lies only in its perfect inclusion in Him who alone is perfect. To deny this is to deny yourself and Him, since it is impossible to accept one without the other.  

7. Perfect equality of the Holy Spirit’s perception is the reflection of the perfect equality of God’s knowing. The ego’s perception has no counterpart in God, but the Holy Spirit remains the bridge between perception and knowledge. By enabling you to use perception in a way that reflects knowledge, you will ultimately remember it. The ego would prefer to believe that this memory is impossible, yet it is your perception the Holy Spirit guides. Your perception will end where it began. Everything meets in God because everything was created by Him and in Him.

8. God created His Sons by extending His Thought and retaining the extensions of His Thoughts in His mind. All His Thoughts are thus perfectly united within themselves and with each other.  The Holy Spirit enables you to perceive this wholeness now. God created you to create.  You cannot extend His Kingdom until you know of its wholeness. [1]

In today’s text reading, Jesus gives us a deeper understanding of the split mind, projection, which is ego’s main defense, and a blessed alternative to projection given to us by Holy Spirit.  In this realm, we see each other as separate and distinct, rather than one and the same with and in Creation.  In choosing separation we chose exclusion – because they are one and the same.  It is in dissociation with Creation where projection comes to raise its ugly head.  It is the serpent in the garden so to speak. Projection turns us upon one another and keeps us turned against each other.

It may seem that we have good reasons to cast the blame for our unhappiness and lack of peace on others.  But what we project we disown.  In the Garden myth we have Eve who listened to the suggestions of the serpent rather than to the Voice for God and yet, she disowns responsibility.  Instead of acknowledging that she listened to another voice and asked for more than everything she could possibly ever want or need, she projected her mistake on to something outside of herself.  She said it was the serpent’s fault.  Instead of seeing herself as one with Creation, she decides to unload her mistakes upon something else.  She dissociates from her mistake, and she teaches Adam to do the same.  In judging against another, they judged against Creation.  We judge against and attack Creation when we listen to the wrong voice, then fail to acknowledge our mistake, and blame others.  By doing this we blindly believe that we are safe as long as the negative attention, the blame and shame of it, is on someone or something else. 

In a personal example, I spent years trying to “get over” my childhood only to either repeat the mistakes of the abusers or make just as many mistakes in my efforts to be unlike them!  As long as I judged against my mother, for example, I continued to attack her.  Even though I loved her, provided her with a home and tender care when she became feeble, and wept in deep sorrow when she passed from this world, I blamed her and held harsh attitudes toward her.  When I attacked her in my thoughts, my unforgiveness toward her for childhood abuses, my bitter attitudes about her irrational and terroristic religious beliefs, I may have thought I was protecting myself from her, that I was safe.  But nope.  My judgmental and unforgiving thoughts toward her hurt me and left me wide open to repeat the same or even worse mistakes with those I loved.  No matter how much I prayed, read scripture, or tried to follow Jesus, I denied myself joy and continued to hurt others. 

Projection always hurts the one who is projecting.  It is an ego device which is designed to keep the separation going, to keep us from seeing ourselves as one.  Projection makes us feel superior to the one we blame, which obscures our mutuality and similarity.  When we project, we attack in our thoughts, words, and deeds because when we cast the blame on others, we justify attacking them.  Any love and goodwill we have toward those we blame and hold accountable will be polluted and perverted with anger.  Projection takes all the goodness, beauty, tenderness and warmth between the created and makes the indecent, ugly, mean, unpleasant, and cold. 

Jesus tells us that the process of projection starts out by rejecting something we do not like about own story and ends in removing ourselves from any sense of relationship with those we choose to blame. The separation and dissociation which results sustain the ego and extends the need for time.

Happily, our minds have not been turned over entirely to the ego – God has implanted in each one of us, Holy Spirit, the Voice for God, Who has a better use for every device of the ego.  While the goal of the ego is to project sin, guilt, and shame, driving us apart and keeping us separate, the goal of Holy Spirit is to promote love, peace, joy and wholeness, unifying Creation and restoring knowledge.

Holy Spirit’s alternative to projection begins by letting us perceive our own perfection.  Holy Spirit shares God’s Will of our perfection and helps us recognize God’s Will of perfection in others.  When we recognize our own perfection and see it in others, we strengthen the Vision of Christ.  A deep, abiding love and appreciation is aroused in our minds for ourselves and for others.  We see our oneness, we see the ways in which we are alike, we recognize our equality, we perceive our mutual need for mercy, for correction, for awakening to the truth of God’s Love.

When we perceive perfection in one another, rather than projecting shame and blame, we welcome Atonement. Atonement undoes the ego and the works of the ego.  To recognize our perfection is to recognize ourselves not as humans, not as flesh and blood, but as part of the Sonship of God. Until we perceive ourselves as mutually perfect, as mutually worthy, as mutually forgiven and corrected of all that could never be, we will not find happiness in the world.  For until we see ourselves as Sons of God, we will think we are human, we will identify with flesh and blood, we will feel persecuted, we will cast blame, and we will believe that we are of a world that is not equitable, not fully loving, joyful, or peaceful. 

When we refuse to project, we commit to believing only the best about each other.  This is what we perceive, this is what we talk about, this is what we allow in our minds, and this is what we offer one another.  As we extend Holy Spirit’s perfection to our husbands and wives, our partners, our children, our grandchildren, our brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, neighbors and friends, we do it for all.  We refuse to let one evil thought mar the perfection of the Sonship of God.  We welcome Atonement to correct all mistakes; we give no place in our minds for the ego or the results of the ego’s doing.  We see ourselves as One. We offer only what we want for ourselves.

When we accept our identity in perfection, we remove our identities from the unhappy world of flesh and blood.  God created us as part of Him and we cannot change our perfection, whether we believe in it or not.  We are the Will of God, and that is a fact!  When Jesus said that we are to be perfect even as He is perfect, He essentially said, “ Accept Holy Spirit’s judgment which is for you and not the ego’s judgment which is always against you.”  For we could never be perfect in the flesh!

In paragraph seven, Jesus emphasizes how the perception of Holy Spirit reflects the perfect equality of knowing God.  The ego’s perception has no counterpart in God for ego cannot know oneness or relate to unity in any way.  Holy Spirit enables us to perceive the things of God by reflecting the knowledge of God in ways which we can relate to and understand from this realm.  As we practice thinking with Holy Spirit all memory of our Sonship comes back to us no matter how the ego tries to deny the possibility. 

Our old perceptions of victimhood, of sin and shame, projection and separation, heaven for some, hell for the many ends where Holy Spirit’s perception of us begins.  Jesus tells us that Everything meets in God because Everything was created by Him and in Him.  Holy Spirit lets us perceive this wholeness now.  God created us to be co-creators with Him, to extend His Kingdom.  We can only do this when Holy Spirit enables us to experience, to know His Kingdom in its completeness, to accept our perfection now. 

We will end today’s text reading with paragraph eight and complete the final paragraphs of “The Alternative to Projection” section tomorrow.  Today in your devotional practice invite Holy Spirit’s judgment of you into your awareness.  Accept your perfection and share perfection even as Christ is perfect, for it is in our perfection, our worthiness, our shared Sonship that we complete and extend God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 6 The lessons of love. II The alternative to projection 1-8. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6: The Lessons of Love

I.  The Message of the Crucifixion 14-19

14. If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended.  The apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the wrath of God as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry.

15. These are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament, although its gospel is really only the message of love. If the apostles had not felt guilty, they never could have quoted me as saying, “I come not to bring peace but a sword.” This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught. Nor could they have described my reactions to Judas as they did if they had really understood me. I could not have said, “Betrayest thou the son of man with a kiss?” unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not. The “punishment” I was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?

16. As you read the teachings of the Apostles, remember that I told them myself that there was much they would understand later, because they were not wholly ready to follow me at the time. I do not want you to allow any fear to enter into the thought system towards which I am guiding you. I do not call for martyrs but for teachers. No one is punished for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners. any concept of punishment involves the projection of blame, and reinforces the idea that blame is justified. The result is a lesson in blame, for all behavior teaches the beliefs that motivate it. The crucifixion was the result of clearly opposed thought systems, the perfect symbol of the conflict between the ego and the Son of God. This conflict seems just as real now, and its lessons must be learned now as well as then.

17. I do not need gratitude, but you need to develop your weakened ability to be grateful, or you cannot appreciate God. He does not need your appreciation, but you do. You cannot love what you do not appreciate, for fear makes appreciation impossible. When you are afraid of what you are you do not appreciate it and will therefore reject it. As a result, you will teach rejection.

18. The power of the Sons of God is present all the time, because they were created as creators.  Their influence on each other is without limit and must be used for their joint salvation. Each one must learn to teach that all forms of rejection are meaningless. The separation is the notion of rejection. As long as you teach this you will believe it. This is not as God thinks, and you must think as He thinks if you are to know Him again.

19. Remember that the Holy Spirit is the communication link between God the Father and His separated Sons. If you will listen to His voice you know that you cannot either hurt or be hurt, and that many need your blessing to help them hear this for themselves.  When you perceive only this need in them and do not respond to any other, you will have learned of me and will be as eager to share your learning as I am. [1]

Today as we finish the first section of The Lessons of Love, let us ask Holy Spirit to cleanse our mind of all misunderstanding of the crucifixion.  Our only lesson that we should take from the suffering of Christ in the flesh is the call for peace for which it was intended.  He suffered horrendously and did not curse, did not blame, but only reflected the love and mercy and perfect understanding of God.  If we take any other message from the cross we will respond and teach others to respond as if God was the one Who demanded blood and the suffering of His most beloved.  We must always remember God is a God of love and devotion and would never demand blood and sacrifice, nor does He have favorites and a most “beloved.”  We must never hold the people who betrayed Jesus, who misunderstood or misinterpreted His life and message, or who have, in their imperfect love for Him twisted the message to one of God’s wrath and need for retaliation. 

When we truly understand the message of the cross, we will not be inflamed against the Jewish religion, we will not justify any attacks upon the religious institutions which promoted suffering and torments in the name of Christ, nor hold those who engaged in war and promoted conflict instead of love and peace in His name.  Visiting the “Holy Lands” and walking where Christ walked does not give us any deeper understanding of His message.  The apostles themselves did not entirely get it and for the same reason few of us in this hellish realm are able to get it.  The ego’s hold upon us is a death grip – its only recourse is to pervert and weaponize the teachings of love.  We should get no more worked up over the crucifixion of Christ than we get worked up over any Son of God suffering needlessly in the flesh.  We are freed of guilt; we are freed of the need to suffer; we have nothing to project upon others when we have the love and devotion of God.  This is the message of the cross. 

In paragraph 15, Jesus corrects some of the ways in which He is quoted in the New Testament.  Jesus never said that he did not come to bring peace but a sword.  This would have contradicted everything He stood for, for Jesus is our Prince of Peace and invites us to the Sonship only in peace and never a sword.  He came to unite us, not to divide us. 

Jesus did not chastise Judas for his so-called betrayal.  Jesus calls Judas brother and equal.  Jesus could not be betrayed anymore than any Son of God can betray or be betrayed.   Remember, we are not the flesh and we do not respond to the destructible as if it were anything more than what it is – nothing.  Jesus would not condemn Judas – His message was one of mercy, forgiveness, and harmlessness.  It is plain that Jesus is not the author of the Bible – nor did He authorize others to mythologize Him in their attempts to deify His message.  Nobody, including the disciples, do Jesus any favors by writing the gospels in a spirit of retaliation, guilt, sorrow, or specialness.

When we read or hear any teachings of Christ, we must always remember that we are perceiving the words of people – just like you and just like me.  We have faulty listening devices.  We often hear two voices – one of Holy Spirit which is quiet, merciful, and loving.  The Voice for God within us must be welcomed in a state of devotion, meditation, and peace while the voice of ego pushes to the front, and is always chattering and clamoring, distracting and judgmental.  Jesus states very bluntly that there is no fear in the thought system in which He is teaching us.  Jesus says that He does not call for us to be martyrs but teachers.  There is no condemnation or punishment for sins because Sons of God are not sinners, they cannot be sinners because they are of God.  Our mistakes are canceled out by simply recognizing the error and asking Holy Spirit to undo any works of the ego in our lives and mind. 

The cross is the perfect symbol of the conflict between the ego and the Son of God.  This conflict seems just as real now as it ever did simply because it was not understood fully, and the misunderstanding was projected forward into our religions, traditions, rites, and rituals.  The cross has no magic power to save us from our sins.  It is a message of the Son of God’s love, mercy, and peace under the most harrowing conditions of the flesh.  It is a message of who and what we really are – not the destructible, but the indestructible.  We belong to God and to God we return when we have learned the lessons of love.

Jesus says that He does not need our gratitude for what He has done for us, but until we realize the gift He has given to us, we can never appreciate God.  We cannot love what we do not appreciate.  We cannot truly devote ourselves to loving God, when we fear Him, and when we fear Him, we teach others to do the same.  Until we know ourselves as beloved Sons of God, we will teach others a gospel of rejection, a gospel of having to sacrifice to be worthy of God, of having to “get saved,” instead of accepting our salvation as a given, of having to “get the Holy Ghost,” instead of accepting that the still quiet inner Voice for God has been with us all along, quietly guiding and keeping us for His Kingdom.  A gospel of rejection keeps us always on our toes, pleading Jesus blood, struggling with our flesh, and seeing persecution where there is none. 

There is no belief system that needs to be adopted, although one does need to be given up!  For we can only know God when we think the way God does.  We meet God through the story of the Prodigal.  He is the Father who watches His Son go down the path of separation and patiently awaits for His return.  He does not send the other son to die on the cross to shed blood to satiate His need for payment for the wastrel’s sins.  He does not prepare a dungeon of torments for the wastrel’s punishment.  He does not make His Son kill baby animals and offer them on the altar.  He does not demand that His Son take a bath and put on clean garments.  He does not say the hell with Him and give Him over to the devil.  He does not demand special prayers, fasting, or pleading.  With patience and undying devotion, He waited for His Son to come to His senses, to awaken from the fascination with fear, sin, shame, guilt, and sorrow.  He awaits with only love, joy, and peace to welcome Him home.  This is the gospel of Christ untainted by rejection, purified of all guilt and punishment. 

God loves us!   His devotion to us has been misrepresented by our holy books, by our religions, and the myths which have designed ego-like deities that exclude and reject rather than include and accept. 

The Holy Spirit connects us to God.  When we listen to the Voice for God, we will know the real gospel of Christ – we can bypass the lies, the perverted gospel, the misinterpretations and purposeful misleading.  There is no punishment, no revenge, no spite or wrath for God is our Loving Father, not a fearful one.  Our identity in Christ as God’s Son gives us perfect immunity to which maims, robs, and devours only in this realm. The message of love, of harmlessness, of acceptance and welcome is sorely needed for all who have been hurt, dismayed, and bewildered by the mixed messages of love and hate, acceptance and rejection, equality and inequality, heaven and hell taught from our pulpits, written in our sacred texts, and envisioned by our prophets.  Holy Spirit judges for us and not against us.  We are blameless in the eyes of God.  He does not care what we have done in the flesh and never will – He just awaits our awakening to His Love. 

The last sentence of this section tells us that when we bless everybody we meet as part of the Sonship of God and help them to recognize this for themselves we will have learned of Christ.  Christ endured the cross to teach us the harmlessness, mercy, and love of God toward those who have succumbed to a lower life form.  He knew who and what He was, even as He calls us to know who and what we really are.  We are not here to sit about and rant about the works of the flesh, to get involved in political battles, to decide what sins are beyond forgiveness and which ones are not so bad!  We are to learn as Christ learned and love Creation, sharing God’s love and acceptance with everyone we meet.  It matters not who ego has labeled straight or gay, liberal or conservative, pro-choice or pro-life.  It matters not how good or bad, tall or short, morbidly obese or skinny as a rail the ego has made us out to be – God knows us as His Son.  He loves us, brothers, in spite of ourselves. And we return to Him when we recognize and share His love.   When Holy Spirit enlightens our minds with the light of God’s Love, convincing us beyond doubt of God’s devotion toward His creation, we are free of the lies and deceptions of all that would tell us otherwise.  We no longer believe in the punishing god of ego; we know God Who is compassionate and kind!  Jesus modeled this by offering forgiveness and love from His human death on the cross; we are to learn from Him and share His teachings with all.    

[1] A Course in Miracles.  Chapter Six The lessons of love I. The message of the Crucifixion 14-19. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition, (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6: The Lessons of Love

I. The Message of the Crucifixion 6-13

6. As I have said before, as you teach so shall you learn. If you react as if you are persecuted, you are teaching persecution. This is not a lesson a Son of God should want to teach if he is to realize his own salvation. Rather, teach your own perfect immunity, which is the truth in you, and realize that it cannot be assailed. Do not try to protect it yourself, or you are believing that it is assailable. You are not asked to be crucified, which was part of my own teaching contribution. You are merely asked to follow my example in the face of much less extreme temptations to misperceive, and not to accept them as false justifications for anger. There can be no justification for the unjustifiable.  Do not believe there is, and do not teach that there is. Remember always that what you believe you will teach.  Believe with me, and we will become equal as teachers.

7. Your resurrection is your reawakening. I am the model for rebirth but rebirth itself is merely the dawning on your mind of what is already in it. God placed it there Himself, and so it is true forever. I believed in it, and therefore accepted it as true for me. Help me to teach it to our brothers in the name of the Kingdom of God, but first believe that it is true for you, or you will teach amiss. My brothers slept during this so-called agony in the garden, but I could not be angry with them because I knew I could not be abandoned.

8. I am sorry when my brothers do not share my decision to hear only one voice, because it weakens them as teachers and as learners. Yet I know they cannot really betray themselves or me, and that it is still on them that I must build my church. There is no choice in this, because only you can be the foundation of God’s church. A church is where an altar is, and the presence of the altar is what makes the church holy. A church that does not inspire love has a hidden altar that is not serving the purpose for which God intended it. I must found His church on you, because those who accept me as a model are literally my disciples. Disciples are followers, and if the model they follow has chosen to save them pain in all respects, they are unwise not to follow him.

9.  I elected, for your sake and mine, to demonstrate that the most outrageous assault, as judged by the ego, does not matter.  As the world judges these things, but not as God knows them, I was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, torn, and finally killed. It was clear that this was only because of the projection of others on to me, since I had not harmed anyone and had healed many.

10. We are still equal as learners, although we do not need to have equal experiences.  The Holy Spirit is glad when you can learn from mine, and be reawakened by them.  That is their only purpose, and that is the only way in which I can be perceived as the way, the truth, and the life.  When you hear only one voice you are never called on to sacrifice. On the contrary, by being able to hear the Holy Spirit in others you can learn from their experiences, and can gain from them without experiencing them directly yourself. That is because the Holy Spirit is one, and anyone who listens is inevitably led to demonstrate his way for all.

11.  You are not persecuted, nor was I.  You are not asked to repeat my experiences because the Holy Spirit, who we share, makes this unnecessary. To use my experiences constructively, however, you must still follow my example and how to perceive them.  M  brothers and yours are constantly engaged in justifying the unjustifiable. My one lesson, which I must teach as I learned it, is that no perception that is out of accord with the judgment of the Holy Spirit can be justified. I undertook to show this was true in an extreme case, merely because it would serve as a good teaching aid to those whose temptation to give into anger and assault would not be so extreme. I will with God that none of His Sons should suffer.

12. The crucifixion cannot be shared because it is the symbol of projection, but the resurrection is the symbol of sharing because the reawakening of every son of God is necessary to enable the Sonship to know it’s wholeness.  Only this is knowledge.

13. The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear:

Teach only love, for that is what you are.[1]

As we come to our devotional practice today, let us open our minds to the message of the Crucifixion.  Today we start on paragraph six where Jesus clearly tells us that we are to be perfectly harmless in the world.  We are not here to be whipping posts; we are not here to boo-hoo to each other how dangerous the world; we are not here to set up our kingdom in the physical realm.  When we know ourselves as Sons of God, we know that we are perfectly immune to all that would rise up against us.  We do not try to protect ourselves.  Nobody is asking us to be crucified – that was the function of Christ.  However, we are to follow in the footsteps of Christ and refuse to respond with anger and fear to anything or anyone because there is no justification for anger and fear.  We are to believe with our whole hearts that there is nothing that can hurt us.  We are to teach with 100% devotion that nothing can hurt us because what we believe we will teach.  As we believe with Christ, we become equal teachers with Christ.  This is a promise.

Jesus resurrected from the dead; our resurrection is our reawakening.  Rebirth is the dawning on our minds of what is already in there.  God placed a part of Himself in our minds and we can never lose it.  Jesus believed in this and accepted this as true, and He is calling for us to help Him teach it to our brothers in the name of God’s Kingdom.  If we do believe that God will turn His back upon His Creations; if we believe that He made us from dirt and made some for eternal glory and some for eternal shame and punishment, if we believe that God is bloodthirsty, capable of anger, pettiness, jealousy, throws fits, goes into rages, and has favorites, we will teach that which is not God’s Kingdom.   Jesus believed in and taught that God was love and that all would be saved.  Even when His disciples seemed to abandon Him, He could not be angry with them because He could not be abandoned.  We do not hold people accountable for their shortcomings, because it does not really affect our safety or touch who we really are.

Yesterday when Linda R. and I were reading through this section together and discussing the impact that modeling Christ and His teachings has on our lives, she said that as she practiced no-harm and forgiveness when her husband betrayed her, some of her Christian friends stopped talking to her because she did not take their advice.  They urged her to “lawyer up,” they told her to give him a good taste of his own medicine, they said they could not stand by and watch her be used and abused in this manner.  And yet Christ teaches that she was not betrayed, that she could not be betrayed because as Sons of God, we are invulnerable.  The ego is always going to let us down, but because we are born again, we are not egos, and not able to be hurt by other egos.

As long as we still think with the lower mind of ego and regard ourselves as flesh and blood, our teaching and our learning will be impaired.  When we do not completely give place to Holy Spirit in our life, we will still be used of God but there will be a part of us that is not serving the purpose that God intended for us to serve.  When we accept Jesus as our model we are His disciples. He does His best to help us understand our perfect immunity in the spirit, He does His best to spare us unnecessary pain and suffering, sickness and insanity.  It is to our best interest to follow Him, and yet we do not inspire love, if we are in the world getting angry, hurling insults, taking sides against any part of Creation, persecuting and being persecuted, and seeing ourselves as vulnerable, fragile, and fleshy. 

Jesus chose to demonstrate that the most outrageous, vicious attack upon His flesh does not matter.  In the world, Jesus was betrayed.  He was abandoned by His disciples in His greatest hour of need.  He was whipped. His flesh was torn from muscle and the bone.  He bled.  He suffered agony and He was killed.  All manner of ill intent was projected on to Him – and He had done nothing to deserve what happened to Him.  He bore it all without holding a grudge.  He was forgiving.  He knew Who He was and what He was about. 

Jesus wants us to be like Him, to learn from Him, to be reawakened by Him, for His mind to be formed in us.  He went through all that He went through as a human for one reason – to teach us to identify with our Sonship and listen only to the Voice for God.  Unless we learn what Jesus teaches we will not know Him as the way, the truth, and the life.  We will think He was just a nice guy who healed people and had supernatural powers.  We will believe that Jesus had advantages over us and we will not be able to relate to Him.  We will think that we owe Him something for what He did for us.

But in paragraph nine, Jesus tells us that when we only heed the Voice for God, we are never called to sacrifice.  It is the voice for ego that calls for sacrifice, for payment, for suffering, and pain.  God calls for love and devotion because He is love and devotion.  We learn and gain from the experiences of others just as others learn and gain from our experiences, because when we are led by Holy Spirit, it is always one for all and all for one. 

The one lesson of Christ that He learned and now teaches is to see only through the judgment of Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit always speaks for Creation and never against.  Even during the Crucifixion Christ did not get angry, He did not bear ill will, He did not curse His tormentors, or send them to hell.  The will of Christ was with God – that none of His Sons should suffer. 

The crucifixion cannot be shared because it symbolizes untruth, it stands for blame and shame, guilt and despair.  Sacrifice is not a call for God, it is a demand of the ego.  The resurrection, on the other hand symbolizes sharing.  It stands for the reawakening of all of Creation to the Sonship of God, to the completeness and unity of wholeness.  Only this is knowledge. 

No matter how many advanced degrees we may obtain, the world is incapable of bestowing knowledge.  In our separated state, we have no way of knowing much more than splintered facts and faulty theories that do not amount to anything.  No matter how many books we read or lectures we attend, no matter what elite university we manage to get into, knowledge can only be found in the Sonship of God .  When we are restored to the Sonship of God, we have and know everything.   As hard as that may be to fathom, we all know on one level of being that this is truth. 

We will end today’s text review with paragraph 13, which clearly and succinctly sums up what we have read so far about the message of the crucifixion.  Ask Holy Spirit to be the one voice in your mind today.  While in our humanity nothing is fair, mutual, or equitable – in the Spirit we are one. Rich and poor, black and white, academically gifted and intellectually handicapped, man or woman, Greek or Jew, young and old –

All of us are able to teach only love, for all of us – that is what we are.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 6 The lessons of love. I The message of the crucifixion 6-13. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6: The Lessons of Love

I.  The Message of the Crucifixion 1-5

  1. For learning purposes, let us consider the crucifixion again. I did not dwell on it before because of the fearful connotations you may associate with it. The only emphasis laid up on it so far has been that it was not a form of punishment.  Nothing, however, can be explained in negative terms only. There is a positive interpretation of the crucifixion that is wholly devoid of fear, and therefore wholly benign in what it teaches, if it is properly understood.
  2. The crucifixion is nothing more than an extreme example. Its value, like the value of any teaching device, lies solely in the kind of learning it facilitates. It can be, and has been, misunderstood. This is only because the fearful are apt to perceive fearfully. I have already told you that you can always call on me to share my decision, and thus make it stronger. I have also told you that the crucifixion was the last useless journey the Sonship need take and that it represents release from fear to anyone who understands it. While I emphasized only the resurrection before, the purpose of the crucifixion and how it actually led to the resurrection was not clarified then. Nevertheless, it has a definite contribution to make to your own life, and if you will consider it without fear, it will help you understand your own role as a teacher.
  3. You have probably reacted for years as if you were being crucified. This is a marked tendency of the separated, who always refuse to consider what they have done to themselves. Projection means anger, anger fosters assault, and assault promotes fear. The real meaning of the crucifixion lies in the apparent intensity of the assault of some of the Sons of God upon another. This, of course, is impossible, and must be fully understood as impossible. Otherwise, I cannot serve as a model for learning.
  4. Assault can ultimately be made only on the body. There is little doubt that one body can assault another and can even destroy it. Yet if destruction itself is impossible, anything that is destructible cannot be real. Its destruction, therefore, does not justify anger. To the extent to which you believe that it does, you are accepting false premises and teaching them to others. The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault and persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible, and are therefore regarding yourself insanely.
  5. I have made it perfectly clear that I am like you and you are like me, but our fundamental equality can be demonstrated only through joint decision. You are free to perceive yourself as persecuted if you choose. When you do choose to react that way, however, you might remember that I was persecuted as the world judges and did not share this evaluation for myself. And because I did not share, I did not strengthen it. I therefore offered a different interpretation of attack, and one which I want to share with you. If you will believe it, you will help me teach it.[1]

In today’s text reading, Jesus assures us of the positive message we are to take from the crucifixion – the only message we are to take from the crucifixion.  We are to see the crucifixion of Christ as the last useless journey.  When we understand what the crucifixion of Christ really means, we are released from fear.  We come to understand our role as a teacher, for how we live, the choices we make in our human form, how we understand the crucifixion, will determine how we teach and what others will learn from our lives.

Obviously, bodies can hurt each other.  The crucifixion is an extreme example of what we go through each and every day our lives here in the hellish, separated, ego realm.  Jesus is not condemning us for painting ourselves as the victims of persecution, but He is certainly not condoning the fact that our walks with the Lord have often been tainted by thinking of ourselves as victims.  As humans we adore other people to hear our tales of woe.  We pour out our hearts to anyone who will listen to us about what others have put us through – our parents, our teachers, our husbands, our children, the government, our classmates.  We act as if we are the ones being crucified, Jesus says.  It is a rare bunny that considers what we do to ourselves – the choices we make, the things we say, the insane thinking and doing that wreak havoc upon our state of being.  When we blame others for our unhappiness, our sense of separation, loneliness, and despair instead of taking responsibility to find the real culprit, we project.  When we project all the blame to others, we get angry, we lash out, and by lashing out we do not promote love, peace, and goodwill, we promote fear, we promote conflict, we promote ill will. 

Jesus tells us that the only way in which He can serve as a model for our learning is if we come to the true understanding of the message of the crucifixion.  The crucifixion is an extreme example of what the Sons of God would inflict upon one another if it were possible for this to happen.  It is extremely significant that we understand that it is absolutely impossible for a Son of God to assault another Son of God.  Our identity is in Being, and only in Being can Jesus serve as a model for us. 

As long as our identity is in crisis and we still cling to our humanity, the crucifixion will distress us, will make us feel guilty, will fill us with sorrow, shame, and a sense of contriteness.  We will feel we owe Jesus something and may even go to ridiculous measures in our efforts to “pay Him back” for suffering for us.  We may give up things that we enjoy, be extra “good,” put more money in the collection plates, wear sackcloth and bloody our knees in hopes of relieving the agony of His time on the cross.  In our right minds we would know that this would not work, but the ego is not sane and will tell us all kinds of things about the crucifixion which derange our minds. 

However, when we know who and what we really are, Jesus serves as a model for us.  Not as a model to be crucified, but as a model of giving up our humanity in exchange for our divinity. 

Only egos can batter, assault, and destroy other egos; only flesh can war upon other flesh.  As an extreme example of this, the humiliation, bloodshed, scorn, mockery, suffering and torment of the Crucifixion of Christ serves as a model that there is nothing that can happen to us in the flesh and in our egos that will deny us our divine and holy Sonship.  Jesus could not serve as a model of this if He had died peacefully in sleep as an old man.  If the angels of God had delivered Him from the torment that was to come, we would have been denied the resurrection.  It was the Cross that showed us who and what we really are – not the vulnerable flesh body of ego, but the divine and everlasting Son of God Who is beyond reach to the meanest and most vile assault of the ego-enchanted. 

Jesus serves as our model of learning only when He convinces us that whatever another person does to us in this realm – to our bodies, to our “boundaries,” to the ideas we have about ourselves, our possessions, and so forth – cannot really hurt the real and everlasting “Us.”  Who we really are is beyond anything at all that can possibly happen to us in this realm, and if we do not understand this, we do not get the teachings of Christ.  To be like Jesus, to have the mind of Christ formed in us, to undo the ego in our minds, is to recognize and fully understand that what happens in the flesh does not matter unless we make it matter.  And if we make it matter, Christ is not our model of learning.  We are living in the insane realm of that which can be destroyed rather than the creative realm of that which is forever.

This is an entire stepping out of this world’s system of protecting the body and living for the body.  Jesus asks us to live and care about, and only live and care about the Sonship of God, the Brotherhood of Christ. 

As long as we want to identify with ego’s insane world, we can go on accusing this one, pointing our finger at that one, blaming our parents, our sister, our brother, get all worked up over lack of respect, the dangers we face on the street, the conflicts we have with our coworkers, the grudges we have toward our government officials.  We can say we are persecuted.  We can grouse.  We can take up arms.  We can go to war, call ourselves Christian soldiers, and name our battles holy.  But Jesus is not our model for learning. We have confused the issue.  We think of ourselves as flesh; we think that the ego and ego world should play “nice,” we have missed the message of the crucifixion.  We hold our humanity dear to us, we love our flesh and hold out false hope for flesh and blood, and because we love our flesh we do not know our spirits and we cannot know God. 

Jesus assures us that He is like us, but we must choose to be like Him.  We can take as long as we want.  I can continue to see myself as a victim of my mother, of my sister, of my brother, my teachers, my ex-lovers and first husband.  I can continue to see myself as not being respected by this one or appreciated by that one.  Whatever my ego tries to make me feel, I can continue to perceive myself as a victim, as persecuted, but Jesus went through the crucifixion.  Jesus, holy Son of God, went through far worse than I can ever imagine going through and He did not see Himself as anybody’s victim.  His followers failed to get the message; the apostles failed to teach the true message of the cross. It became mythologized; His blood was made into a magic potion, His stripes into a sacrifice but only when we understand what the Crucifixion was meant to teach us, can we be like Him and be the miracle workers He calls us to be. 

This is all we will cover for today.  In your daily devotional practice, ask the Lord to illuminate this passage to your mind and heart.  Pray that you learn the true meaning of the Crucifixion, to remove all fear, guilt, shame, and sense of sacrifice from our consciousness, for the Crucifixion is a lesson of love.   I want to make a special note of thanks to Linda R. from for prayerfully reading this passage with me and discussing its meaning as we devoted our afternoon to studying The Message of the Crucifixion in its entirety.  We are called to walk this path not by ourselves alone for we cannot learn the truth of God alone.  And for this we are utterly thankful! 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter Six The lessons of love. I. The message of the crucifixion 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6 The Lessons of Love


  1. The relationship of anger to attack is obvious but the relationship of anger to fear is not always so apparent. Anger always involves projection of separation, which must ultimately be accepted as one’s own responsibility, rather than being blamed on others. Anger cannot occur unless you believe that you have been attacked, that your attack is justified in return, and that you were in no way responsible for it. Given these three wholly irrational premises, the equally irrational conclusion that a brother is worthy of attack rather than of love must follow. What can be expected from insane premises except an insane conclusion? The way to undo an insane conclusion is to consider the sanity of the premises on which it rests. You cannot be attacked, attack has no justification, and you are responsible for what you believe.
  2. You have been asked to take me as your model for learning, since an extreme example is a particularly helpful learning device. Everyone teaches and teaches all the time. This is a responsibility you inevitably assume the moment you accept any premise at all, and no one can organize his life without some thought system. Once you have developed a thought system of any kind, you live by it and teach it. Your capacity for allegiance to a thought system may be misplaced, but is it is still a form of faith and can be redirected.[1]

It is only natural for us to attack others when we are feeling angry, but today Jesus wants us to examine how anger and fear are related.  When we look at the reasons that we feel anger toward others or toward certain situations, we will always see an indication of separation.  When I get angry at my sister for example, I will see her as separate from me, I will see her as different than me, I will see her as the culprit and myself as the innocent party.  Jesus asks us to take responsibility for the ways in which we see others as separate from ourselves.  For when I see my sister as part of me, I do not see her as different, I see her as myself.  Her happiness is my happiness; her need for correction is my need for correction.  If my sister disrespects my boundaries, I have disrespected her boundaries.  Jesus tells us that anger simply cannot occur unless we believe another person is attacking us.  When we see the actions of others as an attack upon us, we justify attacking them in return.  We justify our anger by not taking responsibility for it.  We conclude that the person who attacked us is not worthy of love; they are only worthy of attack. 

All three premises which lead to this unloving response Jesus calls insane because:  We cannot be attacked; attack has absolutely no justification; and we are always responsible for what we believe. 

You are called and I am called to take Jesus as our model for learning.  His human life serves as an extreme example to teach lessons of love, which we are here to learn.  Jesus is not the only one who teaches.  Every single one of us teach and we teach all the time.  We do not need teaching degrees, we do not need an education, we do not even have to know how to read and write – the moment we accept any premise at all, we organize our life around what we think works to keep us reasonably well and happy.  We live by what we adopt as our system of belief and we all serve as teachers to everyone who knows us by the ideas we share and the examples we give.  There will always be some who will follow in our footsteps whether we do things that call forth health or sickness, wealth or poverty, honesty or lies.   Jesus calls our allegiance to our thoughts systems a form of faith because we become very attached to them and think of them as extensions of ourselves.  We get our feelings hurt and get downright antagonistic if our thought systems are challenged in any way. 

Jesus knows what it is like to be human; He knows how dearly we cherish our thought systems and the hold that they have upon us – in spite of the harm and unhappiness they may bring.  In this chapter, Jesus will redirect our faith in the senseless belief system of the ego which justifies anger, attack, and fear, to one which is sensible, practical, and leads to love, peace, and unity. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter Six Lesson of love. Introduction. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 5 Healing and Wholeness

VII. The Decision for God

  1. Do you really believe that you can make a voice that can drown out God’s?  Do you really believe you can devise a thought system that can separate you from Him?  Do you really believe you can plan for your safety and joy better than He can?  You need be neither careful nor careless; you need merely cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you.  You are His care because He loves you.  His Voice reminds you always that all hope is yours because of His care.  You cannot choose to escape His care because that is not His Will, but you can choose to accept His care and use the infinite power of His care for all those He created by it. 
  2. There have been many healers who did not heal themselves.  They have not moved mountains by their faith because their faith was not whole.  Some of them have healed the sick at times, but they have not raised the dead.  Unless the healer heals himself, he cannot believe that there is no order of difficulty in miracles.  He has not learned that every mind God created is equally worthy of being healed because God created it whole.  You are merely asked to return to God the mind as He created it.  He asks you only for what He gave, knowing that this giving will heal you.  Sanity is wholeness, and the sanity of your brothers is yours.
  3. Why should you listen to the endless insane calls you think are made upon you, when you can know the Voice for God is in you?  God commended His Spirit to you and asks that you commend yours to Him.  He wills to keep it in perfect peace, because you are of one mind and spirit with Him.  Excluding yourself from the Atonement is the ego’s last-ditch defense of its own existence.  It reflects both the ego’s need to separate and your willingness to side with its separateness.  This willingness means that you do not want to be healed. 
  4. But the time is now.  You have not been asked to work out the plan of salvation yourself because, as I told you before, the remedy could not be of your making.  God Himself gave you the perfect Correction for everything you made that is not in accord with His holy Will.  I am making His plan perfectly explicit to you and will also tell you of your part in it, and how urgent it is to fulfill it.  God weeps at the “sacrifice” of His children who believe they are lost to Him. 
  5. Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations.  Perceiving this as “sin” you become defensive because you expect attack.  The decision to react in this way is yours and can therefore be undone.  It cannot be undone by repentance in the usual sense because this implies guilt.  If you allow yourself to feel guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you. 
  6. Decision cannot be difficult.  This is obvious, if you realize that you must already have decided not to be wholly joyous if that is how you feel.  Therefore, the first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly but can as actively decide otherwise.  Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there.  Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made and give it over to the Atonement in peace.  Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation:

I must have decided wrongly because I am not at peace.

I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.

I want to decide otherwise because I want to be at peace.

I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.

I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.[1]

As we wrap up Healing and Wholeness today with the Decision for God, Jesus asks us if we really believe we can separate ourselves from God’s Love or come up with a better way in which to keep ourselves safe and full of joy.  When we choose to accept God’s love and devotion for us, we use the everlasting power of His Love and Devotion for all of Creation. 

Jesus tells us that healing and wholeness comes to those who learn that every single aspect of Creation is worthy and equally worthy of healing and wholeness.  Each one of us is asked to return to God what God gives us – undying love and devotion.  In God’s eyes there is nobody who is worthy of any more or any less.  If we love God, we devote ourselves to one another in love.  This makes the world sane.  This completes the Sonship.  This is our salvation.

God placed His Holy Spirit within each one of us and asks us to commend our spirit to Him.  Holy Spirit calls to us and why would we want to listen to any other call which drives us apart, keeps us at each other’s throats, and does not give us rest?  God offers us perfect peace.  When our minds join with Him, we join with God and our brother.  When we reject our brother we are siding against Atonement and with separation.   

Jesus tells us in paragraph four that it is not our job to work out the plan of salvation – it is not for us to decide who is saved and who is not or how to go about saving souls.  God has given us the perfect way in which to make everything new, to correct all things that do not reflect God’s health and wholeness.  Jesus tells us that it is urgent for us to learn this, to know what our part in salvation is, and to teach that God will not allow any aspect of His Creation to be lost to Him.

When we do not experience joy, we have responded to God’s creation with something other than love.  Just as we have no need to point out the “sin” in others, we have no need to point it out in ourselves.  We have no need to ever attack others for their lack of love, nor respond to attack with defensiveness.  When we make the mistake of responding without love, it is not the end of the world.  God does not take our salvation away.  We have not committed the unpardonable sin.  We are not guilty, and we are not to allow ourselves to be guilty.  Guilt does nothing but reinforce mistakes.  Our lack of joy indicates to us that we have responded without love.

Deciding to respond with love leads to wholeness which is joyous and brings healing.  Deciding not to respond to others with love leads to that which makes us unhappy and sick.  The first step we must take every time we do not experience the wholesomeness of joy and healing is to recognize that we have decided against it but that we can change our minds.  We do not have to grovel before God, begging Him to forgive us, and make vain promises.  We simply take positive action.  With firm resolve, we undo the unwholesome unloving response.  God has placed Holy Spirit within us to undo all things that are not God’s Will.  God’s Will is in joy, healing, and wholeness.  God’s Will is not in sorrow, sickness, brokenness, or separation. 

Our part in the undoing of all that is not God’s Will is to bring our minds to the situation of distress and peacefully bring it to Atonement.  This means we do not make a big hubbub about it.  We do not have to cry, beat our chests, or put on a show of any kind.  We simply address any situation, relationship, or event which does not bring joy, health, and wholeness with quiet certainty and complete faith in Atonement.

What is Atonement?  Remember Atonement is Holy Spirit’s corrective plan to undo the ego.  Atonement dissolves the lies and the illusion of that which is not the Will of God.  Atonement denies any power of the ego to interfere in our minds return to God.  Holy Spirit is within each one of us and responds fully to our slightest invitation. 

Healing and Wholeness come to us when we decide completely for God.  When we decide for God, we have peace.  We have joy.  We reflect God’s mercy, His undying love and devotion to all of Creation. 

When we make a mistake, we have no cause for guilt because Holy Spirt undoes all the works of the ego when we address the mistake with honesty, sincerity, and a positive change of mind.  Holy Spirit will always decide for God for us, no matter what we do, how many times we flub up, or how long it takes us to finally make some progress on our path to God.  All we are asked to do in return is to share Holy Spirit with Creation, withholding God’s love and devotion which He has extended to us from no one and for any reason.

No matter how many wrong decisions we have made, now matter how many dastardly deeds we may have done, Jesus tells us that we can have peace, when we give our mistakes over to the Atonement and ask Holy Spirit to undo all the consequences of our wrong decisions.  We do not have to accept the world’s guilt and shame that leads to sickness, perversions of justice, and insanity in our minds.  Holy Spirit always judges for us and never against us.  And we are required to do the same. 

Today in your devotional practice, examine your mind and ask Holy Spirit to illuminate the decisions you have made in your life which are reflected in your lack of healing and wholeness.  No matter how much time it takes, using your own words and your own situations address each instance with the following passage, which Jesus has outlined for us:

In this situation with ______, I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.

I made the decision to say or do unkind things, but I can also decide otherwise.

I want to decide otherwise because I want to be at peace.

I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my unkindness if I will let Him.

I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 5 Healing and wholeness. VII The decision for God. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For 2021 daily Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 5: Healing and Wholeness

VI. Time and Eternity 7-12

7. “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord” is easily reinterpreted if you remember that ideas increase only by being shared.  The statement emphasizes that vengeance cannot be shared.  Give it therefore to the Holy Spirit, Who will undo it in you because it does not belong in your mind, which is part of God.

8. “I will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation,” as interpreted by the ego, is particularly vicious.  It becomes merely an attempt to guarantee the ego’s own survival.  To the Holy Spirit, the statement means that in later generations He can still reinterpret what former generations had misunderstood, and thus release the thoughts from the ability to produce fear. 

9. “The wicked shall perish” becomes a statement of Atonement if the word “perish” is understood as “be undone.”  Every loveless thought must be undone, a word the ego cannot even understand.  To the ego, to be undone means to be destroyed.  The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will be reinterpreted to release you from fear.  The part of your mind that you have given to the ego will merely return to the Kingdom, where you whole mind belongs.  You can delay the completion of the Kingdom, but you cannot introduce the concept of fear into it.

10.  You need not fear the Higher Court will condemn you.  It will merely dismiss the case against you.  There can be no case against a child of God, and every witness to guilt in God’s creations is bearing false witness to God Himself.  Appeal everything you believe gladly to God’s Own Higher Court because it speaks for Him and therefore speaks truly.  It will dismiss the case against you, however carefully you have built it up.  The case may be fool-proof, but it is not God-proof.  The Holy Spirit will not hear it, because He can only witness truly.  His verdict will always be “thine is the Kingdom,” because He was given to you to remind you of what you are.

11.  When I said, “I am come as a light into the world,” I meant that I came to share the light with you.  Remember my reference to the ego’s dark glass, and remember also that I said, “Do not look there.”  It is still true that where you look to find yourself is up to you.  Your patience with your brother is your patience with yourself.  Is not a child of God worth patience?  I have shown you infinite patience because my will is that of our Father, from Whom I learned of infinite patience.  His Voice was in me as It is in you, speaking for patience towards the Sonship in the Name of Its Creator.

12.  Now you must learn that only infinite patience produces immediate results.  This is the way in which time is exchanged for eternity.  Infinite patience calls upon infinite love, and by producing results now it renders time unnecessary.  We have repeatedly said that time is a learning device to be abolished when it is no longer useful.  The Holy Spirit, Who speaks for God in time, also knows that time is meaningless.  He reminds you of this in every passing moment of time because it is His special function to return you to eternity and remain to bless your creations there.  He is the only blessing you can truly give because He is truly blessed.  Because He has been given you freely by God, you must give Him as you received Him.[1]

Continuing from yesterday’s post, we can see how “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord” cannot mean that God takes vengeance upon His Creations.  Why would He?  How could He?  He created us in love and for love; He poured Himself into our Beings.  Vengeance does not give us anything; it takes away.  It cannot be shared or built upon – for it will always take away.  We give it to Holy Spirit, and vengeance is exchanged for forgiveness, which reflects God’s love.  As special as it may make us feel to believe that God despises those whom we despise, we who are called of God are called to Love. 

Jesus tells us that “I will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation,” does not mean that God punishes us for what our ancestors did.  A visit from God can only mean healing, restoration, correction, renewal, or cleansing.  While any tribe, clan, or religious group can claim that they are God’s favorites, that they are the only ones who have begat people holy enough to write about God or for God, Jesus tells us that God is fair.  No one person or group of people have special favor in God’s eyes.  God does not play mean tricks on any part of Creation, nor does He hold grudges or act in any way disrespectful toward all attempts to reach Him, return to Him, and love Him.  God is Life; God is Love; God is Light.  While those who have gone before us may have sincerely believed that God was fearful, petty, and vengeful, we are here today to be healed from the ego’s interpretations of the Creator.  We are visited by God, not to disrespect our loved ones or hold grudges against them for not teaching us the truth, but to be corrected and released from fearful perceptions of our Loving Father.  This is their will as well as God’s Will for us.

In my personal life, I have experienced a sense of how happy my mother is that I am not bound, nor do I teach the fear-based doctrines that she believed and taught about God, salvation, and eternal punishment.  The hours she spent crying and pleading with God over the souls of her loved ones were torturous to her. The thought of not only those she knew and loved, but those in other countries who had never heard of Jesus weighed heavily upon her.  Her salvation was a heavy burden, not the message of light that Jesus promises in the gospel.  When she died, she was convinced that she was the only one out of all the people she knew who was going to go to heaven.  It broke her heart to think of us missing out on the glories of heaven.  The God she believed in evidently could not allow women who wore slacks, makeup, and went to beauty salons past the gateway to heaven.  Nor was the Kingdom of Heaven open to couples who were divorced and remarried, Christians who did not “have” the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues, and children who slept with their hands under the covers instead of on top. 

These are not beliefs in God that can be shared, passed down, or built upon.  They are belief systems that arise from the trickery of the ego who uses guilt, shame, and exclusiveness to swamp our lower minds and keep us in cycles that guarantee its survival.  And yet the sincere love and genuine devotion of those who have gone before is reinterpreted by Holy Spirit.  We may not be able to build upon such insane beliefs, but we can learn from them.  God visits us! Truth and understanding heals us from all distortions of our ancestors and sets them free as it sets us free.    

Another case in point are the scriptures that indicate that the wicked will perish.  Jesus shows us how all Scripture that would otherwise judge against Creation, condemning, punishing, killing becomes statements of Atonement when we understand all words to indicate punishment and death to simply mean “undone.”  All things that are not based upon love, are undone.  They are erased, they are no more.  Time is swallowed by eternity – all things that happen in it are no more. 

Ego does not understand the undoing, because to the ego, undoing is destruction, it is death.  Ego will not be destroyed, cast into everlasting torments, or have its little bits plucked out one by one!  Because lies and darkness do not create and cannot share, the ego will simply fade away.  The part of our mind which believed in its lies returns to the higher mind of the Kingdom where it belongs.  We can take as long as want to learn of, practice, and establish the Kingdom mind within us, but there is no place in the Kingdom of Light for fear, distrust, darkness, death, or torments of any kind.

As we begin to open our mind to the light of reason, to the higher mind of Holy Spirit, to accept the love and devotion of our Father, we experience the certainty of our place in His Kingdom.  Nobody can take it away.  No matter what humanity has made of us, the verdict is and always will be that we are His Sons.  All charges against us are dismissed.  We have been given Holy Spirit to always remind us of who we are no matter the hot mess we have seemed to make of ourselves here on earth.  The Kingdom of God is not complete without you, dear brother.  No matter who you are and what atrocities you may have inflicted upon others, God will never give up on you.  He has given you Holy Spirit and will never take it away.  The world may never forgive us for what we do in the flesh, but when others find us guilty, and refuse to forgive us, they are finding God guilty and refusing their own forgiveness.

God’s love and mercy is certainly not a license to hurt Creation in any way, shape, or form.  However, we are left off the hook of guilt and shame.  As humans, none of us will ever measure up because we are symbols of the ego.  Our flesh and blood do not define us and never will.  As we welcome Holy Spirit to shine His light upon our minds, our minds are cleansed of all that is dark, vicious, and harmful.  Our ego and all that it wrought in our lives is undone in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the Sonship. 

In paragraph 11, Jesus tells us that our patience toward one another is our patience with ourselves.  As Christ is formed in our minds, we begin to experience the infinite patience that God has shown to each one of us through Christ.  Christ has only exhibited the patience of God toward us.  Christ has not forced Himself upon us.  He has not interfered in world events.  He has not stopped people from falsely using His name or teaching fear and conflict instead of His message of love.  He has allowed us the freedom and the liberty to come to the truth by looking for it in places where it will never be found.  He has left us to our own devices because our own devices are what we chose over God’s gift. 

No matter how long it takes or how many of us are born and die and are born again, the same Voice for God in Jesus is in us, calling us to loving, certain faith in and patience toward humanity, toward the Sonship of God and the Brotherhood of Christ. 

Let the last paragraph of today’s text rest in your mind and meditate upon its deeper meaning.  Jesus tells us that now we must learn that undying patience produces immediate results.  Ask Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind so that you can grasp this concept that Jesus proposes.  When we devote ourselves to one another with infinite patience, we exchange time for eternity.  When I devote myself to my sister, I am not giving her a deadline, I am not recalling her sins against me, I am not putting myself in a superior position to her or an inferior one.  When I devote myself to my sister, I love her with the love of God that overlooks anything she could say or do that would offend me, get on my last nerve, or make me feel small and useless.  When I devote myself to my sister, I am saying how worthy she is of my devotion because I perceive her beauty, goodness, generosity, humor, wit, and intelligence.  I perceive her innocence and godliness; I let all the ego perceptions that would mar my love for her go.  I see her as she really is!  I see her past time and ego and human form.  And when I devote myself to that which never dies, which never fades, which never gets put on a shelf because of human foibles, time ceases to be.  Because in the undying patience and love of God, time becomes meaningless.  It is no longer necessary as a learning device when I understand what it is that I came here to learn.

Holy Spirit is not conditional, it is not for one and not the other, it is not earned, and it can never be taken away.  Holy Spirit sees past the many separate forms to the unifying content.  Holy Spirit does not focus upon the spaces and outlines of the separated perception, but rather spotlights the oneness and unity of all Creation.  Holy Spirit cannot be found in books or words or circumstances, experiences, or events; Holy Spirit is in us, as God’s Gift to all and for all.  We give Holy Spirit by recognizing Holy Spirit in each other and letting Holy Spirit undo all that would keep us apart, would make us unwell, and keep us from our eternal Kingdom. 

Today commit to seeing the light of Holy Spirit in others even as you welcome His light to shine in and through you. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 5 Healing and wholeness VI Time and eternity 7-12. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 5 Healing and Wholeness

VI. Time and Eternity 1-6

  1. God in His knowledge is not waiting, but His Kingdom is bereft while you wait. All the Sons of God are waiting for your return, just as you are waiting for theirs.  Delay does not matter in eternity, but it is tragic in time.  You have elected to be in time rather than eternity, and therefore believe you are in time.  Yet your election is both free and alterable.  You do not belong in time.  Your place is only in eternity, where God Himself placed you forever.
  2. Guilt feelings are the preservers of time.  They induce fears of retaliation or abandonment, and thus ensure that the future will be like the past.  This is the ego’s continuity.  It gives the ego a false sense of security by believing that you cannot escape from it.  But you can and must.  God offers you the continuity of eternity in exchange.  When you choose to make this exchange, you will simultaneously exchange guilt for joy, viciousness for love, and pain for peace.  My role is only to unchain your will and set it free.  Your ego cannot accept this freedom and will oppose it at every possible moment and in every possible way.  And as its maker, you recognize what it can do because you gave it the power to do it.
  3. Remember the Kingdom always and remember that you who are part of the Kingdom cannot be lost.  The Mind that was in me is in you, for God creates with perfect fairness.  Let the Holy Spirit remind you always of His fairness and let me teach you how to share it with your brothers.  How else can the chance to claim it for yourself be given you?  The two voices speak for different interpretations of the same thing simultaneously; or almost simultaneously, for the ego always speaks first.  Alternate interpretations were unnecessary until the first one was made. 
  4. The ego speaks in judgment, and the Holy Spirit reverses its decision, much as a higher court has the power to reverse a lower court’s decisions in this world.  The ego’s decisions are always wrong, because they are based on the error they were made to uphold.  Nothing the ego perceives is interpreted correctly.  Not only does the ego cite Scripture for its purpose, but it even interprets Scripture as a witness for itself.  The Bible is a fearful thing in the ego’s judgment.  Perceiving it as frightening, it interprets it fearfully.  Being afraid, you do not appeal to the Higher Court because you believe its judgment would also be against you. 
  5. There are many examples of how the ego’s interpretations are misleading, but a few will suffice to show how the Holy Spirit can reinterpret them in His Own Light.
  6. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap” He interprets to mean what you consider worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself.  Your judgment of what is worthy makes it worthy for you.[1]

Is it any wonder we have been homesick for that which we cannot find on earth, weary of conflict, strife, and bloodshed, discouraged by our inability to connect and truly know anything or anybody?   In our text reading today Jesus reminds us that this is not our home.  This is not where we belong!  We can wait as long as we want, but until we come home, the Kingdom is incomplete without us just as we are incomplete without the Kingdom.

When we accept the Love of God, we put down our fear of God.  We put down guilt, viciousness, and pain and we pick up joy, love, and peace.  Jesus frees us of the tyranny of ego which keeps us bound in flesh and blood and fear, by demonstrating the truth about God and His Love and Devotion toward Creation. 

You are part of God’s Kingdom and I am part of God’s Kingdom.  We can never be lost.  We belong to God and the Mind that was in Jesus is in us – Jesus had no advantage over us.  God is fair.  He is not going to send some Savior into the world to teach us about our identity Who is superior to us in any way, has unfair advantages, and magic powers that can be used against us.  God does not have favorites.  Getting to heaven is not some kind of unholy contest that depends upon a particular belief system or who is the saintliest of all.  Every single one of us are designed for and destined for Heaven for this is the Will of God.  And this is the gospel of Christ.

The two voices in our minds interprets this quite differently.  The voice of ego always speaks loud, butts in first, and does its best to drown out the Voice for God.  The voice of ego is bossy, condemning, and motivates by fear.  It uses guilt, shame, and threats to get its way.  The voice of ego interprets God as an ego would interpret God – a temperamental deity which is jealous, demands blood sacrifices, and needs constant adoration, flattery, and worship.  

Always remember that it is not the Voice for God which accuses, condemns, and judges!  The Voice for God reverses all the ego’s decisions and interpretations of who and what we are.  Unlike the ego, Holy Spirit always judges for us.  The ego would send us to hell to burn forever; Holy Spirit returns us to God to live forever in joy and peace.  The ego will take scriptures that are meant to uplift and motivate us toward eternal bliss and interpret them in the meanest and most vicious manner possible.  The ego’s purpose is to fill us with fear toward God and Creation.  Being afraid of God, many of us fail to appeal to Him, because we believe the ego’s version of the bloodthirsty, irate, unstable God is the only one there is.  Holy Spirit calls to us through our higher minds and asks us to use our reason, our sanity, our innate goodness and inborn love.  Our higher minds see past the ego’s bluster and blunder.  Holy Spirit reinterprets the ego’s scriptures to one which frees us from its chains. 

Instead of imprisoning our beings in an ongoing cycle of karmic law, of hanging on to the past and projecting it into the future – Holy Spirit reinterprets “As you sow, so shall you reap,” to mean that which we find of worth is what we focus our minds and energies toward, and where we will see the result. 

There is nothing threatening, mean, or unforgiving in this interpretation of “as you sow, so shall you reap.”  It simply means what it says – What we consider worth cultivating, we will cultivate and reap the returns of what was cultivated. 

In my own life, I did my best to overcome social stigma, emotional disorder, and other impediments to learning.  Even though I dropped out of high school, I earned a GED and eventually earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science in Education.  Just because I dropped out of high school did not mean that I was doomed to continue reaping a sense of failure when it came to learning.  I could change my mind about myself.  I did not have to accept the ego’s verdict.

Whatever we find worth putting our minds to, our energies will follow.  We can start wherever we are and whenever we are ready to sow what we find worthy.  Never believe that we are fated to reap the bad seeds that we sow.  Bad seeds are simply mistakes.  Mistakes do not define us nor limit us in any way. Our mistakes, reinterpreted by Holy Spirit, teach us to let the ego go and return our minds completely to the Kingdom where we reap eternal love, peace, and joy. 

Tomorrow we will complete the last six paragraphs of “Time and Eternity.”  Today, let us calm our minds and listen for the still, quiet Voice for God which always speaks for love and mercy in the certain peace of our high and holy minds in Christ.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter Five Healing and wholeness. VI Time and eternity. 1-6.  Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 5: Healing and Wholeness

V. The Ego’s Use of Guilt

  1. Perhaps some of our concepts will become clearer and more personally meaningful if the ego’s use of guilt is clarified.  The ego has a purpose, just as the Holy Spirit has.  The ego’s purpose is fear, because only the fearful can be egotistic.  The ego’s logic is as impeccable as that of the Holy Spirit because your mind has the means at its disposal to side with Heaven or earth, as it elects.  But again, remember that both are in you.
  2. In Heaven there is no guilt, because the Kingdom is attained through the Atonement, which releases you to create.  The word “create” is appropriate here because, once what you have made is undone by the Holy Spirit, the blessed residue is restored and therefore continues in creation.  What is truly blessed is incapable of giving rise to guilt and must give rise to joy.  This makes it invulnerable to the ego because its peace is unassailable.  It is invulnerable to disruption because it is whole.  Guilt is always disruptive.  Anything that engenders fear is divisive because it obeys the law of division.  If the ego is the symbol of the separation, it is also the symbol of guilt.  Guilt is more than merely not of God.  It is the symbol of attack on God.  This is a totally meaningless concept except to the ego, but do not underestimate the power of the ego’s belief in it.  This is the belief from which all guilt really stems.
  3. The ego is the part of the mind that believes in division.  How could part of God detach itself without believing it is attacking Him?  We spoke before of the authority problem as based on the concept of usurping God’s power.  The ego believes that this is what you did because it believes that it is you.  If you identify with the ego, you must perceive yourself as guilty.  Whenever you respond to your ego you will experience guilt, and you will fear punishment.  The ego is quite literally a fearful thought.  However ridiculous the idea of attacking God may be to the sane mind, never forget that the ego is not sane.  It represents a delusional system and speaks for it.  Listening to the ego’s voice means that you believe it is possible to attack God, and that a part of Him has been torn away by you.  Fear of retaliation from without follows, because the severity of the guilt is so acute that it must be projected. 
  4. Whatever you accept into your mind has reality for you.  It is your acceptance of it that makes it real.  If you enthrone the ego in your mind, your allowing it to enter makes it your reality.  This is because the mind is capable of creating reality or making illusions.  I said before that you must learn to think with God.  To think with Him is to think like Him.  This engenders joy, not guilt, because it is natural.  Guilt is a sure sign that your thinking is unnatural.  Unnatural thinking will always be attended with guilt because it is the belief in sin.  The ego does not perceive sin as a lack of love, but as a positive act of assault.  This is necessary to the ego’s survival because, as soon as you regard sin as a lack, you will automatically attempt to remedy the situation.  And you will succeed.  The ego regards this as doom, but you must learn to regard it as freedom.
  5. The guiltless mind cannot suffer.  Being sane, the mind heals the body because it has been healed.  The sane mind cannot conceive of illness because it cannot conceive of attacking anyone or anything.  I said before that illness is a form of magic.  It might be better to say that it is a form of magical solution.  The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God.  Yet even in this it is arrogant.  It attributes to God a punishing intent, and then takes this intent as its own prerogative.  It tries to usurp all the functions of God as it perceives them, because it recognizes that only total allegiance can be trusted.
  6. The ego cannot oppose the laws of God any more than you can, but it can interpret them according to what it wants, just as you can.  That is why the question, “What do you want?” must be answered.  You are answering it every minute and every second, and each moment of decision is a judgment that is anything but ineffectual.  Its effects will follow automatically until the decision is changed.  Remember, though, that the alternatives themselves are unalterable.  The Holy Spirit, like the ego, is a decision.  Together they constitute all the alternatives the mind can accept and obey.  The Holy Spirit and the ego are the only choices open to you.  God created one, and so you cannot eradicate it.  You made the other, and so you can.  Only what God creates is irreversible and unchangeable.  What you made can always be changed because, when you do not think like God, you are not really thinking at all.  Delusional ideas are not real thoughts, although you can believe in them.  But you are wrong.  The function of thought comes from God and is in God.  As part of His Thought, you cannot think apart from Him.
  7. Irrational thought is disordered thought.  God Himself orders your thought because your thought was created by Him.  Guilt feelings are always a sign that you do not know this.  They also show you that you believe that you can think apart from God and want to.  Every disordered thought is attended by guilt at its inception and maintained by guilt in its continuance.  Guilt is inescapable by those who believe they order their own thoughts and must therefore obey their dictates.  This makes them feel responsible for their errors without recognizing that, by accepting this responsibility, they are reacting irresponsibly.  If the sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself, and I assure you that it is, then the responsibility for what is atoned for cannot be yours.  The dilemma cannot be resolved except by accepting the solution of undoing.  You would be responsible for the effects of all your wrong thinking if it could not be undone.  The purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only.  If you accept the remedy for disordered thought, a remedy whose efficacy is beyond doubt, how can its symptoms remain?
  8. The continuing decision to remain separated is the only possible reason for continuing guilt feelings.  We have said this before but did not emphasize the destructive results of the decision.  Any decision of the mind will affect both behavior and experience.  What you want you expect.  This is not delusional.  Your mind does make your future, and it will turn it back to full creation at any minute if it accepts the Atonement first.  It will also return to full creation the instant is has done so.  Having given up its disordered thought, the proper ordering of thought becomes quite apparent.[1]

We may have thought with guilt so long that joy seems unnatural to us, but Jesus tells us that learning to think with God engenders joy because this is our natural state.  As our Beings become spontaneously exuberant, the appearance of any form of guilt will become alien.  We will recognize it as a belief in sin and as a lack of love.  When we begin to see thoughts of guilt as a call for help we will practice healing, we will seek the remedy of Atonement.  Instead of reacting with attack, we will naturally respond with the remedy.  And healing is guaranteed. When our minds are healed and set free, the ego, the real culprit, is busted.   

When our minds are free of guilt; our minds are healed.  Healed minds lead to healed bodies, for we have no more need to punish ourselves, to carry around our heavy loads, to feel accountable for that which has no real value or worth.

 “What do we want?”  There are two choices – we go with the Higher Mind of Holy Spirit which made by God cannot be changed, reversed, or destroyed, or the lower mind of ego, which is changeable, reversible, and erasable.    Do we want to think with God and share healing, love, peace, and joy or do we want to make up delusions with the ego which blames, shames, judges, and condemns using guilt to keep us in a state of division and conflict?

When we feel guilty, we are not thinking with God.  When we assign guilt upon others, we are not thinking with God.  Our minds are not thinking, they are dreaming insane dreams.   When we act upon the ego’s version of reality as if it were real, we feel guilty; when we free our minds from the perceptual world and no longer free responsible for judging it, building a case against it, or holding anybody accountable for what goes on in it, our natural inclination is to turn to Holy Spirit, the only other alternative. 

Our sole responsibility as miracle workers, is to accept Atonement for ourselves.  The responsibility for what ego has wrought in our lives is not ours.  The very purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only.  When our minds are healed, made whole, and returned to innocence, it is impossible to feel guilty or to hold others guilty for that which has no more effect.  Only the ego would attempt to resurrect the painful, sorrowful, or shameful things that no longer exist and keep them fresh in our minds.

When we cherish guilt, we choose to remain separated from the Sonship.  Our decision to delude ourselves with the guilt game will affect our behavior and we will experience our daily lives, not with exuberance and lightheartedness, but with dullness and heaviness.  Our minds make our future – and how we answer, “What do you want?” will determine our role in the world.  Will we be healed and offer health, holiness, and wholeness, or we will be the unhealed and contribute to the ego’s tyrannous delusional world of chaos, conflict, and uncertainty? When we stop relating to our ego, we stop relating to all egos.  Our thoughts, words, and deeds begin to relate to everything and everybody on a higher level.  We are lifted from the shifting sands of ego-based relationships to the higher realm of holiness in which to build mutually trusting, loving, joyful interactions that teach oneness and wholeness. 

Today, put these ideas and this teaching to practice in your daily life by committing to our joint innocence through Christ, our Savior and Holy Brother.  Guilt, blame, and shame is not of God, is not used by God, and have no place in His Kingdom. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter Five Healing and wholeness V The ego’s use of guilt. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 5: Healing and Wholeness

IV. Teaching and Healing

  1. What fear has hidden still is part of you.  Joining the Atonement is the way out of fear.  The Holy Spirit will help you reinterpret everything that you perceive as fearful and teach you that only what is loving is true.  Truth is beyond your ability to destroy, but entirely within your ability to accept.  It belongs to you because, as an extension of God, you created it with Him.  It is yours because it is part of you, just as you are part of God because He created you.  Nothing that is good can be lost because it comes from the Holy Spirit, the Voice for creation. Nothing that is not good was ever created, and therefore cannot be protected.  The Atonement is the guarantee of the safety of the Kingdom, and the Union of the Sonship is its protection.  The ego cannot prevail against the Kingdom because the Sonship is united.  In the presence of those who hear the Holy Spirit’s call to be as one, the ego fades away and is undone.
  2. What the ego makes it keeps to itself, and so it is without strength.  Its existence is unshared.  It does not die; it was merely never born.  Physical birth is not a beginning; it is a continuing.  Everything that continues has already been born.  It will increase as you are willing to return the unhealed part of your mind to the higher part, returning it undivided to creation.   I have come to give you the foundation, so your own thoughts can make you really free.  You have carried the burden of unshared ideas that are too weak to increase but having made them you did not realize how to undo them.  You cannot cancel out your past errors alone.  They will not disappear from your mind without the Atonement, a remedy not of your making.  The Atonement must be understood as a pure act of sharing.  That is what I meant when I said it is possible even in this world to listen to one Voice.  If you are part of God and the Sonship is one, you cannot be limited to the self the ego sees.
  3. Every loving thought held in any part of the Sonship belongs to every part.  It is shared because it is loving.  Sharing is God’s way of creating, and yours.  The ego can keep you in exile from the Kingdom, but in the Kingdom itself it has no power.  Ideas of the spirit do not leave the mind that thinks them, nor can they conflict with each other.  However, ideas of the ego can conflict because they occur at different levels and include opposite thoughts at the same level.  It is impossible to share opposing thoughts.  You can share only the thoughts that are of God and that He keeps for you.  And of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.  The rest remains with you until the Holy Spirit has reinterpreted them in the light of the Kingdom, making them, too, worthy of being shared.  When they have been sufficiently purified, He lets you give them away.  The decision to share them is their purification.
  4. I heard one Voice because I understood that I could not atone for myself alone.  Listening to one Voice implies the decision to share It in order to hear It yourself.  The Mind that was in me is still irresistibly drawn to every mind created by God, because God’s Wholeness is the wholeness of His Son.  You cannot be hurt, and do not want to show your brother anything except your wholeness.  Show him that he cannot hurt you and hold nothing against him, or you hold it against yourself.  This is the meaning of “turning the other cheek.”
  5. Teaching is done in many ways, above all by example.  Teaching should be healing, because it is the sharing of ideas and the recognition that to share ideas is to strengthen them.  I cannot forget my need to teach what I have learned, which arose in me because I learned it.  I call upon you to teach what you have learned, because by so doing you can depend on it.  Make it dependable in my name because my name is the Name of God’s Son.  What I learned I give you freely, and the Mind that was in me rejoices as you choose to hear it.
  6. The Holy Spirit atones in all of us by undoing, and thus lifts the burden you have placed in your mind.  By following Him you are led back to God where you belong, and how can you find the way except by taking your brother with you?  My part in the Atonement is not complete until you join it and give it away.  As you teach so shall you learn.  I will never leave you or forsake you, because to forsake you would be to forsake myself and God Who created me.  You forsake yourself and God if you forsake any of your brothers.  You must learn to see them as they are, and understand they belong to God as you do.  How could you treat your brother better than by rendering unto God the things that are God’s?
  7. The Atonement gives you the power of a healed mind, but the power to create is of God.  Therefore, those who have been forgiven must devote themselves first to healing because, having received the idea of healing, they must give it to hold it.  The full power of creation cannot be expressed as long as any of God’s ideas is withheld from the Kingdom.  The joint will of the Sonship is the only creator that can create like the Father, because only the complete can think completely, and the thinking of God lacks nothing.  Everything you think that is not through the Holy Spirit is lacking.
  8. How can you who are so holy suffer?  All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing.  I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had.  I have purified them of the errors that hid their light and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance.  They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt.  They came from the Holy Spirit within you, and we know what God creates is eternal.  You can indeed depart in peace because I have loved you as I loved myself.  You go with my blessing and for my blessing.  Hold it and share it, that it may always be ours.  I place the peace of God in your heart and in your hands, to hold and share.  The heart is pure to hold it, and the hands are strong to give it.  We cannot lose.  My judgment is as strong as the wisdom of God, in Whose Heart and Hands we have our being.  His quiet children are His blessed Sons.  The Thoughts of God are with you.[1]

In today’s devotional practice, we completely accept the message of Atonement, we know who and what we are, and we know what we are not!  No longer puppets of the ego, fear falls away!  The Atonement is our guarantee of safety, Jesus tells us.  The ego cannot prevail against us because we hear the call of Holy Spirit to be as one. 

Only Atonement heals the mind and makes it one – returning it undivided to Creation.  Jesus gives us the basis upon which our own thoughts can free us completely from ego.  We all make mistakes.  We all have ideas, which we think are best, but simply do not work.  Instead of bringing us the happiness, the sense of purpose and meaning that we thought they would, our ideas are mistaken and lead to disappointment, heartache, and sorrow.  The memory of our mistakes stay with us.  They burden us and make us afraid.  We do our best to hide them, cover them up, focus on the mistakes or the mishaps going on around us to distract us from our own sense of guilt and shame.  There is no remedy for this except Atonement.  There is no therapy in the world that can resolves our guilt and shame.  There is no substance that will drown out the accusations of our ego against us.  Until we accept our oneness in God, our Brotherhood with Christ, we carry the burden of personal failure with us.  We can practice positive self-talk, we can pray all day long, we can do nice things for others, and attend mass faithfully – but we will never feel good enough as long as we think of ourselves as a body, an ego, a human.  Our Being is united, automatically forgiven for all mistakes in the flesh, for the flesh is not truth, reality, or in any way created by God. 

Jesus tells us in paragraph three that all loving thought belongs to all.  When we love, we share – it is God’s way of creating and it is our way of creating.  The ego can keep us in a state of deception, but it can never deceive the Kingdom of God.  In the Spirit, in oneness, ideas do not leave the mind of those that think them, nor do they conflict with others, because of the oneness and unity.  Every idea belongs to all, and all ideas are those of love, of unity, of one for all and all for one. 

This is hard for us to imagine because in our ego-controlled minds we hang on tight to our ideas and really resent it when someone “steals” them and calls them their own.  Even A Course in Miracles was not exempt from this conflict between two different organizations trying to grab rights to its distribution!  In the ego realm, there are many versions of what is right and what is wrong.  There have been so-called “holy” wars over how to worship God correctly or by what name we should call Him.  People think they have a legitimate right to coerce, control, and even kill other people who do not agree with them.  It is impossible to build upon opposing thoughts.  When we keep practicing the same traditions, rites, and rituals that our ancestors practiced out of some misguided sense of loyalty, we are simply repeating the same mistakes they made.  Repeating the same mistakes they made, we will continue to suffer in much the same way.  We are not building upon anything – it is the same old, recycled pain, suffering, and separateness. 

Jesus says that until we welcome Holy Spirit to reinterpret conflicting viewpoints in the light of love, understanding and truth, those ideas stay with us. Try as we might to make them true, we are beating a dead horse.  They will continue to fail us until we ask God for truth, for unity, for oneness. 

When we choose the Voice for God, we have understood the basic concept of salvation.  We must share Atonement in order to have Atonement for ourselves.  Every mind created by God contributes to the Wholeness of God and His Son – we do not fall into cliques, clans, or church membership and think that we alone have the key to the Kingdom.  Wholeness means everybody.  Because nobody can hurt or hinder us; we hold nothing against others for when we hold things against others, we hold it against ourselves.  Jesus tells us that we literally turn the other cheek when someone attacks us because they can only attack our flesh and the ego in which it symbolizes.  Our Being is never attacked, never vulnerable, never at war. 

Teaching by example is the best way to get our points across.  Sharing ideas and recognizing the strength in sharing is healing.  This does not necessarily mean that I share my ideas about the Course with you and therefore strengthen them.  It means that I share my ideas and do not call them my own.  I do not hold on to them in fear that you will steal them from me and perhaps get as much knowledge as I have or earn more stars in your crown than I do.  It means that I do not try to copyright my ideas and make you pay for them or sue you for taking them and using them as your own.  We are called to teach what we learn because we learned it – I share what I learned and call upon you to teach what you learned.  We can depend upon each other to follow Christ, to do so in His Name, to do as He does.  He does not jealously guard His ideas – He shares them.  Freely.  We rejoice even as Christ does when other choose to hear it and share it with others.  We do not seek vainglory for ourselves.  We learn how to enjoy our Being by letting all the ego’s jealousy, guardedness, neediness, and hostility toward others go.  Our reward is in sharing for sharing is strengthening and growth. 

Holy Spirit atones by uniting our minds with the minds of others and with God.  No longer burdened with thoughts of being alone and afraid in a universe filled with danger on every side, our Beings are led back to God where we belong. In the healed mind, we would not dream of going without our brothers. We complete Christ’s part in Atonement when we join it and share in His magnanimous mind.

We teach to learn and learn to teach. Do not be afraid of teaching the wrong gospel, of making mistakes, of not having the intellect or the spiritual knowledge to share what we learn.  We start with what we have and work with that – we let our egos out of it.  If we flub up, Holy Spirit will correct us, and we have learned an important lesson.  When our brothers flub up, we forgive them and ask Holy Spirit to correct them.  We certainly do not make fun of them, point out how stupid they are, or how unqualified they are to teach the things of God!  Ego would have us looking for faults and comparing our credibility with the credibility of others.  But when we forsake our brothers in this egotistical way we forsake Jesus, and we forsake the Voice for God.  We render our brothers unto God because they are God’s!  And Being of God, we love them, support them, and appreciate them because we are one with them.  We certainly do not compete with them, play tricks on them, or cast out their name as evil. 

Atonement heals our minds by restoring its oneness and unity with all that is God’s.  The full power of Creation cannot be expressed by any one of us alone – we must all be restored to the Sonship to create like God because only in completion can we think completely because God’s thinking lacks nothing.  Our minds need healed if we still think without the desire for oneness and unity of Holy Spirit. When our minds are healed, we are to teach and heal other minds until Atonement is complete.  In other words, focus on healing the separation before getting too carried away by the grander things of God!  

Read over the last paragraph of today’s text reading and meditate upon the words of Christ that speak to our innermost Beings assuring us of God’s Love and Devotion. Today share God’s Love in your thoughts, in your words, and in your deeds. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 5 Healing and wholeness. IV Teaching and healing. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 5 Healing and Wholeness

III. The Guide to Salvation 6-11

6.  I have repeatedly emphasized that one level of the mind is not understandable to another.  So it is with the ego and the Holy Spirit, with time and eternity.  Eternity is an idea of God, so the Holy Spirit understands it perfectly.  Time is a belief of the ego, so the lower mind, which is the ego’s domain, accepts it without question.  The only aspect of time that is eternal is now.

7. The Holy Spirit is the mediator between the interpretations of the ego and the knowledge of the spirit.  His ability to deal with symbols enables Him to work with the ego’s beliefs in its own language.  His ability to look beyond symbols into eternity enables Him to understand the laws of God, for which He speaks.  He can therefore perform the function of reinterpreting what the ego makes, not by destruction but by understanding.  Understanding is light, and light leads to knowledge.  The Holy Spirit is in light because He is in you who are light, but you yourself do not know this.  It is therefore the task of the Holy Spirit to reinterpret you on behalf of God.

8. You cannot understand yourself alone.  This is because you have no meaning apart from your rightful place in the Sonship, and the rightful place of the Sonship is God.  This is your life, your eternity, and your Self.  It is of this that the Holy Spirit reminds you.  It is this that the Holy Spirit sees.  This vision frightens the ego because it is so calm.  Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy because, according to its interpretation of reality, war is the guarantee of its survival.  The ego becomes strong in strife.  If you believe there is strife you will react viciously, because the idea of danger has entered your mind.  The idea itself is an appeal to the ego.  The Holy Spirit is as vigilant as the ego to the call of danger, opposing it with His strength just as the ego welcomes it.  The Holy Spirit counters this welcome by welcoming peace.  Eternity and peace are as closely related as are time and war. 

9. Perception derives meaning from relationships.  Those you accept are the foundations of your beliefs.  The separation is merely another term for the split mind.  The ego is the symbol of separation, just as the Holy Spirit is the symbol of peace.  What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself.  You may let your mind misperceive, but the Holy Spirit lets your mind reinterpret its own misperceptions.

10. The Holy Spirit is the perfect teacher.  He uses only what your mind already understands to teach you that you do not understand it.  The Holy Spirit can deal with a reluctant learner without going counter to his mind, because part of it is still for God.  Despite the ego’s attempts to conceal this part, it is still much stronger than the ego, although the ego does not recognize it.  The Holy Spirit recognizes it perfectly because it is His Own dwelling place; the place in the mind where He is at home.  You are at home there, too, because it is a place of peace, and peace is of God.  You who are part of God are not at home except in His peace.  If peace is eternal, you are at home only in eternity.

11. The ego made the world as it perceives it, but the Holy Spirit, the reinterpreter of what the ego made, sees the world as a teaching device for bringing you home.  The Holy Spirit must perceive time and reinterpret it into the timeless.  He must work through opposites, because He must work with and for a mind that is in opposition.  Correct and learn and be open to learning.  You have not made truth, but truth can still set you free.  Look as the Holy Spirit looks and understand as He understands.  His understanding looks back to God in remembrance of me.  He is in communion with God always, and He is part of you.   He is your guide to salvation, because He holds the remembrance of things past and to come and brings them to the present.  He holds this gladness gently in your mind, asking only that you increase it in His Name by sharing it to increase His joy in you. [1]

God’s Gift of the Holy Spirit instilled in each one of us, serves as an interpreter between the ego and the laws of God.  Holy Spirit is the Voice for God which breaks through all the barriers the ego erects to keep us under its influence.  Instead of destroying the ego and what it makes; Holy Spirit understands the ego, and this is its great undoing, because understanding is light, and light leads to knowledge.  Holy Spirit uses everything we experience in the flesh to restore our awareness of who and what we really are in Being.

No matter how far back we can track our genealogy, no matter how many hours we spend in therapy, educational or religious institutions, in libraries and research endeavors, we will not find ourselves in humanity.  Our rightful Being is in the Sonship of God.  Holy Spirit’s function is to remind us of this, to never let us forget it, to call us back to where we belong.

Our egos put up a terrible ruckus because the peace, love, and joy, the certain sense of belonging and everlasting, enrages the ego for it is a cornered beast – it has nowhere to lurk in the light of love, in the happiness of joy, in the calmness of peace.  Egos put up strong resistance to truth for egos only exist in lies, in half-truths, in opposition to truth.  Egos entice us with danger, intrigue, and betrayals.  When we study our minds, we see the ego draw to the unholy – we crane our necks and perk up our ears to hear the latest gore – whetting the appetites of our egos instead of welcoming Holy Spirit’s eternal peace we may delay ourselves, but the choice for God is inevitable.

Many times I have felt physically-sick and mentally distressed because of the sharp, cutting, and unbecoming subjects my coworkers and I shared throughout the day about others.  Instead of joining with the gossipy conjectures, rumors, and downright lies, I was and am called to actively practice the right-mindedness of Holy Spirit.  All of us are faced with this choice.  Holy Spirit is the Voice for God that calls to us, teaching us to stand for love, peace, and healing rather than promoting the backstabbing, two-faced, unwholesome practices of the ego.     

Time and war are related just like eternity and peace are related.  We may think that family squabbles, office gossip, and political mouth battles are practices that do no lasting harm, but whenever we treat others in an egotistical manner we choose time and war rather than eternity and peace.  Choosing peace is often viewed by the ego as being weak, prissy, and sissified but it is actually the smartest and strongest act of courage humans can muster.  Ego can call names, get its little whitey-tighties  in a wad, puff itself up like a toad, but in the end our holiness sees past all its bluster and we are called to let it go.

Because the ego sees everybody as a separate whole, different and vulnerable it seeks relationship.  But its relationships are dicey – some days it will like this one or despise that one; other days it will despise whom it previously liked and like whom it previously despised.  It is always in a state of attack or defense which centers around its own small-minded sense of who and what it is – an aging, decaying, has-been and never-was who strives to be the force of reckoning in relationship with other egos.  This is a no-win situation that eventually devours everything in its path and then itself.

Thinking with our higher mind where Holy Spirit resides we see others as we see ourselves – we know that what we choose to focus on in others is what is strengthened in ourselves.  We do not seek relationship; we seek oneness and wholeness.  When we make a mistake and perceive another without love and mercy, Holy Spirit corrects our mistaken perception, leading us through joy in oneness to see only with a desire to heal, bring peace, and restore unity.  In other words, we no longer see others as separate and distinct but as one with us.     

Holy Spirit is always with us.  Holy Spirit relies on what we already know to teach us that we do not know. I like to say that getting an education did not prove to me how smart I am, but only showed me how much I did not know!  However, Holy Spirit does not contradict what we know in our hearts and minds to be true, good, and worthy.  The ego can lie to us all it wants, it can make killing and terrorism look courageous, it can paint God to be a bigger and “badder” version of itself, it can make lust and lasciviousness look like coolness and glamor – but our minds still belong to God, and we know better than all that!  Our minds, where the Voice for God makes its home, is a place of peace, of intelligence, of purity, quietness, and reflection. Our minds remember the love and peace of God; our time as ego, in flesh, in strife, darkness, and death will never be our real home!

We live in a world made by ego, the result of splitting our minds, choosing opposition and opposites over the oneness and unity of wholeness, holiness, and God.  The world is designed as a trap, an unmerry-go-round of birth and death cycles complete with uncertainty, melodrama, and danger.  Based upon time and war, the history of humanity is fraught with the rise and fall of civilizations, one belief system posing as truth against all others, battles and bloodshed over religious doctrines that have nothing to do with the love, peace, and joy of our Creator and all to do with chaos, sorrow and suffering.  Blaming and shaming is the ego’s cry – and generation after generation throw their energies into waging war upon – not the ego – but each other. 

Holy Spirit makes of this boring bluff and blunder a teaching device for bringing you and bringing me home.  Holy Spirit works in our minds and helps us to see past the world of opposition and opposites to a world where our mistakes have served to correct and heal us, restore our brotherhood and return us to the Sonship of God.  Jesus tells us in today’s text reading to perceive with Holy Spirit and understand as Holy Spirit understands. Let the world and all its foibles, not bring us down, but teach us and bring all the things of God to our remembrance.  As we compare the Joy of God with the fleeting pleasures and passing happiness of the earth, the ego’s home in our minds dwindles.  As Holy Spirit teaches us peace and brotherhood, we can look at the hatred and strife between our brothers and see past it to what we had before time and what can be ours again, now, in this eternal instant.  This frees us from the tension of time, releasing our futures from the ego’s hallucination.  We share this message to keep this message alive and strong in our minds:

There is no hell or damnation for any part of Creation.

Hold loving thoughts, loving words, and loving deeds as the standard for our lives.

Do not judge anything or anybody, including ourselves, for any reason.

Proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ that all are saved, not a few, not the elect, not this one and that one, but all.

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 5 Healing and wholeness. III The guide to salvation 6-11. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 5 Healing and Wholeness

III. The Guide to Salvation 1-6

  1. The way to recognize your brother is by recognizing the Holy Spirit in him.  I have already said that the Holy Spirit is the bridge for the transfer of perception to knowledge, so we can use the terms as if they were related, because in His Mind they are.  This relationship must be in His Mind because, unless it were, the separation between the two ways of thinking would not be open to healing.  He is part of the Holy Trinity because His Mind is partly yours and also partly God’s.  This needs clarification, not in statement but in experience.
  2. The Holy Spirit is the idea of healing.  Being thought, the idea gains as it is shared.  Being the Call for God, is it also the Call of God. Since you are part of God it is also the idea of yourself, as well as of all His creations.  The idea of the Holy Spirit shares the property of other ideas because it follows the laws of the Universe of which it is a part.  It is strengthened by being given away.  It increases in you as you give it to your brother.   Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur.  He may have dissociated the Call for God, just as you have.  This dissociation is healed in both of you as you become aware of the Call for God in him, and thus acknowledge its being. 
  3. There are two diametrically opposed ways of seeing your brother.  They must both be in your mind because you are the perceiver.  They must also be in his because you are perceiving him.  See him through the Holy Spirit in his mind, and you will recognize Him in yours.  What you acknowledge in your brother you are acknowledging in yourself, and what you share you strengthen.
  4. The Voice of the Holy Spirit is weak in you.  That is why you must share It.  It must be increased in strength before you can hear It.  It is impossible to hear It in yourself while It is so weak in your mind.  It is not weak in Itself, but It is limited by your unwillingness to hear it.  If you make the mistake of looking for the Holy Spirit in yourself alone your thoughts will frighten you because, by adopting the ego’s viewpoint, you are undertaking an ego-alien journey with the ego as guide.  This is bound to produce fear. 
  5. Delay is of the ego because time is its concept.  Both time and delay are meaningless in eternity.  I have said before that the Holy Spirit is God’s Answer to the ego.  Everything of which the Holy Spirit reminds you is in direct opposition to the ego’s notions, because true and false perceptions are themselves opposed.  The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made.  He undoes it at the same level on which the ego operates, or the mind would be unable to understand the change. 
  6. I have repeatedly emphasized that one level of the mind is not understandable to another.  So it is with the ego and the Holy Spirit, with time and eternity.  Eternity is an idea of God, so the Holy Spirit understands it perfectly.  Time is a belief of the ego, so the lower mind, which is the ego’s domain, accepts it without question.  The only aspect of time that is eternal is now.[1]

In today’s text, Jesus tells us that we recognize one another correctly when we recognize Holy Spirit in each other.  As long as I am looking at you as if you are not saved, and I have something special to impart to you that you have resisted, I will not see you as my brother.  I will not see Holy Spirit in you.  I will think that I have something that you do not.  I will believe that by some special blessing from God I am saved, while you are still a sinner and doomed to spend eternity in the netherworld. 

However, when I recognize your holiness, I recognize the same mind in you.  I recognize that you and I are one in the spirit.  I cannot be saved if you are not saved; you cannot be lost, or I am lost.  We are in the same boat.  We are of the same Creation.  This is healing because we are no longer divided; when we recognize our oneness in God, we are filled with joy.  Joy is love.  Love heals, renews, restores.  When we recognize Holy Spirit, we will see it in everyone.  Jesus tells us that there is no way to explain this in symbols, because it is experienced. 

The call for God and the call of God are the same thing – we are not called of God to separate us from our brothers, we are called to God to heal, to unite, to complete the Sonship.  If I am part of God, then all of Creation is part of God.  Holy Spirit shares and teaches us to share because unlike the physical realm where things are lost that are given away, all things of the Spirit are increased by sharing.  When I recognize Holy Spirit in you, I give you a miracle.  I do not have to tell you, I do not have to tell anyone else about it, I can simply recognize Holy Spirit in you and the disconnection between you and God is healed, while my oneness with God is made stronger.  This is how it works, Jesus says.  We can talk about it all we want, but it is not until we practice this that we bring genuine healing and learn of its truth. 

While I can choose to continue to see you as different from me and you can continue to see me as different from you, when I see you through Holy Spirit in your mind and bypass our physical differences, our egos, our material possessions and social status, I recognize Holy Spirit in my own mind.  Whatever I acknowledge in you I am acknowledging in myself.  As long as I see you as a sinner, I will need constant reassurance of my own salvation, for I will not recognize my own holiness.  I will have something to prove.  For whatever I share, even in my private thoughts toward you, I strengthen in my own mind about myself. 

This is a very important spiritual concept to learn, to practice, and to vigilantly establish as a spiritual devotion.  Snide and unholy thoughts about others will always be reflected back upon ourselves in the form of mental distress, physical ailments, and spiritual unrest.  Choosing the thoughts of Holy Spirit which are appreciative, loving, kind, merciful, and joyful bring healing, health, and well-being to every aspect of our being.  As we choose to see past our hurt feelings, the outrage and uproar over past wrongs, and exchange special relationships for holy relationships, our beings are filled with the light of God’s love.  We return to our natural exuberance which the ego had stunted or practically abolished in our minds.  We become conduits of God’s love and peace and joy.

In paragraph four, Jesus tells us that the voice of Holy Spirit can be weak in our minds and therefore impossible to hear because of our unwillingness to hear it.  Holy Spirit, unlike the ego, does not barge in where It is not wanted.  Quiet and still and calm, It is not loud, bossy, or clamorous.  Holy Spirit must be acknowledged and welcomed for unlike the ego, He respects our boundaries and choices.  The Voice for God never attempts to outshout another Voice for God.   If we encounter someone who screams or even so much as raises their voices at us in the name of God, who lectures us about our sinfulness and ignorance, who threatens us with either spiritual or physical punishment, we will know that they have made a mistake and are allowing the ego to speak for God.

It is important to put our ego aside as we invite the Voice for God to share with us as we share with others.  Spiritual journeys thrill the ego who find in them just another way in which to exalt itself.  The ego will tell us all kinds of ridiculous things that will make us feel as if we are the next best thing to sliced bread and flush toilets.  It will give us ideas about ourselves that simply are not true, sane, or holy, puffing us up while secretly mocking and tearing us down.  Do not let the flash and glamor of cultish, ego-driven worship tempt you on your path to God.  Brokenness and sorrow are the rewards of vain spiritual forays we make when we look for Holy Spirit through human forms, in egos, and through our lower minds which are captivated by appearances. 

Holy Spirit stands for truth; the ego stands for untruth.  God’s Answer to the ego is Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit’s function is to undo what the ego has made.  Where the ego makes enmity; Holy Spirit restores brotherhood; where the ego has perceived a call to war, Holy Spirit perceives a call for help, for charity, for love; where the ego calls for separation, Holy Spirit calls for unity. 

Opposed to one another, the lower mind and the higher mind cannot understand the other.  The ego and Holy Spirit are like time and eternity.  Eternity is of God and Holy Spirit understands always and forever perfectly; time is of the ego, so the lower mind accepts time without question.[2] This instant is the now of eternity, and in time it has already passed by the end of the sentence.  However, now is the only aspect of time that is eternal.  Now is the time of salvation means that we can step into salvation, into our higher minds, into that which stands for eternity, now.  No need to put it off, no need to wait until we clean up our act, no need to wait until we sow our wild oats and get all the partying and carousing out of our systems.  We spare ourselves and everybody else a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering by choosing against the ego now instead of later. 

This is all we will cover of “The Guide to Salvation” segment for today.  We will cover the last five paragraphs in tomorrow’s blog.  Practice today shifting your thoughts away from the chatter of your lower mind to the quiet, calm, certain Voice of the higher regions of your mind.  Choose thoughts that reflect God’s love and devotion, His mercy and affection for Creation rather than the tedious judgments, constant commentary, and banal likes and dislikes of the ego.  While we are going about our daily routines, interacting with our coworkers, our family, our friends remember the accompanying lesson idea from our Workbooks for today’s text reading: “I am sustained by the love of God.”[3]  Love and peace and joy are ours to share as we welcome Holy Spirit to lead us on the path to God. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 5 Healing and wholeness. III The guide to salvation. 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

[2] This speaks volumes to those of us who question time for when we merely question the validity of time, we are thinking with Holy Spirit, and the unraveling of our ego has begun! 

[3] Visit for 2021 daily Workbook lessons courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 5 Healing and Wholeness

II. The Voice for God 7-12

7.  The Voice of the Holy Spirit does not command because it is incapable of arrogance.  It does not demand, because it does not seek control.  It does not overcome, because it does not attack.  It merely reminds.  It is compelling only because of what it reminds you of.  It brings to your mind the other way, remaining quiet even in the midst of the turmoil you may make.  The Voice for God is always quiet because it speaks of peace.  Peace is stronger than war because it heals.  War is division, not increase.  No one gains from strife.  What profited it a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?  If you listen to the wrong voice you have lost sight of your soul.  You cannot lose it, but you can not know it.  It is therefore “lost” to you until you choose right.

8.  The Holy Spirit is your Guide in choosing.  He is in the part of your mind that always speaks for the right choice because He speaks for God.  He is your remaining communication with God, which you can interrupt but cannot destroy.  The Holy Spirit is the way in which God’s Will is done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Both Heaven and earth are in you because the call of both is in your mind.  The Voice for God comes from your own altars to Him.  These altars are not things, they are devotions.  Yet you have other devotions now.  Your divided devotion has given you the two voices, and you must choose at which altar you want to serve.  The call you answer now is an evaluation because it is a decision.  The decision is very simple.  It is made on the basis of which call is worth more to you.

9.  My mind will always be like yours, because we were created as equals.  It was only my decision which gave me all power in Heaven and earth.  My only gift to you is to help you make the same decision.  This decision is the choice to share it because the decision itself is the decision to share.  It is made by giving and is therefore the one choice that resembles true creation.  I am your model for decision.  By deciding for God I showed you that this decision can be made, and that you can make it.

10.  I have assured you that the Mind that decided for me is also in you, and that you can let it change you just as it changed me.  This Mind is unequivocal because it hears only one Voice and answers in only one way.  You are the light of the world with me.  Rest does not come from sleeping but from waking.  The Holy Spirit is the call to awaken and be glad.  The world is very tired because it is the idea of weariness.  Our task is the joyous one of waking it to the Call for God.  Everyone will answer the Call of the Holy Spirit, or the Sonship cannot be as one.  What better vocation could there be for any part of the Kingdom than to restore it to the perfect integration that can make it whole?  Hear only this through the Holy Spirit within you and teach your brothers to listen as I am teaching you.

11.  When you are tempted by the wrong voice, call on me to remind you how to heal by sharing my decision and making it stronger.  As we share this goal, we increase its power to attract the whole Sonship, and to bring it back into the oneness in which it was created.  Remember that “yoke” means “join together,” and “burden” means “message.”  Let us restate “my yoke is easy and my burden light” in this way: “Let us join together, for my message is Light.”

12.  I have enjoined you to behave as I behaved, but we must respond to the same Mind to do this.  This Mind is the Holy Spirit, Whose will is for God always.  He teaches you how to keep me as the model for your thought, and to behave like me as a result.  The power of our joint motivation is beyond belief, but not beyond accomplishment.  What we can accomplish together has no limits, because the Call for God is the call to the unlimited.  Child of God, my message is for you, to hear and give away as you answer the Holy Spirit within you. [1]

Today as we come to our devotional practice, contemplate the quiet, knowing Voice for God reminding us of the Other Way in which we can simply put our egos aside and walk with calm assurance even through the hottest messes we make in our relationships and circumstances in our lives.  We will always know the Voice for God because it is quiet and peaceful, not loud and brash!  As we become more familiar with Holy Spirit, we begin to understand what has been apparent all along – nobody gains from strife.  No matter if you won a billion dollar lottery or if you strove until you were the richest guy that ever walked the face of the earth – what possible good could it do unless you were inspired of Joy, unless your soul was happy, unless you knew God?

We must stop seeking outside of ourselves for Holy Spirit, for Holy Spirit is our inner Guide Who was given us since the separation and never taken away from us.  We can choose not to listen to our Inner Guide, we can listen to the mindless ego chatter, we can try to drown out the Voice for God with loud music, unholy relationships, and vicious thoughts, but the Voice for God can never be destroyed. Holy Spirit is the means by which God’s Will is done on earth as it is in Heaven.  In paragraph two Jesus explains to us that calls for both Heaven and earth have divided the devotion of our minds.  We devote ourselves to the call which proves itself to have more value.  The world beckons and calls to us from the time we are born.  It seems to hold much value and promise.  From the outside looking in there are those who lead lives which seem full of beautiful images of people, cars, houses, travel, and acclaim.  Little do we know that devotion to the material world leads to certain despair, emptiness, loneliness, and weariness.  No matter how many people warn us, we all have to find out for ourselves in one way or the other!  Sooner or later we all pay heed to the Call for God – Jesus urges us, however, to choose sooner rather than later.  As impossible as it is for the ego to understand His love and concern for us, Jesus and all Whom He represents finds no joy in our suffering or in the disappointments and hardships that we make for ourselves in the world of striving and stress, despair and death. 

In paragraph nine, Jesus tells us that there is nothing special about His mind.  His mind and our minds were created as equal.  The only thing that sets Jesus apart from us is that His divided devotion became one united devotion to God.  Jesus was a man of flesh and blood just like you and me.  He had an ego.  He did things that are not recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  The reason that his family and the people of his own household found it hard to believe in him was because unlike the way Jesus is portrayed in the myths that arose around him, he was not born with a halo over his head.  He was a mix of good and bad.  He told the truth when it suited him and otherwise he fibbed.  He was generous and greedy.  He said kind things and he said mean things.  He obeyed and he disobeyed his parents.  He reacted to the egotistical as an ego and not a Son of God.  He was chaste at times and other times he followed his lust. There were times he drank too much and ate too much.  There were times he was industrious and other times he was lazy.  He cursed, he swore, he had a potty mouth.  He ran with a rough crowd.  None of us have anything on Jesus when it comes to sin and shame.  There was nothing about his blood that was magical or his flesh that was exceptional in any way.  You may say that I am being sacrilegious by sharing this about Jesus but ask Him for yourself in your thoughts and prayers.  Instead of idolizing Jesus and making of Him some extraordinary Being Whom none of us can truly relate to, go beyond what others have made of Him and get to know the real Jesus. 

Jesus is our Savior because He decided for God.  He put aside His ego and devoted Himself entirely to God and all power in Heaven and in earth was given Him.  In devoting Himself to God, He devoted Himself to all of Creation – to you and to me and to everybody and everything that has ever been born on the face of the earth.  When we decide for Christ, we join with Him, we have one altar instead of two, we stand for oneness and unity with God.

The Mind that decided for Jesus is also in you and in me, and we can let it change us just as it changed Him.  This Mind hears only the Voice for God and responds with single, radiant devotion that awakens us from our weary restless dreams with the Call for Joy. We join in that call until everyone awakens, and the Sonship is one.  This is my calling, and it is your calling – we stand with Christ and teach the gospel of wholeness, of integration, of restoration.  Jesus tells us to hear only this through the Voice for God within us, to teach our brothers to listen to the Holy Spirit as He teaches us. 

We are all tempted by egotistical drives and impulses.  We all think that we are the center of the universe at times.  We think we have a special “in” with God.  We are tempted to think God will smite our enemies for us or shower us with blessings to prove we really are His little darlings.  We forget who and what we are and respond from anger, spite, or peevishness.  Call on me, Jesus tells us, and be healed by making and sharing my decision.  As we choose with Christ, we teach others to do the same.  Our choice for oneness is a choice for healing, for joining together instead of tearing apart, for bringing Light instead of more darkness to every relationship, to every circumstance, to every event. 

When we make the decision for total commitment to God, our Mind becomes whole and holy.  The higher mind where Holy Spirit resides expands and cancels out the lower mind of the ego.  This is not a one-and-done kind of magic!  We learn to be like Jesus.  This is a process, and it looks and feels rough and bumpy at times.  The power that comes from joining with Christ is beyond belief because belief is an ego function.  It has little meaning; believing in something has no power, you can spend your whole life believing in something, but it will not make it true.   Accomplishment however has no limits, and the Voice for God is the call to the freedom and liberty of borderless, boundless, limitless achievement.  This can only be ours by joining with Christ, by dedicating our minds to the Voice for God and communicating His message of Love and Devotion. 

Because this is not the message of the ego, do not expect to be embraced by the more traditional systems of belief anymore than Jesus was embraced by the belief systems of His days on earth.  The true gospel of Christ is mutinous to the mind of ego.  Shock and dismay at the ego’s attempts to twist and pervert it, mythologize and theologize what it simply cannot understand are not acceptable responses.  Harmless and helpful, we are called to heal and restore, not rant and rave and cast aspersions!  This has been a hard lesson for me and one in which I am still learning and for which I trust in your forgiveness. When we accept the call for God in our lives, we set ourselves apart from all that would make another call upon us.  To engage in the world simply holds so little real interest to us that others may find us boring and insular.  When we follow the Voice for God, the work we do in the Spirit is largely without physical acclaim or appreciation.  While the intangible Gifts of the Spirit are difficult if not impossible to prove in a material world, they are truly the only Gifts worth receiving and giving!    

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 5 Healing and Wholeness II The voice for God 7-12. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 5 Healing and Wholeness

II. The Voice for God 1-6

  1. Healing is not creating; it is reparation.  The Holy Spirit promotes healing by looking beyond it to what the children of God were before healing was needed and will be when they have been healed.  This alteration of the time sequence should be quite familiar because it is very similar to the shift in the perception of time that the miracle introduces.  The Holy Spirit is the motivation for miracle-mindedness; the decision to heal the separation by letting it go.  Your will is still in you because God placed it in your mind, and although you can keep it asleep you cannot obliterate it.  God Himself keeps your will alive by transmitting it from His Mind to yours as long as there is time.  The miracle itself is a reflection of this union of will between Father and Son.
  2. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of joy.  He is the Call to return with which God blessed the mind of His separated Sons.  This is the vocation of the mind.  The mind had no calling until the separation, because before that it had only being, and would not have understood the call to right thinking.  The Holy Spirit is God’s answer to the separation; the means by which the Atonement heals until the whole mind returns to creating.
  3. The principle of Atonement and the separation began at the same time.  When the ego was made, God placed in the mind the call to joy.  This call is so strong that the ego always dissolves at its sound.  That is why you must choose to hear one of two voices within you.  One you made yourself, and that one is not of God.  But the other is given you by God, Who asks you only to listen to it.  The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense.  His is the Voice who calls you back to where you were before and will be again.  It is possible in this world to hear only that Voice and no other.  It takes effort and great willingness to learn.  It is the final lesson that I learned, and God’s Sons are as equal as learners as they are as sons.
  4. You are the Kingdom of Heaven, but you have let the belief in darkness enter your mind and so you need a new light.  The Holy Spirit is the radiance that you must let banish the idea of darkness.  His is the glory before which dissociation falls away, and the Kingdom of Heaven breaks through into its own.  Before the separation you did not need guidance. You knew as you will know again, but as you do not know now.
  5. God does not guide because He can share only perfect knowledge.  Guidance is evaluative, because it implies there is a right way and also a wrong way, one to be chosen and the other to be avoided.  By choosing one you give up the other.  The choice for the Holy Spirit is the choice for God.  God is not in you in a literal sense; you are part of Him.  When you chose to leave Him, He gave you a Voice to speak for Him because He could no longer share His knowledge with you without hindrance.  Direct communication was broken because you had made another voice. 
  6. The Holy Spirit calls you both to remember and to forget.  You have chosen to be in a state of opposition in which opposites are possible.  As a result, there are choices you must make.  In the holy state the will is free, so that its creative power is unlimited, and choice is meaningless.  Freedom to choose is the same power as freedom to create, but its application is different.  Choosing depends on a split mind.  The Holy Spirit is one way of choosing.  God did not leave his children comfortless even though they chose to leave Him.  The voice they put in their minds was not the Voice for His Will, for which the Holy Spirit speaks.[1]

In today’s text reading, Jesus expounds upon the role of Holy Spirit in our minds.  He tells us that when we think with our higher mind we think with Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit heals the wounded mind, it restores the mind to God, to our original creation, to who and what we were before we made a mind in opposition to Love.  Holy Spirit inspires us to perform acts of love, to be charitable, to be truly helpful because to be truly helpful means we do no harm.  We let go of all that would bind us to a world governed by fear, by thoughts of limitation, by thoughts of us-against-them.  God placed His Will in our minds because His Will is our will because we belong to Him.  Our will aligning perfectly with God’s Will can never be obliterated, God calls to us through Holy Spirit throughout our sojourn in time.  Miracles, which are acts of love, charity, and helpfulness, reflect this union of the Father with His Son.

The Holy Spirit is God’s Gift to us; it is the spirit of Joy.  It lifts us from our lower minds which do not know Joy because they were not created in love but made from fear and distrust.  Holy Spirit is God’s response to the miscreation. Holy Spirit is our call to God, the means to the Atonement, to our wholeness and completeness in our Creator and to our role as co-creator with God. 

This call of Joy dissolves the ego.  We do not have to beg God to implant Holy Spirit in us – Holy Spirit is the Voice for God who calls us back to Him, Who reminds us of our Father, Who reminds us of who and what we really are, where we came from, and where we will be again.  It is possible in the flesh to hear the Voice for God and only the Voice for God, to be free of the other voice completely.  While it takes great courage, determination, and commitment to learn, it can be done.  Jesus did it and so can we.  Jesus had no advantage over us – he was not smarter or any less prone to sin and temptation. We are all like Jesus.  We do not have to be an intellectual, a scholar, a spiritual master.  In God’s eyes we are all equal learners no matter what our IQ, our intellect, or level of education.     

Unlike the separated realm, where some are attractive and some are not, where some are rich and others are poor, where some people seem to be intelligent and others are sadly lacking, each one of us are the Kingdom of God.  When we generated thoughts of fear and worry, distrust and suspicion to enter our mind, we lost the fullness of God.  We entered a bleak and darkened realm of brokenness, partiality, and disparity.  In this state, we needed a new light, Jesus tells us.  Holy Spirit is that light; It banishes thoughts of darkness because It is not afraid of darkness, nor is It afraid of anything that happens in darkness because It knows that darkness and all things that happen in darkness are a ruse, a perception based upon illusions, a mass hallucination of all that is untrue.   Holy Spirit is the glory which returns our minds to completion, wholeness, and truth.  Separation is recognized as a thing of the past, a past that is nowhere because as soon as it happens it is over, an instance of nothingness – for time and everything in it has no meaning and no place in that which is forever.

In paragraph six, Jesus distinguishes between God and Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit is not God, It is of God, it is the Voice for God within each one of us.  God did not come to the realm of darkness with us; He put His Voice in us to call us Home.  God remains outside the realm of time, of separation, of the miscreation.  God is Everything; God has no place in the nothingness of separation, and its lies, wars, bloodshed, and miscreation.  We cannot know God in such a state as ego, brothers.  When we made another voice, we broke the direct communication with God we shared in Creation.  However, we can hear the Voice for God within our higher minds, speaking for Him, calling to us to return to Him.  The choice for Holy Spirit is the choice for God – following the guidance of Holy Spirit keeps us on the path that leads to God.

Holy Spirit then is God’s Gift to us while our minds are separated from His Kingdom. I like to think of Holy Spirit as our homing device.  No matter where we are, what we do, or who we are with, Holy Spirit calls to us through our higher minds counteracting the trite, meaningless, impious drives of the ego.  Holy Spirit reminds us of the freedom and liberty of holiness, which cancels out the fearful threats, guilt, and certain shame of the ego.  Choice has no meaning for God and His Creations, for creative power has no demands, no expectations, no worries.  Rules and limitations are unnecessary for those who are holy and who think with God.  In the realm of humanity, our freedom is limited to choice – do we choose ego and its onslaught of forms with all the same content, its ongoing go-rounds of death and despair or do we choose Holy Spirit, Who returns to us our rightful Kingdom, where we enjoy true creativity, freedom, and liberty forever? 

God did not abandon us to our egos!  He puts His Voice within each of us, reminding us of His love and devotion to us, reminding us of who and what we really are and where we truly belong. 

We will end with paragraph six and finish the last six paragraphs of The Voice for God section tomorrow.  Today, let us choose the Voice for God, lifting our hearts and minds in appreciation and gratitude for the perfect Guide Who leads us Home.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 5: Healing and wholeness. II. The voice for god 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 5 Healing and Wholeness

I. The Invitation to the Holy Spirit

  1. Healing is a thought by which two minds perceive their oneness and become glad.  This gladness calls to every part of the Sonship to rejoice with them, and lets God go out into them and through them.  Only the healed mind can experience revelation with lasting effect because revelation is an experience of pure joy.  If you do not choose to be wholly joyous, your mind cannot have what it does not choose to be.  Remember that spirit knows no difference between having and being.  The higher mind thinks according to the laws spirit obeys, and therefore honors only the laws of God.  To spirit getting is meaningless and giving is all.  Having everything, spirit holds everything by giving it, and thus creates as the Father created.  While this kind of thinking is totally alien to having things, even to the lower mind it is quite comprehensible in connection with ideas.  If you share a physical possession, you do divide its ownership.  If you share an idea, however, you do not lessen it.  All of it is still yours although all of it has been given away.  Further, if the one to whom you give it accepts it as his, he reinforces it in your mind and thus increases it.  If you can accept the concept that the world is one of ideas, the whole belief in the false association the ego makes between giving and losing is gone. 
  2. Let us start our process of reawakening with just a few simple concepts:Thoughts increase by being given away. -The more who believe in them the stronger they become.Everything is an idea.How, then, can giving and losing be associated?
  3. This is the invitation to the Holy Spirit.  I have already said that I can reach up and bring the Holy Spirit down to you, but I can bring Him to you only at your own invitation.  The Holy Spirit is in your right mind, even as He was in mine.  The Bible says, May the mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus,” and uses this as a blessing.  It is the blessing of miracle-mindedness.  It asks that you may think as I thought, joining with me in Christ thinking.
  4. The Holy Spirit is the only part of the Holy Trinity that has a symbolic function.  He is referred to as the Healer, the Comforter, and the Guide.  He is also described as something “separate,” apart from the Father and from the Son.  I myself said, “If I go, I will send you another Comforter and He will abide with you.”  His symbolic function makes the Holy Spirit difficult to understand, because symbolism is open to different interpretations.  As a man and also one of God’s creations, my right thinking, which came from the Holy Spirit or the Universal Inspiration, taught me first and foremost that this Inspiration is for all.  I could not have it myself without knowing this.  The word “know” is proper in this context because the Holy Spirit is so close to knowledge that He calls it forth; or better, allows it to come.  I have spoken before of the higher or “true” perception, which is so near to truth that God Himself can flow across the little gap.  Knowledge is always ready to flow everywhere, but it cannot oppose.  Therefore, you can obstruct it, although you can never lose it.
  5. The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception.  He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time.  Before that there was no need for healing, for no one was comfortless.  The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind.  When the Atonement is complete and the whole Sonship is healed there will be no call to return.  But what God creates is eternal.  The Holy Spirit will remain with the Sons of God, to bless their creations and keep them in the light of joy.
  6. God honored even the miscreations of his children because they had made them.  But He also blessed His children with a way of thinking that could raise their perceptions so high they could reach almost back to Him.  The Holy Spirit is the mind of the Atonement.  He represents a state of mind close enough to One-mindedness that transfer to it is at last possible.  Perception is not knowledge, but it can be transferred to knowledge, or cross over into it.  It might even be more helpful here to use the literal meaning of transferred or “carried over,” since the last step is taken by God.
  7. The Holy Spirit, the shared Inspiration of all the Sonship, induces a kind of perception in which many elements are like those in the Kingdom of Heaven itself:

First, its universality is perfectly clear, and no one who attains it could believe for an instant that sharing it involves anything but gain.

Second, it is incapable of attack and is therefore truly open.  This means that although it does not engender knowledge, it does not obstruct it in any way.  Finally, it points the way beyond the healing that it brings and leads the mind beyond its own integration toward the paths of creation.  It is at this point that sufficient quantitative change occurs to produce a real qualitative shift. [1]

As we come to our devotional practice, we ask the Lord to illuminate our text and welcome the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, and remind us to ask to practice whole-hearted Joy.  Healing comes to us not through the laying on of hands, not through magical intonations, rituals, or potions, not by technological defenses or attacks against disease.  Healing is the joy of uniting minds; it is the recognition of our interconnectedness with one another and with God. 

When we practice whole-hearted joy we are healed because God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit inhabits the laughter-filled channels that promote unity, gladness, and wholeness.  Spirit can only know joy because it is joy.  God reveals Himself to the wholly joyous.  God cannot reveal Himself to a sad sack, to a whipping post, to someone who loves suffering, sacrifice, and shame. 

The high mind where the Holy Spirit resides honors only the laws of God.  It is in a state of giving with no thought of return because in Being, we serve as a channel of the Joy of God.  In Being we know that the only way to keep joy is to share joy. 

Jesus explains to us that this is a foreign concept to the ego and impossible in the physical realm.  When we give someone our cookie in the physical realm, we have lost the cookie and someone else gets to eat it.  When we share a cookie with our friends, we only get a partial cookie.  However, when I share my idea for chutney cookies with you, I still get to keep my idea but now you can make your own chutney cookies and share that idea with others, adding your own little touches to it, and inspiring me.  The more people you and I share the idea for chutney cookies with, the more people will come on board with us in our love for chutney cookies and the idea will spread.  Others will have their own ideas about what kind of chutney makes the best cookies, adding their own sense of flair and style, and before we know it, the idea for chutney cookies has spread around the world and everywhere we go, bakeries tout a multitude of different-flavored chutney cookies.  I have not lost by sharing my idea because now whether I feel like baking them or not, I can get them wherever I go. 

Learning and practicing the channels of Being brings us total freedom and liberty.  Unlike the ego which encases us in flesh and bone, and holds us captive by fear and suspicion, Being is free to explore, to interact, to be one with all of Creation.  In God we are perfectly trusted because we are trustworthy.  In God we are truly helpful, for there is no harm in us.  We do not barge in where we are not wanted.  We do not invade privacy, force ourselves into situations where we are not wanted, or teach a terroristic gospel.  We only channel God’s Joy to those who choose joy.  We give joy to keep joy.  And this joy is where healing resides. 

When we practice the simple concepts of using our thoughts to heal, to restore, to make joyous, we learn that thoughts only increase when we give them away.  No matter how long it takes, learning these simple concepts is critical to miracle mindedness, to healing, to having the mind of Christ.  We invite Holy Spirit when we devote ourselves to learning and practicing these concepts.  Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit is simply our right minds!  Do not be afraid of Holy Spirit.  I grew up in a home where Holy Spirit was treated like a Holy Ghost which would descend upon people and possess them to do all kinds of ridiculous things – shake, scream, blubber, make false claims, and terroristic threats.  For years I did not want anything to do with such nonsense, and neither should you.  Holy Spirit is calm, quiet, and sane.  Holy Spirit comes only when asked and accepted.  It brings us, at our own pace, to an understanding of the laws of God, the joyousness of Being, the freedom and liberty of Spirit.

Do not get too caught up in trying to understand Holy Spirit for Jesus tells us that it has a symbolic function.  It is universal and not withheld from anyone.  We do not “get” the Holy Spirit by pleading for it.  We have Holy Spirit within us, always.  However, we obstruct our knowing Holy Spirit when we choose to think with our lower minds instead of our higher minds where Holy Spirit resides.  Holy Spirit descends upon and transforms our lower minds only when we begin to seek truth and want to know God. 

In paragraph six, Jesus tells us that God honors our efforts in the world even though they are not eternal and have no lasting value.  We have all been blessed with teachers, with relationships, with inventions and technology that our Course refers to as miscreations because of their lack of eternal worth.  While God does honor the circumstances, events, and relationships that we make in the world, God gives each of us the Holy Spirit to reside in our higher minds to remind us of our true identity.

Perception is not knowledge of God, but the high-minded perception of Holy Spirit is so close to knowledge that God literally carries us over to Being, as our minds are opened to the One-mindedness of Christ.  This is something that our egos will resist, but this is where we belong!  The purpose of Holy Spirit, which is the mind of Atonement, helps us to see things clearly.  As Holy Spirit prepares our mind for the Kingdom of Heaven we will notice:

Our minds moving away from the petty, the trivial, the small-mindedness of the ego.  Our minds will know beyond doubt, through practice and experience that sharing is gaining; that selfishness is loss.  Our minds will become incapable of attack; our minds will be open to all knowledge, we will have no time for terror, fear, or conflict of any kind.  Our minds will move beyond healing and unification towards the paths of creation itself. 

When I asked the Lord to illuminate this for me, I was shown that time is for healing and reparation of the separation. When we are healed, when our relationships are healed, when we are as one in our hearts and minds with everyone and everything, when we begin to demonstrate Being rather than ego, our minds will naturally seek to create for we were created to create with God and for God.  This is when we will be transformed into Being. This does not mean that we die in the flesh; nor does it mean that our death in the flesh will naturally transform us into Being.  It simply means that when we have genuinely committed to egolessness, we will be transformed into Being.  And this is when the adventure truly begins – for until we remember who and what we are, until we are wholly convinced of the worthlessness of opposites and opposition, until we see no more value in humanity, will we recognize and want our divinity enough to cross over without fear, without hesitation, without the backward glance.  For up until then we will content ourselves with creations which do not last, with diversions, with hobbies, with playthings.  This will not satisfy our Beings which create with God and for God that which lasts forever. 

Today let our text reading rest upon your mind and meditate upon its precepts.  Invite Holy Spirit, the inspiration of the Sonship of God, to lift your mind from the dense, uncouth, and fearful thoughts of ego-mind to the Higher Mind which aspires to return to God.  We welcome Holy Spirit by beginning to practice that which goes against our selfish, unholy, conflict-based thoughts.  Use your mind today to think thoughts of forgiveness, mercy, and love.  Share joy.  Instead of joining with the crowd of complainers, agitators, and finger-pointers, ask Holy Spirit to perceive that which is kind, lovely, and nice about others.  Generate thoughts that honor God’s Creations and share that. When we begin this journey, our practice may feel awkward, unnatural, and even hypocritical, because our egos have kept us in a poor state of mind that blinds us to the higher mind of Holy Spirit.  Training our minds to think thoughts of healing, well-being, and gratitude, welcomes Holy Spirit, giving us a powerful Friend, Teacher, and Guide, Who will lead us to eternal Life, undying Love, and everlasting Joy.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 5 Healing and wholeness. I The invitation to the holy spirit. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 5 Introduction


  1. To heal is to make happy.  I have told you to think how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many you have refused.  This is the same as telling you that you have refused to heal yourself.  The light that belongs to you is the light of joy.  Radiance is not associated with sorrow.  Joy calls forth an integrated willingness to share it and promotes the mind’s natural impulse to respond as one.  Those who attempt to heal without being wholly joyous themselves call forth different kinds of responses at the same time, and thus deprive others of the joy of responding whole-heartedly.
  2. To be whole-hearted you must be happy.  If fear and love cannot coexist, and if it is impossible to be wholly fearful and remain alive, the only possible whole state is that of love.  There is no difference between love and joy.  Therefore, the only possible whole state is the wholly joyous.  To heal or to make joyous is therefore the same as to integrate and to make one.  That is why it makes no difference to what part or by what part of the Sonship the healing is offered.  Every part benefits and benefits equally. 
  3. You are being blessed by every beneficent thought of any of your brothers anywhere.  You should want to bless them in return, out of gratitude.  You need not know them individually, or they you.  The light is so strong that it radiates throughout the Sonship and returns thanks to the Father for radiating His joy upon it.  Only God’s holy children are worthy channels of His beautiful joy, because only they are beautiful enough to hold it by sharing it.  It is impossible for a child of God to love his neighbor except as himself.  That is why the healer’s prayer is:  Let me know this brother as I know myself.[1]

In today’s text reading, Jesus tells us that healing is making happy.  The way to healing is to gladden ourselves and yet we keep refusing to heal ourselves by making our paths to God ones of sorrow, drudgery, and sacrifice.  We have the wrong concept of God if we feel that it makes God happy to take away our sunshine, our joy, the things that make us happy.  Introducing the concepts of Healing and Wholeness in today’s devotional, we are reminded that it is JOY that unifies our wills with God, it is JOY – not suffering and sorrow – that motivates our minds to their natural, God-given desire to share without thinking of cost, without thinking of return, without grudge or resentment, without making others pay. 

Jesus tells us that when we try to heal without complete and utter joy, we deprive ourselves and others of the whole-hearted loving response that brings wholeness and healing.  There is a completely different response when someone helps us out of bind with a spirit of joy and happiness and the one who is grumpy, accusing, and makes us explain ourselves repeatedly of just exactly why we need their help!  We learn to trust, love, and appreciate those who respond to our needs with joy; we learn to be wary of those who respond to our needs with grouchiness and a grudging helpfulness.  Personally, I would rather not accept help or healing from someone who cannot be nice about it!  Jesus tells us that healing, that bringing happiness is best achieved by the completely joyous – otherwise the response to our acts of love will be mixed.  People may be grateful for your efforts to bring them healing; they may even be healed, but if the light of Joy has not been shared, both the healer and the healed are denied the wholeness necessary for true and lasting happiness vital to health and well-being.

In the second paragraph, Jesus tells us that whole-heartedness and happiness walk hand-in-hand and side-by-side.  The foundational concept which our Course rests upon is that fear and love cannot coexist.  The only state of being which is whole is of love; for it is impossible to love and fear at the same time, and a state of fear can never be anything but splintered, shattered, and incomplete. 

Jesus tells us that love and joy are the same thing.  To love is to be joyful.  To be joyful is to love.  Following this line of reasoning, it follows that joyousness brings healing which leads to uniting and making one.  We are made one with those who make us happy!  We are made one with those who bring us healing.  We are made one with those who make us laugh, who sing us lullabies, who tell us good stories, who give and live from a spirit of love and happiness.  We are blessed to even read about such people.  We are blessed to watch movies that have characters that are joyous.  We are blessed, Jesus says, by the joyousness of those we do not even know for they lift the spirit of Creation!

On the contrary, no matter how generous, helpful, or ambitious, those who are grumpy, who demand explanations, who do not communicate happiness or goodwill, who are quick to point out faults and remember mistakes, call people names and curse Creation bring separateness and divisiveness rather than wholeness. We naturally distance ourselves from them because they drain us of joy and leave us feeling bewildered and confused and resentful– yes, they may do nice things, but they do not make us feel good, they make us feel obligated, they make us feel low. We leave their home after what should have been a delicious meal with a bad taste in our mouth.  We feel insulted.  In other words, no matter what they may provide for us, they do not bring joy or true and lasting healing. 

No matter!  Jesus reminds us to bless those who think joyously.  Recognize their contribution with a deep sense of appreciation and acknowledgement.  Do not make fun of them.  Do not call them cutesy names and treat them as childish.  Do not begrudge their happiness, their bright smiles, their inner light.   For we are blessed by the joyous from across the stretch of time, space, and eternity.  We do not have to necessarily see them, be with them, name them, or number them.  We just know they are blessing us with the light of their joy, the radiance of their love, their wholehearted, whole-minded commitment to all that is true, and good, and holy.  Jesus tells us that the joyous shine throughout the Sonship and that their gratitude rises to God.  As we recognize ourselves as Children of God, Jesus tells us that it is impossible not to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves!  For we are God’s children, holy because our Father is holy, joyous because we are so loved and so lovely.  We serve as a network of His beautiful Joy because in our holiness, in our God-likeness, we are beautiful enough to keep His Joy only because we share His Joy.  We are not here to hoard His joy and think of ourselves as one of God’s chosen, separate from the sinners and the lost.  We are here to heal the separation – and how we do that is to be one with our brothers, to know them and to love them even as we love ourselves.  Today meditate upon and let the healer’s prayer bring happiness to your every encounter: 

Let me know this brother as I know myself.

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 5 Healing and wholeness. Introduction. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4 Illusions of the Ego

Section VII. Creation and Communication

  1. It is clear that while the content of any particular ego-illusion does not matter, its correction is more helpful in a specific context. Ego-illusions are quite specific, although the mind is naturally abstract.  Part of the mind becomes concrete, however, when it splits.  The concrete part believes in the ego because the ego depends on the concrete.  The ego is the part of the mind that believes your existence is defined by separation.
  2. Everything the ego perceives is a separate whole, without the relationships that imply being.  The ego is thus against communication, except insofar as it is utilized to establish separateness rather than to abolish it.  The communication system of the ego is based on its own thought system, as is everything else it dictates.  Its communication is controlled by its need to protect itself, and it will disrupt communication when it experiences threat.  This disruption is a reaction to a specific person or persons.  The specificity of the ego’s thinking, then, results in spurious generalization which is really not abstract at all.  It merely responds in certain specific ways to everything it perceives as related. 
  3. In contrast, spirit reacts in the same way to everything it knows is true and does not respond at all to anything else.  Nor does it make any attempt to establish what is true.  It knows that what is true is everything that God created.  It is in complete and direct communication with every aspect of creation because it is in complete and direct communication with its Creator.  This communication is the Will of God.  Creation and communication are synonymous.  God created every mind by communicating His Mind to it, thus establishing it forever as a channel for the reception of his Mind and Will.  Since only beings of a like order can truly communicate, His creations naturally communicate with Him and like Him.  This communication is perfectly abstract, since its quality is universal in application and not subject to any judgment, any exception, or any alteration.  God created you by this and for this.  The mind can distort its function, but it cannot endow itself with functions it was not given.  That is why the mind cannot totally lose the ability to communicate, even though it may refuse to utilize it on behalf of being.
  4. Existence as well as being rests on communication.  Existence, however, is specific in how, what, and with whom communication is judged to be worth undertaking.  Being is completely without these distinctions.  It is a state in which the mind is in communication with everything that is real.  To whatever extent you permit this state to be curtailed you are limiting your sense of your own reality, which becomes total only by recognizing all reality in the glorious context of its real relationship to you.  This is your reality.  Do not desecrate it or recoil from it.  It is your real home, your real temple, and your real Self.
  5. God, Who encompasses all being, created beings who have everything individually, but who want to share it to increase their joy.  Nothing real can be increased except by sharing.  That is why God created you.  Divine Abstraction takes joy in sharing.  That is what creation means.  “how,” “what,” and “to whom,” are irrelevant, because real creation gives everything, since it can create only like itself.  Remember that in the Kingdom there is no difference between having and being like there is in existence.  In the state of being the mind gives everything always.
  6. The Bible repeatedly states that you should praise God.  This hardly means that you should tell Him how wonderful He is.  He has no ego with which to accept such praise, and no perception with which to judge it.  But unless you take your part in the creation, His joy is not complete because yours is incomplete.  And this He does know.  He knows it in His Own Being and its experience of His Son’s experience.  The constant going out of His Love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him.
  7. God has kept His kingdom for you, but He cannot share His joy with you until you know it with your whole mind.  Revelation is not enough, because it is only communication from God.  God does not need revelation returned to him, which would clearly be impossible, but He does want it brought to others.  This can not be done with the actual revelation; its content cannot be expressed, because it is intensely personal to the mind that receives it.  It can, however, be returned by that mind to other minds, through the attitudes the knowledge from the revelation brings. 
  8. God is praised whenever any mind learns to be wholly helpful.  This is impossible without being wholly harmless, because the two beliefs must coexist.  The truly helpful are invulnerable, because they are not protecting their egos and so nothing can hurt them.  Their helpfulness is their praise of God, and He will return their praise of Him because they are like Him, and they can rejoice together.  God goes out to them and through them, and there is great joy throughout the Kingdom.  Every mind that is changed adds to this joy with its individual willingness to share in it.  The truly helpful are God’s miracle workers, whom I direct until we are all united in the joy of the Kingdom.  I will direct you to wherever you can be truly helpful, and to whoever can follow my guidance through you.[1]

In today’s text reading, Jesus explains to us that the mind of our True Self is abstract.  It does not get caught up in particulars.  It is the splintered part of our mind that believes in separation, that depends upon the concrete, that can not know anything because it only sees in fragmented, separated, isolated incidents. 

Instead of seeing the whole, the ego sees each fragment as a whole in and of itself.  The ego’s worst nightmare is truthful communication, which in the context of God is the only communication there is.  The ego’s way of communicating is through control, through its need to protect itself from the truth, through thoughts based upon fear, survival, and spinning the illusion of its worth.  Every time the ego experiences a threat, it shuts down communication.  This shut-down of communication is in reaction to a specific person or group of people.  We see it all the time in our personal life and in the larger context of society and world.  As soon as love and harmony is established, the ego comes in to distort, deform, and defame all that would uphold truth.  It becomes us-against-them.  They are the bad guys; we are the good guys.  I am right; she is wrong.  Women are angels; men are brutes.   Jesus calls these spurious generalizations which is ego’s way of responding to everything as it has related to specific people or groups.

This is something we must be aware of in any given situation – there are no right and wrong issues in the world – everything in the ego domain, in the concrete world, is wrong because it is not truth.  The ego loves to entrap us with religious debates, political battles, family squabbles, and office disputes – because taking sides relegates us to ego-serfdom, shutting down communication from God to our Being.   

Instead of relating to Creation as one united whole, ego perceives each separate piece as a whole.  The ego is afraid of true communication because true communication puts all the pieces together again, tells the whole story, emphasizes our unity, and makes our different gifts a cause for sharing, celebrating, and appreciating.   The ego “communicates” only in a way that protects itself.  It shuts down the moment it feels the least bit threatened by a specific person or a group of people.  Communicating to the ego is a form of an attack or a defense against the truth.  It begins to make spurious, sweeping statements.  People with a certain color of skin have all the beauty, the money, and the advantages of the world and they are keeping it away from us, who deserve it.  People who drive Tesla’s are snobs.  People who do not graduate from high school are losers.  People with red hair have hot tempers.  People from that particular country are more lustful.  People who vote Democrat are of the devil.  We can determine which part of the mind is thinking for us when we watch our thoughts and notice how we are responding to the people and the circumstances around us, making bogus assumptions that do not reflect love, but rather fear and an us-against-them mentality. 

Our higher mind which is the home of the Holy Spirit, our true and holy Self is a true creator and a true communicator. Because it does not have to prove Itself or protect Itself, It only communicates the Will of God.  Creation and communication are synonymous Jesus tells us.  As God’s Creation we communicate with God and like God.  True communication with God does not rest upon words, symbols, or language – it is abstract, it is unknowable to the ego.  Communication with God is so far beyond the ego’s capability to understand, it cannot be judged, mistaken, overlooked, or distorted.  Jesus tells us very clearly that God created you and He created me through communication and for communication, for companionship, for fellowship, joy, and sharing of Himself. 

While we can certainly use communication in the wrong way, we can never lose our ability to communicate with God for we have a channel within us that goes straight to our Creator.  No matter how long we refuse to use it on behalf of Being rather than mere existence, it is always there and will never depart from us.  This is our eternal security, our eternal promise, our eternal hope.  Never must we use communication against Creation by threatening, fighting, or sending people to hell for what we do against Creation is reflected back upon us until we change our tune. 

In paragraph four Jesus makes a distinction between existing and being.  Existence is related to the ego – existence uses communication for specific purposes.  There is always a sense of who, what, and how much a separate part of creation is worth communicating with.  If a relationship is deemed to have little value, we do not return their phone calls, we do not respond to their emails, we limit communication.  Conversely, if a person is in a position to offer us a better job, a higher status, or just more of a good time, we will welcome communication and do our best to keep the lines open for their calls.  We all do this to one extent or the other.  In this separated state we cannot be everybody’s friend.  We have to make tough choices about with whom we are going to spend our limited amount of free time.  We can genuinely like somebody but realize we simply have too many obligations than to follow through with a friendship.  This is part of being human, of being separate from the whole, of living with and in the ego realm.

However, our true Being, as Jesus refers to Spirit, has no distinctions or limitations in this arena.  In Being, mind is in constant communication with everything that is real.  Nobody gets their feelings hurt because there is nothing concrete in which to stop the flow of love, of truth, of communication.  You can see into my heart and I can see into yours.  We communicate a flow of love and goodwill to one another in the joy of oneness, unity, and completeness.  As hard as this may be for us to imagine, to accept, to embrace as our reality, Jesus tells us that this is who and what we are – we are Being, we are connected, and we are communicating at all times with the whole of Creation.  We are not to recoil from this idea, brothers, for this is who and what we really are.  We are not to desecrate this by mocking it, by disbelieving it, by rebuking it.  This is our one reality – we are in relationship with Everything real in the Spirit.  This is the Kingdom of God which we have blocked from our awareness because we chose to be a kingdom unto ourselves. 

God created us out of a divine sense of joy and wanting to share in it.  That which is not love, peace, and joy cannot Be, it cannot last, it can only exist in a temporary time span and its only real purpose is as a teaching and learning device.  In Being, there is simply no difference in having and being like there is in existence.  In Being, I do not just have a mansion over the hilltop; I am the mansion over the hilltop. I do not just have a means of transportation; I am the means of transportation.  I am spirit and what I have, I am.  There is no reason to hoard anything or call it ours because, in Being, we have everything we could possibly want or need at all times.  If this is difficult for you to fathom, meditate upon the idea and ask the Lord to give your mind a personal illustration of the difference between Being in Spirit, and existence in the flesh.  Have fun with this concept and do not allow your ego to make you afraid of it.  We are to see our human existence for what it is and stop denying ourselves the freedom and liberty of the spirit, which will never force itself upon our awareness, intercept our freedom to choose, or give us false perceptions of fear, poverty, and hatred toward ourselves, each other, and God. 

Throughout the bible, we are commanded to praise God.  In my love and appreciation for God, I have never found any good reason to keep telling God how wonderful He is.  He does not have an ego.  Who could love and respect a deity which always demanded worship and praise and throws temper tantrums without it?  As much as egos adore being flattered and praised and made much over, it is only natural that the humans who were inspired to write about God would give Him egotistical characteristics.  However, Jesus is asking us to open our minds and to address this with honesty and truth.  We are to correct this mistake and not keep teaching the mistakes of the past, for when we do this, we just keep repeating history instead of moving closer to our goal. 

God’s Will is our joy.  His joy is complete when our joy is complete.  I am always drawn back to the story of the Prodigal Son.  The Father did not deny His Son the freedom to leave the Kingdom, but His joy was not complete until His Son returned.  As long as the voice of the ego blocks His Love and devotion from our awareness, God longs for our return to full communication with Him.  We can praise God all we want, but we honor God best by bringing our egos home to Him, laying them down, and letting them go in the light of His Love, His Joy, His Peace. 

God’s Kingdom of joy cannot be known with the ego, only with the mind of Christ.  We can receive revelations, visions, and messages from the Kingdom, but these are particular to each of us who receive them.  The visitations and messages that God bestows upon me do not help you the way that they help me, but I can share the faith and the truth that they instill in my mind with you if you are ready to receive it.  We get over our fear, our shyness, our reluctance to share the voice for God in our lives when we communicate our bumpy, imperfect processes, our revelations, our visions, and encourage others to walk in paths of courage and truth. 

We teach God’s Kingdom when we can love ourselves and others, refuse to judge or get our feelings hurt whether others embrace what we have to share or deny it and cast out our names as evil.  Being only recognizes truth; it has no time, interest, or faith in that which rests upon lies, deceit, and nothingness.  Practice Being.  This is not magic.  It is a journey.  It requires getting rid of the stuff that weighs us down and keeps us trudging in tradition rather than committing to devotional habits which gives us right minds, which welcomes Being, which frees us from the past, and leads us to communion with God. 

We honor God, we praise God when our mind learns to be wholly helpful and wholly harmless – two beliefs which must walk hand-in-hand.  We can only be truly helpful when our egos are not tagging along in our walks with God!  We do not have to be spiritual know-it-alls.  We have nothing to prove to anyone.  People may not believe exactly the same way we do; they may not believe at all.  Jesus assures us that belief is a function of the ego.  It means nothing.  All come to Christ in the end, and so we can relax in our efforts to shove our religious doctrines down the throats of others.  We can simply be whom God has called us to be during our sojourn in time.  When our minds are changed, we naturally and with no real effort on our own part change the minds of others.  While we all make mistakes, go on rants against ideals and practices which have hurt us, choose sides, stick our noses where they do not belong, and get overly preachy, if we are to really honor God, we must let our hurts, rages, nosiness and gossiping, judgments and condemnation go.  Our egos are like packrats intent on burdening our journey to God with unnecessarily heavy loads that not only hinder our journeys, but make stooges of us, which is not helpful to God or anyone!

God does not need us to defend Him, but He does call to us to share His Joy, reflect His Love, bring His Peace to every encounter.  This is the reason for Creation; this is true communication; this is the reason for our Being.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4 Illusions of the ego. VII Creation and communication. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4: The Illusions of the Ego

VI. The Rewards of God

  1. The ego does not recognize the real source of “threat,” and if you associate yourself with the ego, you do not understand the situation as it is.  Only your allegiance to it gives the ego any power over you.  I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own.  This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed.  We cannot safely let it go at that, however, or you will regard yourself as necessarily conflicted as long as you are here, or as long as you believe that you are here.  The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself.  Your other life has continued without interruption and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate it.
  2. In learning to escape from illusions, your debt to your brother is something you must never forget.  It is the same debt that you owe to me.  Whenever you act egotistically toward another, you are throwing away the graciousness of your indebtedness and the holy perception it would produce.  The term “holy” can be used here because, as you learn how much you are indebted to the whole Sonship, which includes me, you come as close to knowledge as perception can.  The gap is then so small that knowledge can easily flow across it and obliterate it forever.
  3. You have very little trust in me as yet, but it will increase as you turn more and more often to me instead of to your ego for guidance.  The results will convince you increasingly that this choice is the only sane one you can make.  No one who learns from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs additional convincing.  Learning through rewards is more effective than learning through pain, because pain is an ego illusion, and can never induce more than a temporary effect.  The rewards of God, however, are immediately recognized as eternal.  Since this recognition is made by you and not the ego, the recognition itself establishes that you and your ego cannot be identical.  You may believe that you have already accepted this difference, but you are by no means convinced as yet.  The fact that you believe you must escape from the ego shows this; but you cannot escape from the ego by humbling it or controlling it or punishing it. 
  4. The ego and the spirit do not know each other.  The separated mind cannot maintain the separation except by dissociating.  Having done this, it denies all truly natural impulses, not because the ego is a separate thing, but because you want to believe that you are.  The ego is a device for maintaining this belief, but it is still only your decision to use the device that enables it to endure. 
  5. How can you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away?  He must have thrown it away because he did not value it.  You can only show him how miserable he is without it, and slowly bring it nearer so he can learn how his misery lessens as he approaches it.  This teaches him to associate his misery with its absence, and the opposite of misery with its presence.  It gradually becomes desirable as he changes his mind about its worth.  I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit.  You have taught yourself the opposite.  You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?
  6. My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way.  Your mission is very simple.  You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego, and I do not choose God’s channels wrongly.  The Holy One shares my trust and accepts my Atonement decisions because my will is never out of accord with His.  I have said before that I am in charge of the Atonement.  This is only because I completed my part in it as a man and can now complete it through others.  My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting. 
  7. I will go with you to the Holy One, and through my perception He can bridge the little gap.  Your gratitude to your brother is the only gift I want.  I will bring it to God for you, knowing that to know your brother is to know God.  If you are grateful to your brother, you are grateful to God for what He created.  Through your gratitude you come to know your brother, and one moment of real recognition makes everyone your brother because each of them is of your Father.  Loves does not conquer all things, but it does set all things right.  Because you are the Kingdom of God, I can lead you back to your own creations.  You do not recognize them now, but what has been dissociated is still there.
  8. As you come closer to a brother you approach me, and as you withdraw from him, I become distant to you.  Salvation is a collaborative venture.  It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me.  God will come to you only as you will give Him to your brothers.  Learn first of them and you will be ready to hear God.  That is because the function of Love is one.[1]

As we come to today’s devotional text, ask the Lord to reveal the message within “The Rewards of God,” to your mind and heart so that you may live in the world as one with Christ.  In the first paragraph Jesus tells us quite plainly that the ego is only a belief that we have about ourselves.  While it has no real substance, it is a lie that has seemed to gain a life of its own, it is a device that we choose to maintain our separateness from God.  The device is fueled on fear and all that is not of Love.  When we see ourselves as anything but Love, we have chosen the ego as a device to keep us apart from who and what we really are.  

Jesus tells us throughout today’s reading that we are under no obligation to this delusion.  The one sure way to escape the ego is to remember our debt to our brothers.  When we are willing to align ourselves with our true identities in Christ and extend the graciousness, mercy, and holiness of God to our brothers, our perceptions become so holy that to know God can only follow! 

There is no other way in which to obliterate the lie of ego in our minds than to turn to Christ for guidance rather than to turn to ego.  In every human interaction, circumstance, and event that we ask Jesus to be in charge, we will have the immediate reward of peace and joy.  Contrarily, when we follow the ego’s response we will experience calamity, conflicts, and corruption.  As we experience the peace and joy of doing things God’s Way, we will learn to trust in the Lord to be our guide and eventually the ego will have no more role in our life at all.  Because we are the Sons of God we naturally align ourselves with the eternal rewards of peace and joy and recognize them as our own, whereas shame and sorrow, the certain end to all ego endeavors, has no lasting worth.  As Sons of God, we naturally move away from pain, affliction, and suffering for we have no real affinity with these expedients. 

The ego and the Spirit do not know each other.  The ego is a device made to perceive separation.  The ego focuses our attention on the spaces and the outlines between ourselves and others.  It is a device that maintains our specialness, a world of fear and limitations, a world of opposition and opposites.  The ego keeps us in a state of dissociation from our eternal Spirits, at war with our natural God-given impulses for love and wholeness and unity.  We do not escape the ego by humbling it, abusing it, or punishing it.  We simply put it down and do not pick it back up again once we ascertain that it serves us no good purpose.

The purpose of time is to learn the difference between the rewards of the ego and the rewards of God.  When we threw away our knowledge of God for the world of perception, we thought we were going to get a better deal.  We thought that there was something more special than love, peace, and joy.  We believed that there was an opposite to Everything.  We thought there was value in fear and limitations.  We have taught ourselves to fear the Spirit and to love the artifice of ego.

Jesus undoes the deceit with quiet certainty.  He teaches us through trial and error.  We learn what makes us truly happy; we learn what makes us miserable and lonely.  We learn what lifts our spirits, we learn what stomps our hopes and kills our joy.  Whether it takes one lifetime or several, we will all learn eventually to associate all that is fearful and unholy with ego and all that is loving, peaceful, and joyful with God. 

Jesus entrusts to us His vision, His mission, His sure knowledge.  He calls to us because He has put His complete trust in us as we will, sooner or later, put our complete trust in Him.  He asks us to put aside the ego, to live as He lived upon the face of the earth, to see with His Vision and to demonstrate the right mind to each other.  He chooses us because He knows and believes in us.  He will never give up on us.  He will never appear in the sky and take some and leave the others behind.  His love does not conquer all things because Love is not a warrior, it is not a soldier, it is not a weapon.  His love sets all things right.  He puts us in our right mind so that we perceive rightly and are saved from the illusion. 

We are called to our brothers.  We cannot love God unless we love our brothers.  We cannot know God without knowing our brothers.  There are no exceptions to this.  We cannot preach a gospel of exclusion and know God.  We cannot preach a gospel of some people go to heaven and some people go to hell and know the heart of God.  We cannot keep traditions that have driven us farther from God’s Love instead of closer.  We cannot despise any part of God’s Creation and hope to advance ourselves in His Kingdom!  It is very clear what Jesus wants from us:  Our gratitude to our brothers.  Jesus tells us that salvation is a collaborative venture.  We draw to God as we are drawn to our brothers; we withdraw from God as we withdraw from our brothers.  Just as Jesus says: God comes to us, only as we give Him to our brothers; we can say:  Love comes to us, only as we give Love to our brothers, because God is Love, and this is how we become One.      

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4 The illusions of the ego. VI The Rewards of God. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4 The Illusions of the Ego

V. The Ego-Body Illusion

  1. All things work together for good.  There are no exceptions except in the ego’s judgment.  The ego exerts maximal vigilance about what it permits into awareness, and this is not the way a balanced mind holds together.  The ego is thrown further off balance because it keeps its primary motivation from your awareness and raises control rather than sanity to predominance.  The ego has every reason to do this, according to the thought system which gave rise to it and which it serves.  Sane judgment would inevitably judge against the ego and must be obliterated by the ego in the interest of its self-preservation.
  2. A major source of the ego’s off-balanced state is its lack of discrimination between the body and the Thoughts of God.  Thoughts of God are unacceptable to the ego because they clearly point to the nonexistence of the ego itself.  The ego therefore either distorts them or refuses to accept them.  It cannot, however, make them cease to be. It therefore tries to conceal not only “unacceptable” body impulses, but also the Thoughts of God, because both are threatening to it.  Being concerned primarily with its own preservation in the face of threat, the ego perceives them as the same.  By perceiving them as the same, the ego attempts to save itself from being swept away, as it would surely be in the presence of knowledge.
  3. Any thought system that confuses God and the body must be insane.  Yet this confusion is essential to the ego, which judges only in terms of threat or non-threat to itself.  In one sense the ego’s fear of God is at least logical since the idea of Him does dispel the ego.  But fear of the body, with which the ego identifies so closely, makes no sense at all. 
  4. The body is the ego’s home by its own election.  It is the only identification with which the ego feels safe, since the body’s vulnerability is its own best argument that you cannot be of God.  This is the belief that the ego sponsors eagerly.  Yet the ego hates the body, because it cannot accept it as good enough to be its home.  Here is where the mind becomes actually dazed.  Being told by the ego that it is really part of the body and that the body is its protector, the mind is also told that the body cannot protect it.  Therefore, the mind asks, “Where can I go for protection?” to which the ego replies, “Turn to me.”  The mind, and not without cause, reminds the ego that it has itself insisted that it is identified with the body, so there is no point in turning to it for protection.  The ego has no real answer to this because there is none, but it does have a typical solution.  It obliterates the question from the mind’s awareness.  Once out of awareness the question can and does produce uneasiness, but it cannot be answered because it cannot be asked. 
  5. This is the question that must be asked: “Where can I go for protection?”  “Seek and ye shall find” does not mean that you should seek blindly and desperately for something you would not recognize.  Meaningful seeking is consciously undertaken, consciously organized, and consciously directed.  The goal must be formulated clearly and kept in mind.  Learning and wanting to learn are inseparable.  You learn best when you believe what you are trying to learn is of value to you.  However, not everything you may want to learn has lasting value.  Indeed, many of the things you want to learn may be chosen because their value will not last.
  6. The ego thinks it is an advantage not to commit itself to anything that is eternal, because the eternal must come from God.  Eternalness is the one function the ego has tried to develop but has systematically failed to achieve.  The ego compromises with the issue of the eternal, just as it does with all issues touching on the real question in any way. By becoming involved with tangential issues, it hopes to hide the real question and keep it out of mind.  The ego’s characteristic busy-ness with nonessentials is for precisely that purpose.  Preoccupations with problems set up to be incapable of solution are favorite ego devices for impeding learning progress. In all these diversionary tactics, however, the one question that is never asked by those who pursue them is, “What for?”  This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything.  What is the purpose?  Whatever it is, it will direct your efforts automatically.  When you make a decision of purpose, then, you have made a decision about your future effort; a decision that will remain in effect unless you change your mind.[1]

In the book of Romans 8:28, the Apostle writes: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.  However, Jesus tells us in today’s text reading that all things work together for good.   There are no exceptions except in the way the ego judges things.  The ego uses maximal vigilance in keeping the whole story in any situation from our awareness, and because we are kept ignorant of the greater good our minds become saddened, disheartened, unbalanced with the sorry human tale.  We have discussed before how the only free will that is available to us is from God for the ego seeks to control us rather than restore us to our freedom and liberty.  The ego has a very good reason to do this, brothers.  Because if we did know the whole story, if we were restored to our freedom and liberty and knowledge of Spirit, we would no longer want it, believe in it, and would obliterate the ego from our consciousness.   

The ego’s lack of stability is its inability to discriminate between the body and Thoughts of God.  What does this mean?  What does this look like? 

Thoughts of God are unacceptable to the ego because they unmistakably clarify the nothingness of ego itself.  So the ego either distorts Thoughts of God or denies them.  Jesus tells us that the ego has no power to make them go away, but it does try to hide them, just as it tries to hide the baser impulses and functions of the body.   The baser impulses and functions of the body – such as defecating and urinating, masturbating, the more morbid sexual fantasizing and perversions, our drives to kill anyone who opposes us or stands in our way, decay and aging, and certain death of the body, the ego does its best to deny, just as it does Thoughts of God.  To the ego both of these sides to the human existence are equally off-putting.  The baser sides of our existence we are taught to keep secret, to never talk about, think about, or admit to other people that yes, we too have human functions that make us feel dirty, stinky, and perverted.  No matter how well we clean ourselves up, no matter how we may idolize other human beings – we know on one level that there is a part of us which would kill for a loaf of bread in famine conditions, that our bodies smell like a sewer without our daily baths, that without laws that protect us from each other, it would be an open field day of rape, gangbanging, and pillage.  We know this but rarely if ever do we discuss it openly and frankly.  It is not subject for polite company, and for good reason, nobody wants to be reminded of the lower side to our natures.  But Jesus tells us that the reason we do not want to talk about the baser impulses of our ego bodies is because when we do have to look at them – we can only be repulsed and recognize our need for salvation. So the ego keeps our awareness focused on our pretty clothes, cars, and houses.  It keeps promoting the best smelling bath and grooming products, establishing a good self-image.  The ego loves to hide itself within the religious, the educated, professionals in the helping professions, creating an us-against-them attitude between classes, races, ethnic groups, and cultures.     

What is remarkable is that the ego puts Thoughts of God in the same category as it does its fear and shame over the body.  While fear and shame of the body would turn our minds toward God, Thoughts of God naturally liberate our minds from the ego as well.  And so the ego works very hard to twist our Thoughts of God into something less dangerous to it.  The ego inserts itself into our Thoughts of God.  It blames its miscreations on God – thus the story that we have all accepted about the Garden of Eden.  We believe that God intentionally set us up for failure; that He made us from dirt; that instead of taking responsibility for His creations, He became wrathful, jealous, and irate; that He cursed nature and set the whole of Creation up for disease, decay, and death.  Instead of loving God, which is our natural inclination as Spirit, the ego tempts us to fear Him, to venerate ancient texts that promote misogyny, mass murder, and discrimination. 

By perceiving our lower body functions and impulses in the same category as Thoughts of God, the ego attempts to save itself from being exposed for a lie, as it surely is when we learn the truth. 

Confusing God with the body is insane, Jesus tells us.  The ego’s fear of God is logical, but the ego’s fear of the body takes some explaining because the body is the ego’s home by its own choice.  The body’s vulnerability and its basic unholiness is a very good argument that it cannot be loved or cherished by God.  The ego promotes this belief with enthusiasm – but the ego hates the body because it is vulnerable and because it does not last.  Here is where the ego’s argument for our loyalty and our commitment to it dissipates, because while the ego can tell us that there is no God, or that God is terroristic, or that God has favorites, it cannot offer us anything but the body for protection.  And we all know that the body is a poor protector.

This is where the mind goes into a daze.  It sinks into a morass of despair for when we ask the ego where it can go for protection, the ego replies “turn to me.”  And the mind knows that the ego is the body and therefore there is no point in turning to it for protection.  The only solution to this dilemma is what the ego does best – it keeps us caught up in things that do not have any lasting value, it keeps the subject of its vulnerability and its certain death taboo in most human interactions, even in our most intimate relationships. 

Jesus tells us we must ask ourselves: “Where can I go for protection?”  While many of us seek blindly and desperately for some kind of solace for our terrible vulnerability in the flesh, this need not be!  True seeking is consciously undertaken, thoughtfully organized, and mindfully directed.  We must set a clear goal; and keep that goal in mind.  We all learn best when we believe that what we are trying to learn has value to us. 

The ego will offer us all kinds of things to learn, but nothing the ego teaches us has any lasting value.  Keeping us preoccupied with insoluble puzzles, theories, and problems is one of the ego’s favorite ways in which to impede our learning progress.  Whenever we get thrown off track by a tactic of the ego, we must ask ourselves, “What is this for?” “What is this for?” – when we find other people’s dramas, business, and shenanigans more interesting to us than pursuing our devotional practices and practicing what we learn and teach.  “What is this for?” – when we spend hours in front of the television watching people act out meaningless dramas that only distract us from all that does have meaning.  “What is this for?” – our obsession with houses, cars, bodies, holidays, social media, and hobbies.  We must always ask ourselves, “What is this for?”  “What is the purpose?” 

Jesus tells us that the purpose we determine will affect our future effort until we change our minds.  When we put seeking God first and foremost in our lives, the distractions and the diversions of the ego do not go away.  Our bodies are designed to need constant maintenance and replenishment.  Our relationships follow suit.  Everything we own in this world, seems to own us.  Our time, our money, our energy is spent on that which simply does not last. 

Jesus understands this!  He was here.  He was human; He had a body; and He had an ego.  He knows what we are up against.  Jesus leads us beyond the ego-body.  Jesus urges us to commit ourselves to that which is eternal.  This is not a one and done kind of salvation; there is no magic in it.  We must establish a goal, we must consciously embark upon our journey to God, we must willingly and willfully undertake a thoughtful and carefully organized curriculum, developed and masterfully directed by our wiser, older, most trustworthy brother, Jesus Christ.  Created as one with us, Christ welcomes us to join Him in eradicating the reptilian mind from our Identities forever, as we become whole and holy, complete in Him.  Christ not only raises the questions that ego will never raise; Christ responds with the means to overcome all our doubts, our fears, and our unease.  Let us commit ourselves to His teaching today because His teaching leads to Life. Life everlasting.  Let us do what He says to do and not do what He says not to do.  Let our future effort be focused upon the one true purpose determined in our hearts today!    

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4 The illusions of the ego. V The ego-body illusion. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4: The Illusions of the Ego

IV. This Need Not Be 7-11

7. The habit of engaging with God and His creations is easily made if you actively refuse to let your mind slip away.  The problem is not one of concentration; it is the belief that no one, including yourself, is worth consistent effort.  Side with me consistently against this deception, and do not permit this shabby belief to pull you back.  The disheartened are useless to themselves and to me, but only the ego can be disheartened. 

8. Have you really considered how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself and how many of them you have refused?  There is no limit to the power of a Son of God, but he can limit the expression of his power as much as he chooses.  Your mind and mine can unite in shining your ego away, releasing the strength of God into everything you think and do.  Do not settle for anything less than this and refuse to accept anything but this as your goal.  Watch your mind carefully for any beliefs that hinder its accomplishment, and step away from them.  Judge how well you have done this by your own feelings, for this is the one right use of judgment.  Judgment, like any other defense, can be used to attack or protect; to hurt or to heal.  The ego should be brought to judgment and found wanting there.  Without your own allegiance, protection, and love, the ego cannot exist.  Let it be judged truly and you must withdraw allegiance, protection, and love from it. 

9. You are a mirror of truth, in which God Himself shines in perfect light.  To the ego’s dark glass you need but say, “I will not look there because I know these images are not true.”  Then let the Holy One shine on you in peace, knowing that this and only this must be.  His Mind shone on you in your creation and brought your mind into being.  His Mind still shines on you and must shine through you.  Your ego cannot prevent Him from shining on you, but it can prevent you from letting Him shine through you.

10. The first coming of Christ is merely another name for the creation, for Christ is the Son of God.  The Second Coming of Christ means nothing more than the end of the ego’s rule and the healing of the mind.  I was created like you in the first, and I have called you to join with me in the second.  I am in charge of the Second Coming, and my judgment, which is used only for protection, cannot be wrong because it never attacks.  Yours may be so distorted that you believe I was mistaken in choosing you.  I assure you this is a mistake of your ego.  Do not mistake it for humility.  Your ego is trying to convince you that it is real, and I am not, because if I am real, I am no more real than you are.  That knowledge, and I assure you that it is knowledge, means that Christ has come into your mind and healed it.

11. I do not attack your ego. I do work with your higher mind, the home of the Holy Spirit, whether you are asleep or awake, just as your ego does with your lower mind, which is its home.  I am your vigilance in this because you are too confused to recognize your own hope.  I am not mistaken.  Your mind will elect to join with mine, and together we are invincible.  You and your brother will yet come together in my name, and your sanity will be restored.  I raised the dead by knowing that life is an eternal attribute of everything that the living God created.  Why do you believe it is harder for me to inspire the dis-spirited or to stabilize the unstable?  I do not believe that there is an order of difficulty in miracles; you do.  I have called and you will answer.  I understand that miracles are natural because they are expressions of love.  My calling you is as natural as your answer, and as inevitable.[1] 

Holding fast to the worthiness of our goal, coming to understand and to see the apparent shabbiness of not putting forth consistent effort and therefore not forming habits of love and devotion, is critical to our spiritual journey.  Our consistent devotion to God draws us into a holy habit of making every effort we can to disengage our mind from the ego and invite the light of Holy Spirit to shine on every unworthy thought, enlightening the dark corners, and hidden corridors of our systems of belief.  We bring our minds to God and thus reflect His love and His devotion to Creation.  If we continue with a split mind, a sick mind, a mind that still finds value in darkness, fear, and lovelessness – we are useless to ourselves, to Creation, and to Christ.

Jesus asks us to recount the occasions in our lives where instead of reflecting love, compassion, helpfulness, and harmlessness, we chose to be spiteful, pitiless, and downright mean.  We have all made the mistake of holding a grudge against someone, barging in where we are not welcome, insisting on our own way, and burdening others because we lacked the courage to take a stand for what is right.  When we limit the expression of God’s Love and God’s Light in our life, we are denying truth, we are not fulfilling our function, we are aligning ourselves with the ego rather than completing our mind with Christ. 

In paragraph nine, Jesus again implores us to watch our minds carefully for any beliefs that hinder us from disengaging with the ego’s fear and lack of love.  Our salvation does not rest upon “giving one’s heart to the Lord.”  It is not going to prayer meetings and speaking in tongues and prophesying flattering forecasts for all your Christian friends.  Salvation does not express itself by our human impulses and egotistical fantasies about ourselves doing a great and mighty work for God, drawing multitudes of people around us, and showing people how special we are.  As much of a lark as all this can be, salvation is a quiet and private uniting of our mind with the mind of Christ, inviting the light of His holiness to shine upon our ego and remove its stain upon our minds, thus releasing the strength of God into everything we think, say, and do. 

We are to not to assess our progress by counting how many followers we have, or how many people were healed because we prayed for them, or how much time we spent speaking in tongues or how many prophecies about how special we are to God were spoken over us.  We are to assess our progress by own feelings of release, our own minds ability to rest from its case building and unending opinions, to have peace from its draining worries and fears, to calmly and quietly, without the need for approval, agreement, or adulation from others, its communion with God.  This is our salvation – our minds freedom from the ego, our minds saved from the decaying, disease-ridden despondency of darkness.

While we are never to judge Creation, we are to judge the ego and withdraw our allegiance to it, individually, collectively, universally.  When we no longer cherish its lie, when we no longer uphold it, when we no longer pledge allegiance to it and teach others to do the same, the ego simply goes away.  Unlike truth, the ego can only exist as long as we uphold it, worship it, and promote it. 

Our lives mirror the truth of God’s perfect light, Jesus says.  We never have to look through the dark glass of the ego for we know that the ego presents to us, not God’s perfect light but quite a different tale.  All around us we can see the havoc that the ego wreaks on people’s lives, the betrayals, the predatory nature that devours rather that sustains life, the greediness of our systems which promise health, wisdom, and security but promote an all-consuming, debt-ridden illness, stupidity, and insecurity!  God Who brought our minds into being shines upon us and remains shining upon us and nothing the ego does can prevent God’s light from shining on us, Jesus tells us.  However, if we choose to shun His light and choose the lower realm of ego’s flesh and blood – God’s light still shines, but we will not reflect it. 

While we are accustomed to thinking of the first coming of Christ as Jesus the babe in the manger, Jesus expands our consciousness by asking us to see the first coming of Christ as Creation, for Christ is the Son of God even as Creation is His Son.  The Second Coming of Christ is merely the end of ego’s tyranny and the healing of our mind.  Only our egos fear the Second Coming of Christ for when Christ heals our minds, the ego does not exist, the lie and all of the lies it has sired, goes away in the light of truth!  Jesus tells us that He was created like we were in the first Creation and He is calling us to join Him in the Second Coming. 

We are called to stand with Him in the Last Judgment because it is used only for protection and not punishment or condemnation.  His judgment can never be wrong because it has no need to attack, but only to correct.  If we think of the judgment of Christ as having any form of attack in it, any form of condemnation, any form of holding us responsible for our enchantment and entrancement with a lie, we will believe that Christ is mistaken in choosing us.  Our ego will cause us to squirm and feel mighty uncomfortable for it works double-time and triple-time to convince us to be accountable for what it tricks us into doing and being.  As long as the ego can convince us that our reality belongs to it and not to God, we will think we are too much of a bad-ass to be of any service to Jesus.  We will think we are too smart, or too fleshy, or too earthbound to be of any heavenly service.  We will think that the ego is right, and Jesus is not.  We will think that the ego is real, and Jesus is the fantasy.  Accepting the knowledge of Christ, we know better because our minds are healed.  

Jesus does not attack our ego because the ego is a lie, it is doomed, it is only a temporary trick trapped in time.  Jesus works with our higher mind, the home of Holy Spirit; the ego works with our lower, serpentine mind, which is its home.  The ego works day and night to keep us in its petty kingdom, battling for survival, driving us mad against one another, throwing us into tizzies and conniptions, keeping us unfit for any better use than to perpetuate its misperceptions.   The good news is that Christ does not abandon us, He does not get His feelings hurt and go into a tiff when we do not recognize Him as our only hope.  He knows, as our older, wiser, and most devoted older Brother that we will come around, that we will join with Him, that we will take His hand and that together we are invincible once our sanity is restored to us. 

Jesus raised the dead because He never forgot that what God created can never die.  We must never doubt His ability to heal, to correct, to make stable anything and anyone.  We may believe that something is too hard, too far gone, too lost or sick or sinful to be of any use to Him, but Jesus does not believe this – not about me, and not about you.  He simply does not care how much havoc the ego has wreaked in our lives – all He cares about is that He has called, and we have answered.  No matter how much we have expressed otherwise, all He asks of us is to do what comes naturally to a mind which is healed and corrected and made one with God – we are to receive, to be, and to give miracles, to receive and be and to give expressions of love.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4 The illusions of the ego IV This need not be. 7-11. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4 The Illusions of the Ego

IV. This Need Not Be 1-6

  1. If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen.  That you do listen to the voice of your ego is demonstrated by your attitudes, your feelings and your behavior.  Yet this is what you want.  This is what you are fighting to keep and what you are vigilant to save.  Your mind is filled with schemes to save the face of your ego, and you do not seek the face of Christ.  The glass in which the ego seeks to see its face is dark indeed.  How can it maintain the trick of its existence except with mirrors?  But where you look to find yourself is up to you.
  2. I have said that you cannot change your mind by changing your behavior, but I have also said, and many times, that you can change your mind.  When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know this need not be.  In every case you have thought wrongly about some brother God created and are perceiving images your ego makes in a darkened glass.  Think honestly what you have thought that God would not have thought, and what you have not thought that God would have you think.  Search sincerely for what you have done and left undone accordingly, and then change your mind to think with God’s.  This may seem hard to do, but it is much easier than trying to think against it.  Your mind is one with God’s.  Denying this and thinking otherwise has held your ego together but has literally split your mind.  As a loving brother I am deeply concerned for your mind and urge you to follow my example as you look at yourself and at your brother and see in both the glorious creations of a glorious Father.
  3. When you are sad, know this need not be.  Depression comes from a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have.  Remember that you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise.
  4. When you are anxious, realize that anxiety comes from the capriciousness of the ego, and know this need not be.  You can be as vigilant against the ego’s dictates as for them.
  5. When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not.  Leave the “sins” of the ego to me.  That is what Atonement is for.  But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you.  While you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt.  This need not be.
  6. Watch your mind for the temptations of the ego, and do not be deceived by it.  It offers you nothing.  When you have given up this voluntary dis-spiriting, you will see how your mind can focus and rise above fatigue and heal.  Yet you are not sufficiently vigilant against the demands of the ego to disengage yourself.  This need not be.[1]

As we come to our daily devotional practice, ask the Lord to speak to your heart and mind and get past any defenses that you may still harbor in your thoughts.  We are still listening to the voice of the ego, Jesus tells us.  This is demonstrated through our attitudes, feelings, and behavior.  When we experience a feeling of dread or even fatigue toward our devotional practice, when we choose to do a bunch of other things and skip our time with God, when we allow the circumstances and issues that blare from the news medias of the world to engorge our minds with worldly concerns, Jesus tells us that we are fighting to keep, and we are vigilant to save, our identity with our ego.  Our minds are puffed up with thoughts about saving our human faces, about preserving our worldly goods, about impressing other people, about not losing ground in the world rather than seeking the face of Christ.  This reflects darkness in our life for ego cannot reflect anything else!  Where we look to find ourselves is up to us, Jesus reminds us.

This morning when I woke up, dark things from my past were presenting themselves to me.  The ego was recounting ways in which I hurt people, ways in which I was a disappointment to those who love and care about me, ways in which I mocked and ridiculed the things of God and the people who did their best to honor Him in their lives.  I thought of how my daughter died in a car accident and the ego was telling me that it was all because I was not a good person and it was because of my mistakes that she died.  Before I came downstairs to start the coffee and have my morning devotional, Jesus reminded me that I was looking into a dark and deceitful mirror to find myself.  I could continue to look into that mirror as long as I wanted, but it would never show me who and what I am.  It would never fill me with anything but lies; I would only feel bad about myself and others.  It would always show me the image of itself and hold me accountable me for all its dirty deeds.  It was up to me, if I wanted to be a dum-dum, but there was a shining mirror in which I could look and all the ego’s darkness would not be reflected there, only the love, the mercy, the purity of God. 

There are people in my life that my ego despises.  All it wants to do is make fun of them, avoid them, or talk mean about them.  Yet God did not create my brothers to give the ego something to mock, avoid, or build cases against.  God creates my brothers for me to love, cherish, and to share good times.  If I choose to believe the dark images that the ego reflects about others, I will not be filled with joy, I will not have peace, nor will I know purity and innocence.  Only when I choose to exercise my will and change my mind about what the ego tells me about others will I think with God.

My mind is one with God’s and so is yours.  Jesus tells us that changing our minds when our ego’s reflect dark images in our minds against ourselves and others may seem hard, but it is actually much easier on us when we think with Love than against Love.  Remember our God, our Creator, our Father, is Love.  When we think without Love we are thinking with something that has opposed what we are in truth.  When we deny our truth, our minds split into two separate and conflicting camps.  Jesus explains this to us in great detail so that we know what we are up against, brothers.  He is deeply concerned for our minds.  He urges us to look at ourselves and our brothers and choose to see the glorious creations of a glorious Father. 

We do not have to be sad, depressed, oppressed, or possessed of a deprived and depraved state of mind.  We are never deprived of anything except by our own decision.  We can ask God to give us what we really need and want and choose to be happy.  When I get sad about losing my daughter, I choose to remember all the beautiful days in which she blessed our life.  Instead of focusing on her death, I focus on her life and her resurrection.  I believe with all my heart that the reason that she visits me from time to time and gives me signs of her continued existence is because I have accepted that I am not deprived of her, that her meaning and purpose are far beyond our mother/daughter relationship, that she came to us and stayed with us exactly as long as she was supposed to stay.  When the ego tempts me to think that she was deprived of life or that I am deprived without her, I can choose to be depressed and feel sad or I can choose to go with the truth. 

When our daily stressors work us up and we find ourselves rushing about, hollering at the kids, being rude to our mates, and having regretful thoughts toward ourselves, slow down.  The ego will keep us in a state of hurrying, worrying, fretting, and fuming only as long as we allow.  There is absolutely nothing on the face of the earth that is worth losing our joy.  We are called to be vigilant for joy, for peace, for quietness and trust which stand against the yammers and clammers of the ego and the false sense of urgency that it promotes.

When the ego tries to guilt us, remember that it is the ego who violated the laws of God, and we are not accountable for the sins of the ego, once we shed our attachment to it and see it for what it is.  What we did when we were not in our right minds is forgiven and corrected by the Atonement.  The Atonement sets us free of all that would keep us trapped in fear, in harming instead of helping, in trying to gratify that which can never be gratified.  When we change our mind about those whom our ego has hurt, has played and toyed with, we no longer see them as our enemy, as our inferior or our superior, as anything but our equal, our brother, our friend.  All is forgiven and when that happens we are released from all that would torment us.  It is a very simple thing to know which mirror we are looking in to find out who we are!  If we are looking in a mirror that reflects guilt, we are listening to the voice of ego.  Guilt does not draw us closer to God.  Guilt does not bring us joy.  Guilt is a construct of the ego.  Choose to let it go!

This morning when my mind was tempted to accept feelings of guilt and depression, I chose not to be deceived by it.  I know from experience that going down that path leads to nowhere good, happy, or helpful.  That path is a dis-spiriting journey that leads to broken relationships, wrong-mindedness, helplessness, and uselessness.  Being in this state is a burden not only to ourselves, but to others and to Christ Himself.  When we choose and accept Christ’s vision of who and what we are, our minds can commit to God’s version of who we are – His Son.  We need to be vigilant, brothers.  We are called to be strong and of good courage.

When we are vigilant with our minds, we are inspired.  We are motivated.  We are free of the ego’s disheartening view of a shattered and fragmented Creation where dog-eats-dog and it is us against the world.  We use our minds to heal, to correct, to inspire and motivate others to shrug off the low-mind of ego and think with the mind of Christ. 

If you are following along with the syllabus, you may have noticed that instead of five paragraphs today we covered six.  We will finish the last five paragraphs of “This Need Not Be,” in tomorrow’s post.  Feel free however to read ahead to complete the section on your own.  Today in your thoughts and in your prayers ask God for the grace, the courage, and the commitment necessary to not only watch your mind but to change your mind from thinking with the ego to thinking with Christ.  In every interaction, reflect God’s love and mercy by offering forgiveness.  The ego will try to make this hard for you but be reminded that showing tender mercy and love is our natural state.  Being helpful and harmless is how we were created.  Getting back to our original version gives us joy, makes us whole, and keeps us well.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4. The illusions of the ego IV. This need not be 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For 2021 daily workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4 Illusions of the Ego

III. Love Without Conflict 6-10

6. No force except your own will is strong enough or worthy enough to guide you.  In this you are as free as God and must remain so forever.  Let us ask the Father in my name to keep you mindful of His Love for you and yours for Him.  He has never failed to answer this request, because it asks only for what He has already willed.  Those who call truly are always answered.  Thou shalt have no other gods before Him because there are none.

7. It has never really entered your mind to give up every idea you ever had that opposes knowledge.  You retain thousands of little scraps of fear that prevent the Holy One from entering.  Light cannot penetrate through the walls you make to block it, and it is forever unwilling to destroy what you have made.  No one can see through a wall, but I can step around it.  Watch your mind for the scraps of fear, or you will be unable to ask me to do so.  I can help you only as our Father created us.  I will love you and honor you and maintain complete respect for what you have made, but I will not uphold it unless it is true.  I will never forsake you any more than God will, but I must wait as long as you choose to forsake yourself.  Because I wait in love and not in impatience, you will surely ask me truly.  I will come in response to a single unequivocal call.

8. Watch carefully and see what it is you are really asking for.  Be very honest with yourself in this, for we must hide nothing from each other.  If you will really try to do this, you have taken the first step toward preparing your mind for the Holy One to enter.  We will prepare for this together, for once He has come, you will be ready to help me make other minds ready for Him.  How long will you deny Him His Kingdom?

9. In your own mind, though denied by the ego, is the declaration of your release.  God has given you everything. This one fact means the ego does not exist, and this makes it profoundly afraid.  In the ego’s language, “to have” and “to be” are different, but they are identical to the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit knows that you both have everything and are everything.  Any distinction in this respect is meaningful only when the idea of “getting,” which implies a lack, has already been accepted.  That is why we make no distinction between having the Kingdom of God and being the Kingdom of God. 

10. The calm being of God’s Kingdom, which in your sane mind is perfectly conscious, is ruthlessly banished from the part of the mind the ego rules.  The ego is desperate because it opposes literally invincible odds, whether you are asleep or awake.  Consider how much vigilance you have been willing to exert to protect your ego, and how little to protect your right mind.  Who but the insane would undertake to believe what is not true, and then protect this belief at the cost of truth?[1]

In today’s text reading, Jesus tells us that there is no force strong enough or worthy enough to guide us outside our own will.  We have freedom with our will, just as God is free.  Our will is free forever, Jesus tells us.  Many of us get tripped up over the concept of free will, but no will can be free outside of God for a will outside of God’s freedom and light is entranced by darkness and opposition.  Let us use our will then to free ourselves from conflict, to ask God in the name of Jesus to keep us mindful of His Love for us and our love for Him.  This is a request that God loves because it is His Will.  We are guaranteed this certainty of devotion that He bestows upon us and we give back to Him.  God is Love and this is the only God there is – we must give up all concepts of gods who are unloving and fearful for they simply do not exist!   

All opposition to God’s love for us must be given up.  Jesus tells us that we have thousands of scraps of fear that prevent us from knowing God, that prove unwelcoming to truth, that block the Holy One from entering into our consciousness.  The light of God’s Love is not a destroyer, a killer, a kicker-down-of-walls.  If we build a wall against God’s Light, we will not be able to see through it, but Jesus can step around any wall we build as long as we ask.  The key here is to keep a watch over our minds, to look for the bits of fear that we have allowed to come between our consciousness and God.  Any scrap that we do not ask the Lord to remove for us, will remain with us and hinder our progress.  Jesus loves us.  Jesus honors us.  Jesus respects us but He will never uphold our false concepts of God.  He will never uphold our feeble and unworthy versions of love.  He will never relay our ego-based prayers to God.  Jesus will never forsake us, but He will wait until we are ready to stop forsaking ourselves by asking for vanity, by asking for that which is not love, by asking for that which is not real or true or worthy of God’s Son.  Jesus promises to come when we call without ambiguity, when we want God and only God, when we ask for truth and are willing to turn away from all lies, half-truths, and perversions, when we are no longer satisfied with substitutes and opposites. 

We must hide nothing from Jesus.  He asks us to be very honest with ourselves. If we want God and anything else, then we are not ready.  He does not want us to clean up our act and put on our happy faces and come to Him all dressed up in our best clothes.  Neither does He want us in sackcloth and ash on our foreheads.  He simply wants us just the way we are, knowing that darkness cannot hide anything from Him.  When we ask to know God, to know truth, to be made right and be washed clean – make sure you know what you are asking for, Jesus says.  Do not hide your desire to only go as far as it is comfortable to you.  Do not hide your fears of becoming a fruitcake for Jesus.  Do not be afraid to make a list of your vices.  Do not hide your lies, your hypocrisy, your unholy relationships, your fantasies about becoming rich and famous and showing everybody how special you really are.  Put it all out there for Him, bring all those mistakes and fears and worries to Him.  If you are willing to put it all out there, all the things that make you cry, all the things you love about the world, all the times you go for attack, all that which you think you must defend – you have taken the first step of preparing your mind for knowledge, for Holiness, for Oneness.  When we bring our all to Christ, Christ prepares our minds and ushers God back to the throne of our inner kingdoms where He belongs.  Only then are we in a position to prepare other minds for the Kingdom. 

The ego will deny us our release from its tyranny, but it is not up to the ego.  We are given everything.  And because we are given everything, we have everything and because we have everything we are everything.  There is no distinction between having and being in the Spirit.  The only time having and being are different states of mind is when the idea of lack, of scarcity, of something being withheld from us is accepted as truth.  Then we go back to the state of being but not having, of having but not being.  This is the ego state which does not exist except in a mindset based upon fear.  Because we both have the Kingdom of God and are the Kingdom of God, ego has no place in which to divide us, to find a toehold, to insert a lie, to make an opposite. 

In the last paragraph of today’s reading, Jesus tells us that the ego is ruthless in its response to the peace, the calm, the quiet certainty of God’s Kingdom.  Whether we are awake or we are asleep, the ego opposes God’s Kingdom because in Love there is no place for the conflicts inherent in ego.  Jesus asks us to reverse the way in which we have been doing things.  Instead of misplacing our loyalty on the split mind of ego and all that opposes God, focus upon our right minds, protect the part of our mind that wills with God, joins with Christ, and focuses on right-mindedness.  This is the way to sanity, to peace, to everlasting joy and eternal certainty. Unlike the Spirit, the ego does not wait to be welcomed, it barges in, it takes over, it sets up its little serfdom as a substitute for God’s Kingdom.  Our human bodies are designed by and for ego tyranny.  But we are not flesh and blood.  We are Spirit.  And so we watch over our minds and refuse access to the thoughts of ego.  If we allow the ego to paint fantasies on the displays of our minds, if we allow the ego to torment us with the past or tempt us to attack our enemies, if we allow our egos to dream of hate, of vengeance, of morbidity of any kind, we are in our wrong mind.  If we allow our egos to impede or prevent the call of God on our lives, to make us unhelpful and harmful to others instead of healing and correcting, we have lost our marbles, we are not sane, we are crazy and not in a good way!   We will delay our return to God, and we will delay the return of the whole world. 

Today we welcome Jesus to guard our minds and keep us pure. For we ask for undivided Love, we ask for the unity of God’s Kingdom come, we pray with God’s Will and not against it.  We stand with Christ and we pray in His name, for it is Christ Who shows us the way and leads us Home.     

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4 Illusions of the ego III Love without conflict 6-10. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4 Illusions of the Ego

III. Love Without Conflict 1-5

  1. It is hard to understand what “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” really means.  This is because it is not understandable to the ego, which interprets it as if something outside is inside, and this does not mean anything.  The word “within” is unnecessary.  The Kingdom of Heaven is you.  What else but you did the Creator create, and what else but you is His Kingdom?  This is the whole message of the Atonement; a message which in its totality transcends the sum of its parts.  You, too, have a Kingdom that your spirit created.  It has not ceased to create because of the ego’s illusions.  Your creations are no more fatherless than you are.  Your ego and your spirit will never be co-creators, but your spirit and your Creator will always be.  Be confident that your creations are as safe as you are:  The Kingdom is perfectly united and perfectly protected, and the ego will not prevail against it.  Amen.
  2. This is written in the form of a prayer because it is useful in moments of temptation.  It is a declaration of independence.  You will find it very helpful if you understand it fully.  The reason you need my help is because you have denied your own Guide and therefore need guidance.  My role is to separate the true from the false, so truth can break through the barriers the ego has set up and can shine into your mind.  Against our united strength the ego cannot prevail.
  3. It is surely apparent by now why the ego regards spirit as its “enemy.”  The ego arose from the separation, and its continued existence depends on your continuing belief in the separation.  The ego must offer you some sort of reward for maintaining this belief.  All it can offer is a sense of temporary existence, which begins with its own beginning and ends with its own ending.  It tells you this life is your existence because it is its own.  Against this sense of temporary existence spirit offers you the knowledge of permanence and unshakable being.  No one who has experienced the revelation of this can ever fully believe in the ego again.  How can its meager offering to you prevail against the glorious gift of God?
  4. You who identify with your ego cannot believe God loves you.  You do not love what you made, and what you made does not love you.  Being made out of the denial of the Father, the ego has no allegiance to its maker.  You cannot conceive of the real relationship that exists between God and His creations because of your hatred for the self you made.  You project onto the ego the decision to separate, and this conflicts with the love you feel for the ego because you made it.  No love in this world is without this ambivalence, and since no ego has experienced love without ambivalence the concept is beyond its understanding.  Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly.  This means that it wants it without ambivalence, and this kind of wanting is wholly without the ego’s “drive to get.”
  5. There is a kind of experience so different from anything the ego can offer that you will never want to cover it or hide it again.  It is necessary to repeat that your belief in darkness and hiding is why the light cannot enter.  The Bible gives many references to the immeasurable gifts which are for you, but for which you must ask.  This is not a condition as the ego sets conditions.  It is the glorious condition of what you are.[1]

As we come to our devotional practice today, Jesus introduces us to the idea of love without conflict.  In the ego, this is impossible.  What we call human “love” is not love at all because it is conflicted, it is unstable, it is uncertain, it can change.  Human love gives us a run for its money.  We must fight for it, hang on to it for dear life, wrap it up in charms and magic, make vows, break vows, make new vows – it is a mad dog from hell, some say – what humans call love.  We all want it, we crave it, we even kill for it, but it never lives up to its promise. 

Jesus begins love without conflict by revealing to us what the inner Kingdom really means.  To the ego, the inner kingdom means nothing.  Because the ego cannot perceive the Kingdom of God, the ego is only vaguely aware of it and deathly afraid of it.  Jesus tells us today that the inner Kingdom is what we are.  It is the only thing we are.  We may think we are humans; we may think we are egos, but this is only temporary, this is only an outward expression which cannot begin to define our identity.  Our spirits and our egos are not co-creators, they are not companions, they do not speak the same language, they do not communicate. But our spirits have never left God; they are protected by God, and nothing the ego does can harm either our spirits or what we create with God. 

This is our declaration of independence, our freedom song.  Ask the Lord to elucidate the meaning of this to help you understand both the continued safety and productivity of our spirits even while we experience humanity.  When I asked the Lord to clarify the meaning of this to me, I was shown a rather pithy, human illustration, which may be helpful to you.  If I suffer some brain damage and have to be committed to an asylum to keep me from hurting myself or others, my husband would continue to keep our house and all that we have safe and secure until I recover my marbles, return to my senses, and am able to come home and perform my functions as mate, teacher, writer, and matriarch.  Even while I am in a state of active insanity, James would pick up the slack, just as I would do for him – because we love each other, because we believe in each other, because our commitment to one another is beyond sickness and health.  It just is. 

We have denied our Guide and we need help to return to our senses.  Jesus helps us to separate the tangled web of truth and falsity that our madness has made of Creation.  Our minds have become a bewildering maze of perverted truths, half-baked theories, and ever-changing suppositions.  Only until our minds are healed can the light of truth shine again.  Becoming one with Jesus simply means asking for and accepting His guidance.  And His promise is that our united strength is invulnerable to all tactics of the ego. 

The ego regards spirit as its enemy.  The only way it continues to exist is the continued belief we have in the separation, in being an outcast of Heaven, of fearing God rather than loving Him.  Ego rewards us for believing in the cast-out-of-the-Kingdom version of reality with a temporary existence which begins at birth and ends with death.  Ego convinces us that this is all the life we get, because it is all the life it gets.  It is a leech that feeds on the sad belief in its lies, its perversions, its impermanence, lack of love, disease, decay, and death.

And yet once we remember, once the light of truth begins to penetrate our darkened minds, once we have experienced the truth of God’s eternal love and devotion, to who and what we are in Him and to Him, the ego’s hold upon our minds is loosened.  We can never fully believe in its lies again.  

As long as we identify with our human body, our ego, our human condition we will not believe God loves us.  No matter how much we value our bodies, we can not truly love ourselves in the flesh!  We eat too much; we drink too much.  We slink about concerned that our flesh is somehow better or worse than other flesh.  We tell lies, we talk about our brothers behind their backs.  Our bodies smell foul and get infected unless we bathe every day and twice on Sundays.  We plot and scheme.  We gush over people for all the wrong things.  We love someone one day and cannot stand them the next.  We are in constant need of gratification.  Take away our food and water and we become ravenous beasts who wolfishly gobble whatever we can to fill but never appease our rapacious appetites.  Whether we live one year or a hundred years, all of our flesh withers away from the bone and turns to dust.  This is what we get when we deny our identity in God.  We make a hellish substitute – one in which we find impossible to truly love and one in which has no love nor allegiance to us. 

Jesus tells us that the ego cannot conceive God’s love for us because the ego has only ever known the conflicted love of this world.  It is ambivalent.  For in the world of physicality love is hard work, it is stressful, it is demanding, and it is never satisfied.  It is the humans we “love” the most who stress us the most, whom we complain about the most, who drain us not only of our time, our energy, our money, but of our joy, our happiness, and sense of well-being.  Our ego expectations of those we love demand their loyalty, their sacrifice, their willingness to be all that we expect them to be.  And vice versa.  We trade freedom and liberty of the Kingdom for the iron balls and heavy chains of love ego style – conditional, conflicted, and coerced.    

Jesus promises us in today’s reading that we can go beyond the ego’s substitute for love.  We can have and be the real deal.  Love will enter the minds of those who truly want it without conflict.  There is no “drive to get” in real Love.  This Love delivers us from the ego version once and for all.  This does not mean that we will not make a few mistakes; it simply means that the real deal is so unlike the ego’s version that ego’s version will never be a real ongoing temptation again.  We will be more and more willing to expose the ego, to no longer give it a place in our minds, to bring it to the light of God’s Love.  To let go of its insatiable drive to get, to lay down its feeble replacement for Love and ask for the real deal. 

The gifts that God has for us are immeasurable. They are beyond perception.  They are beyond the limited and limiting scope of the ego’s greedy grasp for that which never satisfies.  We ask that we may receive.  We must ask because our Spirits are free and there is no coercion in Love.  Love does not show up at our mind’s door and barge in unwelcome.  Light does not show up in darkness – the uninvited guest.  Ask, Jesus says.  Welcome with no fear, no ambivalence, no conflict.   

We will end today’s reading at paragraph five.  Tomorrow we will complete the final paragraphs of Love without Conflict.  Continue in your prayers for enlightenment, for illumination, for ways in which the concepts can be personally illustrated and applied in your life.  Pay particular attention to the second sentence of the last paragraph of today’s reading: “It is necessary to repeat that your belief in darkness and hiding is why the light cannot enter.”  When you read the news, watch a movie, or simply observe human interaction as it goes on around you in any setting – watch for indications of the belief in darkness and hiding, pay attention to the times we fail to welcome the light of love. The other night I watched a movie called Bliss, which unlike its title, provided me plenty of opportunity to take note of the belief in darkness and hiding.  Darkness and hiding are lies of the ego – there is no real power in harming, in getting for one’s self, in replacing one temporal circumstance or relationship for a “better” one.  Dare to imagine a different scenario where light and transparency are offered in place of darkness and hiding, where helpfulness and harmlessness heal, correct, and replace the ill will and harmful practices that spin and keep on spinning the deceitful web of ego-world.  Ask God with a sincere heart and an undivided mind to save you from all substitutes, substances, and subversions of the ego and give you the immeasurable gifts which are not only for you but are You.  Pray in the name of Jesus for He is our Brother, our Savior, and our Guide. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter Four Illusions of the ego III Love without conflict. 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4: Illusions of the Ego

II. The Ego and False Autonomy 6-11

6.  Only those who have a real and lasting sense of abundance can be truly charitable.  This is obvious when you consider what is involved.  To the ego, to give anything implies that you will have to do without it.  When you associate giving with sacrifice, you give only because you believe that you are somehow getting something better and can therefore do without the thing you give.  “Giving to get” is an inescapable law of the ego, which always evaluates itself in relation to other egos.  It is therefore continually preoccupied with the belief in scarcity that gave rise to it.  Its whole perception of other egos as real is only an attempt to convince itself that it is real.  “Self-esteem” in ego terms means nothing more than that the ego has deluded itself into accepting its reality and is therefore temporarily less predatory.  This “self-esteem” is always vulnerable to stress, a term which refers to any perceived threat to the ego’s existence.

7.  The ego literally lives by comparisons.  Equality is beyond its grasp, and charity becomes impossible.  The ego never gives out of abundance because it was made as a substitute for it.  That is why the concept of “getting” arose in the ego’s thought system.  Appetites are “getting” mechanisms, representing the ego’s need to confirm itself.  This is as true of body appetites as it is of the so-called “higher ego needs.”  Body appetites are not physical in origin.  The ego regards the body as its home and tries to satisfy itself through the body.  But the idea that this is possible is a decision of the mind, which has become completely confused about what is really possible.

8.  The ego believes it is completely on its own, which is merely another way of describing how it thinks it originated.  This is such a fearful state that it can only turn to other egos and try to unite with them in a feeble attempt at identification or attack them in an equally feeble show of strength.  It is not free, however, to open the premise to question, because the premise is its foundation.  The ego is the mind’s belief that it is completely on its own.  The ego’s ceaseless attempts to gain the spirit’s acknowledgment and thus establish its own existence are useless.  Spirit in its knowledge is unaware of the ego.  It does not attack it; it merely cannot conceive of it at all.  While the ego is equally unaware of spirit, it does perceive itself as being rejected by something greater than itself.  This is why self-esteem in ego terms must be delusional.  The creations of God do not create myths, although creative effort can be turned to mythology.  It can do so, however only under one condition; what it makes is then no longer creative.  Myths are entirely perceptual, and so ambiguous in form and characteristically good-and-evil in nature that the most benevolent of them is not without fearful connotations.

9. Myths and magic are closely associated, since myths are usually related to ego origins, and magic to the powers the ego ascribes to itself.  Mythological systems generally include some account of “the creation,” and associate this with its particular form of magic.  The so-called “battle for survival” is only the ego’s struggle to preserve itself, and its interpretation of its own beginning.  This beginning is usually associated with physical birth because it is hard to maintain that the ego existed before that point in time.  The more “religiously” ego-oriented may believe that the soul existed before and will continue to exist after a temporary lapse into ego life.  Some even believe that the soul will be punished for this lapse.  However, salvation does not apply to spirit, which is not in danger and does not need to be salvaged. 

10.  Salvation is nothing more than “right-mindedness,” which is not the One-mindedness of the Holy Spirit, but which must be achieved before One-mindedness is restored.  Right-mindedness leads to the next step automatically because right perception is uniformly without attack, and therefore wrong-mindedness is obliterated.  The ego cannot survive without judgment and is laid aside accordingly.  The mind then has only one direction in which it can move.  Its direction is always automatic, because it cannot but be dictated by the thought system to which it adheres. 

11.  It cannot be emphasized too often that correcting perception is merely a temporary expedient.  It is necessary only because misperception is a block to knowledge, while accurate perception is a stepping-stone towards it.  The whole value of right perception lies in the inevitable realization that all perception is unnecessary. This removes the block entirely.  You may ask how this is possible as long as you appear to be living in this world.  That is a reasonable question.  You must be careful, however, that you really understand it.  Spirit is immortal, and immortality is a constant state.  It is as true now as it ever was or ever will be because it implies no change at all.  It is not a continuum, nor is it understood by being compared to an opposite.  Knowledge never involves comparisons.  That is its main difference from everything else the mind can grasp.[1]

In today’s text reading, Jesus goes on to explain charity in terms of the ego and the real charity of the Spirit.  Spiritual charity comes from a real and lasting sense of abundance.  There is nothing but the never-ending supply of love, life, laughter, mercy, goodwill, and wholeness.  However, we all know that in this world there are limitations, scarcities, and shortages.  Ego gives with a backlash of some kind!  Seeking appreciation, recognition, or reciprocation, ego perverts charity into martyrdom, sacrifice, a simmering, silent grudge or outspoken judgment. Whether on the giving or the receiving end of such weak forms of charity – it is never a completely joyful exchange.  Giving is stressful in the world, it requires time, money, effort.  Few of us are born with silver spoons in our mouths, and so having enough resources to have extra implies that one worked harder than other people, was wiser with their finances, that the giver is better in some way than the receiver.  While this may seem to raise the self-esteem of the giver, Jesus points out that this only indicates a temporary lapse in the predatory nature of ego.  Even the weakened forms of charity that ego offers, threatens the ego’s existence and so giving, which is a natural and joyful attribute of Spirit, is perceived as very stressful to the ego.  Giving of any kind wears the ego out.  It fatigues rather than enlivens.

In paragraph seven Jesus tells us that the ego thrives on comparisons.  “They are privileged; I am not.”  “They may be better looking than me, but I have more money.” “Must be nice to be born wealthy, I have to work for every penny I make.” “My car may be old and rusty, but I can still get to work on time unlike so-and-so who always arrives late and has to park her Tesla five blocks away.”  Equality is nothing that the ego can grasp though it does seem to blather on about it quite a bit.  True charity is impossible to the ego – because it is always thinking of how much it can get and keep for itself rather than reciprocate.  We learn in the ego world that no matter how many favors we do for other people, no matter how “good” we are to them in our own eyes, no matter how we sacrifice for them – we are only ever as good as our last favor. 

There is no point complaining about this or building cases against others for Jesus explains that ego’s and the human forms that represent them were made as a substitute for abundance.  Think of this for a few moments and let this thought sink in.  We chose physicality over Spirit.  We chose to identify with scarcity, limitations, incompleteness, and separateness.  The concept of “getting,” “taking,” keeping for oneself can only follow.  Jesus tells us that all appetites of the flesh are actually ego’s attempts to satisfy itself through bodily means.  To think that the ego can ever be satisfied is a mistake, for it is impossible to meet its appetites – it must constantly be replenished.  I often assure people who sit next to me in a meeting, not to be afraid of my noisy stomach that rumbles and growls like a wild beast when I skip a meal or go past my usual lunch time!  Its bark is worse than its bite, I tell them.  While this is a light-hearted way to get past blushing for the belly rumbles, Jesus tells us that to put our ego in charge and follow its appetites has left our minds in a state of confusion and denied us our true potential. 

Our ego believes that it got here on its own steam, that it is all by itself in a frightening universe with dangers from within and dangers from without.  Forming alliances with other egos is its only means to find identity and feel as if it belongs to something besides itself.  Forming alliances with those as alike to it as possible also forms a means of defense against egos who are different.  Amassing weapons, plotting and scheming, getting one over on others – are the ego’s way to survive by the seat of its little drawers in the shadowland of separateness.  The ego is the mind’s belief that it is completely on its own.  Ego attempts to reach God are met with bitter disappointment for Spirit cannot recognize flesh.  No matter what we do to impress God of our worth to Him, no matter how much we toot our tinny horns to get God’s attention, no matter the songs we sing to Him, the time we spend in church or in the bible, unless we come to Him without fear and the flesh, He cannot hear us, know us, or recognize Himself in our calls to Him.  Self-flagellation and suffering are ridiculous attempts to prove anything to God.  God does not hate our flesh, God does not enjoy our pain and suffering, God is Spirit and has no way of perceiving that which is not like Him. 

Jesus very pointedly tells us that ego is equally unaware of Spirit, but it is aware of something bigger and better than itself that has rejected it.  It is this feeling of rejection that causes the ego to seek esteem, but no matter how much it seeks esteem, it will never really have it.  The ego then makes up myths about God – it makes gods very much like itself, ones who are jealous, who pick favorites, who sets one part of creation against the other.  Myths are much like beliefs in that they are not real, and nothing can make them real.  No matter what stories we make up about God, the rites and rituals we perform to please Him, the sacrifices He demands from us to keep us on His good side – we can never make them true.  Ego gods are myths just like the ego is.  Ego gods are ambiguous, Jesus tells us.  They are both good and evil in nature.  Even the nicest egos and the best myths always have an element of fear, dread, and are inclined to misuse any power attributed to it.

Myths are usually related to ego origins, to “the creation,” and magic to the powers the ego credits to itself.   The ongoing battle for survival is the ego’s attempts to keep itself going and a way in which to give itself meaning.  While egos usually associate its beginning with physical birth because it is hard for it to maintain a separate existence before its point in time, the more religious ego will believe that it has a soul that existed before and will continue to exist after its ego life.  Some egos hold a strong sense of impending punishment for the souls lapse into ego and human form and seek “salvation,” in order to escape it.  However, Jesus says that salvation does not apply to spirit – our eternal spirits are in no danger for what is created by God is always stable and has not changed and therefor never needs to be salvaged. 

No matter what we may have been taught about what salvation is, Jesus makes it very clear that salvation is merely right-mindedness.  Our minds must be saved, be made right, be set free from the wrong-minded ego myths and magic that has replaced our fearless love for God.  Before we can be restored to the Oneness of God’s Kingdom, our minds must be set free of falsely identifying with all that is unworthy of God.  When we are in our right minds, we no longer fear, we no longer judge, we no longer condemn or blame or attack.  The ego cannot survive in this realm and the mind has only one direction in which to move.   The mind freed of the tyrant can no longer be dictated by the ego’s belief system.  We recognize our worth to God, we recognize our mutuality, we recognize that which Creation has been yearning for since time began.

In the last paragraph, Jesus emphasizes that misperception is a block to knowledge and accurate perception leads us toward knowledge.  The value of right perception is to help us realize that all perception is unnecessary beyond the ego and the flesh.  When we realize this knowledge becomes apparent.  Until we realize this, we will still believe in myths and magic.  We will still believe that God should care about our human forms and human circumstances.  We will see what happens in the perceptual world and believe that God is punishing, or God is blessing.  But Jesus reminds us:  Spirit is immortal.  Immortality is a constant state.  It never changes.  Spirit is not temperamental; but always the same. Spirit is not a continuum; Spirit has no time line; Spirit does not go into battle, throw temper tantrums, or engage in mouth battles.  Spirit does not take sides or have favorites.  Spirit has no competition and has no opposite.  Spirit only recognizes us in spirit and in truth, our fleshly concerns are not real to Spirit.  Knowledge can never be compared to anything because it is everything.  This is enough for our minds to grasp for the time being.  Jesus promises to step into our perceptual world for us and take care of our human concerns if we want Him to, but our Spirits?  Forever secure, forever unchanged, forever God’s Son. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4 Illusions of the ego II The ego and false autonomy. 6-11. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4: Illusions of the Ego

Section II. The Ego and False Autonomy 1-5

  1. It is reasonable to ask how the mind could ever have made the ego.  In fact, it is the best question you could ask.  There is, however, no point in giving an answer in terms of the past because the past does not matter, and history would not exist if the same errors were not being repeated in the present.  Abstract thought applies to knowledge because knowledge is completely impersonal, and examples are irrelevant to its understanding.  Perception, however, is always specific, and therefore quite concrete.
  2. Everyone makes an ego or a self for himself, which is subject to enormous variation because of its instability.  He also makes an ego for everyone else he perceives, which is equally variable.  Their interaction is a process that alters both because they were not made by or with the Unalterable.  It is important to realize that this alteration can and does occur as readily when the interaction takes place in the mind as when it involves physical proximity.  Thinking about another ego is as effective in changing relative perception as is physical interaction.  There could be no better example that the ego is only an idea and not a fact.
  3. Your own state of mind is a good example of how the ego was made.  When you threw knowledge away it is as if you never had it.  This is so apparent that one need only recognize it to see that it does happen.  If this occurs in the present, why is it surprising that it occurred in the past?  Surprise is a reasonable response to the unfamiliar, though hardly to something that occurs with such persistence.  But do not forget that the mind need not work that way, even though it does work that way now.
  4. Think of the love of animals for their offspring, and the need they feel to protect them.  That is because they regard them as part of themselves.  No one dismisses something he considers part of himself.  You react to your ego much as God does to His creation, – with love, protection, and charity.  Your reactions to the self you made are not surprising.  In fact, they resemble in many ways how you will one day react to your real creations, which are as timeless as you are.  The question is not how you respond to the ego, but what you believe you are.  Belief is an ego function, and as long as your origin is open to belief you are regarding it from an ego viewpoint.  When teaching is no longer necessary you will merely know God.  Belief that there is another way of perceiving is the loftiest idea of which ego thinking is capable.  That is because it contains a hint of recognition that the ego is not the Self. 
  5. Undermining the ego’s thought system must be perceived as painful, even though this is anything but true.  Babies scream in rage if you take away a knife or scissors, although they may well harm themselves if you do not.  In this sense you are still a baby.  You have no sense of real self-preservation and are likely to decide that you need precisely what would hurt you the most.  Yet whether or not you recognize it now, you have agreed to cooperate in the effort to become both harmless and helpful, attributes that must go together.  Your attitudes even toward this are necessarily conflicted because all attitudes are ego-based.  This will not last.  Be patient a while and remember that the outcome is as certain as God.[1]

In our devotional practice today, Jesus tells us that the best question we can ask is how our mind made the ego.  Instead of taking us back to the beginning, Jesus explains that what happens in our own lives and in our own time serves as the best example, simply because there would have been no reason for history to repeat itself if the same mistakes were not being repeated into the present.

We must do our best to understand what Jesus tells us about the difference between knowing and seeing.  This is information that informs us of what we really are – abstract, whole, complete, all knowing, Spirit like God – and what we think we are – perception, ego, separated, in parts, flesh and blood, human.   Knowledge is not personal, it is abstract thought – knowledge has no parts, it is whole.  A little bit of knowledge is not possible, it is not true knowledge – to have knowledge is to know everything. 

Perception is always specific, it is not abstract, it has form, it is concrete, Jesus says.  Perception is not knowledge because it is not complete.  I can perceive all day and all night and into next week, but I will never have the complete picture – I will just gather facts and with these separate little bits of information I will do my best to piece together a picture, but it will never be whole, it will never be perfect, it will be put together in parts with some pieces missing. 

In paragraph two, Jesus tells us that all of us make an ego to stand in place of our real Self, which is spirit, which is God’s Son, which is complete.  These ego selves come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and temperaments.  The ego selves make egos for everyone else perceived in the perceptual arena and they all come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and temperaments.  All other egos are perceived differently and mostly at odds with one’s own ego self.  Because these selves are made by that which is not true, stable, or knowledgeable, they are continually interacting in ways which change their perception.  Whether in the mind or in the physical presence of other egos, each exchange between egos changes their perception of both egos.  Jesus tells us that there is no better way to show that the ego – which is always changing its mind, changing sides, changing tactics, agendas, opinions, and perceptions, is not a fact, it is not true, it is only an idea.

We can all use our own state of mind for a personal example of how the ego was made.  Throwing knowledge away – is as if we never had it.  Knowing better does not mean we always do the right thing.  It happens all the time.  Mates who love and care for each other deeply may still have drunken flings.  People with good names and thriving businesses often get greedy and embezzle money.  Those with beautiful homes may keep them in disrepair.  Those blessed with children will lose out on the joys of parenthood by constantly griping and complaining. We have all twisted our heads to have a better look at something disgusting.  We get hooked to that which causes us nightmares.  We have all been tempted to take things that do not belong to us, to take secret delight in the misfortunes of others, to spend more money than we earn, to eat more than our fair share!  It should be no surprise to us, Jesus says, that we threw knowledge away in the face of temptation- we do it every single day.  While it is a mistake for our minds to go in the opposite direction than knowledge, we do not have to make mistakes, we do not have to cherish our mistakes, we do, however, have to correct them. 

However, we react to our mistaken egos as our own creations.  We love them, defend them, and nurture them.  We think of our egos as our selves.  Just as God loves His Creation, we love our false selves.  We think of our human form as our self.  We think of the other forms we see in the perceptual realm as other separate and distinct ego selves.  We feel now toward our mortal body as we will feel toward our everlasting creations in immortality, Jesus tells us. 

It is only natural that we love what we made, even if it is mortal and therefore not real in the eternal sense of the word.  The question then is not how we respond to our egos, the question is what we believe we are.  Belief itself is not a function of Spirit, for Spirit knows.  Belief is not knowing; it is having an opinion.  It is open to dispute.  When you ask another person if they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, whether they respond with a yes or a no, has no bearing at all to the reality of Christ.  You can believe in something all you want, but it does not make it true, it does not make it right, it does not change reality one iota.  Conversely, you can disbelieve in Jesus and it does not take anything away from Him. 

It is important for us to understand this distinction because belief is not something of the Spirit.  Spirit knows.  Egos believe.  The best we can do from the world of perception is come to the realization that there must be another way that is past the perceptual world of ego, of humanity, of flesh and blood.  To come to that realization is to have developed an inkling that the ego is not the true Self. 

When the perceptual kingdom, the world, the ego’s thought system, is exposed for what it is, it is perfectly reasonable to flounder, to be bitter, to go on rants, and long to be taken up in the Rapture. We have put ourselves in a precarious position in the world of perception!  We are the ones who see things that others do not and fail to see what they do.  We do not fit in anymore.  We have agreed to stand with Christ.  Whether we were aware of it or not, we have agreed to be helpful and harmless – two attributes that combined outrage our ego for this harmless helpfulness dissolves its false perceptions.  For when I can see you as part of me, as no longer separate or different or in any way higher or lesser than me, I can only be helpful, I can only mean you no harm!  I cannot tell you that I am saved, and you are not – for if I am saved, so are you.  We are the same in the eyes of Christ.  I do not judge you by your beliefs, your behaviors, your words, or your expressions – I know you as Christ knows you.  I recognize you as brother.  This is the only truly helpful thing we can offer anyone because it is perfectly harmless.  It is the great equalizer.  It is salvation because it is right-mindedness.  It is correcting and not punishing, it is just because it is fair, it is the released unclasping the bonds of those still in captivity.  The only way to know God is by understanding His love and devotion to us, because fear would drive us away.

This is all we will cover in today’s text review.  In your holy devotion, ask the Lord to illuminate this passage.  Lay your eyes and ears and mouth on the altar of truth and ask for the vision of Christ.  There is no fear in the vision of Christ.  There is no heartache and heartbreak.  There is no conflict and confusion.  There are no threats or curses or coercion.  There is only His unchanging love and unfailing mercy. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4: The illusions of the ego II: The ego and false autonomy. 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4: Illusions of the Ego

I. Right Teaching and Right Learning 8-13

8.  The ego tries to exploit all situations into forms of praise for itself in order to overcome its doubts.  It will remain doubtful as long as you believe in its existence.  You who made it cannot trust it, because in your right mind you realize it is not real.  The only sane solution is not to try to change reality, which is indeed a fearful attempt, but to accept it as it is.  You are part of reality, which stands unchanged beyond the reach of your ego but within easy reach of spirit.  When you are afraid, be still and know that God is real, and you are His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased.  Do not let your ego dispute this, because the ego cannot know what is as far beyond its reach as you are.

9.  God is not the author of fear.  You are.  You have chosen to create unlike Him and have therefore made fear for yourself.  You are not at peace because you are not fulfilling your function.  God gave you a very lofty function that you are not meeting.  Your ego has chosen to be afraid instead of meeting it.  When you awaken you will not be able to understand this, because it is literally incredible.  Do not believe the incredible now.  Any attempt to increase its believableness is merely to postpone the inevitable.  The word “inevitable” is fearful to the ego, but joyous to the spirit.  God is inevitable, and you cannot avoid Him any more than He can avoid you. 

10.  The ego is afraid of the spirit’s joy, because once you have experienced it you will withdraw all protection from the ego and become totally without investment in fear.  Your investment is great now because fear is a witness to the separation, and your ego rejoices when you witness it.  Leave it behind!  Do not listen to it and do not preserve it.  Listen only to God, Who is as incapable of deception as is the spirit He created.  Release yourself and release others.  Do not present a false and unworthy picture of yourself to others, and do not accept such a picture of them yourself. 

11. The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for you, because it cannot build otherwise.  Do not try to make this impoverished house stand.  Its weakness is your strength.  Only God could make a home that is worthy of His creations, who have chosen to leave it empty by their own dispossession.  Yet His home will stand forever and is ready for you when you choose to enter it.  Of this you can be wholly certain.  God is as incapable of creating the perishable as the ego is of making the eternal.

12. Of your ego you can do nothing to save yourself or others, but of your spirit you can do everything for the salvation of both.  Humility is the lesson for the ego, not for the spirit.  Spirit is beyond humility because it recognizes its radiance and gladly sheds its light everywhere.  The meek shall inherit the earth because their egos are humble, and this gives them truer perception.  The Kingdom of Heaven is the spirit’s right, whose beauty and dignity are far beyond doubt, beyond perception, and stand forever as the mark of the Love of God for His creations, who are wholly worthy of Him and only of Him.  Nothing else is sufficiently worthy to be a gift for a creation of God Himself.

13. I will substitute for your ego if you wish, but never for your spirit.  A father can safely leave a child with an elder brother who has shown himself responsible, but this involves no confusion about the child’s origin.  The brother can protect the child’s body and his ego, but he does not confuse himself with the father because he does this.  I can be entrusted with your body and your ego only because this enables you not to be concerned with them and lets me teach you their unimportance.  I could not understand their importance to you if I had not once been tempted to believe in them myself.  Let us undertake to learn this lesson together so we can be free of them together.  I need devoted teachers who share my aim of healing the mind.  Spirit is far beyond the need of your protection or mine.  Remember this:

In the world you need not have tribulation because I have overcome the world. 

That is why you should be of good cheer.[1]

As we come to our devotional practice today let us close our perceptual eyes and ask our Brother Jesus to give us His vision. We invite our holy Brother Jesus to be the guardian of our minds, to substitute for our egos, to protect our mortal bodies so that we have no more concerns in that area!  Jesus tells us that His gospel is one of good cheer!  We have nothing to fear in the world because Jesus has overcome the world. 

Do not think you are alone, dear brothers, in your concerns for the days ahead.  Whether you are worried about how to get along with unpleasant coworkers, neighbors, or relatives or your mind is more engaged on world-scale unpleasantness in general, Jesus reminds us – He has overcome the world.  Do not develop a persecution complex; do not join in the fear forums; do not allow the ego to dispute the unchangeable reality of God and His devotion to us, His Son.   These are all ploys of our imaginary “friend,” the ego – fear is something we made, and it is in direct opposition to God for it doubts God’s love and devotion for His Creation.     

Jesus tells us to keep our minds pure, to think joyful thoughts because the ego is afraid of joy.  It does not understand it.  The ego cannot take credit for joy because the ego cannot manufacture it and has no substitute for it.  When we experience true joy we have no more affection for fear, for terror or terrorizing, or for joining in the complaint festivals that stand for friendships in ego world! 

This morning when I woke up it was still dark, and I felt a bit grumpy for not getting enough sleep.  I tried to return to slumber, but my neurons were firing off in a variety of directions, so I got out of bed.  The quieter I tried to be the more racket I made and sure enough, I woke my husband.  As I waited for the coffee to brew, my ego tried to convince me that there was absolutely no point in me continuing with A Course in Miracles.  “You are in way over your head,” it said to me.  “You have no idea what you are talking about.  This world is the only reality there is – all this other stuff about a world beyond is pure conjecture.  Go ahead and devote yourself to it if you want to be a ninny, but shame on you for leading other people to give up the only world they have to pin their hopes on a fantasy world beyond.  You must settle for this world.  This is reality, you are your body, and your so-called everlasting spirit is just a fantasy because you want to keep on existing after your expiration date.”

The ego had a lot of other things to say to me along the same line, challenging my worth to God, sneering at my little stabs at artistry and creativity around my house, pointing out all the ways in which I have failed as a human being.  “Even if there is a God, you could never reach him.  You are so below average in every single way that even the thought of you seeking God is pathetic.  Just pathetic.”

And “How dare you challenge the holy texts that were written long before you were born, by people who were better than you in every sense of the word.  You have no right to believe in anything outside of what is established as truth. Who are you to say that God is All love and forgiving and merciful when that is only one side of his nature?  He is a God of opposites just like you and the rest of the world.  God is just like He is painted out to be and you best better accept my version of Him rather than this happy-sappy, hippy-dippy version of your own.  He goes after people with vengeance.  He will send His thugs for you to mow you down and then you’ll see how merciful and loving He really is.  You just wait, girly girl.  You just wait.”

Since the ego can turn on a dime, the next moment it was puffing me up and telling me how special I am, gloating over my gifts, and reminding me of how much smarter, better looking, and lush I am compared to everybody else.  To my credit, this was a bit more laughable and identifiable.  Laughable or not, the ego has no more say in my life!  I have experienced the joy of the Lord.  I have invited Jesus to be the guardian of my mind.  Perhaps when I am still a bit groggy in the morning and have not had my coffee yet, my brain can transmit the ego’s messages to my consciousness, but there in my consciousness stands Jesus filling me with joy, giving me certainty and peace, keeping me still in knowing who and what I am in truth. 

God gives us a very lofty function, dear brothers.  The ego will do everything it can to divert or pervert our callings.  When we allow our egos to dispute our identity and our function in God’s Kingdom, we are accepting the topsy-turvy little shacks that the ego calls life and solace.  Jesus assures us that sooner or later we will do as we are called to do – our walk with God is inevitable for we belong to God and to God we must return.  God would not be God if He allowed even one tiny little sliver of His Creation be lost, be bamboozled, be destroyed by that which is a lie and has no truth in it.  While this inevitableness of God fills the ego with fear, we who have experienced the joy of the Lord can only rejoice!  We have nothing to fear, nothing to dread, nothing but happiness for our hearts are not broken and our minds are set free of the perverted gospel. 

God cannot create the perishable, Jesus reminds us today, and our hearts leap with joy at this truth.  Only we can make up that which decays and dies.  Only we can make up a world of opposites, a world of chaos, and a host of religions that offer egoism and fear.  Jesus sets us free from opposition, lies, perversions, and all that is not love.  He is our wise older brother Who, given the world to love and save, guides us back to our loving Father, to our reality, to our real and holy Selves.  He has overcome all that fills us with dread, which makes our heart ache, which breaks our hearts and shatters our peace.   

And He calls us to join with Him, brothers.  To be courageous, to be of good cheer – devoted teachers who share the aim of healing the mind, of correcting lies, of radiating the light of truth.  The ego will not like it, for doubt and fear is incapable of devotion.  But we are not to let our hearts grow faint.  We are not to let the ego pull us down or puff us up.  We are no less and no more special to God than anyone else.  With humbled egos, we join with Christ in right teaching and right learning because it is simply the only right thing to do. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4 Illusions of the ego. I. Right teaching and right learning 8-13. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4: Illusions of the Ego

Section I. Right Teaching and Right Learning 1-7

  1. A good teacher clarifies his own ideas and strengthens them by teaching them.  Teacher and pupil are alike in the learning process.  They are in the same order of learning, and unless they share their lessons conviction will be lacking.  A good teacher must believe in the ideas he teaches, but he must meet another condition: he must believe in the students to whom he offers the ideas.
  2. Many stand guard over their ideas because they want to protect their thought systems as they are, and learning means change.  Change is always fearful to the separated because they cannot conceive of it as a move towards healing the separation.  They always perceive it as a move toward further separation because the separation was their first experience of change.  You believe that if you allow no change to enter into your ego you will find peace.  This profound confusion is possible only if you maintain that the same thought system can stand on two foundations.  Nothing can reach spirit from the ego, and nothing can reach the ego from spirit.  Spirit can neither strengthen the ego nor reduce the conflict within it.  The ego is a contradiction.  Your self and God’s Self are in opposition.  They are opposed in source, in direction, and in outcome.  They are fundamentally irreconcilable, because spirit cannot perceive, and the ego cannot know.  They are therefore not in communication and can never be in communication.  Nevertheless, the ego can learn, even though its maker can be misguided.  He cannot, however, make the totally lifeless out of the life-given.
  3. Spirit need not be taught, but the ego must.  Learning is ultimately perceived as frightening because it leads to the relinquishment, not the destruction, of the ego to the light of spirit.  This is the change the ego must fear because it does not share my charity.  My lesson was like yours, and because I learned it, I can teach it.  I will never attack your ego, but I am trying to teach you how its thought system arose.  When I remind you of your true creation, your ego cannot but respond with fear.
  4. Teaching and learning are your greatest strengths now because they enable you to change your mind and help others to change theirs.  Refusing to change your mind will not prove that the separation has not occurred.  The dreamer who doubts the reality of his dream while he is still dreaming is not really healing his split mind.  You dream of a separated ego and believe in a world that rests upon it.  This is very real to you.  You cannot undo it by not changing your mind about it.  If you are willing to renounce the role of guardian of your thought system and open it to me, I will correct it very gently and lead you back to God.
  5. Every good teacher hopes to give his students so much of his own learning that they will one day no longer need him.  This is the one true goal of a teacher.  It is impossible to convince the ego of this because it goes against all of its own laws.  But remember that laws are set up to protect the continuity of the system in which the lawmaker believes.  It is natural for the ego to try to protect itself once you have made it, but it is not natural for you to want to obey its laws unless you believe them.  The ego cannot make this choice because of the nature of its origin.  You can, because of the nature of yours. 
  6. Egos can clash in any situation, but spirit cannot clash at all.  If you perceive a teacher as merely “a larger ego,” you will be afraid, because to enlarge an ego would be to increase anxiety about separation.  I will teach with you and live with you if you will think with me, but my goal will always be to absolve you finally from the need for a teacher.  This is the opposite of the ego-oriented teacher’s goal.  He is concerned with the effect of his ego on other egos, and therefore interprets their interactions as a means of ego preservation.  I would not be able to devote myself to teaching if I believed this, and you will not be a devoted teacher as long as you believe it.  I am constantly being perceived as a teacher either to be exalted or rejected, but I do not accept either perception for myself.
  7. Your worth is not established by teaching or learning.  Your worth is established by God.  As long as you dispute this everything you do will be fearful, particularly any situation that lends itself to the belief in superiority and inferiority.  Teachers must be patient and repeat their lessons until they are learned.  I am willing to do this, because I have no right to set your learning limits for you.  Again – nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth.  This point is not debatable except in delusions.  Your ego is never at stake because God did not create it.  Your spirit is never at stake because He did.  Any confusion on this point is delusional, and no form of devotion is possible as long as this delusion lasts.[1]

In this world, teachers must accumulate a knowledge base, get a degree, and prove ourselves as capable of imparting facts, teaching concepts, method, and application.  However, Jesus tells us that teacher and students are alike in the learning process – to teach we must learn, to learn we must teach.  A good teacher not only believes that what he teaches is worth learning, he must also believe that his students are worth teaching.   Students, to learn – must believe that their teacher has something worth teaching, and that their teacher is capable of teaching them. 

When we guard the ideas we have and feel as if we already know everything we need to know about any given subject, we are incapable of learning.  Many of us guard our doctrines, our belief in our bibles and other holy books, our belief in our holy leaders.  To allow ourselves to question, to be honest about our doubts and fears, to test for accuracy, veracity, and practical application is viewed as an abominable lack of faith or heresy. As long as good manners, misguided faith, loyalty to tradition, and/or fear of punishment forbids us to question our belief systems, to change our relationship with God and our perception of the world, we may not progress, we may not find truth, but we will keep our belief system going and we will call this peace.

But Jesus calls this profound confusion.  Ego belief systems are based upon a fearful God concept, an avenging and punishing God, turned upon His Creation, declaring war in retaliation for their mistakes.  Sacrifices of blood, fat, meat, and bones appease Him but only for a while.  Instead of correcting, ego’s God punishes.  Ego’s God has favorites.  Out of all the little figures He made from dirt, He picks some whom He likes the best.  People who believe in such a God are always at war with those who have a similar God with a different name and different pet people.  They are always vying for whose God is the strongest, biggest, most holy, and most righteous.  They think it is perfectly okay to butcher, torture, lecture, scream at, or disregard others who do not believe the same way they do.  Ego belief systems pose as peace because they seem to end all questioning, all searching, all seeking, but they do not hold up to the truth, for they are based upon lies, upon half-truths, upon the made up version of reality.

Spirit has no belief system, for it needs none.  Spirit knows God as love, mercy, and forgiveness.  Spirit is not afraid of the lies, the darkness, the shadowland that poses for reality in the false kingdom, because Spirit does not communicate with ego.  Spirit knows God, not as a punisher, an avenger, a maker of torment, but only in Spirit, in love and in truth.  Spirit does not fear because there is nothing to fear.  Jesus calls us to know the difference, to choose Spirit, to dismiss the belief systems of the ego. 

The ego has learned to imitate the truth.  It may pretend to be spiritual, it may pretend to love, it may pretend to be kind, to understand, to promote gentleness and forgiveness.  It cannot however change the all-inclusiveness of love, kindness, gentleness, and forgiveness.  It can imitate Spirit, but it cannot be Spirit, it cannot limit Spirit, it cannot kill Spirit. 

Our minds are split between Spirit and ego – put Spirit in charge and ego disintegrates and disappears.  There is no war on ego, it is simply replaced with truth.  Spirit is light and in it there is no darkness.  When Spirit is welcomed to shine its light upon all the false belief systems we have cherished and hold dear, we can no longer believe in them.  Without belief, they cannot stand. Like all lies and half-truths, the truth dispels them. 

Jesus tells us that true teachers welcome progress, growth, questions, and thirsty minds.  Not so with the ego – the ego would prefer that we be entrapped in systems that keep us coming back to it, never questioning, never growing, not progressing – keep coming back week after week, indoctrinating our young, taking our tithes and offerings, regurgitating the same old fears, the same old divisions, the same old pretenses of Spirit, but with no real life.  It will always be the same old content with perhaps modernized forms and trendier methods.  An us-against-them belief system calls for war not peace.  The bitterness that such belief systems promote against others with an even slightly different viewpoint indicates fear, hatred, and division.

When Jesus reminds us of our true Creation in Spirit, the ego can only respond with fear.  When the true story of Creation is no longer hidden, buried, or denied but is brought into the light of an awakened mind, the ego’s days are numbered! 

Jesus was here; he knows what the ego belief systems are, and he did not buy into it.  He teaches us how to resist it.  Without attacking our ego, Jesus teaches us how its thought systems came to be and reminds us of the truth.  When we accept Jesus as the guardian of our minds the ego has to go!  Right teaching and right learning give us the strength to change our minds and help others to do the same.  As guardian of our thought system, Jesus is kind; He is gentle; He is the Good Teacher.  He does not terrorize; He does not punish – He corrects by relying on God’s evaluation of us, the irresistibility of truth, and leading us back to God. 

Egos clash but Spirit does not and cannot clash.  Egos will insist that their way is the only way; Spirit allows truth to lead the way, to prove itself, to be questioned and found reliable and sound.  The religious ego will not want to lose you, it will be jealous of your spiritual insights and the miracles Jesus calls for you to give.  It will always be comparing and fretting over numbers, feeling inferior or superior, but never calm, peaceful, or accepting.  When we put Jesus in charge of our spiritual path, Jesus teaches to set us free.  Jesus has no ego that worries about how we might outshine Him someday.  He tells us to go forth, to share our talents, to give what we have received.  He does not see us as spiritual rivals, as servants, or as His eternal pupils slavishly hanging on His every word.  He does not encourage dependency; he encourages growth, progress, and achievement.    It is important to note at the end of paragraph six, that as Teacher, Jesus does not accept exaltation or rejection.  We appreciate our wiser, older Brother for teaching us, but just as we do not reject Him, neither do we worship Him, exalt His name, or lift it any higher than our own.  Jesus teaches us the oneness of God’s Kingdom. We stand with Christ as God’s Son.  God is as devoted to us as to Christ. 

Our worth has already been established by God because God created us, and we belong to Him.  There is no disputing this, brothers.  There is no need for us to ever compare ourselves with others who seem to be doing more for God than we are.  There is no need for us to feel any sense of inferiority or superiority toward others because Jesus has no such feelings toward us.  Just as Jesus is patient and repeats our lessons as many times as we need to learn, so must we look upon our ourselves and our brothers.  The salvation of the world depends upon our knowing and understanding at a deep level, that there are no saved and unsaved.  There is nothing we can do or think or wish or make to establish our worth to God. This point is not debatable.  My ego is not at stake – God did not make my ego.  My spirit is not at stake, because God did create my spirit.  There should be no confusion on this point. Today in your devotional practice, read the words of this text carefully and with utmost sincerity, ask God to illuminate this truth to you.  Invite Jesus to be the guardian of your mind, to set you free from the ego’s belief system and show you Who and What you really are to God.  Do not take my word for it.  Do not take the Course’s word for it.  With truth comes devotion, without it there is none. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4 The Illusions of the Ego I. Right teaching and right learning 1-7. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 4: The Illusions of the Ego

I. Introduction

  1. The Bible says that you should go with a brother twice as far as he asks.  It certainly does not suggest that you set him back on his journey.  Devotion to a brother cannot set you back either.  It can lead only to mutual progress.  The result of genuine devotion is inspiration, a word which properly understood is the opposite of fatigue. To be fatigued is to be dis-spirited, but to be inspired is to be in the spirit.  To be egocentric is to be dis-spirited, but to be Self-centered in the right sense is to be inspired or in spirit.  The truly inspired are enlightened and cannot abide in darkness. 
  2. You can speak from the spirit or from the ego, as you choose.  If you speak from spirit you have chosen to “Be still and know that I am God.”  These words are inspired because they reflect knowledge.  If you speak from the ego you are disclaiming knowledge instead of affirming it and are thus dis-spiriting yourself.  Do not embark on useless journeys, because they are indeed in vain.  The ego may desire them, but spirit cannot embark on them because it is forever unwilling to depart from its Foundation. 
  3. The journey to the cross should be the last “useless journey.”  Do not dwell upon it but dismiss it as accomplished.  If you can accept it as your own last useless journey, you are also free to join my resurrection.  Until you do so your life is indeed wasted.  It merely re-enacts the separation, the loss of power, the futile attempts of the ego at reparation, and finally the crucifixion of the body, or death.  Such repetitions are endless until they are voluntarily given up.  Do not make the pathetic error of “clinging to the old, rugged cross.”  The only message of the crucifixion is that you can overcome the cross.  Until then you are free to crucify yourself as often as you choose.  This is not the Gospel I intended to offer you.  We have another journey to undertake, and if you will read these lessons carefully, they will help prepare you to undertake it. [1]

True devotion, Jesus reminds us, does not set our brother back on his journey, nor will it set us back – it leads only to progress for both parties.  Genuine devotion is inspiring because it is spiritual.  Because it is not based physical forms, it is therefore incorruptible.  Many times we mistake a person’s spiritual needs for physical needs.  While providing food, shelter, and clothing for the homeless, is commendable, when we give our brother a hot meal, they get hungry again.  If we pay off someone’s mortgage, they are still in need of money for taxes, insurance, and monthly maintenance.  It is not long until we conclude that helping our brother in the physical sense can lead to dependency, resentment, and burnout.

However, to devote ourselves to our brothers in the Spirit is an entirely different experience.  It cannot lead to burnout for it is mutually giving and receiving, We do not see one as more needy or deserving then the other.  When we look upon someone in the Spirit, we see ourselves.  We do not see ourselves as the “saved,” and the other as the “unsaved,” we see ourselves as beloved Sons of God, rather than as flesh and blood.  We do not see one as Teacher and the others as student, we see that we are both teachers and both students.  Devotion is mutuality, it is inspiring, it is not one guy performing acts of charity for another, it is more like one guy recognizing the other guy as brother and reminding him who and what he really is.  We call this inspiring because in devotion if we see a beloved Son of God, a beloved Son of God we must be!  Conversely, if we choose to see with the ego and see a beggar, then a beggar we must be.  In this gentleness, kindness, and oneness there is only that which inspires, it keeps our hearts and minds pure and holy for there is no judgment, there is no condemnation, there is no specialness, there is only God’s mercy and forgiveness and love. 

When we are centered in our right Selves, our Selves as we were created, Jesus tells us that we are enlightened.  We are full of light, brothers.  We have no war with darkness, for we are light.  We do not plead the blood of Jesus for that journey is over, darkness and death have no place in us.  We know that darkness can hide nothing or give any shelter, it is simply a lack of light.  When we are no longer fighting useless but nevertheless exhausting battles with darkness, we are energized, we enjoy health, sanity, a right mind, a free mind.  We are free of the ridiculous bluster and bravado of the ego which thrives on useless battles, distractions, fear, separation, and hierarchies. 

Pay particular attention to paragraph two of our introduction to “Illusions of the Ego.”  Ask the Lord to reveal the truth of this passage to you so that you may recognize the useless journeys that tempt you away from the one journey that leads to God! 

A few years ago when I first began to study A Course in Miracles, Jesus showed me how I was wearing myself out with ego-pursuits such as binging on Netflix and Prime, sudoku puzzles, and putting my energy into other people’s business, thinking it was my duty to pick up where they left off and do the “right” thing.  Instead of seeing how this gratified my ego but led to no spiritual progress for myself or others, I blamed my Course studies for “wearing me out.”  While I thought nothing of staying up into the wee hours hooked on the next episode of an unsolved mystery, or judging and condemning other people and their behavior, my ego was telling me that it was the hours of Course study, preparation for meetings, and writing my blog that was wearing me down!  When I choose to align my thoughts and behaviors with my true Self, judgment is no longer a choice for me, my walk with God flourishes, my Spirit stronger than my flesh.  I no longer feel ashamed or secretive about my love for truth, my path to God, nor am I afraid to stand with Christ, and offer love, peace, and mercy. 

Giving up useless journeys sometimes does feel like a sacrifice, but that is only until we learn how worthless they are, what time-wasters they can be, and how empty and futile are the results of all ego-based endeavors. 

Lastly, Jesus asks us to join Him in His resurrection.  As long as we cling to the old, rugged cross, we are reenacting the separation, the loss of power, the pointless attempts of the ego to find meaning in the flesh, the blood, and the suffering of the body.  The crucifixion was the last useless journey and all it is meant to do is teach us that our Spirit does not endure death.  Dismiss the cross, Jesus says.  Dismiss the thoughts of powerlessness, suffering, shame, guilt, and bloodshed for humanity has nothing to offer God. Instead dwell upon the power, joy, peace, love, wholeness, and purity of Spirit and of Creation. Reenacting the crucifixion is not the Gospel Jesus intended for us.  We have another journey that does not glorify the corruptible, which does not demand blood and sacrifice, but does require total commitment and devotion!  In today’s text, Jesus invites us on this journey.  Read your lessons carefully, He tells us.  Let us prepare ourselves for the real journey. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4. Illusions of the ego. Introduction. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 3: The Innocent Perception

VII.  Creating versus the Self-Image

  1. Every system of thought must have a starting point.  It begins with either a making or a creating, a difference we have already discussed.  Their resemblance lies in their power as foundations.  Their difference lies in what rests upon them.  Both are cornerstones for systems of belief by which one lives.  It is a mistake to believe that a thought system based on lies is weak.  Nothing made by a child of God is without power.  It is essential to realize this, because otherwise you will be unable to escape from the prison you have made.
  2. You cannot resolve the authority problem by depreciating the power of your mind.  To do so is to deceive yourself, and this will hurt you because you really understand the strength of the mind.  You also realize that you cannot weaken it, any more than you can weaken God.  The “devil” is a frightening concept because he seems to be extremely powerful and extremely active.  He is perceived as a force in combat with God, battling Him for possession of His creation.  The devil deceives by lies and builds kingdoms in which everything is in direct opposition to God.  Yet he attracts men rather than repels them, and they are willing to “sell” their souls in return for gifts of no real worth.  This makes absolutely no sense.
  3. We have discussed the fall or separation before, but its meaning must be clearly understood.  The separation is a system of thought real enough in time, though not in eternity.  All beliefs are real to the believer.  The fruit of only one tree was “forbidden” in the symbolic garden.  But God could not have forbidden it, or it could not have been eaten.  If God knows His children, and I assure you that He does, would He have put them in a position where their own destruction was possible?  The “forbidden tree” was named the “tree of knowledge.”  Yet God created knowledge and gave it freely to His creations.  The symbolism here has been given many different interpretations, but you may be sure that any interpretation that sees God or His creations as capable of destroying Their Own purpose is in error. 
  4. Eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge is a symbolic expression for usurping the ability for self-creating.  This is the only sense in which God and His creations are not co-creators.  The belief that they are is implicit in the “self-concept,” or the tendency of the self to make an image of itself.  Images are perceived, not known.  Knowledge cannot deceive, but perception can.  You can perceive yourself as self-creating, but you cannot do more than believe it.  You cannot make it true.  And, as I said before, when you finally perceive correctly you can only be glad that you cannot.  Until then, however, the belief that you can is the foundation stone in your thought system, and all your defenses are used to attack ideas that might bring it to light.  You still believe you are an image of your own making.  Your mind is split with the Holy Spirit on this point, and there is no resolution while you believe that one thing that is literally inconceivable.  That is why you cannot create and are filled with fear about what you make. 
  5. The mind can make the belief in separation very real and very fearful, and this belief is the “devil.”  It is powerful, active, destructive, and clearly in opposition to God, because it literally denies His Fatherhood.  Look at your life and see what the devil has made.  But realize that this making will surely dissolve in the light of truth, because its foundation is a lie.  Your creation by God is the only foundation that cannot be shaken because the light is in it.  Your starting point is truth, and you must return to your Beginning.  Much has been seen since then, but nothing has really happened.  Your Self is still in peace, even though your mind is in conflict.  You have not yet gone back far enough, and that is why you become so fearful.  As you approach the Beginning, you feel the fear of destruction of your thought system upon you as if it were the fear of death.  There is no death, but there is a belief in death.
  6. The branch that bears no fruit will be cut off and will wither away.  Be glad!  The light will shine from the true Foundation of life, and your own thought system will stand corrected.  It cannot stand otherwise.  You who fear salvation are choosing death.  Life and death, light and darkness, knowledge and perception, are irreconcilable.  To believe that they can be reconciled is to believe that God and His Son can not.  Only the oneness of knowledge is free of conflict.  Your kingdom is not of this world because it was given you from beyond this world.  Only in this world is the idea of an authority problem meaningful.  The world is not left by death but by truth, and truth can be known by all those for whom the Kingdom was created, and for whom it waits.[1]

As we come to our devotional practice, today, ask the Lord to illuminate this section to your mind and let it rest in your thoughts and set you free from all falsehood and illusion.  Meditate upon each sentence, each paragraph and open your heart and mind to the truth.  Ask God to give you the discernment, the understanding, the ability to go back to the Beginning, beyond what the false belief system has made, all the way back to your true Creation, so that you may know God’s love, the trust and devotion He shares with you, His tender mercy and compassion.  Know that this is not the world He made.  Know that you were made in Spirit, in His likeness, not in form or in flesh.

Jesus tells us today that the branch that bears no fruit will be cut off and will wither away.  Be glad, He tells us.  Do not be afraid for when we give up our humanity, we accept our divinity.  When we accept salvation, we are no longer choosing death, but eternal life.   When we leave the perceptual world of opposites for the real Kingdom that is beyond, we will know ourselves as we really are; we will know God instead of the misinterpretations, false doctrines, and fear that the perceptual world would make of Him. 

Jesus tells us today that death is not our ticket out of the fallen kingdom.  Truth is the way!  And truth can be known by all those for whom the Kingdom was created and for whom the Kingdom waits.  Let truth be our prayer, our hope, our will.  In the name of Jesus with whom we are one.  Amen. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3: The Innocent Perception VII: Creating versus the self-image. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992)

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 3: The Innocent Perception

VI.  Judgment and the Authority Problem 6-11

6.  God offers mercy.  Your words should reflect only mercy, because that is what you have received and that is what you should give.  Justice is a temporary expedient, or an attempt to teach you the meaning of mercy.  It is judgmental only because you are capable of injustice.

7.  I have spoken of different symptoms, and at that level there is almost endless variation.  There is, however, only one cause for all of them:  the authority problem.  This is “the root of all evil.”  Every symptom the ego makes involves a contradiction in terms, because the mind is split between the ego and the Holy Spirit, so that whatever the ego makes is incomplete and contradictory.  This untenable position is the result of the authority problem which because it accepts the one inconceivable thought as its premise, can produce only ideas that are inconceivable. 

8.  The issue of authority is really a question of authorship.  When you have an authority problem, it is always because you believe you are the author of yourself and project your delusion onto others.  You then perceive the situation as one in which others are literally fighting you for your authorship.  This is the fundamental error of all those who believe they have usurped the power of God.  This belief is very frightening to them, but hardly troubles God.  He is, however, eager to undo it, not to punish His children, but only because He knows that it makes them unhappy.  God’s creations are given their true Authorship, but you prefer to be anonymous when you choose to separate yourself from your Author.  Being uncertain of your true Authorship, you believe that your creation was anonymous.  This leaves you in a position where it sounds meaningful to believe that you created yourself.  The dispute over authorship has left such uncertainty in your mind that it may even doubt whether you really exist at all.

9.  Only those who give over all desire to reject can know that their own rejection is impossible.  You have not usurped the power of God, but you have lost it.  Fortunately, to lose something does not mean that it has gone.  It merely means that you do not remember where it is.  Its existence does not depend on your ability to identify it, or even to place it.  It is possible to look on reality without judgment and merely know that it is there.

10.  Peace is a natural heritage of spirit.  Everyone is free to refuse to accept his inheritance, but he is not free to establish what his inheritance is.  The problem everyone must decide is the fundamental question of authorship.  All fear comes ultimately, and sometimes by way of very devious routes, from the denial of Authorship.  The offense is never to God, but only to those who deny Him.  To deny His Authorship is to deny yourself the reason for your peace, so that you see yourself only in segments.  This strange perception is the authority problem.

11.  There is no one who does not feel as if he is imprisoned in some way.  If this is the result of his own free will, he must regard his will as not free, or the circular reasoning in this position would be quite apparent.  Free will must lead to freedom.  Judgment always imprisons because it separates segments of reality by the unstable scales of desire.  Wishes are not facts. To wish is to imply that willing is not sufficient.  Yet no one in his right mind believes that what is wished for is as real as what is willed.  Instead of “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven,” say, “Will ye first the Kingdom of Heaven,” and you have said, “I know what I am, and I accept my own inheritance.”[1]

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We can apply the opening paragraph of today’s text like medicine to our words, allowing them to only reflect God’s mercy because this is what we receive; and under the law of love we receive to give!  Judgment is not part of God’s mercy no matter how much we cherish it.  Justice is only necessary in the separated kingdom for in God’s Kingdom, all is fair, all are equal, all are mutual in the Sonship of God.  In the world we made, justice exists only to teach mercy – it is has only turned judgmental in the world because only in a consciousness separate from God are we capable of the loveless response.

Our Course teaches that our perceptions are to be responded to with the miracle response – we respond to every perception with love – where there is a lack, we respond with love; where there is love, we give love.  We can understand judgment then as the malpractice of perception.  The symptoms of fear aroused by the malpractice of perception, is seemingly endless – the symptoms show up in stress-related illnesses.  Show me the person who practices judgment, and you will see a person who lacks health, happiness, and well-being, somebody who does not know peace or bring peace to every situation.  It does not matter what kind of judgment we make – we do not correct judgment by always pronouncing this one or that thing good or speak in glowing terms and think that this is correction.  Judgment is judgment.  When we think that we have the authority to pronounce good or bad, nice or mean, deserving or undeserving upon others, the subsequent result is fear and the symptoms of a multitude of maladies that affect us mentally, physically, but mostly of a spiritual nature for judgment is derived from the root of all evil – the idea that we have created ourselves and we are the author of reality.

Holy Spirit stands for truth, for reality, it is the Voice for God within each of us; the ego is the opposite. Holy Spirit speaks for Love, for Mercy, for Forgiveness.  Holy Spirit calls us to unite, to be one in the Sonship in God and the Brotherhood in Jesus.  Holy Spirit is the God in us, we can say.  Holy Spirit is the only real thing about us!  It is the part of us that is God’s Son forever loved, forever certain, forever secure.  Holy Spirit guides us to use our perceptions for miracles, for acts of love and charity and blessing.  The ego on the other hand is the usurper, the voice for fear, for doom and gloom and conversely glory and fame.  The ego is the sire of all lies, half-truths, and seduction.  The ego is our vanity, our specialness, our desire to be loved the most, to be favored, to be the big cheese.  The religious ego will tell you how important you are to God, how God has a special plan for your life, that you are called out from amongst all the others around you for special privileges, insights, and glory.  The ego on religion will try to make of you a cult leader or a cult follower.  It will lead you down a path that hurts people, causing division, chaos, and despair. When we bring our egos with us to our spiritual path, we will be tempted to collect followers, to puff ourselves up on the appreciation people give us for our spiritual understanding.  We will have visions that make of us the next Dalai Lama.  Religious or not, the ego whispers and flatters us with vanity and tells us we are special, we have a right to judge, to take the place of true authority, to step in for the missing author of reality and make an alternate to truth.

In short, Holy Spirit stands for wholeness, for healing, for correction; ego falls for all that is contradictory, incomplete, and fragmented.  The ego lifting itself up to be God insists upon the right to judge, the right to reward or punish, the right to love or hate, the right to claim ownership of that which is not of its own making. 

When there is an authority problem we will believe that we are the author of ourselves, and we will project this delusion upon others.  We will live in a state of consciousness where those on the outside of us seem to be battling us for authorship – they will seem to be labeling us, telling us who we are, what we want, and why we are here – and sometimes we will accept this propaganda, and other times we will reject it, but it will always contain an element of strife that is the result of selectivity, of judgment, of incompleteness.  When we join in this meaningless, disunifying, toxic activity we have wittingly or unwittingly put ourselves in God’s place as the author of our lives.  We will judge ourselves and our brothers only because we do not trust God to take responsibility for Creation.

In our hearts and in our minds, this ego-driven behavior wounds and wearies our tender, merciful, and kind Self.  God wills us to correct this because He knows that when we attempt to usurp His Authority instead of become one with it, we get sick, we are not happy, we make a lot of unnecessary trouble and waste a lot of time in a state of suffering instead of bliss.  The longer we engage in unholiness of this kind, the less we will respect the rights, the processes, the freedom and liberty of others and of ourselves.  We will replace knowing others and ourselves, with judging others as we judge ourselves.   I see it as putting ourselves in a tabloid state of mind.  Instead of accepting our perceptions as indicating whether to receive or give a miracle, we use our perceptions to judge, to reward or punish, to take upon ourselves the role of authority. Rather than informing, teaching, healing, and helping which comes from the miracle perception, the tabloid (or judgmental) state of mind becomes hooked on latching on to the next juicy morsel in which to proclaim its judgment. 

While this may seem to gratify our egos and provide a source of ongoing conversation that brings us attention and gives us a false sense of belonging and contribution, in paragraph nine, Jesus tells us when we give over all desire to reject the authority of God, we find that rejection is impossible.  When we look upon our brothers as we look upon ourselves, we rediscover the shared authority of God.  We never find it in judgment!  We never find it in separation, in divisiveness, in loving some and despising others.  When we judge, we do not usurp the power of God, we simply lose it.  Losing something does not mean that it is gone, it simply means we misplaced it.  When we judge, we forget God and we forget ourselves.   God never changed, His Authority and His Authorship never moved, we just forget our place when we practice judgment. 

Jesus tells us that it is possible to look upon reality without judgment and merely know that it is there.  Jesus tells us that it is possible to have a miracle perception, to see the world not through the eyes of the flesh which would arouse our mistaken passion for judgment, but through the eyes of His Love which interprets every person, every circumstance, every situation as either a call for love or an opportunity to receive it. 

Peace comes from accepting our perceptions and not judging them.  When someone is hungry, we feed him. We do not have to judge anything else about him – love does not require him to complete a form, divulge his personal information, or prove anything at all.  We do not have to stand about in groups and try to put together a case for him or a case against him.  We simply feed the guy who is hungry.  This is the way to peace. 

Peace is our inheritance, and we do not get to say what our inheritance is.  It may take us years to discover that peace is what we really want!  We mistakenly think that there is another inheritance, to be found outside the Authority and Authorship of God that will give us something better than peace.  We may enjoy standing about at work the center of the gossip arena, blathering on about every detail of another person’s life, judging their every move, acting as judge, juror, and prosecutor or switching sides and coming to a defense.  However, we can be assured that when we deny God as the Authority and Author of Reality, we will only find fear at the end of our striving, our conniving, our own judgment upon Creation.  To deny God Authority and Authorship takes nothing away from God but it does take something away from us.  For we are denied peace.  We find ourselves not whole and powerful, but fragmented, vulnerable, and fearful.  All that judgment that we dished out in heaping globs for others, sickens us and fills us with despair when it is served up to us in like measure.

Our egos have imprisoned us with a compulsion to judge.  Judgment whether positive or negative separates parts of reality by the uncertain scales of temporary likes and dislikes.  We have all experienced this – one day we will label our coworkers one way and the next day a new, entirely contradictory judgment we make.  But we can be free.  In our hearts and minds we know better.  There is no good reason to continue what is clearly malpractice for until we are free of judgment, we not only deny ourselves peace, but we deny ourselves knowing God.

Jesus tells us to align our wills with God’s Authority and God’s Authorship of Reality.  When we judge the perceptions of our flesh eyes, we are out of alignment with God’s Kingdom, we are judging against Christ and not for Him.  Jesus does not change the direction of our wills for us, but Jesus does tell us that we can stop seeking God’s Kingdom and start willing God’s Kingdom at any time!  This is how we are set free of judgment and enter into the knowledge and peace of God.  Let us will God’s Kingdom today, brothers. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3 The innocent perception. VI Judgment and Authorship 6-11. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 3: The Innocent Perception

VI.  Judgment and the Authority Problem 1-5

  1. We have already discussed the Last Judgment, but in insufficient detail.  After the Last Judgment there will be no more.  Judgment is symbolic because beyond perception there is no judgment.  When the Bible says, “Judge not that ye be not judged,” it means that if you judge the reality of others, you will be unable to avoid judging your own.
  2. The choice to judge rather than to know is the cause of the loss of peace.  Judgment is the process on which perception but not knowledge rests.  I have discussed this before in terms of the selectivity of perception, pointing out that evaluation is its obvious prerequisite.  Judgment always involves rejection.  It never emphasizes only the positive aspects of what is judged whether in you or in others.  What has been perceived and rejected, or judged and found wanting, remains in your mind because it has been perceived.  One of the illusions from which you suffer is the belief that what you judged against has no effect.  This cannot be true unless you also believe that what you judged against does not exist.  You evidently do not believe this, or you would not have judged against it.  In the end, it does not matter whether your judgment is right or wrong.  Either way you are placing your belief in the unreal.  This cannot be avoided in any type of judgment because it implies the belief that reality is yours to select from.
  3. You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment.  When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning.  In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you judged them.  All uncertainty comes from the belief that you are under the coercion of judgment.  You do not need judgment to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourself.  In the presence of knowledge all judgment is automatically suspended, and this is the process that enables recognition to replace perception.
  4. You are very fearful of everything you have perceived but have refused to accept.  You believe that, because you have refused to accept it, you have lost control over it.  This is why you see it in nightmares, or in pleasant disguises in what seem to be your happier dreams.  Nothing that you have refused to accept can be brought into awareness.  It is not dangerous in itself, but you have made it seem dangerous to you. 
  5. When you feel tired, it is because you have judged yourself as capable of being tired.  When you laugh at someone, it is because you have judged him unworthy.  When you laugh at yourself you must laugh at others, if only because you cannot tolerate the idea of being more unworthy than they are.  All this makes you feel tired because it is essentially disheartening.  You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourself.  The strain of constant judgment is virtually intolerable.  It is curious that an ability so debilitating would be so deeply cherished.  Yet if you wish to be the author of reality, you will insist on holding on to judgment.  You will also regard judgment with fear, believing that it will someday be used against you.  This belief can exist only to the extent that you believe in the efficacy of judgment as a weapon of defense for your own authority.[1]

We judge others at the cost of knowing them.  And because we judge them we cannot have peace.  Judgement rests upon perception. If I perceive you as a snooty rich person who was born in the lap of luxury, I will not know you, I will know what my perception is of you and I will let that perception keep me from getting to know you.  If I am the kind of person who likes to sidle up to the rich and win their favor, I will be extra nice to you, flatter you, and make sure you notice me in hopes of you wanting me to be your friend. I will drop your name in conversation hoping that other people will think that I have an affiliation with you.  Maybe I will join the same church or the same gym that you do.  I will over-extend my more modest budget by showing up at the same places you do in hopes that you will notice me.  However, even if you do notice me, perhaps even make a friendly gesture, I will never know you in this way, I will only perceive you as different than me and someone I can perhaps use to make myself feel richer.   If I am the kind of person who resents the rich and feels inferior to those who have more money than I do, I will say snide things about you and complain to others about how unfair it is that you have two tails and I only have one. I will call you privileged and bitch and moan that you’ve got more than your fair share. I will blame the troubles of the world upon you and all the other rich people who think they are better than the rest of us.  No matter how many people I can get to agree with my perceptions about you, I will never be able to know you.  I will only know my judgment of you, which rests upon the blurred lens of double-vision.

We will never have peace as long as we perceive ourselves and others through the lens of humanity for we will constantly be using a scale of who is ahead and who is behind and who is at the same level.  Who needs to be put in their place, who needs to be tolerated, who deserves a helping hand, and who needs a kick in the butt?  As long as we are in a state of judgment we will never know our brother nor will we know ourselves as the miracles of God.  We judge because we have assumed a role that simply is not ours to assume.  And it wears us out! 

Jesus reminds us in paragraph three that meeting ourselves and our brothers with no judgment releases us and brings to us a deep peace.  When we realize what we are, when we realize what our brothers are, judgment will no longer have any hold upon us because it will mean nothing.  I will behold myself as a miracle of God, His Son!  And I will behold you as brother.  I will know you and to know you is to love you.  Your beauty and your light, your kindness and generosity will not be lost to me because I know you.  I will only be certain of you and have no more doubts about your character or your goodwill or your worthiness. 

Jesus tells us that we do not need judgment to organize our lives or ourselves.  When we come to the truth about ourselves, the last judgment takes place automatically.  We have no more use for it for we recognize who and what we are.  We know.  We have no need for perception, no need for judgment.  We are God’s Son, holy, pure, innocent of all wrongdoing, and Spirit, like our Father.

When we accept our perceptions, we offer no judgment, we practice the miracle.  We get beyond perception.  We practice knowing rather than perceiving.  I see you as someone who has more money than I do, more status, a better education, and coming from a prestigious bloodline.  I accept this. I do not judge you as snooty or humble, good or bad, better or worse.  I have no need to put you in my story or bring my story to yours.  I do not have to drop your name or call you names.  I just know you as I know myself, as a Son of God, radiant in the Light of His Love.   

When we do not practice the miracle, we feel compelled to judge.  We feel as if we have lost control and can do nothing but judge.  Our judgments against others are never true or right or positive.  We are not in a position to judge even ourselves because in a state of perception, we have no real knowledge.  What I see about you is not the whole story!  Any reactions I have toward you are based on a tiny little bit of interaction or observation that I dreamed up about you.  And yet I still have a terrible time freeing myself from the addiction I have to judging you and judging everything.  And when I judge, I put myself in a dangerous state.  Not because my judgments are dangerous, but because I believe in them and I know that what I pronounce about you and everyone else, is what is pronounced upon me.  And so I live in fear.    

Judgment wears us out, it causes us stress, it keeps our mind in a state of unrest.  Our judgments affect our bodies – in the Spirit we are incapable of wearing thin, and yet our perceptions of ourselves and others are ones of frailty, of growing weak, of being tired and worn out.  When we perceive right we simply accept our perceptions as a means to inform us if we have an opportunity to receive a miracle or extend one.  When we begin to accept our perceptions rather than judge them, they become miracle perceptions and can only be used for helpfulness, Atonement, and happiness.  

Conversely, when we judge, we practice a wish to be the author of reality, to take God’s place and put ourselves in charge of deciding what is good and what is not so good, what flies and what stays grounded, who is worthy and who is not.  Instead of miracles, we offer a weak form of the world’s kind of charity at best and vilest forms of condemnation at worst.  Neither one of these are past correction, but they certainly are a waste of time and increase suffering rather than shorten it! 

We will close our study today at paragraph five and continue tomorrow with the rest of Chapter Three, section VI. Judgement and the Authority Problem.  Join with me in reflecting upon the concepts in our text reading today.  Ask the Lord to deepen your understanding of the role judgment plays in keeping us in the shadowland of fear.  Ask God to make it very clear to your mind that there is absolutely no joy and therefore no value in judgment.  We do not need it.  We do not heed it.  We are not to be coerced by its clamors and yammers.  We are not called to be case builders, accusers, and prosecutors.  We are the miracles of God called to stand with Christ and draw all of Creation to Him.  When we know God, we know the Author of Reality, and I know you and you know me, and judgment plays no part in the knowing! 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3: The innocent perception. VI. Judgment and the authority problem. 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 3: The Innocent Perception

V. Beyond Perception 6-10

  • 6. Prayer is a way of asking for something.  It is the medium of miracles.  But the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness because those who have been forgiven have everything.  Once forgiveness has been accepted, prayer in the usual sense becomes utterly meaningless.  The prayer for forgiveness is nothing more than a request that you may be able to recognize what you already have.  In electing perception instead of knowledge, you placed yourself in a position where you could resemble your Father only by perceiving miraculously.  You have lost the knowledge that you yourself are a miracle of God.  Creation is your Source and your only real function.
  • 7. The statement “God created man in his own image and likeness” needs reinterpretation.  “Image” can be understood as “thought,” and “likeness as “of a like quality.”  God did create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to His Own.  There is nothing else.  Perception, on the other hand, is impossible without a belief in “more” and “less.”  At every level it involves selectivity.  Perception is a continual process of accepting and rejecting, organizing and reorganizing, shifting and changing.  Evaluation is an essential part of perception because judgments are necessary in order to select. 
  • 8. What happens to perceptions if there are no judgments and nothing but perfect equality?  Perception becomes impossible.  Truth can only be known.  All of it is equally true and knowing any part of it is to know all of it.  Only perception involves partial awareness.  Knowledge transcends the laws governing perception because partial knowledge is impossible.  It is all one and has no separate parts.  You who are really one with it need but know yourself and your knowledge is complete.  To know God’s miracle is to know Him.
  • 9. Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation.  Correct perception of your brother is necessary because minds have chosen to see themselves as separate.  Spirit knows God completely.  That is its miraculous power.  The fact that each one has this power completely is a condition entirely alien to the world’s thinking.  The world believes that if anyone has everything, there is nothing left.  But God’s miracles are as total as His Thoughts because they are His Thoughts. 
  • 10. As long as perception lasts prayer has a place.  Since perception rests on lack, those who perceive have not totally accepted the Atonement and given themselves over to the truth.  Perception is based on a separated state, so that anyone who perceives at all needs healing.  Communion, not prayer, is the natural state of those who know  God and His miracle are inseparable.  How beautiful indeed are the Thoughts of God who live in His Light!  Your worth is beyond perception because it is beyond doubt.  Do not perceive yourself in different lights.  Know yourself in the One Light where the miracle that is you is perfectly clear.[1]

Today as we finish section five of Chapter Three, Jesus explains the function of prayer for the miracle workers.  Prayer is a way of asking for something.  Just as paint is the medium for a portrait artist, prayer is the medium for miracles.  But the only prayer that has any meaning is not one for healing, but one of forgiveness. Once we accept forgiveness, asking for things has no more meaning.  As I pondered the meaning of paragraph six and asked Holy Spirit for illumination, I realized that we no longer ask for specific miracles, because all we want is God’s Will.  And we are the Will of God – you and me – It was God’s Will to create us and as we align our wills and accept the miracle of you and the miracle of me, we enter into the knowledge of and wonder of Creation. 

Jesus tells us that God’s conception of man was in His Mind and of the same quality as God Himself.  We are spirit and spirit is all there is outside the realm of perception.  If we are to believe in the popular creation myths that appear in classic literature, religious texts, and modern philosophy, we will believe that God created us from dirt, that he formed dirt and spit figures that looked like Him.  We will cherish the thought that He breathed life into the figures, giving them not only a living soul but the ability to separate into male and female to procreate.  Superficially this may seem like a great gift until you actually experience what it is like to be a human. To be ruled by our drives to survive, by our hunger, our thirst, our desires to be loved, cherished, and belong.  To be manipulated by our desire to avoid pain.  To be considered so unworthy of God that He must punish us and stand by while we are tormented and persecuted and always live with the threat of being left behind.  No thank you! 

Never forget, God created us to be like Him, in Spirit.  Our time in the flesh is not of Creation, it is of our own making.  At every level of our making there was selectivity because perception is a continual process of trial and error, making order and then disorder, taking up one thing and putting down another, in a constant state of flux, unrest, and instability. There is nothing certain about separation because it is fragmented, divided, and not whole.  A state of constant judgment is necessary in order to choose and select, to try this and not that – because we simply have no way of knowing anything in the separated state. 

In Spirit there are no perceptions; there is nothing to judge, there is nothing to prefer, there is nothing but perfect equality.  In Spirit, perception is impossible – all truth is known because of the transparency of Spirit.  To know one part of Spirit is to know it all.  Only in a state of perception do we suffer a state of partial awareness – for how could we ever see the whole story or get the big picture when everyone and everything is seen in part and from a different point of view?  Jesus points out what is very obvious once we think it through – knowledge is indivisible – we cannot have a little bit of truth, to know truth we must have all truth – no lies, no fiction, no secrets.  Truth is not true if we only tell part of the story and keep the rest hidden.  This is why as mortals we can never know the truth – truth is only available to us in the Spirit.   

Once we realize that we are the miracle of God, that we are God’s Will, that we are Thoughts and Expressions of God and accept our true and spiritual Selves, we become one with Truth, we become one with Knowledge. We no longer believe that God made us from dirt, that we were thrust into a world of division and unrest because of His wrath and anger, that we are to be forever in a state of worship and groveling adoration to a Deity that would do such a thing.  We were created to be like Him, in Spirit and in Truth.  When we accept that, we are saved from the dark tale of humanity, we know ourselves not as flesh and blood but as Spirit and as Truth.

Jesus tells us that forgiveness is the healing of the separation perception.  When we choose the vision of Christ, we no longer choose to see others as separate from ourselves.  As we embrace unity and oneness in the Spirit, we know God completely.  This is the power behind the miracle.  We know who we are!  We know who our brother is!  We know the mutuality and equality of Spirit – I am a beloved Son of God even as you are beloved of God.  God is our Father, awaiting our return, drawing a bath to cleanse us of our miscreations, assembling a wardrobe to replace our drab rags, preparing a feast to fill our love-starved souls, announcing to the Kingdom that we have come home. 

You can see what a radical teaching this is, brothers.  Our religions have called us to war upon those who do not believe the way we do, while Jesus is calling us to love and to embrace our brothers and be strangers no more.  Our religions have taught us that we must hang our heads in fear and shame, suffer miseries to earn God’s love, shed blood and offer savory sacrifices, and Jesus is reminding us of our Father’s love, His great affection and devotion to us, His calls to us to awaken to the Kingdom within each and every one of us.  If it seems too good to be truth, ask God with a humble heart to reveal His love to you.  Ask God with a mind free of all except a desire to know the truth, what He thinks of you.  Ask Him to set you free from the fear and torment that troubles your mind and keeps you in a state of confusion and turmoil.  Ask Him to forgive you for choosing to go the wrong way. 

Past forgiveness, Jesus says, we can only commune with God, not asking things of Him, not begging and pleading, groveling and weeping, for He is our Father, our Creator, our constant Companion, our certain Friend.  All that He has, we have.  All that we have, He has.  This is the holy and natural state of being.  Grow up, my brothers, and accept God’s love, His devotion, His communion.  We who are Spirit are the thoughts of God.  We, who awaken and live in His Light, are beautiful to Him.  As long as we perceive ourselves as anything less than a miracle, we cannot know God, we cannot accept His forgiveness, we cannot endure the truth and the light of His Love.  Jesus tells us to perceive ourselves as God’ Son, to know ourselves in the One Light where the miracle that is us is perfectly clear.  Forgive us, Father, for ever doubting Your Love. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3: The innocent perception. V. Beyond perception.  6-10. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 3: The Innocent Perception

V. Beyond Perception 1-5

  1. I have said that the abilities you possess are only shadows of your real strength, and that perception, which is inherently judgmental, was introduced only after the separation.  No one has been sure of anything since.  I have also made it clear that the resurrection was the means for the return to knowledge, which was accomplished by the union of my will with the Father’s.  We can now establish a distinction that will clarify some of our subsequent statements. 
  2. Since the separation, the words “create” and “make” have become confused.  When you make something, you do so out of a specific sense of lack or need.  Anything made for a specific purpose has no true generalizability.  When you make something to fill a perceived lack, you are tacitly implying that you believe in separation.  The ego has invented many ingenious thought systems for this purpose.  None of them is creative.  Inventiveness is wasted effort even in its most ingenious form.  The highly specific nature of invention is not worthy of the abstract creativity of God’s creations
  3. Knowing, as we have already observed, does not lead to doing.  The confusion between your real creation and what you have made of yourself is so profound that it has become literally impossible for you to know anything.  Knowledge is always stable, and it is quite evident that you are not.  Nevertheless, you are perfectly stable as God created you.  In this sense, when your behavior is unstable, you are disagreeing with God’s Idea of your creation.  You can do this if you choose, but you would hardly want to do it if you were in your right mind. 
  4. The fundamental question you continually ask yourself cannot properly be directed to yourself at all.  You keep asking what it is you are.  This implies the answer is not only one you know but is also one that is up to you to supply.  Yet you cannot perceive yourself correctly.  You have no image to be perceived.  The word “image” is always perception-related, and not a part of knowledge.  Images are symbolic and stand for something else.  The idea of “changing your image” recognizes the power of perception, but also implies that there is nothing stable to know.
  5. Knowing is not open to interpretation.  You may try to “interpret” meaning, but this is always open to error because it refers to the perception of meaning.  Such incongruities are the result of attempts to regard yourself as separated and un-separated at the same time.  It is impossible to make so fundamental a confusion without increasing your overall confusion still further.  Your mind may have become very ingenious, but as always happens when method and content are separated, it is utilized in a futile attempt to escape from an inescapable impasse.  Ingenuity is totally divorced from knowledge because knowledge does not require ingenuity.  Ingenious thinking is not the truth that shall set you free, but you are free of the need to engage in it when you are willing to let it go.[1]
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In today’s text reading, Jesus takes us past perception and explains the means to our return to Truth, to knowing God, to aligning our will with God’s Will.  Again we are reminded that our humanity is a shadow self, a virtual self which does not tell the real story about us but rather obscures our real strength and keeps it secret from us.  When we traded in our Spirit for consciousness and perception, we became judgmental.  Instead of accepting Creation as it was and being appreciative, respectful, and reserving our awe for God, we began to think fearful thoughts and believed that our Father had a secret agenda against us.  Separating from God Who is Everything and making up our own version of Creation ever since, the shifting sands of the time space illusion has kept us in a state of befuddlement.  

The resurrection of Christ stands for the powerlessness of the physical realm to cancel out our Sonship.  Jesus wants each one of us to study, meditate upon, and grasp these concepts.  Otherwise we will not understand how we landed in this bewildering void.  Instead of going within to the Kingdom of God, we can easily fall into the temptation of searching for meaning, and a sense of connection and identity through external means in the fallen kingdom.  While our bloodlines, our motherland, our traditions, our tribes and clans provide us with a temporary source of belonging in the world we made, they can never stand for our true identity or provide us with knowledge.    

In paragraph two Jesus explains the difference between how our Course distinguishes between the words “create” and “make.”  Making something implies there is a need which needs a remedy.  I “make” sandwiches because we are hungry.  I “make” my bed because the sheets and covers are untidy.  Alexander Graham Bell “made” the first telephone call so we could learn to communicate across distances in the time space illusion.  Whatever is made indicates a lack of some kind, thus indicating separation.  The inventions that tickle us to pieces as humans – Jesus declaims as uncreative.  No matter how much easier it makes our time in separation to have dishwashers, microwaves, computers, and cars – it does not stand up to the test of everlasting and is only necessary in a state of separation from God.  No matter the time-saving, energy-efficient, inner- and outer-space exploring devices we come up with to help us understand our existence or make our time in separation less tedious, Jesus says that is not worthy of the abstract creativity of God’s creations. While we think that we are increasing our knowledge, we are actually collecting a bunch of random “facts,” developing empty theories, and using our inventions to fragment and divide us.  We can make up all the stories we want about our collection of data, we can put them together any way we choose to make sense of mortal existence, we can build bridges and beautiful temples and towers that scrape the clouds, but knowledge is not to be found in the physical realm.    

This confusion comes from not understanding who and what we really are.  When we accept our flesh identities we accept that humanity is the end of the story for us.  We go along with the miscreation and focus our attention on our lives in the time space illusion.  Our human forms can never be certain of anything.  There is no promise, no guarantee, no certainty.  Knowledge is always stable because it is outside the realm of time. It is truth which does not change.  What we call knowledge here on this planet is not stable – always in need of an update, we can never count upon yesterday’s news, devices, or landscapes to remain the same.  Change is the name of the game. 

As God created you and as God created me, we are stable and unchanging.  Our very changeableness indicates that we are living outside the realm of God’s creation.  We can choose to fasten our identities in the physical realm for as long as we disagree with God’s concept of who and what we are, but it is not a place for those who are in their right minds, who do not wish to be driven mad, or end up bitterly disappointed and confused about the aging and death process of their mortal bodies. 

As long as we ask ourselves who and what we are and why we are here, we are barking up the wrong tree.  We can hardly expect to find our identity in the forms which misrepresent our true Selves.  Spirit has no part in flesh, so there is no image in the flesh kingdom which will inform us of what we really are.  We can latch onto our genitals and think oh, I am a man because I have a penis, or I am a woman because of my vagina, but that only begins to define our human roles, not our identity.  We can say I am black, or I am white; I am Chinese, or I am Korean.  We can try to find out who we are through our passions – I am an artist, a bodybuilder, a writer, an engineer…but these are still artificial means in which to find our identity and will all end in nothingness.  These are all images that rely on perception to symbolize that which is simply nonrepresentational in a physical form.  We must get beyond perception to know ourselves, to know God, to know the truth and accept reality. 

When we know something, it is no longer up for interpretation.  When we know something, we no longer attempt to give our own meaning to it.  It is no longer separate from us – it is part of us.  As long as we waffle back and forth we will be in an ongoing state of confusion.  We can put down our cleverness, our ingenuity, our attempts to fill in the gap with our own story.  When we are willing to leave our meaning to Him Who created us, to trust in Reality with no trace of fear, to accept the peace of God as our rightful due, we no longer feel a need for darkness, cowardice, or judgment.  The perceptions in the external world of despair and death become transparent – we can see beyond them.  We have a world where Everything already is – there is no lack, there is no need, because there is only oneness and unity because we are spirit.  Nothing is withheld from us. There is no search for meaning because Love’s meaning and Love’s purpose is only to extend itself.  Love does not get hungry or thirsty, so it needs no food or water.  It is not separate, so it needs no devices to connect.  It does not get dirty, so there is no need for soap and towels and washcloths.  It never sleeps, so there is no reason for a bed and pillows and blankets. Love does not need a temple, a church, a building of any kind in which to dwell.   It knows all and so there is no need for education.  It has all, and so there is no need for a profession or a job. 

We were created by Love, in Love, for Love and to be Love.  There is no meaning outside of that.  There is no knowledge outside of that.  As long as we think there is, we will keep devising ways to increase our knowledge – but Jesus makes it clear that this is not the truth that sets us free!

We will close today for today and complete the rest of section five, Beyond Perception 6- 10, in another post.  Let us pray together and ask God to forgive our darkened minds which try to find answers where there are none, that practices magic rather than miracles, that tries to establish a kingdom on shifting sands.  Let us never content ourselves with the puny substitutions of reality that mortality offers.  Today we ask God to deliver us from vanity, from our fascination with inventions, from our devotion to lies.  We accept His love for us, and we need know nothing more.  For we are as He created us, and we give our mortality to Him to do with as He wills.  We offer our prayers in the name of Jesus, because it is our Holy Brother who rose again and makes us one.  And we all say Amen because we recognize that God hears our prayers and responds with eternal goodwill and in everlasting good measure. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3 The innocent perception. V. Beyond perception 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A Course in Miracles CHAPTER 3: ERROR AND THE EGO


IV.  Error and the Ego

  1. The abilities you now possess are only shadows of your real strength.  All of your present functions are divided and open to question and doubt.  This is because you are not certain how you will use them and therefore incapable of knowledge.  You are also incapable of knowledge because you can still perceive lovelessly.  Perception did not exist until the separation introduced degrees, aspects, and intervals.  Spirit has no levels, and all conflict arises from the concept of levels.  Only the Levels of the Trinity are capable of Unity.  The levels created by the separation cannot but conflict.  This is because they are meaningless to each other. 
  2. Consciousness, the level of perception, was the first split introduced into the mind after the separation, making the mind a perceiver rather than a creator.  Consciousness is correctly identified as the domain of the ego.  The ego is a wrong-minded attempt to perceive yourself as you wish to be, rather than as you are.  Yet you can know yourself only as you are because that is all you can be sure of.  Everything else is open to question.
  3. The ego is the questioning aspect of the post-separation self, which was made rather than created.  It is capable of asking questions but not of perceiving meaningful answers, because these would involve knowledge and cannot be perceived.  The mind is therefore confused, because only One-mindedness can be without confusion.  A separated or divided mind must be confused.  It is necessarily uncertain about what it is.  It has to be in a conflict because it is out of accord with itself.  This makes its aspects strangers to each other, and this is the essence of the fear-prone condition, in which attack is always possible.  You have every reason to feel afraid as you perceive yourself.  This is why you cannot escape from fear until you realize that you did not and could not create yourself.  You can never make your misperceptions true, and your creation is beyond your own error.  That is why you must eventually choose to heal the separation.   
  4. Right-mindedness is not to be confused with the knowing mind, because it is applicable only to right perception.  You can be right-minded or wrong-minded, and even this is subject to degrees, clearly demonstrating that knowledge is not involved.  The term “right-mindedness” is properly used as the correction for “wrong-mindedness,” and applies to the state of mind that induces accurate perception.  It is miracle-minded because it heals misperception, and this is indeed a miracle in view of how you perceive yourself. 
  5. Perception always involves some misuse of mind because it brings the mind into areas of uncertainty.  The mind is very active.  When it chooses to be separated it chooses to perceive.  Until then it wills only to know.  Afterwards it can only choose ambiguously, and the only way out of ambiguity is clear perception.  The mind returns to its proper function only when it wills to know.  This places it in the service of the spirit, where perception is changed.  The mind chooses to divide itself when it chooses to make its own levels.  But it could not entirely separate itself from spirit, because it is from spirit that it derives its whole power to make or create.  Even in miscreation the mind is affirming its Source, or it would merely cease to be.  This is impossible, because the mind belongs to spirit which God created and which is therefore eternal.    
  6. The ability to perceive made the body possible because you must perceive something and with something.  That is why perception involves an exchange or translation, which knowledge does not need.  The interpretative function of perception, a distorted form of creation, then permits you to interpret the body as yourself in an attempt to escape from the conflict you have induced.  Spirit, which knows, could not be reconciled with this loss of power, because it is incapable of darkness.  This makes spirit almost inaccessible to the mind and entirely inaccessible to the body.  Thereafter, spirit is perceived as a threat, because light abolishes darkness merely by showing you it is not there.  Truth will always overcome error in this way.  This cannot be an active process of correction because, as I have already emphasized, knowledge does not do anything.  It can be perceived as an attacker, but it cannot attack.  What you perceive as its attack is your own vague recognition that knowledge can always be remembered, never having been destroyed. 
  7. God and His creations remain in surety, and therefore know that no miscreation exists.  Truth cannot deal with errors that you want.  I was a man who remembered spirit and its knowledge.  As a man I did not attempt to counteract error with knowledge, but to correct error from the bottom up.  I demonstrated both the powerlessness of the body and the power of the mind.  By uniting my will with that of my Creator, I naturally remembered spirit and its real purpose.  I cannot unite your will with God’s for you, but I can erase all misperceptions from your mind if you will bring it under my guidance.  Only your misperceptions stand in your way.  Without them your choice is certain.  Sane perception induces sane choosing.  I cannot choose for you, but I can help you make your own right choice.  “Many are called but few are chosen” should be, “All are called but few choose to listen.”  Therefore, they do not choose right.  The “chosen ones” are merely those who choose right sooner.  Right minds can do this now, and they will find rest unto their souls.  God knows you only in peace and this is your reality.[1]

In today’s text, we Jesus reminds us of who and what we really are as Sons of God.  He urges us to open our minds and comprehend that our real capabilities as Sons of God far outshine the mere shadows of who we think we are now.  We are so proud at times of who we are, what we have accomplished in the world, the causes we stand for and the social changes that we support.  Let’s face it being a human, especially in a society which encourages ingenuity, progress, and freedom, can be not only an interesting experience, but one of high adventure, accomplishment, and fun.  But Jesus reminds us that all we do fails to bring us unity or love.  When we separated from God and from Creation, we traded in knowledge for perception; instead of love we chose fear, suspicion, and hierarchies of specialness.  We chose a world of levels where one brother could be higher on the totem pole than another and call it happiness.  We chose a world in which different circumstances helped some and hindered others.  We chose a world that was built on the stories we made up about God and Creation, instead of the truth.  Separated from knowledge we forgot who we were and where we came from.  Those who remembered even small bits of the truth were either idolized or denigrated, creating even more conflict within our consciousness and in the outer world we made, making us strangers to ourselves and to each other. 

When we come to the end of our belief in humanity, in the fallen kingdom around us, when the light begins to shine through the darkness and cast away the shadows, our minds begin to heal.  This feels like waking up from a bad dream.  The mind is made right – slowly for some and suddenly for others – our minds begin to yearn for truth, to call out for knowledge, to seek God past all the goodies and false promise offered by the world.  But even though we are going in the right direction and our minds are made right – knowledge – Truth with a capital T- is only available to us when we reach certainty, when all we want is to know God, to know truth, to know that in God there is nothing to fear.  As long as we have the least bit of perception, as long as we are looking out instead of looking within, as long as we focus on the spaces and the lines that keep us separate instead of seeing the oneness and unity of Creation, Knowledge will seem the alien.   

We use our awakened perceptions, our right-minds, to see beyond the ego’s perceptions.  We begin to experience a sense of love instead of conflict, we begin to grow impatient with the ego’s version of reality and only want the real deal!  This is miraculous and we should never call it anything but a miracle – because we have been set free from a mass delusion, a hellish realm of death, disease, and decay, a consciousness besotted with one falsehood upon another upon another upon another!  Only with the mind of Christ, our right-minds, can we begin to disentangle ourselves from that web of deceit and despair.  We begin to see glimmers of the truth, we have instances of the purity and innocence of God, we put our hand into the hand of our older, wiser Brother, we put our mind under His guidance, and ask Him to lead the way. 

But do not get discouraged just because we are still in a state of humanity.  Jesus explains why we will have a bit of uncertainty for even in our right-minds, we will continue to perceive ourselves as flesh and blood sometimes.  There are times that no matter how enlightened we are, we will think there is some value in attack.  We will look at our brothers and see them as strangers.  We will choose separateness instead of unity.  We will fall into conflict instead of practice peace.  But hallelujah, Brothers.  Jesus says that we can never be separate from God.  In reality, we are safe in His Arms, at rest in His Kingdom.  We belong to Him and we are like Him.  He is in us and we are in Him!

Spirit has no affiliation or argument with flesh. It is Truth.  Truth needs no defense, has no need to attack. Truth shines and exposes all lies, all fiction, all that cannot stand the test of the everlasting.  While the flesh may make of the Spirit an enemy because it exposes truth and obliterates the need for secretiveness, Spirit makes no war upon the flesh – it would be senseless to war upon that which is an illusion, a kingdom of lies, a state of consciousness, a dream in time and space. 

In paragraph seven, Jesus assures us that in our reality we are with God in certainty.  None of this exists – Truth is truth and let there be no mistake, all that is a lie cannot change it, move it, make it cry, or give it a punch in the nose.  Truth cannot change into a lie or turn a lie into truth.  Truth does not change its mind about what is right and what is wrong.  Truth does not love one day and forsake the next.  Truth has no real opposite for all that opposes truth is a lie and lies do not exist.  No matter how many lies you tell, no matter how many people you get to believe in those lies, truth remains unfazed and unchanged.  There is no battering ram in the world that can put a dent in truth! 

When Jesus took humanity upon himself, he did not attempt to counteract the illusions of this world with knowledge, but rather to correct misperceptions at the level where they took place.  When we are still enchanted by the fallen kingdom, Truth does not seek us out to correct the lies we have made our reality.  Knowledge is not active; it just is.  Knowledge stands.  It has no perception.  Knowledge has no role in our salvation.  Salvation is the breaking of the spell that must be broken.  We come to knowledge after salvation.  Jesus as God’s Perfect Son broke the spell of our enchantment with flesh and blood and the physical world.  When Jesus performed miracles, he demonstrated that we are not limited by our human forms nor the laws of the physical universe.  When Jesus died on the cross he showed us the powerlessness of the body; when he resurrected he showed us the power of the mind.  He did this by uniting His will with that of the Father, which enabled him to remember spirit and its real purpose.

Jesus does not unite our will with God’s, but He does show us how to be like Him.   He does erase all lies from our mind when we ask for His guidance.  Without our belief in it, the smokescreen of miscreation dissipates – it disappears into the nothingness in which it was made.  Behind the smokescreen there is truth.  There is our knowledge of God restored to us. There is Creation in all its radiant glory.  There is our true identity right where it always was, safe in the loving embrace of God.  No longer under the enchantment of fear, we choose Love, we choose Truth, we choose Spirit.  We choose God which is all things. 

Jesus assures us that all are called, but few choose to listen. We keep putting it off.  We continue to seek for our happiness where it cannot be found.  We ignore our inner calls to seek Him, because we choose to fear Him Who created us, instead of trusting in His Love and Good Will.  We try to substitute all manner of distractions – but in the end every single one of us realize that without Him we are nothing.  We can be one of the “chosen” who choose sooner rather than later to seek Him, but we can never be loved more or less than the rest of Creation.  For we cannot find God when we strive against our brothers.  God made us and knows us only in peace and this is our reality. Pray for reality, dear brothers. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3: IV Error and the ego. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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III.  Perception versus Knowledge

  1. We have been emphasizing perception and have said very little about knowledge as yet.  This is because perception must be straightened out before you can know anything.  To know is to be certain.  Uncertainty means that you do not know.  Knowledge is power because it is certain, and certainty is strength.  Perception is temporary.  As an attribute of the belief in space and time, it is subject to either fear or love.  Misperceptions produce fear and true perceptions foster love, but neither brings certainty because all perception varies.  That is why it is not knowledge.  True perception is the basis for knowledge but knowing is the affirmation of truth and beyond all perception.
  2. All your difficulties stem from the fact that you do not recognize yourself, your brother, or God.  To recognize means to “know again,” implying that you knew before.  You can see in many ways because perception involves interpretation, and this means that it is not whole or consistent.  The miracle, being a way of perceiving, is not knowledge.  It is the right answer to a question, but you do not question when you know.  Questioning illusions is the first step in undoing them.  The miracle, or the right answer, corrects them.  Since perceptions change, their dependence on time is obvious.  How you perceive at any given time determines what you do, and actions must occur in time.  Knowledge is timeless because certainty is not questionable.  You know when you have ceased to ask questions. 
  3. The questioning mind perceives itself in time, and therefore looks for future answers.  The closed mind believes the future and the present will be the same.  This establishes a seemingly stable state that is usually an attempt to counteract an underlying fear that the future will be worse than the present.  This fear inhibits the tendency to question at all. 
  4. True vision is the natural perception of spiritual sight, but it is still a correction rather than a fact.  Spiritual sight is symbolic, and therefore not a device for knowing.  It is, however, a means of right perception, which brings it into the proper domain of the miracle.  A “vision of God” would be a miracle rather than a revelation.  The fact that perception is involved at all removes the experience from the realm of knowledge.  That is why visions, however holy, do not last. 
  5. The Bible tells you to know yourself, to be certain.  Certainty is always of God.  When you love someone you have perceived him as he is, and this makes it possible for you to know him.  Until you first perceive him as he is you cannot know him.  While you ask questions about him you are clearly implying that you do not know God.  Certainty does not require action.  When you say you are acting on the basis of knowledge, you are really confusing knowledge with perception.  Knowledge provides the strength for creative thinking, but not for right doing.  Perception, miracles, and doing are closely related.  Knowledge is the result of revelation and induces only thought.  Even in its most spiritualized form, perception involves the body.  Knowledge comes from the altar within and is timeless because it is certain.  To perceive the truth is not the same as to know it. 
  6. Right perception is necessary before God can communicate directly to His altars, which He established in His Sons.  There He can communicate His certainty, and His Knowledge will bring peace without question.  God is not a stranger to His Sons, and His Sons are not strangers to each other.  Knowledge preceded both perception and time and will ultimately replace them.  That is the real meaning of the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end,” and “Before Abraham was, I am.”  Perception can and must be stabilized, but knowledge is stable.  “Fear God and Keep His commandments” becomes “Know God and accept His certainty.”
  7. If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself.  You cannot know your brother when you attack him.  Attack is always made upon a stranger.  You are making him a stranger by misperceiving him, and so you cannot know him.  It is because you have made him a stranger that you are afraid of him.  Perceive him correctly so that you can know him.  There are no strangers in God’s creation.  To create as He created you can create only what you know, and therefore accept as yours.  God knows His children with perfect certainty.  He created them by knowing them.  He recognizes them perfectly.  When they do not recognize each other, they do not recognize Him. [1]

No matter how spiritual we are, perception involves the body.  It is our right perception of God that instills our right thinking, miracles, and helpfulness in the world.  Knowledge is the revelation of God and does not reveal itself through perception, only thought.  Knowledge is timeless, certain, unchanging.  Jesus makes it very clear that perceiving the truth is not the same as knowing it. 

As much as I love my husband, James, it is only the fact that I perceive him as he is that makes it possible for me to know him.  To perceive him as he is – I have to ask questions. He tells the story of James instead of me making things up about him. I must be willing to put our pasts behind, relate to him from a deep well of appreciation, respect, admiration, and forgiveness before I come to know him as he is.  Knowledge of James is the end of all questions I may have had about him.  Knowledge of James means the opinions of others have no power to influence my knowledge of him.  No matter how circumstances may change for the better or for the worse, I know James.  I know that I can trust him. I know that I can depend upon him.  I know that he cherishes me as much as I cherish him.  I know that he is humble.  I know that he is tender.  I know that he is good. 

Until I know him, perhaps you could have changed my mind about him.  You could have recited all his mistakes.  You could make up stories about how vile and mean he is.  You could form alliances that characterize him as saint or sinner, and I would have to sort through it and find out for myself.   But no more!  I know him.  He is revealed to me.  And I am certain.

Thus our perceptions of God must become stabilized. This is why we are studying this Course because knowing God is our goal.  To get there we need the miracle perception.  We need Atonement to deliver us from the unreal kingdom, to help us perceive past the separation apparent to our physical senses.  Atonement stabilizes our perceptions, it helps us to ask the right questions and Atonement provides us with the true response.  Atonement prepares us for knowledge, which is stable.  When we become unshakeable in our love, devotion, and unity with one another, we become unshakeable in our love, our devotion, our unity with Him. 

Jesus ends today’s text by telling us to never focus on the mistakes or the wrongdoing of another person.  We are not to put labels on one another.  We are not to take up arms against each other.  We are not to enter campaigns that use slurs and mockery and ridicule.  These are not miracle measures.  Attacking our brothers does not bring us peace.  It brings us nothing but suffering, shame, and guilt.  When we attack our brothers for any reason, we are making strangers of the Sons of God, we are disrespecting the oneness and unity of Creation, we can be the most spiritually enlightened person on the planet, but we will not know God.  Jesus urges us to perceive our brothers with the miracle of Atonement which teaches Sonship and Brotherhood – because there are no strangers in God’s creation.  God has made us to create like Him, to be like Him.  He knows us with perfect certainty because He made us.  He recognizes us.  He never forgot us.  When we fail to recognize each other we fail to recognize Him. 

To know God, we must love Creation.  We must do our best to show mercy, reflect love, and promote peace and brotherhood.  Today in your devotional practice, ask the Lord to let this text rest upon your mind and teach you actionable ways in which you can apply these precepts.  Let us stand with Christ and see the world through His eyes of forgiveness and healing. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3:III Perception versus knowledge. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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II. Miracles as True Perception

  1. I have stated that the basic concepts referred to in this course are not matters of degree.  Certain fundamental concepts cannot be understood in terms of opposites.  It is impossible to conceive of light and darkness or everything and nothing as joint possibilities.  They are all true or all false.  It is essential that you realize your thinking will be erratic until a firm commitment to one or the other is made.  A firm commitment to darkness or nothingness, however, is impossible.  No one has ever lived who has not experienced some light and some thing.  No one, therefore, is able to deny truth totally, even if he thinks he can.
  2. Innocence is not a partial attribute.  It is not real until it is total.  The partly innocent are apt to be quite foolish at times.  It is not until their innocence becomes a viewpoint with universal application that it becomes wisdom.  Innocent or true perception means that you never misperceive and always see truly.  More simply, it means that you never see what does not exist, and always see what does.
  3. When you lack confidence in what someone will do, you are attesting to your brother that he is not in his right mind.  This is hardly a miracle-based frame of reference.  It also has the disastrous effect of denying the power of the miracle.  The miracle perceives everything as it is.  If nothing but the truth exists, right-minded seeing cannot see anything but perfection.  I have said that only what God creates or what you create with the same Will has any real existence.  This, then, is all the innocent can see.  They do not suffer from distorted perception.
  4. You are afraid of God’s will because you have used your own mind, which He created in the likeness of His Own, to miscreate.  The mind can miscreate only when it believes it is not free.  An “imprisoned” mind is not free because it is possessed, or held back, by itself.  It is therefore limited, and the will is not free to assert itself.  To be one is to be of one mind or will.  When the Will of the Sonship and the Father are one, their perfect accord is Heaven. 
  5. Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his spirit into the Hands of his Father.  By doing this the mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator.  All sense of separation disappears.  The Son of God is part of the Holy Trinity, but the Trinity itself is one.  There is no confusion within Its levels because They are of one Mind and one Will.  This single purpose creates perfect integration and establishes the peace of God.  Yet this vision can be perceived only by the truly innocent.  Because their hearts are pure, the innocent defend true perception instead of defending themselves against it.  Understanding the lesson of the Atonement, they are without the wish to attack, and there they see truly.  This is what the Bible means when it says, “When He shall appear (or be perceived) we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
  6. The way to correct distortions is to withdraw your faith in them and invest it only in what is true.  You cannot make untruth true.  If you are willing to accept what is true in everything you perceive, you let it be true for you.  Truth overcomes all error, and those who live in error and emptiness can never find lasting solace.  If you perceive truly you are cancelling out misperceptions in yourself and in others simultaneously.  Because you see them as they are, you offer them your acceptance of their truth so they can accept it for themselves.  This is the healing that the miracle induces.[1]

The miracle is a full commitment to innocence, in never choosing the dark perception or giving place to harmfulness of any kind in our minds.  Any lapse would be immediately recognized as forgivable, fixable, and not worth getting worked up about or ever mentioned again.  Without the innocent perception our mind is trapped in the perceptions of this world, the mean, snide, jealous, reactive world.  Our mind will get itself tied in knots over the slaps and slurs that are dished up and heaped high on a platter to us each hour of each day!  Because that is what this place is – a miscreation of ill will, distrust, and meanness.  Our mind hooked on fear cannot see the innocence and purity and freedom of the Spirit.  It is not one with God or with others or even itself.  Our flesh eyes, fragments of an artificially-augmented reality, can only see in part.  Our egos, however, choose to ignore this and believe that cynicism, suspicion, and distrust provide strong defense while innocence is no defense at all.

To choose the innocent perception then is to choose a miracle.  It is a decision to see beyond the perception of the flesh eyes, to unite with God and ask for the real perception.  The miracle begins when we realize that our defenses against innocence are defenses against Atonement.  Until we are able to see no strength in that which weakens and distorts the harmlessness of Creation and the goodwill of God, we will continue to be trapped in the false perception.  We will believe our perceptions – the strife, discord, disease, and death – as the true story; we will believe the Atonement as a fairy tale, something for weaklings who cannot handle the “real” world to pin their hopes.   

When we accept Atonement, we see Jesus, as He is.  And all we want is to be like Him.  We will not see him as the helpless lamb who was whipped, stripped, and died an agonizing death on the cross.  We shall see Him as the Lamb of God who could endure all of that and rise again in everlasting glory. No shame, no blame, no sense of being wronged, no bleating about how unjust it was.  That would make him pitiable and not strong at all.  He hung on that cross for all to see so that there would be no mistake when He rose again.  To give us hope, to show us that we are forever, that our humanity is not the end of the story. 

Innocence does not label and make real that which has no truth and cannot stand the test of eternity.  It is only that which goes on forever that we can see as real, that we cherish, that we accept as true perception. 

Let us ask the Lord to restore our innocence, to give us the miracle of true perception, to give us the vision of Christ. Today we have come to understand that true perception is innocent perception.  We can say with Christ, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do!” 

We will never find solace in the perceptions of our flesh for our flesh senses are programmed from a source of lack, nothingness, fiction, and lies.  They sniff out scarcity; they pit brother-against-brother; instead of building they tear down, instead of creation, they destroy.  Our flesh senses recycle grudges, condemnations, and ill will down through the generations drugging the Brotherhood of Christ with the enchantment of false allegiances to a world bent on never enough to go around.

We accept the holy perception, the Innocent and pure perception of Christ for now we know there is no power in darkness, there is no glory in death, there is no strength in terror and destruction, for all power and glory and honor is in God our Father, our Everything, the Holy, Pure, and Innocent of all wrongdoing.  We can no longer give our allegiance to that which is not true, not good, not everlasting because it is as nothing.  We see it for what it is, we see through it to the truth beyond.  The truth is so beautiful, and the truth is so kind, and the truth is so real to us that we can say with Christ, “Father, forgive them for they are not in their right minds.  What can I do, Father?  I will use my humanity to stand with Christ and share the miracle that heals and saves. For I would not be one with You if I could return to You without them.”

This is the innocent perception, the true perception – this is the miracle that heals and saves.   

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3: II Miracles as true perception. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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I.  Atonement Without Sacrifice

  1. A further point must be perfectly clear before any residual fear still associated with miracles can disappear.  The crucifixion did not establish the Atonement, the resurrection did.  Many sincere Christians have misunderstood this.  No one who is free of the belief in scarcity could possibly make this mistake.  If the crucifixion is seen from an upside-down point of view, it does appear as if God permitted and even encouraged one of His Sons to suffer because he was good.  This particularly unfortunate interpretation, which arose out of projection, has led many people to be bitterly afraid of God.  Such anti-religious concepts enter into many religions.  Yet the real Christian should pause and ask, “How can this be?”  Is it likely that God Himself would be capable of the kind of thinking which His Own words have clearly stated is unworthy of His Son?
  2. The best defense, as always, is not to attack another’s position, but rather to protect the truth.  It is unwise to accept any concept if you have to invert a whole frame of reference in order to justify it.  This procedure is painful in its minor applications and genuinely tragic on a wider scale.  Persecution frequently results in an attempt to “justify” the terrible misperception that God Himself persecuted His Own Son on behalf of salvation.  The very words are meaningless.  It has been particularly difficult to overcome this because, although the error itself is no harder to correct than any other, many have been unwilling to give it up in view of its prominent value as a defense.  In milder forms a parent says, “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” and feels exonerated in beating a child.  Can you believe our Father really thinks this way?  It is so essential that all such thinking be dispelled that we must be sure that nothing of this kind remains in our mind.  I was not “punished” because you were bad.  The wholly benign lesson the Atonement teaches is lost if it is tainted with this kind of distortion in any form. 
  3. The statement “vengeance is Mine, sayeth the Lord” is a misperception by which one assigns his own “evil” past to God.  The “evil” past has nothing to do with God.  He did not create it and He does not maintain it.  God does not believe in retribution.  His Mind does not create that way.  He does not hold your “evil” deeds against you.  Is it likely that He would hold them against me?  Be very sure that you recognize how utterly impossible this assumption is, and how entirely it arises from projection.  This kind of error is responsible for a host of related errors, including the belief that God rejected Adam and forced him out of the Garden of Eden.  It is also why you may believe from time to time that I am misdirecting you.  I have made every effort to use words that are almost impossible to distort, but it is always possible to twist symbols around if you wish. 
  4. Sacrifice is a notion totally unknown to God.  It arises solely from fear, and frightened people can be vicious.  Sacrificing in any way is a violation of my injunction that you should be merciful even as your Father in Heaven is merciful.  It has been hard for many Christians to realize that this applies to themselves.  Good teachers never terrorize their students.  To terrorize is to attack, and this results in rejection of what the teacher offers.  The result is learning failure.
  5. I have been correctly referred to as “the lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world,” but those who represent the lamb as blood-stained do not understand the meaning of the symbol.  Correctly understood, it is a very simple symbol that speaks of my innocence.  The lion and the lamb lying down together symbolize that strength and innocence are not in conflict, but naturally live in peace.  “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” is another way of saying the same thing.  A pure mind knows the truth, and this is its strength.  It does not confuse destruction with innocence because it associates innocence with strength, not with weakness.
  6. Innocence is incapable of sacrificing anything, because the innocent mind has everything and strives only to protect its wholeness.  It cannot project.  It can only honor other minds, because honor is the natural greeting of the truly loved to others who are like them.  The lamb “taketh away the sins of the world” in the sense that the state of innocence, or grace, is one in which the meaning of the Atonement is perfectly apparent.  The Atonement is entirely unambiguous.  It is perfectly clear because it exists in light.  Only the attempts to shroud it in darkness have made it inaccessible to those who do not choose to see. 
  7. The Atonement itself radiates nothing but truth.  It therefore epitomizes harmlessness and sheds only blessing.  It could not do this if it arose from anything but perfect innocence.  Innocence is wisdom because it is unaware of evil, and evil does not exist.  It is, however, perfectly aware of everything that is true.  The resurrection demonstrated that nothing could destroy truth.  Good can withstand any form of evil, as light abolishes forms of darkness.  The Atonement is therefore the perfect lesson.  It is the final demonstration that all the other lessons I taught are true.  If you can accept this one generalization now, there will be no need to learn from many smaller lessons.  You are released from all errors if you believe this.
  8. The innocence of God is the true state of mind of His Son.  In this state your mind knows God, for God is not symbolic; He is fact.  Knowing His Son as he is, you realize that the Atonement, not sacrifice, is the only appropriate gift for God’s altar, where nothing except perfection belongs.  The understanding of the innocent is truth.  That is why their altars are truly radiant.[1]
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If we want to be the miracle-workers that Christ has called us to be, it is imperative that we understand that the resurrection of Christ and not the crucifixion of Christ is what established the Atonement.  Too many of us have been taught and continue to teach this dangerous doctrine because the fear of God has kept us from correcting this mistake.  As long as we see the crucifixion as God permitting or perhaps even demanding the blood and suffering of any one of His Sons, especially His Perfect Son as payment for sin, we are believing in a God who is bloodthirsty.  It is a totally unloving and unworthy view of our Heavenly Father and every single one of us who feel the call of God on our lives should not be afraid to address this mistaken perception and encourage others to focus on the Resurrection instead of the death of Christ’s body.

If you have any lingering fear and doubt about the role of the crucifixion in the plan of salvation ask the Lord to reveal this truth to you.  In today’s reading, Jesus tells us, His brothers, to ask: “How can this be?”  God has absolutely no need for blood.  God is spirit and God is life.  Blood is a thing of this kingdom, not God’s!  Christ came to show us the way of our return – only the most primitive and depraved cry for blood and suffering as an appeasement for sin, our Father is a God of tender mercy, correction, forgiveness and love. 

Jesus assures us that He was not punished for our sins.  What a travesty of parenthood when an older, innocent brother would be harshly punished for the mistakes of a younger more impish one!  The loving lesson of Atonement has been polluted with the teaching of God demanding sacrifice of any kind, especially in regard to Christ who entered into the realm of death precisely to resurrect.

Jesus assures us that every trace of this fear-based doctrine needs to be put behind us because it leads to tragic ends.  If God Himself is a terrorist, requiring blood and sacrifice, squeezing “payment” from the pain and suffering of any part of His Creation, it then justifies such heresy as inquisitions, wars, and kidnapping as a means to keep each other a slave to fear.

Jesus tells us that God is not a God of vengeance.  God did not create any need for vengeance or punishment of any kind.  God is not spiteful.  God has much better things to do than to nose in the miscreations of a separated kingdom and think up ways to remind them of how big, bad, and dangerous He can be.  As much as God loves each of us, it is very ignorant of us to think that we can sic Him upon our enemies because we are called to forgive them and love them as brothers.  When we come to know God, we love Him, we respect Him, we know Him as Perfection, Love, Truth, Mercy, Joy, and Peace.  We will not find God in spite or malice or vengeance of any kind. 

Jesus is asking us, brothers, to get beyond the myths that we have accepted as truth.  Jesus asks us to question our traditional doctrines, ancient texts, and the misconceived notions that have distorted our perceptions of God and kept us at each other’s throats instead of in each other’s hearts. 

Sacrifice is a device of fear.  Instead of correction, sacrifice demands blood and suffering.  Sacrifice is a violation of our injunction to be merciful even as God is merciful.  Brothers, we are apt to ignore this, but there is no justification for the unkind thoughts and terrible punishments we dream up for those who do not believe the way we do, go to the same church we go to, or worship God in the same way.  Jesus says that good teachers know better than to terrorize their students because to instill fear in another is to attack them and when someone is attacked, they reject and fail to learn what they need to know.  We do a great disservice to our Beloved Father by circulating stories of fear and vengeance and promote a call for bloodshed and sacrifice in His name. 

Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world symbolizes the strength and power in innocence.  Jesus reminds us that there is no cry for blood in the statement “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” which carries the same message of strength in innocence, purity, and peace.  A pure mind, Jesus says, does not confuse destruction with purity and innocence, because it knows innocence as not weak, but strong.

When our minds are innocent we know the real meaning of Atonement.  The innocence symbolized by the lamb of God takes away the sins of the world because it sees nothing outside the light of God’s love.  The innocent mind is one that has come to the Last Judgment and experienced the fading away of all that is dark, dangerous, and fearful.  The Atonement is harmless and gives only blessing.  Innocence gives no strength to evil and evil cannot abide in it.  The Resurrection demonstrates the truth of the powerlessness of evil, darkness, fear, and death.  Goodness and light are everlasting; sin and darkness are temporal and cannot last.   Jesus taught us this not by the death of his humanity on the cross but by His Resurrection.  When we come to fully accept and know this in our hearts and minds, we are released from all forms of fear.

In the last paragraph of today’s reading Jesus tells us that the Innocence of God is the true state of our being in Him.  We only know God in innocence for in innocence we know Him as fact and not as a symbol.  We are free from indoctrinations that teach fear instead of love, that would promote vengeance, rather than mercy, correction, and healing, and would drive us from Him rather than to Him.  Christ our Brother did not die for us but as one with us.  It is His Resurrection that compels us to offer the Principle of Love for the resurrection of all Creation.  Accepting our innocence in Christ, leads us to truth.  It is our resurrected innocence that causes His light to shine upon us forever as the Sons of God. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3:I Atonement without sacrifice. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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Section VIII. The Meaning of the Last Judgment

  1. One of the ways in which you can correct the magic-miracle confusion is to remember that you did not create yourself.  You are apt to forget this when you become egocentric, and this puts you in a position where a belief in magic is virtually inevitable.  Your will to create was given you by your Creator, Who was expressing the same Will in His creation.  Since creative ability rests in the mind, everything you create is necessarily a matter of will.  It also follows that whatever you alone make is real in your own sight, though not in the Mind of God.  This basic distinction leads directly into the real meaning of the Last Judgment. 
  2. The Last Judgment is one of the most threatening ideas in your thinking.  This is because you do not understand it.  Judgment is not an attribute of God.  It was brought into being only after the separation, when it became one of the many learning devices to be built into the overall plan.  Just as the separation occurred over millions of years, the Last Judgment will extend over a similarly long period, and perhaps an even longer one.  Its length can, however, be greatly shortened by miracles, the device for shortening but not abolishing time.  If a sufficient number become truly miracle-minded, this shortening process can be virtually immeasurable.  It is essential, however, that you free yourself from fear quickly, because you must emerge from the conflict if you are to bring peace to other minds. 
  3. The Last Judgment is generally thought of as a procedure undertaken by God.  Actually, it will be undertaken by my brothers with my help.  It is a final healing rather than a meting out of punishment, however, much you may think that punishment is deserved.  Punishment is a concept totally opposed to right-mindedness, and the aim of the Last Judgment is to restore right-mindedness to you.  The Last Judgment might be called a process of right evaluation.  It simply means that everyone will finally come to understand what is worthy and what is not.  After this, the ability to choose can be directed rationally.  Until this distinction is made, however, the vacillations between free and imprisoned will cannot but continue. 
  4. The first step toward freedom involves a sorting out of the false from the true.  This is a process of separation in the constructive sense and reflects the true meaning of the Apocalypse.  Everyone will ultimately look upon his own creations and choose to preserve only what is good, just as God Himself looked upon what He had created and knew that it was good.  At this point, the mind can begin to look with love on its own creations because of their worthiness.  At the same time, the mind will inevitably disown its miscreations which, without belief, will no longer exist.
  5. The term, “Last Judgment” is frightening not only because it has been projected onto God, but also because of the association of “last” with death.  This is an outstanding example of upside-down perception.  If the meaning of the Last Judgment is objectively examined, it is quite apparent that it is really the doorway to life.  No one who lives in fear is really alive.  Your own last judgment cannot be directed toward yourself because you are not your own creation.  You can, however, apply it meaningfully and at any time to everything you have made, and retain in your memory only what is creative and good. This is what your right-mindedness cannot but dictate.  The purpose of time is solely to “give you time” to achieve this judgment.  It is your own perfect judgment of your own perfect creations.  When everything you retain is loveable, there is no reason for fear to remain with you.  This is your part in the Atonement.[1]

When we choose to fear God instead of love God, we choose to believe a lie.  Instead of enjoying the beautiful communion we had with our Father, we began to see Him as having a secret agenda – plotting against us, denying us goodies and deriving pleasure in our suffering, sacrifice, and shame.  When we hold false ideas about God, we can hardly hope to do much better!  Instead of loving and caring for Creation, we dreamt up ways to prey upon it, to destroy, to slaughter. We began to crave the taste of meat and slaked our thirst on blood.  Instead of the oneness and unity that rest upon the Principle of Love, we entered a state of competition, self-centeredness, and conflict.  We made a world of us against them and them against us, and our belief in our own fictional kingdom made it real to us. 

Until we understand the unreality of this world, we keep the world spinning, brothers, whether we choose to be good, bad, or indifferent citizens of this kingdom.  Pay your tithes, go to your religious institutions, send your kids to the best universities, and be faithful spouses – the only reward you will get for your good behavior in the world will be limited to how the world chooses to reward you.  It will not be God rewarding you for your good manners, your wise decisions, and moral behavior.  The same goes for snubbing the church, squandering your money, letting your kids fend for themselves, and being good-time Sams and free-wheeling Sallies – the outcome of your choices and your actions will be limited to this world – get away with it or end up lonely and in despair, God has nothing to do with it.  This kingdom is not His Kingdom.  It is not His Will, and as real as it seems to us, it is not real by any stretch of the imagination outside the realm of the time space illusion. 

Most interpretations of the Last Judgment are based upon the time space illusion.  We behold a fearful concept of God as the Great Avenger rather than as the Loving Father.  The time space illusion reinforces our trust in the flesh and blood kingdom and the other miscreations of separation.  When we understand the unreality of this kingdom, when our minds are awakened to the truth of the matter, we will understand the real meaning of the Last Judgment and realize that this is a most joyous event in which to look forward to, to pray for instead of against.  When we hear people say that they hope they do not miss the Rapture or pray that they are not around for the Last Judgment, they are indicating their fear of God, a sad lack of concern for others, and a most superficial understanding of the Lord’s Prayer.  For when we pray God’s Will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are praying for the Last Judgment. 

Jesus tells us in paragraph two that we are afraid of the Last Judgment because we simply do not understand it.  We have assumed that God judges against us, that it is one event in time, and that it is a terrifying, bloody event while God and the armies of darkness go to war. 

First of all, as miracles workers, it is essential that we accept the mastery of love in our thoughts and are completely freed from fear of God and Creation.  When we are released from fear and come to know God and Creation as loving, forgiving, corrective, gentle, and kind there is no more conflict in our mind, and we can share this peace of mind with others.  The Last Judgment becomes not a projection of punishment which is totally alien to our Father, but a means to bring healing and to restore sanity to His Son.  The Last Judgment simply means that each one of us –will come to know what is true and what has no truth, what is right and what is wrong, what has value and what has none.  Until the Last Judgment we vacillate between truth and untruth – sometimes we recognize the reality of God and the unreality of the world in space and time, and other times we fall back into the trance. 

Eventually, each of us experience the Last Judgment when we make our final choice for God’s Will– we have judged all else to be untrue – we are no longer the least bit interested in the fiction – it is unworthy, boring, trite, and meaningless.  This is not something God does; this is our final judgment.  We come to our last judgment by careful evaluation, taking note, awakening to the concept of love, testing the practice of miracle-mindedness, and determining the veracity and the validity of the acceptance of Christ’s teaching.  There is no concern that we will choose another way because truth is truth.  It either holds up or it does not.  Freed from the trance and a desire for that which is not unified, God’s Will, which is Loving Will, has ultimate appeal to the sane and enlightened mind.

Jesus calls the Last Judgment the final healing. There is no punishment involved.  Punishment is not correction, and there is no place for it in God’s Will. The Last Judgment is a process of choosing what is right and good and worthy and letting go of all that is not right and good and worthy.  When that happens, we are restored to Brotherhood of Christ.  God’s Will comes.  God’s Will is done.

As the truth about God’s Kingdom becomes more apparent, the institutions which thrive on darkness and ignorance will seem to become more threatening and dangerous.  This process of separating fiction from truth will be like “pulling the lid off,” it will disclose and expose.  Deeds done in darkness will come to the light.  We see this today as the Sons of God are no longer willing to practice institutionalized rape and disregard for the wellbeing and safety of others.  While the transparency of being one with God in spirit and in truth will eventually be the choice for everyone, initially coming to the light can be a scary process for those still asleep in darkness and fascinated by that which is not love. 

The Last Judgment comes to each one of us as our minds look upon our thoughts and choose only that which comes from love and disown all else.  Rejoice no matter how sinful and secret is our shame, for we do not want it anymore.  We disown it and with no more belief, it has no form and can do no damage.  God did not make our sin and shame and therefore it has no life, no value, no worth.  Our sin and our shame hold no interest to God.  When the prodigal son came home – his father did not want to know what he did when he was away kicking up his heels and squandering his inheritance.  Overjoyed to have him home; the father had no interest in judging, condemning, or punishing his beloved son.  The son was the one who judged his wayward ways and found them worthless. It was the son’s judgment on the state of his being that motivated him to return.    

The purpose of time is to give us time to achieve this final judgment.  When our minds are full of love and only love, there is no room for fear and conflict.  Our minds are one with Christ Who has never left God’s Kingdom except to pave the way for our return.  Our minds free of malice and fear and thoughts of death and destruction return to their devotion – to that which is sublime, creative, truly alive, and everlasting. 

When we come to the Last Judgment we use our minds to evaluate each thought, each word, each deed.  We separate that which is lovely and good from that which is not.  We do not judge ourselves for we did not make ourselves nor do we belong to ourselves.  We judge what to retain and what to let go.  There is no vengeance.  There is no high emotion and passion.  We have no need to spew and spit, to sputter and mutter, to weep or gnash our teeth.  It is a sorting out of truth from fiction.  We keep what God created and what aligns with His Will and we let everything that does not dry up and disappear.

Jesus tells us that the Last Judgment is the doorway to life!  God has no need to judge us, brothers.  He knows who we are, and He knows to Whom we belong.  At the Last Judgment we are convinced that His Will is our will.  We no longer choose to fear God because we love Him.  We want nothing but Him, Who is creative and good.  We want wholeness, oneness, and the peace, joy, and love that can only be found in Sonship with Him, in Brotherhood with Christ, in oneness with Creation.  The Last Judgment is our final take on the miscreations we have made. It is our part in the Atonement process.  It is our final pronouncement of the fragmented, fear-based, alternative to reality that hooked our minds with irreverence, unholiness, and lies.  We say with everlasting certainty and all-encompassing love – “No More” to miscreations, and “Yes, Always and Forever” to the Divine.  Individually and collectively, let us pray for the Last Judgment for it is our freedom from darkness and death and the way to everlasting truth and life!

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 2: VIII The meaning of the last judgment. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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Section VII. Cause and Effect

  1. You may still complain about fear, but you nevertheless persist in making yourself fearful.  I have already indicated that you cannot ask me to release you from fear.  I know it does not exist, but you do not.  If I intervened between your thoughts and their results, I would be tampering with a basic law of cause and effect; the most fundamental law there is.  I would hardly help you if I depreciated the power of your own thinking.  This would be in direct opposition to the purpose of this course.  It is much more helpful to remind you that you do not guard your thoughts carefully enough.  You may feel that at this point it would take a miracle to enable you to do this, which is perfectly true.  You are not used to miracle-minded thinking, but you can be trained to think that way.  All miracle workers need that kind of training. 
  2. I cannot let you leave your mind unguarded, or you will not be able to help me.  Miracle working entails a full realization of the power of thought in order to avoid miscreation.  Otherwise a miracle will be necessary to set the mind itself straight, a circular process that would not foster the time collapse for which the miracle was intended.  The miracle worker must have genuine respect for true cause and effect as a necessary condition for the miracle to occur.
  3.   Both miracles and fear come from thoughts.  If you are not free to choose one, you would also not be free to choose the other.  By choosing the miracle you have rejected fear, if only temporarily.  You have been fearful of everyone and everything.  You are afraid of God, of me, and of yourself.  You have misperceived or miscreated us and believe in what you have made.  You would not have done this if you were not afraid of your own thoughts.  The fearful must miscreate because they misperceive creation.  When you miscreate you are in pain.  The cause and effect principle now becomes a real expediter, though only temporarily.  Actually, “Cause” is a term properly belonging to God, and His “Effect” is His Son.  This entails a set of Cause and Effect relationships totally different from those you introduce into miscreation.  The fundamental conflict in this world, then, is between creation and miscreation.  All fear is implicit in the second, and all love in the first.  The conflict is therefore one between love and fear. 
  4.   It has already been said that you believe you cannot control fear because you yourself made it, and your belief in it seems to render it out of your control.  Yet any attempt to resolve the error through attempting the mastery of fear is useless.  In fact, it asserts the power of fear by the very assumption that it need be mastered.  The true resolution rests entirely on mastery through love.  In the interim, however, the sense of conflict is inevitable since you have placed yourself in a position where you believe in the power of what does not exist. 
  5.   Nothing and everything cannot coexist.  To believe in one is to deny the other.  Fear is really nothing and love is everything.  Whenever light enters darkness, the darkness is abolished.  What you believe is true for you.  In this sense the separation has occurred, and to deny it is merely to use denial inappropriately.  However, to concentrate on error is only a further error.  The initial corrective procedure is to recognize temporarily that there is a problem, but only as an indication that immediate correction is needed.  This establishes a state of mind in which the Atonement can be accepted without delay.  It should be emphasized, however, that ultimately no compromise is possible between everything and nothing.  Time is essentially a device by which all compromise in this respect can be given up.  It only seems to be abolished by degrees, because time itself involves intervals that do not exist.  Miscreation made this necessary as a corrective device.  The statement, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” needs only one slight correction to be meaningful in this context; “He gave it to His only begotten Son.”
  6. It should especially be noted that God has only one Son.  If all His creations are His Sons, every Son must be an integral part of the whole Sonship.  The Sonship in its oneness transcends the sum of its parts.  However, this is obscured as long as any of its parts is missing.  That is why the conflict cannot ultimately be resolved until all the parts of the Sonship have returned.  Only then can the meaning of wholeness in the true sense be understood.  Any part of the Sonship can believe in error or incompleteness if he so chooses.  However, if he does so, he is believing in the existence of nothingness.  The correction of this error is the Atonement.
  7.  I have already briefly spoken about readiness, but some additional points might be helpful here.  Readiness is only the prerequisite for accomplishment.  The two should not be confused.  As soon as a state of readiness occurs, there is usually some degree of desire to accomplish, but it is by no means necessarily undivided.  The state does not imply more than a potential for a change of mind.  Confidence cannot develop fully until mastery has been accomplished.  We have already attempted to correct the fundamental error that fear can be mastered and have emphasized that the only real mastery is through love.  Readiness is only the beginning of confidence.  You may think this implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery but let me remind you that time and space are under my control.[1]   

If we experience fear, we are planting the wrong seeds in our minds.  We are engaging in unloving thoughts, we are building cases, holding grudges, believing the world’s report instead of the truth of God.  God in His love and trust in us put us in charge of our minds and the thoughts we choose to think.  Jesus tells us in today’s text reading to guard our minds and use them to create expressions of love instead of miscreations based upon fear.    

No matter what we hear or see about the goings on in our dear brother’s life, we use our minds to bring healing and correction.  We refuse to share the bad report.  We take it to the Lord in prayer and in humility.  “This is what I heard about my brother, but I know the true report.  I know that he is Yours and he is as You created him.  I refuse to believe anything that is not Your will in his life.  I will not judge him or condemn him; I will not turn my back upon him.  I will believe in his goodness.  I will not join in with others when they make fun and call him names, but I will hold him up and believe in all that is true for him while he has temporarily lost his way.” 

We are called to perform miracles.  We are called to stand with Christ.  We are called to shorten the need for time, not lengthen it!  The purpose of this Course is to train our minds so that we choose thoughts that are of service to Christ, that we will understand that all miracles start at the thought level and take form only through the power of our belief, and that the correction for all lies, fear, and conflict is through the mastery of love. 

To be a miracle worker, we must come to a full understanding of the power of our thoughts.  If we do not put Jesus in charge of our thoughts, we add to the world’s lies and perversions of truth.  Instead of standing with Christ, we inadvertently stand against Him.  We use our beautiful minds to judge and condemn and take sides against Creation instead of for Creation.  When we engage in this kind of thought, we are continually in need of a miracle ourselves, instead of being in a position to help others.  Until we have a sincere respect for true cause and effect and understand how critical our thoughts are to the Kingdom of God, we will continue to miscreate that which is not miraculous.

Jesus tells us that miracles and fear come from thoughts.  Miracles are expressions of charity, fear is a lie, a misperception.   It is our choice which thoughts we generate and believe. Choose miracle thoughts, fearful thoughts are automatically rejected, at least for that particular instance.   Sadly, most of the time and in most cases we choose fearful thoughts about everyone and everything.  Jesus says that we are afraid of God, we are afraid of Him, we are afraid of each other and we are afraid of ourselves!  Jesus says that when we are afraid, our thoughts do not create anything real or true or lovely.  When we are afraid we miscreate.  Thoughts based on fear, only begets more of the same.  Miscreations bring with them pain and suffering.  As long as I harbor fear toward God and Creation I will suffer a sense of anxiety, shame, dread, and doom.  I will prey upon creation instead of love and nurture it.  I will mistakenly think of fear and specialness as strength and love and oneness as weakness. 

When we train our minds to stand with Christ, we learn that our thoughts determine what we see and experience.  While all of us are dimly aware of this already, we fail to take it as seriously as we should for we are afraid of the power that God has entrusted us with.  Our thoughts determine the state of the world, the state of the world should not determine our thoughts.  Until we get this right, we will continue to miscreate by reacting to the false forms of fearful thoughts that are projected upon the world.  This is not fulfilling our function; this is us becoming part of the problem instead of the solution. 

The true remedy to every ill rests upon mastery through loving, Christ-centered thought.  As long as we believe in the world’s report, we believe in the power of that which does not really exist.  When we pray God’s Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, we are to use our minds to this end. 

Atonement is the means by which we correct miscreation.  We can stop choosing thoughts of separation and choose thoughts of unity and love.  We stop choosing thoughts of fear and dread toward God and start choosing thoughts that promote loving Fatherhood, Sonship, and Brotherhood. 

When we choose thoughts of fear we choose to believe and put our trust in the perceptions of our flesh eyes and our flesh ears:  Dying loved ones, nations at war, one race of people pitted against the other, one country blaming another country for all the world’s woes, greed, and gluttony.  When we choose thoughts of love we choose to believe in the truth about Creation.  We know that chaos, suffering, doom and gloom is only a projection of all the fear we have made up about God, about each other, and about ourselves.  We travel to other countries and enjoy getting to know people who are different from us because we are brothers and friends, we have fun together and communicate words of love, encouragement, and goodwill.  We ignore the lies that would fill us with fear and dread of each other and we choose loving thoughts that promote peace, and joy, and everlasting certainty.  Jesus urges us to use our minds in this constructive and loving manner, to take a stand.  It is the mastery of loving thought that will save us from fear and conflict in the temporary world and earn our place back in the Kingdom where we belong! 

It matters little what we think separates and distinguishes us from all other parts of Creation.  We are all God’s Son.  Not one Son can go missing or be left behind for the Sonship to be whole.  Any fearful thought of God leaving any of us behind is a fear-driven lie and those who believe such things will not be able to understand wholeness, oneness, and unity.  While we are free to believe in such an incomplete concept of God, we are putting our trust in a lie.  When we come to understand Atonement for the Perfect Love of God upon Which It stands, all fear of God and false belief systems that promote lies and curses, bloodshed and sacrifice, will not be punished, but corrected – with love, tenderness, and compassion.      

In the last paragraph of today’s reading, Jesus stresses the difference between our readiness and accomplishment.  Readiness prepares us for the change of mind that is required for miracle working.  We can train our minds, we can be convinced of the mind’s beautiful power, we can have a full understanding of truth and our need to guard our mind from all that is not truth.  But until we begin to use our minds for God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are not accomplishing anything.  If we do not use what we learn, if we continue to mistake our training for service, we will not gain the confidence and certainty that is necessary for mastery.  Jesus is calling to each one of us to practice what we have learned in our everyday lives. No matter how clumsy and awkward we may be on our first attempts to put these concepts into practice, learn to override the lies and seductions of this world with the truth of God. 

When our thoughts go beyond the mug shots, the police report, the terrible deeds and loathsome acts – we get to the truth about ourselves and others.  All sorts of names and labels may pose for truth about God’s Son in the miscreated kingdom of lies and illusion, but when we accept God’s Perfect Love, we are not judged by our blemishes and mistakes, we are cleansed and made whole again – a Son of God, holy and innocent and pure.  Starting this moment, let us use our minds for God’s Kingdom, aligning our thoughts with Christ – thinking, sharing, speaking only that which is true, kind, lovely, and of eternally good report. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 2: VII Cause and effect. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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Section VI. Fear and Conflict 6-9

6.  It is possible to reach a state in which you bring your mind under my guidance without conscious effort, but this implies a willingness that you have not developed as yet.  The Holy Spirit cannot ask more than you are willing to do so.  The strength to do comes from your undivided decision.  There is no strain in doing God’s Will as soon as you recognize that it is also your own.  The lesson here is quite simple, but particularly apt to be overlooked.  I will therefore repeat it, urging you to listen.  Only your mind can produce fear.  It does so whenever it is conflicted in what it wants, producing inevitable strain because wanting and doing are discordant.  This can be corrected only by accepting a unified goal. 

7.  The first corrective step in undoing the error is to know first that the conflict is an expression of fear.  Say to yourself that you must somehow have chosen not to love, or the fear could not have arisen.  Then the whole process of correction becomes nothing more than a series of pragmatic steps in the larger process of accepting the Atonement as the remedy.  These steps may be summarized in this way:

Know first that this is fear. Fear arises from lack of love. The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love. Perfect love is the Atonement.

8. I have emphasized that the miracle, or the expression of Atonement, is always a sign of respect from the worthy to the worthy.  The recognition of this worth is re-established by the Atonement.  It is obvious, then, that when you are afraid, you have placed yourself in a position where you need Atonement.  You have done something loveless, having chosen without love.  This is precisely the situation for which the Atonement was offered.  The need for the remedy inspired its establishment.  As long as you recognize only the need for the remedy, you will remain fearful.  However, as soon as you accept the remedy, you have abolished fear.  This is how true healing occurs.

9.  Everyone experiences fear.  Yet it would take very little right-thinking to realize why fear occurs.  Few appreciate the real power of the mind, and no one remains fully aware of it all the time.  However, if you hope to spare yourself from fear there are some things you must realize and realize fully.  The mind is very powerful, and never loses its creative force.  It never sleeps.  Every instant it is creating.  It is hard to recognize that thought and belief combine into a power surge that can literally move mountains.  It appears at first glance that to believe such power about yourself is arrogant, but that is not the real reason you do not believe it.  You prefer to believe that your thoughts cannot exert real influence because you are afraid of them.  This may allay awareness of guilt, but at the cost of perceiving the mind as impotent.  If you believe that what you think is ineffectual you may cease to be afraid of it, but you are hardly likely to respect it.  There are no idle thoughts.  All thinking produces form at some level.[1]

Through our text reading today, Jesus teaches that we must consciously bring our mind under the guidance of Holy Spirit.  We come to God; we ask Him for the mind of Christ.  Help us, Lord, we pray, to think with Christ instead of against Him.  The more we think with Christ and see the result of thinking with Love, the more we will be convinced of how right this is, that there is no other worthy state in which to be!  Jesus promises that when our minds want nothing but God’s Will, there will be no conscious effort, no sense of sacrifice, no stretch or strain because we realize that everything we want, is what God wants for us.  When we finally realize that God is not a God of fear but of love and power and a right mind, we will no longer be divided about Who we want in charge of our thoughts, Who we want in charge of our perceptions, and with Whom we want to be one. 

In paragraph seven, Jesus gives us a beautiful prescription for all mistaken thoughts.  When we have conflict with anything or anybody, recognize it as an expression of fear.  Many times we will start to despise someone and fail to recognize that fear has entered into the relationship.  Perhaps our partner has a wandering eye, perhaps our sister is a braggart, perhaps our best friend is a big gossip hound. We will not consider the fear factor involved but rather pounce upon the way their actions make us feel.  While our mate’s wandering eye makes us feel unattractive, our sister’s self-promotion makes us feel small, our friend’s tendency to blab secrets and spread rumors makes us feel distrustful, we will not process those feelings as fear-based.  We will not think of the lustful mate, the self-promoting sister, the bad-mouthing friend as lacking love because we will be too busy thinking of how they made us feel.  But what we feel is a lack of love and the only remedy to lack of love is perfect love.  Perfect love is the Atonement.  It is the great equalizer.  It is bringing both the receiver and the giver into mutuality, into honesty and clarity, into a perfect understanding that the mind brought under the jurisdiction of Christ is a mind that heals and unites and makes holy. 

Any other remedy is a recipe, not for healing, but for disaster.  Lack of love is not corrected by a fearful response, by withdrawal, by a refusal to communicate, by divorce and division.  When we bring those who are on our shit list, our hit list, our A and B and C list to Atonement, there we stand in our humanity, in our humility, and offer our sour, bitter, spiteful thoughts to God.  We bare our minds and pour out our hearts, we ask God to reveal to us our mutuality.  And we take it like His Son because when we bring the darkness of all of those who disappointed, humiliated, and hurt us to Atonement, we see our own darkness in all its meanness, poverty, and filth.  And there at Atonement we put down all the blame and shame we would cast upon others and we lay down all of that which would be on ourselves.  Our minds are cleansed of all that is unholy, unloving, and wrong.  We see ourselves not as the blemishes that marred our perfection, but as the Sons of God who are holy, whole, and smart.  This is perfect Love.  This is the only correction.  This is Atonement.

There is no part of Creation which is not worthy.  There is nobody and nothing that deserves anything less than our utmost respect and good humor.  The miracle is the expression of God’s perfect plan of salvation for those who would separate from Him.  The miracle worker is devoted to the vision of Christ.  We recognize the truth about the world – it is a lie, it is fiction, its very purpose is to separate and divide and see each other with fear instead of love.  Only Truth stands forever.  When we recognize the worth of every single aspect of Creation we have accepted the truth, we have accepted Atonement.  If we make a mistake and slip into fear and begin to have conflict, we know the solution.  We have the remedy.  The remedy will do us no good until we accept the remedy.  We will remain in fear until we stop cherishing the idea that there is any aspect of Creation that is not worthy of Atonement.  We will live in fear of spiders and snakes, as long as we find them unworthy of Atonement.  We will live in fear of those who rape, plunder, call names, or snub us at social events as long as we find them unworthy of Atonement.  All fear is gone when we apply the remedy. 

No measures we take in the outer, physical world will ever obliterate fear and conflict and bring us peace. True healing only happens in the minds of those who have accepted Atonement for themselves and the other.  Heal the mind first and the external world follows – for our minds create the circumstances we experience.  Jesus highlights how critical it is that we get this and work with this until it becomes our practice and holy habit. 

All of us are afraid and yet all it takes is our right mind to realize why we are afraid and how to avoid conflict completely.  Our mind is powerful, creative, always alert, communicating, and always working.  Our thoughts and the belief systems that power them are able to coalesce into a force that Jesus says can literally move mountains.  A mind separated from God is in a state of fear and friction – miscreating a world that is full of division and forms that are susceptible to disease, decay, and death.  A mind at one with Christ is unified, beautiful, guided by holiness, creating forms that nourish, that bring bliss and joy, harmony and fellowship forever.  Our mind unified with Christ and one another are lovely and loving, a realm of miracles, the place of healing and the restoration of Creation. 

Receive Atonement to give Atonement.  Give Atonement to receive Atonement.  This is the flow of God and it is available to each and every one of us for each and every need.  Let there be no place for fear in the beautiful, powerful minds of those who perform miracles in His Name.   For our minds are fixed upon God’s perfect Son, our brother, Jesus, who makes us one. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 2:VI Fear and conflict. 6-9. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edtion (1992).

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Section VI. Fear and Conflict 1-5

  1.  Being afraid seems to be involuntary; something beyond your own control.  Yet I have said already that only constructive acts should be involuntary.  My control can take over everything that does not matter, while my guidance can direct everything that does if you so choose.  Fear cannot be controlled by me, but it can be self-controlled.  Fear prevents me from giving you my control.  The presence of fear shows that you have raised body thoughts to the level of the mind.  This removes them from my control, and makes you feel personally responsible for them.  This is an obvious confusion of levels.
  2. I do not foster level confusion, but you must choose to correct it.  You would not excuse insane behavior on your part by saying you could not help it.  Why should you condone insane thinking?  There is a confusion here that you would do well to look at clearly.  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.  You cannot separate yourself from the truth by “giving” autonomy to behavior.  This is controlled by me automatically as soon as you place what you think under my guidance.  Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate and have not allowed me to guide it. 
  3. It is pointless to believe that controlling the outcome of misthought can result in healing.  When you are fearful, you have chosen wrongly.  That is why you feel responsible for it.  You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of willingness.  You do not need guidance except at the mind level.  Correction belongs only at the level where change is possible.  Change does not mean anything at the symptom level, where it cannot work. 
  4. The correction of fear is your responsibility.  When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not.  You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about.  These conditions always entail a willingness to be separate.  At that level you can help it.  You are much too tolerant of mind wandering and are passively condoning your mind’s miscreations.  The particular result does not matter, but the fundamental error does.  The correction is always the same.  Before you choose to do anything, ask me if your choice is in accord with mine.  If you are sure that it is, there will be no fear. 
  5.   Fear is always a sign of strain, arising whenever what you want conflicts with what you do.  This situation arises in two ways:  First, you can choose to do conflicting things, either simultaneously or successively.  This produces conflicted behavior, which is intolerable to you because the part of the mind that wants to do something else is outraged.  Second, you can behave as you think you should, but without entirely wanting to do so.  This produces consistent behavior but entails great strain.  In both cases, the mind and the behavior are out of accord, resulting in a situation in which you are doing what you do not wholly want to do.  This arouses a sense of coercion that usually produces rage, and projection is likely to follow.  Whenever there is fear, it is because you have not made up your mind.  Your mind is therefore split, and your behavioral level can shift the error from the first to the second type but will not obliterate the fear.[1]

In paragraph one Jesus teaches that we think that we are afraid because we believe in the made-up versions of reality that are fearsome.  Love does not generate fear, nor does it seek to correct or heal it.  Love is truth; fear is a lie.  A lie has no correction except to be replaced by the truth.  Jesus therefore cannot save us from fear unless we choose not to believe in the lie of it.  No matter what we are afraid of – be it the dark, or those who creep about in darkness performing dirty deeds – having fear means that we have let our trust in God fall away and have put our trust in a lie.  The responsibility for not choosing fear is up to each one of us.  We have a choice to trust in God or trust in fear.  When I choose to identify with my body, God is no longer in charge of my mind and fear enters in.  I am back in charge of me because I have chosen fear. 

In yesterday’s reading, Jesus assured us that our lower-level needs will always be taken care of when we trust in God and put Him in charge.  Miracle workers around the world will be given a means to support themselves.  They will not have to worry about food and clothing and warmth and shelter and other necessities and even luxuries.  We will have confidence that we will always have enough and be good enough.  We will not have to concern ourselves about wild beasts tearing our flesh from our bone nor mean-spirited people forming alliances and plotting against us.  The Lord provides for those who put their trust in Him. 

However, when we begin to fear for the protection of our bodies, we have taken our trust away from God and put fear in charge.  Jesus cannot deliver us from that because it is a choice we made.  It was our fear of God and not our love and trust in Him which caused the separation, and it is our fear of God and not our love and trust in Him that would keep the separation going! 

Jesus clarifies the problem of level confusion for us, but we are responsible for correcting it.  Do we put our trust in God or in lies?   Do we search for truth in the world’s daily fear-riddled newsreel or trust in God’s love, devotion and care for us?  Fill our minds with media forecasts– we are going to be afraid.  Jesus is asking you and me to recognize that the thoughts we think are to be under His guidance, but He does not come unwelcomed.  This means that we must recognize that fearful thoughts are not thoughts from God, they are from a source that is full of lies, suspicions, and untruth.  Fearful thoughts are miscreations that are not based on the Atonement, which is the Principle of Love.  Jesus does not make the choice for us between fearful and loving thought – we must make that choice by learning to recognize and pay attention to our thoughts and their source.   

When things arise in our lives that are the result of our mistaken thoughts, there is no healing.  When we are afraid, it means we have chosen the wrong place in which to place our trust.  We have decided to separate Creation into one side being good and worthy of our allegiance and the other side as being evil and depraved.  We have set our sights on being higher than another, or conversely placing another person as worthy of that which only belongs to God.  This reminds me in my own life how I would make a big blunder and then pray for the results of that blunder to be somehow made right and good and work out for me!  It is not until we correct the cause of the blunder that there can be healing.  I cannot expect the people that I backstabbed and built a case against to forgive and love me as long as I continue to hold judgment and ill will in my thoughts toward them and toward myself.   As long as I see them as somehow being inferior to me, no behavior on my part will heal the rift between us.  I can bake them cookies and send them gift cards and pray for them until the cows come home, but it is only as I begin to see them and myself as equal and worthy Sons of God that healing can take place.  The world’s weak forms of charity and forgiveness may seem to patch things up temporarily but for true healing to take place, the mind must be under the control of our older and wiser Brother Who only offers His guidance and control when welcomed.    

Correction of fear falls upon our shoulders.  When we ask for release from fear, we are asking Him to do our work for us.  The language we use should reflect our very best understanding of Atonement and the principle of Love upon which it stands.  We are to pray for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about.  When I begin to build a case against someone, I am willing to separate myself from that person because I have held fearful thoughts toward them.  I am more willing to think of them as an enemy, than I am to take this relationship to God and ask for Atonement for myself and them as equals.  I am not standing with Christ when I am willing to see division in the Brotherhood rather than healing and unity, I am standing with anti-Christ.  This is the point where I need help.  When I begin to see the whining, self-promoting, and irksome behavior of one of my nearest and dearest through the eyes of fear and loathing instead of love, forgiveness, and thoughts of helpfulness – when sneering thoughts occur to me instead of loving and forgiving ones, this is where I call for help and correction.  I take those snide and unloving thoughts to God and say, “I don’t want to think of my dear brother in this way.  I do not want to think of so-and-so with thoughts of fear and loathing.  Please take these and give me thoughts of her goodness and love.  Remind me of all the fun we have together, our happy memories, our precious times we share…”

Jesus says that we are much too tolerant of our miscreations.  We think it is perfectly reasonable to think of others in terms of mooch, pest, narcissist, bully, and stupid, defining them by their mistakes in mortality rather than their divine reality as God’s Creation.  This leads to fear because the labels we place on God’s Creations are the very labels we place upon ourselves. 

We are afraid, Jesus says when what we want – peace and love and joy – conflicts with what we do.  Years ago I was praying for peace and love and joy – and yet what I was doing was thinking sour, mean thoughts towards my loved ones whom I thought of as having failed me in my greatest hour of need.  I held grudges and dwelled upon their selfishness, their jealousy, their lack of appreciation, and so forth.  I thought of all the things I did for them, which they failed to recognize or reciprocate.  In my mind they began to take on forms of caricatures that symbolized all that was unworthy of my love and affection.  Because of a sense of family loyalty and keeping with tradition, I continued to pretend that everything was okay. I communicated my hurt feelings over their mockery, bad manners, lack of respect, support, and goodwill, not in a spirit of healing, but in a spirit of grievance and complaint.  While I sincerely wanted peace and love and joy, I also wanted to be the big cheese, the one everyone loved the most, the one who had all the answers!  Jesus explains that this conflict between what our minds really want and what we are doing leads to outrage.  

When the shit hit the fan, there was no point asking God to heal the outcome of all that negativity for it was my own miscreation.  As long as I am unwilling to believe the truth about my family’s love and devotion, their beauty and goodness, but rather trust in the fearful report based upon the false witness of perception, any so-called “healing” will be temporary and unstable.  When I choose thoughts of love, of truth, of peace and joy, I will know my loved ones as God’s loved ones, all equal in our need of Atonement, all equal in our need for correction and healing.  This can only take place in my mind.   We cannot correct separation anywhere except in the mind where it was created in the first place.  And God does not do this for us.  We are responsible for the thoughts we choose to believe about ourselves, about others, and about God. 

If I were a different kind of person I may have chosen the second path that leads to conflict.  I know that there are some people who having more self-discipline than I do, have forced themselves to go for years behaving as they thought they should.  Being taken advantage of and letting others usurp their time and misuse their resources, all the while not necessarily complaining or talking trash, but knowing on some gut level that this was not right or proper.  This leads to a sense of coercion, Jesus says, that leads to outrage and projection.  Accusing others for our refusal to take responsibility to set proper limits and fair boundaries is saying that it is someone else’s duty to read our minds and telepathically know our needs.  Nobody should be put in that position!  Blaming others for denying us what we feel is our fair due does not at all impress the God in us, for it is absolving our responsibility for our thoughts and for the conflict that arises when we do not communicate truthfully with God or others, allowing the misperceptions that come up to stand for truth in our minds.   

We will close today’s study with paragraph five, but I urge you to continue reading the rest of section six on your own.  We are compelled to come clean with our selves and take responsibility for what we have become all too comfortable blaming others and asking God to do for us.  Ask God to illuminate the meaning of this part of the text for you in a way in which you can apply it to the fear and conflict that appears in your own life in time and space.  Meditate and take notes in your personal Course journal and be sure to share it with someone – for when we share we are trusting in the principle of receiving to give and giving to receive. 

Thank you for listening and have a blessed day.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 2: VI Fear and conflict. 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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Section V. The Function of the Miracle Worker 11-18

A. Special Principles of Miracle Workers

  11. (1) The miracle abolishes the need for lower-order concerns.  Since it is an out-of-pattern time interval, the ordinary considerations of time and space do not apply.  When you perform a miracle, I will arrange both time and space to adjust to it. 

  12. (2) A clear distinction between what is created and what is made is essential.  All forms of healing rest on this fundamental correction in level perception. 

  13. (3) Never confuse right- and wrong-mindedness.  Responding to any form of error with anything except a desire to heal is an expression of this confusion.

  14. (4) The miracle is always a denial of error and an affirmation of the truth.  Only right-mindedness can correct in a way that has any real effect.  Pragmatically, what has no real effect has no real existence.  In effect, then, it is emptiness.  Being without substantial content, it lends itself to projection. 

  15. (5) The level-adjustment power of the miracle induces the right perception for healing.  Until this has occurred healing cannot be understood.  Forgiveness is an empty gesture unless it entails correction.  Without this it is essentially judgmental, rather than healing.

16. (6) Miracle-minded forgiveness is only correction.  It has no element of judgment at all.  The statement “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” in no way evaluates what they do.  It is an appeal to God to heal their minds.  There is no reference to the outcome of the error.  That does not matter. 

17. (7) The injunction “Be of one mind” is the statement for revelation-readiness.  My request “Do this in remembrance of me” is the appeal for cooperation from miracle workers.  The two statements are not in the same order of reality.  Only the latter involves an awareness of time, since to remember is to recall the past in the present.  Time is under my direction, but timelessness belongs to God.  In time we exist for and with each other.  In timelessness we coexist with God. 

18. (8) You can do much on behalf of your own healing and that of others if, in a situation calling for help, you think of it this way:

I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Him Who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.[1]

Dear Heavenly Father: As we come to our devotional practice this morning, with humble and willing hearts that seek to respond in good faith to the call within, teach us how to bless instead of curse, how to heal instead of sicken, how to stand with Christ instead of anti-Christ.  Your blessed Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Each day we bring our humanity to You and accept our divinity in Christ.  Each day we draw closer to our goal.  We pray for truth, for guidance, for our daily needs as we return our hearts and minds to You.  In the name of Jesus, with Whom we are one.  Amen.

In principle one, Jesus tells us that we have no concern for lower-order needs when we perform miracles.  We are not in charge of the time and space required for the miracle to occur; we are only in charge of offering Atonement.  We do not have to concern ourselves at all with the unhealthy habits and mistaken lifestyles that may have played a part in leading to the need for a miracle.  We have no concern in our function as miracle-workers to instruct the receiver how to “keep” their miracle.  When Jesus says, “the ordinary considerations of time and space do not apply,” it simply means that He will take care of it from there.  We are not to worry and fret about if the receiver is deserving or worthy, why we are called to give a miracle to one and perhaps not another, to collect facts and gather information to prove that a miracle happened, or to take any credit for it.  While in ordinary considerations of time and space, we are compelled to be recompensed for our time and trouble in service to others, when we perform miracles, Jesus provides all we need for we receive to give and give to receive.  The time, money, and effort we spend doing God’s work, will not take time, money, and effort away from us, but give us more of each attribute in which to continue doing His work.  We will learn through experiencing this beautiful flow to trust Him in this regard for all of our lower-order needs.  In other words, when Holy Spirit calls us to go to a particular person or host a particular event, He will provide all the temporal needs required to accomplish it – He only asks for our willingness and cooperation. 

Principle two declares that we must know the difference between the spirit which is created and the physical which is an illusion.  All the prayers in the world cannot change reality for reality is established as truth and cannot be moved or manipulated.  The miracle rests upon reestablishing truth in our minds and hearts by offering and accepting Atonement first for ourselves and then for others.  Atonement is the principle of love which forgives and corrects all lies, illusions, and misperceptions.  When our minds are right, we are healed and are ready to offer healing to others.  It makes all the difference when you see me from the spirit rather than the flesh.  No matter what disease may be chewing up my flesh and causing me undue pain and discomfort, unless you see me as not my flesh, but as Spirit, you will be tempted to be afraid.  You will offer me pity rather than the miracle.  You will demand that I have pain-killers and other unnecessary and therefore unhelpful measures because I am only a body to you, and not an everlasting Spirit who needs to be reminded of my true identity in God.  As nice as it is for me to have someone holding my hand and wiping my brow and standing up to the medical profession for my physical comforts, you will not be offering me a miracle, you will be offering me a very weak form of charity that does not enlighten me and set me free from the hold of the illusion.  You will be very tempted to make sure other people know how good you are to me, how many hours you spend at my bedside, how you really told off the doctor and demanded that I have morphine or other pain-killers, you will give daily, perhaps even hourly reports to all the people who want to know about my suffering and collect those facts, not to heal me but as simply grist for the gossip mill.  Oh did you hear about poor Eckie. There she is suffering away, just wasting away to about nothing.  And that dear friend of hers, sitting by her bedside, blah blah blah blah blah. 

When we begin to see how terribly useless this kind of behavior is, how it poses as one thing but is actually something else altogether, we grow very discontent with it.  We reach past the weaker forms of charity, which posed in place of the true principle of Love.  When the pain and suffering of others no longer holds any interest to us except as an incentive to heal and bring Atonement, we will have arrived at the place where we are miracle ready.  And here is the beauty of miracles and miracle working.  We do not have to be physically present.  We do not have to share the same time zone or live in the same country.  Being Spirit we can be anywhere and anytime, Jesus says.  We can bring healing and correction and let all the glory go to God and not collect it for ourselves, which would easily lead to egoism and defeat, for at least the time-being, the purpose of God’s call, thus prolonging time instead of shortening it!   

The world offers a very weak form of forgiveness, which is not real forgiveness at all.  The ego’s form of forgiveness is to say, You are a bad girl, but since I am good I will forgive you.  You better not do that again or I will take my forgiveness away from you and you will have to earn it back again.  The ego’s form of forgiveness demands apologies, restoration, and punishment.  It is an empty vessel, the forgiveness of the ego, and offers no real correction or healing. 

Atonement recognizes that all physical forms are empty vessels, filled with nothingness. They therefore do not matter in the spiritual world of reality and everlasting life.  Correction only comes from the Spirit and healing comes only after correction.  The Atonement I offer you for hiding your unholiness behind stories you made up about me, does not conceal the damage wrought by your lies and ill will, but does deny the power of what you have done to truly hurt me on the level of Spirit, which is our only reality.  In the flesh we are one thing; in the spirit we are perfect.  Level adjustment heals because we understand that untruth has no power to hurt either one of us.  We let it go because it is empty, meaningless, and we forgive each other for ever thinking otherwise.

We do not dwell on “what they do.”  We dwell instead in a state of Atonement, we forgive everything.  We do not have gab sessions about each case and disrespectfully discuss the particulars, digging up stuff that wastes time and has no other purpose than to titillate our egos and its thirst to collect unwarranted facts about others.  Jesus stresses that it is particularly important for miracle workers to understand that in time we exist for and with each other.  Here we practice charity, we practice Golden Rule behavior, we reach for Atonement and for healing.   When we do this, we do not talk about others in ways that we ourselves do not wish to be discussed!  We do not brag about our acts of charity or the miracles we have been called to do.  We get beyond our egos which are always seeking self-glory and become more other oriented, not to gratify their egos with flattery and fatuousness, but to awaken and heal and share holy friendships devoted to God. 

Miracle workers called of Christ to become one with His purpose – Let the last paragraph of our text today be our prayer, our devotion, our guide as we live for and with each other in the world of time and space. 

Remind us dear Father that as our holy brother, Jesus, we are here only to be truly helpful.  We are not here to in any way promote our selves, bur rather to represent Christ Who sent us.  We do not have to waste our minds in vanity preparing what to say or what to do, because He Who sent us, will direct us.  We are content to be wherever He wishes because we know that He goes with us.  We will be healed as we let Him teach us how to heal.  Your Will be done, Father, on earth as it is in Heaven.  In the name of Jesus, with Whom we are one.  Amen. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 2: V. 11-18. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). pp. 27-28.

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